Australian leadership spill looks inevitable, three lining up

A tumultuous day in Australian politics yesterday, with a the second Liberal leadership vote looking likely in a week now. Malcolm Turnbull looks like dead leader stumbling.

News.com.au: Peter Dutton needs just one signature to secure leadership spill

PETER Dutton is only one signature away from securing a leadership spill to oust Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, according to a Liberal MP.

Mr Dutton’s supporters say he now has more than 40 signatures in his favour in a petition to Mr Turnbull to call a spill that’s been circling Parliament House since last night.

Speaking to reporters outside parliament earlier this evening, Liberal member for McPherson Karen Andrews said she understands only “one more signature is required”.

Ms Andrews, who signed the petition herself, noted that she wasn’t necessarily going to back Mr Dutton.

“But I will not stand by after having Parliament adjourned today to have this matter not concluded tomorrow. I understand that only one more signature is required,” she said.

The former home affairs minister needs 43 signatures for Mr Turnbull to call a party room meeting.

But the Prime Minister has left Parliament House for the day — and it’s understood he hasn’t received a petition.

Mr Turnbull today said he would call a special party room meeting at midday tomorrow if a letter requesting one, signed by a majority of MPs, was presented to him. The embattled leader said he would move a spill motion, and if it was carried, that he wouldn’t stand as a candidate for the top job, and resign both as prime minister and as a member of parliament.

That would leave Turnbull’s replacement leader with a poisoned chalice, probably a hung parliament.

But the controversial Peter Dutton isn’t the only challenger. Treasurer Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have also indicated they would put themselves forward.

Roy Morgan snap poll:

Liberal Leadership contenders vs. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten

  • Julie Bishop (64%) cf. Bill Shorten (36%)
  • Malcolm Turnbull (54%) cf. Bill Shorten (46%)
  • Bill Shorten (50.5%) cf. Scott Morrison (49.5%)
  • Bill Shorten (62%) cf. Peter Dutton (38%)

All ‘can’t say’ and ‘don’t know’ responses have been removed from these results to make them directly comparable.

Analysis by Party – Bishop leads easily amongst L-NP & Ind./Others supporters, Shorten ahead with ALP & Greens supporters

  • L-NP supporters: Bishop 87% cf. Shorten 13%. Lead to Ms. Bishop 74%;
  • ALP supporters: Shorten 59.5% cf. Bishop 40.5%. Lead to Ms. Bishop 19%;
  • Greens supporters: Shorten 56.5% cf. Bishop 43.5%. Lead to Ms. Bishop 13%;
  • Ind./Others supporters: Bishop 70.5% cf. Shorten 29.5%. Lead to Ms. Bishop 41%.

Seems like an easy choice for the Liberals, if they care about the poll results.

I think Dutton would be dire, and Bishop looks a good prospect – but it depends on what sort of support she would get from the Liberal caucus.

And to avoid her being forced into an immediate election it would require a change of mind by Turnbull about quitting.

But perhaps an election would be needed regardless.

Source: Julie Bishop easily preferred to Bill Shorten as PM, virtual dead-heat between Morrison & Shorten while Shorten leads Dutton clearly

More details here.

Aussie update – leadership mess continues

It looks like political chaos in Australia.

Winston Peters visited in the middle of the leadership mess.

Newshub: Winston Peters foils Julie Bishop’s attempts to end press conference

Winston Peters foiled Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s attempts to end a joint press conference on Wednesday afternoon, and cracked a joke about leadership spills.

Ms Bishop told reporters she’d take one last question, and was asked by a reporter whether she was “working the phones” like Peter Dutton – who yesterday lost a leadership contest to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“I have been in a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and Winston can attest that during that meeting I’ve not made one phone call,” Ms Bishop said.

Mr Peters said earlier in the press conference that no matter the outcome on the leadership front, “we want to see Australia a strong, helpful leadership influence in the Pacific upon which we rely.”

“We depend upon Australia more than you depend upon us but that said, our two countries are seriously significant in how the future of this part of the world turns out.”

But even then he wasn’t finished, making a final comment:

“As a politician when you go into a spill you’ve got to take your abacus, thank you very much.”

But that wasn’t the final say on that.

