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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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Turnbull Issues ‘Statement Of Expectations’ For The NBN

The Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, has issued a statement of expectations for the National Broadband Network.

Speaking at a press conference today, Turnbull also confirmed that he had requested the resignations of the NBN Board. He said this should not be taken as a personal criticism of the board but as a means of giving the government maximum flexibility when considering its options.

Turnbull said he had order NBN Co to continue rolling out fibre under existing contracts while a strategic review is undertaken. [Read more…]


Malcolm Turnbull: “It Has Never Been Easier To Get Away With Telling Lies”

The Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has again lamented the “game of politics” and decried the dumbing down of political debate.

Speaking at the Woodford Folk Festival on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Turnbull said “it has never been easier to get away with the glib one-liner”.

Turnbull said “broadcasters, or politicians or writers…who think that they are respecting ‘struggle street’, the battlers, …by dumbing things down into one-line soundbites are not respecting them, they are treating them with contempt.

“Because it is our job, above all in politics, to tackle the big issues, and to explain them and have the honesty to say to people, ‘there are no easy solutions here’. If the answer to global warming was obvious and simple, we’d have it licked by now.” [Read more…]


Murdoch And Turnbull Tweet About Guns

Rupert Murdoch’s tweet earlier today and Malcolm Turnbull’s reply tonight need little explanation.

Although you do have to wonder how many other shadow ministers would engage like this. Or ministers.

Tweets


Rudd And Turnbull On Q&A: Dumped Leaders Discuss Leadership

Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull appeared on Q&A tonight and discussed political leadership in Australia.

Flanked by the former chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, Heather Ridout, and economist Judith Sloan, the former Labor and Liberal leaders played to an admiring audience on the ABC talk show.

The discussion culminated in the final twenty minutes of the program when the two men were asked about their willingness to start a new party together. Both dismissed the idea, Rudd quipping that “Malcolm and I could never agree on the leadership”. [Read more…]


Malcolm Turnbull Speech On Same-Sex Marriage

Opposition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull has spoken in parliament on the Marriage Amendment Bill.

Turnbull made clear that he supported same-sex marriage but was bound by the coalition’s decision to oppose the bill. He said: “In my view, the numbers would not be there even if there were a free vote on the coalition side.” He called on same-sex marriage proponents to support civil unions.

Turnbull’s speech was delivered in the Federation Chamber.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech on the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (11:37): Following on from my very good friend the member for Leichhardt, let me return the compliment. He has been a vigorous, persuasive and very effective advocate for the rights of same-sex couples and people of a homosexual orientation, and has done a great deal of work, perhaps made more effective because of his unlikely persona as the crocodile farmer from North Queensland, speaking up for the gay community in the widest sense of the word.

Turning to the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012, as honourable members are aware, the coalition has taken a position as a party, and as a coalition party room, not to allow a free vote on this issue. So, like the member for Leichardt, I will not be voting in favour of this bill. Were, however, a free vote to be permitted I would support legislation which recognised same-sex couples as being described as in a marriage. I want to explain to the House why I would do that and also suggest an alternative.

The arguments that have been put against gay marriage fall into three categories. The first one we can call a taxonomic one. They say a marriage is between a man and a woman. You cannot make a table into a chair simply by calling it a chair. It is a table; it does not matter what name you give it. The weakness with that argument is that the definition of marriage has changed again and again over time. In my estimation, at least one-third of the marriages extant in Australia today would not be recognised by the Catholic Church, or indeed by the Anglican Church, because one of the parties to that marriage has been married before and their former spouses are still living. So the truth is that society has defined and redefined marriage again and again. [Read more…]


Malcolm Turnbull’s Speech On Republican Virtues: Truth, Leadership & Responsibility

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a speech on truth, leadership and responsibility in which he argues that there is a “deficit of trust” in the Australian political system.

Malcolm TurnbullThe speech is likely to cause a stir in the Liberal Party. By implication, Turnbull takes a swipe at his 1990s monarchists opponents, John Howard and Tony Abbott, over their campaign of “utterly dishonest misinformation” during the Republic referendum campaign.

Turnbull is dismissive of climate change denialists and the shock jocks who promote them. Again by implication, he attacks Alan Jones and others: “Dumbing down complex issues into sound bites, misrepresenting your or your opponent’s policy does not respect ‘Struggle Street’, it treats its residents with contempt.”

Turnbull is critical of Question Time in parliament. He says of the Opposition’s approach: “For the last two years the questions from the Opposition have been almost entirely focussed on people smuggling and the carbon tax. Are they really the only important issues facing Australia? A regular viewer of Question Time would be excused for thinking they were.”

Whilst Turnbull says the problem with Question Time is its focus on the Prime Minister, his comments will most likely be seen as a criticism of Abbott’s parliamentary tactics.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s George Winterton Lecture at the University of Western Australia.

Republican virtues: Truth, leadership and responsibility.

Tonight’s lecture honours the memory of a most virtuous republican, our friend George Winterton, who despite the inestimable love and prayers of his wife, Rosalind, died in 2008 at the far too young age of 61.

My topic for this lecture is “Republican virtues – truth, leadership and responsibility.”

I will weave together a little about the republican debate in which George and I were generally comrades in arms (although at times comrades at arms length) with some reflections on the decline of the news media, the not unrelated coarsening in the dialogue between politicians and those who elect them about choices and challenges we face as a community, and the resulting dismay with which far too many Australians currently view their parliaments.

