Kevin Rudd Launches Whitlam Biography

Kevin Rudd has launched volume two of Jenny Hocking’s biography of Gough Whitlam.

The second volume, titled “Gough Whitlam: His Time” covers Whitlam’s period in government and includes important new revelations about The Dismissal. Rudd’s speech was titled “Labor Politics, Conservative Politics and Australia’s future”.

The launch was held at the Museum of Sydney.

Text of Kevin Rudd’s speech at the launch of Jenny Hocking’s second volume biography of Gough Whitlam.

Labor Politics, Conservative Politics and Australia’s Future

It is nearly four years since I launched Volume I of this important biography of E.G. Whitlam.

I am honoured to have been asked by the author, Jenny Hocking, to today launch Volume II.

Much has changed in Australian politics since then.

Just as many things have not.

The essential narrative of Australian politics has remained much the same for more than a century: Labor in government the party of progressive economic, social and environmental reform, and of Australia’s place in the region and the world. [Read more…]

CLP Wins Northern Territory Election; Labor Out After 11 Years

The Country Liberal Party has won today’s Northern Territory election. Terry Mills will become Chief Minister, replacing Paul Henderson and the eleven-year-old Labor government.

Terry Mills

The CLP appears to have won three seats, and possibly four, from Labor, giving it 15 or 16 seats in the single-chamber 25-seat parliament. Labor will drop from 12 seats to 8 or 9.

The CLP retained the 12 seats it held before the election and picked up Daly, Arafura and Arnhem. Labor is narrowly ahead in Stuart, ahead of its former ALP member Bess Price who defected to the CLP during the last parliament.

The independent member for Nelson, Gerry Wood, who backed Labor in the hung parliament, retained the seat, despite a swing of over 16% to the CLP.

The swing to the CLP was predominantly in remote and pastoral areas amongst indigenous voters. The swing in Darwin was much smaller and in some areas towards Labor. In Fannie Bay, Labor’s most marginal seat on a margin of 0.9%, the ALP secured a swing of 7% towards it.

Paul Henderson

The Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, retained his seat of Wanguri but there was a swing of around 7.8% to the CLP.

Indigenous leaders have been quick to point out that the indigenous vote can no longer be taken for granted. Hostility to the Intervention in indigenous communities appears to have been a factor in the swing against the ALP in rural areas.

  • Listen to Chief Minister Paul Henderson concede defeat (15m)

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  • Listen to CLP Opposition Leader Terry Mills claim victory (16m)

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Glenn Stevens Forecasts Peak Of Resources Boom In Next Two Years

Glenn StevensIn one of his regular appearances before the House Standing Committee on Economics, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens has forecast a peak in the resources boom, stable economic growth in the near future, and defended the bank over its handling of the Note Printing Australia and Securency corruption allegations.

On the economy, Stevens said “the economy appears to have been recording reasonable overall growth, relatively low unemployment, and low inflation”. He forecast a peak in the resource investment boom in “the next year or two”. He said: “After that the rate of resource investment is likely to decline, while the export shipments of the resources themselves will pick up. By then we might expect that some other sectors that have been weak of late, like residential and non-residential construction, might be starting to pick up. Overall, growth is forecast still to be close to trend, albeit with a different composition from that seen in the past year or two, and inflation consistent with the target.”

Opening statement by Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens to the House of Representatives Standing Committe on Economics.

Since the meeting we had in February, assessments of the global and local economies have waxed and waned. In February, sentiment about the international financial system was recovering somewhat, after a scare late in 2011. The actions of the European Central Bank in extending its liquidity provision to euro area banks had taken major re-funding hurdles out of the picture for a time. This was a critically important action that bought time. It was clear that the European economy had slowed, that the United States was still growing, but at only a modest pace, and that China’s growth was moderating to something more sustainable. But high-frequency indicators of the global business cycle were stabilising. So even though forecasts for global growth were at that stage being marked down a bit, we did not seem to be seeing a slump of the kind seen in late 2008. Subsequently, there were actually some small upward revisions to global growth forecasts.

But, as we said at the last hearing, sorting out the problems in the euro area is likely to be a long, slow process, with occasional setbacks and periodic bouts of heightened anxiety. We saw one such bout of anxiety in the middle of this year, when financial markets displayed increasing nervousness about the finances of the Spanish banking system and the Spanish sovereign. The general increase in risk aversion saw yields on bonds issued by some European sovereigns spike higher, while those for Germany, the UK and the US declined to record lows. This ‘flight to safety’ also saw market yields on Australian government debt decline to the lowest levels since Federation. Meanwhile, many European economies saw a further contraction of economic activity. Share markets declined sharply. [Read more…]

Gillard In Marathon Press Conference Over Slater And Gordon

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has held a marathon press conference answering allegations about her work as an industrial lawyer in the 1990s.

