I, Gillian Bird, on behalf of the Federal Republic of Australia, I vote FOR these amendments
Posts made by Australia
RE: Constitutional Amendments - European Commission
RE: Australian News Media
2017 in Review: Politics
This year was the year of Hillary Clinton. The Prime Minister landed victory after victory legislatively, passing a whopping 95% of her manifesto and successfully creating Australia as one of the top economies and most politically free nations in the European Union. After the presidential election last year set up the parliamentary republic system that we now operate in, it was about getting the job done for Australians, according to the Progressive-Labor coalition.
1) Native Title Court and Aboriginal Australian reform
This was perhaps the Clinton government's biggest achievement, but this reform has allowed for disputes between Aboriginal tribes in Australia and farmers and mining companies to be resolved by a neutral third party. The Clinton government, whose coalition of voters between metropolitan liberals, young people and minorities put the Progressive Alliance way ahead of their contemporaries, has really come alive after passing the native land rights reform. It was a legislative victory that will pave the way for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Australians as first inhabitants.
2) Health care reforms
These are common sense, establishing a system of Medicare hospitals that operate fully at the national level. While doctors and specialists still operate as part of the private sector and bill Medicare, the hospital system which had been ballooning out of control in New South Wales and Victoria, the two most populous states in Australia. The National Hospital System as it is now called, to parody the National Health Service from the United Kingdom, is working and looks to dampen hospital costs and service costs at hospitals across the nation.
3) Economic management
In contrast to the National Party's stark forecast for deficits and debt if Labor were to join the Progressives in Government, economic management has been stable. The dollar hasn't fallen or risen out of line with market expectations, the stocks are roaring and Clinton can claim credit for being a moderating force on her party, which was baying for the reforms and management of the Nats to be thrown out the window but Clinton held firm, knowing it was the consensus of her husband, Bill Clinton, in the 90's for the ALP and Progressives to come to the altar on the need to safeguard the free market principles of liberal democracies across Europe.
4) Infrastructure bank
A stroke of genius on both the economic front and the fact that Australia has had underdeveloped infrastructure for decades. Outside of Sydney and Melbourne (and lately Brisbane), most Australians only had roads connecting them with very few rail lines fit for passenger train use. That has changed with the Clinton government, with projects extending to a Perth to Melbourne rail link that would connect across the north of the country. Additional freight lines, energy and technology infrastructure at a total amount of investment of $450 billion while the bank continues to gain value from its current investments and contributions from the federal government accrue interest. Not to mention the amount of superannuation funds contributing to the bank as it finds and makes investments into infrastructure on behalf of public super funds. Retirement secure, infrastructure build booming, and an institution at the federal level that surely will last the rest of the existence of the current financial system. Three huge wins for Clinton that lend her further credibility on the economy.
RE: An Australian Arrival At An Angleteric Airport
"Your government has done a fine job in keeping Angleter safe, and the safe zone that you have established has made it so much easier. Australia has instituted a policy of housing refugees first in processing on Christmas Island, Norfolk Island, and Nauru. As they become more or less acclimated to their surroundings, we are able to bring them further into Australian society. I know the Australian budget could support financial reconstruction and our Defence Forces could aid in the rebuilding process of Dromund Kaas. It is in the interest of national security of every nation in Europe, but especially us nations in the southern reaches of the region to step up and do our part. Minister Bowen will get on with the Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister but our coalition partners will, no doubt, support this venture," Mrs. Clinton said to Mr. Courtenay. She paused as she sipped the tea.
'They better....we will crush the ALP if they don't and call an early general election,' Hillary thought in her head. The political calculations went a mile a minute like the notes flying off of a virtuoso violinists' instrument.
"I would like to propose directly training between Angleteric and Australian armed forces. The ADF, even though used in defensive capabilities, is very capable. I would also like to offer cooperation between the Australian and Angleteric intelligence community at a deeper level. As of now, we simply pass on any threat that directly comes up against Angleter and that's it. With deeper level cooperation, we can see threats that come across to either country and be able to deliver intelligence faster to help protect our citizens further," Minister Burke said, finally reaching an area in which is portfolio was involved as part of the Office of the Prime Minister.
RE: An Australian Arrival At An Angleteric Airport
"Thank you very much, Mr. Courtenay. It is a pleasure to be here in Oldknow House. The roundabout wasn't troublesome today, so your fixes may have debugged the whole thing," Mrs. Clinton said to the Angleteric prime minister. She looked at her team of Bowen and Burke before moving on to Dromund Kaas.
