Drifting Into The New Year On Thin Gruel

The Australian political year is regarded as commencing around Australia Day. The Prime Minister’s National Press Club address today kicks off 2011.

Thin GruelBut it’s a myth that politics in Australia stops over the summer holidays.

In fact, experience suggests leaders are often made, broken or changed in January. In the past, elections have been called, ministries reshuffled and major policies announced. In this way, the parameters of the new political year are set.

Sometimes it is only in retrospect that we can see how significant were the somnolent weeks of January. Who would have thought last January that Kevin Rudd had just made a fateful decision? Had he announced a climate change election on this day last year, we can but speculate what the political landscape would be like today.

For the people who work in and around politics, or follow it slavishly, there has been only one topic of conversation this January: the future of Julia Gillard. Even for those with only a passing interest in politics, there has been but one question: “How do you think she’s going?” The question’s myriad variations all seek to know the same thing: will she last? [Read more…]


June 23, 2010: Calm And Speculation Before The Storm

The challenge to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd caught most people by surprise on June 23, 2010, but there was nevertheless plenty of speculation in the hours leading up to his dumping.

  • 8.30am – On Sky News AM Agenda, Jason Clare (ALP), Scott Morrison (Lib) and Peter Van Onselen discuss the state of Kevin Rudd’s leadership.
  • 1.55pm – Defence Minister Senator John Faulkner is asked, “as an elder statesman of the Labor Party,” whether there are any circumstances under which he would tap the Prime Minister on the shoulder before the election. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith also responds.
  • 4.15pm – On Sky News PM Agenda, journalists Josh Gordon and Lenore Taylor discuss the state of the Rudd government.

2CC Commentary: Liberal Leadership & Climate Change

I appeared on Mark Parton’s breakfast show on Canberra Radio 2CC this morning.

Mark Parton, Radio 2CC Canberra

We touched on the state of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership of the Liberal Party, especially in the light of today’s opinion polls which show a significant collapse in coalition support and approval of Turnbull.

  • Listen to the discussion (8m)



Costello To Quit Politics; Will Not Seek Or Accept Liberal Leadership

The Treasurer in the defeated coalition government, Peter Costello, has announced that he “will not seek and will not accept” the leadership or deputy leadership of the Liberal Party.

Peter and Tanya CostelloSpeaking at a press conference in Melbourne, Costello said: “I will continue to serve my constituents and in serving my constituents I hope that I will have a role to play perhaps mentoring some of the newer MPs.” Significantly, he did not commit to serving the full three years of the term he was elected to yesterday.

Costello said he “will be looking to build a career post-politics in the commercial world”.

Costello has been deputy leader of the Liberal Party since May 23, 1994. He was been Treasurer since the Howard government was elected in 1996. His decision to vacate the field will likely lead to a contest between outgoing ministers such as Malcolm Turnbull, Brendan Nelson, Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop. [Read more…]


“Australia’s Choice”: Howard Attempts To Frame The Election

Hours after announcing the November 24 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard has set the terms of the contest as the coalition sees it.

Howard argues that Australia requires the “right leadership”, a direct swipe at the ALP’s slogan, “New Leadership”.

He has stressed the need for experience to maintain the economic prosperity and national security of the nation.

The coalition is also campaigning on what it calls the ALP’s inexperience and domination by trade unions.

Howard warns against the lack of “balance” in “wall-to-wall” Labor governments in Federal, State and Territory parliaments.

This is the text of a statement by the Prime Minister, John Howard, circulated via email by the Liberal Party.

AUSTRALIA’S CHOICE

Today the Governor-General has accepted my advice for an election to be held on Saturday 24 November.

This election is about Australia’s future. It’s about the leadership Australia needs right now to stay strong, prosperous and secure.

Australia has come a long way in the last decade based on the hard work of all Australians and the tough decisions of the Coalition. Now we must make Australia even stronger.

This will not happen automatically. It will happen not through new leadership or old leadership. It requires the right leadership.

The right leadership is the team that knows how to do the job. The right leadership has the experience to further expand Australia’s prosperity and to ensure that everyone gets a fair share of it.

The right leadership is prepared to take unpopular decisions in the short term that will benefit the Australian community in the long term.

The right leadership is a group of men and women who will govern for all Australians and who will not be beholden to a narrow section of the Australian community.

The right leadership will tell the Australian people where it stands on issues and what it believes in. Love me or loathe me, the Australian people know where I stand and what I believe in.

At this election, the Australian people must decide who is better able to build Australia’s prosperity for the benefit of everyone. They must also decide who is better able to promote our national security and stand up for Australia’s interests abroad.

Is it a government with a proven track record on the economy and national security or is it a group of men and women 70 per cent of whom are former trade union officials?

In the weeks ahead, I will be unveiling detailed plans for Australia’s future. They will be both practical and achievable, underpinned by the Coalition’s record of putting the national interest ahead of sectional interests.

As part of our plan for growth and opportunity I commit today to a goal of full employment. Australia’s unemployment rate today is at a 33-year low. It can go even lower with the right policies.

There is no reason why Australia’s unemployment cannot have a three in front of it. If Labor is elected, its anti-small business policies mean unemployment will rise.

We will unveil policies to lift family living standards and to help sections of the community under pressure. Our plan for stronger communities will deliver better services, more choice and genuine help for Australians in need. It will put more power in the hands of local communities, including by giving communities a greater say in the running of their public hospitals.

In the weeks ahead, I will outline a plan to further reinforce Australia’s national security into the next decade. Our environment policies will tackle in a balanced way the great challenges of climate change and water security.

Our plan for Australia will also give voice to my passionate belief that we are One Australia based on a common citizenship, common loyalty and where all are entitled to equal justice.

The Coalition’s plan for Australia’s future has been carefully put together and builds on the strong decision-making of the last decade. Our plans are fully costed and affordable.

Labor is not ready to govern because it hasn’t done the hard work. Mr Rudd has plans for process; not for action. And his core convictions remain a mystery, both to him and, more importantly, to the Australian people.

If Labor is elected, Mr Rudd’s inexperience and lack of judgment would leave a vacuum at the heart of Australia’s government. That vacuum would be filled by a trade union movement determined to take back the running of the country.

And wall-to-wall Labor would mean no checks and balances in our Federation.

Our $1 trillion economy simply can’t afford it.


Rudd Offers “New Leadership”

Australia is facing “new” and “great” challenges and requires “new leadership”, according to the Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd.

RuddAddressing a press conference in Brisbane, Rudd warned of a situation where “nothing changes” if the coalition is returned at the November 24 election.

Australia requires someone to say “the buck stops with me”, Rudd said, citing Labor policies on education, health, climate change, industrial relations and foreign affairs as areas requiring new leadership. [Read more…]


Howard Fails Vision For Australia Say Greens

This is the text of a statement released by the leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown.

It follows the Prime Minister’s announcement of the November 24 election.

The Prime Minister’s acceptance that “I take responsibility for everything that happens under my watch” highlights his failures on Iraq, climate change, water security, public hospitals and schools, Indigenous wellbeing, and the plight of 1.2 million pensioners, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

“Howard claims the country needs right leadership when in fact it needs good green leadership.

Failure on global warming, forests, water and public transport means failure on economic vision.

His “balanced approach” has manifestly failed the nation in an age of massive, punishing climate impact on our economy,” Senator Brown said.

“His call for “balance” seems divorced from his unbalanced abuse of the Senate majority. The Greens will provide the balance the Howard years have robbed from Australia,” Senator Brown said.