Ministerial Statement On Iraq: Abbott And Shorten Unite In House

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has made a Ministerial Statement on Iraq in the House of Representatives.

Describing the ISIL movement as a “death cult”, Abbott said “Australian aircraft have participated in humanitarian airdrops to people trapped on Mount Sinjar and, just yesterday, to the besieged inhabitants of the town of Amerli”.

He said in coming days Australian aircraft will take part in an airlift of supplies to the Kurdish government in Erbil.

Abbott said: “So far, we have met requests for humanitarian relief and for logistical support. So far, there has been no request for military action itself.”

The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, responded to Abbott’s statement, and offered the Opposition’s support to the government’s position.

  • Listen to Abbott (7m)

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  • Watch Abbott (7m – transcript below)
  • Listen to Shorten (8m)

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  • Watch Shorten (9m)

Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Ministerial Statement on Iraq.

Many Australians are understandably apprehensive about the risk of becoming involved in another long and costly conflict in the Middle East. [Read more...]


Federal Government Expands Sanctions Against Russia Over Ukraine Violations

The Abbott government has expanded sanctions against Russia over its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The new sanctions include restrictions on arms exports and goods and services used in oil exploration or production. They include restrictions on the access of Russian state-owned banks to Australian capital markets and on Australian investment in Crimea.

Statement released by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Expanded Sanctions Against Russia

The Government is deeply concerned by escalating events in Ukraine.

Russia has been engaged in a campaign to destabilise Ukraine for months. As a consequence, 38 people who called Australia home were brutally murdered, along with many others, when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down from territory controlled by Russian-backed rebels with a Russian-supplied missile. [Read more...]


Royal Commission Says Home Insulation Program Was Poorly Planned And Poorly Implemented

The report of the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (HIP) says the scheme was poorly planned and poorly implemented.

The report by Ian Hanger, released today, says the causes of the problems were “multifactorial” and “it is not possible to isolate one error or failure”.

HIP

The report concludes that there were “seven significant failings in the design and implementation of HIP”. These included:

  • Conflict or tension between the two aims of the program to insulate 2.2 million homes and to stimulate the economy.
  • The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts was ill-equipped to deal with the size and complexity of the HIP.
  • A failure by the Australian Government, until very late in the HIP, to identify and manage the risk to installers of injury and death.
  • Permitting a produce to be used under the HIP that was manifestly unsuitable and dangerous.
  • A decision to relax training and competency requirements for insulation training.
  • A robust audit and compliance regime was not operational until after the first fatality.
  • The Australian Government’s reliance on the States, Territories and employers to regulate, monitor, police and enforce occupational health and safety arrangements.

The report says the Home Insulation Program not only had an effect on the families of the young men killed: “It also wreaked havoc on pre-existing insulation installation businesses, particularly when the HIP was suspended on 19 February 2010, essentially without warning.” [Read more...]


Abbott Announces Assistance For Military Airlift To Kurds; No Request Yet For Further Action

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that Australia will join an airlift of military equipment to the Kurds in northern Iraq.

PM Tony Abbott and CDF Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin at their joint press conference today

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Chief of Defence, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, Abbott said the government had agreed to a request from the Obama Administration. The US, UK, Canada, France and Italy will also be involved in the airlift.

Abbott said “no specific request” has been received from the Obama Administration for “stepped up military activity”. He said that “just because we would prefer to stand aside from these conflicts doesn’t mean that these conflicts will stand aside from us”. Any request would be considered according to a range of criteria, including whether there is an achievable overall objective and a clear role for Australian forces.

  • Watch Channel 7 News report (2m)

Transcript of joint press conference with the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.

Abbott

PRIME MINISTER: Well thanks everyone for coming. As you know over recent weeks and months we’ve seen a series of developments in Iraq and elsewhere but particularly in Iraq which constitute not only a humanitarian catastrophe but a security nightmare for the people of the region and for the wider world. We’ve seen beheadings, crucifixions, mass executions, we’ve seen minority groups, subject in President Obama’s words to potential genocide. The situation remains severe and it will remain severe as long as the ISIL movement retains control over large swathes of northern and western Iraq and parts of eastern Syria. [Read more...]


Rebuilding Australia: Warren Truss Addresses Nationals Federal Council

The Leader of The Nationals, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, has addressed the party’s Federal Council meeting in Canberra today.

Abbott-Truss

Truss said The Nationals had made the “strongest contribution to the election of a Coalition Government in some three decades”, with a party room that now numbered 21.

He told the Council: “We did not create the economic mess that besets our country, but we were elected to fix it. And, under Tony Abbott’s leadership, the Coalition has set about the task with determination and commitment.”

Truss said the government had “effectively stopped the boats” and ended the “ridiculous carbon tax”. He outlined a series of roads and other funding measures the government has undertaken in rural and regional areas.

Truss was introduced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who said the government was “getting the fundamentals right”. Abbott said Truss was at “the heart of this government”. He described the Rudd-Gillard government as years “for the locusts to eat”.

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  • Listen to Truss’s speech (31m – transcript below)

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  • Listen to Truss’s media conference (14m)

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Transcript of Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss’s Address to The Nationals Federal Council meeting in Canberra.

To my friend and the Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott welcome.

Doug Anthony, Peter Nixon, Nationals President Christine Ferguson, Ministers, parliamentary colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Well, it is now almost exactly 15 months since our last Federal Conference – and what an extraordinary year – and a quarter – it has been. [Read more...]