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Archives for December 2011

Government Offers Nauru To Abbott In Return For Malaysia

The federal government has capitulated to Tony Abbott’s demand for a specific proposal on breaking the deadlock over asylum-seeker processing.

For the past week, the Opposition Leader has refused to authorise Scott Morrison to meet with Chris Bowen unless a proposal was put on the table.

Tonight the government has written to Abbott offering to implement the Malaysia arrangement and offshore processing on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. [Read more…]

Five Ways To Prevent More Asylum Seeker Tragedies


How can we stop people putting themselves in peril?
AAP/Josh Jerga

Last weekend, an overcrowded fishing boat sank off the coast of Indonesia with more than 200 asylum seekers on board.

In Australia, the political blame game started soon after with both sides trying to get the upper hand in the controversial policy area.

Tony Abbott has been under pressure from Liberal party elders Alexander Downer and Philip Ruddock to reach a workable solution with the Gillard government, but the situation remains at an impasse.

As we begin to come to terms with the second major refugee boat disaster in less than 12 months, The Conversation asked key experts to take a considered look at the problem of refugees who risk the journey to Australia by boat.

We had two simple questions – what is the problem? And, most importantly, how can we do better?

This is what they told us.

[Read more…]

Political Stalemate Over Asylum Seekers

Bowen Calls On Abbott To Work With Government On Refugees

The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, has attacked Tony Abbott for refusing to work with the government to resolve the refugee issue in the light of this week’s drownings off Indonesia.

Bowen said he believed “the Australian people have had a gutful of the politicking”. He said: “Now we have the frankly bizarre situation that Labor and Liberal, Government and Opposition, agree that we need offshore processing. And yet we have a political impasse. Legislation to authorise offshore processing would fail in the Senate because the Liberal Party would not support it.” [Read more…]

Getup! Reviews Its Year

A Lot To Account For In Politicians’ Pay

An article of mine appeared in today’s edition of the Sydney Morning Herald.

It comments on the changes announced yesterday by the Remuneration Tribunal, increasing politicians’ pay, but abolishing the gold pass and restricting non-salary benefits such as travel entitlements.

The Remuneration Tribunal’s report can be downloaded here. (5mb PDF) [Read more…]

Gillard And Rudd: Last Lingering Question Of 2011

The look on Tanya Plibersek’s face yesterday said it all. She wanted to talk about health and medical research but the reporters only had questions about Craig Thomson and splits inside the Government.

Kevin RuddNot a day into her new position as Health Minister, her frustration was plain to see. She was even asked if she “liked” Kevin Rudd.

This Facebook approach to political leadership has surfaced repeatedly over the past fortnight. John Laws took up the likeability question with the prime minister on Wednesday. Like Plibersek, Gillard seemed nonplussed. She criticised the pop psychology approach and repeated stock phrases about her professional working relationship with Kevin Rudd.

Some have it that all this is the media’s fault, that it’s not interested in policy. Issues bore them. The Gillard-Rudd talk is just more sideshow politics. [Read more…]

Paul Keating Interview On Sky News

This is a rare one-on-one extended interview with former Prime Minister Paul Keating.

It was shown on Sky News The Nation on December 15, 2011.

Amongst other topics, Keating talks about the state of current politics, Aboriginal reconciliation, the Republic issue, and his relationship with Bob Hawke.

Martin Parkinson: A Year In Retrospect, A Decade In Prospect

This is the text and audio of a speech by Dr. Martin Parkinson, Secretary to the Treasury.

Dr. Parkinson addressed The Sydney Institute. The speech was originally published on the Treasury website.

Whilst technical to some extent, the speech is readable and informative. It traces economic developments over the past year and advances some thoughts on the coming decade. [Read more…]

Sir Zelman Cowen Eulogised By Josh Frydenberg

The former Governor-General, Sir Zelman Cowen, was remembered today at a funeral service in Melbourne.

The service was attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who appointed Cowen in December 1977. Former PMs Bob Hawke and John Howard also attended, as did Cowen’s successor as Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen. [Read more…]