Connect with us

Australia

Why was ‘people’s choice’ Bishop overlooked for the Liberal leadership? The Q&A panel discusses

The Q&A audience on Monday night had the chance to echo a question asked by many Australians in the wake of last week's Liberal leadership spill; why was the popular Julie Bishop not chosen to lead the party?

The first episode of the program since the overthrow of Malcolm Turnbull as Australian prime minister saw the panel attempt to explain to a bemused public just what went on, and why.

External Link: Q&A Dutton question

The guests on Monday's show were the Minister for Defence Industry Steve Ciobo, Opposition spokesman for infrastructure Anthony Albanese, radio broadcaster Alan Jones, national political editor for News Corporation's Sunday papers Annika Smethurst and the people's panellist from Brisbane, Elmari Whyte.

“Anyone who thought Peter Dutton was the answer must have been asking themselves a pretty weird question,” Labor's Mr Albanese quipped at one point to laughter from the audience, referring to the man who led the insurgency against Mr Turn..

The Q&A audience on Monday night had the chance to echo a question asked by many Australians in the wake of last week's Liberal leadership spill; why was the popular Julie Bishop not chosen to lead the party?

The first episode of the program since the overthrow of Malcolm Turnbull as Australian prime minister saw the panel attempt to explain to a bemused public just what went on, and why.

External Link: Q&A Dutton question

The guests on Monday's show were the Minister for Defence Industry Steve Ciobo, Opposition spokesman for infrastructure Anthony Albanese, radio broadcaster Alan Jones, national political editor for News Corporation's Sunday papers Annika Smethurst and the people's panellist from Brisbane, Elmari Whyte.

"Anyone who thought Peter Dutton was the answer must have been asking themselves a pretty weird question," Labor's Mr Albanese quipped at one point to laughter from the audience, referring to the man who led the insurgency against Mr Turnbull, only for Scott Morrison to emerge victorious from the party room.

"Peter Dutton hasn't polled in double figures as preferred leader ever," Mr Albanese said.

The question from the audience which kicked off the debate was, why, when Ms Bishop repeatedly out-polled all other contenders, did many members decide Mr Dutton was the man for the job?

Ms Whyte, the people's panellist, offered the view that it was because Ms Bishop was a woman.

"I think exactly because he was the man for the job," she said.

"I just can't see why the Liberal Party couldn't bring themselves to bring a woman to be in that seat and be at the front of their party.

"I think the difficulty is they can't see a woman do that kind of job, no matter how proficient she might be and how competent and experienced she might be, and that is a real difficulty for the party to deal with."

Mr Ciobo, who was one of the backers of Mr Dutton's push for the leadership, disagreed.

"There's a variety of factors that come into play when you make this decision," he said.

External Link: Q&A Dutton man for the job

"I have to disagree obviously completely about the fact it can't be a woman. The Premier of New South Wales in the Liberal Party is a woman.

"The fact is the numbers of women in the Liberal Party in terms of senior positions haven't been as strong as we'd like them and I mean that sincerely.

"But the suggestion that the reason Julie didn't get the support because she's a woman is fanciful. That's not the case.

Mr Ciobo said he backed Mr Dutton because of concern about the Government's achievements not being communicated effectively.

"And after many years of really strong success … the party room felt we were not connecting with Australians about our achievements and that ultimately was the trigger for the spill," he said.

"[Ms Bishop] wasn't ignored. Julie stood, she received some support, but not adequate support."

When host Tony Jones asked if Ms Bishop fell short because she was in the wrong faction, Mr Ciobo's response raised a titter from the audience.

"No. It's not factional at all," Mr Ciobo said.

Labor feared Bishop

Ms Smethurst maintained that Labor had dodged a bullet.

"Not only was Julie Bishop the most popular leader amongst voters, everyone I spoke to in Labor said she was the worst-case scenario for Labor too," she said.

External Link: Q&A Liberal Frankenstein?

"They did not want Julie Bishop getting in. They thought she's got broad popularity across the country, marginal seat holders want her for the electorate buzz, she can swing votes.

