ALP Pledges To Keep Qantas Australian; Says Jobs Will Be Lost Under Government Plan

The Federal Opposition will oppose the Abbott government’s plan to repeal Section 3 of the Qantas Sale Act.

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra tonight, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Infrastructure and Transport spokesman Anthony Albanese and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said the “Australian icon” and jobs would be lost offshore.

Shorten

Albanese said the airline would not be Australian if its head office wasn’t in Australia or if maintenance jobs were based overseas. He said the decision was another example of a government that was good at getting into office but didn’t know what to do when it got there.

Bowen said the issue was more than just about Qantas. “This is about Australian businesses having trust in the government,” he said.

Shorten said the fiction of the last six months is that the government will fight for Australian jobs. He said the government was creating a new export industry of exporting jobs.

The Greens have also announced that they will oppose the legislation and will move to set up a Senate inquiry into the issue. Opposition from the ALP and Greens means the legislation won’t pass the current Senate. The new Senate, including the Western Australian senators who will be elected on April 5, takes office on July 1.

  • Listen to Shorten, Albanese and Bowen (16m)

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Opposition Reacts To MYEFO; Claims Hockey Is Softening Up Electorate For Budget Cuts

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and Shadow Finance Minister Tony Burke have responded to the government’s release of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

Bowen said that MYEFO showed that $10.2 billion of the $17 billion blowout in this year’s deficit is down to decisions taken by the government since the election. The major component of this is a payment of $8.8 billion to the Reserve Bank to bolster its reserves.

Bowen

Bowen said: “Joe Hockey is softening up the Australian people. He’s preparing the ground for deep and brutal cuts come Budget time, cuts to come which will affect every Australian.”

Tony Burke said that the government had added $167 million a day to Australia’s deficit since the September election. [Read more...]


Greens And Palmer Back GrainCorp Decision; ALP Says Hockey Acts In The Nationals Interest

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision to block the ADM takeover of GrainCorp has met with approval from the Greens and Clive Palmer but has been criticised by the ALP as an attack on foreign investment and a capitulation to The Nationals.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said Hockey had failed his first big test of credibility as Treasurer. He said Hockey had acted not in the national interest but in the interests of The Nationals. “Hockey can be bullied afterall,” Bowen said.

Bowen

Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said her party was “very pleased” GrainCorp is not to be sold. “Owning our essential infrastructure is critical,” she said.

The Palmer United Party’s Clive Palmer said he would now withdraw his private member’s bill which proposed to legislatively block the ADM takeover.

Palmer

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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...]


Bill Shorten Elected ALP Leader

Bill Shorten has been elected leader of the A.L.P.

The result has just been announced, following a Caucus meeting in Canberra.

Shorten won 55 votes to 31 in the Caucus ballot (63.95%) and 40.08% of the membership vote, an overall win of 52.02%.

Shorten polled 12,196 membership votes to Albanese’s 18,230. The ALP says the turnout of 39,426 party members was 74% of those eligible.

ALP email to members and supporters.

ALP

The leadership election is the first time the party’s rank-and-file members have been given a vote. The membership vote has been weighted at 50% with the Caucus vote also worth 50%.

Shorten is the 20th leader of the party since Federation in 1901. He entered parliament at the 2007 election as the member for Maribrynong in Melbourne. Albanese has been the member for the Sydney electorate of Grayndler since 1996.

The ALP’s interim leader, Chris Bowen, the Returning Officer, Chris Hayes, and the party’s National President, Jenny McAllister, officially announced the result.

  • Listen to McAllister, Bowen and Hayes (19m)

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McAllister

Bowen

Shorten’s victory in the Caucus is significant. His 55 votes is greater than the Right faction’s parliamentary membership. The overall result means that the ALP has the best of both worlds as a result: the membership has had a vote but the person overwhelmingly preferred by the parliamentary party has been elected, undercutting any criticism from the Abbott government.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard has tweeted her congratulations to Shorten and Albanese:

History suggests that Bill Shorten will never become prime minister. After its defeat in 1996, the ALP lost another three elections before winning in 2007. After its defeat in 1975, the ALP lost two more elections. After its defeat in 1949, the ALP did not return to government for another 23 years and 8 elections. After losing in 1931, the ALP lost another three elections.

The last time Labor returned to office at the next election following a defeat was in 1914 when Andrew Fisher was elected to his third term as prime minister, following his defeat by Joseph Cook in 1913.


Morrison Confirms ‘Tactical’ Secrecy On Turning Back Asylum-Seeker Boats

The Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, has confirmed that the government will not let the media know if asylum-seeker boats have been turned back to Indonesia.

Morrison

Speaking at his first news conference since taking office, Morrison said the government was not in the business of providing “shipping news” to people smugglers.

Morrison appeared with Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, the Commander of Operation Sovereign Borders. Campbell said 33 people had arrived on one boat since the government took office on September 18. [Read more...]


Albanese Enters Contest For ALP Leadership; Rank And File Ballot In Coming Weeks

Anthony Albanese has told the Federal ALP Caucus that he will nominate for the position of leader.

The ALP will now hold a historic ballot of rank and file party members who will be asked to choose between Albanese, Bill Shorten and any other contender who nominates in the next week.

The Treasurer in the outgoing government, Chris Bowen, will be interim leader of the party whilst the ballot is held over the next month. Bowen spoke to the media after the Caucus meeting to announce the ballot.

Bowen

The rank and file ballot will be weighted at 50% with the other 50% vote coming from the Caucus. The Caucus will not vote until the rank and file ballot has taken place but the Caucus will not know the result of the party ballot.

Existing ministerial holders will act as shadow ministers until the new leader is elected.

Whilst it is impossible to know who will win the leadership contest, many people believe Bill Shorten will win the Caucus ballot whilst Albanese will win the rank and file ballot. Liberal Party spokespeople have already started talking about an ALP leader who lacks the support of his colleagues.

  • Listen to Chris Bowen’s media conference (13m)

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