Wayne Swan And Bruce Springsteen: Born To Run

It’s not every day the front page of the Financial Review features Wayne Swan and the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen songs.

Financial Review frontpage

Treasurer Swan will tonight deliver the annual John Button Oration.

In extracts of the speech published today, Swan pays tribute to the power of Bruce Springsteen’s music, especially his 1975 song, Born to Run.

Swan renews his attack on Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart, saying his only regret is “not going in hard enough”. Swan reiterates his argument “that a handful of powerful people not only think they have the right to a disproportionate share of the nation’s economic success, they think they have the right to manipulate our democracy and our national conversation to gain an even bigger slice of the pie.”

This is a video Swan released today in which he discusses John Button, Bruce Springsteen and politics:

Extract of Wayne Swan’s John Button Oration, as published in The Age.

My inspiration has always been music. Bruce Springsteen, “The Boss”, was and remains my musical hero. And not just mine. He’s the favourite musician of the Prime Minister and many other members of the government.

Like Springsteen, I and many caucus members came from working-class families. We are in many ways the Springsteen generation. And if our generation has an anthem, it is Born to Run.

It was released as a single in August 1975, and it’s the song we listened to during the Whitlam dismissal in November of that year and the bitter election campaign that followed. The song has never left me. I still crank it up loud on budget night and after our family dinner parties. It’s about trying to stay young when the carefree days of youth are coming to an end. It’s a song about realising that big and daunting responsibilities are just around the corner. But it’s also a song about a way of life that was just starting to disappear.

Springsteen never let the success of Born to Run go to his head or make him forget where he came from. He never stopped singing for the people he grew up with: the blue-collar workers of New Jersey and the midwest. [Read more...]


Mal Brough Wins Liberal Party Preselection For Fisher

Mal Brough has won Liberal National Party preselection for the Queensland seat of Fisher.

Mal Brough

Fisher is currently held by Peter Slipper. Slipper left the LNP last year after accepting the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Brough previously represented the electorate of Longman but was defeated in the 2007 election.

Brough defeated five other candidates for the preselection, including the LNP’s former state director, James McGrath. Whilst former Prime Minister John Howard supported Brough, McGrath was supported by Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull.


As NSW And Victoria Offer NDIS Money, A Political Win For Gillard

5.10pm – New South Wales has joined Victoria in offering to contribute to a trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has welcomed the breakthrough.

Julia Gillard

Earlier this afternoon, Premier Ted Baillieu announced that Victoria would contribute $42 million to the trial. Shortly afterwards, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell offered to provide $35 million for a trial, less than the federal government was asking.

Speaking at a 5pm press conference, Gillard said: “I am now very optimistic that we will see NDIS launch sites in NSW and Victoria. We still have work to do with NSW but I’m optimistic. I want to see a robust launch site in the Hunter.”

O’Farrell tweeted: “Testing goodwill – both NSW and Victoria have come halfway and we now hope the Commonwealth will equally show a determination to end the impasse.”

The Victorian and NSW decisions represent an important political win for Gillard that comes after two days of pressure on the coalition premiers.

Nevertheless, the outcome is a tactical victory for Gillard. Whilst ensuring a full-scale trial of the NDIS is now likely in 2013, no decision has been made about ongoing funding.

Newspaper reports today on this week’s COAG meeting said the coalition premiers were willing to support a Medicare-style levy to fund the NDIS. The reports said Gillard rejected this out of fear that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would mount another “great big new tax” campaign.

Unless Gillard can lock in a decision on funding, the final shape of the scheme will fall to the next government.

  • Listen to Gillard’s press conference (13m)

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Baillieu Offers Extra Funds For NDIS Trial In Victoria

3.45pm – The Victorian government has broken the impasse over funding for the NDIS with an offer of extra money for a trial in the Barwon/Geelong region.

Ted Baillieu

Premier Ted Baillieu today offered to commit $17 million for the trial and and a one-off $25 million for a “transition agency”. The federal government was asking for $40 million from Victoria.

Baillieu denied his announcement was a backflip, claiming his government had been consistent from the start and had never tried to score political points. Nevertheless, the decision will be seen as a victory for Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The Victorian decision comes after two days of heavy criticism of the coalition state governments. At the COAG meeting on Wednesday the Labor governments of South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT signed up to a trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Baillieu’s announcement was made at a 3.45pm press conference with Mary Wooldridge, his Minister for Community Services.

  • Listen to the Baillieu-Wooldridge press conference:

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Rudd: Global Challenges, Global Responses And Global Governance

Kevin Rudd has addressed the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs.

The former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister spoke on “Global Challenges, Global Responses and Global Governance”.

Transcript of Kevin Rudd’s Address to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

My good friend Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.

Distinguished members of the Canadian Government.

Distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Distinguished representatives of the Canadian Foreign Service.

Merci beaucoup tout le monde.

Merci pour cette aimable présentation.

Je veux vous remercier également de me recevoir ici aujourd’hui au Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Commerce international. [Read more...]


Former Speaker Harry Jenkins To Retire At Next Election

Harry Jenkins, the Labor member for Scullin and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, has announced that he will retire from parliament at the next election.

Harry Jenkins

Jenkins has represented Scullin since 1986 and is currently the longest-serving Labor member. He succeeded his father, Dr. Harry Jenkins, in the electorate which has been represented by the Jenkins family since 1969.

Following the election of the Rudd government, Jenkins served as Speaker of the House from February 2008 until November 24, 2011. His resignation allowed the government to install Peter Slipper as Speaker and increase its majority on the floor of the House.

Scullin is in Melbourne’s north-east suburbs. It covers the suburbs of Bundoora, Diamond Creek, Plenty, Thomastown, Lalor, Epping, Mill Park, South Morang, Watsonia North and Yarrambat.

At the 2010 election, Jenkins retained Scullin with a 1.40% swing towards the ALP, 62.12% of the primary vote and 70.85% of the two-party-preferred vote.

Jenkins is the third ALP member of the House to announce retirement, joining Sharon Grierson, the member for Newcastle, and Steve Gibbons, the member for Bendigo.

Newspaper reports suggest that Slater and Gordon lawyer Andrew Giles will be endorsed by the Victorian Left faction as the new candidate for Scullin.

Jenkins gave this interview to Leigh Sales on the ABC’s 7.30.


Coalition Premiers Opt Out Of NDIS Trial; COAG Fractures

The political pressure on Prime Minister Julia Gillard stepped up a notch today as the four coalition premiers refused to sign up to a trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Julia Gillard

A meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) fractured with the announcement of three trial sites in the Labor-held jurisdictions of South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

The Coalition premiers from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia all refused accept the federal government’s terms for participation in the trial.

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell argued that the Commonwealth should fund the whole scheme, whilst Gillard said that $70 million from NSW and $30 million from Victoria would have ensured trial sites in those states.

The political decision of the non-Labor premiers highlights the sense of impermanence that now pervades decisions of the Gillard government.

Criticism of the state coalition governments began immediately after the announcement. Following the parliamentary impasse over asylum seekers, this decision is likely to increase public cynicism and disillusionment about the political process and the hung parliament.

  • Listen to the COAG leaders’ press conference (46m)

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[Read more...]