In Barton, Tony Abbott Promises Home-Grown Policy With A Strong Australian Accent

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, was campaigning in the NSW electorate of Barton this morning.

Barton is held for Labor by the former Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, with a margin of 6.86%. McClelland has announced that he will not contest the seat at this year’s election. There has been speculation that he may cause a by-election by resigning to take up a judicial post from the NSW government.

Abbott [Read more…]


Robert McClelland Announces Retirement As Member For Barton

The former Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, has announced he will retire from parliament at this year’s election.

McClellandMcClelland is the Labor member for Barton in Sydney. He has held the seat since 1996.

His two-party-preferred margin at the 2010 election was 6.86%, following a swing of 8.08% against the ALP. The ALP primary vote was 48.48%.

McClelland was Attorney-General in the Rudd government from its election in 2007 and under Gillard until December 2011 when he was demoted to Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Emergency Management.

He was sacked from the ministry last March, following his public support for Kevin Rudd’s failed leadership challenge.

There was media speculation today that the former NSW Premier, Morris Iemma, may be interested in ALP preselection for Barton.

McClelland is the fifth Labor member of the House of Representatives to announce his retirement. The others are Steve Gibbons (Bendigo-Vic), Sharon Grierson (Newcastle-NSW), Harry Jenkins (Scullin-Vic) and Kirsten Livermore (Capricornia-Qld).

Four Liberal MPs are also retiring. They are Joanna Gash (Gilmore-NSW), Judi Moylan (Pearce-WA), Alby Schultz (Hume-NSW) and Mal Washer (Moore-WA).

Two Queensland LNP members are retiring. They are Paul Neville (Hinkler) and Alex Somlyay (Fairfax).

Statement from Robert McClelland, Member for Barton.

I have today advised the General Secretary of the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party that I have decided not to seek preselection as the ALP’s candidate for the seat of Barton in the next Federal election. After almost 17 years in Federal Parliament my decision has not been taken lightly and follows discussion over the Christmas recess with my family and friends.

I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the constituents of Barton. I owe them a deep sense of gratitude for their support over the past 17 years. It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to represent them in the Parliament of Australia.

The electorate of Barton is a remarkable area with a long established sense of community that has been supplmented by the drive and energy of people who have come from all corners of the globe to make our great country their home. I comment the work of local community organisations and the representatives at all levels of Government with whom I have had the privilege of working to make our area a shining example of a harmonious and vibrant community.

I would also like to thank my family, staff, friends and supporters for their constancy over the past 17 years. They have provided the foundation and support for all that I have been able to achieve as the federal Member for Barton and as a Minister of the Crown.

I wish my successor all the very best in the important and tremendously satisfying role that lays ahead for him or her and I look forward to continuing to make a contribution to the Australian community in the next stage of my professional career.


Stephen Gageler Appointed Justice Of The High Court

The Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Stephen Gageler, has been appointed a judge of the High Court of Australia.

Stephen GagelerThe appointment was announced today by the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon. Gageler will replace Justice William Gummow who will reach the constitutionally-mandated retirement age of 70 on October 9.

Gageler is 54 years old. If he serves until he turns 70, he will remain on the High Court until July 8, 2028.

Gageler was appointed Solicitor-General by the previous Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, in 2008. As Solicitor-General, he is the Second Law Officer to the Attorney-General. The Solicitor-General appears on behalf of the Commonwealth, especially in the High Court.

Gageler grew up in NSW, studied law at the Australian National University and completed his Master of Laws at Harvard University in 1987.

Early in his career, Gageler was an Associate to Sir Anthony Mason, a former Justice and Chief Justice of the court. It is Mason’s seat that Gageler will take. It is the position originally held by Australia’s first prime minister, Sir Edmund Barton. Like Gageler, Mason also held the position of Solicitor-General between 1964-69.

Gageler is the 49th appointment to the High Court since it was established in 1903. He replaces the last of the Hawke-Keating appointments. When Gageler takes his seat in October, the court will consist of four appointments by the Howard government, two by the Rudd government and one by the Gillard government.

Gageler’s appointment maintains the balance of three NSW judges, two from Victoria, one from Queensland and one from Western Australia. There has never been a High Court judge appointed from South Australia or Tasmania.

Media release by the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon:

New Justice of the High Court of Australia

21 August 2012

I am pleased to announce the Governor-General Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC CVO has today appointed Mr Stephen Gageler SC as Australia’s new Justice of the High Court of Australia following a recommendation from the Government.

Mr Gageler will be the 49th person appointed to the High Court since Federation.

Mr Gageler’s appointment will follow the retirement of the Honourable Justice William Gummow AC in October 2012 after 17 years of outstanding service to Australia’s highest court.

Mr Gageler has served as the Commonwealth Solicitor General since September 2008. He is a highly distinguished barrister and specialised in constitutional, administrative, revenue and commercial law in Sydney. [Read more…]


Robert McClelland: Vigilance Against Injustice In The Justice System

The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, has spoken of the national shame that is the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system.

McClelland delivered the Lionel Murphy Lecture at the Australian National University. Murphy was Attorney-General in the Whitlam Labor government from 1972 until his appointment as a Justice of the High Court in early 1975. He served on the court until his death in 1986. [Read more…]


Day 13: All Politics Is Local

The ALP released a national disability “strategy” yesterday. They could have just called it a policy statement but everything is a strategy these days. At least it was a national strategy in an important policy area that has gone unrecognised for too long. It was Julia Gillard’s first major announcement of the day.

But it was the only worthy policy announcement of the day. With Gillard and Abbott both in Melbourne, the race to state politics was never more keenly fought. Abbott announced a plan to crack down on gangs and Gillard declared war on knives. Melbourne marvelled at their intuitive understanding of our most deeply-held fears.

Later, Gillard was mobbed in a shopping centre in the electorate of Deakin. Abbott visited the Essendon Football Club and practised handballing. There was no sign at Windy Hill of that great Bombers fan, Peter Costello. Another prominent supporter, Simon Crean, was far from Melbourne in the northern Queensland electorate of Leichhardt, visiting schools with the sitting Labor member, Jim Turnour. [Read more…]


Black Saturday Bushfires: Moving Speeches In Parliament For Victims

The House of Representatives was the scene today of a moving condolence motion for victims of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was not in attendance, having stayed in Melbourne, but his deputy, Julia Gillard, visibly affected, gave a magnificent speech to a silent chamber. She was followed by the Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, who delivered an equally impressive and moving speech. [Read more…]


Latham Announces Labor’s Border Protection Policy

A week before the ALP’s National Conference meets in Sydney the Opposition Leader, Mark Latham, and the Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, Robert McClelland, have released the party’s policy on border protection.

Text of ALP policy on Border Protection.

Better Policy To Protect Our Borders

Protecting our borders demands self-reliance. That’s why a Latham Labor Government will put in place tough new laws to deal with people smugglers under Australian law. [Read more…]