Dealing With Craig Thomson: An Impressive Debate

An impressive Matter of Public Importance debate took place in the House of Representatives this afternoon.

The MPI was devoted to the issue of how the House should treat Craig Thomson, the member for Dobell, in the light of allegations against him and his statement to the house yesterday.

Debate revolved around the nature of a censure and the arguments for and against suspending Thomson from the service of the House.

Mark Dreyfus, the Cabinet Secretary and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, put the case against punitive action most effectively in terms of proper process and the presumption of innocence.

Tony Windsor, the independent member for New England, provided an interesting comparison with the 1992 downfall of former NSW Liberal Premier Nick Greiner in another hung parliament.

This is the complete audio of the MPI debate:

  • Rob Oakeshott – Ind (15m)

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  • Mark Dreyfus – ALP (15m)

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  • Christopher Pyne – Lib (10m)

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  • Tony Windsor – Ind (10m)

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  • Harry Jenkins – ALP (10m)

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  • Julie Bishop – Lib (10m)

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  • Andrew Wilkie – Ind (10m)

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  • Stephen Jones – ALP (10m)

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The Death Of Margaret Whitlam

Margaret Whitlam died, aged 92, on March 17, 2012.

Parliamentary tributes were delivered on March 19. A memorial service was held on March 23.

Margaret Whitlam Memorial Service

  • Mar 17: Prime Minister Julia Gillard comments on the death of Margaret Whitlam

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  • Mar 17: Remembering Margaret Whitlam
  • Mar 17: Margaret Whitlam Dies, 92
  • Mar 19-20: House of Representatives & Senate Condolence Motion Speeches:
    • Julia Gillard (ALP)

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    • Tony Abbott (Lib)

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    • Tanya Plibersek (ALP>

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    • Julie Bishop (Lib)

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    • Kevin Rudd (ALP)

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    • Malcolm Turnbull (Lib)

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    • Senator John Faulker (ALP)

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    • Senator Marise Payne (Lib)

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    • Senator Bob Brown (Greens)

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    • Josh Frydenberg (Lib)
    • Natasha Griggs (CLP)
  • Mar 23: Tony Whitlam’s eulogy for his mother

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  • Mar 23 Catherine Dovey’s eulogy for her mother

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Deadlock Over Asylum Seekers Remains Following Talks

No agreement was reached on the asylum seeker deadlock, following talks today between Labor and Liberal representatives.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd met with the Opposition’s shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison and shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Both sides claimed the discussions were cordial and constructive. Further talks will take place in the coming weeks.

  • Scott Morrison comments before meeting with government ministers (3m)

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  • Chris Bowen comments following talks with Opposition members (2m)

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  • Scott Morrison comments following talks with government ministers (2m)

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  • Tony Abbott comments on asylum seeker policy in Melbourne (13m)

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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)

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    Simon Crean (ALP Opposition Leader)

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  • 2007

    John Howard (Liberal PM)

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    Kevin Rudd (ALP Opposition Leader)

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  • 2008

    Julia Gillard (ALP Deputy Prime Minister)

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    Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal Opposition Leader)

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  • 2010

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

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  • 2011

    Julia Gillard (ALP Prime Minister)

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    Tony Abbott (Liberal Opposition Leader)

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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.

Black Saturday Bushfires: Moving Speeches In Parliament For Victims

The House of Representatives was the scene today of a moving condolence motion for victims of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was not in attendance, having stayed in Melbourne, but his deputy, Julia Gillard, visibly affected, gave a magnificent speech to a silent chamber. She was followed by the Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, who delivered an equally impressive and moving speech.

Audio recordings of all speeches are shown below. Click on the relevant PLAY button to listen.

  • Julia Gillard – Deputy Prime Minister

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  • Malcolm Turnbull – Leader of the Opposition

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  • Wayne Swan – Treasurer

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  • Julie Bishop – Deputy Leader of the Opposition

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  • Robert McClelland – Attorney-General

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  • Warren Truss – Leader of The Nationals

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  • Steve Gibbons, Member for Bendigo (ALP)

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  • Sharman Stone, Member for Murray (Lib)

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  • Catherine King, Member for Ballarat (ALP)

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  • David Hawker, Member for Wannon (Lib)

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  • Harry Jenkins, Speaker & Member for Scullin (ALP)

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Members also spoke about the Queensland flood situation:

  • Wayne Swan – Treasurer

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  • Warren Truss – Leader of The Nationals

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  • Tony Windsor – Member for New England (Ind) – on behalf of the independent member for Kennedy, Bob Katter.

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Is Julie Bishop A Political Clown?

The Deputy Liberal leader, Julie Bishop, has appeared on Channel 10’s Good News Week.

Opinions vary as to whether she made a fool of herself or demonstrated a deft political touch.

Judge for yourself with these two video extracts:

[Read more…]

Turnbull Offers Support For Economic Stimulus Package

Malcolm Turnbull, Leader of the OppositionThe Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, has offered support to the economic stimulus package announced today by the Rudd government.