Julia Gillard

In a press conference lasting for 73 minutes, Gillard attacked “misogynists and nutjobs” on the internet over the “sexist” allegations in relation to her work at the law firm Slater and Gordon 17 years ago.

The Prime Minister’s remarks came hours after The Australian newspaper published an online apology for saying she had set up a trust fund for her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, in the 1990s.

Referring to “false and defamatory material attacking my character”, Gillard said she had decided to deal with the issues. Reporters then questioned her for 54 minutes.

Evening television coverage of the event also centred on a security breach where an intruder made it into the executive wing of Parliament House where the press conference was being held. The man handed Gillard some papers before leaving.

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  • Listen to the first section of the press conference on asylum seekers – Gillard & Chris Bowen (19m)

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  • Watch SBS’s Karen Middleton discuss Gillard’s response:
  • Watch Channel 7 report on the security breach:
  • Watch Channel 10 report on the press conference:
  • Watch ABC News report on the press conference:

Transcript of Julia Gillard’s press conference with Chris Bowen.

GILLARD: I’m here with Minister Bowen to make an announcement arising from Angus Houston’s report into asylum seeker and refugee issues. There are some other issues today which I will deal with but we will deal with this immigration issue fully first. Minister Bowen has a booked telephone call with Papua New Guinea.

We received the report from Angus Houston last week and the Parliament did endorse the legislation necessary to implement what Angus Houston and his team referred to as a circuit breaker – that is, the commencement of processing on Nauru and PNG. But at the time we received the report from Angus Houston and his review team, we said we accepted Mr Houston’s analysis that this was an integrated package, that you couldn’t cherry-pick between the recommendations that you needed to do them all.

Today Minister Bowen and I are announcing we are actioning Mr Houston’s recommendation that the number of humanitarian places be increased to 20,000. This is important because we want to send two messages to asylum seekers. Message No.1, if you get on a boat you are risking your life, you are paying a people smuggler your hard-earned money and you are at risk of being transferred to Nauru or PNG. But Message No.2, if you stay where you are and you have your claim processed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees then there are more resettlement places available in Australia. That is the purpose of announcing the 20,000 places – that is the purpose that Mr Houston identified. [Read more…]

The Australian Apologises To Gillard

The Australian newspaper has posted a narrow and specific online apology to Prime Minister Julia Gillard this morning.

The Australian

Reserve Bank Pushes Back Over Corruption Allegations

The Reserve Bank of Australia has defended itself over allegations aired on 7.30 last night about what it knew about alleged corrupt activity at Note Printing Australia Limited prior to media reports in 2009.

The Age newspaper also provided a major report on the story in today’s edition.

Media release from the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Statement Concerning Note Printing Australia Limited and Securency International Pty Ltd

The ABC’s 7.30 program has made a number of ill-founded allegations with regard to what the Reserve Bank knew about alleged corrupt activity at Note Printing Australia Limited (NPA) prior to allegations in the media in May 2009.

The document the 7.30 program described as ‘new’ was examined at the NPA Board’s request by Freehills in 2007 as part of its investigation. The document was a statement by an NPA employee, compiled at the request of Ric Battellino, the Chair of the Bank’s Audit Committee and then Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank. The ‘secret’ meeting between the employee and Mr Battellino was confidential at the request of the employee. This document is currently part of the evidence in current proceedings before the Court. Legal advice to the Reserve Bank is that the Bank is prohibited from disclosing it or its contents pursuant to the normal rules of Court and an order of the Supreme Court. Whether it will become part of the public record as current Committal Hearings progress will be a matter for the Court.

The Bank has previously stated that an audit done at the request of the NPA Board in 2007 showed serious deficiencies in the company’s practices and controls relating to the use of sales agents. The audit made no findings regarding illegality, but recommended a separate investigation into whether there had been a breach of Australian law. When the NPA Board received the audit report, the NPA Board decided to terminate the use of sales agents immediately and engaged Freehills to investigate whether there was a breach of Australian law. The Freehills investigation, which had direct access to the statement of the NPA employee, concluded that there was not. The question of a referral to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) therefore did not arise at that time. On any reasonable reading, the NPA Board at that time sought the appropriate information, sought appropriate advice, responded appropriately to the information it received, and reasonably relied on the advice it received.

In addition, it has been noted that in May 2009, the Chairman of Securency requested that the AFP investigate the allegations made against Securency in the media. At the start of that investigation he brought the 2007 review of NPA agent arrangements to the attention of the AFP, even though the allegations did not at that stage involve NPA. The AFP was subsequently provided with copies of the 2007 audit report and the Freehills report when they requested access to them during the course of their investigation.

