Hereditary Peers Abolished in Britain

House of LordsAn historic constitutional reform which abolishes hereditary peers in Britain’s House of Lords was passed today.

The Lords voted 221-81 to end 800 years of hereditary titles.

With devolution in Wales and Scotland now established, Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has presided over the most significant constitutional and parliamentary reform since the Great Reform Act of 1832. [Read more...]


Napthine and Asher Elected To Lead Liberals in Victoria

Dr. Denis Napthine was officially elected today as the new leader of the Victorian Liberals.

He was unopposed for the position. His deputy will be Louise Asher. The new leadership team signals a final end to the Kennett era in Victorian politics.

Asher, recently elected to the lower house seat of Brighton, defeated Phil Honeywood, Robert Doyle and Robert Dean for the deputy’s job. Asher and Honeywood swapped votes to keep Doyle out.

Parliament meets for the first time since the election next Wednesday 3 November.


John Howard’s Statement in Support of the “NO” Case

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has issued a statement setting out his reasons for opposing next month’s referendum on on a republic.

Statement from the Prime Minister, John Howard.

The Prime MonarchistI have previously indicated my intention to make a considered statement on the referenda to be held on November 6.

Accordingly, I attach a statement of my reasons for voting ‘no’ to the proposed republic as well as a statement in support of the preamble.

I have drawn upon this material to detail my position in a newsletter to my constituents.

27 October 1999

Introduction

On 6 November Australia will vote on two constitutional proposals – one on a republic and another on a preamble to the constitution. [Read more...]


U.S. Presidential Race Taking Shape as Dole Drops Out

Texas Governor George W. Bush and wife LauraWhilst the first primary election in New Hampshire is still 4 months away, the contest for the 2000 American Presidential election is taking shape.

Republican candidate, Elizabeth Dole, wife of the 1996 Republican nominee, Senator Bob Dole, quit the race last week, further winnowing the conservative field.

Dole’s withdrawal follows the departure of Lamar Alexander, John Kasich and former Vice-President Dan Quayle.

Texas Governor George W. Bush remains the Republican frontrunner, having raised close to $100 million in campaign funds since the beginning of this year.

Bush’s candidacy is threatened only by Arizona Senator John McCain and the publishing magnate Steve Forbes.

On the Democratic side, a two-man contest between incumbent vice-president Al Gore and former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley will possibly hold the most interest in the coming months.


Taxes More Certain Than A Republic: Howard

Responding to media reports, the Prime Minister, John Howard, has issued the following statement:

I will, in the near future, outline my reasons for supporting the present constitutional system.

I will not, as speculated in one newspaper today, indicate that I think a republic is inevitable. Others may hold that view. I do not.

Benjamin Franklin was right when he said: “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

The Republic referendum will be held in 12 days time.


New Head of Defence Department Appointed

Prime Minister John Howard has announced the appointment of Dr. Allan Hawke as Secretary to the Department of Defence, replacing Mr. Paul Barratt who was sacked in controversial circumstances earlier this year.

In announcing the decision, Mr Howard said:

“Dr. Hawke has served effectively as Secretary to the Department of Transport and Regional Services since 1996 and, before that, as Secretary to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Dr. Hawke will bring to his new position not only experience at the Secretary level but also a sound knowledge of defence issues. From the mid-1980s he held a number of senior positions in the Department of Defence, culminating in his appointment as Deputy Secretary, Strategy and Intelligence, in the Department from 1991 to 1993.”

Dr. Hawke will take up his appointment on Thursday 21 October 1999 for a period of three years.

Departmental secretaries are an important aspect of the Australian political system. As the administrative
heads of government departments, they are responsible for the implementation of government policy and legislation, as well as the provision of advice to the government.

Dr. Hawke’s relationship with Defence Minister, John Moore, will be of interest to political observers, especially in the light of the rapid breakdown of relations with Mr. Barratt.


I’ve Never Met a Labor Voter: Felicity Kennett

The wife of former Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, is reported in today’s Sunday Herald-Sun as saying “I still haven’t met anyone who says they voted Labor” in the recent State election.

Mrs. Kennett also says that she believes the ALP outsmarted her husband by successfully marketing the word “arrogant” to describe the former Premier who was tipped out of office last week. “He was the best Premier Victoria ever had,” Mrs. Kennett said.

The Murdoch-owned newspaper also reports today that Kennett was on the verge of advising the Governor, Sir James Gobbo, to swear in his government on October 1 for a new term until Mildura independent, Russell Savage, rang the Governor’s official secretary, Charles Curwen. An hour later, Kennett rang Savage to say he had changed his mind, the paper says.

Savage claims Kennett told him he had the support of Gippsland East independent, Craig Ingram. All three independents announced their support for the formation of a minority government a week ago.

The Age today publishes a story about the fight over water in Gippsland that led to the defeat of the local National Party member and the election of the Bracks government.