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Archives for July 2012

Mal Brough Wins Liberal Party Preselection For Fisher

Mal Brough has won Liberal National Party preselection for the Queensland seat of Fisher.

Mal Brough

Fisher is currently held by Peter Slipper. Slipper left the LNP last year after accepting the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Brough previously represented the electorate of Longman but was defeated in the 2007 election.

Brough defeated five other candidates for the preselection, including the LNP’s former state director, James McGrath. Whilst former Prime Minister John Howard supported Brough, McGrath was supported by Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull.


As NSW And Victoria Offer NDIS Money, A Political Win For Gillard

5.10pm – New South Wales has joined Victoria in offering to contribute to a trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has welcomed the breakthrough.

Julia Gillard

Earlier this afternoon, Premier Ted Baillieu announced that Victoria would contribute $42 million to the trial. Shortly afterwards, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell offered to provide $35 million for a trial, less than the federal government was asking.

Speaking at a 5pm press conference, Gillard said: “I am now very optimistic that we will see NDIS launch sites in NSW and Victoria. We still have work to do with NSW but I’m optimistic. I want to see a robust launch site in the Hunter.”

O’Farrell tweeted: “Testing goodwill – both NSW and Victoria have come halfway and we now hope the Commonwealth will equally show a determination to end the impasse.”

The Victorian and NSW decisions represent an important political win for Gillard that comes after two days of pressure on the coalition premiers.

Nevertheless, the outcome is a tactical victory for Gillard. Whilst ensuring a full-scale trial of the NDIS is now likely in 2013, no decision has been made about ongoing funding.

Newspaper reports today on this week’s COAG meeting said the coalition premiers were willing to support a Medicare-style levy to fund the NDIS. The reports said Gillard rejected this out of fear that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would mount another “great big new tax” campaign.

Unless Gillard can lock in a decision on funding, the final shape of the scheme will fall to the next government.

  • Listen to Gillard’s press conference (13m)

Baillieu Offers Extra Funds For NDIS Trial In Victoria

3.45pm – The Victorian government has broken the impasse over funding for the NDIS with an offer of extra money for a trial in the Barwon/Geelong region.

Ted Baillieu

Premier Ted Baillieu today offered to commit $17 million for the trial and and a one-off $25 million for a “transition agency”. The federal government was asking for $40 million from Victoria.

Baillieu denied his announcement was a backflip, claiming his government had been consistent from the start and had never tried to score political points. Nevertheless, the decision will be seen as a victory for Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The Victorian decision comes after two days of heavy criticism of the coalition state governments. At the COAG meeting on Wednesday the Labor governments of South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT signed up to a trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Baillieu’s announcement was made at a 3.45pm press conference with Mary Wooldridge, his Minister for Community Services.

  • Listen to the Baillieu-Wooldridge press conference (26m)

Rudd: Global Challenges, Global Responses And Global Governance

Kevin Rudd has addressed the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs.

The former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister spoke on “Global Challenges, Global Responses and Global Governance”.

Transcript of Kevin Rudd’s Address to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

My good friend Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.

Distinguished members of the Canadian Government.

Distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Distinguished representatives of the Canadian Foreign Service.

Merci beaucoup tout le monde.

Merci pour cette aimable présentation.

Je veux vous remercier également de me recevoir ici aujourd’hui au Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Commerce international. [Read more…]


Former Speaker Harry Jenkins To Retire At Next Election

Harry Jenkins, the Labor member for Scullin and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, has announced that he will retire from parliament at the next election.

Harry Jenkins

Jenkins has represented Scullin since 1986 and is currently the longest-serving Labor member. He succeeded his father, Dr. Harry Jenkins, in the electorate which has been represented by the Jenkins family since 1969.

Following the election of the Rudd government, Jenkins served as Speaker of the House from February 2008 until November 24, 2011. His resignation allowed the government to install Peter Slipper as Speaker and increase its majority on the floor of the House.

Scullin is in Melbourne’s north-east suburbs. It covers the suburbs of Bundoora, Diamond Creek, Plenty, Thomastown, Lalor, Epping, Mill Park, South Morang, Watsonia North and Yarrambat.

At the 2010 election, Jenkins retained Scullin with a 1.40% swing towards the ALP, 62.12% of the primary vote and 70.85% of the two-party-preferred vote.

Jenkins is the third ALP member of the House to announce retirement, joining Sharon Grierson, the member for Newcastle, and Steve Gibbons, the member for Bendigo.

Newspaper reports suggest that Slater and Gordon lawyer Andrew Giles will be endorsed by the Victorian Left faction as the new candidate for Scullin.

Jenkins gave this interview to Leigh Sales on the ABC’s 7.30.


