Archive for: July, 2019

PM wants more accountability

Jul 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Mr Rudd has admitted he failed to live up to one of his pre-election promises to release his ministerial code of conduct before polling day, but said this would happen after tomorrow's cabinet meeting.


The code was important to restoring the Westminster system that relied on ministerial accountability, something which was lacking during the Howard years, he said.

“It's just a complex document and and you're right, I did say that before the election and I don't hide from the fact it's taken a little bit longer than I thought,” Mr Rudd told Southern Cross radio today.

He said Labor's parliamentary standards “absolutely” would be higher than the Howard government's.

Mr Rudd said he could not understand “through the $300 million

`Wheat for Weapons' scandal that, whereby Australia became the largest source of illicit foreign funding to Saddam Hussein's regime, that no minister, no minister was held accountable or responsible for that gross failure.”

He said advice was being prepared on whether his government would pursue the AWB Iraq wheat scandal and why former foreign minister Alexander Downer or trade minister Mark Vaile were not stood down.

“Ministerial accountability means precisely that, they should be responsible to the parliament for their actions. They're responsible for the operation of their department as well,” he said.

Mr Rudd said he was determined to have good, sound principles of public administration.

“The first meeting of full ministry within hours of being sworn in, we went through some of these basic principles,” he said.

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Gillard defends 'Garrett gag' decision

Jul 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has defended a decision to have the treasurer and not the environment minister answer questions on climate change in the lower house.


Ms Gillard said climate change was an economic issue and the Treasurer Wayne Swan was in the best position to field questions on the issue in the House of Representatives.

A list of the Rudd ministry, issued by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet this week, allocates “other chamber” responsibilities for the climate change and water portfolio – held by Senator Penny Wong – to Mr Swan.

Being a member of the upper house, Senator Wong will be unable to answer questions on climate change in the lower house.

Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson said it was extraordinary Environment Minister Peter Garrett would not be answering questions about climate change and showed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd lacked confidence in him.

But Ms Gillard said climate change was a core government business requiring the attention of the Treasury.

“We know it's at the centre of decision-making and the important agencies like Treasury need to be engaged if our economy is going to make the transitions it needs to deal with the challenge of climate change,” she told ABC radio today.

I think it should give people faith that a Rudd Labor government is going to deal with climate change as a mainstream business that we are expecting Wayne Swan as treasurer to be across every detail of climate change.”

Mr Garrett would answer questions in other areas of his responsibility, she said.

“We understand that addressing the threat of climate change is core government business.

“We need the Treasury working on it, we need the prime minister working on it, it's across all of government and that is our approach.”

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Banton 'was a symbol of human decency'

Jul 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told the state funeral for Bernie Banton that the asbestos campaigner has become a symbol of basic human decency.


Mr Rudd, who singled Mr Banton out for praise during his election victory speech, said today he was an extraordinary man and Australia is poorer for his passing.

“Bernie Banton was a great Australian hero,” Mr Rudd told thousands of mourners at Sydney's Acer Arena.

“A hero in an age when we had all become so cynical that we didn't believe there could be heroes.

“He was an Australian hero with an extraordinary heart who lived an extraordinary life.”

Mr Rudd also spoke of his last meeting with Mr Banton, who requested that the Labor leader publicly recognise the role unions played in bringing justice to those who had suffered in the battle against building products company James Hardie.

“I salute the roles of these unions in bringing justice to working people,” Mr Rudd said.

A real hero: Nelson

“People throw the term hero all over the place, but Bernie was a real hero in every sense of the word,” Opposition leader Brendon Nelson said.

“He carried the hopes, aspirations and ideals of everyday Australians. He's made us believe that if you've got something you believe in, and you've got right on your side, you can have a win.

“We are a better people for having had Bernie Banton.”

Widow remberes her 'soulmate'

The widow of Bernie Banton has thanked mourners attending his state funeral in Sydney, saying she's lost her best friend and soul mate.

Karen Banton paid tribute to her 61-year-old husband in front of some 2,000 mourners at the Acer Arena, in Sydney's Olympic Park.

“Bernie Banton … my best friend and soul mate here on earth for the past 16 years,” she said.

“God brought Bernie into my life when I was newly widowed and my toddler son Dean, fatherless.

“After seven years of active family life together, Bernie's health steadily declined following his diagnosis of asbestos disease nine years ago.

“For the last three-and-a-half years, Dean and I have shared Bernie with you all, especially via our many friends in the electronic and print media.

“In return, you have blessed Bernie, Dean and I with your prayers, love and gifts of flowers, cards and support and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

“Thank you too for the many special tributes – they have been most humbling and heartening.”

Mr Banton, 61, died from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma early last week after years of fighting for fellow sufferers.

He won a second battle for personal compensation from James Hardie Industries just days before his death, a settlement which will help his family financially.

