Can You Help?

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.


Become a Patron!


Julia Banks (Lib-Chisholm) Turns Independent

The member for the Victorian electorate of Chisholm, Julia Banks, has announced that she is resigning from the Liberal Party to sit as an independent in the House of Representatives, plunging the Morrison government further into minority status.

Banks had previously announced that she would not contest Chisholm again as a Liberal. She has suggested she might run in Chisholm, or elsewhere, as an independent.

Banks won Chisholm at the 2016 federal election. It was the only seat the Liberal Party captured from the Labor Party. The ALP’s Anna Burke had held the seat since 1998.

A redistribution means the redrawn Chisholm will be based around the suburbs of Box Hill, Blackburn, Mount Waverley and Glen Waverley. It has a notional Liberal majority of 3.4%. Last Saturday’s Victorian state election saw the seats of Box Hill and Mount Waverley lost by the Liberal Party to the ALP with swings of 7.5% and 6.0% respectively. The Blackburn-based electorate of Forest Hill, whilst retained by the Liberal Party, registered a 3.0% swing to the ALP.

Bank’s announcement in the House came at the beginning of the day’s proceedings. It coincided with a press conference by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The coalition government now holds just 74 of the 150 seats in the House, having already lost former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth to Dr Kerryn Phelps, also an independent. There are now seven crossbenchers in the House. The ALP has 69 seats.

  • Listen to Banks’ statement (5m)
  • Watch Bank’s statement (5m)

Hansard transcript of statement by Julia Banks, former Liberal member for Chisholm.

Ms BANKS (Chisholm) (12:01): Mr Speaker, on indulgence, may I make a personal statement?

The SPEAKER: Yes, the member for Chisholm may proceed.

Ms BANKS: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Following the leadership coup in August, I announced my decision that I will not recontest the seat of Chisholm at the next election as a member of the Liberal Party. I’ve always put the people before the party. After being a Labor held seat for 18 years, the people of Chisholm elected me as I promised them that I would be their representative under the leadership of the former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former deputy leader and foreign minister Julie Bishop—both visionary, inspiring leaders of sensible, centrist, liberal values with integrity and intellect, and with significant support from my local community, and across Australia, as leaders of our nation. [Read more…]


Victorian Speaker Telmo Languiller Resigns Over Expenses Scandal

Telmo Languiller, the Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, has resigned, in the wake of a scandal over his parliamentary expenses claims.

Languiller

The resignation took place following revelations that Languiller, 59, claimed around $40,000 of expenses for a “second residence” in Queenscliff, an allowance normally only available to MPs who live 80 kilometres from the Melbourne Post Office.

Languiller lives in Footscray, just outside his Tarneit electorate. Tarneit is based around Laverton North, Tarneit and Williams Landing. It is 12 kilometres from Melbourne.

Languiller has represented Tarneit for the ALP since 2014, having previously represented Sunshine (1999-2002) and Derrimut (2002-2014).

In August 2015, Bronwyn Bishop, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, resigned over an expenses controversy involving the use of a helicopter to travel from Melbourne to Geelong.

Statement by Victorian Legislative Assembly Speaker Telmo Languiller.

Statement From The Member For Tarneit

During the last 48 hours I have had the opportunity to talk with family, colleagues and friends.

As I have already stated in the press and in the Parliament, I accept that my actions do not meet the very high standards that the community expects of its elected representatives.

No matter what difficult personal circumstances I may have been going through, I have to recognise it is an error of judgement and I accept that I should pay the price for that error of judgement.

I understand that offering to repay the allowance is not enough.

For this reason today I contacted the Premier to inform him that I would be resigning as the Speaker of the Parliament.

I regret that this issue, if not addressed, could damage the position of Speaker and the Labor Party that I love.

The Premier has provided me with much support over the last two years as I faced very difficult family challenges and I thank him for that.

I thank all of my colleagues for the support they have given me, and members from all sides of politics.

Once again I reiterate my regret at the actions I have taken and I hope that as a backbencher in the Andrews Labor Government I can rebuild trust by serving my electorate of Tarneit and my community.


Mike Baird Announces Resignation As NSW Premier

Mike Baird, the Liberal Premier of New South Wales, has announced that he is retiring.

Baird

Baird has been Premier since April 17, 2014, when he replaced Barry O’Farrell, who fell victim to an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.

Baird took the coalition government to its second successive victory at the election on March 28, 2015.

Recent controversies, especially the proposed banning of dog racing, have impacted on the government’s popularity. It lost a by-election in Orange to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party last year.

Gladys Berejiklian is Baird’s most likely replacement. She is currently deputy leader, Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations.

The next premier will be the seventh in twelve years. Labor’s Bob Carr was the last premier to serve a full term. He retired in 2005.

At a press conference in Sydney, a tearful Baird said: “My father and my mother and my sister are going through a very serious health challenge…at times I have been in pain.”