Speaking at a press conference with Deputy Leader Julie Bishop, Turnbull said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement today, especially for Australia’s age pensioners who have been denied justice for too long. This is a significant improvement in their position and we welcome it. Now this is also a very significant economic stimulus; a significant fiscal stimulus. And we trust that the government has taken into account the advice from Treasury and considered the impact that this stimulus may have on the Reserve Bank’s ability to reduce, to continue reducing interest rates, for example. But nonetheless we are not going to argue about the composition of the package or quibble about it. It has our support. It will provide a stimulus to the economy, that’s for certain. And above all it gives justice to Australia’s age pensioners in particular, who have been doing it especially tough.”

  • Listen to the Turnbull-Bishop press conference:

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This is the transcript of the Turnbull-Bishop press conference:

TURNBULL:

Well we welcome the Government’s announcement today, especially for Australia’s age pensioners who have been denied justice for too long. This is a significant improvement in their position and we welcome it.

Now this is also a very significant economic stimulus; a significant fiscal stimulus. And we trust that the government has taken into account the advice from Treasury and considered the impact that this stimulus may have on the Reserve Bank’s ability to reduce, to continue reducing interest rates, for example. [Read more…]

Liberals Offer Three-Point Plan For Financial Crisis

The Federal Opposition has offered a three-point plan for strengthening the Australian economy.

As Australian and international stock markets spiralled downwards today, the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, has called for the Rudd Government to:

  • Increase the proposed Government backed deposit guarantee scheme to cover deposits up to a minimum of $100,000;

  • Increase the investment into AAA rated Residential Mortgage Backed Securities through the Australian Office of Financial Management to at least $10 billion;
  • Announce it will not implement the Emissions Trading Scheme prior to 2011.

[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:

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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.

Coalition Shadow Ministry From December 6, 2007

The new Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Brendan Nelson, has announced the coalition’s shadow ministry.

The team comprises a mix of former Howard government ministers and new faces.

  • Read Nelson’s statement on the Shadow Ministry
  • Download a PDF version of the Shadow Ministry
  • Listen to the Press Conference held by Brendan Nelson, Julie Bishop and Warren Truss:

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This is the Shadow Ministry as announced by Dr. Brendan Nelson.

Shadow Cabinet

  1. Brendan Nelson – Leader of the Opposition
  2. Julie Bishop – Deputy Leader of the Opposition; Employment, Business and Workplace Relations
  3. Warren Truss – Leader of The Nationals; Infrastructure and Transport and Local Government
  4. Senator Nick Minchin – Leader of the Opposition in the Senate; Defence
  5. Senator Eric Abetz – Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate; Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
  6. Malcolm Turnbull – Treasury
  7. Joe Hockey – Health and Ageing; Leader of Opposition Business in the House
  8. Andrew Robb – Foreign Affairs
  9. Ian MacFarlane – Trade
  10. Tony Abbott – Families, Community Services, Indigenous Affairs and the Voluntary Sector
  11. Senator Nigel Scullion – Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  12. Senator Helen Coonan – Human Services
  13. Tony Smith – Education, Apprenticeships and Training
  14. Greg Hunt – Climate Change, Environment and Urban Water
  15. Peter Dutton – Finance, Competition Policy and Deregulation
  16. Senator Chris Ellison – Immigration and Citizenship; Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate
  17. Senator George Brandis – Attorney General
  18. Senator David Johnston – Resources and Energy, Tourism
  19. John Cobb – Regional Development, Water Security

Outer Shadow Ministry

  1. Chris Pyne – Justice, Border Protection and Assisting Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
  2. Senator Michael Ronaldson – Shadow Special Minister of State
  3. Steven Ciobo – Small Business, the Service Economy and Tourism
  4. Sharman Stone – Environment, Heritage, the Arts and Indigenous Affairs
  5. Michael Keenan – Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Superannuation and Corporate Governance
  6. Margaret May – Ageing
  7. Bob Baldwin – Defence Science, Personnel and Assisting Shadow Minister for Defence
  8. Luke Hartsuyker – Business Development, Independent Contractors and Consumer Affairs; Deputy Leader of Opposition Business in the House
  9. Bronwyn Bishop – Veterans’ Affairs
  10. Andrew Southcott – Employement Participation and Apprenticeships and Training
  11. Sussan Ley – Housing, Status of Women
  12. Pat Farmer – Youth and Sport

Shadow Parliamentary Secretaries

  1. Don Randall – Assisting the Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Cabinet Secretary
  2. Senator Ian Macdonald – Assisting the Leader of the Opposition, Northern Australia
  3. Senator Richard Colbeck – Health
  4. Senator Brett Mason – Education
  5. Peter Lindsay – Defence
  6. Barry Haase – Infrastructure, Roads and Transport
  7. John Forrest – Trade
  8. Louise Markus – Immigration and Citizenship
  9. Sophie Mirabella – Local Government
  10. Jo Gash – Tourism
  11. Mark Coultan – Ageing and the Voluntary Sector
  12. Senator Marise Payne – Foreign Affairs
  13. Senator Cory Bernardi – Families, Community Services