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

Horror Movie: Craig Emerson Sings ‘Whyalla Wipeout’

On the second day of the carbon tax, Trade Minister Craig Emerson has delivered an extraordinary performance during an interview on ABC television.

To the tune of the Skyhooks song “Horror Movie”, Emerson sang a ditty he called “Whyalla Wipeout”, a song intended to satirise the Opposition’s scare campaign against carbon pricing.

Emerson came to his television interview with recorded music backing apparently operated by his press secretary.

The Future of Trade Policy in an Uncertain World: Emerson

The Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, has delivered a speech on trade in which he reasserted the Labor Party’s commitment to free trade, open markets and competition.

Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson

Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson

Addressing the Lowy Institute, Emerson said the Labor Party’s guiding philosophy of economic reform “has been a commitment to markets and competition”. He said the “presumption must be that competition is good, more competition is better and markets are better than governments in allocating scare resources”.

Praising the unilateral decisions of the Hawke and Keating governments to reduce tariffs without this being conditional on other countries doing the same, Emerson said he wanted to “dispense with the bargaining chip approach to the remaining Australian tariffs”.

Emerson also embraced the principle of non-discrimination in negotiations with trading partners and the maintenance of “a clear separation between trade policy and foreign policy”.

The minister said he would be conducting a review of trade policy which would be released around the end of March next year.

  • Listen to the introduction to Emerson’s speech at the Lowy Institute:

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  • Listen to Emerson’s speech:

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This is the text of the speech to the Lowy Institute by the Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson.

As the Lowy Institute points out in its selection of the topic of my address today, the global economy is experiencing a period of unusual uncertainty, with debt crises in Europe, further quantitative easing in the United States and overheating in China. In the aftermath of the deepest global recession since the Great Depression, global imbalances are especially large. A huge excess of spending over saving in the United States and Europe is mirrored by a big excess of savings over spending in China and other surplus countries. [Read more…]