Bowen Calls On Abbott To Work With Government On Refugees

The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, has attacked Tony Abbott for refusing to work with the government to resolve the refugee issue in the light of this week’s drownings off Indonesia.

Bowen said he believed “the Australian people have had a gutful of the politicking”. He said: “Now we have the frankly bizarre situation that Labor and Liberal, Government and Opposition, agree that we need offshore processing. And yet we have a political impasse. Legislation to authorise offshore processing would fail in the Senate because the Liberal Party would not support it.”

Bowen released an exchange of letters between the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Opposition Leader. In one of them, Abbott says: “I don’t see much point in further private discussions between Mr Morrison and Mr Bowen.”

  • Read the Gillard-Abbott letters (PDF)
  • Listen to Chris Bowen’s press conference – transcript below:

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  • Listen to Scott Morrison’s media conference – transcript below:

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  • Listen to Wayne Swan comment on Abbott’s reaction

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  • Listen to Greens leader Bob Brown comment

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Transcript of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s press conference.

Bowen: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Well, Australians have witnessed another tragedy at sea. We’ve watched as men, women, children and babies have lost their life making the dangerous journey to Australia. The Government’s policy has been driven by the aim and the hope of avoiding these sorts of tragedies. We have been driven to pursue offshore processing to ensure that people don’t risk their life at sea.

And now we have the frankly bizarre situation that Labor and Liberal, Government and Opposition, agree that we need offshore processing. And yet we have a political impasse. Legislation to authorise offshore processing would fail in the Senate because the Liberal Party would not support it. [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...]


Minority Government Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the agreement between the independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott that delivered minority government to Julia Gillard in the aftermath of an inconclusive August 21 election.

Here’s the audio of what the main players said on September 7, 2010.

  • Bob Katter announces his decision to support the Coalition.

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  • Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott announce their support for the ALP. This includes the famous rambling 17-minute speech from Oakeshott.

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  • Greens leader Senator Bob Brown comments on the decision of the independents.

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  • Julia Gillard’s victory press conference.

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Bob Brown Jousts With The “Hate Media”

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown jousted with some members of the Canberra press gallery today.

Brown referred to “the hate media” whilst one journalist accused him of regularly “bagging News Ltd”. The national daily, The Australia got several mentions.

  • Listen to the audio (27 minutes) or watch selected moments and judge the maturity levels for yourself.

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Gillard, Greens And Independents Agree On Carbon Price And Future ETS

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee has agreed on a carbon mechanism which involves a fixed price on carbon for three to five years followed by a full cap and trade emissions trading scheme.

Gillard and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet spoke at a press conference today with the Greens Senator Bob Brown and Senator Christine Milne. They were accompanied by the independent members Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.

The carbon pricing mechanism is to be introduced on July 1, 2012. The details of the scheme will be developed over the next few months. [Read more...]


Coal Barons Should Help Pay For Catastrophes: Greens

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown has attracted criticism across the political spectrum for his call for the mining industry to be taxed to pay for natural disaster relief.

This is the press release issued by Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens.

COAL BARONS SHOULD HELP PAY FOR CATASTROPHES – BROWN

Senator Bob BrownThe full tax on excess profits by the coal mining industry, as recommended by Treasury, should be imposed with half set aside for future natural catastrophes in Australia, Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Hobart today.

“It is unfair that the cost is put on all taxpayers, not the culprits,” Senator Brown said.

“Burning coal is a major cause of global warming. This industry, which is 75% owned outside Australia, should help pay the cost of the predicted more severe and more frequent floods, droughts and bushfires in coming decades. As well, 700,000 seaside properties in Australia face rising sea levels.”

“A Goldman Sachs study found that the reduction in the mining super tax agreed by the current Labor government (the coalition opposes the mining tax) would cost Australians $35 billion in forgone revenue to 2019-20.”

“Scientists agree that current floods come from record-high temperatures of Australian oceans this season.”

“We also ask insurers to show some compassion to Queensland’s flood victims, and to others who face loss as wild weather besets the country. Many people believe they have flood cover and, if not, the fine print should have been disclosed to them.”


Bob Brown Comments On Election Of Gillard Minority Government

The Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, has welcomed the decision of the two rural independents to back a Gillard-led minority Labor government.

Bob Brown

 

Brown’s comments came minutes after the joint press conference held by Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.

  • Listen to Bob Brown’s press conference (7m)

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