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October 4, 2007

Australian treasurer declares that he is \”a lot of fun\”

Australian treasurer declares that he is “a lot of fun”

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Australia
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Australian Treasurer Peter Costello said today that he was “a lot of fun” while he was outlining his plans for Australia as a possible future Prime Minister.

During an interview with ABC Radio, Mr Costello was asked to say something about himself that the public didn’t know. Mr Costello’s replied “That I’m a lot of fun – a lot of fun and good company.”

Costello, who is considered current Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s likely successor when he retires, said he was not expecting an easy rise to the Prime Ministership, admitting that the forthcoming federal election would be difficult.

The treasurer said “If you read polls, then (Kevin) Rudd is in front and he’s already carrying on as if he’s got the election in the bag,”

“I would say an election is not over until all of the votes have been counted on the polling day, and I think it will be a hard-fought election.”

Mr Costello also outlined his vision for Australia should he become Prime Minister in the future centering his platform upon education and water.

“I think we need first, a first-class technical school system in this country, training people for trades,” Mr Costello said.

“I think we need improved standards of literacy in our primary and secondary schools and I think we need better facilities at the tertiary level.”

The treasurer admitted that education was one of his key priorities as he had been a university tutor and had a father who was a teacher. Speaking of his father, Costello said “I watched him influence generations of students,”

“I know the difference that a good school teacher makes in a person’s life and I believe in the importance of education.”

Mr Costello also said that Australia would need to carefully manage its water resources for the future.

“We have to manage our water better, we have to invest in water better, we have to harness water better, we have to price water better,” he said.

“I think we really do have a water crisis in this country and it’s something that we’re going to have to deal with in order to keep our country growing and our lifestyle up in the decades which lie ahead.” Mr Costello criticised state governments for failing to invest in water infrastructure and predicted desalination plants would have a major role to play in securing the nation’s water supply.

“There has not been enough investment in dams, there has not been enough investment in pipes, in irrigation canals and I think we’re going to have to look very, very carefully at desalination plants for our major capital cities,” said the Australian Treasurer.

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October 25, 2006

Victorian Premier unveils plan for world\’s largest solar plant

Victorian Premier unveils plan for world’s largest solar plant

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Note: All dollar figures are in AU$ unless otherwise stated.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks and federal Treasurer Peter Costello unveiled the project to build world’s largest solar plant on October 25.

The $420 million plant will sit on 900 ha of land and produce 154 megawatts. It will use mirrored panels to concentrate light.

It is expected to reach full capacity in 2013.

The Victorian Government will contribute $50 million to the plant. The Federal government will contribute $75 million out of its $500 million low emissions technology demonstration fund (LETDF).

LETDF is also contibuting $50 million towards a $360 million pilot for a brown coal drying and a post-combustion carbon dioxide capture and storage project at the International Powers’ Hazelwood facility in Gippsland.

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June 14, 2006

Beazley gaining office would threaten Australia\’s economy: Treasurer

Beazley gaining office would threaten Australia’s economy: Treasurer

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Kim Beazley

Australian treasurer, Peter Costello (Higgins, Liberal) told parliament on Tuesday that the greatest threat to Australia’s economy would be for opposition leader Kim Beazley (Brand, Labor) to gain office.

Mr Costello said that the Australian economy would suffer with Mr Beazley at the helm. “The greatest threat to the Australian economy domestically… would be the election of the Leader of the Opposition,” said the treasurer.

“I can think of nothing that could be worse for the Australian economy than Kim Beazley being in a position of influence.”

Mr Costello told the House of Representatives that despite unemployment dropping below five percent last week, Mr Beazley made no comment on the matter. Mr Costello referred to a statement made about the oppositon leader in The Australian newspaper, which said “Beazley is the leaf blower of Australian politics—lots of noise but all that comes out is hot air.”