Coalition Premiers Opt Out Of NDIS Trial; COAG Fractures

The political pressure on Prime Minister Julia Gillard stepped up a notch today as the four coalition premiers refused to sign up to a trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Julia Gillard

A meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) fractured with the announcement of three trial sites in the Labor-held jurisdictions of South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

The Coalition premiers from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia all refused accept the federal government’s terms for participation in the trial. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott’s China Speech: Working Harder On A Complex Relationship

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott has delivered a keynote foreign policy address on the China relationship.

Speaking in China, Abbott said: “It will take time and much further evolution for our friendship with China to approach the warmth that we take for granted with America. But it is worth the effort and it must be made.”

Of Australia’s developing relationship with China, compared to more established relations with Japan and the United States, Abbott said: “Prime Minister John Howard understood that you could make a new friend without losing an old one.”

Abbott advocated political and legal reforms in China: “In the long term, China should prosper even more if its people enjoyed freedom under the law and the right to choose a government, despite the difficulty of managing this transition in a country with a tumultuous history.” [Read more…]


DPP Drops Confiscation Proceedings Against David Hicks

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has abandoned proceedings against David Hicks which sought to confiscate his earnings from the sale of his book, Guantanamo: My Journey.

The CDPP cast doubt on the admissions made by Hicks before the United States Military Commission and his use of an “Alford plea” that isn’t recognised in Australia.

The CDPP said: “This Office was not in a position to discharge the onus placed upon it to satisfy the Court that the admissions should be relied upon and decided that these proceedings should not continue.”

Media release from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Statement in the Matter of David Hicks

On 19 July 2011, following an investigation and referral by the Australian Federal Police the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions commenced proceedings against Mr David Hicks, pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth).

The proceedings were commenced by way of Summons in the Supreme Court of NSW. The Summons sought orders relating to publication of the book Guantanamo: My Journey, including a restraining order, pursuant to section 20 of the Proceeds of Crime Act, and a literary proceeds order, pursuant to section 152.

On 23 July 2012, the Director made a decision to discontinue the proceedings. The matter was discontinued in Court on 24 July 2012. [Read more…]


Turnbull Speech: Open Markets, Open Minds And An Open Society

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a speech on the economy in which he sounds a warning about Australia’s economic future.

Malcolm TurnbullThe Opposition’s shadow minister for Communications said of the changing world environment: “The real story is much more than China, or indeed Asia. At the centre of the great economic changes in the world today is an accelerating convergence triggered by trade liberalization and supercharged by the Internet. As people in developing countries acquire more skills at first world standards and as the Internet makes historically non-traded sectors thoroughly trade exposed, there are grave risks as well as new opportunities for high wage, developed economies like Australia.”

Turnbull called for inefficient and uncompetitive industries to adapt or die. He warned against government attempting to pick winners. “Now change is often very unsettling – but we need to remind ourselves and our fellow countrymen that just as firms which cannot change to new circumstances will decline, and sometimes close, the same is true for national economies.”

The speech also deals with education, broadband and “harmonious diversity”.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s ANU speech: Open Markets, Open Minds and an Open Society (or why we should be more like Stephanie Gilmore and less like King Canute)

It’s an honour to be here at the ANU for the launch of Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, the new flagship journal of the Crawford School of Public Policy.

Under the editorial leadership of Tom Kompas, Director of the Crawford School, APPS will focus on public policy research from – and about – Australia, Asia and the Pacific, with the first edition out at the start of 2014.

As the newspaper industry’s travails remind us, paper and ink are yesterday’s story, and I note with approval that Tom and his team have future-proofed APPS – it will be published electronically and free of charge, thanks in part to support from AusAID.

Public policy is ultimately the most pragmatic and applied of disciplines. But it must also be founded in rigorous thinking about economic and social behavior – big ideas about the interrelationships that have to be taken into account in successfully leading social and political change.

Rigorous empirical research based on sound precepts – studies of outcomes across jurisdictions, of what worked, what didn’t, and which unanticipated consequences arose – are the most valuable analysis and data available to policymakers considering a problem. And while we are often, but not often enough, aware of what has been tried in the UK, US or New Zealand, we typically know less about what’s been tried elsewhere, particularly beyond the OECD. [Read more…]


ASIS At 60: Notable Speech From Director-General Nick Warner

The Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), Nick Warner, has delivered the first official public speech about the 60-year-old intelligence organisation.

Nick Warner

Addressing the Lowy Institute at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Warner spoke of the organisation’s early history when its very existence was rarely acknowledged and even denied. He said in recent years the organisations’s work “has gained a new urgency and importance”. Traditional information gathering operations have given way to “undertaking supporting operations that achieve a direct outcome”. [Read more…]