Clive Palmer And Andrew Wilkie Vote Against Budget Bills

Clive Palmer and Andrew Wilkie were the only members of the House of Representatives to vote against three Appropriation Bills late today.

WilkiePalmer, the member for Fairfax in Queensland, and Wilkie, the member for Denison in Tasmania, voted against Appropriation Bill No.1, Appropriation Bill No.2 and Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill No.1. The first two bills constitute a significant proportion of the Budget, including the “ordinary annual services” of the government, such as public service salaries. They used to be known as the Supply Bills.

In a bizarre media statement, Wilkie called on the Senate to block the Appropriation Bills as a means of forcing the government “back to the drawing board to prepare a fair budget”. Wilkie argued that blocking the bills would not cause a constitutional crisis because pension payments are covered by Standing Appropriations, “and Clive and I did not move to block the other Appropriation Bills”.

Wilkie said: ““If the Senate blocks the key Appropriation Bills the Government could give itself time to remedy the Budget. Interim budgets were implemented in 1984, 1987 and 1996. And even if an election was triggered then so what?” [Read more...]


AEC Finalises $58 Million Of Election Funding To Candidates In Federal Election

The Australian Electoral Commission has made payments to political parties and candidates totalling $58,076,456.01, following the 2013 federal election.

Election funding is provided to parties and candidates polling at least 4% of the primary vote in House and Senate elections. Each first preference vote was worth 248.800 cents.

The payment is indexed. At the 2010 election, each vote was worth 231.191 cents and a total of $53,163,385 was paid to candidates. [Read more...]


Dealing With Craig Thomson: An Impressive Debate

An impressive Matter of Public Importance debate took place in the House of Representatives this afternoon.

The MPI was devoted to the issue of how the House should treat Craig Thomson, the member for Dobell, in the light of allegations against him and his statement to the house yesterday.

Debate revolved around the nature of a censure and the arguments for and against suspending Thomson from the service of the House.

Mark Dreyfus, the Cabinet Secretary and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, put the case against punitive action most effectively in terms of proper process and the presumption of innocence.

Tony Windsor, the independent member for New England, provided an interesting comparison with the 1992 downfall of former NSW Liberal Premier Nick Greiner in another hung parliament.

This is the complete audio of the MPI debate:

  • Rob Oakeshott – Ind (15m)

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  • Mark Dreyfus – ALP (15m)

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  • Christopher Pyne – Lib (10m)

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  • Tony Windsor – Ind (10m)

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  • Harry Jenkins – ALP (10m)

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  • Julie Bishop – Lib (10m)

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  • Andrew Wilkie – Ind (10m)

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  • Stephen Jones – ALP (10m)

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Wilkie: Improper For Parliament To Be Judge & Jury In Thomson Case

The independent member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has issued a statement on Craig Thomson in which he says it would be improper for the Parliament to act as judge and jury.

Wilkie provides a clear statement of the constitutional situation set out in Section 44 of the Constitution.

A STATEMENT FROM ANDREW WILKIE REGARDING CRAIG THOMSON

Andrew WilkieI think the Craig Thomson saga stinks. But my personal view is largely irrelevant.

According to the principles of natural justice he’s innocent until proven guilty and entitled to a fair hearing. So unless the findings against him have been tested in a properly constituted court, where he has the opportunity to defend himself, we must accord him the presumption of innocence no matter how much that grates.

Moreover according to the Constitution Craig Thomson is eligible to remain in the Parliament until and unless he’s found guilty of a criminal offence punishable by a year or more imprisonment. If his circumstances or any other issue highlights shortfalls in that provision then the Parliament needs to consider seeking to change it.

In fact it could reasonably be argued Craig Thomson has the right to remain in the Parliament free of intimidation, if only by virtue of the Crimes Act 1914 Section 28 which imposes a penalty of three year’s imprisonment for interfering with political liberty.

Frankly the Parliament isn’t a court and for it to think it’s judge and jury when dealing with Craig Thomson would be entirely improper.

What the Parliament should now focus on is restoring the trust and respect of the Australian community. Yes, there is widespread and understandable concern with the controversy surrounding Craig Thomson. But there’s much more concern with all the grand political game-playing going on right now. And there’s much greater interest in the Government getting on and running the country well, and in the Opposition showing it’s a credible alternative.


A (Portentous?) Statement From Andrew Wilkie

Andrew Wilkie, the independent member for Denison, has issued the following statement about his negotiations with the government over its National Gambling Reform Bill.

Wilkie’s reference to “the uncertainty and changing circumstances in the Parliament” is intriguing.

A Statement on Poker Machine Reform

Andrew WilkieI wish to correct a media report today that I’ve extended my deadline for the Federal Government to address my concerns with the National Gambling Reform Bill 2012.

I gave the Families Minister, Jenny Macklin, a deadline of Friday April 20 to respond to my concern the Bill did not deliver on the Prime Minister’s promise that ‘we are ready to flick the switch to a best-practice mandatory pre-commitment system’ on Australia’s poker machines. I received a letter from Minister Macklin late Friday April 20 so that deadline was met.

I am now considering Minister Macklin’s response and taking advice in light of the uncertainty and changing circumstances in the Parliament. In Canberra today I’ve met with representatives from both the Government and the Opposition.

Today’s statement should be read in conjunction with Wilkie’s earlier statement on March 22:

DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE ON GOVERNMENT POKIES REFORM

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, continues to work with the Federal Government to try and ensure the National Gambling Reform Bill 2012 is a stepping-stone to meaningful poker machine reform.

Mr Wilkie has had numerous meetings this week with Minister Jenny Macklin in an attempt to resolve two key issues. [Read more...]


Christopher Pyne: Gillard As Ruthless As Richard III

The coalition’s shadow minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, is an early frontrunner in the contest to find the most absurd example of hyperbole in political year 2012.

In a clip from an interview shown on ABC television news tonight, Pyne described Julia Gillard’s poker machine policy and her treatment of Andrew Wilkie as “what many regard as the most ruthless political act since Richard III disposed of his nephews in the Tower of London”.

The 2012 Australian Political HyperBowl

  • (1) Listen to Christopher Pyne

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Poodle


Poker Machine Doublespeak

It was a day for doublespeak yesterday as Gillard Government functionaries came out in force to promote their leader’s “problem gambling policy”.

Andrew Wilkie and Julia GillardThey all denied Andrew Wilkie had been stabbed in the back.

“We don’t have the numbers to deliver the package he has asked for,” said Health Minister Plibersek, overlooking the inconvenient truth that Gillard signed up to the policy in exchange for Wilkie backing her into government.

Communications Minister Conroy confusingly explained it thus: “It’s a minority government – it wasn’t about promising something we couldn’t keep.”

Of course not. Black is white. [Read more...]