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Archives for August 2012

Anne Summers: The Political Persecution Of Australia’s First Female PM

This is the video of Dr. Anne Summers’ Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture at the University of Newcastle.

The speech is titled: “Her Rights At Work: The Political Persecution of Australia’s First Female Prime Minister”.

Summers says: “In this lecture I want to examine what I contend is the sexist and discriminatory treatment of Australia’s first female prime minister by the Opposition and by some elements in Australian society.”

Mitt Romney Accepts Republican Party Nomination For President

Mitt Romney has officially accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for President.

Romney delivered his acceptance speech at the party’s convention in Tampa, Florida. [Read more…]

Clint Eastwood And His Empty Chair

Clint Eastwood has addressed the Republican Party convention in Tampa, Florida.

The 82-year-old actor’s speech featured an empty chair and an imaginary conversation with President Obama. [Read more…]

Five Australian Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

Three Australian soldiers have been killed by a rogue Afghan soldier in Afghanistan and two members of the SAS have died in a Black Hawk helicopter crash.

Details of the incidents have been announced by the Acting Chief of the ADF, Air Marshal Mark Binskin. The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has described this as “the darkest of days for Australia”.

Mark Binskin

The “green-on-blue” incident occurred at a base in southern Oruzgan province yesterday. Two other soldiers were injured in the attack. [Read more…]

Kevin Rudd Launches Whitlam Biography

Kevin Rudd has launched volume two of Jenny Hocking’s biography of Gough Whitlam.

The second volume, titled “Gough Whitlam: His Time” covers Whitlam’s period in government and includes important new revelations about The Dismissal. Rudd’s speech was titled “Labor Politics, Conservative Politics and Australia’s future”.

The launch was held at the Museum of Sydney.

Text of Kevin Rudd’s speech at the launch of Jenny Hocking’s second volume biography of Gough Whitlam.

Labor Politics, Conservative Politics and Australia’s Future

It is nearly four years since I launched Volume I of this important biography of E.G. Whitlam.

I am honoured to have been asked by the author, Jenny Hocking, to today launch Volume II.

Much has changed in Australian politics since then.

Just as many things have not.

The essential narrative of Australian politics has remained much the same for more than a century: Labor in government the party of progressive economic, social and environmental reform, and of Australia’s place in the region and the world. [Read more…]

CLP Wins Northern Territory Election; Labor Out After 11 Years

The Country Liberal Party has won today’s Northern Territory election. Terry Mills will become Chief Minister, replacing Paul Henderson and the eleven-year-old Labor government.

Terry Mills

The CLP appears to have won three seats, and possibly four, from Labor, giving it 15 or 16 seats in the single-chamber 25-seat parliament. Labor will drop from 12 seats to 8 or 9. [Read more…]

Glenn Stevens Forecasts Peak Of Resources Boom In Next Two Years

Glenn StevensIn one of his regular appearances before the House Standing Committee on Economics, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens has forecast a peak in the resources boom, stable economic growth in the near future, and defended the bank over its handling of the Note Printing Australia and Securency corruption allegations.

On the economy, Stevens said “the economy appears to have been recording reasonable overall growth, relatively low unemployment, and low inflation”. He forecast a peak in the resource investment boom in “the next year or two”. He said: “After that the rate of resource investment is likely to decline, while the export shipments of the resources themselves will pick up. By then we might expect that some other sectors that have been weak of late, like residential and non-residential construction, might be starting to pick up. Overall, growth is forecast still to be close to trend, albeit with a different composition from that seen in the past year or two, and inflation consistent with the target.”

Opening statement by Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens to the House of Representatives Standing Committe on Economics.

Since the meeting we had in February, assessments of the global and local economies have waxed and waned. In February, sentiment about the international financial system was recovering somewhat, after a scare late in 2011. The actions of the European Central Bank in extending its liquidity provision to euro area banks had taken major re-funding hurdles out of the picture for a time. This was a critically important action that bought time. It was clear that the European economy had slowed, that the United States was still growing, but at only a modest pace, and that China’s growth was moderating to something more sustainable. But high-frequency indicators of the global business cycle were stabilising. So even though forecasts for global growth were at that stage being marked down a bit, we did not seem to be seeing a slump of the kind seen in late 2008. Subsequently, there were actually some small upward revisions to global growth forecasts.

