Australia Strikes Free Trade Agreement With South Korea (KAFTA)

Australia has concluded a Free Trade Agreement with the Republic of Korea, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced today.

South Korea is Australia’s fourth-largest trading partner and third-largest goods export market.

The KAFTA agreement will eliminate tariffs on major exports to Korea, such as beef, wheat, dairy, sugar, wine, seafood, grapes, cherries and mangoes. It will open up new markets in education, telecommunications, financial accounting and the law.

Opposition Bill Shorten has welcomed the agreement.

Details of Australia’s trading arrangements with Korea are shown below. [Read more…]


Lucy Wicks (Lib – Robertson) – First Speech

Lucy Wicks was first elected as the Liberal member for Robertson at the 2013 federal election.

Wicks

Wicks defeated Deborah O’Neill who won the seat for the ALP in 2010, replacing Belinda Neal who won it in 2007. O’Neill has since been appointed to the Senate, filling the casual vacancy created by the retirement of Bob Carr. Robertson was represented by the Liberal Party’s Jim Lloyd for the duration of the Howard government from 1996 to 2007.

Robertson is a New South Wales electorate situated north of Sydney. It extends from the Hawkesbury River in the south, then north to Kulnura and east to Lisarow. The main population centres include Gosford, Terrigal, Woy Woy and Erina. [Read more…]


Karen McNamara (Lib – Dobell) – First Speech

Karen McNamara was first elected as the Liberal member for Dobell at the 2013 federal election.

McNamara

McNamara replaced the scandal-plagued Craig Thomson who had represented the seat for the ALP since 2007.

Dobell is an electorate north of Sydney which includes areas of Wyong Shire, Hawkesbury Shire and Gosford City Council. Major towns in the electorate includes Bateau Bay, Berkeley Vale, Blue Haven, Matcham, Mount Elliot, Ourimbah, The Entrance, Warnervale, Wyoming, Wyong, the Yarramalong Valley and parts of Erina Heights, Gorokan, Holgate, Lisarow, Kulnura, Narara, Niagara Park and Wamberal. [Read more…]


Michelle Landry (LNP – Capricornia) – First Speech

Michelle Landry was first elected as the Liberal National member for Capricornia at the 2013 federal election.

Landry

Landry won the seat after the retirement of the ALP’s Kirsten Livermore who had represented the seat since 1998. [Read more…]


Greens Strike Deal With Abbott Government To Abolish Debt Ceiling

With just days to spare before the debt limit needed to be increased, the Australian Greens have struck a deal with the government to abolish the ceiling.

Once labelled “economic fringe-dwellers” by the Coalition, the Greens have stolen a march on the ALP by negotiating a deal that reshapes the debt debate and sidelines the Opposition.

Greens leader Senator Christine Milne told a media conference that the agreement allows for increased parliamentary scrutiny of government debt. An automatic ministerial statement and parliamentary debate will take place whenever a $50 billion increase in debt is undertaken. There is no provision for the parliament to disallow a debt increase. [Read more…]


Andrew Broad (Nats – Mallee) – First Speech

Andrew Broad was elected as The Nationals member for Mallee at the 2013 federal election.

Broad

Broad replaced John Forrest who represented the seat since 1993. Broad is only the fourth man, all Nationals, to represent the electorate since its creation in 1949.

Because Forrest retired, the Coalition agreement permitted the Liberals to nominate a candidate. The Nationals polled 38.76% of the primary vote to the Liberal Party’s 27.22%. After preferences, Broad won with 56.21% of the two-candidate-preferred vote. Measured against the ALP, his two-party-preferred vote was 73.66%, in keeping with Mallee’s status as one of the safest Coalition seats in the nation. [Read more…]


Clive Palmer’s First Parliamentary Question: Is My Phone Bugged?

In his first question in the House of Representatives, Clive Palmer has asked whether his phone is bugged.

Revelations of Australian intelligence agencies tapping the phones of the Indonesian president and his wife have resulted in a crisis in Australia’s relations with Indonesia. Debate continues in some quarters around the role played by the ABC in publishing intelligence documents stolen by Edward Snowden.

Palmer asked whether “any crossbench members, including me, are having their phones and emails tapped” by any State or Commonwealth agencies.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott played a dead bat in his response, reiterating his earlier statements that the government does not comment on intelligence matters, although he pointed out that proper authorisation is required for phone tapping.

Palmer delivered his maiden speech earlier this week.

  • Watch Palmer’s questions (3m)