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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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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…]


Australian Car Industry Dies: Toyota To End Local Production By End Of 2017

Toyota has announced that it will end vehicle and engine production in Australia by the end of 2017.

The announcement marks the formal death of the Australian car manufacturing industry. A product of post-war economic development, the automotive industry at its peak included manufacturing plants operated by General Motors Holden, Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Toyota says “various negative factors such as an extremely competitive market and a strong Australian dollar, together with forecasts of a reduction in the total scale of vehicle production in Australia, have forced us to make this painful decision”. [Read more…]


Victorian Speaker Ken Smith Resigns; Christine Fyffe Takes Over

The Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, Ken Smith, has resigned and Liberal MP Christine Fyffe has been elected unopposed as the new Speaker.

Smith

Smith’s resignation came in a belligerent speech at the beginning of the new parliamentary year at 2pm today. Smith attacked Frankston MP Geoff Shaw, accusing him of “outrageous demands” and describing him as “unworthy” of being a member of parliament. [Read more…]


GMH To Close Australian Manufacturing Operations In 2017: Official

General Motors has announced that it will discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017, bringing to an end 60 years of making the iconic Holden car.

HoldenThe official announcement from General Motors says it will “transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand”.

The decision will affect approximately 2,900 positions over the next four years, 1,600 in South Australia and 1,300 in Victoria.

The announcement cited the value of the Australian dollar as a chief reason for the decision. “The appreciation of the currency alone means that at the Australian dollar’s peak, making things in Australia was 65 percent more expensive compared to just a decade earlier.”

News of the General Motors decision was announced by the Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, during Question Time. In Federal Parliament, the Opposition moved a motion criticising the government over the loss of jobs.

Treasurer Joe Hockey accused the Opposition of confected outrage and hypocrisy over Holden’s decision. He said global car manufacturers were moving operations to locations where production costs are cheaper. He pointed out that former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who as Treasurer floated the dollar in 1983, is to address the Labor Caucus tomorrow.

In Parliament yesterday, Hockey made a spirited demand that Holden announce its intentions. His remarks received front page treatment today, as shown below.

Text of a statement from General Motors.

GM to Transition to a National Sales Company in Australia and New Zealand

Company to cease manufacturing in Australia by 2017

GMDETROIT – As part of its ongoing actions to decisively address the performance of its global operations, General Motors today announced it would transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand. The company also said it would discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017. [Read more…]


Napthine Says He Won’t Introduce Or Support Legislation To Restrict Abortions

The Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, has released a video statement in which he says he will not introduce or support abortion legislation to restrict a woman’s right to choose.

The statement comes after today’s decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions to drop all criminal charges against Frankston MLA Geoff Shaw over alleged rorting of his travel entitlements.

The DPP’s decision ensures that the government will not face a risky by-election which would have ensued if Shaw had been convicted. The government has a one-seat majority in the Legislative Assembly and relies on Shaw’s vote. Elected as a Liberal, Shaw now sits as an independent after he resigned from the parliamentary party earlier this year and precipitated the resignation of former premier Ted Baillieu.

Shaw is engaged in a battle with the Assembly Speaker, Ken Smith, who last week protected the government’s position by expelling two Labor members and thereby guaranteeing the government’s survival until the new year. Smith’s survival as Speaker beyond January will be keenly watched in 2014.

There has been speculation that Shaw wants legislation to undo or restrict the decriminalisation of abortion that was passed on a conscience vote five years ago. At the time, Napthine opposed the legislation whilst Baillieu supported it.

With next year’s election now less than a year away, Napthine appears keen to take the abortion issue off the political agenda.

  • Watch Napthine’s video statement (1m)

BAILLIEU RESIGNS – DENIS NAPTHINE NEW VICTORIAN PREMIER

The former Victorian Liberal leader, Denis Napthine, has been re-elected tonight and will become Premier following the resignation of Ted Baillieu.

Liberal MPs were given ten minutes notice of a party-room meeting to be held at 7pm tonight. Baillieu offered his resignation to the partyroom and Denis Napthine was elected in his place.

Napthine [Read more…]


Napthine Announces Shadow Cabinet

New Victorian Opposition Leader, Dr. Denis Napthine, has announced his shadow cabinet line-up.

There are 22 members, up from the 18 members in the former Kennett government, including 5 members of the National Party and 4 women. The average age of the shadow ministry is just under 48 years.

In a procedure not used since 1988, the Opposition party room elected 9 members of the shadow cabinet. Dr. Napthine augmented this by choosing Ted Baillieu (newly-elected to replace Phil Gude in Hawthorn), Geoff Leigh (member for Mordialloc and long-time Liberal Party hatchet-man), Victor Perton (anti-Kennett member for Doncaster) and Helen Shardey (second-term member for Caulfield).

Newly-elected member for Brighton and Deputy Opposition Leader, Louise Asher, is the big winner in the line-up, securing the key post of Shadow Treasurer, where she will be pitted against the Premier, Steve Bracks.



Napthine Coalition Shadow Ministry – Victoria 1999

The Victorian Opposition Shadow Ministry was announced on October 29, 1999 by the new Opposition Leader, Dr. Denis Napthine.

The shadow cabinet has been expanded from the 18 in government to 22, in order to accommodate demands from the National Party.

The 4 leaders in both houses are automatically members of the shadow cabinet, the Liberal party room conducted an exhaustive ballot to elect 9 members, the National Party nominated 5 members, and Dr. Napthine chose 4 additional members (Baillieu, Leigh, Perton & Shardey). [Read more…]


Napthine and Asher Elected To Lead Liberals in Victoria

Dr. Denis Napthine was officially elected today as the new leader of the Victorian Liberals.

He was unopposed for the position. His deputy will be Louise Asher. The new leadership team signals a final end to the Kennett era in Victorian politics.

Asher, recently elected to the lower house seat of Brighton, defeated Phil Honeywood, Robert Doyle and Robert Dean for the deputy’s job. Asher and Honeywood swapped votes to keep Doyle out.

Parliament meets for the first time since the election next Wednesday 3 November.


National Party Dissolves Victorian Coalition

Victorian National Party Leader, Pat McNamaraThe Victorian National Party has walked out of the coalition arrangement it has had with the Liberal Party since the early 1990s.

The decision was announced at a National Party organisational meeting in Melbourne on Friday 22 October. National Party leader Pat McNamara said that the party was not interested in a coalition “at any price”.

The National Party governed in coalition with the Liberals between 1992 and 1999, despite the Liberal Party having the parliamentary numbers to govern in their own right.

At the recent State elections, the Nationals lost 2 seats, Gippsland East to an Independent, and Warrnambool to the Liberals, reducing their numbers in the Legislative Assembly to 7.

The decision to go it alone could have important ramifications in the Parliament, especially if a National Party MP accepts the position of Speaker. It is rumoured that the Labor government may offer the Speaker’s position to Barry Steggall, the member for Swan Hill.

Deputy Liberal leader, Denis Napthine, said today that maintenance of the coalition in Parliament was an important priority.