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.

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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...]


Tony Abbott Moves Up A Notch

Tony Abbott today becomes the 22nd longest-serving of Australia’s 28 prime ministers, overtaking George Reid’s term of 10 months and 18 days.

Even though he has not yet served a full year, Abbott has overtaken six previous PMs: Frank Forde, Earle Page, John McEwen, Arthur Fadden, Chris Watson and George Reid.

Forde (1945), Page (1939) and McEwen (1967-68) were all stop-gap PMs, serving briefly following the deaths of Curtin, Lyons and Holt.

Fadden served briefly in 1941 but was voted out of office by the House of Representatives.

Watson, the first Labor PM, served for four months in 1904. He was succeeded by Reid, the only Free Trade PM, who lasted for just on 11 months in 1904-05.

Abbott will move up to 21st position on December 13 this year, when he overtakes Joseph Cook, who served for 1 year, 2 months and 25 days. Cook was prime minister a hundred years ago today when Australia joined Britain in declaring war on Germany.


Federal Police To Join Multinational Mission At Flight MH17 Crash Site

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, held his seventh consecutive daily press conference today, appearing with the Federal Police Commissioner, Tony Negus, to announce that Australian police will join the Dutch-led multinational mission to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

Abbott said the mission “will be swift”. He said the Australian Federal Police officers will not be armed and that “meticulous planning” has gone into mitigating the risks in a “difficult environment”.

Media release from Prime Minister Tony Abbott:

Operation Bring Them Home: AFP to Join Dutch-led Multinational Police Mission

Australia will contribute to a Dutch-led multinational police mission to the crash site of MH17. I expect the first contingent of Australian police will arrive at the crash site later today with Dutch colleagues to begin their important work.

First and foremost, the purpose of the mission is to recover further remains from the site. The police mission also will seek to remove wreckage from the site and, to the extent possible, obtain information that will assist investigators. [Read more...]


Abbott Holds Sixth Press Conference In Six Days On Flight MH17

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has held his sixth press conference in six days on the recovery operation for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

AbbottAs he has done throughout the week, Abbott stressed that Australia is engaged in a humanitarian operation.

Abbott said that “others can get involved if they wish in the politics of Eastern Europe. Our sole concern is to claim our dead and bring them home”.

He said: “That is our mission: to secure the remains, to assist the investigation, and to obtain justice for the victims and their loved ones.”

Abbott indicated that an agreement with the Ukrainian government to allow Australian police involvement in the investigation at the crash site has been negotiated but requires ratification by the Ukrainian parliament.

  • Listen to Abbott’s press conference (9m)

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Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Canberra press conference today.

ABBOTT: Thanks everyone for being here and thanks for being here on a Saturday.

What I wanted to do was give you an update on Operation Bring Them Home. [Read more...]


Another 100 Federal Police Deployed For MH17 Recovery; We Just Want To Bring Home Our Dead, Says Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that a further 100 Australian Federal Police officers are being deployed to assist in the recovery and investigation of the attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

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The contingent of police officers will leave today. They will be “pre-deployed” to The Netherlands. Some will be armed.

Abbott said the government is “close to finalising” an arrangement for Australian police to assist in the investigation. [Read more...]