Deborah O’Neill Appointed To Fill Bob Carr’s Casual Senate Vacancy

Deborah O’Neill, who lost her seat at last month’s election, has been chosen by the NSW ALP to fill the casual Senate vacancy created by the resignation of Bob Carr.

O'NeillO’Neill is the defeated member for the House of Representatives seat of Robertson. She won Robertson in 2010, after defeating Belinda Neal in a preselection challenge. She was defeated on September 7, suffering a 4.93% drop in her primary vote to 34.83%. There was an overall two-party-preferred swing against the ALP of 4%, reducing it to 47%. The new Liberal member is Lucy Wicks.

O’Neill reportedly won the ALP endorsement by 36 votes to 1 at a meeting of the NSW ALP Administrative Committee today. She was endorsed last night by the Right faction. Reports say that Belinda Neal and her husband, John Della Bosca, attempted to thwart the nomination at the meeting.

Mike Kelly, the defeated member for Eden-Monaro, pulled out of the contest yesterday.

O’Neill will serve out the remainder of Bob Carr’s term until June 30 next year. The position was originally held by Mark Arbib who resigned in February 2012. O’Neill will then serve the full 6-year term Carr was elected to on September 7. She will not face election by the voters until 2019-20.

A former education teacher at the University of Newcastle, O’Neill is 52. She is aligned with social conservatives in the ALP and is regarded as an opponent of issues such as same-sex marriage.

Casual Senate vacancies are made under Section 15 of the Constitution.


Bob Carr Resigns From The Senate, Abandons Promise To Beat Strom Thurmond

Senator Bob Carr, Foreign Minister in the Gillard and Rudd governments, has announced his resignation from Parliament.

Carr

Carr’s resignation will take effect tomorrow. It allows the NSW Parliament to appoint his replacement before the Senate sits again on November 12. The defeated member for Robertson, Deb O’Neill, is likely to be appointed as his replacement. The defeated member for Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly, has also expressed interest in the position. [Read more…]


New Liberal Party Advertisement: Labor Connections

With the 2013 federal election campaign now in its final eight days, the Liberal Party has highlighted ALP sleaze and corruption in its latest television commercial.

Titled “Labor Connections”, the advertisement positions Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s picture amongst a network of NSW connections that link Foreign Minister Bob Carr and new Labor Senator Sam Dastyari to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) findings against Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald.

  • Watch the ad (30s)



Australia Wins Seat On United Nations Security Council

Australia has won a two-year term on the United Nations Security Council, winning 140 votes out of 193 to comfortably defeat Luxembourg and Finland.

Bob Carr

In the ballot for a seat representing the Western European and Others region, 193 nations voted. There were no invalid votes and no abstentions. A two-thirds majority of 129 votes was required for election. Australia polled 140 votes, Luxembourg 128, and Finland 108.

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr, was in the General Assembly for the election and is shown here shaking hands with Australia’s Ambassador to the UN, Gary Quinlan, immediately after the announcement of the vote.

Speaking to the media later, Carr described the victory as a “big, juicy win”. He acknowledged “the vindication for Kevin Rudd” in the outcome and paid tribute to Mr. Quinlan’s work.

Bob Carr

Argentina and Rwanda were also elected to Security Council positions from their regions. The two-year terms will commence on January 1, 2013.

After the ballot was announced at 3am Australian time, the General Assembly proceeded to an election to fill two more positions. Korea defeated Cambodia 149-43 for an Asian seat, whilst Luxembourg defeated Finland 131-62 for the remaining Western European and Others seat.

The five newly-elected members will replace Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa, whose terms end on December 31, 2012.

The five permanent Council members, which each wield the power of veto, are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Non-permanent members Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo will remain on the Council until the end of 2013.

  • Listen to the announcement of voting results in the UN General Assembly (5m)

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  • Listen to Bob Carr, Parliamentary Secretary Richard Marles and Ambassador Gary Quinlan’s media conference (8m)

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  • Watch ABC Breakfast report on the Security Council vote:
Bob Carr



Government Expels Syrian Diplomats

The Syrian Chargé d’affaires, Mr Jawdat Ali, has been given 72 hours to leave Australia.

The decision was announced at 4.30pm today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr. One other Syrian diplomat has also been expelled.

The expulsion is in response to the massacre of 100 people in Haoula.

  • Listen to Senator Carr:

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Statement from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr.

Expulsion of Syrian Chargé d’Affaires

Syrian Chargé d’Affaires, Mr Jawdat Ali was this afternoon notified of the Minister’s decision to expel him from Australia in response to the massacre of more than 100 civilians in the village of Haoula.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr said Mr Ali was advised at 4.30pm today that he and one other diplomat from the Syrian Embassy were required to depart the country within 72 hours.

“The Syrian Government can expect no further official engagement with Australia until it abides by the UN ceasefire and takes active steps to implement the peace plan agreed with Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan,” Senator Carr said.

“This massacre of more than 100 men, women and children in Haoula was a hideous and brutal crime.

