Gillard Announces Cross-Party Group On Christmas Island Boat Wreck

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a Standing Group of Government, Opposition and crossbench members will meet before the end of the year to receive information on the investigations into the wreck of an asylum-seeker boat off Christmas Island yesterday morning.

Gillard said a Western Australian coronial inquiry would take place into the disaster, in addition to a criminal investigation by the Australian Federal Police and investigations by Customs.

  • Listen to Gillard’s press conference:

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Brumby Concedes Defeat; Baillieu Premier of New Coalition Government in Victoria

5.45pm – The Victorian Premier, John Brumby, conceded defeat in the state election this afternoon, bringing to an end 11 years of Labor government.

John Brumby concedes defeat in the 2010 Victorian election

John Brumby concedes defeat

Further counting in Bentleigh today saw the Liberal candidate’s lead stretch to 460 votes. Labor’s lead in Ballarat East narrowed to 166 votes. Counting of pre-poll votes in other seats produced no significant change, ensuring Ted Baillieu of 45 seats in the Legislative Assembly. Labor will have 43.

Brumby delivered a 23 minute speech to journalists and members of his Cabinet. He said he had telephoned the Liberal leader to congratulate him. Baillieu was due to see the Governor at 6.30pm.

Brumby devoted most of his speech to itemising achievements of his government and the Bracks ministry before it. He said asking the electorate for a fourth term and 15 years in office was too much to expect.

  • Click the PLAY button to listen to John Brumby’s press conference. He is introduced by Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls.

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Earlier in the day, Ted Baillieu spoke to the media, following a party-room meeting.

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John Brumby was the 45th Premier of Victoria and also the 45th Treasurer.

He led the ALP to defeat against Jeff Kennett in 1996 and was replaced by Steve Bracks before the 1999 election. He served as Treasurer under Bracks until succeeding him as Premier in 2007.

Ted Baillieu will become only the second Liberal Premier in Australia, joining Colin Barnett from Western Australia. Click here to see a colour-coded table of Australian governments.

Brumby Maintains Tied Result Most Likely; Opposition Says It’s Ready To Govern

6.00pm

Following counting of pre-poll votes in Bentleigh late this afternoon, the Liberal Party’s candidate, Elizabeth Miller, leads the ALP’s Rob Hudson by 423 votes.

Most observers now agree that the coalition has won 45 seats in the Legislative Assembly and is able to form a government with a one-seat majority.

It is unlikely that Brumby will concede defeat until late tomorrow after counting of pre-poll votes in other seats.

2.00pm

The Victorian Premier, John Brumby, maintains that the most likely outcome of the election is a tied result, 44 seats each for the ALP and coalition.

Speaking at a press conference in Melbourne, Brumby said the next most likely result is a coalition victory.

Brumby said that it was the “height of disrespect” to voters to call a final result when around 550,000 pre-poll and postal votes are yet to be counted.

Counting in Bentleigh will resume at 4pm today. A clearer picture of the outcome may emerge several hours later.

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1.00pm

The Victorian Nationals Leader, Peter Ryan, has held a media conference in Melbourne this afternoon. He said the Opposition was ready to assume government.

Ryan attacked the Brumby government for not listening to ordinary Victorians and not heeding the message delivered yesterday by the voters. He said the Opposition was determined to ensure that the caretaker conventions were adhered to and maintained that the government’s authority was destroyed by the voters.

Ryan likened the government to a child leaving home and advised it to pack up and shut the door on its way out.

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Brumby Government Brought To Brink Of Defeat In Victoria

6.2% Primary Swing Against Labor; Coalition Has 44 Seats; All Roads Lead To Bentleigh

1.00am – The Brumby Labor government has failed to secure re-election to a fourth term in Victoria.

After a 6.2% swing against Labor on primary votes, the government has lost 11 seats to the Liberal Party. These are: Forest Hill, Gembrook, Mount Waverley, Seymour, Burwood, Frankston, South Barwon, Mitcham, Prahran, Mordialloc and Carrum.

John Brumby speaks to supporters last night

John Brumby speaks to supporters last night

The Coalition has also won Gippsland East from the independent Craig Ingram, bringing their total to 44 seats, equal with the ALP.

As counting ended for the night, only the Labor seat of Bentleigh remained in serious doubt. The Victorian Electoral Commission website has the Liberal candidate ahead by 213 votes, whereas the ABC website says the lead is 624 votes.

If the Labor Party holds Bentleigh, the Parliament will be evenly divided. If the Liberals win it, the Coalition will win the election 45-43. After providing a Speaker, the Coalition would be able to govern with a one-seat majority.

Earlier, three other seats appeared in doubt but according to the VEC website the ALP leads in Narre Warren North by 1022 votes, in Monbulk by 1024 and in Macedon by 719 (although an ALP campaign worker in Macedon told AustralianPolitics.com that they put their lead higher than that).

The ALP retained the inner Melbourne electorates of Melbourne, Brunswick, Richmond and Northcote, following the Liberal Party’s decision not to direct preferences to the Greens.

A lower than normal turnout and a much higher number of pre-poll and postal votes means that the results in some seats could change as further votes are counted.

Neither Brumby or Baillieu claimed victory when they spoke to their supporters last night. Brumby claimed the most likely result was a hung Parliament, whilst Baillieu claimed the government had lost its authority and legitimacy. Both men gave speeches stressing their readiness for government.

The regional seats around Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo which delivered government to Labor in 1999 held firm despite swings to the coalition. Only Seymour and South Barwon were lost by the government.

The big swings occurred in Melbourne’s eastern and south-eastern suburbs where swings of 10% were recorded.

Two ministers, Tony Robinson (Mitcham) and Maxine Morand (Mount Waverley) were defeated, as was the Speaker, Jenny Lindell (Carrum).

  • Listen to Deputy Premier Rob Hulls speech at Broadmeadows Town Hall.

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  • Listen to Premer John Brumby’s speech at Broadmeadows Town Hall.

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  • Listen to Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu’s speech the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne.

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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.

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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…]

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:

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[Read more…]

Victorious Gillard Says Democracy Works

A beaming Julia Gillard, flanked by her grinning deputy, Wayne Swan, has expressed her desire to get on with the job now that the rural independents have supported her leadership of a minority Labor government.

Julia Gillard

Gillard and Swan appeared before the media at 4.40pm, one hour after the independents announced their decision.

  • Listen to the victory press conference by Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan

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Julia Gillard & Wayne Swan

Bob Brown Comments On Election Of Gillard Minority Government

The Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, has welcomed the decision of the two rural independents to back a Gillard-led minority Labor government.

Bob Brown

Brown’s comments came minutes after the joint press conference held by Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.

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