"Yes, I would like to talk about Dromund Kaas today. This is a long standing war, and Australia has taken in many refugees. I know you have a strong interest in ending the conflict there, and I've talked to British Prime Minister May and she also wants to end the conflict. Australia does want to aid Angleter and the Coalition to bringing the conflict to an end. I wonder what the plan is for the territory in the future. I think it is also important to increase secure acceptance of refugees in our nations. The terrorist attack in London showed that these refugees are feeling alienated in their new countries and isolated, and they may also be dangerous."
RE: An Australian Arrival At An Angleteric Airport
"I really hope that they have some wine there; the horrifying aspect of having your Deputy Prime Minister also be Foreign Minister is a nightmare," Hillary Clinton said, flying in a private jet over to Angleter. The Dromund Kaas conflict and subsequent refugee crisis had put Australia and Angleter on differing sides of what was a very close to home conflict. As the neutral nation both in that part of the world and the European Union, the Prime Minister felt it was her duty to take in refugees. The terrorist attacks in London that rocked the United Kingdom had now put her policy of accepting refugees into sharper focus, and opened her to attack on the right.
'Minority government is a mess,' the Prime Minister thought to herself. She looked over to see Tony Burke and Chris Bowen with her, the Cabinet Secretary/Energy Minister and the Industry Minister with her. She rather had thought it'd be better for the Labor ministers to stay at home.
"Hillary, we're about ready to land," Tony said to her. The PM smiled before preparing herself for the inevitable landing. She had not been on quite a high profile visit to another nation before outside of the United Kingdom, which of course was like going to see extended family.
"Great; let's see who greets us on the tarmac in New Birmingham," Hillary said, looking at her glass of wine. She might as well have another sip.
RE: Australian News Media
Politics: Is the Prime Minister considering a 2018 election call?
Prime Minister Hillary Clinton (L) and Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (R) of the Progressive Alliance and Australian Labor Party
The Prime Minister could be considering an early election at the beginning of 2018 as the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and the National Party still struggle to find their mark against a confident Hillary Clinton and Kevin Rudd team. Polling has shown that the Government right now could be sitting on as much as a 56-44 lead vs. the other Opposition Parties. Clinton has never been more popular than right now with her economic and social initiatives that have driven small business to grow in Australia, and for the economy to be on track for a 4% growth year, a very strong year for the Clinton Government and one of the best in recent Australian history.
Rumours around the halls of Canberra could see the Prime Minister ask President Stephen Conroy to dissolve the Parliament and the country go to a snap general election sometime, perhaps in March, which would put the election time table sometime for early May. When asked about the prospect of an early election, both Clinton and Rudd were coy and unwilling to say whether or not the rumours had any merit to them. Former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating and Progressive Alliance founder and husband Bill Clinton think otherwise when asked at a book launch in Melbourne for Keating's biography.
"I think the Prime Minister would be daft not to go to the country on such strong personal numbers and strong numbers for both the Progressive Alliance and a third place Labor Party. As it stands right now, Labor have work to do to regain the prominence among the left of Australia, but this would be a good start," Keating said to the Melbourne audience.
Within that 56% approval for the Government, 36% is for the Progressive Alliance and 20% for Labor, while the National Party sit on 30% in the Opposition polling, the Greens moving up to around 6% nationall and One Nation still sitting on 7%.
RE: Australian News Media
National Weather Forecast: 6 November 2017
Wet and windy weather in New South Wales, Victoria and South Queensland will bring up to 50 mm of rain during the day. Strong winds out of the southwest will carry the wet out to sea just in time for the Melbourne Cup. Spring continues to come barrelling to Australia as we see a warm up by the second half of the week, with Sydney reaching 25 degrees.
Let's take a look at our capital cities and regions:
- Sydney: 19/9 Rainy
- Melbourne: 18/7 Rainy
- Brisbane: 21/11 Rainy
- Perth: 27/12 Partly Cloudy
- Darwin: 31/15 PM Thunderstorms
- Adelaide: 28/19 Clear
- Hobart: 27/18 PM Thunderstorms
- Canberra: 21/14 Rainy
- Townsville: 28/20 Mostly Cloudy
- Cairns: 30/21 Partly Cloudy
- Uluru: 36/19 Clear
- Broken Hill: 19/10 Rainy
Credlin & Keneally
Credlin and Keneally: 5 November 2017
Peta Credlin: Good evening and welcome to Credlin and Keneally. I'm Peta Credlin
Kristina Keneally: And I'm Kristina Keneally.
