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Costello To Quit Politics; Will Not Seek Or Accept Liberal Leadership

The Treasurer in the defeated coalition government, Peter Costello, has announced that he “will not seek and will not accept” the leadership or deputy leadership of the Liberal Party.

Peter and Tanya CostelloSpeaking at a press conference in Melbourne, Costello said: “I will continue to serve my constituents and in serving my constituents I hope that I will have a role to play perhaps mentoring some of the newer MPs.” Significantly, he did not commit to serving the full three years of the term he was elected to yesterday.

Costello said he “will be looking to build a career post-politics in the commercial world”.

Costello has been deputy leader of the Liberal Party since May 23, 1994. He was been Treasurer since the Howard government was elected in 1996. His decision to vacate the field will likely lead to a contest between outgoing ministers such as Malcolm Turnbull, Brendan Nelson, Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop. [Read more…]


“Australia’s Choice”: Howard Attempts To Frame The Election

Hours after announcing the November 24 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard has set the terms of the contest as the coalition sees it.

Howard argues that Australia requires the “right leadership”, a direct swipe at the ALP’s slogan, “New Leadership”.

He has stressed the need for experience to maintain the economic prosperity and national security of the nation.

The coalition is also campaigning on what it calls the ALP’s inexperience and domination by trade unions.

Howard warns against the lack of “balance” in “wall-to-wall” Labor governments in Federal, State and Territory parliaments.

This is the text of a statement by the Prime Minister, John Howard, circulated via email by the Liberal Party.

AUSTRALIA’S CHOICE

Today the Governor-General has accepted my advice for an election to be held on Saturday 24 November.

This election is about Australia’s future. It’s about the leadership Australia needs right now to stay strong, prosperous and secure.

Australia has come a long way in the last decade based on the hard work of all Australians and the tough decisions of the Coalition. Now we must make Australia even stronger.

This will not happen automatically. It will happen not through new leadership or old leadership. It requires the right leadership.

The right leadership is the team that knows how to do the job. The right leadership has the experience to further expand Australia’s prosperity and to ensure that everyone gets a fair share of it.

The right leadership is prepared to take unpopular decisions in the short term that will benefit the Australian community in the long term.

The right leadership is a group of men and women who will govern for all Australians and who will not be beholden to a narrow section of the Australian community.

The right leadership will tell the Australian people where it stands on issues and what it believes in. Love me or loathe me, the Australian people know where I stand and what I believe in.

At this election, the Australian people must decide who is better able to build Australia’s prosperity for the benefit of everyone. They must also decide who is better able to promote our national security and stand up for Australia’s interests abroad.

Is it a government with a proven track record on the economy and national security or is it a group of men and women 70 per cent of whom are former trade union officials?

In the weeks ahead, I will be unveiling detailed plans for Australia’s future. They will be both practical and achievable, underpinned by the Coalition’s record of putting the national interest ahead of sectional interests.

As part of our plan for growth and opportunity I commit today to a goal of full employment. Australia’s unemployment rate today is at a 33-year low. It can go even lower with the right policies.

There is no reason why Australia’s unemployment cannot have a three in front of it. If Labor is elected, its anti-small business policies mean unemployment will rise.

We will unveil policies to lift family living standards and to help sections of the community under pressure. Our plan for stronger communities will deliver better services, more choice and genuine help for Australians in need. It will put more power in the hands of local communities, including by giving communities a greater say in the running of their public hospitals.

In the weeks ahead, I will outline a plan to further reinforce Australia’s national security into the next decade. Our environment policies will tackle in a balanced way the great challenges of climate change and water security.

Our plan for Australia will also give voice to my passionate belief that we are One Australia based on a common citizenship, common loyalty and where all are entitled to equal justice.

The Coalition’s plan for Australia’s future has been carefully put together and builds on the strong decision-making of the last decade. Our plans are fully costed and affordable.

Labor is not ready to govern because it hasn’t done the hard work. Mr Rudd has plans for process; not for action. And his core convictions remain a mystery, both to him and, more importantly, to the Australian people.

If Labor is elected, Mr Rudd’s inexperience and lack of judgment would leave a vacuum at the heart of Australia’s government. That vacuum would be filled by a trade union movement determined to take back the running of the country.

And wall-to-wall Labor would mean no checks and balances in our Federation.

Our $1 trillion economy simply can’t afford it.


Rudd Offers “New Leadership”

Australia is facing “new” and “great” challenges and requires “new leadership”, according to the Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd.

RuddAddressing a press conference in Brisbane, Rudd warned of a situation where “nothing changes” if the coalition is returned at the November 24 election.

Australia requires someone to say “the buck stops with me”, Rudd said, citing Labor policies on education, health, climate change, industrial relations and foreign affairs as areas requiring new leadership. [Read more…]


Howard Fails Vision For Australia Say Greens

This is the text of a statement released by the leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown.

It follows the Prime Minister’s announcement of the November 24 election.

