Bob Baldwin, Liberal Member For Paterson, Announces Retirement

Bob Baldwin, the Liberal member for Paterson, has announced that he will retire at this year’s election.

BaldwinBaldwin, 60, won Paterson in 2013 with 59.78% of the two-party-preferred vote. He secured 53.86% of the primary vote. However, under the recent NSW redistribution, Paterson is now notionally a Labor seat, with a margin of 0.4%. Baldwin’s announcement is not altogether unexpected.

The abolition of neighbouring Charlton, held by the ALP’s Pat Conroy, led to Jill Hall retiring from Shortland, allowing Conroy to transfer there and thereby allowing Joel Fitzgibbon to remain in Hunter, which now absorbs much of the old Charlton.

The ALP has preselected Meryl Swanson to contest Paterson.

Baldwin first won the NSW electorate in 1996 but lost it at the 1998 federal election, before regaining it in 2001. The seat takes in Neath, Kurri Kurri and Williamtown in the south, and along the Hunter River and Port Stephens in the north. It includes Maitland, Nelson Bay and Raymond Terrace. [Read more…]


Jill Hall, Labor Member For Shortland, Announces Retirement; Clears Log-Jam For Seats

Jill Hall, the Labor member for Shortland, has announced she will not contest this year’s election. Her departure eases the way for her factional colleague Pat Conroy, whose seat of Charlton has been abolished, to take over Shortland.

HallHall, 66, has been the member for Shortland, a coastal seat south of Newcastle, since 1998 and has served six terms. She is one of just three Labor members for Shortland, since it was created in 1949.

In opting to retire, Hall has solved a problem for the ALP in the wake of the NSW redistribution, which abolished one seat. The neighbouring seat of Hunter, held by Joel Fitzgibbon, effectively supplants the abolished Charlton, held by Pat Conroy. Fitzgibbon made it clear he intended to run again. There was speculation that Conroy might challenge Hall for preselection, or that one of the MPs might have to run against the Liberal MP Bob Baldwin whose seat of Paterson has become a notional Labor seat.

Conroy and Hall are both members of the Left faction, so Conroy can now move into Shortland without upsetting the factional balance. [Read more…]


Government Announces $320 Million Drought Assistance Package

The federal government has announced a drought assistance package worth $320 million.

The package includes more generous income support arrangements, $280 million of concessional loans, $12 million for water infrastructure, $10 million for pest management and $10.7 million for social and mental health services.

The package was announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce at a joint press conference. [Read more…]


ALP Leadership Spill: Live Blog

10.30pm – Channel 10 Late News surveys the day’s events.

8.15pm – Ed Husic, member for Chifley, one of the Assistant Whips, has resigned his position. Husic appeared on Sky News and confirmed his resignation. Janelle Saffin, member for Page, has also resigned. Earlier today, Chief Whip Joel Fitzgibbon said he was considering his position. He can be expected to resign prior to the resumption of Parliament in May.

Crean, Marles, Fitzgibbon, Husic and Saffin are the five of the six main victims of today’s leadership fracas. Rudd is the sixth.

Husic

7.50pm – The reaction of most people to today’s events is “WTF”, according to independent Senator Nick Xenophon. He told 7.30 that no-one will support Rudd again. Whilst the May Budget could be a “circuit-breaker”, the voters have the baseball bats out ready. He said Rudd should say he will never accept the leadership under any circumstances. Greens leader Senator Christine Milne says it’s too late now because all the bridges have been burnt. [Read more…]


A Guide To The 2009 Defence White Paper

The Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, has released a guide to the Defence White Paper. [Read more…]


East Timor Troop Numbers To Be Cut

Australia is to reduce the number of troops in East Timor to 650 by early 2009. The announcement was made today by the Minister for Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon. [Read more…]