Senator Nick Sherry Announces Retirement From Gillard Ministry

Senator Nick Sherry, the Small Business Minister, has confirmed his retirement from the Gillard ministry.

Senator Nick Sherry (ALP-Tas)

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra, Sherry said he was retiring from the ministry and would remain in the Senate, but he will not contest the next election.

Sherry said the decision was his alone and he did not discuss it with anyone inside the government before he told Prime Minister Gillard at the ALP National Conference a week ago.

Sherry said he is 56 years old, with three young children, and he had decided to pursue other interests.

  • Listen to Nick Sherry’s press conference:

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  • Listen to Tony Abbott’s doorstop media conference this morning:

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Swan Releases MYEFO: Budget Surplus Shaved

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has released the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO). It forecasts an increased budget deficit for 2011-12 and a small surplus in 2012-13.

Key points from MYEFO:

  • 2011-12 budget deficit has increased to $37 billion from the budget forecast of $23 billion.
  • The budget surplus for 2012-13 has been downgraded from $3.5 billion to $1.5 billion.
  • Deteriorating economic conditions have cut $20 billion from revenue over the four-year forward estimates.
  • Additional savings of $11.5 billion over four years have been announced.
  • The baby bonus has been cut from $5400 to $5000.
  • A 2.5% efficiency dividend, on top of an existing 1.5%, will produce savings across government departments of $1.5 billion.
  • The federal and High Courts, and cultural institutions such as the Australian War Memorial have been been protected from cuts.
  • There will be a crackdown on living away from home tax concessions, an increase in the eligibility age for the dependent spouse offset.
  • Gross Domestic Product is now forecast to grow by 3.25%, down from 4.25%.
  • Unemployment is expected to be 5.5% in 2011-12 and 2012-13, slightly up on budget forecasts.

[Read more…]

Obama Gives It A Burl At Parliamentary Reception

President Obama has been welcomed to Australia, ahead of his address both houses of the parliament tomorrow morning.

At a reception in the Great Hall, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott spoke warmly of the US-Australian relationship. Obama responded with a humorous speech about language differences between the two countries. Giving it a burl, he said the relationship is in top nick.

Barack Obama speaks at a parliamentary reception in Canberra

  • Listen to Julia Gillard’s speech:

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  • Listen to Tony Abbott’s speech:

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Obama And Gillard Hold Joint Press Conference In Canberra

President Obama and Prime Minister Gillard have held a joint press conference in Canberra at which they announced new US troop deployments to the Northern Territory.

Obama and Gillard at Canberra press conference

Obama welcomed “a rising, peaceful China” and said China’s rise came with responsibilities such as helping to underwrite rules for economic growth. He said that China and India need to do their share of fighting climate change.

Obama said the notion that the US fears China or wants to exclude it is “mistaken”, but he emphasised a “consistent theme” that China needs to rethink its approaches to trade.

  • Listen to the Obama-Gillard press conference.

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Turnbull Condemns Rejection Of Climate Science

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a speech pleading for the science of climate change to be respected.

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This is the prepared text of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to the Virginia Chadwick Foundation.

Malcolm Turnbull delivers the inaugural Virginia Chadwick Foundation speechThis Foundation commemorates the life and work of Virginia Chadwick, one of Australia’s most influential female parliamentarians and a strong friend of the environment. Let me say a few words about her at the outset.

She was a teacher before she presumably decided her charges were not unruly enough and so entered the NSW Parliament – better known as the Macquarie Street Bear Pit! John Fahey the former Liberal Premier of this State and Federal Finance Minister remembers that place very well!

Virginia was elected to the NSW Legislative Council representing the Liberal Party in 1978 at the age of 33. Over 21 years at Macquarie Street she blazed a trail for others to follow: she was the first female president of the NSW Legislative Council, first female Opposition Whip, first female Liberal minister and first female NSW Education minister. [Read more…]

Julia Gillard’s Carbon Tax Speech At The National Press Club

Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressed the National Press Club today on the government’s carbon tax policy.

The Prime Minister stressed that the policy was a major and difficult reform. “And in reform, what matters is having the right vision for the country’s future, making the big decisions which get us there, bringing people together to get it done. So now we have had the debate. Now we move from words to deeds. We’re going to get this done.”

Gillard momentarily lost her composure when speaking about her feelings: “It doesn’t come easy to me to expose my feelings as I make these decisions. I was the shy girl who studied and worked hard, and it took time and effort but I got from Unley High to the law and as far as here, where I am today. I’ve brought a sense of personal reserve to this, the most public of professions. And the rigours of politics have reinforced my innate style of holding a fair bit back in order to hang pretty tough.” [Read more…]

Removing Kevin Rudd: A Year Ago Tonight

It’s a year ago tonight that moves to topple Prime Minister Kevin Rudd began.

The first we knew of the challenge to Rudd’s 30-month prime ministership was this tweet from the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann at 7.00pm:

Chris Uhlmann's 7pm tweet on June 23, 2010

Simultaneously, ABC television broke the news on its 7pm bulletin:

  • Listen to the audio of the ABC bulletin:

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Drama In The House As Speaker Jenkins Threatens To Resign

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Harry Jenkins, came close to resigning today.

The possibilities that could have flowed from his resignation are intriguing to consider.

Abbott moves a motion of confidence in Speaker Jenkins

What happened?

In the course of a raucous and disputatious Question Time, Jenkins warned and then named Liberal member Bob Baldwin for “continuing to interject after having been warned by the Chair”. “Naming” by the Speaker is the precursor to a motion to suspend the member from the service of the House.

The government’s Leader of the House, Anthony Albanese, accordingly rose and moved the motion to suspend Baldwin for 24 hours. [Read more…]

Obama Searches For Lost Apostrophe In Dublin

President Obama speaks in Dublin, IrelandPresident Barack Obama has delivered a rousing speech to a massive outdoor gathering in Dublin, Ireland.

Obama told the gathering that he came in search of the Irish apostrophe that was lost from his name.

In a speech filled with tributes to the Irish contribution to America, Obama assured his audience that Ireland’s future was assured, invoking his campaign slogan, “yes we can”.

In an equally rousing speech, the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny, introduced Obama as not merely a man who had lived the American dream: “He is the American dream.”

  • Click the PLAY button to listen to Kenny’s introduction: (8m)

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  • Listen to Obama’s speech: (24m)

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The Death of Osama bin Laden: Gillard Comments

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has held a press conference to comment on the killing of Osama bin Laden.

  • Listen to the press conference (14m):

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