Shorten Maintains Support For Abbott Government On Iraq; Also Outlines Conditions

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has reiterated the ALP’s support for the Abbott government’s “humanitarian” mission in Iraq, whilst setting out conditions for continuing support.

Shorten

Shorten responded in the House of Representatives to a Statement on National Security by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

He said: “Labor fully supports Australia’s contribution to the international humanitarian mission to Iraq. We do not offer this lightly. Sending Australians into harm’s way is the most serious of decisions. Our support for the government on this issue is not a matter of jingoism or nationalism; it is a calculation of conscience and national interest.” [Read more...]


Tony Abbott Statement On National Security: “Balance Between Freedom And Security Will Have To Shift”

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, says “the delicate balance between freedom and security will have to shift” for “some time to come”.

Delivering a statement on national security to the House of Representatives, Abbott said: “Regrettably, for some time to come, Australians will have to endure more security than we’re used to, and more inconvenience than we’d like.”

He said: “There may be more restrictions on some so that there can be more protections for others. After all, Madam Speaker, the most basic freedom of all is the freedom to walk the streets unharmed and to sleep safe in our beds at night.”

  • Listen to Abbott’s statement (17m – transcript below)

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  • Watch Abbott (17m)

Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Statement on National Security to the House of Representatives.

Statement to Parliament on National Security

Madam Speaker, because protecting our people is the first duty of government, it’s right that I should update the House on developing challenges to our national security.

I acknowledge the commitment of all MPs to keeping our people safe and I especially acknowledge the support that the Leader of the Opposition has given to the Government on this subject. [Read more...]


G20 Finance Ministers And Central Bank Governors Meeting Concludes In Cairns

The meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors has broken up in Cairns and Treasurer Joe Hockey says progress has been made on the group’s aim to lift global economic growth by 2% of the next five years.

Hockey

Hockey said: “The IMF and OECD have looked at over 900 measures put forward by countries – of which 700 are new – and estimate our efforts could lift global GDP by 1.8 per cent through to 2018. Their analysis has been released. We are 90 per cent of the way there to meet our 2 per cent goal.”

  • Download the G20 Finance Ministers Communique (PDF)
  • Listen to Hockey’s statement and Q&A (24m)

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Closing Statement from Treasurer Joe Hockey to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

Treasurer’s closing statement, G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting

Today concludes the Cairns meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

This is our third meeting this year, and let me say it was marked by a strong spirit of cooperation, helped no doubt by the wonderful Cairns community and environment. [Read more...]


New Zealand PM John Key Wins Third Consecutive Election; National Triumphs, Labour Humiliated; “A Victory For Those Who Kept The Faith”

New Zealand’s National Party government has won its third consecutive election, increasing its vote and trouncing the Labour Party.

Key

Echoing Paul Keating’s true believers speech, Key said of his win: “This is a victory for those who kept the faith.”

As counting drew to a close tonight, National had won 48.1% of the vote, an increase of 0.8%. It appears certain to win 61 seats in the 120-member House of Representatives, an increase of two.

The Labour Party has polled 24.7% of the vote, a loss of 2.8%. It will hold 32 seats, a loss of two. Opposition Leader David Cunliffe has conceded defeat but indicated that he will stay on as leader of the party.

The Greens have polled 10.0%, a loss of 1.1%. They will hold 13 seats, a loss of one.

Key

Parties on the right have increased their vote. Winston Peters’s New Zealand First polled 8.9%, an increase of 2.3%, and will hold 11 seats, up three.

Under the New Zealand voting system, electors vote for individual local members in single-member electorates, but also cast a second party vote that is used to determine the final proportion of seats allocated to each party. There are 64 local electorates with other MPs referred to as List members.

Ten parties have polled less than 4%, thus failing to meet the threshold of eligibility for seats.

To secure his majority, Key will probably negotiate with the other centre-right parties, as he has done previously. However, by any measure, he has taken National to a stunning victory. Even if Labour, Greens and NZ First combined forces, they would still have fewer seats than National.

Labour’s Helen Clark won three consecutive elections in 1999, 2002 and 2005, but she did not increase the Labour vote in her third victory.

The Labour Party’s vote in today’s election is its lowest since 1925. The party faces an uncertain future.

  • Listen to Key’s victory speech (10m)

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  • Listen to Labour leader David Cunliffe (11m)

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  • Listen to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters (3m)

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Penny Wong: Light On The Hill Address

The ALP’s Senate Leader, Penny Wong, has delivered this year’s Light On The Hill Address in Bathurst.

WongWong, the ALP’s Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, told her audience that “Labor stands for fairness, growth and building the future”.

She said: “Labor’s record of opening Australia’s economy to the world has been one of the most important ways of achieving these goals – from Chifley’s support for Bretton Woods, to Whitlam’s across the board tariff cut, to Hawke and Keating’s dismantling of protectionism, to Rudd and Gillard’s pursuit of trade agreements and a place for Australia in the Asian Century. In today’s world, the forces of globalisation drive economic, technological and social change. Labor knows we won’t improve living standards by pulling down the shutters.”

However, Wong said: “Labor recognises that while globalisation brings tremendous benefits, it can also drive rapid, unpredictable and sometimes unsettling change. That is why we see a role for government in implementing policies which empower our citizens to participate in the globalised economy. Policies that will allow more Australians to prosper and benefit from economic change, rather than being discarded and left behind.” [Read more...]