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Duncan McGauchie Wins Liberal Party Preselection For Murray

Duncan McGauchie has won Liberal Party preselection for the Victorian rural electorate of Murray.

McGauchieHe will be seeking to replace Sharman Stone, the retiring Liberal member who has held the seat since 1996.

McGauchie is a “policy and communications expert” who has worked as an adviser to former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.

He is currently employed by Newgate Australia, which describes itself as “working at the interface of business, politics, markets and media”, with a “proven methodology..based around objective research, which guides strategy and campaign development and implementation”.

His Newgate profile says his areas of expertise “include issues management, government relations, public policy and regulatory communications, stakeholder engagement and corporate communications”.

McGauchie is also a member of the advisory board of the Broadmeadows Schools Network.

Murray is a northern Victorian electorate, bordering the Murray River, that includes towns such as Boort, Shepparton, Cobram, Echua. Kyabram, Mooroopna, Murchison, Nathalia, Rushworth, Violet Town, Wedderburna dn Yarrawonga. It borders Mallee to the east, Wannon, Bendigo and McEwen to the south, and Indi to the east. [Read more…]


Julian Leeser Wins Liberal Preselection For Berowra; Succeeds Philip Ruddock

Julian Leeser has won Liberal Party preselection for Berowra and will succeed the long-serving Philip Ruddock at this year’s election.

LeeserLeeser easily won the contest against three other candidates, winning the votes of 97 of the 114 preselectors. Robert Armitage won 10 votes, John Bathgate 4 and Nick McGowan 3.

Leeser is currently Director of Government Policy and Strategy at the Australian Catholic University, a position he took up in 2012. Prior to that, he was Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre (2006-12). He worked as an advisor to Philip Ruddock when he was Attorney-General in the Howard government (2004-06). He also worked as an advisor to Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott in 2001, before spending two years as a solicitor with Mallesons Stephen Jaques (2002-04). He was an Associate to High Court Justice Ian Callinan in 2000.

Leeser was a Councillor with the Woollahra Municipal Council (1995-99). He came to public notice during the 1999 Republic referendum when he was a member of the Prime Minister’s “No Case” committee. [Read more…]


Bob Baldwin, Liberal Member For Paterson, Announces Retirement

Bob Baldwin, the Liberal member for Paterson, has announced that he will retire at this year’s election.

BaldwinBaldwin, 60, won Paterson in 2013 with 59.78% of the two-party-preferred vote. He secured 53.86% of the primary vote. However, under the recent NSW redistribution, Paterson is now notionally a Labor seat, with a margin of 0.4%. Baldwin’s announcement is not altogether unexpected.

The abolition of neighbouring Charlton, held by the ALP’s Pat Conroy, led to Jill Hall retiring from Shortland, allowing Conroy to transfer there and thereby allowing Joel Fitzgibbon to remain in Hunter, which now absorbs much of the old Charlton.

The ALP has preselected Meryl Swanson to contest Paterson.

Baldwin first won the NSW electorate in 1996 but lost it at the 1998 federal election, before regaining it in 2001. The seat takes in Neath, Kurri Kurri and Williamtown in the south, and along the Hunter River and Port Stephens in the north. It includes Maitland, Nelson Bay and Raymond Terrace. [Read more…]


James Paterson Sworn In As Victorian Liberal Senator

James Paterson has been sworn in as a Victorian senator, filling a casual vacancy left by the retirement of Michael Ronaldson.

Paterson, 28, is a former official of the Institute of Public Affairs. He won preselection last week.

Under Section 15 of the Constitution, the casual vacancy is filled by a vote of the two houses of the Victorian Parliament sitting as one. Since the referendum of 1977, casual vacancies must be filled by a person from the same political party as the departing senator.

Paterson will see out the remainder of Ronaldson’s term which runs until June 30, 2017, barring a double dissolution this year. He is expected to secure a winnable position on the Liberal Party’s Senate ticket. [Read more…]


Senator Joe Bullock Announces Resignation Over ALP Policy On Same-Sex Marriage

Senator Joe Bullock, the Western Australian Labor senator elected in 2013 after a controversial preselection, has announced that he will resign from the Senate in the next few weeks. He cited the party’s policy on same-sex marriage and the removal of a conscience vote for members as his reasons.

