( Reminds me of the old movie : “And then there were none”. It is difficult to see how Rudd will be able to make any inroads to the current Labor malaise )
Politics live: June 27, 2013
- June 27, 2013 – 8:47AM
- Kevin Rudd sworn in as Prime Minister
- First pictures of Gillard on backbench
- Stephen Smith resigns from politics
- What the new Labor line up looks like
- Transcripts of the statements made by the main players
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3:22pm: Anthony Albanese rises to thank Mr Smith and notes his reputation as a bit of alright around Parliament House.
“You are an adornment to the Parliament,” Mr Albanese says, “you are a class act”.
Former speaker Harry Jenkins jumps up to mimic Mr Smith’s well known routine that he goes through before rising in the chamber – straightens his cuffs, checks his tie and smooths his hair.
3:19pm: Mr Smith says he saw “more deaths” during his time as defence minister than any other since the Vietnam War.
Mr Smith says he looked into the eyes of two chiefs of the defence force and saw “integrity and decency”.
Mr Smith also thanks the cleaners of Parliament House who, he says, were always around early in the mornings and late at night when he was pacing the corridors.
On his first day as a staffer, Mr Smith says he showed up and no one was around except for the cleaners who advised him: “Oh no darling, it’s much too early for them, go down to Aussies and have a coffee.”
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stands up to applaud Mr Smith and he is then kissed by ministers Tanya Plibersek and Jenny Macklin.
Mr Rudd jokes about Mr Smith’s well known characteristics of discipline and organisation.
The way to “get under his skin”, Mr Rudd says, is to “twist slightly” his “impeccably organised set of papers”.
This results in his “entire visual universe is turn on its head,” Mr Rudd says. “So, Smithy, we love you for that because you’ve even more annally rententive than I am.”
3:10pm: Mr Smith says he remains good friends with Anthony Albanese, who he says has been “a Labor hero” and also pays tribute to “Jenny Mack” (Jenny Macklin) – “I can’t look at her, she’ll make me cry”.
And Stephen Conroy – “Stephen Conroy is misunderstood by many”, Mr Smith says to laughs, and calls him “the bravest man” for sticking by his principles.
Mr Smith then pays tribute to Wayne Swan, who he says did more than anyone else to put the party in a winning position in 2007.
3:05pm: Question time is over.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith stands to announce he resigning from politics.
His voice is shaky.
“Twenty years I can do, 23 years I cannot,” says Mr Smith, who faced a difficult job keeping his Western Australian seat of Perth.
Mr Smith pays tribute to both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former prime minister Julia Gillard.
He is proud of his achievements but mostly the “strategic elegance” of the defence white paper he released earlier this year and the stand he has taken on women in the defence forces, he says.
2:57pm: The opposition is trying to raise the issue of the home insulation program.
(Bear with me for a quick history lesson. The installation of home insulation was part of Prime Minister Rudd’s economic stimulus package and led to allegations it had been implemented too quickly, that unqualified installers were able to rort the system and that four people died as a result of faulty installation. It was later revealed that Mr Rudd was warned by the department and the minister at the time, Peter Garrett, that the program was rolled out too quickly and was not properly overseen.)
Mr Rudd – after the opposition is directed to rephrase the question – refers people back to the debate that happened at the time and says he regrets “any industrial death in this country”.
2:44pm: The opposition is trying to flush out Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on some of the things he might change.
Such as the carbon price, for example.
Mr Rudd replies by saying he “has long been committed to the carbon price”.
Note Mr Rudd’s body language when he is being asked a question by the opposition. He has resumed his habit of bowing his head and studiously looking at his notes.
2:39pm: Opposition treasury spokesman, Joe Hockey, asks Mr Rudd if he can commit to the savings and spendings contained in the May 14 budget.
Mr Rudd replies that he will have briefings from the Treasury and discuss the budget with the cabinet when it meets next week.
(Parliament has already passed the legislation to do with the budget.)
2:31pm: Keen eyed observers and people with long memories may remember a quirk of Kevin Rudd way back when he was opposition leader – he had a habit of gesticulating with all fingers but the middle one down. It unfortunately made him look like he was making a rude gesture every time he did it, which was often. Over time Mr Rudd managed to tame that habit.
