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Malcolm Turnbull First To Declare In Race For Liberal Leadership

Malcolm Turnbull is the only declared candidate for the Liberal leadership, following Peter Costello’s decision to quit active politics.

It is reported by various media that Brendan Nelson and Tony Abbott are considering nominating.

Christopher Pyne has said he will nominate for the deputy leadership. Pyne, the member for Sturt in South Australia, is clinging to a narrow lead after experiencing a 6.17% swing against him.

 


Costello To Quit Politics; Won’t Seek Leadership

Nov 25 – 12.45pm – The outgoing Treasurer, Peter Costello, has announced that he will not seek the leadership of the Liberal Party following its defeat at yesterday’s election.

Costello said he would serve out his three-year term as the member for Higgins and would leave politics at the next election.

Adapting the words of former United States President Lyndon Johnson, Costello said: “I will not seek and I will not accept the leadership of the Liberal Party.”

Can Turnbull Snatch The Prize?

Nov 25 – 1.00pm – Political attention will now focus on whether the member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, can secure the leadership of the Federal Liberal Party.

Turnbull won a second term in the House of Representatives at yesterday’s election, withstanding a concerted attempt to unseat him. He nearly won the seat on primary votes.

Other likely contenders for the leadership are Brendan Nelson and Joe Hockey. Alexander Downer will also be called on to make his intentions clear. Julie Bishop could be a contender but is more likely to seek the deputy’s position.

Nightmare For Liberal Party Worsens, Or Does It?

Nov 25 – 1.15pm – Whilst some will see Peter Costello’s departure as a worsening nightmare for the Liberal Party, following its defeat in yesterday’s election, the decision also represents an opportunity to move to a new generation of leadership untainted by the Howard-Costello years.

Conversely, the decision by Costello robs his party of a strong parliamentary performer with experience in government.

For Kevin Rudd, the development represents a stunning defeat of his two major opponents in the coalition government.


Defence Minister Nelson’s Address at the Gallipoli Dawn Service

The Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson, has represented the Australian government at the Dawn Service at Gallipoli, in Turkey.

In his address, Nelson said: “At this hour ninety two years ago, ANZACs were on the cusp of giving our nation its identity and place in the world, not only by what they would do here, but how they would do it.”

  • Listen to Nelson’s Dawn Service Address (6m)

Text of Defence Minister Brendan Nelson’s Address at the Dawn Service at Gallipoli, Turkey.

Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free.

Our anthem is a national epitaph to those whose sacrifice in peace and war, gave us that freedom.

Family epitaphs to the dead, in so few words, say so much – of love, life, loss and us. [Read more…]


Howard Announces Additional Troops To Afghanistan

The Federal Government has announced that it will deploy an extra 300 personnel to Oruzgan province in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, speaking at a press conference with Defence Minister Brendan Nelson and Defence Force Chief Angus Houston, said the troop boost was designed to contribute “to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan.

  • Listen to the Howard, Houston and Nelson Press Conference (27m)

Text of a media statement from the Prime Minister, John Howard.

More troops for Afghanistan

As Australians will know, the Government has in recent weeks been considering providing more troops for Afghanistan. After careful examination and proper consultation, the Government has decided to boost significantly Australia’s military contribution to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan. [Read more…]


Australia To Accept New American Military Base At Geraldton

The Federal Government has agreed to host a ground station for a US strategic and military satellite communications system in Geraldton, Western Australia.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson. The government used today’s Question Time in the House of Representatives attack the ALP over its attitude to the US alliance, particularly that of Peter Garrett. Nelson quoted from lyrics from Midnight Oil songs and other writings by Garrett.

This is the text of a media release from the Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson.

AUSTRALIA-US JOINT COMMUNICATIONS FACILITY TO BE HOSTED AT GERALDTON

The Government has agreed to host a ground station for a US strategic and military satellite communications system at the Australian Defence Satellite Communication Station (ADSCS) located at Geraldton in Western Australia. The new ground station will be sited within the grounds of ADSCS but will be unrelated to the existing activities of ADSCS which will remain under separate Australian control.

