Paul Keating Turns 70

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating turns 70 today.

Keating was 25 when he entered the House of Representatives as the Labor member for Blaxland in October 1969. He was 47 when he became Australia’s 24th prime minister in December 1991. He remained PM until March 1996 when he was defeated by John Howard’s coalition.

Keating

Keating’s first ministerial appointment came in the dying days of the Whitlam government. Following the sacking of Minerals and Energy minister Rex Connor, Keating became Minister for Northern Australia on October 21, 1975, serving for three weeks until the government was dismissed by the Governor-General on November 11. He is the youngest of the eleven surviving ministers of the Whitlam governments. [Read more...]


2013 And The Years Of Three Prime Ministers

This morning on ABC News Breakfast, a former newspaper editor told viewers that in 2013 Australia had three prime ministers “for only the second time in history”.

In the interests of accuracy, and because this is not the first time I’ve heard someone get it wrong this year, here are the figures.

The Years of Three Prime Ministers

There have been 5 years in the history of the Australian federation when three prime ministers were separately sworn into the position. They are: 1904, 1939, 1941, 1945 and 2013.

The Years of Three Prime Ministers
Year First PM Second PM Third PM
1904
Alfred Deakin
Protectionist
defeated in House
John “Chris” Watson
ALP
defeated in House
George Reid
Free Trade
1939
Joseph Lyons
United Australia Party
died
Earle Page
Country Party
relinquished to new leader
Robert Menzies
United Australia Party
1941
Robert Menzies
United Australia Party
resigned leadership
Arthur Fadden
Country Party
defeated in House
John Curtin
ALP
1945
John Curtin
ALP
died
Frank Forde
ALP
relinquished to new leader
Ben Chifley
ALP
2013
Julia Gillard
ALP
deposed by party
Kevin Rudd
ALP
defeated at general election
Tony Abbott
Liberal Party

 

1904 – The System Works

The prime ministerial changes of 1904 are notable because it was the first time government changed hands as a result of legislative difficulties in the House of Representatives. Parliamentary manoeuvres were central to each change of government, as was the role of the Governor-General in refusing requests for a dissolution of the House. [Read more...]


That’s It, You’re Out: Disorderly Conduct In The House Of Representatives

The 43rd Parliament was the most disorderly in the history of the Australian Parliament, according to statistics compiled by the Parliamentary Library.

A research paper written by Rob Lundie and published today by the Parliamentary Library shows that 27.4% of the 1,093 members of the House of Representatives between 1901 and the end of the 43rd Parliament in August were named and/or suspended or ‘sin binned’ for disorderly conduct.

There were 1,352 instances of disorderly behaviour identified in the official Hansard record of parliamentary proceedings. The paper uses four criteria for measuring disorderly behaviour:

  1. number of disciplinary actions
  2. number of sitting weeks in which a member was disciplined
  3. number of days when four or more members were disciplined
  4. number of different members disciplined

On this basis, the two parliaments of the Rudd and Gillard governments (42nd & 43rd) were more disorderly than the four parliaments of the Howard governments (38th, 39th, 40th & 41st). But these six parliaments since 1996 have been the most disorderly since 1901. [Read more...]


At America’s Cup 30th Anniversary, Bob Hawke Tells A Joke

Today is the 30th anniversary of Australia’s victory over the United States in the America’s Cup yacht race.

Bob Hawke had been prime minister for six months when Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand, defeated Liberty, skippered by Dennis Conner. Australia II was designed by Ben Lexcen with a revolutionary and controversial ‘winged keel’. Representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club, Australia II was funded by businessman Alan Bond.

Australia II’s victory was the first time in 132 years that the Americans had been defeated.

Even though few Australians knew much about the race, it captured the public imagination at the time. On the day of victory, Bob Hawke appeared on morning television wearing a specially made jacket. His appearance is remembered for his declaration: “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.”

  • Watch Hawke’s 1983 America’s Cup appearance:

At an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary today, Bob Hawke appeared with Bertrand and Bond and told a joke that he said captures the “irreverence” of Australians:

  • Watch Bob Hawke’s 2013 joke:

Julia Gillard To Write Memoirs For Random House

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard is to write her memoirs for Random House publishers.

The book will appear will be published in October next year.

Random House has posted this interview with Gillard, as part of their publicity for the book.

  • Watch Gillard interviewed by Gabrielle Coyne (3m)

John Young: Gillard Politicises Abortion

This article is reposted with permission from the True Believers page on Facebook.

It is written by John Young, a Sydney barrister. In the 1970s and 1980s, he worked for Lionel Bowen, deputy leader of the Labor Party. Bowen was a minister in the Whitlam government and Deputy Prime Minister in the Hawke government until 1990.

Abortion

I am John Young, one of the founders of the True Believers page on Facebook.

In 1979, I was working as Private Secretary to Lionel Bowen, then Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, when a National Party MP, Stephen Lusher, moved a motion in the House of Representatives to restrict the payment of medical benefits for terminations of pregnancy.

In 1979, the House of Representatives was comprised entirely of men. The Coalition was in government and many Australians, particularly women, feared that the Lusher motion would be carried. [Read more...]


Woof Woof!

I can’t resist it. Whenever I hear someone say “woof woof”, I always think of a famous exchange between Gough Whitlam and Billy Snedden in 1975.

Today’s email from Crikey alerted me to this tweet from Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Saturday:

Gillard

At least Gillard was only expressing her delight at the 9-point victory by the Western Bulldogs over Port Adelaide.

In the House of Representatives on February 19, 1975, however, the same words were uttered by the Liberal Opposition Leader, Billy Snedden. They came during a discussion of one of the most contentious constitutional issues of the Whitlam years. Snedden was ridiculed by Whitlam and the incident contributed to Liberal unease over Snedden’s leadership. He was replaced by Malcolm Fraser a couple of weeks later. [Read more...]