Lindsay Tanner Announces His Retirement

A history-making day in Australian politics has produced another unexpected turn of events with Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner announcing that he will retire from politics at the forthcoming election.

The announcement came at the end of new Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s first Question Time in the House of Representatives.

Tanner said he had approached former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a couple of weeks ago and indicated he would not contest the election. He said the decision “is driven entirely and absolutely by matters of personal circumstances”.

Tanner was elected as the member for Melbourne at the 1993 election. He has served in six parliaments.

Hansard transcript of Lindsay Tanner’s statement to the House of Representatives.

Mr TANNER (Minister for Finance and Deregulation) (3:15 PM) —On indulgence, I rise to advise the House that I will not be contesting the forthcoming federal election. I just wish to outline some of the reasoning behind my decision. A couple of weeks ago I spoke with the then Prime Minister indicating that it was my intention not contest the coming election. He asked me to delay consideration of this decision, indeed to reconsider. He indicated that he wanted me to stay on as a minister even if I did choose to step down. I concurred with his request and we agreed that we would revisit the matter at the end of the parliamentary sitting period. In fact, we had an appointment scheduled for 9.30 this morning to consider this matter. As you all know, by one of those strange quirks of fate that tend to occur in politics, other matters intervened. So I found myself doing what I expected to do—namely, confirming my intention not to recontest the election—slightly later in the day to a different Prime Minister, the incoming Prime Minister. I am now formally advising the House of my decision. I have indicated to the incoming Prime Minister that I am equally happy to continue serving in my current ministerial position until the election or to step aside without demur should she choose to ask me to do so. [Read more…]

Political History Made As Julia Gillard Becomes Australia’s First Woman Prime Minister

Julia Gillard has stepped into Australian political history as the nation’s 27th and first female Prime Minister.

Gillard was sworn in at Government House at 1pm by the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce. Treasurer Wayne Swan was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister.


The ceremony took place following the pair’s unopposed election at the ALP Caucus meeting at 9am. Despite announcing last night that he would contest the ballot, the former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, chose not to run.

Gillard is the 12th person to serve as a Labor Party prime minister since Federation in 1901.

Following the swearing-in, Gillard returned to Parliament House to face her first Question Time in the House of Representatives.


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  • Watch the swearing-in ceremony (4m)


Kevin Rudd’s Final Press Conference As Prime Minister

Following his loss of the ALP leadership at a Caucus meeting on June 24, 2010, Kevin Rudd held his final press conference as Prime Minister.


Rudd delivered a tearful statement recounting the achievements of his government. He did not take questions.

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Transcript of Kevin Rudd’s final press conference as Prime Minister – June 24, 2010.

I was elected by the Australian people as Prime Minister of this country to bring back a fair go for all Australians and I have given my absolute best to do that, I’ve given it my absolute all. In that spirit I am proud of the achievements that we have delivered to make this country fairer. [Read more…]

Julia Gillard’s First Press Conference As ALP Leader: “I Believed A Good Government Was Losing Its Way”

Following her election as leader of the ALP, Prime Minister-elect Julia Gillard held a press conference in Canberra.


Accompanied by the new deputy leader, Treasurer Wayne Swan, Gillard said she had asked her colleagues for a leadership change “because I believed that a good government was losing its way”.

Gillard promised to address the mining tax and said she was immediately suspending all government advertising on the issue. She asked the mining companies to do likewise “as a show of good faith and mutual respect”. [Read more…]

Gillard Elected ALP Leader Unopposed; Rudd Does Not Run; Swan New Deputy

Julia Gillard has been elected unopposed as leader of the ALP and will become Australia’s first female Prime Minister in a few hours.

Gillard was chosen at an ALP Caucus meeting in Canberra this morning. After accepting Gillard’s call for a leadership ballot last night, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd chose not to nominate when Caucus met. Reports suggest he would have been crushed in a contested ballot.

The member for Lalor will become Australia’s 27th prime minister. She will be the 12th person to serve as a Labor prime minister since 1901. She has been a member of parliament since 1998.

Treasurer Wayne Swan was elected deputy leader unopposed and will become Deputy Prime Minister in Gillard’s place.

