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.

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

National Accounts Show 3.7% Annual Economic Growth

The National Accounts figures released today show economic growth of 0.6% in the June quarter. The annualised growth rate if 3.7%.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said the figures showed that Australia’s economy grew faster than every single major advanced economy, not only in the June quarer but over the year to June.

Australia has now completed 21 years of consecutive economic growth.

  • Listen to Swan’s press conference – transcript below (18m)

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Media statement from Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Today’s National Accounts reaffirm Australia’s position as one of the strongest economies in the world, and shines a light on our ongoing resilience in the face of significant international headwinds.

Gross Domestic Product rose by a solid 0.6 per cent in the June quarter, which builds upon exceptional growth in the March quarter, revised up to 1.4 per cent. This takes Australia’s growth performance to a robust 3.7 per cent through the year.

The National Accounts show the Australian economy grew faster than every single major advanced economy both in the June quarter and over the year to June, and has successfully completed a stunning 21 consecutive years of economic growth – a feat not matched by any other advanced economy over this period.

Australia’s economic performance in the June quarter was even more impressive against a backdrop of worsening global conditions, including a contraction in the euro area, moderating growth in the United States and the return of financial market turbulence. [Read more…]

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s Speech On Data Retention Laws

This is the text of Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s address on security in government and data retention.

The speech has caused controversy because of Roxon’s attitude to data retention laws and the balance between privacy and national security concerns.

Speech by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to the Security in Government Conference: protective security – policy in action.

Thank you Mike (Mike Rothery, First Assistant Secretary, National Security Resilience Policy Division, Attorney-General’s Department), Roger Wilkins AO, Secretary, Attorney-General’s Department, Security industry leaders and suppliers –

Ladies and gentlemen:

Introduction

It’s great to join you for this year’s Security in Government Conference, my first as Attorney-General.

SIG is considered to be Australia’s premier event on protective security, becoming very well established since its first gathering in 1987.

That was certainly a different era.

I was studying law at the University of Melbourne. And one of the most popular TV shows at the time was LA Law. While it wasn’t necessarily an accurate portrayal of the law or of legal proceedings, it was entertaining.

I remember in one episode a teenage computer hacker was hired to fix the law firm’s phones. I thought the story line was intriguing. Could he really be trusted?

I must admit, I don’t recall how the story played out. But I did do a bit of research and was amused to find the episode was written by Anonymous. And I think that’s enough said about that… [Read more…]

Gonski: Gillard Announces New School Funding Arrangements

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced new school funding arrangments in response to the Gonski report.

Julia Gillard

The funding changes will start in 2014, after the next election. Major changes will be phased in over the years to 2020.

Gillard announced the changes in an address to the National Press Club in Canberra.

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Text of email from Prime Minister Julia Gillard to Labor members and supporters.

Today, in response to the Gonski review into school funding, I’m announcing major improvements to the way we fund schools to make sure that every child has access to a world class education.

As you’ve no doubt heard me say before, I believe in the power of education to change lives. It changed mine. Because my parents were passionate about education, they wanted their daughter to enjoy all its benefits.

So as a young girl, I was painstakingly taught to read by my mother before I went to school. As luck would have it, the public schools I was zoned to attend were great schools.

I liked school and succeeded at it, but even in great schools like Unley High, I was conscious of the kids who struggled and got left behind.

That’s why it’s so important for me to make sure every child has the opportunity to get the education they deserve, regardless of where they live or what their family background is.

Currently the gap in reading, maths and science between disadvantaged and advantaged students is more than two years of schooling. That’s not good enough.

That’s why there’ll be extra money for the schools and students who need it most: students from lower income families, indigenous students, students with a disability, those with limited English skills and kids in regional and remote areas.

We’re also:

  • Giving new teachers more time to plan their classes and mentoring with more experienced teachers
  • Setting a benchmark funding amount for each student, based on the costs in schools which are already achieving great results
  • Introducing higher entry requirements for teaching
  • Giving teachers annual performance reviews and giving feedback on how they can improve
  • Giving school principals more power to run their schools the way they want, including hiring staff and controlling their budgets

These are just some of the changes we need to build an education system that gives every child every opportunity. By 2025, I want Australia to be in the top five countries for reading, science and maths.

However, to make this a reality we’re going to need co-operation from the State Governments – and we know that Tony Abbott doesn’t support these reforms. It won’t be easy to get this over the line, and over the coming weeks and months we’re going to have fight hard together to make this happen.

Your voice is important. Please let your friends and family know about how we want to improve our schools so that they can speak up too, because this is a fight we can’t afford to lose. We owe it to every Australian child to make sure our schools don’t leave anyone behind anymore.

Julia

Liberals Remember The Labor-Greens Anniversary

On the anniversary of the Labor-Greens agreement signed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2010, this is an advertisement posted on YouTube by the Liberal Party.

This is the text of a release from the Liberal Party.

Two years of a compromised government

Gillard

Two years ago today, Julia Gillard and Bob Brown signed a deal that gave the Greens unprecedented power in the Australian government – and gave us all the world’s biggest Carbon Tax.

The Labor-Greens’ partnership has been a disaster for Australia. Instead of the federal government providing certainty and steadiness, their unpredictability, dishonesty and new taxes have shredded confidence.

For two years, Labor and the Greens have gone after middle Australia – imposing the Carbon Tax, cutting the private health insurance rebate, slashing childcare rebates, and attacking superannuation. [Read more…]

Anne Summers: The Political Persecution Of Australia’s First Female PM

This is the video of Dr. Anne Summers’ Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture at the University of Newcastle.

The speech is titled: “Her Rights At Work: The Political Persecution of Australia’s First Female Prime Minister”.

Summers says: “In this lecture I want to examine what I contend is the sexist and discriminatory treatment of Australia’s first female prime minister by the Opposition and by some elements in Australian society.”