During the federal election campaign, he also won a long battle for government subsidies for the palliative drug Alimta.

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'Australia remains strong ally'

Jul 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

The United States has sent a strong message to Australia that “tactical” differences on Kyoto and Iraq won't harm the enduring alliance between the two countries.


In a firm rebuff of claims by the former Howard government, senior US government official Nicholas Burns told reporters relations between the allies remained “exceptionally strong”.

“The alliance with Australia and the United States is one of our greatest international priorities to maintain,” said Mr Burns, the US under-secretary of state for political affairs.

During the past year, the Howard government repeatedly claimed Labor would damage relations between Australia and the US because of its plan to withdraw combat troops from Iraq.

But just two days after being sworn in, several senior cabinet members met Mr Burns, one of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's most senior foreign affairs officers.

He was in Canberra for a sub-ministerial level meeting of the trilateral security dialogue between Australia, Japan and the United States, which had been organised months ago.

At US Ambassador Robert McCallum's residence, Mr Burns this morning met Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and Agriculture Minister Tony Burke.

Yesterday's meeting followed discussions with Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.

The ministers are understood to have impressed on Mr Burns the importance Labor places on the US alliance, which it has at the centre of its foreign policy agenda.

Labor plans to continue with the annual Ausmin meetings involving defence and foreign ministers from Australia and the US, which is expected to take place in Canberra next year.

Washington visits on agenda

And both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Mr Smith have indicated they will visit Washington at the earliest possible opportunity next year.

The pair will make their first overseas visit next week, when they attend the United Nations climate change conference in Bali.

Mr Smith is due to hold his first bilateral meeting with Indonesian foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda, whom he spoke to by phone today.

Mr Burns, who leaves Australia tomorrow, indicated he would pass on his positive impressions of the new government to Washington.

“I am going to leave here tomorrow night with a very positive sense of this new government, an appreciation of the skill and professionalism of the new ministers,” he said.

Iraq was among a wide array of issues discussed during the meetings but Mr Burns said detailed talks on a withdrawal would wait for meetings between Mr Rudd and Mr McCallum, as well as discussions between defence officials in both countries.

Kyoto stance 'won't rock relationship'

And Mr Burns was at pains to stress that Australia's position on Iraq, as well as other differences like the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, would in no way damage the relationship.

“This alliance between Australia and the United States is exceptionally strong across the board,” he said.

“It will remain exceptionally strong. We may have tactical differences on a number of issues – Iraq, we certainly have tactical difference on the issue of Kyoto, but it doesn't mean we cannot work well together.

“It is absolutely normal that in a democratic relationship between allies that there should be differences on some issues.”

Even with the withdrawal of combat troops, Mr Burns was hopeful of Australia and the US continuing to work co-operatively to help the rebuilding process in Iraq.

“There's a lot going on in Iraq, to help the Iraqi's build a stable government to take back control of the streets, to train police, to train the military, governance issues, corruption issues, economic issues … all these issues are in play,” he said.

Australia and the US also discussed ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, which will get a further airing next week when Mr Fitzgibbon is expected to attend a meeting in Edinburgh of countries fighting in southern Afghanistan.

It will be an opportunity for him to meet US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

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Chaser team take show on the road

Jul 30 2019 Published by under 苏州半永久

The Chaser's War On Everything will not return to the ABC in the first half of 2008 while the team take on a nation tour of a new live production, The Chaser's Age of Terror Variety Hour, from March to June.


“After heeding Today Tonight's complaints about the outrageous waste of taxpayers' money on their show The War On Everything, the Chaser team has decided to take some time off from TV in the first half of 2008,” they said in a statement.

“The Chaser will adopt a purely user-pays approach next year, mounting a national tour of a new live production.”

The show will combine sketches, songs, presentations, interactive audience segments and, the team promises, “up-to-the-minute insensitive gags about the latest celebrity deaths as they happen”.

Andrew Hansen, Chas Licciardello, Julian Morrow, Craig Reucassel and one of the Chaser's founding members, Dominic Knight, will appear in the show, while Chris Taylor takes time off to develop new television projects for the team.

“The Chaser team is still in negotiations with the ABC about future TV shows,” they said.

“Their negotiations with commercial networks of late have mainly been over Supreme Court injunctions.”

The War On Everything averaged 1.45 million viewers for the year, peaking at 2.24 million in September, after they infiltrated security at the APEC summit with a fake motorcade and one of their number dressed as Osama bin Laden.

Eleven people involved in the stunt were facing APEC security breach charges, but police today said they were considering whether the charges should be dropped.

The Chaser's live show will travel to Adelaide, Ballarat, Brisbane, Canberra, Cairns, Darwin, Geelong, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Perth, Sydney and Townsville.

Tickets go on sale on December 10.


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