But it looks like old habits die hard and the middle finger is back.
2:27pm: Even the government’s language has changed what with the new leader and all.
Gone are question time catch phrases such as “cuts to the bone” and “mendacious” and in with talk of “old politics” and “new politics” (which are straight out of the play book of US President Barack Obama).
2:24pm: Treasurer Chris Bowen takes his first question since he assumed the portfolio but the opposition is more interested in probing the issue of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s trustworthiness.
Manager of opposition business, Christopher Pyne, asks Mr Rudd how the Australian people can believe that if they vote for him at the election he will remain as prime minister given the events following the 2007 and 2010 elections (remember Opposition Leader Tony Abbott started pushing this line last night – it’s going to become very familiar).
Mr Rudd deflects – again – and notes he had not yet been asked a question about policy.
2:17pm: The Opposition is pushing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd about his trustworthiness (as you and Mr Rudd would have been expecting).
Mr Rudd is pushing back against all the questions and asks: “Are we going to degenerate into the old politics of negativity….or whether we have some chance of the politics of hope?”
2:12pm: Quite a few people have a different perspective on question time today.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd just referred to the backbench as the “nether regions” of the chamber.
2:07pm: And what about last night, Mr Abbott reminds Mr Rudd.
Mr Rudd reminds Mr Abbott that he faced John Howard, Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott – “four leaders in four years”.
“These are matters for internal party consideration in his party and ours,” Mr Rudd says.
Former prime minister Julia Gillard is in the chamber and sitting on the backbench.
2:03pm: Question time.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott asks Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to “explain the events of last night” and to “end the uncertainty” to do with the timing of the election.
Mr Rudd invites Mr Abbott to look at the constitution and says he will act “in accordance” with the constitution when it comes to the election date.
Mr Rudd points out there is a G7 meeting in Russia on September 6 and 7, the fact that the existing election date rests on Yom Kippur (September 14) and the issue of the timing of the local government referendum.
Mr Rudd assures Mr Abbott that the date will not change very much (which is a concession that it will change a little bit).
1:59pm: Independent MP Peter Slipper is making a “precautionary” valedictory speech (so called because he is contesting the election).
Forgive me if I wait until after question time to update you on what Mr Slipper said.
1:52pm: Ms Gillard also has a chance to hug independent MP Tony Windsor whose valedictory speech she missed owing to, ahem, other matters.
1:49pm: Mr Oakeshott concludes by saying he has been shocked to meet “ugly Australia” during the past three years.
“I remember sitting on the back of a bus in Broken Hill on an NBN trip and we all swapped stories about crazy emails,” Mr Oakeshott says.
“I can’t believe that this is a view that’s held in Australia today. It’s off its lead; we’ve got to do something about it. And if it takes a few of us to fall on swords to fix it then so be it. The nation needs to deal with it. I have been shocked, frankly, over the last three years to meet ugly Australia and to see the width and depth of ugly Australia.”
Mr Oakeshott finishes with a plea for people not to allow “the fringe” to take over “the middle”.
1:42pm: Walk on by.
1:38pm: Mr Oakeshott is paying tribute to Ms Gillard: “I can only form my judgements on what’s available to me … I am going to say that through my eyes a person who I knew a bit about as education minister and deputy prime minister but then got to know very well over these years because we had to upheld her part of the agreement.”
“I say dip my lid and say ‘well done prime minister’,” Mr Oakeshott says to Ms Gillard.
Mr Oakeshott says “I hope you got my text” ans asks if she would mind if he shared its contents.
Ms Gillard nods ‘yes’.
Mr Oakeshott texted Ms Gillard about 10 minutes before yesterday’s caucus meeting saying: “Your father would be proud of you”.
Tears appear in Ms Gillard’s eyes.
1:29pm: Their expressions say it all, don’t they? Former speaker Peter Slipper kisses former prime minister Julia Gillard while a concerned looking Kirsten Livermore watches.
Mr Oakeshott is still giving his farewell speech. He keeps having to apologise for referring to Ms Gillard as the prime minister.
