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Archives for November 2005

Martin Ferguson Attacks Greens Over Forests Policy

The ALP’s spokesman on foresty issues, Martin Ferguson, has launched an attack on the Greens, accusing them of placing at risk the economic security and jobs of their constituents.

Martin FergusonIn a speech to the National Association of Forest Industries, Ferguson distanced the ALP from the Greens on forestry issues and called on them to “wear” the decisions of “democratically elected governments”.

Ferguson claimed that “for the last two years international clients of the forest industry have been subject to a lobbying and email campaign calling for a global boycott of Tasmanian products.” He said “the Greens have also undermined the Tasmanian forest industry with UK parliamentarians, potentially jeopardising UK visitor numbers to Tasmania and placing at risk the almost $50 million spent by British tourists in Tasmania each year.”

Lauding the $1 billion contributed to the Tasmanian economy each year by forestry, Ferguson said that Tasmania’s timber industry “is conducted to the highest standards in accordance with the Australian Forestry Standard, the development of which was initiated by the Commonwealth government and based on internationally agreed criteria”. [Read more…]


Michelle Who? Beazley Fluffs Radio Interview

In a radio interview today, Opposition Leader Kim Beazley struggled to identify Michelle Leslie, the young woman arrested in Indonesia for possession of ecstasy tablets.

In the interview, Beazley was asked for his opinion on Lee’s release.

  • Listen to the exchange (41s)
  • Watch Beazley (2m)

Partial transcript of Opposition Leader Kim Beazley’s radio interview.

Beazley: Oh, well, I’m glad she’s out … ah, Michelle Lee … I think, is it?

Host: Michelle Leslie.

Beazley: .. Leslie.

Host: The girl who was in the news a moment ago.

Beazley: Oh, right … I wasn’t listening, sorry. Ha, ha, ha … ah …

Host: This is the girl who the police in Indonesia found in possession of a couple of ecstasy tablets.

Beazley: Oh, no, sorry, I thought you said Lee. Lee, not Leslie. Oh, OK, right, um. Well, I think she’s, um, lucky to be out and I’m glad she is … I’m not going to get into a theological discussion about conversion to Islam.

Following her release from custody in Indonesia, Michelle Leslie held a press conference.

  • Listen to the press conference (22m)

Australia To Provide $100m For APEC Bird Flu Measures

Australia is to provide $100 million for initiatives to combat the threat of pandemics, including avian influenza.

The announcement of the aid came from the Prime Minister, John Howard, at the Australia Pacific Economic Co-Operation forum (APEC) in Busan, South Korea.

Text of a media release from the Prime Minister, John Howard.

APEC 2005: AVIAN AND PANDEMIC INFLUENZA

I am pleased to announce Australian support for initiatives to combat avian and pandemic influenza and to further liberalise trade and investment.

Australia has played a leading role in developing a coordinated regional response to avian and pandemic influenza. In recognition of the threat, APEC leaders have made an unequivocal commitment to transparency and regional cooperation to prepare for a possible influenza pandemic.

Australia will provide $100 million over four years for initiatives to combat the threat of pandemics and other emerging infectious diseases within the region. [Read more…]


Iraq A Flawed Policy Wrapped In Illusion: John Murtha

John Murtha, a Congressman from Pennsylvania’s 12th District, has introduced a resolution to the United States House of Representatives that demands the termination of the American military deployment in Iraq “at the earliest practicable date”.

Murtha, the most senior ranking Democrat on the House Defence Appropriations Subcommittee, is a decorated Vietnam veteran who voted in support of the Iraq invasion in 2003.

Murtha told the House: “Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home.” [Read more…]


Howard Pays Tribute To ASIO And Federal Police For Terror Arrests

John Howard has paid tribute to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Federal Police for their role in the overnight arrests in Sydney and Melbourne of men suspected of planning a “catastrophic” terrorist attack.

Adopting a subdued tone, the Prime Minister did not openly capitalise on his apparent vindication over last week’s announcement of an impending terrorist threat.

Transcript of the press conference given by the Prime Minister, John Howard, at Parliament House, Canberra.

PRIME MINISTER:

Ladies and gentlemen thank you for coming along. I’ve just called this short news conference to make some comment on the events that have occurred overnight in both Sydney and Melbourne. You will be aware of what has occurred and I do not intend to comment on the operational details. Those are best left to the Australian Federal Police Commissioner who will be making comment later today and also his two counterparts in New South Wales and Victoria. I point out that amongst the people apprehended a number have been charged with a variety of offences, including acts preparatory to a terrorist act. [Read more…]


Greens Condemn Secrecy, Abuse Of Parliament

The Australian Greens have reacted following the recall of the Senate to pass an amendment to counter-terrorist legislation and the Prime Minister’s announcement of a “potential terrorist threat” to Australia.

This is the text of a media release from the Australian Greens Senator, Rachel Siewert.

Prime Minister’s IR Sleight Of Hand Condemned

Nov 3, 2005

Senator Rachel Siewer“The Prime Minister received notice of this apparent terror threat well before the Industrial Relations bill was tabled yesterday,” Senator Siewert said. “Why then, did they go ahead with the introduction of the IR bill before introducing the terror amendment?” [Read more…]


Howard Rushes Amendment To Counter Terrorism Legislation

Indefinite Article Wins The Day

‘The’ becomes ‘a’ in an urgent amendment the Federal Government is rushing through Parliament today. The rush to substitute the indefinite article for the definite article has been justified by claims of a ‘potential terrorist threat.’

Addressing a press conference late this morning, the Prime Minister, John Howard said: “The reason for this amendment is that the Government has received specific intelligence and police information this week which gives cause for serious concern about a potential terrorist threat.”

Howard said: “All the detail of this information has been provided by me and the Attorney General to the Leader of the Opposition and to the Shadow Minister for Homeland Security. The Government is satisfied on the advice provided to it that the immediate passage of this amendment would strengthen the capacity of the law enforcement agencies to effectively respond to this threat. We are acting of course, against the background of the assessment of intelligence agencies reported in the annual ASIO report.”

The Labor Opposition has announced that it will support the amendment. [Read more…]


Andrews Finally Presents Workplace Relations Bill To Parliament

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews, presented the Federal Government’s long-awaited ‘WorkChoices’ Legislation to the House of Representatives this morning.

Amid uproar in the House, Andrews claimed that the legislation accommodates “the greater demand for choice and flexibility in our workplaces”.

This is the text of the Second Reading Speech delivered to the House of Representatives by the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews.

Kevin AndrewsToday I am introducing the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Bill – a bill that moves Australia towards a flexible, simple and fair system of workplace laws.

Australians have come a long way by improving the way they work.  Because of this, we now have one of the strongest economies in the world.  We have created over 1.7 million new jobs.  Australia’s unemployment rate has been markedly reduced, reaching a 30 year low and interest rates are at historically low levels.

[Read more…]