John Howard Collects His Order Of Merit

Former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard has received the Order of Merit from the Queen.

In London for the Jubilee celebrations, Howard met with the Queen to receive the award which is solely within the gift of the monarch.

Howard told the Queen: “It was an enormous privilege to be your Australian prime minister.”

Michael Kroger Unloads On Peter Costello

Michael Kroger has unleashed an extraordinary attack on Peter Costello in radio interviews this morning.

Kroger appeared first on Jon Faine’s program on ABC 774 in Melbourne, and then spoke to Neil Mitchell on 3AW.

Michael Kroger

  • Listen to Kroger’s interview with ABC’s Jon Faine:

    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 Kroger’s interview with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell:

    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.

AFL Grand Final: Political Speeches

One of the traditions of the Australian Football League Grand Final is the North Melbourne Grand Final Breakfast.

It is customary for the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader to address the breakfast each year. On occasion, events conspire against their attendance and their deputies stand in.

Here’s a selection from the past decade.

  • 2002

    John Howard (Liberal PM)

    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.

    Simon Crean (ALP Opposition Leader)

    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.

  • 2007

    John Howard (Liberal PM)

    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.

    Kevin Rudd (ALP Opposition Leader)

    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.

  • 2008

    Julia Gillard (ALP Deputy Prime Minister)

    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.

    Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal Opposition Leader)

    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.

  • 2010

    Julia Gillard (ALP Prime Minister) and Julie Bishop (Liberal Deputy Leader)

    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.

  • 2011

    Julia Gillard (ALP Prime Minister)

    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 Abbott (Liberal Opposition Leader)

    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.

This is the text of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s address to the 2011 AFL Grand Final Breakfast in Melbourne.

It’s great to be making my maiden appearance at this great national institution, the North Melbourne Grand Final Breakfast.

Ladies and gentlemen, the supreme virtue of Australian Rules is that it’s the one football code that wasn’t invented in England.

My one and only game was a defiant assertion of our national identity: I was playing for Oxford University Australians against Cambridge University Australians.

Unfortunately, no one had told me that a ball kicked out was thrown in by the umpire and not by a player, so I instinctively grabbed the ball and tried to form a line out.

It was at this point that I realised a “balls-up” was not just another way of restarting play – or what happens when politicians try to address the problems of the nation.

My Aussie Rules education continued during last year’s election campaign with Jobe Watson teaching me to handball, badly, at Windy Hill and Harry Taylor giving me marking practice at Skilled Stadium. It was an expensive lesson: we made a $36 million commitment to rebuild the place because Frank Costa drives a hard bargain.

Right now, there seem to be a few parallels between the AFL and politics.

In recent days we have seen someone called Swan labelled the best at his craft in the whole world. Well sorry, Wayne. Dane Swan is the world’s greatest and he thoroughly deserved the Brownlow medal.

I understand that Collingwood has a succession plan that involves Mick Malthouse relinquishing power to Nathan Buckley. It’s just like John Howard planned to hand over to Peter Costello. Lucky there’s an Eddie McGuire to make the deal stick.

Geelong has done magnificently, even after sending their best player to Queensland. It’s a bit like the Australian government after Kevin Rudd was put on the transfer list.

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about everything being too negative and too aggressive with all the focus being on bringing the other side down and I reckon that means Cameron Ling would make a great opposition leader.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to pay tribute today to two historic clubs and to everyone who’s helped two great sides to get to this year’s Grand Final.

It might not make much sense for our clubs and our pubs but, for politicians on Grand Final day, there is no escaping mandatory pre-commitment. Mine is to the Cats: and by 10 points.

Finally, I should acknowledge that there will soon be an AFL team in western Sydney – a place where Aussie Rules supporters were once as rare as Liberal voters.

I do hope that this new club might further initiate me into the sacred rites of the AFL provided I’m permitted a bit of political evangelism on the side.

Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen.

John Howard Talks Politics

John Howard is out and about promoting the new paperback version of his memoirs.

Howard has written an extra chapter of his memoirs, Lazarus Rising.

In these three videos from Channel 10, he discusses a wide range of issues.

John Howard Returns To The Fray

The former Prime Minister, John Howard, has returned to the political fray with an interview on Fox News and screened on Sky News Australia.

The interview comes one day in advance of the premiere of the the ABC television series, The Howard Years.

Coming Soon: The Howard Years

This is a YouTube video featuring an ABC television promotion for its forthcoming documentary series, The Howard Years.

Clare O’Neil: Howard’s Terrifying Lack Of Reflection

In March, John Howard visited Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where I am a Master of Public Policy student. Howard began his visit with a formal address on Australia/China relations. About 250 Harvard students and staff assembled in the school’s famous John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum to listen.

John Howard Addresses the John F Kennedy Jr Forum at Harvard University

Howard reflected on his term as a period of deepening integration between Australia and China, evidenced by growing trade between the two countries. He framed the relationship in pragmatic terms, which drew a contrast to the familial bonds he described between Australia and the US. [Read more…]

Fidel Castro Does What John Howard Couldn’t!

Cuba’s President Fidel Castro has announced his resignation, after 48 years in power.

The Communist Party leader issued an extraordinary statement on the website of the party’s newspaper, Granma. [Read more…]

“Partially Treated Sewage Sandwich” From Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Liberal PartyThe Federal Opposition’s Julie Bishop has given an extraordinary press conference in which she attempted to justify the coalition’s decision not to to oppose the government’s legislation abolishing WorkChoices.

  • Listen to Julie Bishop’s 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.

As the Sydney Morning Herald’s Annabel Crabb put it on February 20:

The Opposition’s Julie Bishop was on something quite different yesterday. Some sort of calmative, perhaps.

Ms Bishop has been vocal for months on the need to fight to the death for Australian Workplace Agreements.

And yesterday, for 30 minutes in the Senate courtyard, before a vast throng of fascinated reporters, with a fixed smile on her face, she consumed what for the benefit of family readers we will call a partially treated sewage sandwich. She was cool, charming and professional. She at no point lost her cool. And for much of the time, she made no sense whatsoever.

This is unsurprising, given that Ms Bishop was trying to explain how agreeing to abolish the agreements was pretty much the same as insisting on keeping them, if you thought about it.

Liberal Party Director Analyses Election Defeat

Brian Loughnane, Federal Director, Liberal PartyThe Liberal Party’s Federal Director, Brian Loughnane, has addressed the National Press Club on the coalition’s election defeat.

Loughnane said it was clear the coalition’s defeat was attributable to longer term strategic issues than short term tactical issues of recent months.

Click on the play button to listen to Loughnane’s address:

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…]