1:22pm: Ms Gillard listens to Mr Oakeshott. Ms Gillard is sitting next to Kirsten Livermore who is also retiring at the election.
1:21pm: Former prime minister Julia Gillard.
1:18pm: Independent Rob Oakeshott is now making his valedictory speech to the House of Representatives.
He notes the “ironies” Parliament has just presented – such as his two-year-old son, Ben, calling out “hurry up” from the public gallery and opposition spokesman Scott Morrison trying to force Parliament to hear his speech (see 12.52pm post).
Mr Oakeshott says he thought long and hard about the timing of his speech. Mr Oakeshott is known for, how shall I say this nicely, taking a while to come to the point (most notably during a press conference after the 2010 election when it took him 17 minutes to say whether or not he supported Julia Gillard).
However, Mr Oakeshott, says he went with the impulse that says “when you’ve got the microphone, use it”.
Everyone will just have to “suffer” and hear him out, he says.
Mr Oakeshott says he is “tired” and it’s time to go.
Former prime minister Julia Gillard has entered the chamber to listen to Mr Oakeshott (from the backbench).
1:12pm: The 457 visa changes have been passed by the House of Representatives (73 votes to 72).
1:02pm: The 457 visa changes are almost through the House of Representatives. We are very close to the very final vote now (all procedural votes taking place up to now indicate it will go through).
1:01pm: Look you have to understand the context of the Nelson Mandela remarks. I was under a lot of strain….
12:52pm: I’m pretty sure this isn’t the mysterious petition for the caucus meeting that set things off yesterday.
12:52pm: The vote on the 457 visa bill is now being counted.
This is after opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison tried – unsuccessfully – to suspend standing orders to allow independent MP Rob Oakeshott to give his valedictory speech (which would have made Mr Oakeshott a kind of Coalition human shield).
12:42pm: I can confirm former prime minister Julia Gillard is not in the chamber.
A spokesman for the chief government whip, Chris Hayes, says the opposition granted Ms Gillard a pair (which means an opposition MP will also sit out of them chamber so as not to affect any votes).
Former treasurer Wayne Swan is in the chamber.
12:41pm: New best friends.
12:32pm: The video of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s address to Parliament and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s response.
12:28pm: Neither former prime minister Julia Gillard or former treasurer Wayne Swan were in the chamber for Mr Rudd’s statement.
Former ministers Greg Combet, Craig Emerson and Peter Garrett, however, took their places on the backbench.
Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray is speaking incredibly quickly as he seeks to make a statement to the chamber about a, ahem, misguided statement he made last night.
Mr Gray told a Minerals Council of Australia dinner that former South African president Nelson Mandela had died (which he had not).
Mr Gray is very hurriedly apologising to the House and says he has already apologised to the South African High Commissioner.
12:15pm: Leader of the house Anthony Albanese has moved a motion to make the debate on the proposed changes to the 457 visa program the main order of business for the House of Representatives today.
The opposition is complaining.
12:10pm: Mr Abbott: “This is a fraught moment in the life of our nation. A prime minister has been brought down. Her replacement owes an explanation.”
Speaker Anna Burke warns Mr Abbott about the turn his speech has taken.
Mr Abbott finishes by demanding to know the election date.
12:08pm: Opposition Leader Tony Abbott rises to congratulate Mr Rudd “for returning to the high office which he formerly occupied and which he’s been dreaming of returning to for three years”.
Mr Abbott asks Mr Rudd to “elevate” the office of prime minister by explaining to people “the events of last night” and calling on him to name the election date.
12:05pm: Mr Rudd says politics can be brutal and asks MPs to remember that “in this Parliament, in this place we are all human beings”.
“Try, just try to be a little kinder and gentler to each other.”
And that’s it for Mr Rudd.
12:04pm: Stephen Smith, Jenny Macklin, Tanya Plibersek and Mark Dreyfus are all sitting on the front bench. I think we can assume they are going to stick with their jobs.
Mr Rudd tells the house the “existing ministerial arrangements” will remain the same for the time being.
12:02pm: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd informs the chamber that he was appointed Labor leader last night and that he has now been sworn in by the Governor-General.
Mr Rudd acknowledges the contribution made by former prime minister Julia Gillard particularly her achievements in education, industrial relations and “her great work as a standard bearer for women in this country”.
