Summoning Parliament: Turnbull’s Timing And The Historical Experience

Is Malcolm Turnbull taking longer than previous prime ministers to bring the Parliament back after the election?

Several times during the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard commentators and journalists suggest that Turnbull is dragging the chain on getting the parliament back in session. They seem to suggest that nothing is happening unless the parliament is sitting. It’s a seductive notion for those who deal in the theatre of parliament and the drama of set-piece occasions such as Question Time.

Of course, it’s a nonsensical argument. At any point in time, the parliament is likely not to be sitting. On average, it sits for around 70-80 days a year, in about 20 weeks of the year. For the rest of the time, the business of government is carried on by the executive and the public service.

Nevertheless, it set me wondering about the times parliament sits following an election. The table below shows the dates for the past 115 years, covering all 45 elections since 1901. [Read more…]


My Story: Julia Gillard’s Book Launched By Quentin Bryce

Australia’s first female Governor-General today launched the memoirs of the nation’s first female prime minister.

Gillard

Julia Gillard was prime minister for 3 years and 3 days from June 23, 2010. Her 504-page book of memoirs, My Story, was published this week.

In her speech, Quentin Bryce, appointed Governor-General by Gillard’s predecessor Kevin Rudd in 2008, emphasised the example Gillard set for girls and women. [Read more…]


Julia Gillard’s Interview With Ray Martin

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has given an interview to Ray Martin.

Gillard

The 35-minute interview was shown on Channel 9 tonight. [Read more…]


Julia Gillard Testifies At Trade Union Royal Commission

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has testified at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Gillard

Gillard was questioned by Jeremy Stoljar SC, Counsel assisting the Royal Commission. She then took questions from Bob Galbally, the barrister acting for Ralph Blewitt. [Read more…]


The Good Fight: Wayne Swan Launches Memoirs Of The Rudd-Gillard Years

The Good Fight, the memoirs of Wayne Swan, Treasurer in the Rudd and Gillard governments, has been launched in Canberra.

Swan

The ALP’s deputy leader and Gillard supporter, Tanya Plibersek, spoke at the launch.

In his speech, Swan concentrated on the work he undertook during the global financial crisis in 2008-09. He said it was now possible to contemplate the Abbott administration as a one-term government. [Read more…]


Greg Combet Says Julia Gillard Offered To Stand Aside For Him

Greg Combet, a senior minister in the previous Labor government, says then Prime Minister Julia Gillard offered to stand aside to allow him to assume the leadership.

Combet appeared in an interview broadcast on the ABC’s 7.30 program tonight. Combet’s memoirs, The Fights of My Life, will be released next week and launched by Gillard.

Combet says that he approached Gillard in mid-June last year and was of the view that a ballot for the leadership should be held. He said Gillard offered to stand aside if he put his name forward. He says he declined because he thought the momentum for Rudd’s return was well-developed and that it would be a difficult political manoeuvre to “pull off”. Facing a personal health problem, Combet said he decided not to nominate. [Read more…]


ALP Releases 2013 Election Campaign Review

The ALP has released a review of the party’s losing 2013 federal election campaign.

The 25-page review was conducted by Brisbane City Councillor Milton Dick and Victorian Labor MP Jane Garrett.

The report confirms that the ALP’s internal research in May 2013 “indicated possible swings against us of 18 per cent in many seats which would have seen us hold just 40 seats, not the 55 we retained”. Following the return of Rudd, the party’s two-party-preferred vote “crept from the mid-40s to the high 40s, breaking even at the start of July, although sustaining this vote proved hard”.

The reports says that the change of leadership from Julia Gillard to Kevin Rudd profoundly impacted the campaign strategy and infrastructure. “We know the single biggest reason voters turned away from Labor was internal Party disunity,” they say. Half of the campaign team in Campaign Headquarters left after Gillard was deposed and some sitting members chose not to run. “The infrastructure of the campaign had to be rebuilt in a matter of weeks.”

The review recommends early selection of candidates in marginal seats and the training and establishment of field operations. It calls for a new candidate selection panel to work with local communities to assist with identifying new candidates. [Read more…]