Day 3: Oh My God, They Killed WorkChoices!

“It’s worth it just for the cartoon of her nose,” the man in my local newsagency told me as I purchased the Financial Review yesterday. Like all the newspapers, the Fin had a special election supplement. Its frontpage cartoon by the incomparable David Rowe also contained a jug-eared Tony Abbott but the retailer seemed more agitated by Julia Gillard.

It was a small, perhaps meaningless, moment but it affirmed for me that Gillard is especially crucial to this election. Everyone is talking about her. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott Says Gillard Cannot Be Trusted

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, has responded to Julia Gillard’s announcement of an August 21 election by saying she cannot be trusted.

Speaking in Brisbane, Abbott said that the Australian people can trust Gillard as much as Kevin Rudd could trust her.

Abbott said a government led by him would be different from previous coalition governments. He said it would be liberal, conservative, “and most of all it will be mine”.

Journalists peppered Abbott with questions about WorkChoices, following an earlier speech by Abbott in which he said WorkChoices had been “cremated”.

  • Listen to Tony Abbott’s remarks (14m)

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“Partially Treated Sewage Sandwich” From Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Liberal PartyThe Federal Opposition’s Julie Bishop has given an extraordinary press conference in which she attempted to justify the coalition’s decision not to to oppose the government’s legislation abolishing WorkChoices.

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As the Sydney Morning Herald’s Annabel Crabb put it on February 20:

The Opposition’s Julie Bishop was on something quite different yesterday. Some sort of calmative, perhaps.

Ms Bishop has been vocal for months on the need to fight to the death for Australian Workplace Agreements.

And yesterday, for 30 minutes in the Senate courtyard, before a vast throng of fascinated reporters, with a fixed smile on her face, she consumed what for the benefit of family readers we will call a partially treated sewage sandwich. She was cool, charming and professional. She at no point lost her cool. And for much of the time, she made no sense whatsoever.

This is unsurprising, given that Ms Bishop was trying to explain how agreeing to abolish the agreements was pretty much the same as insisting on keeping them, if you thought about it.


Costello To Quit Politics; Will Not Seek Or Accept Liberal Leadership

The Treasurer in the defeated coalition government, Peter Costello, has announced that he “will not seek and will not accept” the leadership or deputy leadership of the Liberal Party.

Speaking at a press conference in Melbourne, Costello said: “I will continue to serve my constituents and in serving my constituents I hope that I will have a role to play perhaps mentoring some of the newer MPs.” Significantly, he did not commit to serving the full three years of the term he was elected to yesterday.

Costello said he “will be looking to build a career post-politics in the commercial world”.

Costello has been deputy leader of the Liberal Party since May 23, 1994. He was been Treasurer since the Howard government was elected in 1996. His decision to vacate the field will likely lead to a contest between outgoing ministers such as Malcolm Turnbull, Brendan Nelson, Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop. [Read more…]


IR Changes to Improve Work-Family Balance: Howard’s New Year Message

Economic reform “must, and will, continue in 2006″, according to the Prime Minister, John Howard, in his New Year’s Message.

HowardHoward said that “stable and happy family life is crucial to Australia’s future”. He said that “more flexibility under the new workplace arrangements will enable Australians an even greater capacity to balance work and family life”.

In a further sign of his determination to remain Prime Minister through to the next election, Howard reiterated his government’s record in economic management, claiming that the “reform process was maintained to the full in 2005″. [Read more…]