The Prime Minister’s acceptance that “I take responsibility for everything that happens under my watch” highlights his failures on Iraq, climate change, water security, public hospitals and schools, Indigenous wellbeing, and the plight of 1.2 million pensioners, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

“Howard claims the country needs right leadership when in fact it needs good green leadership.

Failure on global warming, forests, water and public transport means failure on economic vision.

His “balanced approach” has manifestly failed the nation in an age of massive, punishing climate impact on our economy,” Senator Brown said.

“His call for “balance” seems divorced from his unbalanced abuse of the Senate majority. The Greens will provide the balance the Howard years have robbed from Australia,” Senator Brown said.


November 24: Howard Announces Federal Election

12.00pm – Australia is to go to the polls for a federal election on November 24. The announcement of the date has just been made in Canberra by the Prime Minister, John Howard.

  • Listen to Howard’s Election Announcement Press Conference (25m)

Addressing a press conference in Canberra, Howard said “this country does not need new leadership, it does not need old leadership, it needs the right leadership”. [Read more…]


I’ll Retire During Next Term: Howard

John Howard bluffs his Party yet againJohn Howard has pledged to retire at some time during his fifth term as Prime Minister, assuming he is re-elected later this year.

Speaking on the ABC’s 7.30 Report, Howard said:

“If the Australian people are good enough and kind enough to re-elect me again, there are a lot of things I want to do, and I would want to approach those things with enormous energy. But I would expect well into my term, and after those things have been implemented and battered down, I would probably, certainly form the view well into my term, that it makes sense for me to retire, and in those circumstances, I would expect, although it would be a matter for the Party to determine if Peter would take over.

“…I’ve thought this through, and what I’m saying to the Australian people is I want to be re-elected, there are a lot of things I want to do for them. But well into my term, I would come to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of everybody if I retired, and in those circumstances, I would expect Peter to take over, but that would be a matter for the Party. Now, that is the honest truth, and I think most of your viewers believe it would be the case.”

Questioned on whether this means the Australian people will be asked to vote for not one but two prime ministers, Howard said:

“They’ll be voting for a team, and I think that’s good. I think actually this election if it’s a contest between teams as well as a contest between Howard and Rudd is a good thing … I’m asking people to vote for somebody who levels with them. I don’t think Steve Bracks and Peter Beattie levelled with their respective publics. I mean, what changed their circumstances between their elections and when they retired? I mean, the glib thing is to say to people you’re going to serve three years even though you know in your heart that may not be the case. Well, I am not going to embrace the glib option. That was the approach taken by others, it’s not the approach that I am going to take.”

Howard’s announcement will alter the dynamics of the forthcoming election campaign. The ALP can be expected to argue against the value of electing a prime minister who will not see out his 3-year term, whilst capitalising on the negative perceptions the polls indicate the electorate has about Peter Costello.

The campaign in Howard’s Sydney electorate of Bennelong will also be affected by today’s announcement. In his ABC interview, Howard left open the possibility of remaining in the Parliament as a backbencher following his retirement as prime minister.


Howard Survives Party-Room Meeting Without Challenge

The leadership of the Prime Minister, John Howard, has survived a parliamentary Liberal Party meeting in Canberra today.

Following a day of crisis yesterday, it now appears certain that Howard will take the coalition to its fifth consecutive election under his stewardship.

The Treasurer, Peter Costello, has broken his silence on the issue today, claiming his position has not altered since last year and that he was not privy to the meetings and discussions within the Liberal Party over the past week. [Read more…]


Howard Conducts APEC Final Press Conference; Questioned About Leadership

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has held the final press conference following the APEC Forum in Sydney.

Howard took questions from the international media. He also responded to a local question about his leadership intentions. He said he would contest this year’s election as leader. [Read more…]


Costello And Howard Comment On Leadership Claims By Michael Brissenden

This is the audio of comments by Treasurer Peter Costello on claims by the ABC’s Michael Brissenden on the Liberal Party leadership.

Brissenden and two other journalists claimed Costello told them that he wanted to destroy Howard’s leadership.

Costello denied the claims.

In a separate interview, Prime Minister John Howard said that he had a “wonderful, harmonious, professional relationship” with Costello.
[Read more…]


Blair Announces Resignation After Ten Years As British Prime Minister

Tony Blair has announced that he will relinquish the British prime ministership on June 27.

Addressing his party members and supporters in his Sedgefield constituency, Blair confirmed his departure after ten years. He became Prime Minister on May 2, 1997.

  • Listen to Blair’s Resignation Announcement (20m)
  • Listen to Blair and Opposition Leader Cameron in the House of Commons (May 9 – 3m)

Text of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Resignation Announcement.

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1997-2007I have come back here, to Sedgefield, to my constituency. Where my political journey began and where it is fitting it should end.

Today I announce my decision to stand down from the leadership of the Labour Party. The Party will now select a new Leader. On 27 June I will tender my resignation from the office of Prime Minister to The Queen.

I have been Prime Minister of this country for just over 10 years. In this job, in the world today, that is long enough, for me but more especially for the country. Some times the only way you conquer the pull of power is to set it down. [Read more…]