The treasurer went on to say that Mr Beazley is “not an economic four-cylinder leaf blower,”

“He is a V8 turbocharged double-exhaust leaf blower. There is no end to the leaf blowing and the hot air that comes out as a consequence.”

Mr Costello said Labor’s proposed changes to the government’s controversial industrial relations laws (known as Workchoices) would harm the economy. Costello defended his government’s IR reforms saying that countries around the world were moving to make their labour markets more flexible.

The treasurer warned that Labor’s proposed changes would return industrial relations in Australia to the 20th and 19th centuries.

Related Wikinews

Australian opposition promises to scrap workplace agreements” — Wikinews, June 11, 2006

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June 3, 2006

Australia in the midst of a \”baby boom\”

Australia in the midst of a “baby boom” – Wikinews, the free news source

Australia in the midst of a “baby boom”

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Saturday, June 3, 2006

Australia
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  • 5 June 2015: Australian businessman Alan Bond dies aged 77
  • 30 May 2015: Non-parole period extended to 43 years for Australian rapist and murderer
  • 28 May 2015: Western Australia police close in on murder suspect, arrest warrant issued
  • 28 May 2015: Joe Hockey agrees to lobby states to ditch tampon tax
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Australia would appear to be in the middle of a baby boom, with the largest number of births recorded since 1992. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that 261,400 births were registered in 2005, 6,200 more than 2004.

Australian treasurer, Peter Costello believes his speech during the 2004 election may have influenced Australians to have more children. In 2004, Mr Costello said that each family should have three children. After seeing the statistics for 2005, he said “One for mum, one for dad, and one for the country – it was a light-hearted way of making a serious point,”

“I am delighted that at least some families have been taking up the challenge,” said Mr Costello.

The Howard government believes that Australia’s aging population and low birth rates will threaten the country’s economy in the future.

As part of the 2004 budget, the Howard government introduced an AUD $3,000 maternity payment to all mothers who give birth to a child. As of July, the payment will increase to $4,000. As a further incentive to have more children the government increased family tax benefits and from July, will allow families to claim a 30 percent childcare rebate (capped at AUD$3000 per year).

Wayne Swan, the opposition’s treasury spokesperson said Mr Costello isn’t the reason for the boom. “I am willing to let Peter Costello claim credit for higher interest rates, even higher fuel prices, but I think claiming his charms have lifted the national libido may be a bridge too far” he said.

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June 1, 2006

Australian House of Representatives has \”no rules\”: Gillard

Australian House of Representatives has “no rules”: Gillard

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Thursday, June 1, 2006

The Australian House of Representatives descended into rows between opposition and government members today

The Australian Labor Party has accused speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, David Hawker (Liberal, Wannon) of failing to be impartial.

During question time today, opposition leader, Kim Beazley (Labor, Brand) asked the government to confirm comments made by Cameron Thompson (Liberal, Blair), which asked for Prime Minister John Howard (Liberal, Bennelong) to explain his role in the failed merger of the Nationals and Liberals in Queensland. According to Mr Beazley, Mr Thompson claims that the president of the Liberal party in Queensland was appointed by Mr Howard and that his actions would have been known and agreed upon by the Prime Minister.

The house’s speaker refused to allow Mr Beazley to debate his question claiming it was not relevant. Mr Beazley argued that his question directly related to Mr Howard in his capacity as Prime Minister and to disallow his question was “shutting down accountability”.

The opposition’s next woe came when Stephen Smith (Labor, Perth) asked the Prime Minister to confirm accusations that the government’s new industrial relations laws (called Workchoices) had placed pressure on the low pay commission to lower the minimum wage of Australian workers. Mr Howard took the opportunity to attack Mr Beazley’s role as Minister for Employment, Education and Training in 1993 saying that he had contempt for the unemployed.

