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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…]


ALP And Greens Back Palmer Motion For Select Committee Inquiry Into Queensland Government

The Senate has voted to establish a Select Committee to inquire into aspects of Queensland government administration.

The motion was moved by Palmer United Party senators and supported by the ALP and Greens. It was carried by 30 votes to 27.

The 5-member Select Committee on Certain Aspects of Queensland Government Administration will comprise 2 ALP, 1 Green, 1 PUP and 1 Coalition members. The PUP Senate leader, Glenn Lazarus, will chair the committee.

The Committee is required to report by March 27, 2015, around the time the Queensland state election is due.

The Committee is charged with inquiring into Commonwealth funds allocated to Queensland since March 26, 2012, when the LNP government led by Premier Campbell Newman took office. It will investigate judicial independence and the separation of powers, environmental law, the administration of prisons and detention without trial. The Committee will also examine Commonwealth oversight of coal seam gas projects in Queensland. [Read more…]


Islamic State Beheadings Plot Alleged Following Terrorist Raid Arrests In Sydney And Brisbane

Federal Police raids this morning have resulted in a 22-year old man, Omarjan Azari, appearing in a Sydney court charged with planning a terrorist act designed to “shock, horrify and terrify”.

Azari is accused of conspiring with Mohammad Baryalei, the man described as a “top terrorist recruiter” in Australia. The arrest is one of about 15 resulting from raids across western Sydney and Brisbane. The raids, involving 800 police and described as the largest in Australian history, took place as a result of information gleaned from an intercepted telephone conversation in recent days. [Read more…]


ALP Wins Queensland Stafford By-Election With 18.6% Swing

The Queensland ALP has won the Stafford by-election with a swing of 18.6%, regaining a seat lost in the LNP landslide of 2012 and propelling a Royal Brisbane Hospital surgeon into parliament.

Lynham

Dr. Anthony Lynham, a maxillofacial surgeon, will become the new member for Stafford, replacing Chris Davis, the LNP member who resigned after a series of disputes with the Newman government, which included his dismissal as Assistant Minister for Health. Davis was also a medical specialist before his election, working as the Director of Medicine at the Prince Charles Hospital.

Situated in the inner-north of Brisbane, Stafford is an electorate once-abolished and recreated in 2001. It was held by the ALP between 2001 and 2012. There was a 14.4% swing against the ALP in 2012.

The LNP’s primary vote has fallen 16.9% to 33.4%, whilst the ALP’s primary has risen 17.2% to 50.7%.

The ALP’s two-party-preferred vote is 61.5%, a swing of 18.6%. The LNP margin before the by-election was 7.1%. [Read more…]


Tony Fitzgerald Warns Of Abuse Of Power In Queensland

Tony Fitzgerald, the man who led the inquiry into corruption in Queensland’s Bjelke-Petersen government in the 1980s, has issued a statement warning against the abuse of power and describing Queensland today as “effectively a single-party State”.

FitzgeraldFitzgerald, a former judge of the Federal Court of Australia, said the first term of Campbell Newman’s government has seen attacks on the judiciary and judicial independence, emasculation of the anti-corruption commission, and interference with the electoral system.

The Liberal National Party government has “confirmed the critical importance of adequate checks and balances”, Fitzgerald says.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry of the 1980s contributed to the resignation of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the jailing of Police Commissioner Terry Lewis, and the resignation and jailing of several Cabinet ministers.

Text of statement issued by Tony Fitzgerald.

Statement from Tony Fitzgerald

Queensland is extremely vulnerable to the misuse and abuse of power. There are almost no constitututional limits on the power of the State’s single house of parliament. Unless there is an effective parliamentary opposition to advocate alternative policies, criticise government errors, denounce excesses of power and reflect, inform and influence public opinion, the checks and balances needed for democracy are entirely missing. [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…]


Clive Palmer To Sue Campbell Newman Over Vote-Buying Claim

The leader of the Palmer United Party, Clive Palmer, says he will sue the Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, over comments he made that Palmer was buying votes.

Palmer

It was announced yesterday that three indigenous representatives of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly – Alison Anderson, Larisa Lee and Francis Xavier Kurrupuwuy – would join Palmer’s party. The three members resigned from the Country Liberal Party government a few weeks ago and now sit as independents. Anderson is also a former member of the ALP. [Read more…]


Yvette D’Ath Wins Queensland Redcliffe By-Election For Labor With 16% Swing

Yvette D’Ath has reclaimed the Queensland Legislative Assembly district of Redcliffe for the Labor Party with a 16.1% swing in today’s by-election.

D'AthShe defeated the Liberal National candidate, Kerri-Anne Dooley, who stood in place of the former LNP member, Scott Driscoll.

D’Ath was the former Labor member for the federal electorate of Petrie for two terms from 2007 until her defeat last year.

The ALP’s primary vote rose 12.9% to 43.6% whilst the LNP’s fell 14.1% to 35.1%. The Greens vote fell 2.8% to 4.0%. An independent candidate polled 10.6%.

The ALP’s two-party-preferred vote is 56% to the LNP’s 44%.

Redcliffe is an electorate to the north and northeast of Brisbane. It includes the suburbs of Clontarf, Margate, Kippa-Ring, Redcliffe and Woody Point, as well as Moreton Island. Since its creation in 1960, it was held by the Liberal Party until the ALP won it in 1989 and retained it until 2005. The Liberals briefly held it again in 2005-06, before the ALP won it again.

The by-election was caused by the resignation of the former Liberal National member, Scott Driscoll. Elected in the LNP landslide of 2012, Driscoll was accused of misleading parliament over his business interests. He resigned last November.

With all polling booths reporting their results tonight, the two-party swing to the ALP is 16.1%. The ALP won 11 of the 14 polling booths. The swing to the ALP is roughly equivalent to the statewide swing against it in 2012.

D’Ath’s victory increases the ALP’s parliamentary representation to 8 members in Queensland’s 89-member Legislative Assembly. The party lost 44 seats in 2012 and its primary vote fell to 26.66%.

The ALP will portray the result as a vote against Premier Campbell Newman’s administration and its budget cuts. It will also say the result is a warning to the Abbott government ahead of its first Budget. Whilst a win is a win and the swing is substantial, in reality it is foolish to read too much into by-election results.

The next Queensland state election is due early next year, although Newman could opt to go towards the end of this year. The LNP won 78 seats in 2012 but defections and tonight’s loss means it now holds 74 seats. It can afford to lose up to 28 seats without losing government.


Terri Butler Wins Griffith By-Election For ALP; Status Quo Result Sees 0.68% Swing To Liberals

Terri Butler will become the new Labor member for Griffith, following her by-election victory in the Brisbane-based electorate vacated by former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

Butler

At the close of counting tonight, Butler had recorded a two-party-preferred vote of 52.33%. This is a swing against the ALP of 0.68% since the September 2013 general election. [Read more…]


Swan Continues Attacks On Campbell Newman Cuts

For the second day running, Treasurer Wayne Swan has focussed on Queensland government budget cuts and their effect on unemployment and the national economy.

Swan

At a Brisbane media conference, Swan quoted from Queensland Budget papers which itemised $3 billion worth of cuts to health funding and 2,754 full-time job losses. [Read more…]