Anthony Albanese Denies Undermining Bill Shorten’s Leadership Of The ALP

Anthony Albanese has denied allegations that he has been undermining Bill Shorten’s leadership of the ALP.

Albanese made a personal explanation after Question Time in the House of Representatives, in response to an article by Troy Bramston in The Australian today. Later, he was interviewed by David Speers on Sky News. [Read more…]

Arthur Gietzelt, Labor Senator And Hawke Minister, Dies, 93

Arthur Gietzelt, an ALP senator and minister in the Hawke government, has died. The former longtime leader of the NSW ALP Left faction was 93.

GietzeltGietzelt was elected to the Senate from New South Wales in 1970, at the last stand-alone half-Senate election. Upon the election of the Hawke government, he became the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, an outer ministry position he held for two terms until the 1987 election.

Gietzelt resigned from the Senate in February 1989. At the time of his retirement, he was joint Father of the Senate, the longest-serving member of that chamber, a position he shared with Liberal Senator Peter Durack. In 1992, he was awarded an Order of Australia in the Officer category.

Prior to entering parliament, Gietzelt served for 15 years on the Sutherland Shire Council. He was Shire President or mayor for 9 years.

Gietzelt was a prominent and influential leader of the NSW ALP’s Left faction, from the 1960s until the 1980s. He was a member of the faction’s Steering Committee and was regarded on all sides as a fierce factional warrior. [Read more…]

Rudd: We Build The House, They Tear It Down

The former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, says that the enduring narrative of Australian political history is that Labor builds the house whilst the Coalition tries to tear it down.

RuddSpeaking in Brisbane at the launch of Troy Bramston’s new book, The True Believers, Rudd compared what he said were the two traditions of Australian politics.

“We seek to build the nation, they seek to tear it down. We seek to unite the people. They seek often to divide the people. We seek to envisage a positive plan for our future. They seek to pour scorn on the very possibility of any such vision or any such plans. We seek to define our independent place in the world. They seek to ridicule our independent voice in the world. In fact the history of Australian politics is one of us building the house up while they seek to tear the house down. Sometimes by stealth. Sometimes brick by brick. Sometimes with a very giant wrecking ball.”

Rudd also spoke of Labor values over the past century: “They are values of freedom, values of fairness (what we uniquely call in this country a fair go for all), values of prosperity, values of openness, values of inclusion, values of compassion, values of internationalism, a deep value also in matters, always in our lot, in Australian history to imagine our possible futures, a constructive vision for the future of our nation and then prepare the nation for that future rather than simply believe that it will all somehow spontaneously combust from the ether. Nations rarely are built that way.”

Rudd reminded his audience that in 2008 some ministers in his government thought it was “dangerous” to apologise to the stolen generations.

Later, he said that the Gillard government had failed to explain and sell the Gonski education reforms to the electorate. Rudd is reported to have said: “Here’s a little challenge for those wearing the Gonski t-shirt, ask everyone around this table what Gonski means. So the mums and dads of Australia at this stage do not have a whole lot of detailed content.”

Rudd’s criticism of the government’s communications skills and his comments on enduring Labor values come as the government faces a crucial week in Parliament that will involve the passage of Senator Conroy’s media reform legislation and the possibility of a leadership challenge to Julia Gillard.

Kevin Rudd’s speech at the launch of “The True Believers”, by Troy Bramston.

We build the house they tear it down

BramstonThank you very much Suzie and it’s good to be back here at Riverbend. The centre of reading, reflection and Sunday morning conversation for a long, long time now and it’s a good place to be to think about a book like this. Also to Troy Bramston and his family, welcome to the People’s Republic of Queensland. You are all welcome guests here – just make sure your visas are intact. To all of our other friends who are here with us this morning, it’s good to have you here.

When I first opened this book, by the way, I thought it must have been one that had been scribbled in because if you go to the front page, it’s full of my appalling handwriting that is inside the dust jacket. I recall a conversation with Troy when he was beginning this book about whether there were notes left over from when I wrote the apology speech. When I wrote the apology speech, it was in the study in the lodge. In fact where Curtin sat during the war and I put pen to paper the weekend before the apology speech. If you look at the original manuscript, it is full of crossings out, it is full of I think I can phrase that better, it is full of the product of a Queensland primary school education system and why I failed so badly in handwriting but Troy thank you for the work that you have done. [Read more…]

Top 10 Great Labor Speeches

Troy Bramston discusses ten great speeches from Australian Labor history.

Bramston is the author of a new book, The True Believers: Great Labor Speeches That Shaped History, published by The Federation Press.

The video appears on The Australian’s website today.