He went on to say: “I didn’t want to become a career politician. I wanted to go as hard as I could for as long as I could and then step aside.” He denied he was cutting and running, citing his three years as Treasurer and three as Premier. He said he made the decision to resign in the last couple of weeks.


Sussan Ley Resigns From Ministry; Turnbull Announces Reforms To Politicians’ Entitlements

The Health Minister, Sussan Ley, has resigned from the Turnbull ministry.

Ley announced her resignation after a week of adverse political reaction to publicity about her travel expenses and visits to the Gold Coast. On one visit, Ley purchased an investment property.

Investigations by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Finance are still underway but it is reported that the prime minister believed Ley’s position had become untenable. He announced her resignation at a press conference called to announce reforms to MPs’ entitlements.

Ley released the text of her resignation letter to Turnbull (see below). She maintained that she had done nothing wrong and was not in breach of the ministerial code of conduct. She said she was resigning because the “ongoing media coverage of politicians’ entitlements has been a diversion from the important agenda we all wish to advance at the start of this vital year for our nation and our region”.

Turnbull announced that the government would establish an independent expenses authority to monitor and adjudicate all claims by politicians. He said the government would continue to implement all the recommendations of the Conde and Tune review of the parliamentary entitlements system.

Sussan Ley’s resignation letter.

Ley

Transcript of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s press conference announcing reforms to MPs’ entitlements.

TURNBULL: Good afternoon.

Today I have received notice from the Honourable Sussan Ley, of her intention to resign as the Minister Health, Ageing and Sport. I want to thank her for her service to the Government as a Minister and as a member of the Executive over many years.

I will make a further announcement about ministerial arrangements next week. In the meantime, the Cabinet Secretary, Senator Sinodinos, will continue to act as Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport. [Read more…]


Senator Rod Culleton Resigns From Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

Senator Rod Culleton has announced his resignation from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party.

CulletonIn a Twitter post tonight, Culleton criticised Hanson and One Nation. In a characteristically rambling and incoherent media release, he said: “Policy decisions have been run in morning media, with no consultation, discussion or agreement from the party room and personal attacks and undermining, un-Australian behaviour towards myself and my team, has been ongoing and terms dictated to the team.”

Culleton accused Hanson of “diluting her pre-election promises” in relation to a banking inquiry. He said: “The PHON leader’s public rants against me have also been accompanied by demands for my resignation and control over diaries, office management and staffing by Senator Hanson and her Chief of Staff, James Ashby.”

Culleton said he intended to continue “independently of PHON” in the 45th Parliament.

The Western Australian senator is awaiting a High Court ruling on his eligibility for election to Parliament. If he is expelled from the Senate, a recount will most likely result in Culleton’s brother-in-law replacing him. [Read more…]


Senator Joe Bullock Announces Resignation Over ALP Policy On Same-Sex Marriage

Senator Joe Bullock, the Western Australian Labor senator elected in 2013 after a controversial preselection, has announced that he will resign from the Senate in the next few weeks. He cited the party’s policy on same-sex marriage and the removal of a conscience vote for members as his reasons.

Bullock

Bullock, 60, said his conscience would not allow him to support the ALP’s policy on same-sex marriage, a policy carried by the ALP National Conference last year. He said he could have moved to the crossbenches as an independent but neither of two conditions which would justify this applied: he was not threatened with expulsion by the party and as an endorsed ALP Senate candidate he could not claim a personal vote in support of his stand.

Bullock said he would stay in the Senate until the end of the current session later this month, so as not to deny the ALP a vote in the Senate.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten wished Bullock well and described him as “a man of deeply held faith and convictions” who had been “a tenacious advocate for workers across Western Australia”.

Bullock’s preselection led to the defeat of former Senator Louise Pratt in 2013. A former head of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union in WA, Bullock was attacked for his conservative views and for a speech he gave to a Christian organisation.

The ALP has just six parliamentary representatives from Western Australia. All three of its House members (Melissa Parke, Alannah MacTiernan and Gary Gray) have announced their retirements. Bullock is one of three ALP senators. His resignation will give the party greater flexibility in preselecting replacements.

Hansard transcript of Senator Joe Bullock’s resignation speech.

Senator BULLOCK (Western Australia) (20:09): It was early in the spring of 1973 that I drew up my courage to the sticking point and rose to speak. It was not a speech that I felt would find favour in a room packed with serious, striving parents and the dignified pedagogues in whose charge I had all but completed serving a twelve-year sentence for youth. My chosen topic was ambition. I spoke against it. It had occurred to me some years earlier that the path to personal fulfilment lay through service to others and not in the pursuit of wealth or self-aggrandisement, which I suspected of being the defining motive of the majority of those in attendance. It was, therefore, with surprise verging on astonishment that I greeted the decision of the wizened panel of adjudicators to award me the Old Trinitarians Union public speaking prize. With that prize came the realisation that it was the fate of some to peak early and that the road for me henceforth lay, in all probability, downhill. [Read more…]


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…]