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September 6, 2010

Independent Member of Australian Parliament calls for better indigenous policy

Independent Member of Australian Parliament calls for better indigenous policy

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Monday, September 6, 2010

In the hopes of resolving Australia’s political gridlock of a hung parliament after the 2010 Australian federal election, Independent member of Parliament (MP) for Kennedy in Northern Queensland Bob Katter has released a list of policy initiatives such as indigenous housing which he considers to be the criteria that will determine who he will side with to form a government.

Katter, who was a former State Minister for Indigenous Affairs in Queensland, suggests that past governments have oppressed indigenous Australians and put issues pertaining to indigenous Australians on the backburner, stating “So what do you want? To just oppress them all until there’s none of them left? That’s the policy that’s out there at the moment”.

Specifically, the MP calls for total indigenous control and employment of any Indigenous housing projects and for the government to aim to squash Queensland’s wild rivers conservation legislation as he argues it will prohibit Indigenous Australians from using such sites for cultural and employment reasons. He remains confident that a High Court appeal led by Noel Pearson, an indigenous rights lawyer, would result in a positive outcome regarding the wild rivers but he wants a permanent solution to be developed by the Parliament.



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August 23, 2010

Australian federal election 2010: Parliament hung

Australian federal election 2010: Parliament hung

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Australia
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Australia’s parliament will be hung after this year’s federal election. With 73% of the nation wide vote counted, the governing Australian Labor Party has been confirmed to have 50.7% of the two party preferred votes, and predicted to win 73 seats in the House of Representatives, 3 short of majority.

The coalition of the Liberal and National parties has 70 secure seats and predicted to win 73 seats. This figure includes Queensland’s Liberal National Party and the Northern Territory’s Country Liberal Party, both of which are mergers of the local branches of the Liberal and National parties.

The Australian Greens have picked up their first seat at a general election in the House of Representatives. Adam Bandt is projected to become the member for the Division of Melbourne. The Greens vote in the Senate reached 12.95%, meaning 1.26 million Australians voted for the party in the upper house. Its predicted tally of nine senators will guarantee it the balance of power in the Senate.

Two days after the election, a handful of seats are still in doubt. Sky News and ABC report that three seats are in doubt, while the Australian Electoral Commission lists four.

Rob Oakeshott, a re-elected independent, told ABC Television that he and the other independents want a stable government. “If we can’t get that, let’s go back to the ballot box,” he said.

“At the launch of our campaign this morning we had representatives from the Opposition, the shadow minister for youth as well as the Greens spokesperson for youth showing that this is not about who people vote for, it’s about the fact that they’ve got the chance to vote,” said Prime Minister Julia Gillard as she launched the campaign five weeks ago.

The ALP came to power in 2007 after they won 83 seats in the House of Representatives under the leadership of Kevin Rudd. In July 2010, Rudd was replaced as leader of the ALP and as Prime Minister by Ms Gillard.

Tony Abbott became leader of the Liberal Party of Australia in December 2009 replacing Malcolm Turnbull, who had replaced Brendan Nelson two years previously.


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July 21, 2010

Australian election debate moved to avoid clash with cookery show

Australian election debate moved to avoid clash with cookery show

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Julia Gillard, of the Australian Labor Party.
Image: Adam Carr.

Australia
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A televised debate between Australia’s candidates for Prime Minister in the upcoming election has been rescheduled and shortened — to avoid a clash with popular cookery show MasterChef.

The pre-election debate traditionally lasts 90 minutes and occurs at 1930 on the first Sunday of the campaign.

With the grand finale of the cooking competition already scheduled for that time, and expected to attract around four million viewers, the decision has been made to move the debate forward to 1830 and shorten it to 60 minutes.

When asked about MasterChef, Prime Minister Julia Gillard replied: “I can understand the fascination with cooking and eating, so I know many Australians will watch that show. But I think Australians still pay some regard to the debate and the election campaign.”

The debate between Gillard and her Liberal/National Coalition primary opponent Tony Abbott has already been the subject of controversy. Former PM Kevin Rudd had committed to holding three debates before the election. Gillard insisted she only wanted one.

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown had also wished to be part of the debate, but joked that he probably had more chance of appearing on MasterChef.



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July 18, 2010

Australian federal election announced for August 21

Australian federal election announced for August 21

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the election date of August 21.
Image: Adam Carr.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that the nation’s voters will go to the polls on August 21.

“Today I seek a mandate from the Australian people to move Australia forward,” Ms Gillard said. She took the office of prime minister on June 24 after the Australian Labor Party caucus elected to remove Kevin Rudd from the role.

Directly after the June 24 caucus meeting, Senator Michael Forshaw told media , “the new leader elected unopposed is Julia Gillard and the deputy will be Wayne Swan.” The “leadership spill”, as this scenario is known, occurred at 9:00am Australian Eastern Standard Time that morning (2300 UTC the previous day). According to reports, there was no ballot after Rudd pulled out.

Gillard became Australia’s first female prime minister in the country’s 109 year history and has been sworn in as such by Australia’s first female Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.

Australia’s three major parties, the ALP, the coalition of the Liberal and National parties and the Greens, came together to encourage young people to enroll to vote.

“At the launch of our campaign this morning we had representatives from the Opposition, the shadow minister for youth as well as the Greens spokesperson for youth showing that this is not about who people vote for, it’s about the fact that they’ve got the chance to vote,” said Ms Gillard. The electoral roles close at 8pm Monday night.

Her opposition, Tony Abbott has openly stated that his shadow cabinet is ready to govern. “This is a bad government and it deserves to lose” he continued.

To win the election, the Coalition (Liberal-National parties) will need to gain 17 extra seats, with a recent opinion poll (Newspoll) tipping Labor in a two party preferred category, 53–47.

The campaign will last five weeks, one of the longest in Australia’s history.


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July 17, 2010

Australian election debate debacle

Australian election debate debacle – Wikinews, the free news source

Australian election debate debacle

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Australia
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Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia, of the Australian Labor Party.
Image: Adam Carr.

Tension is rising over the arrangements of how many debates the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard of the Australian Labor Party, and the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party, should have prior to the upcoming federal election.

Gillard told the National Press Club yesterday that she planned to conduct only one debate with her opposition, saying that “I’ve debated (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott a lot, as people in this room know”. However, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party had committed in 2007 to having three debates prior to an election.

The federal director of the Liberal Party then wrote to the national secretary of the Labor Party to confirm the arrangements. In the letter the director writes: “I note the Labor Party’s request before the 2007 campaign to hold three debates and confirm that Mr Abbott is available to debate Ms Gillard on three occasions […] Given the level of public interest, the Liberal Party believes it is appropriate that each debate be conducted in a different format to allow both leaders to reach as many Australians as possible and permit discussion of a wider range of issues […] Please confirm Ms Gillard’s agreement to honor the Labor Party’s commitment to three debates as soon as convenient”.

A member of the Labor Party later told The Australian that the commitment was Rudd’s and not Gillard’s, as suggested.

Phillip Hudson, president of the National Press Club’s Canberra gallery, which usually hosts and organizes the debates, said in a statement that the gallery committee remains optimistic that both parties will honor their promise of participating in the Three Leaders’ Debate which would include Gillard, Abbott and Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens party, set to take place on the first Sunday of the campaign, which has yet to be announced.



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