Anthony Albanese (Labor, Grayndler) raised a point of order, claiming that the Prime Minister’s answer was irrelevant. This was refused by the speaker, who said that Mr Howard was attempting to answer a “lengthy question”. Mr Albanese then interrupted Mr Howard as he was continuing his attack on Mr Beazley telling the speaker that the question was very specific and that Mr Howard’s answer was irrelevant. Mr Albanese was ordered to resume his seat, and when he failed to do so was ordered out of the house.

Following Mr Albanese’s ejection, Mr Smith argued that the Prime Minister was not answering his question before also being ordered out of the house by the speaker. As Mr Howard began to continue his answer, Julia Irwin (Labor, Fowler) interrupted Mr Howard. Mrs Irwin was then ordered to leave the house.

The opposition found itself another member short in the house after Julia Gillard (Labor, Lalor) was removed for calling Health Minister Tony Abbott (Liberal, Warringah) an “idiot”. Ms Gillard’s comment followed Mr Abbott tabling a document written by Medibank Private relating to a media campaign to counter negative views on its sale. Part of the document claimed that Medibank Private had “established a hypothetical but possible scenario: Julia Gillard arguing that the sale will mean higher premiums”.

Mr Abbott joked that “Medibank Private sure know the member for Lalor (Julia Gillard)”.

It was Ms Gillard’s second ejection in two days. She was removed from the house yesterday for calling Mr Abbott a “snivelling grub”, the same term Mr Abbott labeled an opposition MP last week without being removed.

Following the house’s question time, Mr Abbott and Peter Costello (Liberal, Higgins) accused Lindsay Tanner (Labor, Melbourne), Wayne Swan (Labor, Lilley) and Kim Wilkey (Labor, Swan) of deliberately blocking a camera’s view of Mr Howard during one of his answers. Mr Tanner said “It’s not our fault he’s short” and Mr Wilkie said that he never raised from his chair and that Mr Abbott needed to “get his facts straight”.

Following her removal, Ms Gillard told reporters that speaker of the house, Mr Hawker had double standards. “We’ve reached a stage … where there are no rules in the House of Representatives,” Ms Gillard said.

“Four Opposition members were tossed out of Parliament today. I don’t think anybody watching question time could say that’s a fair result.”

“We’ve seen double standards in operation all week” she said.

She said that it was not unusual for people to walk around the chamber and talk to each other during question while government members were speaking.

“At the end of the day there is wandering around and chatter in question time,” she said.

“But why is that? Because the quality of what’s coming off the government front bench doesn’t bear listening to” she said.

Sources

  • Maria Hawthorne, David Crawshaw and Melissa Polimeni. “Gillard thrown out again” — The Daily Telegraph, June 1, 2006
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May 9, 2006

Australian Budget for 2006-2007 released

Australian Budget for 2006-2007 released

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 The Australian Budget (Appropriation Bill No. 1) for 2006-2007 was released by the Australian Liberal Party-Australian National Party coalition government treasurer, Peter Costello (Higgins, Liberal).

Costello noted the resilience of the economy against natural disasters and terrorism, and through “disciplined and prudent management” the Government was able to “repay Labor’s debt” of quoted 96 billion dollars of net debt and the Government was now “debt-free”.

Costello noted that the Government budget was in “surplus for the ninth time” with a forecast surplus of 10.8 billion.

Infrastructure

Costello announced “new investment in physical infrastructure and research infrastructure”. The AusLink program is to receive an additional 2.3 billion, an “increase of nearly 20 percent”, and noted that the Budget would allocate “800 million to accelerate duplication of…the Hume Highway”, and “270 million dollars to RailTrack” in the development of the north-south rail corridor.

Costello noted the Government’s commitment to the health of the Murray River system by a “new injection of 500 millions to the Murray-Darling basin commission” for a “range of capital works and improvements”.

Costello also announced funding for health and medical research, noting an increase in funding for the NHMRC to a base funding of 700 million dollars a year, a “fivefold increase”, sixty-five additional fellowships for researchers, and 235 million dollars for “physical infrastructure”.

