GILLARD ANNOUNCES SEPTEMBER 14 FEDERAL ELECTION

Australia’s federal election will be held on September 14, 2013.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has just announced the date during an address to the National Press Club in Canberra.

Gillard delivered what she called a “stocktake” of Australia’s position before outlining her version of the key issues for 2013. She said it was a case of “governing first, electioneering second” and then announced the date.

The election timetable means that Parliament will sit for the last time on June 27.



Robert McClelland Announces Retirement As Member For Barton

The former Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, has announced he will retire from parliament at this year’s election.

McClellandMcClelland is the Labor member for Barton in Sydney. He has held the seat since 1996.

His two-party-preferred margin at the 2010 election was 6.86%, following a swing of 8.08% against the ALP. The ALP primary vote was 48.48%.

McClelland was Attorney-General in the Rudd government from its election in 2007 and under Gillard until December 2011 when he was demoted to Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Emergency Management.

He was sacked from the ministry last March, following his public support for Kevin Rudd’s failed leadership challenge.

There was media speculation today that the former NSW Premier, Morris Iemma, may be interested in ALP preselection for Barton.

McClelland is the fifth Labor member of the House of Representatives to announce his retirement. The others are Steve Gibbons (Bendigo-Vic), Sharon Grierson (Newcastle-NSW), Harry Jenkins (Scullin-Vic) and Kirsten Livermore (Capricornia-Qld).

Four Liberal MPs are also retiring. They are Joanna Gash (Gilmore-NSW), Judi Moylan (Pearce-WA), Alby Schultz (Hume-NSW) and Mal Washer (Moore-WA).

Two Queensland LNP members are retiring. They are Paul Neville (Hinkler) and Alex Somlyay (Fairfax).

Statement from Robert McClelland, Member for Barton.

I have today advised the General Secretary of the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party that I have decided not to seek preselection as the ALP’s candidate for the seat of Barton in the next Federal election. After almost 17 years in Federal Parliament my decision has not been taken lightly and follows discussion over the Christmas recess with my family and friends.

I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the constituents of Barton. I owe them a deep sense of gratitude for their support over the past 17 years. It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to represent them in the Parliament of Australia.

The electorate of Barton is a remarkable area with a long established sense of community that has been supplmented by the drive and energy of people who have come from all corners of the globe to make our great country their home. I comment the work of local community organisations and the representatives at all levels of Government with whom I have had the privilege of working to make our area a shining example of a harmonious and vibrant community.

I would also like to thank my family, staff, friends and supporters for their constancy over the past 17 years. They have provided the foundation and support for all that I have been able to achieve as the federal Member for Barton and as a Minister of the Crown.

I wish my successor all the very best in the important and tremendously satisfying role that lays ahead for him or her and I look forward to continuing to make a contribution to the Australian community in the next stage of my professional career.


“Our Plan” – Tony Abbott Releases Coalition Policy Document

The Liberal Party has released a 50-page policy document for this year’s federal election.

The booklet is titled: “Our Plan – Real Solutions for all Australians – The direction, values and policy priorities of the next Coalition government.” [Read more…]


Gillard And Abbott Attend Australia Day Citizenship Ceremonies

The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader attended citizenship ceremonies as part of the 2013 celebrations of Australia Day.

Gillard-Margolyes

Julia Gillard spoke and presented citizenship certificates at a ceremony in Canberra. Amongst others, she welcomed the actor Miriam Margolyes as an Australian citizen. [Read more…]


Seven Former Politicians Awarded Australia Day Honours: Downer, Uren Receive AC

Tom Uren, Alexander Downer and five other former politicians have received awards in the Australia Day Honours list announced today.

UrenUren and Downer both become Companions (AC) in the General Division. It is the highest honour that can be awarded. Two other men, The Reverend Professor James Mitchell Haire AM and Professor Brian Paul Schmidt also received an AC.

Alexander Downer was Foreign Minister in the Howard government between 1996 and 2007. He was the Liberal member for Mayo in South Australia, serving in 9 parliaments between 1984 and 2008. In 1994-95, he was Liberal leader and Leader of the Opposition, a position he relinquished to John Howard in January 1995.

Tom Uren (left) was Minister for Urban and Regional Development in the Whitlam goverment between 1972 and 1975. In 1983 he became Minister for Territories and Local Government in the Hawke government. From 1984 until 1987, he was Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services. He served in 13 parliaments as the member for Reid between 1958 and 1990.

Uren is one of 12 surviving ministers from the Whitlam era. At 91, he is the second oldest of the surviving ministers. Whitlam is 96.

Four former politicians received an AM, a Member in the General Division.

John Aquilina, the Labor member for the NSW Legislative Assembly seats of Blacktown and Riverstone between 1981 and 2011, served as a minister in the Wran and Unsworth governments between 1986 and 1988. He was also a minister in the Carr government from 1995 to 2003. He became Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 2003 and served until 2007. He retired at the 2011 election.

