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Howard And Beazley Pay Tribute To Packer

Kerry Packer was a “great Australian”, the Prime Minister, John Howard, said today.

PackerHoward wasted no time in holding a media conference at Kirribilli House, Sydney, this morning, just hours after Channel 9 broke the news that the station’s owner, Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer, had died, aged 68.

Packer was a loyal friend, the Prime Minister said.

Howard said the cliches “great Australian” and “larger than life character” were appropriate descriptions of Packer. He paid tribute to the media proprietor’s business acumen, citing Packer’s sale of the Nine network to Alan Bond in the 1980s. Packer subsequently bought Nine back at a fraction of the price. Bond went broke. Packer famously said “an Alan Bond only comes along once in life”. [Read more…]

Howard And Beazley Carefully Craft Their Christmas Messages

The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have delivered Christmas messages to the people of Australia.

HowardJohn Howard’s Christmas message adhered strictly to the political messages he has crafted over nearly 10 years in office, emphasising the generosity of Australia’s overseas aid response and lauding the work of non-government welfare agencies.

The Liberal leader also referred to the significance of Jesus Christ and family life. An intriguing insight into Howard’s political approach can be seen in his departure from the prepared speech distributed by his office. In the televised version he simply refers to “the birth of a man”, whereas the prepared text says “the birth of Jesus Christ”. Whilst keen to support religious values, Howard rarely does so in an overt manner. [Read more…]

Michelle Who? Beazley Fluffs Radio Interview

In a radio interview today, Opposition Leader Kim Beazley struggled to identify Michelle Leslie, the young woman arrested in Indonesia for possession of ecstasy tablets.

In the interview, Beazley was asked for his opinion on Lee’s release.

  • Listen to the exchange (41s)
  • Watch Beazley (2m)

Partial transcript of Opposition Leader Kim Beazley’s radio interview.

Beazley: Oh, well, I’m glad she’s out … ah, Michelle Lee … I think, is it?

Host: Michelle Leslie.

Beazley: .. Leslie.

Host: The girl who was in the news a moment ago.

Beazley: Oh, right … I wasn’t listening, sorry. Ha, ha, ha … ah …

Host: This is the girl who the police in Indonesia found in possession of a couple of ecstasy tablets.

Beazley: Oh, no, sorry, I thought you said Lee. Lee, not Leslie. Oh, OK, right, um. Well, I think she’s, um, lucky to be out and I’m glad she is … I’m not going to get into a theological discussion about conversion to Islam.

Following her release from custody in Indonesia, Michelle Leslie held a press conference.

  • Listen to the press conference (22m)

Workplace Changes Not Family Friendly: Beazley

The Federal Government’s proposed changes to industrial relations laws are not about choice but about cutting wages and reducing conditions, according to the Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley.

Kim BeazleyAddressing a press conference in Canberra, Beazley derided the notion of employees negotiating with employers: “You know that an 18 year old with a few skills, sitting down with the boss, is not going to negotiate with the boss on an equal basis.”

The Labor leader also attacked the government’s use of public money to promote its proposals. “If John Howard was confident in this legislation he would not be spending $100 million worth of taxpayers’ funds – effectively an open-ended cheque – in order to mislead absolutely everybody.” [Read more…]

Howard Announces Changes To Detention Policy; Families With Children To Be Released

The Federal Government has announced changes to the immigration detention program, following negotiations with backbench Liberal members led by Petro Georgiou.

HowardThe Prime Minister, John Howard, speaking at a late-afternoon press conference, said mandatory detention will remain. “We will maintain our strong position on border protection, that is the excision of islands, the maintenance of offshore processing, and . . . the policy of turning boats around.” [Read more…]

Beazley Replies To Federal Budget; Offers Detailed Alternative

The Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley, has responded to the Federal Budget and offered a detailed alternative to the government’s proposed tax cuts.

  • Listen to Beazley’s Speech (31m)

This is the prepared transcript of the Budget Reply Speech, delivered to the House of Representatives by the Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley. [Read more…]

Kim Beazley: Address To The National Press Club

The Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley, has addressed the National Press Club, in Canberra.

It was Beazley’s first address to the club since returning to the ALP leadership in January. [Read more…]

Beazley Acknowledges Long Road Ahead

Kim Beazley has conceded he has “got a bit of work to do” to re-establish his leadership credentials and the fortunes of the ALP.

In his first major television interview since regaining the leadership last Friday, Beazley said he would aim to “sharpen the differences” with the government and to hold it accountable.

Beazley criticised the government over its relationship with the United States, arguing that Australia needed to be the ally America needed, not the ally it wanted.

The reborn Opposition Leader – Beazley held the position between 1996-2001 – appeared comfortable and confident. It has been announced that he will live in Sydney for much of the time, reducing the need for long and frequent travel from Western Australia. [Read more…]

Howard In Davos For WEF; Comments on Habib, Beazley

The Prime Minister, John Howard, is in Davos, Switzerland, for the latest meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Speaking to journalists, Howard criticised European wheat subsidies, but was otherwise non-committal on Mamdouh Habib and the ALP leadership.

According to its website, the World Economic Forum is “an independent international organization incorporated as a Swiss not-for-profit foundation”. Its members “represent the world’s 1,000 leading companies, along with 200 smaller businesses, many from the developing world, that play a potent role in their industry or region”. [Read more…]

Kim Beazley Returns As ALP Leader; Elected By Acclamation

Kim Beazley was re-elected by acclamation as leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party shortly after 9.00am today. Beazley nominated himself. There were no other contenders.

Beazley held a press conference at midday. He delivered the brief statement reproduced below and then answered questions. [Read more…]