Evans, Roxon Quit Gillard Cabinet; Reshuffle Imminent

12.45 – Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has joined Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans in departing the Gillard Cabinet.

It is reported that Roxon does not intend to contest the next election.

Reports say Gillard’s reshuffle includes the demotion of Chris Bowen to the portfolios currently held by Evans. Gillard confidante Brendan O’Connor is said to in line for promotion to Immigration Minister.

The reports say Mark Dreyfus will become Attorney-General, whilst Jason Clare is to be promoted.


11.45pm – Later media reports say that Senator Chris Evans is resigning from the Cabinet and the Senate leadership but remaining in Parliament.

Earlier reports left open the possibility that ill health was forcing Evans’s resignation but this now appears not to be the case. A Cabinet resignation ahead of next week’s resumption of Parliament and the first ALP Caucus meeting of the year has quite different implications.

The Sky News correspondent, Peter van Onselen, tweeted this at 11.24pm tonight:

 


Chris Evans, Gillard Cabinet Minister, Government Senate Leader, Resigning

10.00pm – Senator Chris Evans, the Gillard government’s leader in the upper house and Minister for Tertiary Education, is reportedly quitting politics immediately.

EvansMedia reports tonight say that Evans will announce his resignation as a minister and senator tomorrow morning. No reason has been given.

Evans has been a senator from Western Australia since 1993. He has been the ALP leader in the Senate since October 2004.

Following the election of the Rudd government in 2007, Evans entered the Cabinet as Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and Government Leader in the Senate.

After the 2010 election, Evans became Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations. Following a reshuffle in December 2011, he became Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research.

His resignation will require a minor reshuffle. His position as Senate leader will most likely be taken by his current deputy, Stephen Conroy.

A by-election will not be required. Under Section 15 of the Constitution, Evans’s position in the Senate will be filled by the Western Australian parliament which is required to appoint a replacement from the same party.

It has been a lively week for the Gillard government. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced September 14 as the election date. Yesterday, the member for Dobell, Craig Thomson, was arrested and charged with fraud.

 


Current Federal Parliamentary Party Leaders

Each political party represented in the Federal Parliament elects leaders in each house.

Just as the government is decided in the House of Representatives, so the parties elect their leaders and deputy leaders from amongst their representatives in the House. If the party is not represented in the lower house, its leader will be chosen from amongst its members in the Senate.

House of Representatives
Party Leader Deputy Leader
Australian Labor Party Julia Gillard
Member for Lalor (Vic)
Wayne Swan
Member for Lilley (Qld)
Liberal Party Tony Abbott
Member for Warringah (NSW)
Julie Bishop
Member for Curtin (WA)
National Party Warren Truss
Member for Wide Bay (Qld)
Senator Nigel Scullion
Northern Territory
Australian Greens Adam Bandt
Member for Melbourne (Vic)



The major parties also elect leaders and deputy leaders in the Senate. These people form part of the leadership group and act as the focal point for their parties in the upper house.

For example, the current ALP leader in the Senate, Chris Evans, is referred to as the Government Leader in the Senate. Senator Eric Abetz is referred to as the Opposition Leader in the Senate.

Senate
Party Leader Deputy Leader
Australian Labor Party Senator Chris Evans
(Western Australia)
Senator Stephen Conroy
(Victoria)
Liberal Party Senator Eric Abetz
(Tasmania)
Senator George Brandis
(Queensland)
National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce
(Queensland)
Senator Fiona Nash
(New South Wales)
Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne
(Tasmania)



Footnote: Convention dictates that the official leader of the main parties will be a member of the House of Representatives. In 1968, following the death of its Prime Minister, Harold Holt, the Liberal Party chose its upper house leader, Senator John Gorton, as the new prime minister. Gorton immediately resigned his Senate seat and contested the by-election for Holt’s lower house electorate, Higgins. Thus, Australia had a prime minister for several weeks who was not a member of either house. This is allowed for in Section 64 of the Constitution.


Current Federal Parliamentary Party Leaders

Each political party represented in the Federal Parliament elects leaders in each house.

Just as the government is decided in the House of Representatives, so the parties elect their leaders and deputy leaders from amongst their representatives in the House. If the party is not represented in the lower house, its leader will be chosen from amongst its members in the Senate.

House of Representatives
Party Leader Deputy Leader
Liberal Party John Howard
Member for Bennelong (NSW)
Peter Costello
Member for Higgins (Vic)
National Party Mark Vaile
Member for Lyne (NSW)
Warren Truss
Member for Wide Bay (Qld)
Australian Labor Party Kevin Rudd
Member for Griffith (Qld)
Julia Gillard
Member for Lalor (Vic)


The major parties also elect leaders and deputy leaders in the Senate. These people form part of the leadership group and act as the focal point for their parties in the upper house.

For example, the current Liberal Party leader in the Senate, Nick Minchin, is referred to as the Government Leader in the Senate. Senator Chris Evans is referred to as the Opposition Leader in the Senate.

Senate
Party Leader Deputy Leader
Liberal Party Senator Nick Minchin
(South Australia)
Senator Helen Coonan
(New South Wales)
National Party Senator Ron Boswell
(Queensland)
Senator Nigel Scullion
(Northern Territory)
Australian Labor Party Senator Chris Evans
(Western Australia)
Senator Stephen Conroy
(Victoria)
Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett
(Queensland)
Senator Lyn Allison
(Victoria)
Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown
(Tasmania)
Family First Senator Steve Fielding
(Victoria)


Footnote: Convention dictates that the official leader of the main parties will be a member of the House of Representatives. In 1968, following the death of its Prime Minister, Harold Holt, the Liberal Party chose its upper house leader, Senator John Gorton, as the new prime minister. Gorton immediately resigned his Senate seat and contested the by-election for Holt’s lower house electorate, Higgins. Thus, Australia had a prime minister for several weeks who was not a member of either house. This is allowed for in Section 64 of the Constitution.


Latham Leadership In Doubt: Statement Expected By Friday

Mark Latham, Leader of the OppositionThe future of the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham, seemed more in doubt today with a statement expected by Friday.

The Federal Opposition has begun the new year in a state of self-induced crisis brought about by unnecessary secrecy over the health and whereabouts of Mark Latham.

It is now clear that the public has been misled by ALP spokespeople. It is equally clear that the Opposition Leader’s office has been woefully incompetent in its handling of the matter.

This is the text of a media statement from the Acting Leader of the Opposition, Senator Chris Evans.

I have spoken to Labor Leader Mark Latham this morning.

Mark has now received the results of further medical tests regarding his pancreatitis.

He will now discuss these results with his family and doctors, and will make a statement on his health by Friday.