11:59am: The bells are ringing to call MPs into the House of Representatives.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has just entered the chamber. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop have walked across the chamber to congratulate him.
11:55am: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is due to address the House of Representatives at noon.
In the meantime, let me direct you to a couple of different analyses about where things are.
The national convenor of Emily’s List Australia (formed to help promote Labor women), Tanja Kovac, has written about how the “trailblazing political heroine”, Julia Gillard, will be remembered.
The Age’s education editor, Jewel Topsfield, looks at what will happen to the education reforms now that their main promoters – Julia Gillard and Peter Garrett – have stepped down.
Forget all this talk of no-confidence motions in Parliament – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has repeated the commitment he made last night not to call one.
11:38am: The office of the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has made available the letters written by Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, advising Ms Bryce of their changing circumstances.
11:35am: The machinery of prime ministership and campaigning has swung into action quickly.
Already the official website of the Prime Minister – www.pm.gov.au – has been updated to reflect the new occupant.
The Labor Party is already putting out the calls for volunteers to help out in the upcoming campaign (which we may be in sooner than we were planning).
11:32am: The national secretary of the Australian Labor Party, George Wright, says party members wanted the federal party to “re-energise” and “unite” under Kevin Rudd.
Mr Wright, who is the ALP’s chief campaign manager and used to work for Mr Rudd when he was first prime minister, congratulated Mr Rudd and said he thought he could lead Labor to victory.
Mr Wright also paid tribute to Ms Gillard for her policy achievements.
11:20am: “It’s a sunny day in Australia,” says newly sworn-in Prime Minister Kevin Rudd when asked on the steps of Government House how he feels.
11:03am: There has been much speculation surrounding the fate of the proposed changes to the 457 visa program (including my own in the 10.20am post).
However it appears to be back on the agenda.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told reporter Daniel Hurst a few minutes ago: “Our plan is to conclude that piece of legislation today.”
Bear in mind the House of Representatives does not resume until 12pm, question time will take place at 2pm, the bill’s passage through the House is not certain and today is the last day the House will sit.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose, hey?
10:58am: Other people like Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek are keeping quiet.
10:54am: So what will the new Labor line up look like?
Kevin Rudd, Anthony Albanese and Chris Bowen are at the apex. Bill Shorten is still there. So are Penny Wong and Tony Burke.
Senator Wong told ABC Radio National this morning her decision to support Mr Rudd was not because of his position on gay marriage (Mr Rudd is now the first prime minister to have a pro same-sex marriage stance).
Senator Wong said she had to “weigh that personal loyalty [to Ms Gillard] against loyalty to the Labor Party and to the people we represent” and eventually decided it was in the party’s, and country’s best interest to support Mr Rudd.
Stephen Conroy, Wayne Swan, Peter Garrett and Joe Ludwig have all gone.
Senator Conroy resigned by tweet late last night.
10:29am: Mr Rudd’s first policy decision appears to be dumping the changes Julia Gillard wanted to make to the 457 visa program.
The bill has been in and out of Parliament over the past 10 days. Last night it was listed for debate on a draft schedule for business to be discussed by the House of Representatives this morning. But the bill is no longer listed on the latest notice paper.
The bill wanted to compel employers show they had gone to all lengths to ensure vacant jobs were offered to Australians before they employed someone from overseas. Unions were in favour but business was not.
10:23am: Mr Rudd has now left Government House and is on his way back to Parliament House where he will make a statement to the House of Representatives at 12 pm.
Now that he is Prime Minster Mr Rudd is travelling in the official car – C1.
10:18am: The Rudd and Albanese families with Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.
10:14am: Babies always steal the show.
10:13am: While we wait for the official photographs to come in let me update you on some comments Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has just made on radio.
Mr Shorten told Fairfax Media he was not a traitor after he changed his support from former prime minister Julia Gillard to the now Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Mr Shorten was instrumental in installing Ms Gillard in the top job back in June 2010).
Mr Shorten says his decision was “incredibly difficult”. He had been thinking about it for weeks but only made up his mind after Ms Gillard called the caucus room meeting.
