Government And Opposition Reflect On Five Years Of Rudd/Gillard

Asylum seeker policy and a two decades old scandal at the Australian Workers’ Union dominate political debate on the fifth anniversary of the election of the Rudd government.

At a media conference today, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, talked up the government’s achievements. The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and his immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, concentrated on asylum seekers and described the government as incompetent and untrustworthy.

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  • Listen to Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison (19m)

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Wilson Tuckey TV Advertisement

Wilson Tuckey, the Liberal member for O’Connor in Western Australia, has produced a television advertisement for the 2010 election.

Tuckey, 75, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1980.


Clare O’Neil: Howard’s Terrifying Lack Of Reflection

by Clare O’Neil

In March, John Howard visited Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where I am a Master of Public Policy student.

Howard began his visit with a formal address on Australia/China relations. About 250 Harvard students and staff assembled in the school’s famous John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum to listen.

O'NeilHoward reflected on his term as a period of deepening integration between Australia and China, evidenced by growing trade between the two countries. He framed the relationship in pragmatic terms, which drew a contrast to the familial bonds he described between Australia and the US. [Read more…]


“Partially Treated Sewage Sandwich” From Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Liberal PartyThe Federal Opposition’s Julie Bishop has given an extraordinary press conference in which she attempted to justify the coalition’s decision not to to oppose the government’s legislation abolishing WorkChoices.

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As the Sydney Morning Herald’s Annabel Crabb put it on February 20:

The Opposition’s Julie Bishop was on something quite different yesterday. Some sort of calmative, perhaps.

Ms Bishop has been vocal for months on the need to fight to the death for Australian Workplace Agreements.

And yesterday, for 30 minutes in the Senate courtyard, before a vast throng of fascinated reporters, with a fixed smile on her face, she consumed what for the benefit of family readers we will call a partially treated sewage sandwich. She was cool, charming and professional. She at no point lost her cool. And for much of the time, she made no sense whatsoever.

This is unsurprising, given that Ms Bishop was trying to explain how agreeing to abolish the agreements was pretty much the same as insisting on keeping them, if you thought about it.


Rudd Government Faces First Question Time

The Rudd Government has faced its first Question Time in the new Parliament.

The Opposition Leader’s first question was about petrol and food prices. It required a Dorothy Dixer from the government’s backbench for the stolen generations apology to be raised.

Julia Gillard delivered the most assured and polished performance, emphasising the government’s mandate on industrial relations when asked about the legislation introduced today to dismantle the Howard government’s WorkChoices. [Read more…]


Kevin Rudd’s Speech On The Apology To The Stolen Generations

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has moved the motion of apology to the Stolen Generations, at a sitting of the House of Representatives at 9am today.

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This is the text of Kevin Rudd’s Address on the motion of apology to the Stolen Generations.

I move that today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment. We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations—this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country. [Read more…]


Liberal Party Director Analyses Election Defeat

Brian Loughnane, Federal Director, Liberal PartyThe Liberal Party’s Federal Director, Brian Loughnane, has addressed the National Press Club on the coalition’s election defeat.

Loughnane said it was clear the coalition’s defeat was attributable to longer term strategic issues than short term tactical issues of recent months.

He said: “The swing away from the Government was particularly strong in some outer suburban seats in Sydney and key regional seats, and I believe these concerns with the cost of living and interest rates was an important factor.”

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Text of Brian Loughnane’s Address to the National Press Club.

Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I thank the National Press Club for the opportunity of today’s address as it allows me to discuss our defeat and some of the key issues for the Party over the next three years.

I just wish it were different circumstances which brought me here. But on 24th November, the people of Australia voted clearly to change Government. [Read more…]


3-2-1 Split In Tasmanian Senate Poll

The AEC has declared the Senate result in Tasmania. The ALP has won 3 places, the Liberals 2 and the Greens 1.

AEC State Manager for Tasmania, Marie Neilson, said that the Senate count had involved the keying of votes into a computerised system, and today an automated process was used to distribute preferences and determine the six elected candidates. “As with all aspects of the count, the final process undertaken today was able to be observed by scrutineers representing candidates.”

The successful candidates for the 6 Tasmanian Senate vacancies, in order of their election are:

  1. Nick Sherry (ALP)
  2. Richard Colbeck (Lib)
  3. Bob Brown (Greens)
  4. Carol Brown (ALP)
  5. David Bushby (Lib)
  6. Catryna Bilyk (ALP)

Bennelong Declaration Ends Howard’s Political Career

The Australian Electoral Commission today declared the result in the electorate of Bennelong, formalising Maxine McKew’s victory over the former Prime Minister, John Howard.

Howard and McKew at the Bennelong declaration

Howard attended the declaration, congratulated McKew and spoke of the beauty of a democracy in which a peaceful transition of power can take place. [Read more…]


ALP Lead In McEwen Now Only 6 Votes

The ALP’s candidate in McEwen, Rob Mitchell, has had his winning margin cut to 6 votes as he waits on the Australian Electoral Commission’s response to the Liberal Party’s request for a recount.

Media reports today say the lead has been cut to 5 but the AEC’s website shows 6.

The Queensland seat of Dickson has now been declared by the AEC, with victory going to the former Howard minister, Peter Dutton, by 221 votes. Damian Hale has been officially declared the winner of the Northern Territory seat of Solomon for the ALP by 196 votes.

Three other Queensland seats remain in doubt. In Flynn, the ALP’s lead has been cut by 247 votes to 212. In Bowman, the Liberal candidate’s lead has slipped 21 votes to 81. In Herbert, the incumbent Liberal, Peter Lindsay, has increased his lead by 29 votes to 352.

In the Western Australian seat of Swan, the ALP’s Kim Wilkie looks set to become the only incumbent Labor member to lose his seat. In NSW, former Howard minister Jim Lloyd seems certain to lose Robertson to the ALP’s Belinda Neal.

  • Herbert – (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 352.
  • Bowman (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 81.
  • Swan (WA – Labor) – Lib ahead by 280.
  • Robertson – (NSW – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 185.
  • McEwen – (Vic – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 6.
  • Flynn (Qld – open) – ALP ahead by 212.

Trivia note: today is the 30th anniversary of Malcolm Fraser’s victory in the 1977 Federal election. Today is also the 58th anniversary of Menzies’ 1949 victory, as well as the 52nd anniversary of his fourth consecutive victory in 1955.