PC: Well, we've had an interesting development in what has otherwise been a fairly uneventful couple of sitting weeks in the federal Parliament. The Government has put forward legislation to finalise the Master Plan for Higher Education into the Senate, and we had Senate Estimates last week. We've seen the High Court show its authority over the Native Title Court as well with a challenge by mining magnate and One Nation MP Andrew "Twiggy" Kligenberg, striking down a previous ruling that mining companies must both pay for rights to mining and fork over some profits on aboriginal land.
KK: A rubbish ruling if you ask me....
PC: Oh, Kristina! We haven't even gotten out the Government's plan for unifying public hospitals under the federal government falling short within the party room, so it's being scrapped for the standard left message of "securing Medicare with more funds and promoting harmonisation between the states and territories". News flash...they're already harmonised.
KK: Well, that is true. I think Mrs. Clinton wanted to have the data and profiles for patient care harmonised across Australia, and in a way she's right. The Medicare Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has proven effective. The 2% levy on income has paid for the programme full-stop, and it has allowed people who need prescriptions across the country to have free access to them with a prescription.
PC: It's going to be a cracker of an episode, and the first topic we have up is the Government and its economic management.
KK: 1) Is Clinton solidifying consensus behind liberal economic values across the political spectrum?
PC: This is a good question. The Prime Minister has largely continued the ideas of the National Party's previous government in terms of economic growth and stability. Unlike the Labor Party, this Government in the hands of Hillary Clinton and Treasurer Jim Chalmers have decided to cut corporation tax, which will be announced in the new November budget. That's another reform, actually, that the Government is doing. They are putting out a budget a couple of weeks after Senate Estimates, which means that the May budget is dead. May will now be the economic forecast and a kind of a mini budget. Particularly since the fiscal year begins in April, so announcing the next year's budget in Q3 makes sense.
KK: I think she is showing a lot of prudence. The faction of the Labor Party that I come from, the New South Wales Right governed the state with a strong sense of keeping taxes under control, promoting small businesses and fighting for equality in the workplace and better outcomes for workers. The Progressive Alliance very much fits in that mould of economic governance, and the more left federal Labor Party joining them in government definitely raised eyebrows. I would have thought that when forming a coalition, the Progressives would have snagged the ACP (Australian Centre Party) as a formal partner. Yes, there would have been less MPs on the Government side, but they could have secured a confidence and supply deal with federal Labor. I doubt Kevin Rudd would have preferred a Tony Abbot-Pauline Hanson minority Government that would have still been a minority government and would have sent everyone back to an election if the budget failed...
PC: I'm not so sure about that. NIck Xenophon, the former leader at the ACP, was a deal maker and his policies lined up a little closer to the National Party than to the Progressives, and certainly far from the Labor Party. I think the Progressives wanted to unite the left and moderate its tendencies, which could mean that the Gillard-Plibersek led Labor Left would fall out of favour and open the door for the Bill Shortens and Kevin Rudds of the world to tighten their grip on the Labor Party. It's a smart move by Clinton because she is both co-opting the Labor Right while trying to expand her party's base and appeal to Labor voters, turning them into solid Progressive voters for later decades.
KK: Peta...does that mean you're starting to back Clinton?
PC: As much as she has stolen Malcolm Turnbull's playbook of economic management, no. I still think that Hillary Clinton is shady and I think her social agenda is wrong for Australia, but her economic management is not to be messed with. I think the current Government would get returned at the next federal election, and if I were Clinton, I'd be eyeing next year for a snap general election to increase her party's numbers and get more latitude to potentially form a minority government with only confidence and supply from Labor. That would allow her to totally run Australia as how she wants, and not be beholden to the left-wing of the Labor Party. Hopefully, though, the Contract with Australia cuts through.
KK: And that comment leads us to our next segment. 2) Does the Contract with Australia signal a lurch to the left of the National Party?
PC: Yes. Though there are several conservative ideas in there that I think will offer a good picture of an alternative Government-in-waiting.
KK: Oh, come on...
PC: Yes, Kristina! Now, I know you are in love with Hillary Clinton's policies right now and are 100% behind the Progressive-Labor coalition. However, A solid 46% of voters wanted the right to be in charge of Australia. The Progressives and Labor put together are at 49%, if we go by the numbers of the last federal election, which ostensibly means that if we took out swing voters that went to the Government, there's about 45-46%. It's closer than the polls suggest. Yes, the Progressives are up 36-28 right now, and yes Labor is solid at 19%. But I think the National Party and One Nation are making key inroads in the cities, where the Progressives are strong and this Contract is the basis on which they can go to the metropolitan areas of the country and say "we can make your life better than Clinton".
