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…]

Michelle Obama Addresses Democratic Party Convention

United States First Lady Michelle Obama has given a rousing address to the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Democratic Party Convention

Mrs. Obama gave a personal view of the president. She said the values she fell in love with guide him each day in the White House.

“In the end, for Barack, these issues aren’t political — they’re personal,” Mrs. Obama said. “Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it, and he wants everyone, everyone in this country to have the same opportunity.”

Towards the end of her speech, the First Lady said her most important title is still “mom-in-chief”.

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Prepared text of Michelle Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention.

Thank you so much, Elaine…we are so grateful for your family’s service and sacrifice…and we will always have your back.

Over the past few years as First Lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country.

And everywhere I’ve gone, in the people I’ve met, and the stories I’ve heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.

I have seen it in the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and my family, especially our girls.

I’ve seen it in teachers in a near-bankrupt school district who vowed to keep teaching without pay. [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…]

Gine Rinehart Video Message To The Sydney Mining Club

This is the video of Gina Rinehart posted on the Sydney Mining Club’s YouTube account.

Rinehart argues that Australia has become uncompetitive and too expensive for exporters because of the carbon tax and the minerals resource rent tax.

She says: “Now the evidence is unarguable – that Australia is indeed becoming too expensive and too uncompetitive to do export-orientated business,” she said at the video posted on the Sydney Mining Club Web site… Our federal and state governments must know that now, more than ever, we must lift our international competitiveness just to stay as well off as we are. And with state and federal debts we must get realistic – not just promote class warfare… What was too readily argued as the self-interest complaints of a greedy few is now becoming the accepted truth, and more ominously, is showing up in incontrovertible data.”

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.”

Mitt Romney Accepts Republican Party Nomination For President

Mitt Romney has officially accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for President.

Romney delivered his acceptance speech at the party’s convention in Tampa, Florida.

  • Listen to Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduce Romney (18m)

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Clint Eastwood And His Empty Chair

Clint Eastwood has addressed the Republican Party convention in Tampa, Florida.

The 82-year-old actor’s speech featured an empty chair and an imaginary conversation with President Obama.

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Transcript of remarks by Clint Eastwood at the Republican Party Convention.

EASTWOOD: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Save a little for Mitt.

(APPLAUSE)

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, what’s a movie tradesman doing out here? You know they are all left wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that is what people think. That is not really the case. There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It is just that the conservative people by the nature of the word itself play closer to the vest. They do not go around hot dogging it. [Read more…]

Five Australian Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

Three Australian soldiers have been killed by a rogue Afghan soldier in Afghanistan and two members of the SAS have died in a Black Hawk helicopter crash.

Details of the incidents have been announced by the Acting Chief of the ADF, Air Marshal Mark Binskin. The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has described this as “the darkest of days for Australia”.

Mark Binskin

The “green-on-blue” incident occurred at a base in southern Oruzgan province yesterday. Two other soldiers were injured in the attack.

The helicopter crash occurred during an “insertion” in Helmand province. The aircraft rolled over on landing.

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About 1500 Australian Defence Force troops are in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force. The casualties announced today bring Australia’s death toll to 38. Seven soldiers have now been killed in green-on-blue incidents.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that she has “made the judgement call” to come home early from the Pacific Islands forum in the Cook Islands. She said this is the nation’s worst day in Afghanistan and the worst loss of life since Vietnam.

Julia Gillard

Gillard insisted that the commitment in Afghanistan has a purpose and that “progress is being made”. She said: “We cannot allow even the most grievous of circumstances to alter our strategy… We went there for a purpose and we will see that purpose through.”

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Statement released by Department of Defence.

Three Australian soldiers killed, two wounded in insider attack

Three Australian soldiers have been killed and two wounded following an insider attack at Patrol Base Wahab in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan.

The attack occurred during the evening of 29 August, 2012 (Afghan time) inside the confines of the Patrol Base. [Read more…]