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Archives for February 2016

Melissa Parke: Speech On Asylum Seekers

The retiring ALP member for Fremantle, has addressed the House of Representatives on the treatment of asylum seekers.

Parke, 49, who has held Fremantle since 2007, spoke in the Grievance Debate in the Federation Chamber.

  • Listen to Parke’s speech (10m)

Speech by Melissa Parke, member for Fremantle, to the House of Representatives.

Parke

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (17:46): I was preselected to run for Labor in the federal seat of Fremantle while I was still working for the United Nations overseas. One of the main motivations for coming back to Australia to stand for parliament was to help to improve asylum seekers policy that had for so long been misused by the government of Prime Minister John Howard for cynical political purposes.

On my first day back to Australia on 20 June 2007, I gave a speech in the Fremantle Town Hall to mark World Refugee Day. I had worked a lot with refugees during my time with the UN, especially in Kosovo and Gaza. I had seen Kosovars streaming back from neighbouring countries to their burnt-out homes in Kosovo to live in tents in the middle of the harshest winter on record. I worked with Palestinian refugees in the Middle East who had been forced from their homes in 1948 and 1967 and who were living in appallingly dire conditions for decades in the hope that they would one day return to their homes. [Read more…]


Financial Disclosure Facts

Financial disclosure is required of candidates/parties and election donors in Australia.

The financial disclosure returns are released for public inspection by the Australian Electoral Commission 24 weeks after polling day in each particular election.

This material is reproduced from an Australian Electoral Commission media release on the Canning by-election disclosure returns.

Financial Disclosure Facts

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 requires candidates, Senate groups and donors to furnish financial disclosure returns to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) covering each election.

These returns are made public 24 weeks after polling day in the relevant election. [Read more…]


Jill Hall, Labor Member For Shortland, Announces Retirement; Clears Log-Jam For Seats

Jill Hall, the Labor member for Shortland, has announced she will not contest this year’s election. Her departure eases the way for her factional colleague Pat Conroy, whose seat of Charlton has been abolished, to take over Shortland.

HallHall, 66, has been the member for Shortland, a coastal seat south of Newcastle, since 1998 and has served six terms. She is one of just three Labor members for Shortland, since it was created in 1949.

In opting to retire, Hall has solved a problem for the ALP in the wake of the NSW redistribution, which abolished one seat. The neighbouring seat of Hunter, held by Joel Fitzgibbon, effectively supplants the abolished Charlton, held by Pat Conroy. Fitzgibbon made it clear he intended to run again. There was speculation that Conroy might challenge Hall for preselection, or that one of the MPs might have to run against the Liberal MP Bob Baldwin whose seat of Paterson has become a notional Labor seat.

Conroy and Hall are both members of the Left faction, so Conroy can now move into Shortland without upsetting the factional balance. [Read more…]


John Cobb, Nationals MP, To Retire From Calare

John Cobb, the Nationals MP for Calare, has announced that he will retire at this year’s election.

CobbCobb, 66, has been a federal member since 2001, through five terms. He held Parkes in 2001 and 2004, transferring to Calare in 2007.

Cobb was a Parliamentary Secretary in the Howard government (2004-05) and became Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs in 2005. He was appointed Minister for Community Services in 2006 and then Assistant Minister for the Environment and Water Resources from 2007 until the government’s defeat that year.

Calare is a safe seat for the Nationals. Its main centres of population include: Bathurst, Blayney, Canowindra, Eugowra, Gulgong, Kandos, Lithgow, Molong, Oberon, Orange, Mudgee, Portland, Rylstone, Wallerawang and Yeoval. [Read more…]


Mal Brough To Quit Parliament

Mal Brough, the federal LNP member for Fisher in Queensland, has announced that he will not be contesting this year’s election.

BroughBrough, 54, first entered parliament as the member for Longman, also in Queensland, at the 1996 federal election. He was re-elected in 1998, 2001 and 2004 but was defeated at the 2007 election.