The ground station will form part of the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). MUOS, in simple terms, will be a satellite-based mobile phone network. MUOS will support US and Australian users, including deployed forces. The ground station at Geraldton will comprise three small buildings housing the electronic infrastructure, power and spares, three 18 metre satellite dishes and two smaller antenna covering an area of approximately 12,000 square metres or less than the size of two and a half rugby fields. Once complete, it will be unmanned requiring only call-out contractor maintenance support.

It will be a joint Australia – US ground station, it will not be a US military base. The facility will be hosted as all other Australian-US joint facilities – on the basis of our full knowledge and concurrence.

Final details are expected to be agreed soon between the US and Australian Defence Departments.

Other joint facilities already hosted by Australia are the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap and the Joint Geological and Geophysical Research Station and in addition, the US has access to the Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt.

BACKGROUND:

JOINT DEFENCE FACILITY PINE GAP

The Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap is a satellite ground station whose function is to collect intelligence data which supports the national security of both Australia and the United States. Intelligence collected at Pine Gap contributes importantly to the verification of arms control and disarmament agreements.

NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS STATION HAROLD E HOLT

Harold E Holt is a radio relay station, passing messages between Australia and US command centres and their respective ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. It became a joint facility in 1974 and since May 1999 it has operated as an Australian facility to which the US has full access.

JOINT GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH STATION

The Joint Geological and Geophysical Research Station is a seismic monitoring station originally established to monitor nuclear explosions during the Cold War. It still does monitor such explosions as part of the International Monitoring System (IMS) of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It also monitors earthquakes. It is jointly operated by Geoscience Australia and the US Air Force.


Howard Ministry; Nelson To Defence; Nats Lose; Turnbull Tapped

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has announced changes to his ministry, moving Brendan Nelson from Education to Defence and promoting the Minister for Ageing, Julie Bishop, into Cabinet as Education Minister. The PM has also promoted Mal Brough from Assistant Treasurer into Cabinet to replace Kay Patterson as Minister for a revamped Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio.

The National Party’s De-Anne Kelly has been dropped from the Ministry and becomes a Parliamentary Secretary, as a result of yesterday’s defection of Nationals Senator Julian McGauran to the Liberal Party. In a move that will cause further angst for the junior coalition partner, the Nationals lose a place in the ministry but gain an additional Parliamentary Secretary’s position. Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile remains Minister for Trade.

Other major positions in the government remain unchanged, with Peter Costello (Treasurer), Alexander Downer (Foreign Affairs), Tony Abbott (Health), Nick Minchin (Finance), Philip Ruddock (Attorney-General) and Kevin Andrews (Workplace Relations) all unchanged.

Senator Amanda Vanstone has had her wings clipped. She retains Immigration but loses Indigenous Affairs which goes to Mal Brough’s expanded Families portfolio. [Read more…]


Details of Howard Government’s Ministerial Changes

Changes to the Howard Government’s ministerial arrangements were announced today. They follow the departures over the past week of Senators Hill, Patterson and McDonald.

The changes were announced by the Prime Minister, John Howard, at a press conference in Canberra this afternoon.

The changes see the National Party lose one ministerial position as a result of yesterday’s defection of Senator Julian McGauran to the Liberal Party. [Read more…]


Brendan Nelson Speaks To John Laws

The Minister for Education, Brendan Nelson, spoke to radio 2UE’s John Laws following a demonstration that prevented him speaking at the University of Sydney.

This is the transcript of Brendan Nelson’s interview with John Laws on 2UE.

LAWS:

Minister, good morning.

DR NELSON:

Good morning John. [Read more…]


Federal Government Re-Announces School Funding Plans

The Federal Government has announced a funding package for schools worth $31.3 billion over the next four years, but most of the money was allocated in last year’s budget.

Independent schools received a 47% increase in funding, whilst state schools got 27%. For the first time, independent schools will receive more federal money than state schools – $7.6 billion, compared with $7.2 billion.

Catholic schools will receive $12.6 billion.

The measures will only add about $100 million a year to the budget, compared to the budget announcements. [Read more…]


A Statistical Analysis Of Question Time

The tabling of a government report into the supposed throwing overboard of children from the Tampa was the dominant issue in Question Time in the House of Representatives this afternoon.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, tabled the report which argued that the government had been misled about the incidient which featured prominently in last year’s election campaign.

The first Questions Without Notice for the 40th Parliament followed the official opening of the Parliament the day before. [Read more…]