“The Syrian Chargé has again been advised to convey a clear message to Damascus that Australians are appalled by this massacre and we will pursue a unified international response to hold those responsible to account.”

Senator Carr said an international response could include referrals to the International Criminal Court and imposing UN sanctions such as an arms embargo as well as financial and travel restrictions on identified individuals and entities.


Lionel Bowen, Whitlam Minister, Deputy PM To Hawke, Dies At 89

Lionel Bowen, a minister in the Whitlam government and Deputy Prime Minister under Bob Hawke, has died, aged 89.

Bowen was Deputy Prime Minister for the first three terms of the Hawke government from 1983 to 1990. He was Minister for Trade in 1983-84 and Attorney-General from 1984-90.

Lionel Bowen at the first meeting of the Hawke Cabinet in 1983

Bowen was one of the original Whitlam government ministers, serving as Postmaster-General between 1972-74. He was Special Minister of State and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister between 1973-75. [Read more…]


Bob Carr Enters The Senate And Becomes Foreign Minister

Bob CarPrime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that former NSW Premier Bob Carr is to enter the Senate and become Foreign Minister.

After several days of uncertainty and denials, the announcement came as a surprise today when Gillard announced the ministerial reshuffle arising from the resignation of Kevin Rudd and his failed leadership challenge.

Carr will fill the casual Senate vacancy created by the resignation of Mark Arbib. [Read more…]


Rann Now Longest-Serving Premier

Peter Beattie’s resignation as Queensland Premier will elevate South Australia’s Mike Rann to the position of longest-serving state premier. Rann was elected in March 2002.

Mike Rann, Premier of South AustraliaThe Northern Territory Chief Minister, Clare Martin, will become the longest-serving state or territory head of government, having been elected in August 2001. She just eclipses the ACT’s Jon Stanhope, elected in November 2001.

The retirements of Bob Carr (elected 1995), Steve Bracks (1999) and Beattie (1998) have resulted in the Labor governments which dominate the Australian states and territories moving to a second-generation of leaders.

Western Australian Premier Geoff Gallop (elected February 2001) resigned due to ill-health in January 2006. Tasmanian Premier Jim Bacon (elected September 1998) also resigned due to ill-health in February 2004.

Rann remains the last-elected and only original member of the clutch of Labor Premiers elected between 1995 and 2002.

John Howard remains the longest-serving head of government, having been Prime Minister since March 11, 1996.


John Brogden Resigns: “I Acted Dishonourably”

The NSW Opposition Leader, John Brogden, has announced his resignation at a press conference in Sydney this morning.

John Brogden, former Leader of the NSW OppositionBrogden has been under intense political pressure since yesterday’s revelations of his behaviour at a function some weeks ago at which he referred to former Premier Bob Carr’s wife, Helena, as a “mail order bride” and made advances to female journalists.

It is most likely that Brogden will be replaced by his deputy, Barry O’Farrell. The Liberal Party will meet on Wednesday to choose a replacement. In announcing his resignation, Brogden attacked the President of the Young Liberals for promoting a campaign against him.

Brogden’s fall from grace will bolster the government’s campaign to retain its hold on two seats in by-elections next month. The incident will boost the new Premier, Morris Iemma, following the recent retirement of Bob Carr.

  • Listen to John Brogden’s Press Conference.

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Brogden said he would not be resigning his seat of Pittwater in the Legislative Assembly. He claimed that most of his colleagues wanted him to stay in the leadership. His appearance before the media today was characterised by a sense of bewilderment about his situation. He admitted he could give no reason for his behaviour and comments but referred to his ‘familiarity’ with people.

Brogden is accused of pinching Sunday Telegraph journalist Justine Ferrari on the bottom and putting his arm around a Sun-Herald journalist and propositioning her at the same function.

“I love being a member of parliament,” Brogden told the press conference. He told a story of his work as local member, a role he compared to ‘parish priest’.

Tellingly, Brogden used the term “middle bencher” when referring to his future in the parliamentary Liberal Party. This is the term coined by former Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, following his dumping as leader in 1989. It was a description he used to maintain his profile and leadership ambitions prior to returning to the position and winning office in 1992.

As his press conference continued this morning, Brogden’s immaturity became ever more apparent as he attempted to deliver one-liners and constantly referred to his childhood ambitions.

Addressing the press conference, Barry O’Farrell praised Brogden and predicted that there would be a contest for the leadership in the party-room. Claiming he was “fighting fit”, he said he would not be running his own campaign for the leadership through the media.


Bob Carr: What Australia Means To Me

In an extract from his new book, the Premier of NSW, Bob Carr, has described his view of Australian patriotism.

The extract from “What Australia Means To Me” was published in today’s edition of the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

What Australia Means To Me

by Bob Carr

Ten years ago, I said in a speech that there were three elements in an Australian patriotism.

The first was our response to the land itself, unique and beautiful. The second was the people. I said we were a “motley” people, and I meant that in the most generous way, meaning an immigrant people, from diverse sources – indeed, almost every country in the world. [Read more…]