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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…]


1982 Video Flashback: Fraser Challenged by Peacock; Cain Labor Government Takes Office in Victoria

This video is a recording of the ABC News in Melbourne on Thursday, April 8, 1982.

On that day, Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, in office for 6 years and 5 months, beat off a challenge from his former Foreign Minister, Andrew Peacock. Fraser defeated Peacock by 54 votes to 27 in the Liberal partyroom. Treasurer John Howard was chosen as deputy leader, replacing Phillip Lynch.

The challenge to Fraser had been brewing for some time but was brought to a head by the defeat of the 27-year-old Liberal government in Victoria on April 3. On this day, the John Cain ministry was sworn into office, the first Labor government since John Cain snr in 1955.

Watch the news item (8m):


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…]


Historic Parliamentary Sitting As Members Given Remote Access Because Of COVID-19

A historic meeting of the Australian Parliament began today, with members of both houses now able to participate remotely in proceedings, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The House of Representatives met at 10.00am and formalised the arrangements.

Members are able to participate from their electorate offices via the parliament’s video system. They cannot vote remotely.

The government and opposition agreed on the format of remote access in recent weeks. Negotiations were handled by the Leader of the House, Christian Porter, and the Manager of Opposition Business, Tony Burke.

Statements from House Speaker, Tony Smith, and the Senate President, Scott Ryan, appear below.

Watch the opening proceedings in the House of Representatives (24m):
[Read more…]