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Archives for June 2000

A.C.T. Government’s Budget Blocked In Assembly

The Australian Capital Territory’s Liberal government is in crisis following the defeat of its budget in the House of Assembly on Thursday.

CarnellThe constitutional situation is uncertain because the Assembly has a fixed term which does not expire until October next year.

The ACT Assembly has 17 members. There is no upper house. The budget was defeated because of its provision of $800,000 for trialling a heroin injecting room.

The ALP’s six members voted against the budget, even though they support the drug trial. They were joined by the Green member, Kerrie Tucker, who also supports the trial, and the two “Osborne Independents”, Paul Osborne and Dave Rugendyke, both of whom oppose the trial. [Read more…]

Howard Addresses The Nation On The GST

The Goods and Services Tax came into force on July 1, 2000.

Two days before the GST and its associated tax reforms were introduced, Prime Minister John Howard addressed the nation on ABC television.

  • Listen to Howard’s Address (8m)

Address to the Nation by Prime Minister John Howard.

HowardMy fellow Australians,

May I have a few moments of your time to say why the new tax system which starts on Saturday is good for Australia.

This is something the country has needed for more than twenty years and we’re doing it because it is the right thing for the nation.

It will give us a fairer taxation system.

It will cut our income tax.

It will strengthen us in the world. [Read more…]

Isaacs By-Election To Be Held On August 12

The voters of the Melbourne electorate of Isaacs will go to the polls on Saturday 12 August to elect a replacement for the former Labor member, Greg Wilton.

AndrewThe date was announced by the House of Representatives Speaker, Neil Andrew, before Question Time commenced today.

The ALP holds the seat with a margin of over 6%. Recent speculation suggests that the Liberal Party will not field a candidate in the election.

The Speaker of the House is given responsibility under Section 33 of the Constitution to issue writs to fill vacancies in the lower house.

This will be the first by-election held during this Parliament.

The timetable for the by-election is:

  • Fri 30 June – Issue of Writ
  • Fri 11 July – Close of Rolls
  • Thu 13 July – Close of Nominations
  • Sat 12 August – Polling Day
  • Sun 08 October – Return of Writ on or before this date

High Court Upholds Industrial Relations Legislation

The High Court today rejected a challenge from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union to the Federal government’s simplification of industrial awards in the Workplace Relations Act.

High Court CrestThe decision was supported by 4 judges (Gleeson, Hayne, Gummow and Callinan) and opposed by 3 (Kirby, McHugh and Gaudron).

Except for Gummow, the majority judges were appointed by the Howard government. The minority judges were all appointed by the Hawke or Keating governments. [Read more…]

Greg Wilton, Member for Isaacs, Found Dead

The Federal Labor member for Isaacs, Greg Wilton, was found dead in his car today in Tea Tree Road, Labertouche, southeast of Melbourne.

Greg WiltonWilton had represented the suburban electorate in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs since 1996.

In a statement released today, Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said:

“I was very saddened to learn today of the death of Greg Wilton, the Federal Labor member for Isaacs.

“Greg was a young man of ability, with much to live for and much to contribute. It is a matter of immense distress to all Greg Wilton’s friends and colleagues in the Labor Party that this tragedy has occurred; that this life should have ended in such sadness. [Read more…]

Paul Keating On The Australian Media

This is the text of a speech by former Prime Minister Paul Keating to The Sydney Institute.

Paul KeatingThe last time I was in this room I was talking about nuns.

From the Sisters of St Joseph to Brian Toohey and Kerry Packer. It makes you appreciate anew the rich diversity of humankind.

Gerard and Anne originally invited me to talk to the Institute about foreign policy and my book Engagement. I had given a couple of speeches recently about that subject and didn’t want to repeat myself. However, I’d written briefly about the media in the book and I had some other issues I wanted to discuss. Given that Gerard has been one of the handful of commentators in Australia to take the media and its accountability seriously, this seemed like a good forum to set out these views. [Read more…]

Pre-Selection Contests Occupying Attention Of Major Parties

With the next Federal election due in 18 months time, the major parties are engaged in the process of pre-selecting candidates.

Recent developments include:


Former ACTU President, Jennie George, has finally been guaranteed a seat in Parliament with the decision by the NSW ALP State Conference over the weekend to give her endorsement for Throsby. [Read more…]

Mabo Anniversary Amid Reconciliation Controversy

The eighth anniversary of the High Court’s judgement in the Mabo case occurs this Saturday and is the culmination of National Reconciliation Week activities throughout Australia.

FlagThe Mabo judgement overthrew the legal notion of “terra nullius”, the concept that the Australian continent was an empty land belonging to no-one which was acquired by the British in the eighteenth century.

The court ruled that a form of native title exists in the Australian common law that reflects the entitlement of the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, in accordance with their laws and customs, to their traditional lands.

The court also ruled that native title is extinguished by valid government acts that are inconsistent with the continued existence of native title rights and interests, such as the grant of freehold or leasehold estates.

The case led to the passage of the Native Title Act in 1993 and the establishment of the Native Title Tribunal to rule on Aboriginal land claims.

The act was amended in 1998 after a fierce debate following the High Court’s 1996 Wik judgement. This decision followed confusion over the competing claims of Aborigines and pastoral leaseholders. The court held that native title and pastoral leasehold rights could co-exist, but that leasehold rights prevail in the event of conflict.

The debate over native title has occurred in the context of ongoing discussion about the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal children, particularly since the release of the report of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Bringing Them Home.

Recent years have seen a growing social movement devoted to the issuing of a formal national apology to the Stolen Generations. There have also been calls for a formal treaty with the Aboriginal people.

2000 Presidential Candidates

This page shows the men and women who announced their candidacy for President.

It has been updated to show the dates on which candidates withdrew from the contest. [Read more…]

Howard Beats Keating’s Term As Prime Minister

John Howard yesterday equalled Paul Keating’s 4 years, 2 months and 20 days as Prime Minister.

John HowardIn doing so, Howard today becomes the 10th longest serving of the 25 men who have been Prime Minister since 1901.

Provided he remains Prime Minister until next February, he will overtake Chifley, Fisher and Deakin to become the 7th longest serving head of government, eclipsed only by Menzies, Hawke, Fraser, Hughes, Lyons and Bruce.

Assuming the next election is held late in 2001, Howard would have to win that election and remain Prime Minister for another year to overtake Stanley Melbourne Bruce’s 6 years, 8 months and 14 days in the job.

Sir Robert Gordon Menzies was Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister. Over two terms he served for 18 years, 5 months and 12 days.