Tax reform

Costello announced in regard to tax reform a “new comprehensive tax reform plan” “another installment in income tax reform”, a “major improvement in business tax” and a “plan to simplify and streamline superannuation” “most significant change in nearly 20 years”

Costello remarked that if one could reduce the tax burden, one “should aim to do so”, and thus announced he would “reduce marginal tax rates” at the other end of income tax scale, and would increase tax-free thresholds.

On superannuation reform, Costello proposed to “sweep away the current raft of complexity” and “increase retirement incomes”. The core of the plan is the “proposal to exempt Australians age 60 or over from any tax” on particular superannuation arrangements.

Assistance to families

Costello announced changes in family assistance payments. The Family Tax Benefit payment is now available to those earning under AUD$40,000. The limit on the number of subsidised after school hour places would be removed.

Furthermore, Costello noted that “an additional 1000 to be paid this financial year to over 1000 people eligible for the carer payment”.

Defence

Costello announced that 10.7 billion dollars would be allocated to the Australian Defence Force, and announced 2.2 billion would be spent to acquire C-17 heavy lift aircraft.

On intelligence, Costello announced an increase ASIO staffing to 1800 and improvements to its technical capabilities, and a further 125 million to enable increased operations for ASIO.

Costello also said that 389 million dollars would be allocated over four years to combat illegal fishing.

Conclusions

Costello concluded by forecasting that Australia’s economy would grow to a “trillion dollar economy” and that the Budget would “build opportunities for the future”.

Processing of accompanying bills then begun by Parliament.

The Federal Australian Labor Party Opposition will have a right-of-reply tomorrow.

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
  • ABC NewsRadio broadcasts of Parliament, May 9, 2006.
  • Australian House of Representatives Hansard, May 9, 2006.
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February 24, 2006

Australian treasurer makes \”extremely divisive\” comments

Australian treasurer makes “extremely divisive” comments

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Peter Costello.
Image: Parliament of Australia.

Australian Federal treasurer Peter Costello, next in line for Prime Minister, has called for Muslim extremists to be stripped of their citizenship. In a speech to the Sydney Institute on the 23rd February, he described multiculturalism as “mushy and misguided”.

Politicians from all sides have spoken out at the remarks and many from the Islamic community say they’re offended by Mr Costello’s comments, with Muslim leaders saying that it is “extremely divisive” and a blight on Australia’s international reputation.

Mr Costello particularly singled out Muslims in his remarks, saying extremists should move to countries where they feel more comfortable. Mr Costello’s comments targeting Muslim extremists, won support from Prime Minister John Howard, and controversial ex-politician Pauline Hanson.

“Before entering a mosque visitors are asked to take off their shoes,” Mr Costello said. “This is a sign of respect. If you have a strong objection to walking in your socks don’t enter the mosque. Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objection to those values don’t come to Australia.”

Abdul El Ayoubi, a director of the Lebanese Muslim Association said, “it’s upsetting to hear such comments, especially when you consider that the majority of Muslims have accepted the Australian way of life and Australian values.”

45 per cent of Australia’s population are from culturally diverse backgrounds. The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) has called for tolerance rather than division. “Peter Costello’s comments are divisive, arrogant, provocative and do nothing to unite the nation at a time when responsible leadership on this issue is called for,” ECCV chairman Phong Nguyen said.

“To have the leaders of our nation, such at the Prime Minister and Treasurer, making gratuitous comments about race and religion based on ill-founded perceptions rather than facts, is extremely divisive and will harm Australia nationally and internationally,” he said.

Mr Nguyen said Mr Costello appeared to be aligning himself with the “now discredited argument of his colleague Danna Vale – that Australia is in danger of becoming a Muslim nation”.

In his speech Mr Costello made a public call for Muslims who want to live under sharia law to find another country, while also referring to “mushy multiculturalism”.

Justin Li, vice chair of the NSW Ethnic Communities’ Council, said Mr Costello’s comments had deliberately and unfairly targeted Muslims.

