The Gillard government has ruled out offering the Greens a cabinet position, as sensitive negotiations with independents drag on for another week. The New England MP Tony Windsor, who, along with three others, will determine which party will form government, appealed yesterday to his rural constituents to show patience in a process that could continue for some time yet. But while the government looks to have tied up the support of the incoming Greens MP Adam Bandt, if Ms Gillard is to continue as prime minister it will not be with a Greens member of her cabinet, an issue she has previously declined to clarify. ''That is not on the table at all,'' the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, told Network Ten yesterday.
Hillsong Church has applied to build a $38 million residential estate in Sydney's east, two years after locals rejected a 2700-seat church development on the site. The latest DA lodged with City of Sydney Council revealed the "Quattro" estate would have 86 three-storey terrace houses on 1.6ha on Rothschild Ave, Rosebery. The church said buyers would not have to be members.
Residents of a quiet street in Sydney's south-west say they feel cheated by their council after their opposition to a new mosque went unheard. When a Muslim prayer hall financially backed by prominent sporting stars Anthony Mundine and Hazem El Masri was approved to operate three days a week, in Ludgate Street, Roselands, the voice of more than 400 locals against it was "ignored". Now the owners have quietly submitted a new DA to Canterbury Council and are asking for permission to operate from 4.30am to 11pm every day of the week when the construction is completed in the coming months.
Nationals MPs have put Tony Abbott on notice that they won't be rubber-stamping legislation under any minority Coalition government. They have also warned they want a better deal for regional constituents. While Mr Abbott has taken control of the negotiations with key independents, leaving Nationals leader Warren Truss on the sidelines because of bad blood between the two groups, the Nationals are muscling up to boost their frontbench representation. At the election the Nationals increased their numbers from nine MPs to 12 in the House of Representatives and from five to six senators, which is likely to trigger an extra frontbench position under the existing Coalition agreement.
Law experts have warned that independent MP Andrew Wilkie's demand for federal government action on poker machines is likely to fail. They predict gaming companies and state governments would manoeuvre to protect their revenue. Mr Wilkie yesterday described poker machine reform as a potential "show stopper" for either major party seeking his support in a hung parliament, saying he had made it clear in a meeting with caretaker prime minister Julia Gillard that "inaction is not an option". The Tasmanian independent and South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon have united to push for changes to federal legislation which would limit poker machines to a $1 bet limit or a maximum loss of $120 an hour.
The West Australian Premier has called for radical change to some of the icons of federalism, including stripping back COAG. Colin Barnett also suggested the number of ministerial councils should be slashed and the Commonwealth Grants Commission scrapped. He warned yesterday that the Council of Australian Governments had become almost a new tier of government and lacked accountability and transparency. "Lobby groups now actively go out and influence decisions at COAG . . . perhaps one symptom of the change that has taken place," he said.
The NSW government would oppose a renewed push to crack down on problem gambling, even as a federal Labor MP urges more action on poker machines, which he says have created ''rivers of tears'' for families. Julia Gillard will begin her second sensitive week of negotiations with independents today, handing three rural MPs proposals on parliamentary reform and meeting the Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie to discuss his demands for a $1 bet limit on poker machines. Mr Wilkie yesterday described his poker machine demands as a potential ''show-stopper''. He will also meet Tony Abbott in Canberra today about securing his support for a minority government.
Ten years of suicide data after John Howard's decision to ban and then buy back 600,000 semi-automatic rifles and shotguns has had a stunning effect. The buyback cut firearm suicides by 74 per cent, saving 200 lives a year, according to research to be published in The American Law and Economics Review. A former Australian Treasury economist, Christine Neill, now with Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, said she found the research result so surprising she tried to redo her calculations on the off chance the total could have been smaller. ''I fully expected to find no effect at all,'' she told the Herald. ''That we found such a big effect and that it meshed with a range of other data was just shocking, completely unexpected.''
Indigenous Australians must take matters into their own hands if they want to see more Aborigines in Parliament, according to the first Aborigine to win a seat in the House of Representatives. Ken Wyatt claimed victory in the marginal West Australian seat of Hasluck yesterday, amid revelations he was subjected to racist taunts during the election campaign. Mr Wyatt said the taunts had come in the form of phone calls to his campaign office, as verbal taunts on the streets and as messages on news websites. He said they had come from both white and Aboriginal people, some accusing him of selling out his cultural heritage by joining the Liberal Party.
Watermelon politics: Are the Greens about to turn red? It has been revealed that the new Greens MP for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, was a communist and a member of an extreme left party during his time as a student activist at Murdoch University 15 years ago. The disclosure illustrates the extent to which the Greens are serving as a parliamentary Trojan horse for the old-style far-left in Australia, which is using ‘entryism’, the classic strategy of extremist parties, to infiltrate its cadres into more mainstream parties in order to re-direct their policies in an extremist direction. The revelation follows the election to the Senate of Greens candidate, Lee Rhiannon, the daughter of long-term Stalinists, Bill and Freda Brown. All three were leading members of the Communist Party of Australia until they all resigned in 1970/1 in a protest against the CPA’s refusal to support the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia and its bloody suppression of the ‘Prague Spring’ that attempted to introduce democratic reforms in that Stalinist state. Instead they joined the Socialist Party of Australia, which continued to follow the Moscow line as it continued its crackdown on dissidents during this critical period in the Cold War. Ms Rhiannon (then O’Gorman) then edited Survey, the SPA’s journal, until it went out of business when the Soviet Union collapsed and funding for such publications disappeared. For the past eleven years she has been a member of the NSW Legislative Council, and it has been observed of her that “not much has been said by her on Green issues, but she has spent a lot of time talking about issues not dissimilar from those she campaigned for when she was an active member of the Stalinist Socialist Party.”
The President of the NSW Council of Churches has accused the NSW Government of seeking to fast track the introduction of a Private Member’s Bill by independent MLA Clover Moore which would allow same sex couples to adopt children in NSW. “The Keneally Government has been sitting on the Same Sex Adoption report for a year, and it is a betrayal of proper parliamentary process to rush through a Private Member’s Bill on the first day of sitting while all eyes are on the negotiations in Canberra to form a federal government,” the Revd Richard Quadrio said. The NSW Council of Churches is sponsoring a public meeting on same sex couples adoption to be held at the Theatrette, NSW Parliament House, from 1.00-2.00pm on Tuesday 31 August, the day on which the bill is scheduled for debate in both Houses. “Clover Moore’s Same Sex Adoption Bill has not been debated in any way yet in the wider community. I call on Honorable Members of both Houses to proceed more slowly and to engage in greater community consultation before taking a conscience vote. Please join us to make a statement of concern for the sake of the children, both now and in the future,” Revd Quadrio said.
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