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The Darwin By-Election – 102 Years Ago Today

Today, June 30, is the 102nd anniversary of the Darwin by-election, in Tasmania, in 1917. It was the 21st by-election since Federation in 1901.

Darwin was the electorate now known as Braddon. Located in north-western Tasmania, it included the towns of Devonport and Burnie.

The by-election is notable because it was caused by the unexpected death of Charles Howroyd, the shortest-serving member of the House of Representatives, the man who ended the career of Labor’s King O’Malley.

The by-election led to the return to parliament of W.G. Spence, a union leader and one of the founders of the ALP, now sitting on the other side of the political divide.

The by-election was held in a climate of political upheaval following the split in the Labor Party over conscription. It was a time of bitter political infighting and sectarian conflict.

There are no particularly significant historical effects arising from the by-election, but the interplay of individuals and electorates is fascinating in its own right.

Charles Howroyd – MP for Five Days

Howroyd
Charles Howroyd – photo from Psephos

The by-election was caused by the death of Charles Howroyd, a Nationalist (Liberal). Howroyd won Darwin at the May 5, 1917 federal election. He died five days later, on May 10, aged just 50. To this day, Howroyd remains the shortest-serving member of the House of Representatives.

Howroyd had been a state Labor member, holding North Launceston in 1906 and then moving to Bass in 1909. He was a founding member of the ALP, one of many who left the party over conscription in 1916-17.

The by-election caused by Howroyd’s death was held just seven weeks after the 1917 federal election.

The Hughes Landslide of 1917

The 1917 election was a victory for Billy Hughes and the Nationalist Party. The party had only just been formed after ALP members who split with the ALP, or were expelled from it, over the issue of conscription, joined with the Liberals. The former Labor prime minister was now the leader of his former opponents. [Read more…]


Where We Live – Scott Morrison’s Asialink Address On Foreign Policy

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has delivered a major speech on foreign policy, emphasising the important of the rule-based trading system and free trade.

Morrison

Morrison emphasised Australia’s willingness to engage in the Indo-Pacific region. He stressed the importance of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), whilst maintaining the relevance of the Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) alliance.

Morrison warned of “gathering clouds in the global economy”. He said a worsening trading relationship between China and the United States “is not inevitable”.

“We embrace free trade, global engagement and an international system where we agree rules, stick to them and honour our commitments,” Morrison said.

Watch Morrison’s speech (34m):

Listen to Morrison (34m):

Transcript of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s “Where We Live” Address to Asialink-Bloomberg.

PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON: Thank you to Asialink and Bloomberg for the opportunity to address you here today prior to my attending the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Osaka this weekend.

Today I want to talk about our plan to foster an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific, consistent with our national interests.

I would like to set out the principles, consistent with our national values, that will guide my Government’s engagement with the Indo-Pacific region. [Read more…]


Cory Bernardi Disbands Australian Conservatives Party

Senator Cory Bernardi has announced that he will disband the Australian Conservatives party, following its poor showing in the recent federal election.

Bernardi defected to the Australian Conservatives in February 2017, seven months after his re-election as a Liberal Party senator from South Australia. The party had been founded a year earlier as a right-wing activist group. He claimed the new party was opposed to the left-wing direction of the Liberal Party under then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Shortly after its formation, the party was merged with Family First, which gave up its well-developed political identity.

The Australian Conservatives won just 102,769 Senate votes (0.70%) nationwide at the May 18 election. Its best result was 1.47% in South Australia, its worst 0.42% in Western Australia. The party did not contest House seats.

It is not known what Bernardi’s longer-term intentions are. Media reports suggest he may return to the Liberal Party, which he has reliably supported during his self-imposed exile. Some reports say he may leave parliament altogether.

Bernardi became a senator in May 2006, filling a casual vacancy left by the retirement of Robert Hill. He was re-elected in 2007 from the number one position on the Liberal Party ticket. In 2013, he was re-elected, again from the number one position. He was re-elected at the 2016 double dissolution election from the number two position.

Bernardi issued the statement shown below:

19-06-21_conservatives-statement_bernardi


Election Officially Over As Writs Returned By AEC

The 2019 Federal Election is officially over, following today’s return of the writs by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The AEC returned the writ for the House of Representatives elections to the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove. Writs for state senators were returned to state governors. The Senate territory writs were also returned to the Governor-General.

The writ is an official command from the Governor-General to the AEC to conduct elections. Section 12 of the Constitution specifically outlines the requirements for Senate writs.

Now that the election is over, Section 5 empowers the Governor-General to summon parliament. This must occur within thirty days of the return of the writs. The government has already indicated the Parliament will meet on July 2. The Governor-General issued a proclamation to this effect on June 19.

Media release from the AEC announcing the return of the election writs.

Writs Returned


Fiona Patten Not Happy Malcolm Roberts Has Been Re-Elected

The Victorian Reason Party MP Fiona Patten has reacted badly to the re-election of Malcolm Roberts as a One Nation senator from Queensland.

Patten, a member of the Victorian Legislative Council, described Roberts as a “climate-change denying, weirdo, conspiracy theorist”.

“You’re f***ing kidding me right?” Patten wrote.

Malcolm Roberts’ election to the Senate was confirmed this week. First elected at the double dissolution in 2016, Roberts was ruled ineligible to nominate by the High Court on October 27, 2017. Roberts held dual citizenship with the United Kingdom, a breach of Section 44 of the Constitution.

Patten was elected to the Victorian parliament as a representative of the Sex Party in 2014. The party was renamed the Reason Party and she was re-elected in 2018.

Media release from Fiona Patten.

Fiona Patten


Governor-General Summons 46th Parliament For July 2 Meeting

The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, has issued a proclamation summoning the 46th Parliament to convene on July 2.

The proclamation was issued on the advice of the prime minister, Scott Morrison, in accordance with the Governor-General’s power under Section 5 of the Constitution.

The first day of the new parliament will be largely ceremonial. All 151 members of the House of Representatives will be sworn in, as will the 40 senators elected on May 18. The other 36 senators, elected in 2016, remain in office until the next election and do not need to be sworn in.

Proclamation issued by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Proclamation


Reserve Bank Cuts Cash Rate By 0.25% In First Movement For Three Years

The Reserve Bank of Australia has lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 per cent, the first change in interest rates in thirty-four months.

In its decision, the Board of the Reserve Bank said the decision was taken “to support employment growth and provide greater confidence that inflation will be consistent with the medium-term target”.

The Board referred to the growth in “trade disputes” and said that growth in international trade remains weak.

Monetary Policy Decision – Statement by Philip Lowe, Governor

At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 per cent. The Board took this decision to support employment growth and provide greater confidence that inflation will be consistent with the medium-term target. [Read more…]