Greg Combet To Leave Parliament

Greg Combet has announced that he will retire from Parliament at the forthcoming election.

CombetCombet quit the Cabinet on Wednesday night, following the re-election of Kevin Rudd as the ALP’s leader, replacing Julia Gillard.

He says he was already in discussion with Gillard about leaving parliament. “My reasons are personal and are not attributable to the change in the leadership of the Labor Party this week, although this has provided a catalyst for my decision.”

The former Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation has held the NSW electorate of Charlton since 2007. He was Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions before entering parliament. [Read more…]


Martin Ferguson Resigns From Gillard Ministry; Second Departure Today

Martin Ferguson, the Minister for Resources and Energy, has resigned from the Gillard government.

Following yesterday’s leadership spill debacle, Ferguson said his resignation was “the only honourable thing to do”. He voted for Kevin Rudd in last year’s leadership ballot and would have voted for Rudd yesterday if the former prime minister had contested the ballot.

Ferguson is the second minister to resign today. The Minister for Tertiary Education, Chris Bowen, announced his resignation this morning. [Read more…]


When Is A Shift Not A Shift?

A frontpage report in the Financial Review this morning invited readers to believe that union support for Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s leadership was “shifting”.

A closer read showed that a meeting at the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) on Tuesday discussed the Labor leadership but the union leaders remained supportive of Gillard, although conscious that “time is running out”.

Union and political figures have been at pains during the day to dispute the accuracy of the report. They have adamantly denied suggestions of a “shift”.

Perhaps the most reliable take-out from the Financial Review report is the claim that union leaders were concerned about the advent of an Abbott government. Their attitude to the leadership is reflected in their desire to avoid an early election that could result from any attempt to remove Gillard.

Media critics have been quick to jump on the report as further evidence of the media’s preoccupation with leadership at the expense of policy. Others see it as evidence of a shift to the right under the Financial Review’s new editor, Michael Stutchbury.

However, it seems clear that another decision on the Labor leadership is likely over the next few months. What isn’t clear is whether the obstacles to a Rudd revival can be overcome. Moreover, it isn’t clear whether the party has the capacity to change leaders without destroying the government and precipitating an election. [Read more…]


ACTU Congress Pays Tribute To Bill Kelty

Bill KeltyThe triennial Congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions has paid tribute to the work of its former Secretary, Bill Kelty.

At a dinner in Sydney, former Prime Minister Paul Keating led the tributes.

Kelty was ACTU Secretary from 1983 until 2000. Throughout the Hawke/Keating governments, he was pivotal to the operation of The Accord with the union movement.

Kelty’s work with the government on superannuation reforms, wage fixing, tariff reductions and other issues was vital to the economic reform and social legislation of the 1980s and 1990s. [Read more…]


Gillard Addresses ACTU Congress: “I Fight For Australia”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has addressed the triennial ACTU Congress in Sydney. [Read more…]


ACTU Distances Itself From Health Services Union

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is about to suspend the Health Services Union.

Kearney, Lawrence - ACTU

Officials of the Australian Council of Trade Unions officials said today the organisation had “zero tolerance” for corruption or the “misuse of members’ funds”. Ged Kearney and Jeff Lawrence said the ACTU was considering suspension of the Health Services Union. [Read more…]


Crean Accuses Howard Of Destroying Medicare

In a speech to the Australian Council of Trade Unions Medicare Summit, the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Crean, has said the Prime Minister, John Howard, is fulfilling a long-held goal to destory Medicare with the changes announced this week.

Crean said: “For all of its words, John Howard’s policy will destroy Medicare in this country – it can’t do anything else. He is introducing a two-tier system. A two-tier system that even won’t be adequate for the persons on a lower tier that he says that he wants to look after.” [Read more…]