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Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos Resigns

The Victorian Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos, has resigned.

Mikakos announced her resignation in a statement posted on Twitter at 9.32am. The statement appears below.

Her resignation follows Premier Daniel Andrews’ appearance at a public hearing of the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry yesterday. Andrews said Mikakos and the Health Department were “accountable” for the decision to employ private security guards at hotels involved in the quarantining of people arriving in Melbourne from overseas.

Mikakos [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…]


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…]


Morrison Government Says Victorian COVID-19 Measures Are Hard And Crushing News

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and senior ministers Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt have criticised COVID-19 measures announced today by the Victorian government as “hard and crushing news”.

Whilst generally supportive of measures to rid Victoria of the virus, the three ministers said that “the proposed roadmap will come at a further economic cost.”

In a statement, they say: “Now that we have been advised of the plan and it has been released we will also seek feedback from Victorian business and industry stakeholders to understand their concerns and seek to ensure they are addressed.” They said Victoria’s contact tracing system has to be “strengthened to the highest possible levels”. [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…]


Sen. Nita Green (ALP-Qld) – Maiden Speech

This is the maiden speech by Senator Nita Green, ALP, Queensland.

Listen to Green (23m):

Watch Green (27m):

Hansard transcript of maiden speech by Senator Nita Green, ALP, Queensland.

The PRESIDENT (17:33): Order! Before I call Senator Green, I remind honourable senators that this is her first speech; therefore, I ask that the usual courtesies be extended to her.

Senator GREEN (Queensland) (17:33): The town of Yarrabah is a short drive from my home in Cairns. It is home to the Gunggandji people, a community of artists, activists, teachers and leaders. It is the place where elders, including Aunty Ruth and Uncle Alf, started to organise a campaign that built toward the 1967 referendum. They understood that the necessary ingredients for change were present in the Australian community and that they could, if they persisted, achieve reform and amend the constitution. In acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we meet on today and the traditional owners of the land I live on in Far North Queensland, I want to pay tribute to Yarrabah, its elders and the activists who refused to take no for an answer. They are ready to lead again and deliver a voice to parliament. I extend to them my support and solidarity. [Read more…]


Angie Bell (LNP-Moncrieff) – Maiden Speech

This is the maiden speech to the House of Representatives by Angie Bell, the Liberal National Party member for Moncrieff, Queensland.

Bell replaced Steve Ciobo at the May 18, 2019 elections. Like Ciobo, she will sit in Canberra as a member of the Liberal Party.

Listen to Bell (29m):

Watch Bell (33m):

Hansard transcript of maiden speech by Angie Bell, Liberal National Party member for Moncrieff.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr S Georganas) (17:24): The question is that the address be agreed to. Before I call the honourable member for Moncrieff, can I remind the House that this is the honourable member’s first speech and I ask the House to extend to her the usual courtesies.

Ms BELL (Moncrieff) (17:24): I congratulate the Speaker, actually, on his re-election as the chair of this House. I also pay tribute to retiring clerk David Elder, who made the transition for 27 new members in this class of 2019 such a pleasure and who, without doubt, will be sorely missed. I congratulate also Claressa Surtees on her role as the 16th Clerk in this place. [Read more…]


Sen. Tony Sheldon (ALP-NSW) – Maiden Speech

This is the maiden speech by Senator Tony Sheldon, ALP, New South Wales.

Listen to Sheldon (26m):

Watch Sheldon (30m):

Hansard transcript of maiden speech by Senator Tony Sheldon, ALP, New South Wales.

The PRESIDENT (17:03): Order! Before I call Senator Sheldon, I remind honourable senators that this is his first speech; therefore, I ask that the usual courtesies be extended to him.

Senator SHELDON (New South Wales) (17:03): I acknowledge the traditional owners of this place and pay my respects to elders, past, present and emerging. I’m so proud to be in the Ngunnawal country in the parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, a House for all people. And I pledge to progress the agenda of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, to recognise First Nations people in our Constitution. [Read more…]


Sen. Mitch Fifield (Lib-Vic) – Valedictory Speeches

These are the valedictory speeches for Senator Mitch Fifield, Liberal, Victoria.

Fifield, 52, was appointed to the Senate on March 3, 2004, filling a casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Richard Alston.

Fifield served as a minister in the governments of Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison, between September 2013 and May 2019. He was Minister for the Arts and Minister for Communications from 2015 until 2019.

He was Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate between 2017 and 2018, and Manager of Government Business in the Senate from 2018 to 2019.

Prior to entering parliament, Fifield worked for Treasurer Peter Costello (1996-2003) as a senior political adviser. He was also a senior policy adviser to Alan Brown, the Victorian Minister for Transcpot (1992-96).

Fifield, bruised by the leadership turmoil in the Liberal Party in 2018, will soon take up the post of Ambassador to the United Nations.

Listen to the valedictory speeches for Fifield (57m):

Watch the valedictories (57m):

Hansard transcript of valedictory speeches for Senator Mitch Fifield.

The PRESIDENT (18:33): Pursuant to order, the Senate will now move to valedictory statements.

Senator FIFIELD (Victoria) (18:33): Colleagues and friends, doesn’t it go by in the blink of an eye? It was a little over 15 years ago that I rose to speak for the first time in this great chamber. I did so as the 487th senator to serve in this place since Federation. This struck me at the time as being a pretty small number, but since I arrived 120 senators have left this place. I cite these figures to highlight that, while ours may be a select group, our custodianship is transitory. To be chosen by your party peers to be their flag-bearer, to be endorsed by the voters, to be afforded a platform and resources to pursue the national interest, there are few greater privileges. Today, for me, represents the culmination of a decade and a half in the Senate, and the drawing of stumps on a parliamentary and a ministerial career. But today also represents for me the conclusion of 31 years in full-time professional politics and 23 years working in this building. [Read more…]


Sen. Matt O’Sullivan (Lib-WA) – Maiden Speech

This is the maiden speech to the Senate of Senator Matt O’Sullivan, Liberal, Western Australia.

Listen to O’Sullivan (24m):

Watch O’Sullivan (28m):

Hansard transcript of maiden speech by Senator Matt O’Sullivan, Liberal, Western Australia.

The PRESIDENT (18:05): Pursuant to order, I will now ask Senator O’Sullivan to come forward and make his first speech, and I ask senators to observe the usual courtesies.

Senator O’SULLIVAN (Western Australia) (18:05): Mr President, as this is my first speech, may I start by congratulating you on being elected as President of the Senate. I’d also like to congratulate my fellow Western Australian Senators elected at the 18 May election: Senators Linda Reynolds, Patrick Dodson, Slade Brockman, Louise Pratt and Jordon Steele-John. Together we have the immense privilege of representing Western Australia, and I look forward to working with you to deliver for the great state of Western Australia. [Read more…]