He re-entered the House of Representatives as the member for Fisher at the 2013 election, after winning preselection in 2012. The then sitting member for Fisher was Peter Slipper, who had left the Liberal National Party after he accepted the Speakership from the Gillard government in 2011. Slipper and Brough came into conflict over James Ashby and a police investigation is proceeding into whether Brough and Ashby broke the law in relation to access to the former Speaker’s official diary. [Read more…]


Who Were The Youngest And Oldest Prime Ministers?

Clive Palmer asked one of his unique questions in the House of Representatives today.

Palmer, the member for Fairfax, rose at 2.21pm and asked Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull the following:

Hansard transcript of Clive Palmer question to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Listen to the exchange:

Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (14:21): My question is to the Prime Minister. As Australia’s third-oldest Prime Minister, if you are still Prime Minister after the election, will you serve a full term in parliament or will you retire to your unit in New York and do a switcheroo with the member for Warringah, sustaining yourself with innovation and growth opportunities your investments have provided for the people of the Cayman Islands? It has never been a more exciting time to be a Cayman Islander! Are you a seat warmer?

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister can address any part of the question.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister): I thank the honourable member for his question. If he had not found it so amusing as to be laughing right through it, we might have been able to hear most of it. Nonetheless, I gather the honourable member is inquiring about my health. I thank him for his interest and I can assure him I am in the very best of form.

Palmer got one thing right. Turnbull is the third oldest person to assume the office of prime minister. He was 60 when he was sworn in on September 15, 2015. He turned 61 on October 24. [Read more…]


Defence White Paper Released By Turnbull Government

The Turnbull government has released a Defence White Paper.

The White Paper was launched at a ceremony at the Australian Defence Academy, attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne.

The paper commits the government to increasing Defence spending from $32.4 billion to $58.7 billion in 2025.

The White Paper is shown below.

Defence White Paper Downloads

At A Glance

Statement from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne.

The 2016 White Paper is a comprehensive and responsible long-term plan to ensure Australia’s national security.

It is the culmination of detailed analysis of our strategic environment, our defence priorities and objectives, and the capabilities required to achieve these outcomes. [Read more…]


ABC Managing Director Mark Scott’s Farewell Address To The National Press Club

Mark Scott, the Managing Director of the ABC, has delivered a farewell address to the National Press Club.

Scott retires as Managing Director in May. He will be replaced by a former Google executive, Michelle Guthrie.

Listen to Mark Scott’s speech (33m)

Watch Scott’s speech (33m)

Transcript of Mark Scott’s Address to the National Press Club.

One Sure Bet: The Future of Public Broadcasting

Ladies and Gentlemen

It’s wonderful to be able to join you today at the National Press Club.

At the ABC, we are in the midst of something that’s very rare in media circles and rarer still in Canberra – a well-planned, warm-spirited CEO transition. [Read more…]


Party Discipline Trumps Policy Commitment: Gary Gray Supports Senate Voting Reform But Will Vote Against It

Gray Gray has reaffirmed his support for reform of the Senate voting system but committed himself to supporting the ALP Caucus decision to oppose the bill currently before the Parliament.

Gray, the Labor member for Brand in Western Australia, spoke in the House of Representatives today on the Turnbull government’s Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill which proposes elminating group voting tickets and introducing optional preferential voting above-the-line in Senate ballots.

Gray was a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) which made bipartisan recommendations in favour of sweeping changes to the Senate voting system. Gray said he supported the government’s bill but it would be a better bill if the JSCEM’s recommendations were adopted in full. [Read more…]


Turnbull Announces Senate Voting Reforms; Group Voting Tickets Abolished

Senate group voting tickets are to be abolished and optional preferential above the line voting is to be introduced, in electoral reforms announced today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The reforms are the result of an agreement with the Australian Greens and independent Senator Nick Xenophon. The agreement guarantees 44 Senate votes to pass the legislation.

The key change is the abolition of Senate group voting tickets. This will mean that political parties will no longer control the direction of preferences cast by electors who vote above the line in the Senate. This eliminates the preference harvesting that has resulted in candidates with tiny first preference support being elected as the result of complex preference swaps. [Read more…]