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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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A Scenario For Tony Abbott And A Motion Of No-Confidence

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s intention to give notice of a no-confidence motion when Parliament returns this week has always been a potentially messy business.

A brief explanation: the government controls the Notice Paper in the House of Representatives. This is the document which outlines the order and timing of debate, including the order of legislation.

Whilst there are set times when the Opposition can bring on debate on particular issues (such as in regular Matters of Public Importance), if it wants to move a specific motion it needs to first move a motion for the Suspension of Standing Orders.

Abbott

Abbott attempted to do this during Question Time on March 21, whilst the government was preoccupied with the leadership spill that wasn’t. He sought to suspend standing orders in order to move: “That this House declares no confidence in the Prime Minister.”

The motion was carried by 73 votes to 71 but was defeated because a suspension of standing orders requires an absolute majority of 76 votes.

Abbott then announced that he would give notice of a no-confidence motion when the House resumes tomorrow. He didn’t say whether it would be no-confidence in the government or the prime minister. The difference is technically significant but may not necessarily be crucial to the outcome of any vote. [Read more…]


Top 10 Great Labor Speeches

Troy Bramston discusses ten great speeches from Australian Labor history.

Bramston is the author of a new book, The True Believers: Great Labor Speeches That Shaped History, published by The Federation Press.

The video appears on The Australian’s website today.


Alexander Downer: Earle Page Politics Speech

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, has delivered a speech on Australian foreign policy and politics at the University of New England in Armidale.

Downer gave the Earle Page College’s Annual Politics Dinner speech. [Read more…]


Paul Keating: John Curtin’s World And Ours

This is the text of the John Curtin Memorial Lecture delivered by the former Prime Minister, Paul Keating.

It was given on the 57th anniversary of the death of Australia’s war-time leader.

Text of Paul Keating’s John Curtin Memorial Lecture.

John Curtin’s World And Ours

Paul KeatingEven if we are able to interrogate the people involved, even if we take part ourselves in the events we describe, the causes and consequences of human actions will always be wrapped in doubt and seen quite differently by different observers. Perhaps this is especially true of political actions, which play across so much broader an arena of human activity than most.

So those of us looking back from 2002 need to approach John Curtin with due caution.

Leaders are significant in history. There is more to history than the determinism of events; personalities do matter, the scope of their minds matters, their courage matters, their capacity to make people believe, matters. And leaders carry that singular burden, responsibility. Being trustee of the nation’s safety and its future directions, and the pressure that that involves, makes a leader’s thought processes different from other ministers or officials. [Read more…]


Earle Page’s Speech Attacking Robert Menzies

Sir Earle Page was Prime Minister for three weeks in April 1939, following the death of Joseph Lyons and pending the United Australia Party’s election of Robert Menzies as its new leader.

PageLyons died on Good Friday, April 7, 1939. Page, the leader of the Country Party, was prime minister for 20 days from April 7 until April 26.

On April 18, the United Australia Party elected Menzies as its new leader. He defeated Billy Hughes by 23 votes to 19. Hughes, 76, had previously been prime minister from 1915 until 1923.

Menzies had resigned from the Lyons ministry on March 14, citing a failure to implement National Insurance Act provisions for pensions and other welfare benefits.

On April 19, the House of Representatives met to express condolences for Lyons. On April 20, the House met again. At the end of proceedings, Page rose to move the adjournment motion. He then made a speech excoriating Menzies, who had just been elected leader of the United Australia Party. Page questioned his judgment and loyalty and his lack of war service.

Page said he had offered to resign his seat in favour of the former prime minister, Stanley Melbourne Bruce, who was then serving as High Commissioner in London. Page had served as Treasurer in the Bruce-Page Nationalist-Country Party coalition government from 1923 until 1929. He now suggested Bruce could return to head up a national government in what appeared to be the certainty of impending war. Bruce, who wanted the freedom to choose ministers from both sides of the house, appears to have declined the offer. [Read more…]