And ikt’s certainly not the last say on a bloody political mess:

Julie Bishop versus Jacinda Ardern

Julie Bishop, Australian Foreign Minister, said today in Canberra: Trans-Tasman relationship ‘at risk’

Ms Bishop said Mr Shorten had “sought to use a foreign political party to raise serious allegations in a foreign parliament designed to undermine confidence in the Australian government:”.

“Bill Shorten has serious questions to answer,” she said.

“This is highly unethical, at least. But, more importantly, puts at risk the relationship between the Australian government and the New Zealand government.

“Bill Shorten must reveal who he put up to this dirty task and the details of the urging of a foreign political party.

“We’re used to the dodgy back room deals from Bill Shorten when he was leader of the union movement.

“He’s now brought that not only into Australian politics but now into the international politics and Bill Shorten should be called to account for this appalling behaviour.”

Ms Bishop said she it was “nonsense” that the ALP question had not played a role in the revelation of Mr Joyce’s dual citizenship and that it was actually a media inquiry which kicked off the process.

“I don’t accept that,” she said.

“The New Zealand Labor leader confirmed that a Labor member of parliament was contacted by an unnamed Labor member here in Australia.

“Bill Shorten must reveal the name of that member.”

Ms Bishop said she would find it difficult to trust a future NZ Labour government.

“I would find it very difficult to build trust with members of a political party that had been used by the Australian Labor Party to seek to undermine the Australian government,” she said.

“I would find it very difficult to build trust with members of a political party that had been used by the Australian Labor Party to seek to undermine the Australian government”.

 

Statement on Julie Bishop’s comments

Posted by Jacinda Ardern on August 15, 2017

It is highly regrettable that the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party.

I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I knew absolutely nothing about the Barnaby Joyce case until it broke in the media yesterday afternoon.

I had no knowledge about the Parliamentary Questions lodged by Chris Hipkins MP.

I have also been clear that those questions were not appropriate.

I also note that Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has confirmed that the Australian media inquiries were the instigator of this issue and that he has described connections of the New Zealand Labour Party to this issue as “utter nonsense.”

I greatly value New Zealand’s relationship with the Australian Government. I will not let false claims stand in the way of that relationship.

I would happily take a call from Julie Bishop to clarify matters.

I have also contacted the Australian High Commission to register my disappointment and will be meeting with the High Commissioner later today.

Hipkins’ claims over dirty collusion doubted

Chris Hipkins has already put new Labaour leader in an awkward position over his asking questions on citizenship on behalf of the Australian Labor party. Ardern has publicly reprimanded Hipkins.

This has lead to a political spat with the Austrian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, slamming Labour here for (allegedly) trying to interfere with the Australian government. The coalition that Bishop is a part of has a bare 1 seat majority, and if Barnaby Joyce is forced to resign over a ridiculous constitution technicality a by-election would make things difficult there.

Ardern has snapped back strongly, alleging that Bishop had made false accusations. So far Ardern has appeared to deal with things pretty well – much better than Bishop handled the pronunciation of Ardern’s name.

But there could be more problems for Ardern, for NZ Labour, and especially for Hipkins.

Journalists don’t believe his denial he knew what was behind the request from Australia ask questions here about Joyce’s citizenship.

Hipkins appears to want us to believe he asked questions on behalf of Australian Labour acquaintances without knowing it had anything to do with Joyce.

It is questionable enough that Hipkins tried to stir up dirt against a bare majority government. It is very difficult to believe he would do this without knowing what was behind it.

 

I don’t think this story is done yet.

RNZ:  Barnaby Joyce renounces NZ citizenship as spat builds

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says he’s been told New Zealand has accepted his request to renounce his citizenship, as trans-Tasman tension over the situation builds.

Australian media inquiries led to the dual citizenship of Mr Joyce being revealed, but Labour MP Chris Hipkins had also asked similar questions to the Internal Affairs Minister, following discussions with a friend linked to the Australian Labor Party.

Mr Hipkins’ involvement has now led to a diplomatic spat between the Australian government and the New Zealand Labour Party.

In federal parliament in Canberra this afternoon, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused the Australian Labor Party and its New Zealand counterpart of collusion.

“No one’s ever doubted the loyalty of the Deputy Prime Minister to Australia, but what about the leader of the opposition, conspiring with the Labour Party of New Zealand to undermine the government of Australia?”