Bullock

Bullock, 60, said his conscience would not allow him to support the ALP’s policy on same-sex marriage, a policy carried by the ALP National Conference last year. He said he could have moved to the crossbenches as an independent but neither of two conditions which would justify this applied: he was not threatened with expulsion by the party and as an endorsed ALP Senate candidate he could not claim a personal vote in support of his stand.

Bullock said he would stay in the Senate until the end of the current session later this month, so as not to deny the ALP a vote in the Senate.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten wished Bullock well and described him as “a man of deeply held faith and convictions” who had been “a tenacious advocate for workers across Western Australia”.

Bullock’s preselection led to the defeat of former Senator Louise Pratt in 2013. A former head of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union in WA, Bullock was attacked for his conservative views and for a speech he gave to a Christian organisation.

The ALP has just six parliamentary representatives from Western Australia. All three of its House members (Melissa Parke, Alannah MacTiernan and Gary Gray) have announced their retirements. Bullock is one of three ALP senators. His resignation will give the party greater flexibility in preselecting replacements.

Hansard transcript of Senator Joe Bullock’s resignation speech.

Senator BULLOCK (Western Australia) (20:09): It was early in the spring of 1973 that I drew up my courage to the sticking point and rose to speak. It was not a speech that I felt would find favour in a room packed with serious, striving parents and the dignified pedagogues in whose charge I had all but completed serving a twelve-year sentence for youth. My chosen topic was ambition. I spoke against it. It had occurred to me some years earlier that the path to personal fulfilment lay through service to others and not in the pursuit of wealth or self-aggrandisement, which I suspected of being the defining motive of the majority of those in attendance. It was, therefore, with surprise verging on astonishment that I greeted the decision of the wizened panel of adjudicators to award me the Old Trinitarians Union public speaking prize. With that prize came the realisation that it was the fate of some to peak early and that the road for me henceforth lay, in all probability, downhill. [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…]


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…]


Ian Macfarlane To Retire From Parliament At Election

Ian Macfarlane, the LNP member for Groom in Queensland and former minister in the Abbott and Howard governments, is to retire from parliament at the election due this year.

MacfarlaneMacfarlane has been the member for Groom since 1998. He was Minister for Small Business and then Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources in the Howard government, from 2001 until its defeat in 2007.

Macfarlane was again Minister for Industry and then Minister for Industry and Science in the Abbott government from 2013, until Malcolm Turnbull replaced Abbott last September. Macfarlane agreed to step down from the ministry to allow Turnbull to promote new blood. [Read more…]


Don Randall, Liberal Member For Canning, Dies, 62

The Liberal member for the Western Australian electorate of Canning, Don Randall, has been found dead in his car in Boddington, south of Perth, today.

RandallRandall was first elected to Parliament in 1996 as the member for Swan. Defeated in 1998, he returned in 2001 as the member for Canning, winning re-election in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013.

Earlier this year, Randall seconded a spill motion against Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The motion was moved by fellow Western Australian MP Luke Simpkins and was defeated in the partyroom by 61 votes to 39.

A by-election will now be held in Canning. It will test whether the strength of feeling against the Abbott government is as strong as Randall said it was in February.

At the last election, Randall held the seat with 51.07% of the primary vote and 61.81% of the two-party vote. In 2010, he won the seat with 52.19%. [Read more…]


Another Season Of Valedictory Speeches As Twelve Senators Depart

Twelve senators are about to leave the Federal Parliament as the July 1 changeover approaches.

The departing senators will give valedictory speeches in the Senate over the next two weeks. The first will be given tomorrow by the Nationals Senator Ron Boswell, who has been in the Senate since 1983.

The Senate has 76 members. Each of the six states has 12 senators, whilst the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have 2 senators each. Senators serve fixed 6-year terms which commence on July 1. Except in the case of a double dissolution, Senate elections are staggered, with half the state-based senators facing the electorate at each House of Representatives election. Territory senators serve terms that are concurrent with the House.

On July 1, the State senators elected on September 7, 2013 will take their places. These 36 senators will serve terms that end on June 30, 2020.

Twenty-four senators were re-elected last year. Of the 12 who were replaced, 7 were defeated (6 ALP and 1 Liberal) and 5 retired (2 ALP, 2 Liberal and 1 Nationals).

The ALP lost one member in each state and will have only 25 senators from July 1. The party lost 3 members to the Palmer United Party (PUP), and one each to the Liberal Democrats (LDP), the Greens and Family First (FF). [Read more…]