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PM – 20th Anniversary Program

The ABC radio program PM has been a staple program since I was a schoolboy.

I think I began listening to it in 1972, possibly in 1971. Its coverage of the massacre at the Munich Olympics sticks in my memory. Those were the days when news and current affairs was what we now call “appointment” broadcasting. The programs that accompanied breakfast, lunch and dinner were the times you found out what was happening in the world. No internet, no 24-hour television, no mobile phones, no social media.

Throughout my life, PM has been ever-present, one of the essential programs I turned to, not just in times of momentous events, but on a daily basis. As a university student during the Whitlam and Fraser years, and as a teacher through four separate decades, it was vital, not just personally, but professionally. For me, teaching English, Politics and History always required an up-to-date grasp of current events. Everything is relevant.

For many years, I listened to it in the car. The years began with Huw Evans as host, and then Paul Murphy, with Monica Attard and Ellen Fanning preceding the arrival of Mark Colvin. I loved it when a 5pm edition began on Radio National, with the local radio version continuing after the 6pm news. The duplication enabled me to leave work at different times and still listen to the whole program, albeit out of order.

Like many, I appreciated the authority and knowledge of Colvin. He made the program his. It is no reflection on him or any of the other hosts, but Evans will always be the voice of PM for me. Perhaps it was the November 11, 1975 live broadcast that did it. [Read more…]


Morrison National Cabinet Meeting Briefing: Bringing Australians Home

This is Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s press conference following today’s meeting of the National Cabinet.

As with previous National Cabinet meetings, the States and Territories have reserved the right to detemine their own timetables for allowing more overseas Australians to return home.

A statement issued by Morrison is obliquely critical of the Victorian government: “Seven of Australia’s eight states and territories are successfully suppressing COVID-19, enabling most Australians in those jurisdictions to live and work in a COVID-safe economy.”

Watch Morrison’s press conference (30m – transcript below):

Listen to Morrison (30m):

Statement issued by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on National Cabinet decisions.

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, recent progress following the Victorian outbreak, easing restrictions (including international border measures), helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment and getting the economy moving again.

National Cabinet continues to work together to address issues and find solutions to the health and economic consequences of COVID-19. Australia has done well on both the health and economic fronts compared to most countries around the world. [Read more…]


John Fahey, Former NSW Premier and Howard Finance Minister, Dies, 75

John Fahey, the former Liberal Premier of NSW, and Finance Minister in the Howard government, has died, aged 75.

FaheyFahey was first elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly in 1984 as the member for Camden. He transferred to Southern Highlands in 1988 and was a minister in the Greiner government following the 1988 election.

He became Premier on June 24, 1992, following the forced resignation of Nick Greiner, in the aftermath of an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Coruption.

As premier, Fahey is best remembered for the role he played in securing the 2000 Sydney Olympics for NSW.

Fahey’s Liberal-Nationals coalition was defeated in the 1995 election and Bob Carr became Labor premier. Fahey transferred to the federal division of Macarthur at the 1996 federal election and became Minister for Finance in the Howard government, a position he held until he retired at the 2001 election.

His career after politics is notable for his role as president of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He also served as Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University. [Read more…]


Hard Quiz: Scomo and Big Mac

One of the questions on tonight’s edition of “Hard Quiz” evoked memories of a different time and the original “Big Mac”.

Hard Quiz

A question on the theme of branding asked what Scott Morrison wanted to call Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, in the light of the success of his own branding as ScoMo.

The answer was “Big Mac”. It clearly didn’t take off. Last week, there was media speculation that McCormack’s leadership of The Nationals may not survive the year. David Littleproud could be deputy prime minister by Christmas. We shall see.

"But the Big Mac some of us remember is Frank McManus, the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) senator from Victoria from 1956 until 1962, and again from 1965 until 1974.

Born in 1905, McManus had a career as a teacher and Education Department official, before becoming Secretary of the Victorian branch of the ALP in 1950. An anti-communist “grouper”, McManus split with the ALP and joined the group that would become the DLP. In the aftermath of the 1955 split, he won election to the Senate at the December election, taking office in July 1956.