“Obviously nobody supports violent people in our society, but what we don’t understand is why allegedly violent Muslims are any different from any violent people of other cultures or religions,” he said. “What about deporting the people who participated in riots in Cronulla last year? Those people did not exhibit any Australian values in their actions.”

Mr Li added the comments were “political point scoring” made to sit well with sections of the community which do not support multiculturalism. “Our political leaders think that there is advantage to be gained making comments against our Muslim Australians at this stage in time,” he said.

Malcolm Thomas from the Islamic Foundation of Victoria says it’s the fact that Mr Costello singled out Muslims. “If you remove the word Muslim from what he said, well then I totally agree with Peter. Yeah, I’m prepared, just as much as Peter, to be as intolerant to anyone who wants to attack Australia and the Australian values, irrespective of their race or religion or ethnicity,” said Mr Thomas. “Language is everything. The words are marginalising a segment of our community and creating division within the community.”

Mr Thomas also points out that the suggestion to strip people of citizenship has limited potential, given that a third of Muslims living here were born here. “Australian Muslims are Australian. We can’t differentiate that. And I think people need to keep that in mind.” he said.

Another Muslim community leader said Costello is promoting division and Islamophobia and should be censured. Keysar Trad, president of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, has said he genuinely hoped the Prime Minister would censure Mr Costello.

Mr Trad said nobody was protesting Australia’s secular laws through any other means than the normal democratic process. “We have not asked for sharia law to be imposed. I don’t know anyone in this country who is asking for sharia law to be imposed and I don’t known anyone in this country who has rejected the rule of law,” he told ABC radio. “Rather than try to promote understanding and harmony in this society, his comments are highly divisive and he is stirring up Islamophobia, and these comments should really be beneath any decent politician.”

In his speech, Mr Costello said where there was reason to believe people were not truthfully or honestly meeting their citizenship test, there was every right for them to be denied citizenship.

“If by subsequent conduct they show that they don’t meet the test then we could invite them to forfeit their Australian citizenship,” he said. “Now you can only do this if they have another citizenship.”

But Mr El Ayoubi said: “If you’ve come to this country, you’ve come to this country to live under a democratic system and you’ve come into this country to abide by the rules, the principles and the values of this country, and you should do that.”

Mr Costello emphasised that Australia is a secular state under which the freedom of all religions is protected. “But there is not a separate stream of law derived from religious sources that competes with or supplants Australian law in governing our civil society,” he said. “The source of our law is the democratically elected legislature. If a person wants to live under sharia law these are countries where they might feel at ease. But not Australia.”

Mr Costello said there were some beliefs and values which were so central to Australian society that those who refused to accept them refused to accept the nature of Australian society.

“If someone cannot honestly make the citizenship pledge, they cannot honestly take out citizenship,” he said. “If they have taken it out already they should not be able to keep it where they have citizenship in some other country.”

His comments follow Prime Minister John Howard’s claims this week that a fragment of the Islamic community is “utterly antagonistic to our kind of society”. Last week Liberal backbencher Danna Vale said that Australia could become a Muslim nation within 50 years because “we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence”.

Mr Costello said he had attended an Australia day citizenship ceremony at the Stonnington Town Hall in his electorate of Higgins during which a state MP “extolled the virtues of multiculturalism”. He said the MP said becoming an Australian did not mean giving up one’s culture or language or religion — and it certainly did not mean giving up the love of their country of birth.

“The longer he went on about how important it was not to give up anything to become an Australian, the more it seemed to me that, in his view, becoming an Australian didn’t seem to mean very much at all, other than getting a new passport.”

Islamic Council of Victoria president Malcolm Thomas said he was disappointed at Mr Costello’s speech. “We have had the uninformed comments of Danna Vale, we have had the comments made by the Prime Minister and now we have these comments — all they do is reinforce a stereotype which doesn’t exist.” Mr Thomas said that singling out Muslims was pandering to a conspiracy that Muslims wanted to overtake Australia.

