The Good Fight: Wayne Swan Launches Memoirs Of The Rudd-Gillard Years

The Good Fight, the memoirs of Wayne Swan, Treasurer in the Rudd and Gillard governments, has been launched in Canberra.

Swan

The ALP’s deputy leader and Gillard supporter, Tanya Plibersek, spoke at the launch.

In his speech, Swan concentrated on the work he undertook during the global financial crisis in 2008-09. He said it was now possible to contemplate the Abbott administration as a one-term government. [Read more…]


Wayne Swan Attacks Abbott Government As Partisan And Vindictive; Claims Undermining Of Institutions And Conventions Of Government

The former Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has attacked the Abbott government, accusing it of excessive partisanship and vindictiveness, and of being a government intent on attacking key institutions and undermining important conventions of government.

SwanSwan’s attack came in a speech to the Chifley Ideas Circle, in Melbourne.

Swan attacked the partisanship of the Abbott government. He claimed this began on election night last year when Tony Abbott gloated about the ALP’s primary vote. Swan said he thought: “If he can shrink to this occasion, he can shrink to anything.”

The sacking of the Treasury Secretary, Martin Parkinson, was part of a process of undermining the independence of the Public Service, Swan said. He said the attacks on public servants had “a clear political purpose” to threaten current and future public servants. It was part of an assertion by conservatives of their “right to be the permanent government of Australia”.

Swan said the attacks on the ABC were designed to soften it up for budget cuts and to “repay News Limited for their absurdly lavish assistance” over the past three years.

He said the Abbott government was overturning conventions of government by inquiring into the previous government’s activities and accessing Cabinet records once kept secret, whereas the Labor government had not inquired into the Howard government’s actions over the Iraq war.

Swan said the government’s broken promises and vindictiveness against anyone associated with the labour movement were part of a process of delegitimising progressive policies and discrediting “institutions that deliver power to weaker and more vulnerable sections of society”.

The former Treasurer defended the Labor government’s Budgets. He said there was no spending problem but a problem with revenue downgrades. He described the government as “fiscal vandals”, whereas “we were Keynesians on the way down and remained Keynesians when growth returned”.

Swan accused the Prime Minister of “junior common room political fantasies” and said the government was intent on a “radical right wing manifesto” that is “the very essence of the survival of the fittest mentality identified by Thomas Piketty in his recent book”.

Swan is the member for Lilley in Queensland. He was first elected in 1993, defeated in 1996 and re-elected again in 1998. He served as Treasurer in the first Rudd government and was Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer in the Gillard government. He resigned from the ministry when Rudd was returned to the ALP leadership last June.

  • Listen to Swan’s speech (35m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Swan respond to questions (14m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Watch the entire event (52m)

Official transcript of Wayne Swan’s speech to the Chifley Ideas Circle.

THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST MENTALITY OF THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT: SHIFTING THE BALANCE FROM WORKING PEOPLE TO VESTED INTERESTS

Introduction

Thanks Michael [Cooney] for that introduction.

It’s great to be here tonight to help launch the Melbourne Chifley Ideas Circle.

In a world of neo-conservative idea machines, there’s no doubt the Chifley Research Centre is a beacon of social-democratic economic sanity. [Read more…]


Reserve Bank Lowers Rates To 2.75%

The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut its cash rate 0.25% to 2.75%, the lowest rate since the 1950s.

In a statement, Governor Glenn Stevens said the RBA’s board “judged that a further decline in the cash rate was appropriate to encourage sustainable growth in the economy, consistent with achieving the inflation target.”

Swan

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said the economy had strong growth, low unemployment and contained inflation. He said there was no comparison between today’s low interest rates and the emergency rates that prevailed during the global financial crisis.

Hockey

The Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, said the Reserve Bank was showing leadership and doing the “heavy lifting” for the government by responding to a deteriorating economy. He said rates were now beyond emergency levels.

  • Listen to Wayne Swan’s remarks (11m) – transcript below

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Joe Hockey’s remarks (6m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to remarks by Peter Anderson, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (4m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Interest Rates Since 1990

Text of statement from Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens.

