Fidel Castro Does What John Howard Couldn’t!

Cuba’s President Fidel Castro has announced his resignation, after 48 years in power.

The Communist Party leader issued an extraordinary statement on the website of the party’s newspaper, Granma. [Read more...]


“Partially Treated Sewage Sandwich” From Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Liberal PartyThe Federal Opposition’s Julie Bishop has given an extraordinary press conference in which she attempted to justify the coalition’s decision not to to oppose the government’s legislation abolishing WorkChoices.

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As the Sydney Morning Herald’s Annabel Crabb put it on February 20:

The Opposition’s Julie Bishop was on something quite different yesterday. Some sort of calmative, perhaps.

Ms Bishop has been vocal for months on the need to fight to the death for Australian Workplace Agreements.

And yesterday, for 30 minutes in the Senate courtyard, before a vast throng of fascinated reporters, with a fixed smile on her face, she consumed what for the benefit of family readers we will call a partially treated sewage sandwich. She was cool, charming and professional. She at no point lost her cool. And for much of the time, she made no sense whatsoever.

This is unsurprising, given that Ms Bishop was trying to explain how agreeing to abolish the agreements was pretty much the same as insisting on keeping them, if you thought about it.


Craig Thomson (ALP-Dobell) – Maiden Speech

This is the text of the first speech to the House of Representatives by Craig Thomson.

Thomson was elected as the ALP member for Dobell at the 2007 election.

Dobell is a provincial electorate on the central coast of New South Wales. It includes the centres of Bateau Bay, Berkeley Vale, Blue Haven, Matcham, Mount Elliot, Ourimbah, The Entrance, Warnervale, Wyoming, Wyong, the Yarramalong Valley, and parts of Erina Heights, Gorokan, Holgate, Lisarow, Kulnura, Narara, Niagara Park and Wamberal.

Hansard transcript of Craig Thomson’s maiden speech to the House of Representatives.

Craig ThomsonMr CRAIG THOMSON (6:12 PM) — Can I say right at the start what a great honour it is to be here today representing the people of Dobell in this place. Not many people get the honour and privilege of representing in federal parliament and to be counted amongst them is an immense privilege.

At this stage, I need to acknowledge the fantastic advice and assistance I received from Mark Arbib, Karl Bitar and Sam Dastyari from the New South Wales ALP head office. All of the Labor shadow ministers in the last parliament were great, but, in particular, Wayne Swan and Anthony Albanese need to be acknowledged for the support they gave to and tireless work they put into my campaign. Senator Hutchins has been a fantastic supporter for many years and has helped to create the opportunity to win back Dobell. Along with former member Michael Lee, he has provided tremendous insight into the many issues that affect the people of Dobell. I would also like to acknowledge the work of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke. He visited my electorate four times, along with many other electorates around the country. The shot of old Hawkie charisma was just the lift that my campaign needed. [Read more...]


Bill Shorten (ALP-Maribyrnong) – Maiden Speech

Bill Shorten was first elected to represent the Melbourne electorate of Maribyrnong at the 2007 federal election.

Shorten was the National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union from 2001 to 2007.

  • Watch Shorten’s Maiden Speech (19m)

Hansard transcript of Bill Shorten’s first speech to the House of Representatives on February 14, 2008.

Mr SHORTEN (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services) (10:33 AM) —Congratulations to you, Mr Speaker, upon your election to this very important office. I rise today in full recognition of the honour which the people of Maribyrnong and the Australian Labor Party have granted me by enabling me to serve in this parliament. I rise in full recognition of the responsibility that comes with this honour: to serve my electorate and the Australian people. And I rise in full recognition of the historic moment the parliament and the Australian people witnessed yesterday when we said sorry to the stolen generation. What a time to join a new parliament, what a time to be part of a new government and what a time to be part of the creation of a new and more hopeful chapter in the ongoing story of reconciliation with Indigenous Australians. [Read more...]


Rudd Government Faces First Question Time

The Rudd Government has faced its first Question Time in the new Parliament.

The Opposition Leader’s first question was about petrol and food prices. It required a Dorothy Dixer from the government’s backbench for the stolen generations apology to be raised.

Julia Gillard delivered the most assured and polished performance, emphasising the government’s mandate on industrial relations when asked about the legislation introduced today to dismantle the Howard government’s WorkChoices. [Read more...]