The Day Mitt Romney Lost The Presidential Election?

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been embarrassed by a video of him making disparaging comments about American voters.

Mother Jones magazine has published details of Romney’s remarks to a private function of wealthy donors last May.

Romney said: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”

[Read more…]

Asia-Ready People, Asia-Ready Policies: Wayne Swan Speech

This is the text of Treasurer Wayne Swan’s address to the Australia in China’s Century conference in Sydney today.

Wayne Swan

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Speech by Treasurer Wayne Swan to Australia in China’s Century conference.

Asia-Ready People, Asia-Ready Policies

Can I start by thanking you, Paul for that introduction, thanking you all here for that warm welcome, and especially acknowledging The Australian and The Wall Street Journal for putting this event together. The rise of China, and especially the stupendous growth in its middle class, sits alongside the Global Financial Crisis as one of the two defining economic events of our lifetimes. Both are transforming the world. Indeed, China’s return to pre-eminence in the global economy is the most momentous development since the industrial revolution re-shaped the Western world over 200 years ago. So what China’s rise means for our place in the global superstructure is certainly a big enough topic to warrant this high-quality gathering today. I’m thankful for the opportunity to offer some thoughts and then to discuss them with my distinguished colleagues on this panel. I know that by this stage you don’t want me to go over too much of the same ground or recite the same stats. Instead, I want to offer the personal perspective of an Australian Treasurer whose seven trips to China mean I’ve probably visited there more times than all my predecessors since federation combined. That’s not a perfect statistic, but it does illustrate the shifting focus of Treasurers since the second world war, from markets in London, New York and Tokyo towards Shanghai and Hong Kong today. [Read more…]

Backbencher Kevin Rudd Seeks International Adviser, Preferably Chinese-Speaking

Queensland Labor backbencher Kevin Rudd is looking for a new adviser. Advertisements for the position appeared in daily newspapers today.

The advertisement stipulates that “this adviser will play an important role in advising Mr. Rudd in his capacity as a former Prime Minister with a focus on research and Mr. Rudd’s ongoing work in international forums”.

The position will be based in Brisbane in Rudd’s electorate of Griffith. “Candidates with high level fluency in Chinese are encouraged to apply.”

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Nauru Designated For Regional Processing

Nauru has been officially designated a regional processing country under the Migration Act.

The formal action to put in place the government’s about-turn on processing of asylum seekers took place today with the tabling of the legislative instrument in the House of Representatives by the Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

The Opposition maintained its position that Howard-era outcomes can only be achieved by the introduction of the full suite of Howard policies, including temporary protection visas and turning back the boats. Shadow minister Scott Morrison moved an amendment along these lines.

Statement released by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

Nauru designated for regional processing

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, has this morning signed the legislative instrument designating the Republic of Nauru as a regional processing country under the Migration Act.

‘I will today table the designation documents in Parliament. Subject to both houses passing a resolution approving the designation, the designation will allow for the transfer of irregular maritime arrivals who arrived after 13 August to Nauru,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘These documents outline the terms of agreement with the Nauruan Government and the fact I have now designated Nauru as a regional processing country.’

The Minister has determined that it is in the national interest to begin transferring people to Nauru as set out in the Statement of Reasons, including:

  • Nauru has given Australia the assurances around the principle of non-refoulement and the assessment of asylum claims in line with the Refugee Convention
  • Designating Nauru as a regional processing country will discourage irregular and dangerous maritime voyages and thereby reduce the risk of the loss of life at sea
  • The designation promotes the maintenance of a fair and orderly Refugee and Humanitarian Program that retains the confidence of the Australian people
  • Designating Nauru as a regional processing country promotes regional cooperation on irregular migration and people smuggling and its undesirable consequences; and
  • Arrangements already in place in Nauru and those that are proposed to be put in place in Nauru are satisfactory.

The Memorandum of Understanding with the Nauruan Government was signed on 29 August. Construction work on the temporary facility is nearing completion and the government expects to be able to begin transferring people to Nauru later this week.

Mr Bowen said the government was committed to implementing the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers.

‘The designation I have tabled today is the next step in implementing the Expert Panel’s recommendations,’ he said.

Further announcements about processing arrangements in Nauru will be made in due course.

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.

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…]

Gillard Now Breathing Down Rudd’s Neck

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is now Australia’s 17th longest-serving prime minister, just behind the 16th place-getter, Kevin Rudd.

