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July 17, 2010

Australian election debate debacle

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Australian election debate debacle

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

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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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July 15, 2010

Australian Prime Minister denies striking a deal with predecessor

Filed under: Australia,Julia Gillard,Kevin Rudd,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Australian Prime Minister denies striking a deal with predecessor

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Julia Gillard, current Prime Minister, at a press conference.

In the wake of a special caucus vote that removed former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd and instated Julia Gillard as the new Prime Minister, claims have arisen regarding a deal made between the two in the Prime Minister’s official residency, Kirribilli House, that allegedly occurred the night before the special caucus vote and Gillard’s apparent breaking of the agreement.

During the question portion of Gillard’s recent address to The National Press Club, veteran journalist Laurie Oakes asked if a deal had been made between Rudd and Gillard during the negotiations in the PM suite prior to the announcement of the leadership spill.

“Can I ask you is it true that Mr Rudd told you that night that he was working towards an October election,” asked Oakes.

“Is it true that Mr Rudd indicated to you that if closer to the election polling showed that he as an impediment to the reelection of the government and that if that leading Labor figures … agreed he would voluntarily stand aside.”

Claims were further made that Rudd then contacted his supporters to inform them of what he thought was a deal, while Gillard did the same. However, in that time Gillard learned that she had gained the numbers in the caucus to challenge Rudd, and proceeded to tell him that she would indeed be challenging his position.

Gillard refused to answer to the claims stating out of respect she would not speak publicly about the events of that night.

“It’s not my intention to canvass any of the matters that were discussed in that room.” She went on to say, “I intend to respect that confidence for the rest of my life.”

If the claims were to be true, the only other notable time where an event such as this occurred was in 1989 where former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, promised to stand down for former Prime Minister Paul Keating for the 1990 election. This never happened and a similar caucus vote took place.

A spokesperson for Kevin Rudd, said he had no comment to make regarding the claims.



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June 29, 2010

Australian Prime Minister announces new cabinet

Filed under: Australia,Julia Gillard,Kevin Rudd,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Australian Prime Minister announces new cabinet

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Australia
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Julia Gillard (pictured in 2005) keeps most federal ministers in their posts
Image: Adam Carr (Wikipedia).

Australia’s first woman prime minister (PM), Julia Gillard, has announced the cabinet she’ll be taking to the federal election, with no mention of former PM Kevin Rudd.

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) voted Mr Rudd out of parliamentary leadership in a special caucus election last week. “The new leader elected unopposed is Julia Gillard and the deputy will be Wayne Swan,” Senator Michael Forshaw told media after the caucus.

The key differences between Ms Gillard’s and Mr Rudd’s cabinet are Simon Crean becoming Minister of Education, Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion, replacing Gillard; and Stephen Smith adding Minister for Trade, replacing Crean, to his position as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In a statement Mr Rudd said, “[u]ltimately, decisions on Cabinet appointments are a matter for the Prime Minister” and he is respectful of her decision. Ms Gillard said, however, that she would be happy to include Mr Rudd as a senior cabinet minister after the election.

The next election is constitutionally due in early 2011 but Ms Gillard has indicated that it will be held this year.



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June 24, 2010

Australian Labor Party caucus vote to change prime minister

Australian Labor Party caucus vote to change prime minister

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Julia Gillard (pictured in 2005) is Australia’s new prime minister
Image: Adam Carr (Wikipedia).

Australia
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The Australian Labor Party (ALP) caucus has changed their leader and prime minister. The ALP is currently in government holding a majority in the House of Representatives. Julia Gillard will replace Kevin Rudd. It is believed that party instability and a drop in Rudd’s popularity was the cause for change.

“The new leader elected unopposed is Julia Gillard and the deputy will be Wayne Swan,” Senator Michael Forshaw told media after the caucus. The “leadership spill”, as it is known, occurred at 9:00am Australian Eastern Standard Time this morning (11:00 pm last night UTC). According to reports, there was no ballot after Rudd pulled out.

Gillard becomes 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.

Channel Nine editorialised prior to the spill that Gillard had the votes to become prime minister.



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June 22, 2010

Four coalition soldiers die in Kandahar helicopter crash

Four coalition soldiers die in Kandahar helicopter crash

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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File:Australian SF Afghanistan Oct 2009.jpg
The crashed helicopter carried ten Australian commandos, and one soldier from the US (file photo)
Image: Capt Stu Wood, Australian Government Department of Defence.

Statements did not identify the type of helicopter. This file photo shows an S-70A-9 Black Hawk that Diggers use for tactical transport.
Image: US Navy.

Less than two weeks after two Australian soldiers (Diggers) died in the explosion of a roadside bomb, three more Diggers and a US soldier were killed early yesterday morning in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, while seven other soldiers are being treated for injuries.

Australian Defence Force Chief Angus Houston said in a statement this afternoon that two of the crash survivors are in a serious condition and will be moved with the other survivors to the US military hospital in Begram.

