Minority Government Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the agreement between the independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott that delivered minority government to Julia Gillard in the aftermath of an inconclusive August 21 election.

Here’s the audio of what the main players said on September 7, 2010.

  • Bob Katter announces his decision to support the Coalition.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott announce their support for the ALP. This includes the famous rambling 17-minute speech from Oakeshott.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Greens leader Senator Bob Brown comments on the decision of the independents.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Julia Gillard’s victory press conference.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Reith Review of Liberal Party Election Campaign Released

The Liberal Party has released Peter Reith’s review of the 2010 federal election campaign.

Reith Review of the 2010 Federal Election coverThe report by the former Howard government minister is 33 pages long and contains 34 recommendations to the Liberal Party’s Federal Executive.

One recommendation is that “the concept of preselections by plebiscite be introduced for House of Representatives seats prior to the next federal election in all States”. Another asks “that the party positively consider, subject to practicality, conducting two trial primaries for the forthcoming Federal election”.

On the conduct of the election campaign, Reith says “Tasmania was a classic case where more should have been done and particularly on policy”. He also questions why the party won the Victorian State election in November but “did less well” in the federal election. The ALP won two extra seats (La Trobe and McEwen) in Victoria. Reith cites the party’s poor result in South Australia as evidence of the need for “policy relevance”, especially on water management.

In NSW, the report examines the timing of preselection in Lindsay and the choice of candidate in Robertson, where Reith says the former member Jim Lloyd should have been encouraged to stand. Reith says “factionalism has weakened branches and membership throughout NSW and weakened our campaigning capability”.

2010 Federal Election Report Released

A Joint Standing Committee report on the conduct of the 2010 federal election has been released.

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters is required to report on the conduct of each election.

The Committee is chaired by Labor MP Daryl Melham.

A dissenting report from the Liberal members of the committee forms part of the report.

Laurie Oakes Wins Gold Walkley For ALP Leaks Stories

The Channel 9 journalist Laurie Oakes has won this year’s Gold Walkley award for his coverage of the ALP leaks during the election campaign.

The first leak was used by Oakes in a question to Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the National Press Club on July 15.

  • Listen to the question and Gillard’s response

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Listen to Oakes’s speech of acceptance at the Walkley Awards presentation night

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Lindsay Tanner in Conversation with George Megalogenis

The former Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner, in a rare public appearance since his retirement from politics, has discussed recent political events.

Tanner was appearing at the Wheeler Centre with George Megalogenis, author of the latest Quarterly Essay, Trivial Pursuit.

  • Listen to audio of the discussion, or watch the video below.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The Survivors Are Writing The History

This time last year, Kevin Rudd still had seven months left as Prime Minister and Malcolm Turnbull had nearly a fortnight before he lost the Liberal leadership.

Rudd-GillardA lot has happened since.

By any measure, it has been a big political year. The rise of Tony Abbott and the dumping of Rudd book-end a remarkable period in Australian politics. The ascent of Julia Gillard is a mere five months old. The inconclusive election that produced a minority government took place just three months ago this weekend.

It is surely too soon to write the definitive history of this period but it’s being written anyway.

One account, “The Party Thieves”, has been written by the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy. Another, “Confessions of a Faceless Man”, has been penned in diary form by Paul Howes, head of the Australian Workers Union.

There’s remarkable agreement between these two about what happened. [Read more…]

Brian Loughnane Analyses Result Of 2010 Federal Election

The Labor government’s electoral decline began in 2008 and continued under Julia Gillard, according the Liberal Party’s Federal Director, Brian Loughnan.

Addressing the National Press Club in Canberra, Loughnane claimed that despite the difficulty of unseating a first-term government with all the advantages of incumbency, Tony Abbott’s “decisive leadership” made the party competitive throughout the election.

Liberal Party Director Brian Loughnane at the National Press Club

Liberal Party Director Brian Loughnane at the Press Club

Loughnane disputed the argument put yesterday by the ALP’s National Secretary, Karl Bitar, that it was leaks per se that had a catastrophic effect on the government’s campaign. Rather, the leaks “focussed voters’ attention on the fact Julia Gillard was not the politician Labor spin doctors wanted Australians to think she was”. [Read more…]

Karl Bitar Analyses Result Of 2010 Federal Election (Sort Of…)

Leaks and Mark Latham were primarily responsible for the ALP’s near-miss in the 2010 election, according to the ALP National Secretary, Karl Bitar.

Addressing the National Press Club in Canberra, Bitar said a belief that Labor would win the election, combined with disillusionment about the government’s performance, also contributed to the ALP’s campaign problems.

ALP National Secretary Karl Bitar at the National Press Club

ALP National Secretary Karl Bitar at the National Press Club

The government did not receive credit from the electorate for its handling of the global financial crisis, Bitar said.

Bitar said polling showed the ALP would lose 22 seats in Queensland and NSW alone, following the leaks and Mark Latham’s intervention in the early part of the campaign.

The government entered the election campaign “with a few political problems,” Bitar said, including the replacement of an incumbent prime minister.

Bitar said the Liberals succeeded in making Tony Abbott a “small target” and the election became “a referendum on the government’s performance and disunity”.

Bitar claimed that many voters who defected to the Greens in protest will return to the ALP “if Labor demonstrates good government”.

  • Listen to Karl Bitar’s speech and responses to questions at the National Press Club:

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

[Read more…]

Giving Substance To The Words

There are thirty-two new members of the 43rd Parliament, elected on August 21st. Three of them are returning after a voluntary or enforced absence. As a group they constitute one-fifth of the House of Representatives, a significant turnover and renewal of the lower house. Many of them will be there for years to come.

Over the past month, I have made a point of watching the maiden, or first, speeches of these members. On the whole, it is difficult not to be impressed by these fledgling parliamentarians.

There has been much comment on the moving speech from the Western Australian Liberal, Ken Wyatt, the first indigenous member of the House, but others also delivered considered and thoughtful speeches. [Read more…]

Kennett Savages Senator Helen Kroger Over Green Preferences

Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has savaged Liberal Senator Helen Kroger over her criticism of the party’s practice of preferencing the Greens ahead of Labor.

Kennett’s attack comes just one month before the state election. The preference debate within the Liberal Party has been gathering momentum since the August 21 federal election where Liberal preferences in Melbourne delivered the seat to the Greens.

Some Liberals argue that the party should negotiate preference agreements with the Greens on the basis that Labor is the party’s real enemy. Others claim that the Liberals should not be assisting the Greens to win seats because Green policies are fundamentally hostile to Liberal Party philosophy. [Read more…]