Abbott Kills 18C Repeal; New Counter-Terrorism Measures To Cost $630m Over Four Years

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has abandoned government plans to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Abbott-Brandis-Bishop

Section 18c makes it an offence to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate a person or group on the basis of their race, colour, or national or ethnic origin.

The proposed repeal of 18C has been the subject of intense debate since the government’s election last year. The legislation is “off the table”, Abbott told a press conference in Canberra. He said he did not want to jeopardise “national unity” and it was “a complication we just don’t need and we’re just not going to proceed with it”.

Flanked by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Attorney-General Senator George Brandis, Abbott also announced a series of counter-terrorism measures that will cost $630 million over the next four years. [Read more...]


Co-Operation: Bill Clinton’s Speech At The Launch Of Torrens University Australia

Former US President Bill Clinton has delivered a speech on the importance of co-operation at the launch of Torrens University Australia in Adelaide.

Clinton

Clinton again paid tribute to the work of the Australian government in the aftermath of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, particularly the work of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in co-operation with Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans. [Read more...]


United Nations Security Council Adopts Australian-Led Resolution 2166 On Flight MH17

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted an Australian-led resolution demanding an international investigation of the downed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

Bishop

The 15-member Security Council, including Russia, adopted the resolution after minor amendments were made to satisfy Russia. One change replaced “shot down” with “downed”. Russia had the power to veto the resolution but did not do so.

The full text of the Resolution is shown below. [Read more...]


Abbott Calls For Independent Investigation Of MH17; Foreign Minister Off To UN To Co-Ordinate Campaign

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has dispatched the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, to the United Nations to co-ordinate Australia’s demand for a full and fearless investigation into the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Abbott

Speaking at a press conference, Abbott and Bishop said a binding United Nations Security Council resolution was needed to ensure that an independent and impartial investigation takes place.

Abbott said a proper investigation “is a matter of the utmost gravity for us and others”. He said 298 innocent people have been killed, “people who had no part in the conflict in Europe but whose lives were snuffed out”. [Read more...]


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...]