"I do agree it wasn't just because she's a woman.

"The most astonishing thing is if it's about winning elections, which is what a lot of the argument was for the spill in the first place, why you wouldn't put your best candidate in is baffling."

Mr Albanese, asked if Ms Bishop would have been a more formidable opponent for his party come election time, replied "obviously".

With Labor undergoing its own leadership crises in the recent past, Mr Albanese was well aware of the transactional cost of a change of leadership.

"What happened with the change is our primary vote increased by 6 per cent. Bill Shorten is now the preferred PM. We're in a much stronger position than we were a fortnight ago."

Original Article

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Australia

Stronger country communities fund success

Council received welcome confirmation last week from the State Government and Local Member, Kevin Humphries that Council has been successful in obtaining funding of $1.5m from the second round of the Stronger Country Communities Fund.

The projects funded are solar pool heating at the Swimming Pool and a half basketball court, a cycling / pathway from the Shearing Shed to the river, upgrades to the Jockey Rooms at the Racecourse and four units for seniors rental accommodation at the old preschool site. Our community and Council had identified these projects as priority in its application, and its great to know they can now proceed.

Forty five students from year nine at Maclean High School travelled through Nyngan last week on an excursion to Uluru.

They stopped for a photo shoot and afternoon tea at the Teamsters Rest Area and presented Council with a $300 cheque for Councils Drought Appeal, and left some boxes of toiletries and non-perishables for distribution to areas of need in ..

Council received welcome confirmation last week from the State Government and Local Member, Kevin Humphries that Council has been successful in obtaining funding of $1.5m from the second round of the Stronger Country Communities Fund.

The projects funded are solar pool heating at the Swimming Pool and a half basketball court, a cycling / pathway from the Shearing Shed to the river, upgrades to the Jockey Rooms at the Racecourse and four units for seniors rental accommodation at the old preschool site. Our community and Council had identified these projects as priority in its application, and its great to know they can now proceed.

Forty five students from year nine at Maclean High School travelled through Nyngan last week on an excursion to Uluru.

They stopped for a photo shoot and afternoon tea at the Teamsters Rest Area and presented Council with a $300 cheque for Councils Drought Appeal, and left some boxes of toiletries and non-perishables for distribution to areas of need in the Shire.

I thanked them very much for these contributions to our community. Its great to see young people understanding and showing practical concern for drought affected communities like ours.

Our thoughts are with the year 12 students at Nyngan High school as they complete their final week at school and then prepare for their HSC.

The year 12 church service formal dinner and final assembly are significant events during this final week.

This week our community will celebrate NAIDOC week with a number of events and activities to focus on the historical and cultural relevance of our Aboriginal community and the important part they play in our present community.

A family fun day was organised at the Nyngan Golf Club last Saturday and was enjoyed by all who attended. A par three round of golf, merry go round, jumping castle, face painting, barbecue, and many prizes ensured the day had plenty of variety.

Unfortunately not many farming families attended, but those who did were certainly able to ease the burden of drought related responsibilities.

A big thank you to Deb and Greg Matheson and Joblink Plus who put a lot of work into organising the day as well as the Nyngan Golf Club, Lions club, 3Cs Church and all others involved.

With the extended dry period continuing, we are aware that some rural properties may be running short of water for drinking and other domestic purposes.

Council has potable water available and will consider further action that may be needed in this area at our meeting on Thursday.

If the cost of carting water for domestic use was proving to be a financial burden for rural families, application for assistance could be made to the Bogan Shire Council Drought Appeal Fund.

Continue Reading

Australia

National security fears over Chinese gas pipelines deal could be eased through investment: Liberal MP

A Federal Liberal MP has suggested a Chinese and Hong Kong based consortium hoping to buy large swathes of the nation's gas pipelines could allay national security concerns by committing to invest in the sector, as security analysts urge the government to block the deal.

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is considering the CK consortium's $13 billion bid for APA Group, which owns tens of thousand of kilometres of pipelines, gas mains, storage facilities and processing plants across the country.