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said she had reprimanded her MP, but Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said this afternoon it would be difficult to trust a Labour-led New Zealand government.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mrs Bishop said she was disappointed.

“New Zealand is facing an election, should there be a change of government I would find it very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations designed to undermine the government of Australia.”

She said Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten used a foreign political party to raise questions which were deliberately designed to undermine the Australian government.

Ms Ardern came out swinging in response, saying in a statement it was “highly regrettable” that Ms Bishop had “chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party”.

“I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I knew absolutely nothing about the Barnaby Joyce case until it broke in the media yesterday afternoon,” Ms Ardern said.

She said she had no knowledge that Mr Hipkins had lodged his question.

Ms Ardern said Mr Hipkins exercised a lack of judgement.

“We were asked a question about a point of law, but as I’ve said, regardless of the circumstances it was not appropriate for us to be involved in any circumstances.”

Ardern has clearly distanced herself from Hipkins and from what he did.

Mr Hipkins insisted his friend did not ask him to lodge the question, he had no idea it was related to Mr Joyce, and he was just interested in the topic.

“Had I known that was where things were going to land up, I wouldn’t have got involved in it.

I’m sure he wouldn’t have, but it’s too late to not do it.

“There has been absolutely no collusion between the New Zealand Labour Party and the Australian Labor Party when it comes to the situation the Australian deputy Prime Minister has found himself in.”

But the question of collusion between a NZ Labour MP and someone involved in the Australian Labor Party is unlikely to be left at this.

Labour’s opponents are not letting it rest either.

Australia threatened with nuclear retaliation

“If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”

Hot air probably, but this is getting a bit too close to home.

1 News: Australia threatened of nuclear retaliation from North Korea following sanctions talk

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has reportedly sparked a threat of nuclear retaliation from North Korea after saying the rogue nation will be subject to further Australian sanctions.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency yesterday quoted a foreign ministry spokesman accusing the Australian foreign minister of “spouting a string of rubbish again.

“If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”

Ms Bishop said on Thursday that the sanctions were to send “the clearest possible message to North Korea, that its behaviour will not be tolerated, that a nuclear-armed North Korea is not acceptable to our region”.

She also urged China to step up pressure on North Korea to stamp out its belligerent and illegal behaviour.

In the report from Pyongyang, the North Korean ministry spokesman accused the Australian government of “blindly and zealously toeing the US line” and said Ms Bishop had “better think twice” about the consequences of her “reckless tongue- lashing”.

“It is hard to expect good words from the foreign minister of such government. But if she is the foreign minister of a country, she should speak with elementary common sense about the essence of the situation,” the spokesman said.

“It is entirely attributable to the nuclear threat escalated by the US and its anachronistic policy hostile to the DPRK that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to the brink of war in an evil cycle of increasing tensions.”

This is probably just more rhetoric, hot air, rather than an actual threat.

But if North Korea does try a nuclear strike it would probably be easier to hit Australia rather than the US – it’s closer and probably far less protected.

A Northern Hemisphere nuclear strike would be bad enough, but in the mid latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere New Zealand would be at less risk than most countries.

A nuclear attack on Australia is a different matter. The usual weather drift is from there to here.

North Korea probably doesn’t have the weapons nor the delivery systems to hit Australia.

But if they did, and if they did strike Australia, then things get even more serious for us here in New Zealand. And there’s a lot of Kiwi family in Aus.

‘One Nation’ wants to kick New Zealand

The Aussies have been a bit negative about the Security Council vote by Angola, China, Egypt, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay, United Kingdom and Venezuela (and not vetoed by the Unites States) against Israeli settlements and supporting a two state solution.

None more so than One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts who wants Australia to clamp down on New Zealand immigration and immigrants in response to the vote. Crazy.

Last week Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop implied they would  have gone against the position held by New Zealand, the United States and the 13 other countries, but they can say that because they weren’t there, it doesn’t mean they would have voted against Resolution 2334.

Liberal senator Eric Abetz is reported to have been critical of New Zealand when he released his own statement condemning the resolution, but all I can find is United Nations vote on Israel:

The Foreign Minister is absolutely right to stand with Israel over the United Nations’ ill-founded and poorly considered motion in relation to Israel.

