Indonesia Demands Spying Explanation, Suspends Co-operation; Abbott To Respond; Shorten Invokes ‘Team Australia’

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has suspended intelligence exchanges and military co-operation with Australia and demanded Tony Abbott explain the tapping of his and his wife’s mobile phones.

SBY

The suspension of military co-operation includes the sharing of information for anti-people smuggling operations as well as joint military exercises of any kind.

“Facing the common problem of people smuggling, Indonesia and Australia have coordinated operations, coordinated patrolling in the sea area – I have asked for this to be suspended until everything is clear,” President Yudhoyono said. [Read more…]


Abbott Statement On Indonesian Intelligence Operations; Regrets But Does Not Apologise

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made a statement to the House of Representatives on Indonesia and intelligence operations.

Abbott

Abbott’s remarks follow yesterday’s revelations of Australian phone-tapping of Indonesian officials, including President Yudhoyono and his wife. The Indonesian Ambassador to Australia was withdrawn late yesterday.

“I sincerely regret any embarrassment that recent media reports have caused [President Yudhoyono],” Abbott told the House. “It is in everyones’s interests – Indonesia’s no less than Australia’s – that cool heads prevail and that our relationship grows closer, not more distant.” [Read more…]


Full Text Of A.E.C. Election Petition Regarding W.A. Senate Election

This is the full text of the election petition lodged by the Australian Electoral Commission with the Court of Disputed Returns.

The petition chronicles the conduct of the Western Australian Senate election count and the subsequent recount. It provides details of the 1,370 lost votes that could not be included in the recount.

The petition argues that “the result of the election was likely to be affected” by the missing ballot papers. It says: “In all the circumstances – including the number of missing ballot papers, the narrowness of the margin at the 50th exclusion point and the differences which, in the usual case, emerge between the fresh scrutiny and a re-count…it is not possible to conclude either with certainty, or on the balance of probabilities, either that that the fifth and sixth respondents (Dropulich and Ludlam) have been correctly returned, or an alternative return of the seventh and eighth respondents (Wang and Pratt) accurately, or more accurately, reflects the true intentions of the voters.”

The petition says “it is just that the Election should be declared void” for the purposes of Section 362(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act.

Text of election petition lodged by the Australian Electoral Commission with the Court of Disputed Returns.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA
CANBERRA REGISTRY NO C 17 OF 2013 [Read more…]


Electoral Commission Asks Court Of Disputed Returns To Void W.A. Senate Result

The Australian Electoral Commission has lodged a petition with the Court of Disputed Returns asking it to declare void the result of the Western Australian Senate count.

The petition’s argument rests on the 1,370 missing ballot papers that could not be included in the recount that saw 3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Greens and 1 Sports Party candidates elected. Due to the closeness of the result, the missing ballots had the potential to affect the result.

The AEC’s petition all but guarantees a new election in Western Australia next year.

The High Court will sit as the Court of Disputed Returns to decide on the petition.

Media release from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Petition lodged with Court of Disputed Returns

The three-person Australian Electoral Commission today authorised the Electoral Commissioner to lodge a petition with the Court of Disputed Returns in respect of the 2013 Western Australian Senate election.

The petition was lodged at approximately 2:30pm AEDT today.

The petition seeks an order from the Court that the WA Senate election of six senators be declared void.

Given the closeness of the margins that favoured the final two declared candidates, the petition is based on the premise that the inability to include 1370 missing ballot papers in the recount of the WA Senate election means that the election was likely to be affected for the purposes of s 362(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

As the matter is now before the Court the AEC will not be making any further comment.

The AEC recently appointed Mr Mick Keelty AO to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the missing ballots. Mr Keelty’s inquiries are continuing.

Editorial note: For copies of the petition, please contact the High Court Registry’s public information officer (Canberra) during their business hours. The AEC will not be posting or distributing the document.


Operation Sovereign Borders: Scott Morrison’s Weekly Briefing

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, has given the latest weekly briefing on Operation Sovereign Borders.

Morrison

After a difficult week and a patchy performance in Parliament, Morrison adopted a different tone at today’s briefing, noticably toning down his dismissive attitude towards journalists. [Read more…]


Government Establishes Royal Commission Into Home Insulation Programme

The Abbott government has established a Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Programme of the previous Labor government.

A statement from the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, and the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, says the Cabinet has approved the Royal Commission and the government will shortly announce the Terms of Reference and “an eminent lawyer” as Royal Commissioner.

The Commission will focus on “the process and basis of Australian Government decisions in the establishment and implementation of the Home Insulation Programme and the Energy Efficient Homes Package that preceded it”. It will report by June 30 next year.

Statement from Senator George Brandis, Attorney General, and Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment.

GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH ROYAL COMMISSION INTO FAILED HOME INSULATION PROGRAMME

The Government today announced that Cabinet has decided to establish a Royal Commission into the former government’s Home Insulation Programme which tragically cost the lives of four young men and caused extensive damage to property and lives. This is in line with the promise announced during the election campaign. [Read more…]


Keating: Rudd Preserved Labor As A Fighting Force

Paul Keating has paid tribute to Kevin Rudd for preserving the ALP as a “fighting force” and praised the former prime minister’s policies during the global financial crisis as “an instance of international exceptionalism”.

KeatingKeating, prime minister from 1991 until 1996, said Rudd had given “profound service” to the Labor Party. Without Rudd’s “energy and leadership”, the party may not have been able to defeat John Howard, Keating said.

On Rudd’s toppling of Julia Gillard, Keating said: “Without traversing the hills and hollows along the policy trail in office, he returned to the prime ministership to re-base the party’s electoral standing and its parliamentary numbers, preserving it as a fighting force.”

Keating’s fulsome statement contains one factual error. Not all of Rudd’s front bench members were returned at the election. Whilst all members of the Cabinet held their seats, the Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury, was defeated in Lindsay, and the Minister for Sport, Senator Don Farrell, failed to be re-elected in South Australia.

Statement from Paul Keating.

Remarks by PJ Keating

I should like to acknowledge the profound service which Kevin Rudd has given the Labor Party.

Notwithstanding the 11 years which the Howard government had had in office, without the energy and leadership provided by Kevin Rudd, Labor may not have been able to have turned the opportunity into victory.

As a consequence, Labor had another six years in government. An important six years. Added to the 13 years of Labor between 1983 and 1996, this has meant in the 30 years since 1983, Labor has had 19 of them in office.

Kevin Rudd opened his period of office with his now famous ‘apology’ and not long thereafter, saved Australia from the fate of every other industrial economy – a deep and prolonged recession. If his government had been elected for no other reason but to have achieved this, it would have achieved much: an instance of international exceptionalism.

And without traversing the hills and hollows along the policy trail in office, he returned to the prime ministership to re-base the party’s electoral standing and its parliamentary numbers, preserving it as a fighting force.

And I know, notwithstanding the defeat at the last election, Kevin Rudd is comforted by the fact that all of his front bench members were returned to make the continuing case for Labor.

Kevin Rudd has much to be proud of. The Labor Party stands in his debt.

Sydney
14 November 2013