Gillard is Australia’s 27th prime minister and has now been in the job for 2 years, 2 months, 16 days. Today she surpasses the term in office of Labor’s Depression-era prime minister James Scullin.

She will overtake Kevin Rudd’s term of 2 years, 6 months, 21 days on January 14 next year.

Julia Gillard’s Father Dies, 83; Prime Minister Flies Home From APEC Meeting

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is flying home from the APEC meeting in Vladivostok, following the death of her father in Adelaide.

Julia and John Gillard

Mr. John Gillard was 83. He brought his young family from Wales to Australia in 1966.

Gillard was due to arrive at the APEC meeting for today’s talks. Instead, she was represented by Trade Minister Craig Emerson who informed Russian President Vladimir Putin of Gillard’s return to Australia. Putin then announced Gillard’s absence to the assembled delegates.

Emerson-Putin

Vladimir Putin

In a statement released in Vladivostok, Gillard said: “My father was my inspiration. He taught me that nothing comes without hard work and demonstrated to me what hard work meant as a shift worker with two jobs. He taught me to be passionate about fairness. He taught me to believe in Labor and in trade unionism. But above all, he taught me to love learning and to understand its power to change lives… I will miss him for the rest of my life.”

Full text of statement released by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

STATEMENT FROM THE PRIME MINISTER

My father, John Gillard, passed away this morning in Adelaide.

He has battled illness in recent years but his death is a shock for me and my family.

Dad lived a long and full life. He was brought up in a coal mining village and left school at 14, but transcended these humble beginnings to become a man with a love of ideas, political debate and poetry.

Migrating to Australia in 1966, he studied for a new life in a new land and became a psychiatric nurse. For more than two decades, he showed his capacity for love and care to those most in need of help.

My father was my inspiration. He taught me that nothing comes without hard work and demonstrated to me what hard work meant as a shift worker with two jobs. He taught me to be passionate about fairness. He taught me to believe in Labor and in trade unionism.

But above all, he taught me to love learning and to understand its power to change lives. He always regretted his family background meant he had not proceeded on to higher education as a young man. He was determined that I had the opportunities he was denied.

I will miss him for the rest of my life.

I plan to travel home to Adelaide as soon as possible to grieve with my family. I ask that my family’s privacy be respected at this time.

Minister Emerson will take my place in the remaining APEC forums today and tomorrow.

VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA
8 SEPTEMBER 2012

President Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech At The Democratic Party Convention

Barack Obama has accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president and delivered a rallying call to the party faithful in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Barack Obama

Obama argued he had rescued the economy from disaster and the recovery would be put in doubt by a Romney presidency.

He said: “Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace – decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come… On every issue, the choice you face won’t just be between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America. A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future… Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known.”

Obama’s speech followed a fulsome personal tribute to him from Vice-President Joe Biden. Obama’s wife, Michelle, introduced him to the convention.

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Transcript of President Obama’s speech to the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, as transcribed by the New York Times.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much, everybody. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you.

Michelle, I love you so much. (Cheers, applause.)

A few nights ago, everybody was reminded just what a lucky man I am. (Cheers, applause.)

Malia and Sasha, we are so proud of you. (Cheers, applause.) And yes, you do have to go to school in the morning. (Chuckles.) (Laughter, applause.)

And Joe Biden, thank you for being the very best vice president I could have ever hoped for — (cheers, applause) — and being a strong and loyal friend.

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) [Read more…]

Bill Clinton Address To The Democratic Party Convention

Former President Bill Clinton has received a rapturous reception from delegates to the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bill Clinton

Clinton gave the keynote speech in support of the nomination of President Barack Obama. At the end of the speech, Obama joined Clinton on stage.

As a CNN commentator put it, the speech, like all Clinton speeches, needed an editor, but it was like a hammer hitting a nail on the head.

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Transcript of former President Bill Clinton’s address to the Democratic convention, as transcribed by the New York Times.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now, Mr. Mayor, fellow Democrats, we are here to nominate a president. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ve got one in mind. (Cheers, applause.)

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before his election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression; a man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs that he saved or created, there’d still be millions more waiting, worried about feeding their own kids, trying to keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside — (cheers, applause) — but who burns for America on the inside. (Cheers, applause.)

I want — I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy, driven by innovation and creativity, but education and — yes — by cooperation. (Cheers.)

And by the way, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

You know — (cheers, applause). I — (cheers, applause).

I want — I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) And I proudly nominate him to be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party. [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.

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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…]