Islamic State Beheadings Plot Alleged Following Terrorist Raid Arrests In Sydney And Brisbane

Federal Police raids this morning have resulted in a 22-year old man, Omarjan Azari, appearing in a Sydney court charged with planning a terrorist act designed to “shock, horrify and terrify”.

Azari is accused of conspiring with Mohammad Baryalei, the man described as a “top terrorist recruiter” in Australia. The arrest is one of about 15 resulting from raids across western Sydney and Brisbane. The raids, involving 800 police and described as the largest in Australian history, took place as a result of information gleaned from an intercepted telephone conversation in recent days.

Media reports say the arrests related to a plot to capture and behead a random member of the public. Reports say the plan involved filming the beheading as a propaganda tool for the Islamic State movement (also known as ISIL or IS) in Iraq. The basis and veracity of these claims is uncertain. The Australian Federal Police have been guarded in their comments on the raids. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “This is not just suspicion, this is intent.”

Political leaders were quick to respond to the raids during the day.

Newman

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman held a press conference with Police Commissioner Ian Stewart. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten commented on the raids, as did the ALP’s Immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. [Read more…]


ALP Supports Military Commitment To Iraq, Greens Opposed

The Labor Opposition has given its support to the government’s commitment of RAAF aircraft and military personnel to the fight against ISIL in Iraq, whilst the Greens have opposed it.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described ISIL as a “barbaric organisation” and said: “Labor supports today’s announcement of the deployment of an Australian military force – including RAAF assets and personnel – to the United Arab Emirates.”

Shorten said the ALP didn’t do so lightly: “But we support the Government’s decision that Australia has a role to play in eradicating this evil and we are reassured that our support is being provided at the request of, and in full coordination with, the Iraqi Government.”

Milne

In Hobart, Greens leader Senator Christine Milne criticised the commitment, describing it as open-ended and lacking a plan for engagement.

Milne said there was no indication of the duration of the mission or the criteria for its success: “How long? How many people? What measure of success? Nobody knows.” [Read more…]


Mining Tax Abolished As Government Deals With Palmer

2.20pm – The federal government has struck a deal with Clive Palmer and the Senate has voted 36-33 to abolish the mining tax.

The agreement will see the Income Support Bonus continue until the end of 2016. The Schoolkids Bonus will also continue until the end of 2016 but will be means-tested and eligibility will cut out for family incomes above $100,000. The Low Income Super Contribution will continue in its existing form until June 30, 2017. The agreement will also see a slower increase in compulsory superannuation, with an increase to 10% from July 2021 and then by increments until it reaches 12% in 2025.

It is believed the agreement was struck late this morning and signed off by Prime Minister Tony Abbott around midday. When the Senate met at 12.30, the government moved to bring on an immediate vote on the legislation.

The Opposition attempted to have the legislation referred to a Senate Committee but this was defeated. The ALP concentrated on the superannuation changes in their arguments against the final passage of the repeal legislation.

The amended bills were passed 36-33 by the Senate at 2.20pm, with the support of the PUP senators Lazarus, Lambie and Wang, and Senators Muir, Leyonhjelm and Day. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon voted against, whilst DLP Senator John Madigan did not vote.

The bills were returned to the House of Representatives which also passed the amendments at 6.27pm.

Watch the full Senate debate. It began just after 12.30pm and ended at 2.20pm.

Announcing to the House of Representatives that the Senate had voted to repeal the mining tax, Treasurer Joe Hockey said it was “testament to a failed government”. He said it showed how “irrelevant” the modern Labor Party is. “They were dealt out – the modern Labor Party is irrelevant,” Hockey said.

The agreement says the 3 PUP senators will support the legislation, as will the Motoring Enthusiast Senator Ricky Muir. Two other senators will be required to secure passage and this is likely to come from Senators Bob Day, David Leyonhjelm and John Madigan. [Read more…]


Sen. Janet Rice (Greens-Vic) – Maiden Speech

Janet Rice, the Australian Greens senator from Victoria, has delivered her first speech to the Senate.

Rice

Senator Rice was elected at last year’s election. Her term began on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2020.

Rice is the tenth member of the Greens Senate team. She won her seat at the expense of the ALP in Victoria.

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Hansard transcript of Senator Janet Rice’s maiden speech.

The PRESIDENT (16:59): Order! Before I call Senator Rice to give her first speech, I remind honourable senators of the custom of allowing the speech to be given without interruption. [Read more…]


Greens React To Repeal Of Carbon Tax

Following today’s repeal of the carbon tax, the Greens have reacted angrily to the decision.

This page provides a selection of audio and video items featuring the Greens leader, Senator Christine Milne, and her deputy, Adam Bandt. [Read more…]


Labor Reacts To Repeal Of Carbon Tax With Commitment To Emissions Trading Scheme

Following today’s repeal of the carbon tax, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has committed the ALP to support an emissions trading scheme.

Shorten

Shorten told a press conference that Australia is taking a step backwards while the rest of the world is moving forward. He said “Labor believes climate change is real and we must take action”. [Read more…]


As Defeat Looms, Christine Milne Speaks Against Repeal Of Carbon Tax

With the repeal of the Gillard government’s carbon tax and emissions trading scheme looming over the next couple of days, the Greens leader, Senator Christine Milne, has described the move as “intergenerational theft”.

Milne

In a speech to the Senate tonight, Milne said parties were taking place around the parliament but the Liberals had misread the temperature: “Enjoy your celebrations: this is the last stand of the vanquished.” [Read more…]


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…]


Greg Hunt Says Carbon Tax Set To Be Abolished But Government Will Negotiate With Palmer

The Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, says the carbon tax is now set to be abolished but the government is willing to negotiate with Clive Palmer over savings guarantees for consumers.

Hunt

Hunt held a press conference at 6.45pm tonight, an hour after Clive Palmer announced that the Palmer United Party (PUP) would support the immediate abolition of the carbon tax.

However, in response to Palmer’s call for a zero-rated emissions trading scheme, Hunt reiterated the coalition’s position. He said: “An ETS is not our policy but we haven’t seen the amendments yet. It has not been and is not our policy.” [Read more…]


Julie Bishop Treads Carefully In Reaction To Jailing Of Australian Journalist Peter Greste

The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, says the Australian government is shocked by the 7-year jail sentence imposed on the Australian journalist, Peter Greste, in Egypt today.

Bishop

Greste is one of three of Qatar-based Al Jazeera journalists who have been held in prison in Egypt for over six months. They were charged with endangering national security, aiding terrorists, doctoring footage, operating without a licence, and “spreading false news”. They were specifically charged with aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, a blacklisted organisation.

Greste and a colleague were each sentenced to 7 years. A third colleague was sentence to 10 years.

Bishop said the Australian government has been pressuring the Egyptian government for months on the Greste case. She said she wanted to explore options with the Egyptian government and to work with neighbouring countries that may be able to exert influence. [Read more…]