Tim Wilson Wins Liberal Party Preselection For Goldstein

Tim Wilson, the former Human Rights Commissioner and employee of the Institute of Public Affairs, has won Liberal Party preselection for the Victorian seat of Goldstein.


Wilson, who turned 36 a week ago, and Denis Dragovic emerged as the two top candidates after the first ballot at the preselection. The other favoured candidate, Georgina Downer, the daughter of former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, was eliminated. [Read more…]

White Paper On Developing Northern Australia Released

A White Paper on developing Northern Australia has been released by the federal government.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Trade Minister Andrew Robb released the report.

In its introduction, the ministers say:

Northern Australia can grasp its full potential and become an economic powerhouse within our great country.

Our north’s future will come from its people, its ingenuity, its diversity, and its proximity to Asia. Covering 40 per cent of Australia’s land mass, our north has the resources, the connections across the Tropics, and the land, skills and institutions that the Indo-Pacific region needs; a region that has the savings and the markets to drive northern prosperity.

This White Paper is an essential part of our plan to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia. We can take advantage of our strengths and our natural advantages.

We will fix the roads and telecommunications, build the dams and deliver the certainty that landholders and water users need.

We will drive down the costs of operating in the north for business; making it a more attractive place to invest and work. By making the right regulations and infrastructure investments, we can encourage jobs and tackle the costs of living far from major cities.

Governments alone cannot develop Northern Australia, they can only set the right environment for businesses to profitably invest and communities to flourish. The north will only truly achieve its potential with the participation of all the people who live there, including Indigenous Australians.

…We want this White Paper to be the foundation on which successive Commonwealth governments can continue this important work over coming decades.

The White Paper is shown below. It can be expanded and downloaded.


Australia Strikes Free Trade Agreement With South Korea (KAFTA)

Australia has concluded a Free Trade Agreement with the Republic of Korea, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced today.

South Korea is Australia’s fourth-largest trading partner and third-largest goods export market.

The KAFTA agreement will eliminate tariffs on major exports to Korea, such as beef, wheat, dairy, sugar, wine, seafood, grapes, cherries and mangoes. It will open up new markets in education, telecommunications, financial accounting and the law.

Opposition Bill Shorten has welcomed the agreement.

Details of Australia’s trading arrangements with Korea are shown below. [Read more…]

Hockey And Robb Release Liberal Party Election Costings

Two days before the federal election, the Liberal Party has released its election costings.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb held a 22-minute press conference in Melbourne to announce a further $9 billion in budget savings.


The centrepiece of the costings is a $4.5 billion cut in the growth of foreign aid that will be used to fund infrastructure. [Read more…]

Tony Abbott Responds To Mid-Year Budget Update

Tony Abbott has described the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook as a “crisis mini-budget.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb, Abbott claimed there is now no buffer against international economic problems because of the incompetence of the government. [Read more…]

Swan Releases MYEFO: Budget Surplus Shaved

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has released the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO). It forecasts an increased budget deficit for 2011-12 and a small surplus in 2012-13.

Key points from MYEFO:

  • 2011-12 budget deficit has increased to $37 billion from the budget forecast of $23 billion.
  • The budget surplus for 2012-13 has been downgraded from $3.5 billion to $1.5 billion.
  • Deteriorating economic conditions have cut $20 billion from revenue over the four-year forward estimates.
  • Additional savings of $11.5 billion over four years have been announced.
  • The baby bonus has been cut from $5400 to $5000.
  • A 2.5% efficiency dividend, on top of an existing 1.5%, will produce savings across government departments of $1.5 billion.
  • The federal and High Courts, and cultural institutions such as the Australian War Memorial have been been protected from cuts.
  • There will be a crackdown on living away from home tax concessions, an increase in the eligibility age for the dependent spouse offset.
  • Gross Domestic Product is now forecast to grow by 3.25%, down from 4.25%.
  • Unemployment is expected to be 5.5% in 2011-12 and 2012-13, slightly up on budget forecasts.

[Read more…]

A Flurry of Activity – and it’s only January 7

The federal government and opposition have been busy today, even though it is only the first week of January.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been in Western Australia where she held a press conference about the education tax rebate and other issues. [Read more…]