++++++

The visitor to Washington DC is quickly reminded that the founders of the American Republic were fascinated, intoxicated perhaps, with another republic, Rome.

Jefferson, entranced with a Roman temple in Nimes writes to his friend Madame de Tesse. “Here I am madam gazing whole hours at the maison quaree like a lover at his mistress.”

But it was not just the architecture of Rome that inspired the founders. Rejecting the British monarchy which oppressed them, and apprehensive of unbridled democracy, they appealed to the example of the noble Romans, the republican Romans, Cincinnatus, Fabius, Cato – men who had selflessly served the state and defended the rights of the people against tyranny just as the Pilgrims had opposed the established church.

Although separated by two thousand years, but very much alive in the libraries of New England, Puritans and Romans fused in the American imagination as a republic of virtue.

The American revolutionaries, common lawyers after all, reached back to a lost republic just as they were creating a brave new world of their own.

We will not linger tonight to debate again which virtues were republican or how they could be reflected in a constitution or whether, indeed, Jefferson was right in equating republican virtue with free farmers whose sturdy arcadian independence he contrasted with the wage slaves of the factories and emporiums of the city. [Read more…]


Malcolm Turnbull Pays Tribute To Robert Hughes

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a moving tribute to Robert Hughes in the House of Representatives today.

Malcolm Turnbull

Hughes, writer and art critic, died on August 6, aged 74.

Turnbull’s wife, Lucy, was Hughes’s niece. Hughes’s brother, Tom, the Sydney barrister and a former Liberal member of the House (1963-72), was in the public gallery with his wife during the condolence motion. [Read more…]


Turnbull Speech: Open Markets, Open Minds And An Open Society

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a speech on the economy in which he sounds a warning about Australia’s economic future.

Malcolm TurnbullThe Opposition’s shadow minister for Communications said of the changing world environment: “The real story is much more than China, or indeed Asia. At the centre of the great economic changes in the world today is an accelerating convergence triggered by trade liberalization and supercharged by the Internet. As people in developing countries acquire more skills at first world standards and as the Internet makes historically non-traded sectors thoroughly trade exposed, there are grave risks as well as new opportunities for high wage, developed economies like Australia.”

Turnbull called for inefficient and uncompetitive industries to adapt or die. He warned against government attempting to pick winners. “Now change is often very unsettling – but we need to remind ourselves and our fellow countrymen that just as firms which cannot change to new circumstances will decline, and sometimes close, the same is true for national economies.”

The speech also deals with education, broadband and “harmonious diversity”.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s ANU speech: Open Markets, Open Minds and an Open Society (or why we should be more like Stephanie Gilmore and less like King Canute)

It’s an honour to be here at the ANU for the launch of Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, the new flagship journal of the Crawford School of Public Policy.

Under the editorial leadership of Tom Kompas, Director of the Crawford School, APPS will focus on public policy research from – and about – Australia, Asia and the Pacific, with the first edition out at the start of 2014.

As the newspaper industry’s travails remind us, paper and ink are yesterday’s story, and I note with approval that Tom and his team have future-proofed APPS – it will be published electronically and free of charge, thanks in part to support from AusAID.

Public policy is ultimately the most pragmatic and applied of disciplines. But it must also be founded in rigorous thinking about economic and social behavior – big ideas about the interrelationships that have to be taken into account in successfully leading social and political change.

Rigorous empirical research based on sound precepts – studies of outcomes across jurisdictions, of what worked, what didn’t, and which unanticipated consequences arose – are the most valuable analysis and data available to policymakers considering a problem. And while we are often, but not often enough, aware of what has been tried in the UK, US or New Zealand, we typically know less about what’s been tried elsewhere, particularly beyond the OECD. [Read more…]


The Death Of Margaret Whitlam

Margaret Whitlam died, aged 92, on March 17, 2012.

Parliamentary tributes were delivered on March 19. A memorial service was held on March 23.

Margaret Whitlam Memorial Service

 

Mar 19-20 – House of Representatives & Senate Condolence Motion Speeches

    • Julia Gillard (ALP)
    • Tony Abbott (Lib)
    • Tanya Plibersek (ALP>
    • Julie Bishop (Lib)
    • Kevin Rudd (ALP)
    • Watch Kevin Rudd
    • Malcolm Turnbull (Lib)
    • Senator John Faulker (ALP)
    • Watch John Faulkner
    • Senator Marise Payne (Lib)
    • Senator Bob Brown (Greens)
    • Josh Frydenberg (Lib)
    • Natasha Griggs (CLP)
    • Mar 23: Tony Whitlam’s eulogy for his mother
    • Mar 23 Catherine Dovey’s eulogy for her mother

Turnbull: “The Future Of Newspapers – Is It The End Of Journalism?”

Malcolm Turnbull has canvassed the future of newspapers and journalism in a speech to the Advanced Centre of Journalism at Melbourne University.

Malcolm Turnbull MPThe Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Communications pondered the future of journalism in a post-newspaper world. He said: “We need to recognise that the whole edifice of our fifth estate, of our journalism, has been built on a foundation of newspaper journalism and that that foundation is crumbling.”

Turnbull said: “Our society, our democracy, needs journalism and we need journalists. We need a free, well resourced and independent media as much as we need our politicians and parliaments.” [Read more…]