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…]

Morrison Quizzed About Stand-Off With Indonesia Over Asylum Seeker Boat

The Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, faced a series of questions today about an asylum-seeker boat thought to be involved in a dispute with the Indonesian government that threatens the Abbott government’s ‘turn back the boats’ policy.

Morrison appeared at the weekly Operation Sovereign Borders briefing. He was accompanied by Lt. General Angus Campbell. Both men were terse in their response to some questions during a willing encounter with journalists. [Read more…]

Abbott Government Outlines Legislative Program For First Parliamentary Sittings

The Abbott government has issued a document listing the first items of legislation to be considered by the 44th Parliament.

The Parliament is to be ceremonially opened next Tuesday, November 12. The first Question Time will take place on Wednesday.

As expected, legislation to repeal the carbon and mining taxes will be among the first to be introduced. Abbott has promised that repealing the carbon tax will be the first piece of legislation to be introduced to the House.


Keelty Begins Inquiry Into Missing Senate Votes

The former Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, has begun his inquiry into the missing Western Australian Senate ballot papers.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, five members of staff are assisting Keelty.

Media release from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Australian Electoral Commission statement: Mr Mick Keelty AO APM commences inquiry

Yesterday Mr Mick Keelty AO APM commenced his inquiry into the circumstances of the missing ballot papers identified during the recent recount of Senate votes in Western Australia.

The inquiry will include identifying any administrative process and/or procedural failures that may have occurred as well as providing findings and recommendations to the Australian Electoral Commission.

Mr Keelty has been offered the full cooperation of the AEC in conducting his independent inquiry. Five Canberra-based AEC staff are currently assisting Mr Keelty with his inquiry, with further resourcing available should it be requested.

Mr Keelty is in Canberra this week receiving briefings from the AEC. He is expected to travel to Perth next week to progress the inquiry and is due to provide an interim report by the end of November.

Mr Keelty’s report will be considered by the full Electoral Commission, who will determine further actions after due consideration of the report’s findings and recommendations.

In the meantime, the AEC is presently considering its position in relation to a possible petition to the Court of Disputed Returns in relation to the WA Senate outcome.

Editor’s note: Mr Keelty is currently not available for interview. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

John Howard Climate Change Speech: One Religion Is Enough

Former Prime Minister John Howard has delivered a speech on climate change in which he calls for a “sense of proportion” in the global warming debate and says that “first principles tell us never to accept that all of the science is in on any proposition”.

HowardHoward said: “In the past five years, the dynamic of the global warming debate has shifted away from exaggerated acceptance of the worst possible implications of what a majority of climate scientists tell us, towards a more balanced and questioning approach.” He warned against use of “offensive language” such as the term “denier”.

Howard said it is “highly unlikely” there will ever be a worldwide agreement on global warming. He said he had “always been something of an agnostic on global warming” and suggested his support for an emissions trading scheme in 2007 was purely political and occurred at a time when it was expedient to be seen to be “doing something”.

Nuclear energy must be part of any long term response to global warming, Howard said.

  • Watch SBS report (2m)

Transcript of John Howard’s speech to the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London.

One religion is Enough

I thank Nigel Lawson and his colleagues for their invitation to be here tonight. When he asked me to deliver this lecture Lord Lawson said that I could talk about what I chose. I think that was not meant quite as literally as it might seem. I am sure he had in mind that I might share with you my views on the contemporary state of the debate on global warming, especially from an Australian perspective. That has special relevance; Australia has a new PM, and integral to his successful campaign was sustained opposition to a carbon tax. [Read more…]

A Melbourne Cup Day Observation In Gosford

This is a picture taken outside the Gosford Anglican Church in NSW today.


Reserve Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged On Melbourne Cup Day

The Reserve Bank has left interest rates unchanged in a decision announced today.

The cash rate remains at 2.5%, where it has been since August. There have been two 0.25% reductions this year. The cash rate is the lowest it has been in half a century.

Statement issued by Glenn Stevens, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent.

Recent information is consistent with global growth running a bit below average this year, with reasonable prospects of a pick-up next year. Commodity prices have declined from their peaks, but generally remain at high levels by historical standards. Inflation in most countries is well contained.

Overall, global financial conditions remain very accommodative. Volatility in financial markets has abated recently. Long-term interest rates remain very low and there is ample funding available for creditworthy borrowers. [Read more…]