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.

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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…]


Apology: British Media Praises Rudd

The London newspaper, The Independent, has praised Kevin Rudd for the apology to the stolen generations.

This is the text of the editorial from The Independent.

The Independent

The Courage To Right A Historic Wrong

Politicians who match their words to their deeds are hardly ten a penny these days. And, even when they do appear on our horizon, their words and deeds are all too often designed to court cheap popularity. So it is heartening to find a recently-elected leader who is so quickly and determinedly putting his campaign pledges into practice, even those that may not have appealed to every voter. Step forward Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia. [Read more…]


Brendan Nelson Supports Stolen Generations Apology

The Leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson, has spoken in support of the motion offering an apology to the Stolen Generations.

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Text of Brendan Nelson’s Address to Parliament on the Apology to the Stolen Generations.

Mr Speaker, members of this 42nd Parliament of Australia, visitors and all Australians.

In rising to speak in support of this motion, I recognise the Ngunnawal, first peoples of this Canberra land.

Today our nation crosses a threshold. [Read more…]


Kevin Rudd’s Speech On The Apology To The Stolen Generations

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has moved the motion of apology to the Stolen Generations, at a sitting of the House of Representatives at 9am today.

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This is the text of Kevin Rudd’s Address on the motion of apology to the Stolen Generations.

I move that today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment. We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations—this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country. [Read more…]


Full Text Of Official Apology To Stolen Generations

This is the full text of the apology to the Stolen Generations to be presented to the Australian Parliament at 9am on Wednesday 13 February.

Text of the Apology to the Stolen Generations.

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.


Rudd Sends More Peacekeepers To East Timor

More Australian peacekeeping personnel will be sent to East Timor, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced today.

The decision follows the assassination attempt on the East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta.

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra, Rudd emphasised the significance of an attack on the democratic process in one of Australia’s near neighbours.

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