While Australia did not have a vote on the Security Council, it is concerning that the Obama Administration effectively cheered on this silly act. This kind of behaviour is exactly why the American people embraced Donald Trump and the British people embraced Brexit.

We should be unashamed in our support of Israel – the most free and democratic nation in the middle east which shares the Judeo Christian ethics shared by the Western world.

The unelected United Nations bureaucrats should take a serious look in the mirror over these latest actions which come following a long list of actions which seem to indicate it wants to be a left-wing thinktank rather than a bringer of peace and good to the world.

That doesn’t name New Zealand, it just takes a swipe at President Obama’s administration.

Now a One Nation’s Roberts has more than taken a direct swipe at New Zealand, he wants to cut New Zealand immigration and benefits.

Australia’s One Nation party says Kiwi migrants should be punished over Israel

Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts said he was “appalled” by the Security Council resolution, which called for an immediate end to any and all settlement activities in disputed zones, including East Jerusalem, which he said “have contained Jewish settlements since biblical times”.

But Roberts went further, accusing New Zealand of “stabbing our ally in the front”, while criticising the Turnbull government for not putting enough pressure on New Zealand to stop it.

“2017 marks the centenary of the ANZACs’ brave actions to free the Palestinian territory – now Israel – from Ottoman oppression of Christians, Jews and other groups,” he said.

“It would never have been possible for those brave ANZACs, charging as part of the Light Horse Brigade, to have ever thought that events 100 years later would go full circle and future generations would betray the very people they were about to liberate.

Accusing New Zealand of a “hostile attitude” towards Israel, Roberts suggested Australia take a stronger stance against New Zealand “settlements”.

“At the very least, we should look at further cutting benefits for New Zealanders living in Australia,” he said.

“Perhaps a tougher immigration policy aimed towards New Zealand would stop Kiwis from establishing settlements in Australia.”

That’s ridiculous.

Roberts’ statement presents a marked turnaround in One Nation policy, with the party previously calling for changes to make to make it easier for New Zealanders to apply for citizenship and social security.

“We have opened our borders and our hearts to people from all over the world offering them the opportunity to become Australian citizens, but not to our closest neighbours, our allies and our ANZAC mates,” the One Nation policy says.

“They are working, paying their taxes, and raising families, but when hardship hits they cannot apply to receive help from our social security system. Many New Zealanders are then left homeless, destitute and desperate.

“We believe Australians would open their hearts to our neighbours. Therefore, we are calling on the government to change the current laws.”

One Nation (or at least Roberts) sounds very flakey.

Threatening punitive measures against one country involved in a unanimous UN vote is pathetic.

There is no way Australia would do any of what Roberts has suggested, but it shows they have crazies in their Parliament too.

Not all Aussies are anti. Bob Carr, ex foreign minister and a patron of Australian Labor Friends of Palestine, wrote on the resolution – The genius of the UN’s resolution on Israeli settlements:

Both Labor and Likud governments have funded settlers, many religious extremists, and gifted them the best land.

Meanwhile, Palestinians are denied building approval for homes, even a chicken coop. If in Area C they throw up a granny flat it’s promptly demolished by army bulldozers.

If Israel is really open to giving the land back in a peace deal why allow settlements in the first place? That’s the question, if I’d been sharper, I would have put to my interlocutor. And settlements not just along the border. Thirty-five per cent are now being approved deep in the territory everyone sees as an ultimate Palestinian state.

This is the essence of the boiling US frustration that resulted in America refusing to veto Friday’s Security Council resolution.

Two former prime ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, have warned their country risks getting saddled with apartheid, proving again that searching argument and criticism are among Israel’s most resilient features.

Donald Trump can tweet and bluster. But the resolution stands as international law, to be taken seriously by cabinets and bind the International Criminal Court. After years of provocation by Israeli hawks that’s the genius of what Obama and Kerry have pulled off.

Abetz and Roberts can bluster all they like too. Australia weren’t on the Security Council.

And Carr posits:

In the meantime consider the following motion, an elegantly simple one: “Given that Israel continues to defy the 2016 resolution of the Security Council and spreads settlements so that a Palestinian state is no longer possible we move that every resident of Greater Israel be afforded equal rights. This includes the right to vote in national elections.”