Thread: Australia gets first woman PM
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#1 Australia gets first woman PM06-24-2010, 12:37 PM
Australia gets first woman PM
Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:44am
Credit: Reuters/Mick Tsikas
CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia appointed its first woman prime minister, Julia Gillard, who vowed on Thursday to end division over a controversial mining tax, resurrect a carbon trade scheme and call elections within months.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd made an emotional and ignominious exit, quitting just before the center-left Labor Party was to dump him in an internal ballot and less than three years after a stunning election victory in 2007.
The Rudd government's dramatic slide in support this year sparked fears within the ruling party of an electoral defeat at a poll expected around October.
"I asked my colleagues to make a leadership change because I believed that a good government was losing its way," Gillard told a news conference.
Bookmaker Centrebet made a Gillard Labor government outright favorite to win the next election over conservative opponents.
Gillard has long been one of the government's best performers in parliament with her ability to sell policies and deflect political attacks.
Gillard, 48, immediately offered to end a bitter dispute over a controversial "super profits" mining tax, which is threatening $20 billion worth of investment and has unnerved voters, saying she would throw open the door to fresh negotiations.
"It's a genuine offer - the door of this government is open ... I'm asking the mining industry to open it's mind," she said.
But Gillard stood firm on the introduction of a resource tax, stressing that miners should pay more tax. She said later in parliament miners had conceded they could pay more.
Miners responded to the leadership change by suspending a multi-million dollar anti-tax advertising campaign and welcoming Gillard's conciliatory tone.
"We look forward to working with the government in this new way to find a solution that is in the national interest," said a spokesperson for BHP Billiton, the worlds biggest miner.
But miners also stood firm on their position of reducing the 40 percent headline tax rate and doubling the threshold of when miners start paying the tax to 12 percent from 6 percent.
The Australian dollar briefly jumped after the leadership change, while shares in BHP and Rio Tinto rose around 2 percent, outperforming a flat broader market.
CARBON TRADE SCHEME
Gillard's takeover will see the government resurrect its failed climate change policy, a carbon trade emissions scheme, with the new prime minister saying she was disappointed in the government's failure to pass laws to set a price on carbon.
"I will re-prosecute the case for a carbon price at home and abroad. I will do that as global economic conditions improve and our economy continues to strengthen," she said.
Greens party leader Senator Bob Brown and institutional investors said they were looking forward to early action on climate change. Rudd postponed his carbon scheme until 2011.
Australia is the world's top coal exporter and among the highest pre-capita emitters of planet-warming carbon dioxide, with coal used to generate about 80 percent of electricity.
Rudd became the shortest-serving Australian prime minister since 1972, with his leadership falling apart after a string of poor opinion polls.
"I have given my absolute all. I was elected by the Australian people as the prime minister ... to bring back a fair go for all Australians," said Rudd, choking back tears.
Government lawmakers believe Gillard has a better chance of winning back voters because she is a warmer personality who can sell policies more effectively.
06-24-2010, 02:00 PM
Australia gets first woman PM
She must be stopped at all costs.I feel that once a black fella has referred to white foks as "honky paleface devil white-trash cracker redneck Caspers," he's abdicated the right to get upset about the "N" word. But that's just me. -- Jim Goad
06-24-2010, 06:38 PM
06-26-2010, 12:20 PM
At another forum I frequent (geared towards atheists -like me- and their ideas) had a thread about her being atheist.
Either way, I'd like to address Oddysius's post;
What makes you certain that the same thing isn't already happening here, with the executive branch of Fed gov't essentially being a 'puppet office' of the legislative branch and the two political parties in (almost direct) control of the "Head of State"?VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter" (Yes I plagiarized this as well)
DU_Reject:Proud American, staunch anti-socialist, Secular Conservative, two-time bannee from DU!
06-26-2010, 10:46 PM
First, Australia has a parliamentary system. The executive branch there is formed by the governing party in the legislative branch, so it's impossible for them to have divided government, as we can. In such a system, the personality of the PM can provide cover for the parliamentary majority, since throwing out the majority involves throwing out the PM. A popular PM can therefore equal electoral security for the MPs. That doesn't happen in our system. In fact, it's often the reverse case, where a president can lose support in the congress, or even lose the congress to the other party, but it will have no effect on his term of office. Thus, Clinton lost congress is 1994, Bush in 2006, but continued in their positions and, in the former case, even get reelected despite that loss. Australia's Labor Party is trying to paper over the unpopularity of their policies by equating them with Rudd and replacing him with a prettier face before the elections. It would be like Democrats in the house and senate deciding that Obama is an anchor, voting him out as head of the party and replacing him with Cameron Diaz (who is about as qualified for the job, but much nicer to look at).
Second, to claim that the two US political parties are somehow colluding with each other to control a weak executive assumes that Democrats are willing to share power with anyone, and ignores the vicious enmity that Democrats have for anyone not of their party. If the parties were in cahoots, congressional elections would be far less nasty, except against those occasional upstarts who come from the outside and actually threaten the cozy relationships (look at how congenial the French and German elections are by comparison). It also assumes that there are no ideological or principled differences between the two parties, which is absurd. The Republican congressional caucus may have bought into the culture in Washington before the 2006 elections, but at their absolute, spendthrift worst, they were reducing deficits after the initial jump in 2002, which was caused by a drop in federal revenues after the 1999-2000 recession, constriction in the tech sector (which had been driving the stock market gains of the previous decade) and the collapse of the US air travel industry after 9/11, while within one year of a Democratic takeover of congress, the deficit doubled, and with Obama's first deficit, tripling that number. Finally, if the two parties were in collusion, then the filibuster-proof majority that Democrats just lost in the senate wouldn't have made any difference to them, since they could peel off enough Republicans to get what they want while maintaining the illusion of an independent opposition. Instead, we're seeing Democratic wish-list items getting stopped cold in the senate as they cannot prevent filibusters.
So, no, I don't buy the idea that the two major US political parties are colluding to run the executive branch. The current weakness there is not institutional weakness, but Obama's personal weakness as an executive and his willingness to delegate everything not involving golf and teleprompter addresses to his allies in congress. But thanks for asking.
06-26-2010, 11:46 PM
Sonnabender will be pissed off!:eek:
SonnabendGuest06-28-2010, 08:35 AM
She is an unelected PM, and I would guess that Odysseus has it right. She signed off on all of Rudd's fuckups.
That will be remembered.
06-28-2010, 09:38 AM
It didn't go well for our unelected PM Gordo MacBroon... hopefully you Aussies will show yours the door like we did ours.20010911
nie vergessen, nie verzeihen.
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