The Governor has made a number of statements to the House of Representatives Economics Committee in relation to these matters. In particular, he has stated that, to the Bank’s knowledge, the first time allegations were raised about Securency was in May 2009, by The Age newspaper. That remains the case. The Governor has also responded openly to questions from the Committee about the way in which the matters at NPA in 2007 were handled. The Bank rejects the implication that the Governor or other officers of the Bank have misled the Committee.

Stephen Gageler Appointed Justice Of The High Court

The Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Stephen Gageler, has been appointed a judge of the High Court of Australia.

Stephen GagelerThe appointment was announced today by the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon. Gageler will replace Justice William Gummow who will reach the constitutionally-mandated retirement age of 70 on October 9.

Gageler is 54 years old. If he serves until he turns 70, he will remain on the High Court until July 8, 2028.

Gageler was appointed Solicitor-General by the previous Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, in 2008. As Solicitor-General, he is the Second Law Officer to the Attorney-General. The Solicitor-General appears on behalf of the Commonwealth, especially in the High Court.

Gageler grew up in NSW, studied law at the Australian National University and completed his Master of Laws at Harvard University in 1987.

Early in his career, Gageler was an Associate to Sir Anthony Mason, a former Justice and Chief Justice of the court. It is Mason’s seat that Gageler will take. It is the position originally held by Australia’s first prime minister, Sir Edmund Barton. Like Gageler, Mason also held the position of Solicitor-General between 1964-69.

Gageler is the 49th appointment to the High Court since it was established in 1903. He replaces the last of the Hawke-Keating appointments. When Gageler takes his seat in October, the court will consist of four appointments by the Howard government, two by the Rudd government and one by the Gillard government.

Gageler’s appointment maintains the balance of three NSW judges, two from Victoria, one from Queensland and one from Western Australia. There has never been a High Court judge appointed from South Australia or Tasmania.

Media release by the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon:

New Justice of the High Court of Australia

21 August 2012

I am pleased to announce the Governor-General Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC CVO has today appointed Mr Stephen Gageler SC as Australia’s new Justice of the High Court of Australia following a recommendation from the Government.

Mr Gageler will be the 49th person appointed to the High Court since Federation.

Mr Gageler’s appointment will follow the retirement of the Honourable Justice William Gummow AC in October 2012 after 17 years of outstanding service to Australia’s highest court.

Mr Gageler has served as the Commonwealth Solicitor General since September 2008. He is a highly distinguished barrister and specialised in constitutional, administrative, revenue and commercial law in Sydney. [Read more…]

Statement By Peter Gordon

This is the text of a statement released today by Peter Gordon of Arnold Bloch Leibler.

Gordon’s statement is in response to this article in The Weekend Australian.

Peter Gordon statement

Abbott Sceptical That Gonski Is “Doable At This Time”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is not convinced that the school funding recommendations of the Gonski report are “doable”.

Addressing the Heads of Independent Schools in Canberra today, Abbott said: “I have to say to you..that while I am strongly supportive of reasonable steps to boost funding in education and while I am deeply desirous of better schools, both independent and state schools, I am deeply sceptical that Gonski is doable at this time, given all the other fiscal demands that state and Commonwealth governments face.”

Tony Abbott

Abbott’s speech on school funding came under attack from Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Question Time. An exchange between the two leaders led to Abbott being kicked out of the House for one hour.

Text of Tony Abbott’s Address to the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia and Independent Schools Council of Australia National Forum, Canberra.

I’ve got to say that I have been very lucky as a human being in the education that I have received. Starting off at school – Holy Family Convent, Saint Aloysius’ College, Saint Ignatius’ College and then at Sydney University, Oxford University, and St Patrick’s College, Manly – I have been very personally lucky in those who have educated me.

Next to my father, the person who I believe has had the most influence on my life, so far as least, was one of my teachers, the extraordinary Jesuit, Father Emmet Costello, who may well be known to some of you in this room. I recall as a strapping adolescent in Year 11 joking with the slender scholar in the playground and I said to Father Emmet, ‘you know, Emmet, I’m so strong that I could pick you up and put you in my top pocket’ and the distinguished Jesuit said, ‘yes and if you did that you’d have more brains in your top pocket that you’ve got in your head’. So, I learned early on not to match wits with teachers! [Read more…]

Gillard Promises Funding Increase To Independent Schools

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised that every independent school in the nation will receive an increase in funding.

Julia Gillard

Addressing the Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Gillard defended private schools. She said: “I’ve never looked at a big independent school in an established suburb and thought ‘That’s not fair’. I look at a big independent school in an established suburb and thing ‘That’s a great example’.”

  • Listen to Gillard’s speech (20m)

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