“Australian Muslims are Australians first,” he said. “They abide by the law and they want to live here in peace and harmony. They are not interested in taking over the country. They are not interested in creating a theocracy”.

Ikebal Patel, an executive member of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said the comments were “inflammatory”. “Islam law teaches that when you go into a country you embrace the laws of that country,” Mr Patel said. “I hope we are not going away from multiculturalism as the founding stone of our immigration policy.”

Mr Patel said the timing of the comments smacked of an attempt by the Government to deflect attention from the AWB scandal.

Mr Costello said Muslims who did not like the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in newspapers should recognise this does not justify violence.

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February 10, 2006

Australian governments to meet for first COAG meeting of 2006 today

Australian governments to meet for first COAG meeting of 2006 today

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Australian Parliament House, where the COAG meeting will be held

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) will meet in Canberra today for its first meeting of 2006. Members of COAG are the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Australian Capital and Northern Territory Chief Ministers, and the President of the Australian Local Government Association. COAG is chaired by the Prime Minister.

On the agenda is a wide range of issues such as health, economic reform, regulation, and education.

The state leaders (all of whom are members of the Australian Labor Party), met last night to develop a strategy for dealing with John Howard, Australia’s Prime Minister.

Health

COAG is expected to agree on a AU$1 Billion health package. The centrepiece of the package will be reforms to mental health care. Other elements of the package include the introduction of the national health call centre network, accelerating the implementation of a national electronic health records system, and reducing the number of disabled young people living in nursing homes

Mr Howard said yesterday “I want all of the heads of government of this country to understand it’s a serious issue and the Australian public will expect no less than a coordinated genuine commitment by all of us to try and solve the problem.”

Mr Howard told federal parliament yesterday part of the problem can be attributed to the closing of mental health institutions. “There is abundant evidence that that process went too far, and whilst I do not advocate and I do not believe Australia would benefit from turning back the clock to the institutions of old, nor can we as a decent society tolerate having people with mental illnesses out in the community unsupported and untreated.” said Mr Howard.

The Mental Health Council of Australia’s Chief Executive, John Mendozza said there needs to be a massive injection of funds into mental health care and it needs to happen quickly.

“Any Australian who has attempted to access mental health services through the public system will have found that unless they are extremely unwell, and that is a danger to themselves or the community, they probably won’t gain admission to those public mental health services, and that simply is not good enough.” said Mr Mendozza.

The Prime Minister has also accused cannabis of playing a role in Australia’s mental health problems. “I think we are paying a dreadfully heavy price for the abuse of what was so called recreation and socially acceptable drugs despite the clear evidence, unaccepted until a few years ago, that these things were doing massive damage within our community,” Mr Howard told parliament yesterday.

“I will ask them (the state premiers) to agree with me that part of the solution to the mental health problem is a tougher line on marijuana, and I imagine they will agree with me,” said Mr Howard.

Mr Howard signaled that he supported the move in New South Wales to increase penalties for cannabis, especially hydroponic cannabis which the NSW government claims is stronger. “I welcome the change in direction of many of the states,” he said.

The Mental Health Council of Australia has warned the government of over-estimating the role of cannabis in mental health. John Mendozza told ABC “I don’t think we should overstate the role of cannabis in the nation’s mental health crisis. It is a factor, but it is not the reason that we now face a mental health crisis.”

“The real reason is that governments collectively have under-funded the investment in community services for well over a decade and hence we have a large unmet need in the community.” said Mr Mendozza.

The national health call centre network was announced by the federal government in January as a means of reducing the number of people going to hospital emergency departments for treatment. Under the plan call centres would be set up with trained nurses who could advise people on the best cause of action to take for a wide variety of health problems.

Under the health package the introduction of an electronic health records system known as HealthConnect will be fast tracked. Governments promise that HealthConnect will improve the quality and safety of health services by providing timely and accurate medical history on a patient. Participation in HealthConnect will be voluntary and patients may withdraw at any time.

