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Philip Ruddock (Lib-Berowra) – Valedictory Speech

Philip Ruddock has given his valedictory speech to the House of Representatives, ending a parliamentary career of 42 years and 7 months.

Ruddock

Ruddock, the Liberal member for Berowra, in New South Wales, was first elected as the member for Parramatta at a by-election on September 22, 1973. He was the member for Dundas from 1977 until 1993. After his first election win, he has been elected to 16 parliamentary terms.

Ruddock was Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs in the Howard government from 1996 until 2003. He was Attorney-General from 2003 until the Howard government lost office in 2007. [Read more…]


Julian Leeser Wins Liberal Preselection For Berowra; Succeeds Philip Ruddock

Julian Leeser has won Liberal Party preselection for Berowra and will succeed the long-serving Philip Ruddock at this year’s election.

LeeserLeeser easily won the contest against three other candidates, winning the votes of 97 of the 114 preselectors. Robert Armitage won 10 votes, John Bathgate 4 and Nick McGowan 3.

Leeser is currently Director of Government Policy and Strategy at the Australian Catholic University, a position he took up in 2012. Prior to that, he was Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre (2006-12). He worked as an advisor to Philip Ruddock when he was Attorney-General in the Howard government (2004-06). He also worked as an advisor to Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott in 2001, before spending two years as a solicitor with Mallesons Stephen Jaques (2002-04). He was an Associate to High Court Justice Ian Callinan in 2000.

Leeser was a Councillor with the Woollahra Municipal Council (1995-99). He came to public notice during the 1999 Republic referendum when he was a member of the Prime Minister’s “No Case” committee. [Read more…]


40th Anniversary Of The 1974 Joint Sitting Of Parliament

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Joint Sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, held during the term of the Whitlam Labor government.

The Joint Sitting, the first and only ever held, took place over two days, August 6 and 7, 1974.

Gough Whitlam described the sitting as “a last resort to enable the democratic will of the Australian people to prevail over blind obstruction”.

Joint Sitting

The proceedings took place in what is now Old Parliament House. They were chaired by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jim Cope. The Liberal Opposition Leader (and future Speaker) was Bill Snedden. The Governor-General was the just-appointed Sir John Kerr.

The only member of either house who attended the Joint Sitting and is still serving is Philip Ruddock. Now the member for Berowra, in 1974 he was the 31-year-old Liberal member for Parramatta and still in his first year as a member of the House.

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The Six Bills

Six bills were submitted to the Joint Sitting, all of which had been first passed by the House of Representatives in 1973, following the election of the Whitlam government. [Read more…]


Abbott Announces Panel To Examine Democratisation Of NSW Liberals

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced the formation of an Expert Panel to consider reform of the NSW Liberal Party.

The announcement came during Abbott’s address to the NSW Liberal Party State Council in Sydney today.

“I love this party,” Abbott told the gathering. He said the Expert Panel would examine preselection reform and democratisation of the party.

The reform process will be led by former prime minister John Howard. He will be assisted by one of his former ministers, David Kemp, the former president of the NSW division, Chris McDiven, and the longtime member for Berowra, Philip Ruddock.

Concern over the preselection process and factionalism within the NSW division has grown in recent years. The party’s failure to win more seats in NSW cost it government in 2010. The candidacy of Jaymes Diaz cost the party the seat of Greenway at this year’s election.

Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Address to the NSW Liberal Party State Council in Sydney.

Well, what a fantastic day to be together as part of our extended Liberal family. It is an extraordinary honour to be with you this morning. It is an extraordinary honour to be with you this morning as your Prime Minister.

I am under no illusions, I know that the only reason that we have a new Government in Canberra, the only reason that I am Prime Minister is because I am the product of this great Party. [Read more…]


House of Representatives Debates Gay Marriage Resolution

An impressive debate began in the House of Representatives tonight on a motion by the Greens member, Adam Bandt, calling on parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality.

Bandt’s motion reads:

That this House:

(1) notes there is:

(a) a growing list of countries that allow same-sex couples to marry including the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, SPain, Canada and South Africa; and

(b) widespread support for equal marriage in the Australian community; and

(2) calls on all parliamentarians to gauge their constituents’ views on the issue of marriage equality.

Speaking to the motion, Bandt said, “there have been many attempts through history to limit love and all have failed”. The text of his speech is at the end of this page. [Read more…]


Kelvin Thomson Resigns From Shadow Ministry Over Mokbel Reference

The ALP’s Shadow Attorney-General, Kelvin Thomson, has resigned after admitting he wrote a reference in 2000 for the fugitive crime figure, Tony Mokbel.

Kelvin Thomson, ALP Member for WillsAt a press conference today, the Leader of the Opposition, Kevin Rudd, said: “On Tuesday my office received anonymous information that the Member for Wills and Shadow Attorney–General, Mr Kelvin Thomson, had provided a letter of support of some sort to Tony Mokbel. On Wednesday after my office spoke with Mr Thomson, I was briefed that the matter concerned a letter of support for a Victorian liquor licence application in 2000 for Mr Mokbel. Mr Thomson has since stated that a request was made for a letter of support for Mr Mokbel from Mr Thomson, as Mokbel’s local Member of Parliament in 2000 in support of a liquor licence application. Mr Thomson subsequently provided that letter of support.” [Read more…]


Howard Rushes Amendment To Counter Terrorism Legislation

Indefinite Article Wins The Day

‘The’ becomes ‘a’ in an urgent amendment the Federal Government is rushing through Parliament today. The rush to substitute the indefinite article for the definite article has been justified by claims of a ‘potential terrorist threat.’

Addressing a press conference late this morning, the Prime Minister, John Howard said: “The reason for this amendment is that the Government has received specific intelligence and police information this week which gives cause for serious concern about a potential terrorist threat.”

Howard said: “All the detail of this information has been provided by me and the Attorney General to the Leader of the Opposition and to the Shadow Minister for Homeland Security. The Government is satisfied on the advice provided to it that the immediate passage of this amendment would strengthen the capacity of the law enforcement agencies to effectively respond to this threat. We are acting of course, against the background of the assessment of intelligence agencies reported in the annual ASIO report.”

The Labor Opposition has announced that it will support the amendment. [Read more…]