The crash occurred at 03:39 yesterday local time (23:09 on Sunday, UTC) in the north of Kandahar province. Although the cause is still unknown, Houston said “the terrain is rugged, the helicopters are often heavily loaded, it’s at high altitude and it was three o’clock in the morning. All of these factors will no doubt be considered”. Houston confirmed that enemy fire was not to blame for the crash.

These new casualties in the Afghan War brings Australia’s death toll to sixteen, while that of the US comes to 1128 since the war began in 2001.

Despite this, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, remains firm on the issue: “We work beside our allies […] to avoid Afghanistan once again becoming a breeding ground for terrorists who can then strike at innocent Australians both at home and abroad” and continued by saying that all Australians owe the soldiers a debt of gratitude for making the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Although the names of the soldiers have yet to be released, the tragedy follows last week’s casualties where Australian combat engineers Darren Smith, age 26, and Jacob Moerland, age 21, were killed along side their bomb sniffer dog, Herbie in a roadside blast.



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December 8, 2008

Australian PM announces public affairs channel

Australian PM announces public affairs channel

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Australia
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Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd launched the Australian Subscription Public Affairs Network today. The channel, a production of Sky News and subscription television providers Foxtel and Austar is modeled on the United States’ C-SPAN channel. Broadcasts will commence January 20, 2009.

A-SPAN will commence broadcasting January 20, 2009
Image: A-SPAN.

The initiative is solely funded by industry with no contribution from the government.

The network will be available on subscription television, the Internet and digital free-to-air television and will show sittings of Federal parliament as well as the United States Congress, New Zealand parliament, British House of Commons and state parliaments in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Live speeches at the National Press Club will also be covered.

A-SPAN has also entered into a deal to show Australian politics on the US C-SPAN network.

Prime Minister Rudd said that A-SPAN will give a “fly-on-the-wall” perspective of politics, in the same vein as C-SPAN in the US. He said A-SPAN is “a good thing for our democracy” and that “it’s a superb initiative”.

Mr Rudd conceded that the channel will be popular among fans of politics.

“Political junkies will of course love it, they’ll now have one more way to drive their family and friends absolutely mad,” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd said he looked forward to introducing Australian English from the parliament of Australia to an international audience.



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November 7, 2008

World leaders react to Obama’s victory

Friday, November 7, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
2008 US Presidential Election stories

In the wake of Barack Obama being elected the next President of the United States, many world leaders have contacted the president-elect directly. Others have issued statements.

The President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev sent a message in a telegram which read “I hope for a constructive dialogue with you, based on trust and consideration of each other’s interests.”

Obama became a US senator in 2005

United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown reportedly phoned Obama. The two talked about “global and bilateral issues,” according to a Downing Street statement.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, spoke with Obama for 30 minutes. Sarkozy’s office said the conversation was “extremely warm” and that the two agree to meet in the “quite near future.”

Canada’s Stephen Harper also spoke with Obama, according to official reports. Harper’s office said they spoke of the upcoming international financial summit on November 15, though Obama will not be attending. An email to the press from Harper’s office said: “In a warm exchange, the two leaders emphasized that there could be no closer friends and allies and vowed to maintain and further build upon this strong relationship.”

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón spoke with Obama about the War on Drugs. According to a statement by Calderón’s office, Obama said he was “conscious of the difficulty of the battle” and promised “decisive” support from the United States.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, also spoke with Obama via telephone. Speaking at Kirribilli House, Rudd said: “The president-elect and I spoke about the strength of the Australia-United States relationship, and our commitment to take that relationship to even greater strengths into the future.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a statement. “The great Iranian nation welcomes real, fundamental and fair changes in America’s behaviour and policies, particularly in the Middle East region,” it read.

Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela said in a statement: “The historical election of an Afro-American to lead the most powerful country in the world is a sign that the changing times which originated in South America could be knocking the doors of United States.”

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s Prime Minister, congratulated Obama, describing him as “young, handsome and tanned” (translated). The statement prompted reactions from the opposition and from the international press as it was perceived as a racist remark. Berlusconi replied to criticism restating that his words were meant as a “compliment.”