KK: But can they, and is there an appetite for social conservatism? As you already said, the Government right now is managing the economy well. They're innovating, getting more capital out there for small business via the Public-Private Investment Bank, she's providing for more investment in infrastructure and encouraging states and other entities to do so with the Public Investment Bank. She's unlocked $500 billion of capital between the two that will allow for the economy to grow. The Prime Minister and the Government have done so much to help the middle class.
PC: They also put out a controversial Native Title Court that has now polarised the indigenous Australians by coming to a ruling that the Indigenous Advisory Council did not endorse, then it polarised regional Australia and the middle class with the same Native Title Court with the same ruling. That's a huge slice of the Progressive and Labor core that seemed irritated with this.
KK: Okay, and Malcolm Turnbull irritated his supporters by continuing the spend money on the NBN Co. even though the ALP under Rudd-Gillard came up with the idea. Doesn't mean that the idea wasn't right to act on in the first place.
PC: Kristina, you can say that all you want but Malcolm Turnbull never alienated people like this. Yes, I know he was a one term Prime Minister, second in a row which is rare. But this is a special time. People are more likely to react strongly to a negative news cycle now and the polls are not the end all be all. The people I've talked to as an adviser to the Leader of the Opposition have been strongly supporting Tony Abbott's opposition to Hillary Clinton. Let's not even get into the scandal with the emails. I don't think we've heard the last of that.
KK: Now it's the emails. You know, Peta. I'd tell you not to peddle right-wing conspiracy theories about the Prime Minister, but then I realise that's your job as Tony Abbott's man in the media.
PC: Ah! There we go! See if you can spot the lefty loonie in the room! Accusing people of conspiracy theories when the facts and truth don't go there way.
KK: The truth is that Hillary Clinton is Prime Minister and she'll continue to be Prime Minister for at least a second term, she'll be the longest serving Prime Minister since John Howard and the right of Australia will have to come to terms with the fact that this brand of economic centrism and social liberalism is a potent combination for years to come and they'll have to come back to the centre....
PC: And with that, we'll take a short break.
RE: Australian News Media
Politics: National Releases Contract With Australia
National Party leader and Leader of the Official Opposition Tony Abbott has continued to push at the Government by releasing his Contract With Australia, a plan with several points as a means of trying to set up the National Party as a government-in-waiting. Full of red meat to the base, the Contract With Australia established the following points as principles for government:
- Reducing income tax from its current progressive six band structure (soon to be 5) to a three band structure with lower rates of tax.
- No carbon tax and a delay in the Government's emissions-trading scheme with a focus on nuclear energy and clean coal technology and shoring up the energy market and infrastructure.
- Repeal of the Master Plan for Higher Education, a key Clinton legislative win.
- Repeal of the Native Title Court.
- Means-testing of the Australian Basic Income for Citizens (APIC) rather than a flat rate for all income earners below $30,000 a year.
- Increase competitiveness of Australian agriculture.
- Attract investment to the Northern Territory and regional Queensland and Western Australia beyond mining.
- Tax write-offs for small business for 100% of new assets under $35,000
- Plebiscite on same sex marriage (despite the initial legislation to legalise same sex marriage arriving in the House of Representatives on Monday).
- Increase defence spending to 16% of the federal budget
- Rollback of the Clinton Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) expansion.
- Increase the rebate for private insurance holders from the Medicare levy.
- Privatise the NBN
Mr. Abbott, speaking at a press conference in his electorate of Warringah, said that "this was a contract that the National Party would make with the Australian people, and propose as alternate legislation to the Parliament while holding the Clinton Government to account". Many commentators have touted the move by Tony Abbott as a bold, innovative move to try and seize back the middle ground from the Government. Others have said that it is a rather desperate attempt by the National Party faced with the prospect that a much more centrist party in the Progressive Alliance has supplanted the Labor Party by being the main party of the left and it is rather popular. Some have also said that Tony Abbott is running scared of Pauline Hanson, whose One Nation party is stubbornly polling at 6%, 4% of which came from disaffected conservative National voters.
Polling of the parties in Parliament has shown National well behind the Progressives, with a 36%-28% gap between the two. Labor still solidly in third, but at 19%, with the Centrist Party at 7% and One Nation at 5% and the Greens on 4%. On those numbers, if an election were held today, the Government would be returned as a coalition with 171 seats, gaining 12, the Opposition parties would total 128, with One Nation gaining 8 seats while National and Centrist lose seats. National would lose 9 seats and the Centrists would lose 5. The Greens would be at 5 seats, Katter would win back his seat, and there would be two independents.