Mr Shorten only spoke to Mr Rudd about the leadership this week and believes he has changed, that he will act in a more consultative fashion in the future.
10:01am: It doesn’t take long to officially become Prime Minister.
Official photographs are now being taken.
It’s a bit like getting married – the photos tend to take longer than the actual serious business end of matters.
9:56am: Mr Rudd has been sworn in as Australia’s 28th Prime Minister.
He promises Governor-General Quentin Bryce to “do my absolute best”.
Mr Rudd kisses his wife Therese Rein before inviting “Anthony Norman Albanese” to step forward and take the oath.
Mr Albanese has now been sworn in.
“Christopher Miles Bowen” is sworn in as Treasurer.
9:52am: The swearing in ceremony is beginning.
Kevin Rudd, Anthony Albanese and Chris Bowen will each be sworn in, then read out the oath of office and then complete the relevant paperwork.
“The baby’s fine but please turn mobiles off,” the secretary to the Governor-General, Stephen Brady, tells the audience while Mr Rudd’s granddaughter Josephine makes herself heard.
“She’ll [the Governor-General] be thrilled with the baby so please don’t worry if she makes a noise.”
9:42am: Deputy prime minister elect Anthony Albanese arrives in the room where he will take the oath of office. He is accompanied by his wife, Carmel Tebbutt, the former deputy Labor leader of NSW, and their son Nathan.
9:32am: A Bible sits on a chair waiting for Mr Rudd inside Government House. Mr Rudd will swear his oath of office on the Bible.
Mr Rudd’s wife, Therese Rein, has arrived with the couple’s younger son, Marcus. The couple’s daughter, Jessica, is also there with her husband Albert Tse and their daughter Josephine.
9:26am: Mr Rudd has arrived at Government House.
He is being driven in a white sedan although not C1 – the car of the prime minister (C1 is its licence plate).
Anthony Albanese will also be there to be sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister and Chris Bowen will be sworn in as Treasurer.
9:23am: For people who would like to read the transcripts of the statements made by the main players last night, let me show you where they are.
(We are still waiting for one from Ms Gillard and will let you know when it is available. Ms Gillard was spotted having a coffee at the Parliament House cafe, Aussie’s, earlier this morning, something she hasn’t had time for in a while.)
Mr Rudd has just left Parliament House for Government House.
9:19am: The House of Representatives will not sit until midday today. (The Senate sits at 9.30 am.)
At that time Mr Rudd is expected to make a statement to the House.
(According to the draft schedule for the House sent out last night the first item of consideration was to have been the proposed changes to the 457 visa program. That has, obviously, been superseded by events. What will happen to that legislation is anyone’s guess although it is safe to assume the government’s focus last night was not on securing support.)
9:13am: Reporter Daniel Hurst has been busy looking at all the possible scenarios that could play out today. It’s worth reading to give yourself some background to all the constitutional hypotheticals that are being bandied about.
Here is an updated list of where the independents stand on the possibility of a no confidence motion (although Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is continuing to indicate he is not interested in pursuing that option).
9:01am: There is much discussion about what could happen today – will Kevin Rudd be able to form government, will he go straight to an election – all of it based on the unusual combination we have of a minority government with less than one day of Parliament to go before a scheduled election.
The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has released her legal advice from the Acting Solicitor-General, Robert Orr.
Based on that advice, Her Excellency’s view is that she should confirm Mr Rudd as prime minister as soon as possible in order for him to announce his appointment to the House of Representatives and allow it the “opportunity for whatever, if any, action it chooses to take”.
8:50am: The morning after the night before. What will happen? Kevin Rudd will be sworn in as prime minister by the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, at 9.30 am. After that, well, we will have to wait and see.
Join me, Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen for another big day in federal politics.
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Kevin Rudd is sworn in as Prime Minister by Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Canberra.
Kevin Rudd plans to visit Governor-General Quentin Bryce today in a bid to be commissioned as prime minister, after replacing Julia Gillard as Labor leader on Wednesday night.
3:16pm Kevin Rudd has been sworn in once again as Prime Minister of Australia as one of his late-minute backers to resume the Labor leadership, Bill Shorten, says he believes Mr Rudd has changed.