Clive Palmer Apologises To China’s Ambassador For Q&A Outburst

Clive Palmer has apologised to China over his remarks on the ABC program Q&A last week.

Palmer wrote to Mr. Ma Zhaoxu, China’s Ambassador to Australia, to say he regretted “any hurt or anguish” his comments “may have caused any party”.

In his appearance on Q&A, Palmer called the Chinese “mongrels” and “bastards”. He said the “communists” were trying to take over Australia’s ports and steal Australia’s resources. [Read more...]


40th Anniversary Of The 1974 Joint Sitting Of Parliament

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Joint Sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, held during the term of the Whitlam Labor government.

The Joint Sitting, the first and only ever held, took place over two days, August 6 and 7, 1974.

Gough Whitlam described the sitting as “a last resort to enable the democratic will of the Australian people to prevail over blind obstruction”.

Joint Sitting

The proceedings took place in what is now Old Parliament House. They were chaired by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jim Cope. The Liberal Opposition Leader was Bill Snedden. The Governor-General was the just-appointed Sir John Kerr.

The only member of either house who attended the Joint Sitting and is still serving is Philip Ruddock. Now the member for Berowra, in 1974 he was the 31-year-old Liberal member for Parramatta and still in his first year as a member of the House.

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The Six Bills

Six bills were submitted to the Joint Sitting, all of which had been first passed by the House of Representatives in 1973, following the election of the Whitlam government. [Read more...]


Shorten Says Brandis Has Been Humiliated By Cabinet Over 18C Repeal

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, says the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis has been humiliated by the Abbott government’s backdown on the repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Shorten

The backdown was announced this afternoon, together with a batch of new anti-terrorism measures.

In a television interview just last night, Brandis defended the proposed repeal of Section 18C.

Shorten spoke at a press conference with the ALP’s shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus.

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Abbott Kills 18C Repeal; New Counter-Terrorism Measures To Cost $630m Over Four Years

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has abandoned government plans to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Abbott-Brandis-Bishop

Section 18c makes it an offence to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate a person or group on the basis of their race, colour, or national or ethnic origin.

The proposed repeal of 18C has been the subject of intense debate since the government’s election last year. The legislation is “off the table”, Abbott told a press conference in Canberra. He said he did not want to jeopardise “national unity” and it was “a complication we just don’t need and we’re just not going to proceed with it”.

Flanked by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Attorney-General Senator George Brandis, Abbott also announced a series of counter-terrorism measures that will cost $630 million over the next four years. [Read more...]


RBA Leaves Rates Unchanged

The Reserve Bank has again left interest rates unchanged, following its monthly board meeting.

The cash rate is 2.5%. It has been set at this rate since August last year.

Statement from Glenn Stevens, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

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

Growth in the global economy is continuing at a moderate pace, helped by firmer conditions in the advanced countries. China’s growth remains generally in line with policymakers’ objectives. Commodity prices in historical terms remain high, but some of those important to Australia have declined this year. [Read more...]