But, as we said at the last hearing, sorting out the problems in the euro area is likely to be a long, slow process, with occasional setbacks and periodic bouts of heightened anxiety. We saw one such bout of anxiety in the middle of this year, when financial markets displayed increasing nervousness about the finances of the Spanish banking system and the Spanish sovereign. The general increase in risk aversion saw yields on bonds issued by some European sovereigns spike higher, while those for Germany, the UK and the US declined to record lows. This ‘flight to safety’ also saw market yields on Australian government debt decline to the lowest levels since Federation. Meanwhile, many European economies saw a further contraction of economic activity. Share markets declined sharply. [Read more…]

Gillard In Marathon Press Conference Over Slater And Gordon

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has held a marathon press conference answering allegations about her work as an industrial lawyer in the 1990s.

Julia Gillard

In a press conference lasting for 73 minutes, Gillard attacked “misogynists and nutjobs” on the internet over the “sexist” allegations in relation to her work at the law firm Slater and Gordon 17 years ago. [Read more…]

The Australian Apologises To Gillard

The Australian newspaper has posted a narrow and specific online apology to Prime Minister Julia Gillard this morning.

The Australian

Reserve Bank Pushes Back Over Corruption Allegations

The Reserve Bank of Australia has defended itself over allegations aired on 7.30 last night about what it knew about alleged corrupt activity at Note Printing Australia Limited prior to media reports in 2009.

The Age newspaper also provided a major report on the story in today’s edition.

Media release from the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Statement Concerning Note Printing Australia Limited and Securency International Pty Ltd

The ABC’s 7.30 program has made a number of ill-founded allegations with regard to what the Reserve Bank knew about alleged corrupt activity at Note Printing Australia Limited (NPA) prior to allegations in the media in May 2009.

The document the 7.30 program described as ‘new’ was examined at the NPA Board’s request by Freehills in 2007 as part of its investigation. The document was a statement by an NPA employee, compiled at the request of Ric Battellino, the Chair of the Bank’s Audit Committee and then Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank. The ‘secret’ meeting between the employee and Mr Battellino was confidential at the request of the employee. This document is currently part of the evidence in current proceedings before the Court. Legal advice to the Reserve Bank is that the Bank is prohibited from disclosing it or its contents pursuant to the normal rules of Court and an order of the Supreme Court. Whether it will become part of the public record as current Committal Hearings progress will be a matter for the Court.

The Bank has previously stated that an audit done at the request of the NPA Board in 2007 showed serious deficiencies in the company’s practices and controls relating to the use of sales agents. The audit made no findings regarding illegality, but recommended a separate investigation into whether there had been a breach of Australian law. When the NPA Board received the audit report, the NPA Board decided to terminate the use of sales agents immediately and engaged Freehills to investigate whether there was a breach of Australian law. The Freehills investigation, which had direct access to the statement of the NPA employee, concluded that there was not. The question of a referral to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) therefore did not arise at that time. On any reasonable reading, the NPA Board at that time sought the appropriate information, sought appropriate advice, responded appropriately to the information it received, and reasonably relied on the advice it received.

In addition, it has been noted that in May 2009, the Chairman of Securency requested that the AFP investigate the allegations made against Securency in the media. At the start of that investigation he brought the 2007 review of NPA agent arrangements to the attention of the AFP, even though the allegations did not at that stage involve NPA. The AFP was subsequently provided with copies of the 2007 audit report and the Freehills report when they requested access to them during the course of their investigation.

The Governor has made a number of statements to the House of Representatives Economics Committee in relation to these matters. In particular, he has stated that, to the Bank’s knowledge, the first time allegations were raised about Securency was in May 2009, by The Age newspaper. That remains the case. The Governor has also responded openly to questions from the Committee about the way in which the matters at NPA in 2007 were handled. The Bank rejects the implication that the Governor or other officers of the Bank have misled the Committee.