Education

COAG will also discuss setting up a national inquiry into early childhood education. The inquiry is expected to explore the possibility of free access to pre-school education. COAG documents warn “By the time Australian children enter formal education, they have very different levels of preparedness for life and learning,”

“Australia’s investment in early childhood development before school entry remains low by international standards.” says the documents.

COAG is also to explore how to implement a system to ensure trade qualifications gained in one state can be used in another. Under the current system, the majority of trade qualifications gained through state technical colleges are not recognised in other states. Only the small percentage of courses which award certificates under the Australian Qualifications Framework are recognised nationally.

The federal government has also indicated that it wants $11 million spent over four years ease skills shortages in trades such as plumbing and electrical. Federal opposition education spokeswoman, Jenny Macklin said “Eleven million over four years will have little or no impact on the raging skills crisis which is hurting Australian businesses and families,”

“It will provide just 900 training (places). The Australian Industry Group has predicted that by 2010 we will need 100,000 extra skilled tradespeople if we are to address the skills crisis.”

Economic Reform and Regulation

The topic of economic reform is expected to arouse debate at the meeting today as the federal, state and territory governments argue about how to fund it.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has been one of the key figures behind the plan which has been worked on by state and federal officials over the past past six months.

From 1995 until 2004, the federal government made payments to state and territory governments for reaching milestones in deregulating their economies. If a state failed to meet a required reform as determined by the National Competition Council payments were withheld until the milestone was met. John Howard abolished the scheme stating that the states and territories already received enough revenue through the GST.

The states are said to be arguing that the federal government should be sharing the revenue achieved through their reforms.

It is expected the plan will fail to reach agreement and will have to be considered by a working party.

Federal treasurer Peter Costello has said that economic reform should be bought about by abolishing eight state and territory port and export authorities and create a single national regulatory authority.

The treasurer also indicated he would like to see utility regulation become a federal responsibility.

“Australia would be better served if it could get a uniform system of regulation in relation to ports and port access, in relation to access regimes generally, and in relation to utilities,” Mr Costello said.

Related news

Sources

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January 24, 2006

Julian McGauran defects from Australian National Party

Julian McGauran defects from Australian National Party

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Australian National Party senator Julian McGauran left the party in order to join the Australian Liberal Party. McGauran has made comments to the effect of stating that the Liberals have the best chance of representing regional Australia.

The Prime Minister John Howard has said that McGauran was not “poached”, over suspicions in relation to an upcoming frontbench reshuffle, and the Federal Treasurer Peter Costello welcomed McGauran’s defection, with suspicion he may have orchestrated the move in order to bolster his leadership prospects.

Many Nationals felt hurt; Victorian Nationals leader Peter Ryan called his move the “ultimate act of treachery”.

His House of Representatives brother Peter McGauran remains in the National Party.

Related news

  • Julian McGauran makes rude gesture to Australian Senate

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Australian Prime Minister announces results of reshuffle

Australian Prime Minister announces results of reshuffle

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced the results of an earlier anticipated reshuffle of the Government cabinet.

Brendan Nelson, previously of the Education portfolio, who introduced the controversial Voluntary Student Unionism legislation late 2005, has been promoted to the Defence portfolio. Malcolm Turnbull, who had been in the media several times in 2005 regarding tax law, is now a parliamentary secretary, as is Andrew Robb.

The Treasurer Peter Costello, Foreign Affairs minister Alexander Downer, and Health minister Tony Abbott remain unchanged. With former Nationals senator Julian McGauran’s defection to the Liberal Party, Nationals Veterans Affairs minister De-Anne Kelly has lost her place, in reflection of the new Coalition numbers, with Bruce Billson taking up the job.

The Opposition has commented on the reshuffle, with Opposition Leader Kim Beazley stating that the Cabinet consists of “old faces” from the “uninspired to the incompetent”.

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