Sources

  • Nicky Trup “Rudd and Obama reaffirm close ties in phone conversation”. The Australian, November 7, 2008
  • Nabi Abdullaev “Obama Gets Telegram, No Spot in Speech”. The Moscow Times, November 6, 2008
  • Andrew Porter “Gordon Brown and Barack Obama share first telephone conversation since election”. The Daily Telegraph, November 6, 2008
  • Nedra Pickler “Obama receives congratulations from world leaders”. Associated Press, November 6, 2008
  • “Harper, Obama have ‘warm exchange’: PMO”. CTV Television Network, November 6, 2008
  • “Ahmadinejad congratulates Obama”. Al Jazeera, November 6, 2008
  • Patrick Goodenough “Chavez, Allies Applaud Obama Victory”. Cybercast News Service, November 6, 2008
  • Marco Bracconi “Berlusconi, prima gaffe su Obama “E’ giovane, bello e abbronzato””. La Repubblica, November 6, 2008 ((Italian))
  • Lee Glendinning “Obama is young, handsome and tanned, says Silvio Berlusconi”. guardian.co.uk, November 6 2008
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World leaders react to Obama\’s victory

World leaders react to Obama’s victory – Wikinews, the free news source

World leaders react to Obama’s victory

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Friday, November 7, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
Wikinews Election 2008.svg
2008 U.S. Presidential Election stories

In the wake of Barack Obama being elected the next President of the United States, many world leaders have contacted the president-elect directly. Others have issued statements.

The President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, sent a message in a telegram which read: “I hope for a constructive dialogue with you, based on trust and consideration of each other’s interests.”

Obama became a US senator in 2005

United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown reportedly phoned Obama. The two talked about “global and bilateral issues,” according to a Downing Street statement.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, spoke with Obama for 30 minutes. Sarkozy’s office said the conversation was “extremely warm” and that the two agree to meet in the “quite near future.”

Canada’s Stephen Harper also spoke with Obama, according to official reports. Harper’s office said they spoke of the upcoming international financial summit on November 15, though Obama will not be attending. An email to the press from Harper’s office said: “In a warm exchange, the two leaders emphasized that there could be no closer friends and allies and vowed to maintain and further build upon this strong relationship.”

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón spoke with Obama about the War on Drugs. According to a statement by Calderón’s office, Obama said he was “conscious of the difficulty of the battle” and promised “decisive” support from the United States.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, also spoke with Obama via telephone. Speaking at Kirribilli House, Rudd said: “The president-elect and I spoke about the strength of the Australia-United States relationship, and our commitment to take that relationship to even greater strengths into the future.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a statement. “The great Iranian nation welcomes real, fundamental and fair changes in America’s behaviour and policies, particularly in the Middle East region,” it read.

Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela, said in a statement: “The historical election of an Afro-American to lead the most powerful country in the world is a sign that the changing times which originated in South America could be knocking the doors of United States.”

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s Prime Minister, congratulated Obama, describing him as “young, handsome and tanned” (translated). The statement prompted reactions from the opposition and from the international press as it was perceived as a racist remark. Berlusconi replied to criticism restating that his words were meant as a “compliment.”



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June 15, 2008

Australian Government to pressure Asia to reduce fuel subsidies

Australian Government to pressure Asia to reduce fuel subsidies

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

High fuel prices at an Australian service station.

The Australian Government is to lobby Asian counties to reduce fuel subsidies and price caps in a bid to lower fuel prices, which the Government argues that fuel subsidies are artificially inflating fuel prices across the Asia-Pacific region.

Resources and Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson said that the Rudd Government does not want to be critical of countries which have used the subsidies to help promote development, however he said that “the challenge of dealing with energy subsidies in our region is a serious one”.

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Andrew Robb told Sky News Australia that “it was a bit presumptuous of Australia to be lecturing Asian countries”.

“The best thing for us is to look at our own affairs in the first instance, that way you then have some credibility in lecturing others”.



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June 12, 2008

Canadian Government apologises for Residential Schools

Canadian Government apologises for Residential Schools

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

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Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, apologized on behalf of the Canadian Government for its role in the Indian Residential School System in front of Aboriginal Leaders, elders, and more than 1000 outside the Parliament Building. Harper proclaimed, “The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history. Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.” This apology was seen at more than 30 event around the country, and broadcast live on CBC Newsworld and CTV Newsnet.

The residential school system was created based on the Gradual Civilization Act (1857) and the Gradual Enfranchisement Act (1869), which assumed the superiority of British Ways, prompting the need for Aboriginals to become “civilized” by becoming English-speakers, Christians, and farmers. The funding of the schools was provided by the Indian Act (1876) and by the federal government department, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and operated with the support of churches, generally the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada.

In the 1920s, attendance became compulsory for all children aged 6 to 15, and families who refused to cooperate were at risk of having the children removed by the government, and the parents sent to prison. The school systematically tried to destroy the aboriginal language and way of life, raising the idea of cultural genocide. Students were forbidden to speak their native languages, even outside the classroom, as to install the English or French language (and as result, to “forget” their native language), punishable by unreasonably severe corporal punishment. Practicing non-Christian faiths was also punishable by corporal punishment.

In the late 1990s, allegations of sexual abuse, as well as several physical and psychological abuse, arose, leading to large monetary payments from the federal government and churches to former students. The government also established the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, providing $350 million to fund community-based healing projects, and provided another $40 million in 2005.

On February 13, 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a similar apology in the Australian House of Parliament.

On June 21, 2008, Indian Residential School Museum of Canada is scheduled to open on Long Plain First Nation, near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.



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