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COAG Discussions Focus On Terrorism, Federation And Taxation

The Council of Australian Governments met in Canberra and discussed a range of issues, including terrorism, reform of the Federation and the taxation system.

COAG

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, held a joint press conference following the meeting. He was accompanied by Premiers Baird, Napthine, Newman, Barnett, Weatherill and Hodgman, as well as the Territory Chief Ministers Gallagher and Giles. Felicity-Ann Lewis represented Local Government. [Read more…]


Martin Hamilton-Smith, Former South Australian Liberal Leader, Defects And Becomes Minister In Weatherill Labor Government

The former leader of the South Australian Liberal Party, Martin Hamilton-Smith, has defected and will become a minister in the Labor minority government led by Jay Weatherill, securing its position in the hung Parliament.

Defection

The decision was announced at a surprise press conference in Adelaide this morning. Hamilton-Smith will become Minister for Investment, Trade, Defence Industries and Veterans Affairs. He has guaranteed to support the government on Supply and confidence motions. He will sit on the crossbenches and contest his electorate of Waite as in independent Liberal in 2018. [Read more…]


Premiers Rebel Over Federal Budget Cuts; Demand COAG Meeting Before July 1

The States have rebelled over Federal Government Budget cuts, claiming that the impact will be felt on July 1, and demanding Prime Minister Tony Abbott convene a COAG meeting before then.

Newman

The State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers met in Sydney today at a meeting called by the Queensland LNP Premier, Campbell Newman. The Western Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, was the only leader not to attend. [Read more…]


Geoff Brock Accepts Ministry From Jay Weatherill And Delivers Minority Government To Labor In South Australia

South Australia will have a minority Labor government with the support of independent member Geoff Brock, who has accepted a Cabinet post as Minister for Regional Development.

Brock-Weatherill

Brock, the member for Frome, announced his decision this morning at a joint press conference with Premier Jay Weatherill. It comes after yesterday’s announcement that the other independent member, Bob Such, is to take two months sick leave from the new parliament. [Read more…]


Liberals Outpoll Labor In South Australia But Weatherill Clings To Power As Two Independents Hold The Balance In Hung Parliament

The South Australian Labor government led by Premier Jay Weatherill is clinging to government as counting of today’s election continues. Two independents will most likely hold the balance of power in a hung parliament, with the ALP best placed to form government.

Weatherill

In the 47-member House of Assembly, the ALP has won 23 seats, the Liberals have 22, and there are 2 independents. [Read more…]


Abbott Introduces Marshall At Launch Of South Australian Liberal Party Election Campaign

With the South Australian state election just one week away, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has introduced Liberal leader Steven Marshall at the official campaign launch in Adelaide.

Marshall

The former Howard government Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, introduced Abbott to the crowd at the Norwood Town Hall. [Read more…]


SA Election: Weatherill And Marshall Meet In Televised Forum

With the South Australian state election just eleven days away, the party leaders have met in a televised forum.

Forum

The one-hour encounter between Labor Premier Jay Weatherill and Liberal Opposition Leader Steven Marshall was shown on Sky News and moderated by Kieran Gilbert. The leaders took questions from an audience of purportedly undecided voters chosen by a polling company.

The Labor government now led by Weatherill was first elected in February 2002 under the leadership of Mike Rann who won two more elections and served as Premier until October 2011. Marshall is a first term parliamentarian who became Liberal leader in February last year. [Read more…]


Weatherill: Government Response To Holden Closure Pathetic

The South Australian Labor Premier, Jay Weatherill, says the federal government’s response to the Holden closure is pathetic.

Weatherill

Speaking at a press conference today, Weatherill said the package announced today by Prime Minister Tony Abbott was “manifestly inadequate. [Read more…]


Seven Former Politicians Awarded Australia Day Honours: Downer, Uren Receive AC

Tom Uren, Alexander Downer and five other former politicians have received awards in the Australia Day Honours list announced today.

UrenUren and Downer both become Companions (AC) in the General Division. It is the highest honour that can be awarded. Two other men, The Reverend Professor James Mitchell Haire AM and Professor Brian Paul Schmidt also received an AC.

Alexander Downer was Foreign Minister in the Howard government between 1996 and 2007. He was the Liberal member for Mayo in South Australia, serving in 9 parliaments between 1984 and 2008. In 1994-95, he was Liberal leader and Leader of the Opposition, a position he relinquished to John Howard in January 1995.

Tom Uren (left) was Minister for Urban and Regional Development in the Whitlam goverment between 1972 and 1975. In 1983 he became Minister for Territories and Local Government in the Hawke government. From 1984 until 1987, he was Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services. He served in 13 parliaments as the member for Reid between 1958 and 1990.

Uren is one of 12 surviving ministers from the Whitlam era. At 91, he is the second oldest of the surviving ministers. Whitlam is 96.

Four former politicians received an AM, a Member in the General Division.

John Aquilina, the Labor member for the NSW Legislative Assembly seats of Blacktown and Riverstone between 1981 and 2011, served as a minister in the Wran and Unsworth governments between 1986 and 1988. He was also a minister in the Carr government from 1995 to 2003. He became Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 2003 and served until 2007. He retired at the 2011 election.

Robert Fordham was the Labor member for Footscray in the Victorian Legislative Assembly between 1970 and 1992. He was Deputy Premier from 1982 until 1989. He also served as Education Minister and later as Industry Minister.

Jane Lomax-Smith was the Labor member for Adelaide in the South Australian House of Assembly from 2002 until 2010. She held the Education ministry and a number of other portfolios in the Rann government. She lost her seat in the 2010 state election.

Bill Wood was a Labor member of the ACT Legislative Assembly between 1989 and 2004. He held a number of ministerial portfolios in that time. He was previously a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.

One former politician has become a Member (OAM) in the General Division.

Malcolm Kerr was the Liberal member for Cronulla in the NSW Legislative Assembly between 1984 and 2011.

This is the complete list of recipients of Australia Day Honours.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA

COMPANION (AC) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION

The Honourable Alexander John Downer, SA. For eminent service to the Parliament of Australia through the advancement of international relations and foreign policy, particularly in the areas of security, trade and humanitarian aid, and to the community of South Australia.

The Reverend Professor James Mitchell Haire AM, ACT. For eminent service to the community through international leadership in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, the promotion of religious reconciliation, inclusion and peace, and as a theologian.

Professor Brian Paul Schmidt, Sutton, NSW. For eminent service as a global science leader in the field of physics through research in the study of astronomy and astrophysics, contributions to scientific bodies and the promotion of science education.

The Honourable Tom Uren AO, Balmain, NSW. For eminent service to the community, particularly through contributions to the welfare of veterans, improved medical education in Vietnam and the preservation of sites of heritage and environmental significance. [Read more…]


Gillard Claims Progress On NDIS And Power Prices Following COAG Meeting

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has claimed progress on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and reform of the electricity market following today’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments.

Julia Gillard

Gillard and the state and territory leaders reached agreement to establish a new Standing Council on Disability Reform. Gillard said: “The Agreement provides the foundation for all governments to work together to develop and implement the first stage of these important reforms.” [Read more…]