Bronwyn Bishop Defeated In Liberal Party Mackellar Preselection; Jason Falinski Ends 29-Year Parliamentary Career

After 29 years in Parliament, Bronwyn Bishop has lost her preselection to Jason Falinski, following a Liberal Party ballot in her Mackellar electorate tonight.

FalinskiBishop faced three opponents, Jason Falinski, Walter Villatora and Bill Calcraft. Falinski was seen as the candidate of the moderate wing who control the NSW Division of the Liberal Party, whilst Villatora has connections to the right-wing and Tony Abbott.

There were three ballots. The first ballot results were: Bishop 37, Falinski 40, Villatora 12 and Calcraft 2. Falinski defeated Bishop 51-39. It appears that the hard right votes for Villatora ended up with Falinski, not Bishop. [Read more…]


Condolence Motions Make For Heartfelt Start To Parliament

Proceedings in the House of Representatives got off to a prickly start today with the government goading the ALP during condolence motions for Arthur Gietzelt and Ariel Sharon.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott set the tone when he moved a motion of condolence for the former Senator Gietzelt who died on January 5 at the age of 93.

Abbott

During his speech, Abbott said: “He was a lion of the Labor Party—or at least he always asserted that he was a lion of the Labor Party and of no other party.” The Labor benches bristled at the comment and as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten rose to speak a voice could be heard describing Abbott as a “low dog”.

Abbott’s comment was a reference to allegations in documents released by the Australian Security Intelligence Service (ASIO) that claimed Gietzelt had communist connections during his time as a member of the ALP. Gietzelt served as a minister in the Hawke government from 1983 to 1987.

Following the Gietzelt condolence, Abbott moved a second condolence motion for former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon who died on January 11 after spending eight years in a permanent vegetative state following a stroke in 2006. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spoke to the motion, as did Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his deputy, Tanya Plibersek.

After the speeches, the Manager of Government Business, Christopher Pyne, associated himself with what he called “the genuine and heartfelt remarks” by Abbott, Bishop and Shorten, “and the remarks made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition”.

The Opposition benches bristled again, with the comment assumed to refer to a statement made by Tanya Plibersek in the House on September 17, 2002, in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. She said: “…I can think of a rogue state which consistently ignores UN resolutions, whose ruler is a war criminal responsible for the massacres of civilians in refugee camps outside its borders. The US supports and funds this country. This year it gave it a blank cheque to continue its repression of its enemies. It uses US military hardware to bulldoze homes and kill civilians. It is called Israel, and the war criminal is Ariel Sharon.” [Read more…]


Griffith By-Election Set For February 8

The Griffith by-election will be held on February 8, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop, has announced.

The by-election has been caused by the resignation of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who had held the seat since 1998.

Under Section 33 of the Constitution, the Speaker is responsible for the issue of writs for vacancies. The writ will be issued today, with the rolls closing next Monday. Nominations close on January 16.

The by-election will be held the weekend before Parliament resumes for 2014.

The ALP holds the seat with a margin of 3.01%. There was a 5.45% swing against Rudd at last year’s federal election. In 2010, there was a 3.86% swing against Rudd. When Rudd led the ALP into government in 2007 he received 62.32% of the two-party-preferred vote in Griffith. [Read more…]


Government Appoints Sophie Mirabella To Submarine Corporation

The federal government has appointed the defeated member for Indi, Sophie Mirabella, to the board of ASC Pty Ltd, formerly known as the Australian Submarine Corporation.

MirabellaThe Minister for Finance, Senator Mathias Cormann, announced the appointment today. Mirabella is one of three appointments to the government-owned body.

On its website, ASC says it “has evolved into Australia’s largest specialised defence shipbuilding organisation, with naval design and engineering resources unparalleled within Australia’s defence industry”.

ASC says it employs “over 2,400 permanent personnel across our three facilities in South Australia and Western Australia”.

Mirabella, 45, was the Liberal member for Indi from 2001 until 2013. She was defeated at this year’s election by an independent candidate, Cathy McGowan, who waged an insurgent grassroots campaign to win the formerly safe Liberal seat by 439 votes. [Read more…]


Speaker Bronwyn Bishop Reports Kevin Rudd’s Resignation To The House

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop, today reported to the House that she had received the resignation of Kevin Rudd as member for Griffith.

Bishop

Rudd’s resignation was received on November 22. Under Section 37 of the Constitution, a member may resign in writing to the Speaker.

Parliamentary practice and convention requires that the Speaker inform the House of resignations and other matters relating to the operation of the chamber. [Read more…]


Kevin Rudd Resigns From Parliament

Kevin Rudd has announced to the House of Representatives that he is resigning his seat of Griffith immediately.

Rudd

Rudd made a 15-minute statement to the House just after 8pm tonight. Towards the end of his sometimes tearful speech, he urged parliamentarians “to be gentle with each other”. He concluded with one more iteration of “got to zip”.

Fulsome tributes were then paid by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Remarks were also made by Joe Hockey, Anthony Albanese, Christopher Pyne, Chris Bowen, Malcolm Turnbull, Tanya Plibersek and Bronwyn Bishop. [Read more…]


Governor-General Quentin Bryce Opens 44th Parliament

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has officially opened the 44th Parliament.

Bryce

After a day of ceremonies, including the swearing-in of the new House of Representatives, Bryce summoned members to the Senate and delivered the traditional government-written speech outlining the government’s program for the new Parliament.

The government will be “active” but not “big”, Bryce said. She outlined Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s plan to “repeal the carbon tax, abolish the mining tax, cut the waste and build the roads of the 21st century”.

Bryce’s 30-minute speech was followed by a 19-gun salute by military cannons outside Parliament House.

Earlier, the House of Representatives elected Bronwyn Bishop as its new Speaker, replacing Anna Burke, the last of three speakers in the 43rd Parliament.

The Parliament gets down to business tomorrow when it is expected that the bills to repeal the carbon tax will be introduced in the morning. Abbott and new Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will face off in Question Time at 2pm.

Today’s speech was Quentin Bryce’s last opening of Parliament. She retires in March next year.

Transcript of Governor-General Quentin Bryce’s Address at the Opening of the First Session of the Forty-Fourth Commonwealth Parliament.

Bryce

Introduction

Honourable Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia.

Today, at the opening of the 44th Commonwealth Parliament, we celebrate the enduring health of our democracy.

One hundred and twelve years after the first Federal election, nearly 14 million Australians have cast their votes in another free and fair election.

For only the fourth time in three decades, the Australian people have voted for a change of government. [Read more…]