Obama And Biden Announce Plans To Tackle Gun Violence

President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden have announced a series of measures to tackle gun violence in the US, in the aftermath of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

Obama signed a series of Executive Orders to give effect to 23 separate executive actions, including:

  • requiring background checks for all gun sales
  • strenthening the background check system
  • passing a new, stronger ban on assault weapons
  • limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
  • getting armor-piercing bullets off the streets
  • ending the freeze on gun violence research
  • counsellors and emergency response plans in schools
  • mental health treatment.

Transcript of remarks by President Obama and Vice-President Biden on tackling gun violence.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: Before I begin today, let me say to the families of the innocents who were murdered 33 days ago, our heart goes out to you. And you show incredible courage — incredible courage — being here. And the President and I are going to do everything in our power to honor the memory of your children and your wives with the work we take up here today.

It’s been 33 days since the nation’s heart was broken by the horrific, senseless violence that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School — 20 — 20 beautiful first-graders gunned down in a place that’s supposed to be their second sanctuary. Six members of the staff killed trying to save those children. It’s literally been hard for the nation to comprehend, hard for the nation to fathom. [Read more...]

Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission Press Conference

Justice Peter McClellan and the other commissioners of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have held a press conference to outline the early steps the inquiry will take.

McClellan read a statement to the media. He did not take questions.


  • Listen to McClellan’s statement (11m)

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Text of statement by Justice Peter McClellan.


Our purpose in meeting with you this afternoon is to briefly explain how the Commission will approach its work in accordance with the Letters Patent and the steps which must be taken before the Commission can commence the process of gathering evidence.

The Royal Commission has been charged with examining the sexual abuse of children in the context of institutions throughout Australia. Having regard to what is already publicly known of these problems the task before the Commission is large. However, until the Commission has commenced its work and people come forward to give us an account of their personal circumstances we cannot gauge the full extent of that task. In recognition of the complexity of the issues which the Commission must examine the government has appointed six commissioners. Each of us has different backgrounds, professional experience, qualifications and expertise. We live in different regions of Australia. To assist the Commission in its work we understand that the government proposes to amend the Royal Commissions Act to provide that the Commissioners need not all sit when conducting a formal hearing. If that legislative change is made the Commission will utilise this capacity in an endeavour to gain a complete understanding of the problems in various parts of Australia in the most efficient manner possible. Even with this legislative change our task is complex and will take significant time. [Read more...]

Gillard Announces Agreement With Social Networking Sites Over Cyberbullying

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has announced that the government has reached an agreement with social networking sites over complaint handling, particularly in relation to cyberbullying.

The agreement commits companies such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft to develop robust processes for dealing with complaints and to undertake education and awareness raising activities. Gillard called on Twitter to join the agreement.


  • Listen to Gillard’s speech on cyberbullying (13m)

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  • Download the Agreement with Social Networking Sites (PDF)

Statement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.


Social Networking Sites have agreed to continue promoting user safety as well as undertaking education and awareness raising about antisocial behaviour online under new guidelines announced by the Prime Minister.

The Cooperative Arrangement for Complaints Handling on Social Networking Sites commits companies, such as Facebook, Google (YouTube), Yahoo! and Microsoft, to: [Read more...]

NRA Attacks Obama As An ‘Elitist Hypocrite’

This is a video advertisement released by the National Rifle Association.

It follows Obama’s announcement today of a series of executive orders to combat gun crime in the United States.

The NRA describes Obama as an “elitist hypocrite”, comparing his policies to the armed guards provided to the president’s children. The White House described the ad as “cowardly”.

Barack Obama Holds Final Press Conference Of His First Term

Barack Obama has held the final press conference of his first term as United States president.

Obama will be sworn in for his second and final term next Sunday, January 20. On Monday, the official inauguration ceremony will take place at the US Capitol.


  • Listen to Obama’s press conference (53m)

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Transcript of President Barack Obama’s final press conference of his first term. It was held in the East Room of the White House.

11:39 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Please have a seat, everybody. Good morning. I thought it might make sense to take some questions this week, as my first term comes to an end.

It’s been a busy and productive four years. And I expect the same for the next four years. I intend to carry out the agenda that I campaigned on — an agenda for new jobs, new opportunity, and new security for the middle class.

Right now, our economy is growing, and our businesses are creating new jobs, so we are poised for a good year if we make smart decisions and sound investments — and as long as Washington politics don’t get in the way of America’s progress. [Read more...]