McManus was Deputy Leader of the DLP from 1956 until 1973, finally succeeding Vince Gair, a former Labor premier of Queensland, as leader in October 1973. The double dissolution election of May 1974 saw all five DLP senators lose their seats. With the exception of the late John Madigan, who won a Senate seat at the 2010 election, before quitting and setting up his own party, the DLP has never been represented in the Commonwealth parliament since 1974.

This is one of the DLP ads from the 1974 election touting Frank McManus as “Big Mac”.


Morrison and Hunt Announce Vaccine Deal; Andrews Attacked; Call For Improvements to Victorian Tracing and Testing

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt today announced a $1.7 billion agreement for the supply and production of more than 80 million vaccine doses.

“Australia needs some hope today,” Morrison said when announcing the agreement at a Canberra press conference.

Morrison described as “crushing news” yesterday’s announcement in Victoria of an extension to the Stage 4 lockdown and curfew. “The plan that was outlined yesterday, I hope, is a worst-case scenario,” he said. “The mental health of Victorians will be sorely tested.”

Morrison’s escalating attacks on the Victorian government, aided by his Victorian-based treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, highlight the powers of the states in management of the coronavirus and the tensions in the federal compact.

Morrison and Hunt called for improvement to Victoria’s testing and tracing procedures.

Watch Morrison’s press conference (45m):

Listen to the the press conference (45m):

Transcript of press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy.

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON: Good morning, everyone. We’re about to be joined also by the Minister for Health, who was under different travel restrictions in order to be here today which, as usual, were approved by the relevant authorities here. I’m also joined by Professor Murphy, who you all know well. He’s here today not just in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Health, but he is also here as the Chair of the expert panel that has been advising the Australian government on vaccines, which is the principal reason for me being here this morning. [Read more…]


Daniel Andrews Announces Slow Road Out of Lockdown for Victoria

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a “roadmap” out of the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Stage 4 restrictions introduced a month ago, and scheduled to end next weekend, will be extended for another two weeks. The curfew that came into force a month ago has been extended until the end of October, although it will now apply from 9pm until 5am.

Retail shops and hairdressers remain closed until the end of October. Childcare and schools will begin to reopen, and VCE students will sit the General Achievement Test (GAT) in October. People living alone will now be able to establish a “bubble” with one other person.

A series of steps has been set out, with dates ranging into November, each dependent on the numbers of diagnosed COVID-19 cases at each stage. Full details of the changes appear in the documents below.

Watch Daniel Andrews’ Press Conference (113m):

Listen to Andrews (113m):

Statement from Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria.

Today is Father’s Day.

And just like Mother’s Day earlier this year, I know there’ll be plenty of families missing each other.

Whether it’s dad or grandpa, baba, papa or cha – today is a day that is supposed to be spent together.

Normally, for us, it’d be lunch with Cath and the kids. And maybe a trip back home to see mum – and visit dad. This year, though, it’s got to be different.

I know that same sense of loss and missing those you love is being felt by every single Victorian family. [Read more…]


Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s National Cabinet Press Conference: An Evolving Federation

Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a press conference in Canberra today, following a video meeting of the National Cabinet.

In a statement that was both declarative and inspecific, Morrison said that the National Cabinet sought to find a way through the pandemic lockdowns to opening up the economy. “So, we agreed today seven out of eight states and territories, we agreed that before you know what you’re going to do, you’ve got to agree about where you want to get to. And we agreed today with the objective that was set out in the May plan to be at the end of that step three process, which we will seek to ensure is even better defined.”

Morrison also the National Cabinet had to evolve. “So, we’ve decided that this notion of 100 percent, absolute consensus on any issue is not a way that the National Cabinet can indeed work. And so what we will do is we will set out areas where we can come together, and get as many states and territories as possible to come around that agreement. Not everyone has to get on the bus for the bus to leave the station. But it is important the bus leaves the station, and we all agree on that. We all agree on that. Even when, on occasions, some might not want to get on, they know we need to keep moving forward and that is supported, and that’s what we agreed to do today. And I think that is a change in the way our Federation works.”

