Indonesia Refuses To Accept Turned Back Boat; Asylum Seekers Taken To Christmas Island

The Australian government has confirmed that Indonesia has refused to accept a boat Australian authorities attempted to turn back just south of Java.

According to a statement from Operation Sovereign Borders, Indonesia is “reviewing the request put forward by Australia”.

The boat was rescued 43 nautical miles south of the coast of Java, within the Indonesian search and rescue zone. A request was made to transfer the passengers to Indonesia. The statement says: “On two recent occasions, Indonesia has agreed to these requests and facilitated an on water transfer.”

The vessel’s passengers have now been taken to Christmas Island and will eventually be taken to Nauru or Manus Island.

The Opposition says the government’s asylum policies are in disarray and it is in retreat from its “turn back the boats” policy. The government statement says the number of “illegal arrivals” is down 75% since Operation Sovereign Borders began.

13-11-09_osb-statement



Government Tightens Rules On Parliamentarians’ Expenses Claims

The federal government has strengthened the rules governing parliamentarians’ expenses.

The Special Minister of State, Senator Michael Ronaldson, has announced that from January 1, 2014 MPs whose travel claims need adjustment will pay a 25% penalty on top of the adjustment. Mandatory training will be provided to parliamentarians and their staff if more than one claim needs adjustment within a financial year.

The government has tightened rules on travel entitlements for members’ families. It has also stipulated that overseas travel may not be taken first class. Members’ names may also be tabled in parliament if they do no “substantially comply” within a reasonable time with requests for further information.

The government will also ban MPs from employing relatives in their electorate offices. Those who currently do so have until January 1 to make alternative arrangements.

The changes have been announced just days before the new parliament meets for the first time. They follow several weeks of revelations about claims by MPs. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has repaid over $1,700 in travel and accommodation expenses he claimed for attending the weddings of Sophie Mirabella and Peter Slipper in 2006.

Adam Bandt, acting leader of the Australian Greens, said the government was only acting under pressure and its changes were the “bare minimum”. He called for an Integrity Commissioner and a parliamentary “entitlements adviser”.

Statement from the Special Minister of State, Senator Michael Ronaldson.

STRENGTHENING THE RULES GOVERNING PARLIAMENTARIANS’ BUSINESS EXPENSES

Direct contact between citizens and their elected representatives is an important part of our democracy.

The system of funding the work costs of members and senators in carrying out their responsibilities is complicated by the fact that there is no set job description for the role of a parliamentarian. As independent assessments show, a parliamentarian’s day is routinely long, busy and varied. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott Address To W.A. Liberal Party State Council

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has addressed the Western Australian Liberal Party State Council in Perth.

It was Abbott’s first official speech to the Liberal Party in W.A. since his election victory in September. Jokingly conceding he wasn’t a Western Australian, Abbott said he was there as Prime Minister of Western Australia. [Read more…]


Hard Days And Nights: The Final 147 Days Of The Gillard Government

The Parliamentary Library has today published a research paper examining the final 147 days of the Gillard government.

The paper is written by Brenton Holmes, from the Politics and Public Administration Section of the Library.

The paper draws heavily from contemporaneous newspaper reports and the writings of journalists and other commentators. It contains 240 footnotes, many with web links. It includes chronologies of the Gillard government and tables of opinion poll results durings its term of office.

The paper is provided here in accordance with its Creative Commons licence.

Click the arrow in the viewer below for an enlarged view.

13-11-08_hard-days-and-nights-the-final-147-days-of-the-gillard-govt_holmes



The Task Ahead: Joe Hockey Speech To Centre For Independent Studies

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has addressed the Centre for Independent Studies on the economic challenges ahead of the new Coalition government.

“We are cleaning up the mess we inherited,” Hockey told his audience.

Hockey [Read more…]


Missing W.A. Senate Votes Would Have Produced A One-Vote Turnaround

The Australian Electoral Commission has released preference information about the missing Western Australian Senate ballot papers which shows a probable reversal of the official result by just one vote.

After the first count of votes, the final two positions went to the Palmer United Party and the ALP. The result hinged on a 14-vote difference between preferences flowing to the Australian Christians and the Shooters and Fishers party.

The result was overturned by the recount and saw the Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and the Sports Party candidate, Wayne Dropulich, elected. This time, the outcome was decided by a difference of 12 votes between the Christians and the Shooters.

The recount did not include 1,375 votes which had mysteriously disappeared since the first count. However, since all the missing ballots were above-the-line votes, the first count result is available and regarded as accurate.

The ABC’s Antony Green says the preference flow shows that the original result from the first count would have prevailed if the missing votes were included in the recount, but the difference at the significant point of allocation would have been just one vote.

The data released by the AEC does nothing to cast doubt on the widespread belief that the Court of Disputed Returns will void the election and order a re-run.

The media release from the AEC with details of the count is shown below:

13-11-08_preference-information-for-wa-missing-votes_aec



Abbott Abolishes Twenty Advisory Bodies

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that the government has abolished twenty “redundant” advisory bodies.

Speaking at a press conference in Melbourne, Abbott said twenty groups have been abolished or amalgamated. The government is serious about a “smaller bureaucracy”, Abbott said. “We certainly won’t be stopping here.” [Read more…]