Gillard Presses On As Brown Claims Criticism Is Sexist

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown said today that criticism of Julia Gillard was sexist.

Brown’s comments came after several days of speculation about Gillard’s leadership, culminating in a Labor caucus meeting on Sunday and a BBQ at The Lodge, ahead of the return of Parliament tomorrow.

  • Listen to Bob Brown at his media conference this morning (20m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Bob Brown

 

Later in the day, Prime Minister Gillard held a press conference and refused to be drawn on speculation about her leadership. She congratulated the Queen on her 60th anniversary as monarch, announced details of arrangements for Queensland flood victims, and emphasised the government’s economic program over the next eighteen months.

  • Listen to Julia Gillard’s press conference (23m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Julia Gillard

 


Government Offers Nauru To Abbott In Return For Malaysia

The federal government has capitulated to Tony Abbott’s demand for a specific proposal on breaking the deadlock over asylum-seeker processing.

For the past week, the Opposition Leader has refused to authorise Scott Morrison to meet with Chris Bowen unless a proposal was put on the table.

Tonight the government has written to Abbott offering to implement the Malaysia arrangement and offshore processing on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

The government’s decision was announced by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

  • Listen to Chris Bowen:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Senators Bob Brown & Christine Milne:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Download Wayne Swan’s letter to Tony Abbott (PDF)
  • Download the previous exchange of letters between Gillard/Swan and Abbott (PDF)

Text of letter from Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott:

ACTING PRIME MINISTER
22 DEC 2011

The Hon Tony Abbott MP
Leader of the Opposition
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Mr Abbott

Thank you for your response to the Government’s further correspondence of 19 December 2011.

As you know, the Government has attempted three times to secure your agreement for discussions between Mr Bowen and Mr Morrison to examine opportunities to identify a mutually agreeable outcome on offshore processing. Those offers were made in good faith and clearly demonstrated the Government’s willingness to engage constructively with the Opposition on this matter. [Read more…]


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:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Wayne Swan comment on Abbott’s reaction

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Greens leader Bob Brown comment

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Julia Gillard’s victory press conference.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.