Rob Oakeshott (Ind – Lyne) – Valedictory Speech

Rob Oakeshott was the independent member for Lyne for five years from 2008 until 2013.

Oakeshott

Oakeshott was previously a Nationals and an independent member of the NSW Legislative Assembly. He won Lyne at a by-election in September 2008, following the retirement of the former Nationals leader, Mark Vaile. [Read more…]


When Will The 2013 Federal Election Be Held?

What do we definitely know about this year’s election?

  • A House of Representatives election can be called at any time. Provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act require a minimum of 33 days notice. A January election is now impossible. No federal election has ever been held in January or February. Given the holiday period underway now, an early March election is probably the earliest possible date.
  • A double dissolution is now constitutionally impossible. No legislation has been twice rejected by the Senate with the requisite three-month interval. The option formally expires on March 27.
  • A half-Senate election cannot be called until after July 1. See Section 13 of the Constitution. A House-only election held between February-June 2013 would require a separate half-Senate election sometime before June 30, 2014. A Gillard or Abbott government would be forced back to the polls within a year of any House election held before June 2013.
  • The earliest possible date for a joint House of Representatives and half-Senate election is August 3.
  • A House election can be held as late as November 30, if every requirement of the Constitution and Electoral Act is stretched to the maximum allowable time.
  • The House of Representatives will expire on September 27 if it hasn’t already been dissolved. This is because the three year term of the House dates from the first day the parliament met – September 28, 2010. If the House expired on September 27, the writs for the election would have to be issued within 10 days.
  • Antony Green has written a couple of informative pieces about the historical timing of elections and the constitutional and legislative requirements. See here and here.

Is an election in March, April, May or June entirely out of the question?

  • No. An upturn in the government’s fortunes could encourage Gillard to go early to capitalise on favourable conditions. In this event, the half-Senate problem would probably be lost in the general melee of an election. Besides, the Opposition has been demanding an early poll for most of the past two years.
  • There have been suggestions the government might go early to avoid bringing down a May budget. This seems less likely since Wayne Swan announced that the government has all but abandoned its budget surplus promise. It is just as likely that the government will aim to use the Budget to establish its priorities for the election campaign and to engage in some electorally strategic spending initiatives.

Is a March-June election likely?

  • No. As is well known, the government is not travelling well in the polls. In these circumstances governments do not go early. They hang in until the last possible moment in the hope that the Opposition will stumble or that something else turns up to rescue them. John Howard did this in 2007. Members facing defeat don’t want to go any earlier than they absolutely have to for political and possibly financial reasons.

[Read more…]


Rob Oakeshott Responds To Gerard Henderson On Minority Government

Rob Oakeshott has shot back at Sydney Morning Herald columnist Gerard Henderson over his comments on minority government.

OakeshottThe member for Lyne, one of the rural independents whose support is crucial to the survival of Julia Gillard’s minority Labor government, was responding to yesterday’s column by Henderson which argued that “the Australian body politic is clearly afflicted by the minority obsession”.

Henderson claimed: “For more than two years, a number of poor political decisions and misjudged statements can be directly attributed to the minority obsession’s prevalence. Most recently, some of the assessments of the Federal Court in Ashby v Commonwealth of Australia.”

In his response, Oakeshott said “the dreamers for majority” had failed to adjust to the “new normal” of multi-party democracy. Oakeshott defended his decision to support a minority Labor government, even when “the ALP has gone missing on some key items agreed to”.

He wrote: “Better education and health polices, a market-based emissions trading scheme being implemented, a rate of return and equity being delivered through a national broadband strategy, progress on bi-partisan recognition of Australia’s 40,000-year-old history in our Constitution, and the starting elements of tax reform, are all positive reasons why I did what I did, and why I stand by it.”

This article appeared on the website of the member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott.

A FOOLISH SUMMATION OF MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY

Mr Gerard Henderson yesterday continued his convenient and ongoing obsession with minority government, and his attacks on colleague Tony Windsor and I in particular (Minority rule makes fools of both sides of the house). The executive director of the conservative Australian current affairs forum has never spoken to me, or to my knowledge to Mr Windsor, so his “insight” into the events leading up to the incumbent government securing a working majority is exposed and needs correcting. [Read more…]


Dealing With Craig Thomson: An Impressive MPI Debate

An impressive Matter of Public Importance debate took place in the House of Representatives this afternoon.

The MPI was devoted to the issue of how the House should treat Craig Thomson, the member for Dobell, in the light of allegations against him and his statement to the House yesterday.

Debate revolved around the nature of a censure and the arguments for and against suspending Thomson from the service of the House. [Read more…]


Minority Government Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the agreement between the independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott that delivered minority government to Julia Gillard in the aftermath of an inconclusive August 21 election.

Here’s the audio of what the main players said on September 7, 2010.

  • Bob Katter announces his decision to support the Coalition.

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  • Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott announce their support for the ALP. This includes the famous rambling 17-minute speech from Oakeshott.

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  • Greens leader Senator Bob Brown comments on the decision of the independents.

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  • Julia Gillard’s victory press conference.

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