Tony Abbott’s Speech To The Liberal Party Federal Council: “We Are The Party Of Menzies, Fraser And Howard”

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has addressed the Liberal Party’s Federal Council meeting in Melbourne.

Abbott

In its 70th anniversary year, Abbott described the Liberal Party as “the party of Menzies and Fraser and Howard”, a rare reference to Fraser, who no longer belongs to the party and is a persistent critic of its drift to the political right.

But Abbott’s real message was to the crossbench senators who assume office on Tuesday. The government will require 6 of the 8 crossbenchers to support its legislation, if the ALP and the Greens are opposed. Abbott said: “I say to the new senators — we won’t hector you and we won’t lecture you. We respect your election as we ask you to respect ours. We simply ask that you acknowledge the trust placed in us by the Australian people to be their government.”

The Council elected former Howard government minister Richard Alston as the party’s new Federal President, replacing Alan Stockdale, the former Treasurer in the Victorian Kennett government in the 1990s.

The second day of the Council meeting was notable for a dispute between two Abbott ministers. The Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, and the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, clashed on proposed changes to the party’s Constitution. Pyne argued that Brandis should not speak on the issue because of his role in framing the proposals. Critics argued that adequate notice of the proposals had not been given and that the changes gave the Federal party too much power over State divisions. [Read more...]


Julie Bishop Treads Carefully In Reaction To Jailing Of Australian Journalist Peter Greste

The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, says the Australian government is shocked by the 7-year jail sentence imposed on the Australian journalist, Peter Greste, in Egypt today.

Bishop

Greste is one of three of Qatar-based Al Jazeera journalists who have been held in prison in Egypt for over six months. They were charged with endangering national security, aiding terrorists, doctoring footage, operating without a licence, and “spreading false news”. They were specifically charged with aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, a blacklisted organisation.

Greste and a colleague were each sentenced to 7 years. A third colleague was sentence to 10 years.

Bishop said the Australian government has been pressuring the Egyptian government for months on the Greste case. She said she wanted to explore options with the Egyptian government and to work with neighbouring countries that may be able to exert influence. [Read more...]


Bishop And Ronaldson Speak At Gallipoli And Villers-Brettonneux ANZAC Services

The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, and the Special Minister of State, Senator Michael Ronaldson, have delivered speeches at ANZAC Day services overseas.

Villers-Brettonneux

Ronaldson, who is also the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, spoke at the Gallipoli Dawn Service and the Lone Pine Service, in Turkey.

Bishop spoke at the Dawn Service at Villers-Brettonneux, in France. [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...]


Abbott Launches Liberal Party Campaign For Griffith By-Election

The Liberal Party has launched its campaign for next weekend’s by-election in Griffith.

Glasson

The Liberal National candidate for the Brisbane electorate, Dr. Bill Glasson, is contesting the by-election caused by the retirement of former prime minister Kevin Rudd who held the seat for 15 years.

The campaign launch was addressed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Attorney-General Senator George Brandis.

  • Listen to Julie Bishop (8m)

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  • Listen to Tony Abbott – transcript below (14m)

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Text of remarks by Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the LNP campaign launch for the Griffith by-election.

Abbott

Thank you so much.

Well it’s so good to be here in this beautiful part of Brisbane amongst so many enthusiastic Queenslanders. It is a great honour to be the Prime Minister of this country and as the Prime Minister of this country one of the most marvellous things is to meet some absolutely outstanding people. [Read more...]


Stott Despoja, Former Democrats Leader, Appointed Ambassador For Women And Girls

The Abbott government has appointed the former leader of the Australian Democrats, Natasha Stott Despoja, as the next Ambassador for Women and Girls.

Stott Despoja

In announcing the appointment, the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said “gender empowerment is a priority for the Australian Government’s overseas development program”. She said it was the government’s wish “to be at the forefront of efforts to promote the empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region”. [Read more...]


Tony Abbott Address To W.A. Liberal Party State Council

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has addressed the Western Australian Liberal Party State Council in Perth.

It was Abbott’s first official speech to the Liberal Party in W.A. since his election victory in September. Jokingly conceding he wasn’t a Western Australian, Abbott said he was there as Prime Minister of Western Australia.

Abbott

After his speech, Abbott was questioned by journalists about the asylum seekers who have been rescued off Java and sent to Christmas Island. Reports says there has been a stand-off between Australia and Indonesia, with the Indonesians refusing to accept the return of the boat. Abbott refused to concede that his government’s Operation Sovereign Borders operation was under challenge or that he had surrendered on his attempts to turn back the boats.

  • Listen to Julie Bishop’s speech (19m)

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Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Address to the W.A. Liberal Party State Council.

It is a tremendous honour to be here. It really is a tremendous honour to be here.

I am so thrilled to be amongst my friends and Liberal colleagues of Western Australia. I am delighted to bask in the reflected glory of a great Premier, Colin Barnett, and though, sadly, I am not myself a Western Australian, yes, the greatest honour I can have is to be the Prime Minister of Western Australia.

The first thing I want to do today, my friends, is to thank the Liberals of Western Australia for everything you have done for me, for my parliamentary colleagues, and for our country because we would not be in government but for the support and the strength of this great division of our great party. [Read more...]