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Government Releases Updated Economic Outlook; Deficit Up, Growth Slows, $17bn Of Budget Cuts

The Rudd government has released an updated economic outlook statement that shows this year’s budget deficit blowing out to $30.1 billion.

Treasurer Chris Bowen and Finance Minister Senator Penny Wong have announced $17 billion of budget cuts aimed at producing a surplus of $4 billion in 2016-17. [Read more…]


Reserve Bank Leaves Cash Rate Steady At 2.75%

The Reserve Bank of Australia has left interest rates unchanged in its monthly decision announced today.

The cash rate remains at 2.75%. The bank last changed the rate in May.

In a statement, the Governor of the bank, Glenn Stevens, said: “The Board judged that the easier financial conditions now in place will contribute to a strengthening of growth over time, consistent with achieving the inflation target. It decided that the stance of monetary policy remained appropriate for the time being. The Board also judged that the inflation outlook, as currently assessed, may provide some scope for further easing, should that be required to support demand.” [Read more…]


Kevin Rudd Sworn In For Second Time As Prime Minister Of Australia

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s 26th prime minister, has been sworn in for his second term of office.

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s resignation took effect at 9.51am as Rudd took the oath of office and signed the official documents before the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, at Government House.

Anthony Albanese was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister.

Chris Bowen, one of the ministers who resigned from the Gillard ministry in March, was sworn as Treasurer.

Government House has released correspondence between Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and the Governor-General. It shows how the transfer of power takes place in a Westminster parliamentary system.

Gillard

Rudd

 


Chris Bowen Resigns From Gillard Ministry

Chris Bowen has resigned as a minister in the Gillard government.

Bowen was the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, and Minister for Small Business. He previously held the post of Immigration Minister.

Bowen

In the Rudd government, Bowen held the posts of Assistant Treasurer, Financial Services and Competititon Policy. [Read more…]


Gillard Offers Western Sydney Motorway Funding With Conditions

On the first full day of her week-long campaign in western Sydney, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised funding for the western Sydney motorway network, provided the state government comes up with an acceptable business plan.

Speaking beside a noisy motorway with Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Labor MPs from western Sydney, Gillard stipulated several conditions for her government’s support for WestConnex project. [Read more…]


Gillard Government Moves Yet Closer To Howard On Asylum Seekers

The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, has announced a new policy of ‘bridging visas’ for asylum seekers who will be released into the community.

Chris Bowen

Bowen said: “Consistent with ‘no advantage’, people from this cohort going onto bridging visas will have no work rights and will receive only basic accommodation assistance, and limited financial support.” [Read more…]


Nauru Designated For Regional Processing

Nauru has been officially designated a regional processing country under the Migration Act.

The formal action to put in place the government’s about-turn on processing of asylum seekers took place today with the tabling of the legislative instrument in the House of Representatives by the Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

The Opposition maintained its position that Howard-era outcomes can only be achieved by the introduction of the full suite of Howard policies, including temporary protection visas and turning back the boats. Shadow minister Scott Morrison moved an amendment along these lines.

The Instrument of Designation is shown below.

  • Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announces the Nauru designation
  • Shadow Immigration minister Scott Morrison comments on the Nauru decision:

Statement released by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

Nauru designated for regional processing

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, has this morning signed the legislative instrument designating the Republic of Nauru as a regional processing country under the Migration Act.

‘I will today table the designation documents in Parliament. Subject to both houses passing a resolution approving the designation, the designation will allow for the transfer of irregular maritime arrivals who arrived after 13 August to Nauru,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘These documents outline the terms of agreement with the Nauruan Government and the fact I have now designated Nauru as a regional processing country.’

The Minister has determined that it is in the national interest to begin transferring people to Nauru as set out in the Statement of Reasons, including:

  • Nauru has given Australia the assurances around the principle of non-refoulement and the assessment of asylum claims in line with the Refugee Convention
  • Designating Nauru as a regional processing country will discourage irregular and dangerous maritime voyages and thereby reduce the risk of the loss of life at sea
  • The designation promotes the maintenance of a fair and orderly Refugee and Humanitarian Program that retains the confidence of the Australian people
  • Designating Nauru as a regional processing country promotes regional cooperation on irregular migration and people smuggling and its undesirable consequences; and
  • Arrangements already in place in Nauru and those that are proposed to be put in place in Nauru are satisfactory.

The Memorandum of Understanding with the Nauruan Government was signed on 29 August. Construction work on the temporary facility is nearing completion and the government expects to be able to begin transferring people to Nauru later this week.

Mr Bowen said the government was committed to implementing the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers.

‘The designation I have tabled today is the next step in implementing the Expert Panel’s recommendations,’ he said.

Further announcements about processing arrangements in Nauru will be made in due course.

12-09-10_nauru-instrument-of-designation


Arthur Calwell Memorial Lecture 2012: Chris Bowen

This is the text of the Arthur Calwell Memorial Lecture delivered by the Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen.

Chris BowenThank you and it’s a pleasure to join you tonight to give the Arthur Calwell Memorial Lecture.

I’d like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation, the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today and pay my respects to the elders – past and present – and thank them for their stewardship of our land over the millennia.

I would also like to acknowledge Dr Mary Elizabeth Calwell, Arthur’s daughter, who is here with us tonight. I know Mary Elizabeth herself has an abiding interest in both the past and future of the Labor Party, including her father’s legacy.

I would also like to thank my friend Maria Vamvakinou for the invitation to be here. Maria is a first class Member of Parliament. She makes unfailingly thoughtful contributions in our Caucus and in Parliament. She is a fearless advocate for her community and, in my area of responsibility, a passionate believer in multiculturalism. Best of all, I count her as a trusty counsel and a firm friend. [Read more…]


Confusion, Timidity And Capitulation On Asylum Seekers

Late on Friday, twenty minutes after Republicans in the United States Senate agreed to a compromise proposal on a payroll tax extension, Air Force One lifted off to take US President Barack Obama to Hawaii for Christmas.

Asylum seekersIt was a near-miss. The president’s family had gone on ahead and Obama remained alone in the White House with the family’s dog for most of the week, sweating on a political deal with his strident opponents in the Congress.

Here, Julia Gillard went on holidays a week ago, leaving her deputy, Wayne Swan, and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to slug it out with an equally strident Opposition on the perennial issue of asylum seekers.

Unlike Obama, Swan and Bowen left town on Friday with no hint of an agreement. The discussions were “cordial”, both sides agreed. Further talks are anticipated, but the Opposition made it clear the initiative must come from the Government.

On Christmas Eve, a boat carrying 116 passengers was intercepted off Christmas Island. It was the 69th boat to enter Australian territorial waters this year. The previous 68 carried 4,457 passengers. [Read more…]


Deadlock Over Asylum Seekers Remains Following Talks

No agreement was reached on the asylum seeker deadlock, following talks today between Labor and Liberal representatives.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd met with the Opposition’s shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison and shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Both sides claimed the discussions were cordial and constructive. Further talks will take place in the coming weeks. [Read more…]