The National Cabinet is still grappling with the definition of a pandemic “hotspot”. The states have indicated they will not budge on their previous decisions on closing border crossings.

Watch Morrison’s press conference (46m):

Listen to Morrison’s press conference (46m):

Transcript of press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Acting Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly.

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON: Good afternoon. Australia is something we can never take for granted. And I’m not talking about Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef or the Opera House or the great wilderness across our country, I’m talking about us. I’m talking about our Federation. I’m talking about who we are as a nation. And in every generation, we must continue to define who we are, how we make Australia work, what we hope to achieve, how we protect it, how we make it stronger. And our Federation, some almost 120 years later, remains a happy work in progress. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that happy, but I tell you, the goal is one that I think all Australians would share and that’s what brings a smile to our face when we think of Australia. Not just the place, as wonderful it is, but how we make Australia work. And that is the task of all of those who come and meet in this place, in our Federal Parliament, but it is also the job of all of those who come together in our state parliaments, those who form governments and seek to work together in the ways that our Federation intended. [Read more…]


The Great Recession: Treasurer Frydenberg’s Reaction To 7% Quarterly Decline In Growth

The recession Australia knew it was in was finally confirmed today, with the release of economic growth figures showing a 7% decline in growth over the past quarter, the largest single quarter decline since The Great Depression of the 1930s.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg held a press conference at 1pm today to lay out the economic data and the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian economy.

Watch Frydenberg’s press conference (46m):

Listen to Frydenberg’s press conference (46m):

Transcript of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s press conference on Australia’s 7% Decline in Economic Growth.

Frydenberg

Today’s National Accounts confirm the devastating blow to the Australian economy from COVID-19. Our record run of 28 consecutive years of economic growth has officially come to an end. The cause; a once in a century global pandemic. The effect; a COVID-19 induced recession.

Real GDP fell in the June quarter by 7 per cent. The largest quarterly fall on record.

Since the series began in 1959, the previous largest fall was 2 per cent in 1974.

Behind these numbers are heartbreaking stories of hardship being felt by everyday Australians as they go about their daily lives.

Be it the tourism operator in Cairns, the tradie in Melbourne, the café worker in Adelaide or the domestic flight attendant in Sydney, they are all affected by COVID-19.

Today we are reporting these devastating numbers. Australians are living them. [Read more…]


Kristy McBain (ALP – Eden-Monaro) – Maiden Speech

Kristy McBain has delivered her first speech to the House of Representatives, following her election as the ALP member for Eden-Monaro at a by-election on July 4, 2020.

McBain

McBain’s maiden speech is the first to be delivered in the House since the imposition of COVID-19 rules. Family members were permitted in the public gallery, but not the usual group of supporters and friends. At the end of her speech, colleagues did not hug her or shake her hand. A few bumped elbows. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the ALP gave her “a giant virtual hug”.

McBain, 37, is the former mayor of Bega Valley Shire. In her speech, she described herself as not of “the political class”.

At the by-election held to replace her predecessor, Mike Kelly, McBain polled 35.89% of the primary vote, a fall of 3.28%, in a field of 14 candidates. The Liberal Party candidate, Fiona Kotvojs, polled 38.33% of the primary vote, an increase of 1.32%. The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party polled 5.34%. After preferences were distributed, McBain polled 50.39%, to 49.15% for the Liberals, a swing against the ALP of 0.46%.

Watch McBain’s first speech (29m):
[Read more…]


Anthony Albanese Address to the National Press Club

The Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, spoke at the National Press Club in Canberra today, attacking the Morrison government over its handling of aged care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Albanese criticised the government over its handling of aged care deaths in Victoria during the coronavirus crisis. He deplored the government’s hostile attitude to superannuation, especially for young people.

Albanese’s appearance came during a parliamentary sitting week in which some members contributed via video link.

Watch Albanese’s Address to the National Press Club (59m):

Listen to Albanese’s Address to the National Press Club (59m):

Official transcript of speech to the National Press Club by Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese. [Read more…]