The Queen’s Christmas Message

Queen Elizabeth II has delivered her annual Christmas Message to the Commonwealth.

Queen Elizabeth II

  • Listen to the Queen’s 2011 Christmas Message (7m)

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Deadlock Over Asylum Seekers Remains Following Talks

No agreement was reached on the asylum seeker deadlock, following talks today between Labor and Liberal representatives.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd met with the Opposition’s shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison and shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Both sides claimed the discussions were cordial and constructive. Further talks will take place in the coming weeks.

  • Scott Morrison comments before meeting with government ministers (3m)

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  • Chris Bowen comments following talks with Opposition members (2m)

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  • Scott Morrison comments following talks with government ministers (2m)

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  • Tony Abbott comments on asylum seeker policy in Melbourne (13m)

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Senator Nick Sherry Announces Retirement From Gillard Ministry

Senator Nick Sherry, the Small Business Minister, has confirmed his retirement from the Gillard ministry.

Senator Nick Sherry (ALP-Tas)

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra, Sherry said he was retiring from the ministry and would remain in the Senate, but he will not contest the next election.

Sherry said the decision was his alone and he did not discuss it with anyone inside the government before he told Prime Minister Gillard at the ALP National Conference a week ago.

Sherry said he is 56 years old, with three young children, and he had decided to pursue other interests.

  • Listen to Nick Sherry’s press conference:

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  • Listen to Tony Abbott’s doorstop media conference this morning:

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Reserve Bank Cuts Interest Rates Another 0.25% To 4.25%

The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut interest rates for the second month in a row.

The reduction of 25 basis points – 0.25% – takes the cash rate to 4.25%.

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, welcomed the cut, describing it as “welcome Christmas cheer”. He called on the banks to pass on the reduction in full.

  • Table of Australian interest rate fluctuations since 1990
  • Listen to Wayne Swan’s comments on the rate cut:

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Statement on Monetary Policy from Glenn Stevens, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 per cent, effective 7 December 2011.

Growth in the global economy has moderated this year after a strong performance in 2010. Some of the slowing reflected temporary factors, and as these passed, the pace of expansion in the United States and much of Asia began to pick up around mid year. China’s growth has been slowing, as policymakers there had intended. Trade in Asia is now, however, seeing some effects of a significant slowing in economic activity in Europe. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott Responds To Mid-Year Budget Update

Tony Abbott has described the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook as a “crisis mini-budget.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb, Abbott claimed there is now no buffer against international economic problems because of the incompetence of the government.

  • Listen to Abbott, Hockey and Robb (19m)

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  • Watch the press conference:

Transcript of joint press conference with Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb.

TONY ABBOTT: Today the Government has finally admitted what the Coalition has been saying for months. Namely, there is a crisis in Europe, there is a global economic slowdown and it will impact on Australia. I want to make the fundamental point that this is a government which is imperilling our ability to respond to this global problem. It is imperilling our ability to respond to this very serious set of international economic numbers.

This is a government which is making a bad situation worse with its new taxes and with its continuing waste. There is no good time to introduce bad taxes but this is the worst possible time to be introducing a carbon tax and a mining tax which are going to damage Australia’s international competitiveness. [Read more…]