Abbott Signs Free Trade Agreement With Japanese Prime Minister Abe

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has signed a free trade agreement with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

Signing

The agreement is called The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). It ensures that more than 97% of Australia’s exports to Japan will receive preferential access or enter duty-free.

The signing followed this morning’s speech by Abe to a joint sitting of the Parliament. [Read more...]


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Addresses Australian Parliament

The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has addressed the Australian Parliament in Canberra today.

Abe

Abe and Prime Minister Tony Abbott both spoke to a joint sitting of the two houses in the House of Representatives. Abe’s delivered his speech in English, which is being interpreted as a high compliment from the Japanese.

Abbott told the House: “Since 1957, Australian coal, iron ore and gas has powered Japan’s prosperity; and Japanese cars, consumer goods and electronics have transformed Australians’ lives. Australians are grateful for the Japanese trade and Japanese investment that has helped to build our modern prosperity. Above all, we appreciate the mutual respect and trust that has underpinned the commercial relationship. [Read more...]


McClure Social Welfare Reform Report Calls For Simplified Payments System

The Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, has released a review of the social welfare system which calls for simplified system of four basic payment types.

The report, by Patrick McClure, calls for: a tiered Working Age Payment; a Disability Support Pension; an Age Pension; and a Child Payment.

Statement from the Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews.

Interim Report Proposes a Simplified Welfare System

Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews says an interim review of Australia’s welfare system has put forward a simplified payments structure with four basic payment types, among other potential reforms. [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...]


Abbott Submits Carbon Tax Repeal Bills To House Of Representatives For Third Time

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has submitted the carbon tax repeal bills to the House of Representatives for the third time since last year’s election.

The bills were passed by the House last year and rejected by the Senate in March this year. The new Senate has been recalled on July 7 to consider the bills again.

With Budget legislation still stalled in the Senate, the government concentrated on the carbon tax legislation in Question Time. In the morning, Abbott visited Oxford Freezers in Laverton, Melbourne, and talked about the importance of repealing the carbon tax. In his weekly video message on the weekend, Abbott also focussed on the carbon tax and the delivery of his election commitments.

Until next Monday, the ALP and the Greens have the numbers in the Senate to reject the legislation. From July 1, the balance of power in the Senate shifts to the 8 crossbenchers, including 3 from the Palmer United Party, 1 Motoring Enthusiast Party, 1 Family First, 1 Liberal Democrats, 1 Democratic Labour Party and 1 independent. If the ALP (25) and the Greens (10) are opposed, the government needs 6 of the 8 crossbenchers to pass legislation. If 3 crossbenchers join with the ALP and Greens, the government can be obstructed.

The repeal of the carbon tax is likely to be achieved with the support of a majority of the crossbenchers, including the Palmer United Party senators and Senato-elect Ricky Muir.

  • Listen to Abbott’s Laverton media conference (9m)

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  • Listen to Abbott’s Second Reading Speech (12m – transcript below)

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  • Watch Abbott’s speech (12m)
  • Listen to Abbott’s media conference (9m)

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  • Listen to Question Time (84m)

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  • Watch Question Time (85m)
  • Watch Abbott’s weekend video message (2m)

Statement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Today I re-introduced the Carbon Tax repeal bill into Parliament.

We are doing this because of our commitment to take real action to help families deal with cost of living pressures. [Read more...]


Tony Abbott Reflects On His Overseas Trip; About To Depart U.S.

As he prepares to leave Texas for the flight back to Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reflected on his overseas trip.

Abbott spoke at a press conference in Houston. He was about to leave on a flight that will set down in Hawaii, en route to Australia.

The trip took Abbott to France for the D-Day 70th anniversary. From there, he visited Canada and the United States.

Abbott

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Tony Abbott Meets With Barack Obama At White House

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has met with US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC.

Obama

Obama and Abbott each made brief comments about the Australia-US alliance and foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Obama took one question from Washington journalists on the unfolding and emergency situation in Iraq. David Speers from Australian Sky News asked Obama another question about Iraq. [Read more...]