At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 per cent, effective 8 May 2013.

The global economy is likely to record growth a little below trend this year, before picking up next year. Among the major regions, the United States continues on a path of moderate expansion and China’s growth is running at a more sustainable, but still robust, pace. Japan has announced significant new policy initiatives aimed at strengthening demand and ending deflation. The euro area remains in recession. Commodity prices have moderated a little in recent months though they remain high by historical standards.

Financial conditions internationally continue to be very accommodative, with risk spreads reduced, funding conditions for most financial institutions improved and borrowing costs for well-rated corporates and sovereigns exceptionally low. [Read more…]


ALP Leadership Spill: Live Blog

10.30pm – Channel 10 Late News surveys the day’s events.

8.15pm – Ed Husic, member for Chifley, one of the Assistant Whips, has resigned his position. Husic appeared on Sky News and confirmed his resignation. Janelle Saffin, member for Page, has also resigned. Earlier today, Chief Whip Joel Fitzgibbon said he was considering his position. He can be expected to resign prior to the resumption of Parliament in May.

Crean, Marles, Fitzgibbon, Husic and Saffin are the five of the six main victims of today’s leadership fracas. Rudd is the sixth.

Husic

7.50pm – The reaction of most people to today’s events is “WTF”, according to independent Senator Nick Xenophon. He told 7.30 that no-one will support Rudd again. Whilst the May Budget could be a “circuit-breaker”, the voters have the baseball bats out ready. He said Rudd should say he will never accept the leadership under any circumstances. Greens leader Senator Christine Milne says it’s too late now because all the bridges have been burnt. [Read more…]


Wayne Swan’s Speech To The AWU National Conference

The Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has addressed the Australian Workers’ Union National Conference in Brisbane.

Swan’s speech follows Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s appearance last night.

Swan’s speech returned to his familiar theme of Labor values, warned of Tea Party tendencies in the Liberal Party, reiterated the government’s commitment to jobs, and emphasised the importance of the government’s re-election in September.

Swan

  • Listen to Paul Howes introduce Swan (2m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Swan’s speech (26m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Swan’s media conference after his speech (5m)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Transcript of Wayne Swan’s speech to the AWU National Conference.

The Choice of 2013

Thanks Paul for that introduction. I think brothers and sisters of the AWU would join me in saying that your re-election – unopposed as it was – speaks volumes about the respect and appreciation you’ve earned in this room and around the country. There’d certainly be no argument here that the national conversation has benefited hugely from your growing contribution over the past few years. Together with Bill Ludwig – a giant of our movement – you’ve helped the AWU stand tall and unmoved as the first line of defence for so many hardworking Australians and their right to decent pay and fair conditions. And to Bill, mate frankly I reckon you could’ve knocked out another quarter of a century leading the mighty Queensland branch. But I do understand the need for fresh blood and I know you leave it in Ben’s very capable hands. We’re better every day for your stewardship of this great union – our union.

As the PM said last night, I’m just back from G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Moscow over the weekend. These meetings always reaffirm my optimism about the future of our nation. A lot of finance ministers around the table would give their right arm for the resilience of the Australian economy. Yes, we face challenges and we saw some of those tough challenges in the video last night. The higher dollar being one. But we approach these from a position of strength that few developed economies have. Every time I sit in these meetings I think about people like you. I think of the Labor values that go to the core of our party and movement. Jobs first, fair days’ pay for a fair days work – high skill high wage careers. Always putting growth and jobs first, and making sure we’re prepared for the challenges of the future by dealing with dangerous climate change and investing in infrastructure and education. We’re stronger today because we applied these values during the global financial crisis, we saved hundreds of thousands of jobs and small businesses, and in doing that we were opposed every step of the way by Mr Abbott and his Tea-Party style negative tactics. Had Mr Abbott and his slash and burn Tea-Partyers been in charge during the financial crisis, Australia would have gone into recession. [Read more…]