Gough Whitlam At 98; John Faulkner On A Life Of Endurance, Longevity, Resilience And Extraordinary Contribution

Gough Whitlam celebrates his 98th birthday today.

Whitlam

Whitlam served as Labor Prime Minister from December 5, 1972 until his dismissal by the Governor-General on November 11, 1975. He was the nation’s 21st Prime Minister and is the longest-lived of all of them.

The ALP’s honorary historian and keeper of the party’s institutional memory, Senator John Faulkner, did not forget Whitlam’s birthday when he rose to speak in the Adjournment Debate last night. The speech followed a day of excitement in the Senate, although for those of us who remember the Whitlam years, yesterday’s drama seems pale by comparison.

Whitlam may be remembered now for the manner of his removal from office, but Faulkner makes clear that he is not defined by it. Faulkner said: “Tomorrow, 11 July, marks Gough’s 98th birthday, a time to celebrate his longevity, his resilience and his extraordinary contribution to this nation.”

  • Listen to Faulkner’s speech (9m – transcript below)

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  • Watch Faulkner (9m)

Hansard transcript of Senator John Faulkner’s speech in the Adjournment Debate.

Senator FAULKNER (New South Wales) (18:36): A fortnight ago, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Rupert Murdoch had once directed his editors to ‘kill Whitlam’. Notwithstanding that, I am delighted to report that Edward Gough Whitlam is very much alive. Tomorrow, 11 July, marks Gough’s 98th birthday, a time to celebrate his longevity, his resilience and his extraordinary contribution to this nation. [Read more...]


Carbon Tax Repeal Bill Defeated In Senate As Palmer Squabbles With Government Over Amendments

The Senate has rejected an Abbott government bill to repeal the carbon tax.

Parry

A combination of ALP, Greens and Palmer United Party senators, supported by Motoring Enthusiast Senator Ricky Muir, voted 37-35 to defeat the bill that would have abolished the carbon tax.

The bill failed due to a breakdown in negotiations between the government and the Palmer United Party. Palmer wanted the legislation to mandate that power savings be passed on to consumers. In the end, the amendment moved by Palmer was judged to be a tax that the Senate had no power to introduce. [Read more...]


Abbott Signs Free Trade Agreement With Japanese Prime Minister Abe

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has signed a free trade agreement with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

Signing

The agreement is called The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). It ensures that more than 97% of Australia’s exports to Japan will receive preferential access or enter duty-free.

The signing followed this morning’s speech by Abe to a joint sitting of the Parliament. [Read more...]


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Addresses Australian Parliament

The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has addressed the Australian Parliament in Canberra today.

Abe

Abe and Prime Minister Tony Abbott both spoke to a joint sitting of the two houses in the House of Representatives. Abe’s delivered his speech in English, which is being interpreted as a high compliment from the Japanese.

Abbott told the House: “Since 1957, Australian coal, iron ore and gas has powered Japan’s prosperity; and Japanese cars, consumer goods and electronics have transformed Australians’ lives. Australians are grateful for the Japanese trade and Japanese investment that has helped to build our modern prosperity. Above all, we appreciate the mutual respect and trust that has underpinned the commercial relationship. [Read more...]


Tasmanian Liberal Senator Stephen Parry Elected President Of The Senate

Senator Stephen Parry has been elected President of the Senate.

Parry, a Liberal senator from Tasmania, replaces ALP Senator John Hogg, who held the post since 2008 and retired on June 30.

A former policeman, funeral director and embalmer, Parry was first elected to the Senate at the 2004 federal election.

Parry defeated Greens Senator Scott Ludlam by 63 votes to 10 in a ballot this morning. There were 2 informal votes and Senator Catryna Bilyk was marked as absent.

The Manager of Government Business, Senator Mitch Fifield, said: “President Parry becomes the 24th president of the Senate since Federation, the fourth from Tasmania and, at 53, one of the youngest presidents in the history of the Senate. Senator Parry, as the most senior officer in the Australian Senate, becomes, with the Speaker, the third-highest-ranked office-holder in the Commonwealth behind the Governor-General and Prime Minister.”

Parry’s election followed the swearing-in of new senators chosen in last year’s federal election.

  • Watch Parry’s election (36m)

Senators Sworn In; New Balance Of Power As 2013 Federal Election Finally Complete

Senators elected at last year’s federal election were sworn in this morning. The full effect of the 2013 Federal Election can now be seen in the balance of power in the upper house.

Thirty-six senators were chosen at the election on September 7, six from each State. They were sworn in during a 20-minute ceremony presided over by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

  • Watch the swearing-in ceremony (20m)

One senator, Deborah O’Neill (ALP-NSW) was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Bob Carr. O’Neill had already filled the final months of Carr’s previous term, following her defeat as the member for Robertson in the House of Representatives. [Read more...]


McClure Social Welfare Reform Report Calls For Simplified Payments System

The Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, has released a review of the social welfare system which calls for simplified system of four basic payment types.

The report, by Patrick McClure, calls for: a tiered Working Age Payment; a Disability Support Pension; an Age Pension; and a Child Payment.

Statement from the Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews.

Interim Report Proposes a Simplified Welfare System

Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews says an interim review of Australia’s welfare system has put forward a simplified payments structure with four basic payment types, among other potential reforms. [Read more...]