The First Abbott Ministry Announced

The Prime Minister-elect, Tony Abbott, has announced the composition of his first ministry.

The new executive has 30 members. The Cabinet has 19 members, the Outer Ministry 11, and there are 12 Parliamentary Secretaries.

Announcing the ministry at a press conference in Canberra, Abbott said: “This is the team to provide strong and stable government. It builds on a strong, cohesive and united opposition.”

Abbott

Stability and calm were Abbott’s themes during the announcement. He said he wanted a ministry that would “methodically and calmly implement our commitments and respond intelligently to the events of the day”. [Read more…]


ALP Back In Lead In McEwen; McGowan And Palmer Leads Narrow

The ALP’s sitting member in the Victorian electorate of McEwen, Rob Mitchell, is back in the lead as counting continues in the rural seat north of Melbourne.

Counting over the weekend reversed Mitchell’s position. On Thursday night, the ALP was trailing by 396 votes. This narrowed to 153 on Friday night. Yesterday, the ALP was ahead by 97 votes. The Australian Electoral Commission reports that 9,197 envelopes containing absent, provisional, pre-poll and postal votes remain to be counted. Over half of these are pre-poll votes. Postal votes can still be accepted for the next couple of days.

In the Victorian country electorate of Indi, the independent candidate, Cathy McGowan, remains ahead of the sitting Liberal member, Sophie Mirabella, but the her lead is dwindling. McGowan was ahead by 1,100 votes on Thursday. This declined to 895 on Friday. She is now in front by 515 votes with 3,511 votes on hand that haven’t yet been counted.

In the rural Sunshine Coast electorate of Fairfax, Clive Palmer remains 502 votes ahead of the Liberal National Party candidate, Ted O’Brien. Like McGowan in Indi, Palmer was leading by 1,132 on Thursday. This slipped to 718 on Friday. Palmer continues to win only 37% of postal votes. There are 7,491 votes still uncounted.

Counting will continue over the coming days. The count is slowed because of the need to verify the eligibility of each elector who has cast a provisional, absentee or postal vote.

Attention will turn this week to the composition of the new Abbott government. The Prime Minister-elect is expected to announce his ministry today with a swearing-in to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday. Kevin Rudd remains caretaker prime minister until the new ministry is sworn.



Bill Shorten Says ALP Leadership Contest Should Be Civil And Focus On Big Ideas

Bill Shorten has described himself as a builder who will lead a team if he is chosen as the ALP’s next leader.

Speaking after today’s ALP Caucus meeting, Shorten said the task of the labour movement is to bring the party together and bring more people into the party.

“I’m a campaigner and I’m a builder,” Shorten said. He cited his role in building the disability insurance scheme as evidence of his commitment to big ideas. [Read more…]


Anthony Albanese Announces His Candidacy For The ALP Leadership

Anthony Albanese has spoken to the media, following the announcement of his candidacy for the Labor leadership.

Albanese is the current deputy leader of the party and Deputy Prime Minister in the defeated Labor government. He held the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio throughout the life of the Rudd and Gillard governments.

Albanese

A rank and file ballot of ALP members will now be held to choose between Albanese and Bill Shorten. The rank and file vote will be weighted as 50% of the total with a Caucus vote to count for the other 50%. [Read more…]


Albanese Enters Contest For ALP Leadership; Rank And File Ballot In Coming Weeks

Anthony Albanese has told the Federal ALP Caucus that he will nominate for the position of leader.

The ALP will now hold a historic ballot of rank and file party members who will be asked to choose between Albanese, Bill Shorten and any other contender who nominates in the next week.

The Treasurer in the outgoing government, Chris Bowen, will be interim leader of the party whilst the ballot is held over the next month. Bowen spoke to the media after the Caucus meeting to announce the ballot. [Read more…]


A Labor Leader Departs: Kevin Rudd’s Address To The ALP Parliamentary Caucus

Outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has addressed the ALP Caucus at its first meeting in Canberra since the Labor government’s defeat in the federal election last Saturday.

Rudd told the Caucus that “together we have preserved the Party as a viable fighting force for the future”.

Rudd

He praised various members of the outgoing Cabinet and said: “I understand a number of folks in recent days have been free ranging in their character analysis of me. I have not responded because I do not believe this is in the best interests of our Party and our future. And to those who have made these criticisms, I bear none of you any malice and instead hope for your and our collective success in the future.”

As the ALP prepares for a leadership ballot that will give rank and file members of the party a vote for the first time, Rudd said he was a “passionate believer in the democratisation and defactionalisation of our Party.” He said “rank and file members across the country are excited about being able to vote for their leader”.

Rudd said he accepted “full responsibility” for the outcome of the election campaign. “The buck stops with me.”

Australia’s 26th prime minister concluded his remarks by quoting the words of former US President Theodore Roosevelt on “the man who is actually in the arena”. Roosevelt paid tribute to the participant “who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly… so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat”.

Rudd said Roosevelt summed up his approach to political life “which is one of never dying wondering”. [Read more…]


ALP National Executive Guidelines For Federal Leadership Election

The National Executive of the ALP has released guidelines for the ballot to elect the next Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party.

The historic ballot, in which the votes of party members will be weighted 50-50 with the votes of the Caucus, is now underway, with nominations closing today. It is expected that Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese will be the only candidates. [Read more…]