  • Listen to the Caucus Returning Officer, Senator Michael Forshaw, announce Gillard’s election (3m)

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Lateline: Paul Howes Confirms AWU Has Ditched Rudd For Gillard

Paul Howes has confirmed that the Australian Workers’ Union has withdrawn its support from Kevin Rudd in favour of Julia Gillard.

The National Secretary of the AWU has appeared on Lateline to signal that the union movement has deserted the prime minister and will support a change of leader at tomorrow morning’s Caucus ballot.

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Transcript of Paul Howes interview with Tony Jones on Lateline, June 23, 2010.

TONY JONES: One of the key moments of tonight’s extraordinary developments was the announcement that the Australian Workers Union had lost confidence in Kevin Rudd and was backing a move to Julia Gillard. Well the national secretary of the AWU is Paul Howes. He joins us in the studio. Why did you do that? [Read more…]

Rudd Announces ALP Caucus Leadership Ballot; Gillard To Challenge

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced that there will be an ALP caucus ballot for the party’s leadership tomorrow morning.

Rudd emerged from a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard to make the announcement at around 10.25pm. He confirmed that Gillard requested a ballot.


The announcement followed several hours of feverish speculation, following an ABC report at 7pm that Rudd’s leadership was under challenge.

Rudd warned of a “lurch to the right” under Gillard. He said: “If I am returned as the leader of the party and the government and as Prime Minister then I will be very clear about one thing – this party and government will not be lurching to the right on the question of asylum-seekers as some have counselled us to do.”

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  • Watch Paul Bongiorno on Channel 10 Late News, June 23, 2010 (12m)

Transcript of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s press conference, held at 10.25pm on June 23, 2010.

Rudd: Earlier this evening, Julia Gillard came to see me and has requested a ballot for the leadership of the Labor Party. [Read more…]

Kevin Rudd’s Leadership Under Challenge

The challenge to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s leadership came on the evening of June 23, 2010.

The first we knew that Rudd’s 30-month prime ministership was at risk was this tweet from the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann at 7.00pm:

Chris Uhlmann's 7pm tweet on June 23, 2010


Simultaneously, ABC television broke the news on its 7pm bulletin:

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Galahs And Polls

Walk into a pet shop and the resident galah will be talking about microeconomic reform. So said Paul Keating some 20 years ago as the last Labor government went about some significant policy renovation.

GalahsIn 2010 the galahs instead seem to be interpreting opinion polls. Recent weeks have been especially trying for us simple souls attempting to work out whether Kevin Rudd is a dead duck.

In January, The Australian reported that Newspolls covering October-December 2009 showed the Rudd government in a landslide winning position with 57 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote. The Morgan poll also said Labor was on 57 per cent. An Essential Research poll in January said Labor was ahead of the Coalition by 56 per cent to 44 per cent.

These figures were essentially what we had been reading for over two years. They indicated a newly-elected government coasting to re-election against an Opposition that couldn’t surpass the mid-40s. [Read more…]

Petro Georgiou: Valedictory Speech

This is the valedictory speech by Petro Georgiou, Liberal member for Kooyong, in the House of Representatives.

Georgiou won Kooyong in a by-election on November 19, 1994, succeeding Andrew Peacock. He retired at the 2010 election and was replaced by Josh Frydenberg.

Hansard transcript of Petro Georgiou’s valedictory speech to the House of Representatives.

GeorgiouMr Speaker I was in the Chamber to hear Kim Beazley’s brilliant valedictory. One of the distinctive things he did was to thank people at the beginning, rather than the end of the speech. Expressions of gratitude are too often truncated by time constraints, so I’m going to emulate Kim’s example.

One of the nice things about growing older, at least in my case, is that the black list shrinks, while the white list of debts that cannot be repaid grows. I want to thank my mother Anastasia and my late father Constandino Georgiou for their enormous affection and commitment to their children despite the pressures and anxieties of migration. I want to thank my children Constandino and Alexia, who while still very young felt the impact of my involvement in politics. They are in the gallery today. They are admirable young people. [Read more…]