Robert Fordham was the Labor member for Footscray in the Victorian Legislative Assembly between 1970 and 1992. He was Deputy Premier from 1982 until 1989. He also served as Education Minister and later as Industry Minister.

Jane Lomax-Smith was the Labor member for Adelaide in the South Australian House of Assembly from 2002 until 2010. She held the Education ministry and a number of other portfolios in the Rann government. She lost her seat in the 2010 state election.

Bill Wood was a Labor member of the ACT Legislative Assembly between 1989 and 2004. He held a number of ministerial portfolios in that time. He was previously a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.

One former politician has become a Member (OAM) in the General Division.

Malcolm Kerr was the Liberal member for Cronulla in the NSW Legislative Assembly between 1984 and 2011.

This is the complete list of recipients of Australia Day Honours.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA

COMPANION (AC) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION

The Honourable Alexander John Downer, SA. For eminent service to the Parliament of Australia through the advancement of international relations and foreign policy, particularly in the areas of security, trade and humanitarian aid, and to the community of South Australia.

The Reverend Professor James Mitchell Haire AM, ACT. For eminent service to the community through international leadership in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, the promotion of religious reconciliation, inclusion and peace, and as a theologian.

Professor Brian Paul Schmidt, Sutton, NSW. For eminent service as a global science leader in the field of physics through research in the study of astronomy and astrophysics, contributions to scientific bodies and the promotion of science education.

The Honourable Tom Uren AO, Balmain, NSW. For eminent service to the community, particularly through contributions to the welfare of veterans, improved medical education in Vietnam and the preservation of sites of heritage and environmental significance. [Read more…]


Alexander Downer Awarded Order Of Australia

8.30pm – The Foreign Minister in the Howard government, Alexander Downer, has been awarded an Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours list.

DownerDowner served as Foreign Minister from 1996 until the Coalition was defeated in 2007. He served briefly as Liberal leader and Leader of the Opposition in 1994-5. His OAM is for eminent service to the Parliament of Australia through the advancement of international relations and foreign policy.

Details of the 571 recipients of Australia Day honours will be announced at midnight but SBS Radio has revealed some details of the awards.

Downer’s OAM comes at a time when his name is being mentioned as a possible replacement for South Australian Liberal leader Isobel Redmond.

According to the SBS broadcast, other recipients of awards include AFL coach David Parkin and television presenter Clive James.

Maggie Lynch has received an award for her services to multicultural education.

Juliana Nkrumah has been honoured for her work with refugee women.

The widow of Eddie Mabo, Ernestine Bonita Mabo, has been awarded an Order of Australia for distinguished service on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Dr Bruce Walker has received an award for significant service to the Indigenous communities of remote Australia and to the sport of cricket.

  • Listen to the SBS broadcast revealing details of the Honours (9m)

Bodyline, The Economy And A Republic: Wayne Swan Joins The Dots

The Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has released an Australia Day article that draws a series of connections between the 1930s Bodyline cricket series, the contemporary economy and a future republic.

SwanSwan remembers Bodyline as typifying Australian resistance to English imperial superiority. He sees Australia defending “fair play” and playing “within both the letter and the spirit of the rules”. Australia’s code, says Swan, is “not a gentleman’s code” but “a democratic code”.

Linking Bodyline with the 1930s Depression, Swan says “Australians didn’t cause that Depression and to a very great extent we were powerless to tackle it..because we lacked full economic sovereignty”.

Swan says Bodyline and the Great Depression “helped awaken a democratic and egalitarian assertion of Australian national sovereignty that still serves us well on Australia Day 2013.”

Despite the fact that the Rudd and Gillard governments have done nothing over the past five years to promote constitutional change, Swan says reflection on Bodyline and the Depression “will eventually” have the legacy of “hastening the approach of an Australian republic”.

Swan’s argument is similar in style to his musings last year on Bruce Springsteen’s opposition to economic privilege. In his John Button Oration, Swan sought to emphasise democratic and egalitarian values at the heart of the Labor government’s value system.

Swan’s article today is an attempt to add to the over-arching story the government has been developing as the federal election draws near.

Text of an article released by the Treasurer, Wayne Swan.

Forged in Fair Play – 80 Years on From Bodyline

It has been another eventful Australian summer, marked by bushfires that have once again tested some of our nation’s most important values: our capacity to stick together in a crisis, help out those who need help, display coolness, competence and courage under pressure.

In a time of transition, with our nation on the cusp of the Asian Century, our values are the most treasured commodities we possess, ones which will always endure. So as we celebrate this Australia Day, it is worth reflecting on the origins and nature of Australia’s national values.

There’s no one source of our national character. It comes from our indigenous heritage, from the struggles of the convicts and early settlers, the Federation period with its conflicts and mateship, and of course our nation’s experiences on the battlefields of war. [Read more…]