Some of the companies in the CK consortium were blocked, along with China's state grid owner, from purchasing Ausgrid, the owner of New South Wales' electricity poles and wires, over national security concerns.

The company already has significant financial interests in Australia, including in SA Power Networks.

Peter Jennings from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute argued any takeover would give CK control of around 70 per cent of the nation's critica..

A Federal Liberal MP has suggested a Chinese and Hong Kong based consortium hoping to buy large swathes of the nation's gas pipelines could allay national security concerns by committing to invest in the sector, as security analysts urge the government to block the deal.

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is considering the CK consortium's $13 billion bid for APA Group, which owns tens of thousand of kilometres of pipelines, gas mains, storage facilities and processing plants across the country.

Some of the companies in the CK consortium were blocked, along with China's state grid owner, from purchasing Ausgrid, the owner of New South Wales' electricity poles and wires, over national security concerns.

The company already has significant financial interests in Australia, including in SA Power Networks.

Peter Jennings from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute argued any takeover would give CK control of around 70 per cent of the nation's critical energy infrastructure.

"I think that's a vulnerability to have so much critical infrastructure in the hands of, or essentially at the control of Chinese companies, or companies that can't escape the influence of the Chinese Communist party," he said.

"We've got to be concerned about the ability to do damage to Australian critical infrastructure if we ever found ourselves in a situation where we might be in a very difficult relationship with China."

Mr Jennings argued the precedent set by FIRB in the Ausgrid deal was clear.

"In a lot of cases, and increasingly so as a matter of fact, gas is also now used as part of electricity generation, so the two networks are intimately connected," he said.

"If it's good for Australian electricity infrastructure to say, well, that's about as far as we can allow foreign ownership to go, the same thing really is true now, I think, for gas infrastructure as well."

APA Group's assets include the major gas pipelines linking the Moomba gas fields to the east coast gas network.

Craig Kelly addresses a group of journalists.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly, chair of the Coalition's energy committee, suggested there could be ways for CK to make its bid for APA Group more palatable.

"Perhaps, if they weren't taking such a large stake holding, perhaps if they were going to sell part of the network off to increase competition, perhaps if they were looking at doing some substantial investment in new network, that could perhaps change the equation," Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly said any change in attitude towards the investment would depend on what any investment in expanding the network would look like.

"There are substantial opportunities, I think, in Australia to expand our gas pipelines," he said.

"The potential to run a pipeline through to the east coast, to put that into the east coast pipeline, would be a significant game changer for the nation, but I think every time that it's been looked at, the economics haven't added up."

"We've got all that gas that is actually on sort of the wrong side of the continent, over on the north west shelf and in Darwin."

Government won't comment while FIRB continues deliberations

Mr Kelly said any decision by FIRB to block the deal would not impact Australia's position as a haven for foreign investment, suggesting there were special circumstances when dealing with the sale of critical infrastructure.

He added the national security concerns being raised were well founded.

"In the past, most of our investment has been from our Five Eyes partners — the UK and the USA," he said.

"Now we're looking at investment from nations that we don't have those historical ties to.

"I think that's why the public has a greater concern, and I think it's correct that government should also have a greater concern."

FIRB will advise Josh Frydenberg on whether to approve the deal, in what will be the Treasurer's first major foreign investment test.

A spokesman for Mr Frydenberg said the Treasurer does not comment on matters being considered by FIRB.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan was reluctant to pass any judgment, but gave an insight into the Government's thinking.

"We are, and have significantly reformed regulation of gas pipelines. And we need to make sure, in any transaction, that we maintain our sovereignty to be able to continue to properly regulate pipelines," he said.

"We haven't shied away from making the tough decisions to say no to foreign investment where we don't think it's in Australia's national interests.

"I'm sure our national interests will be at the forefront of Josh Frydenberg as he makes his decision."

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave the merger the green light, after CK promised to sell off some of APA's assets in WA.

But the Commission was only looking at the takeover with regards to how it affects the market, noting APA is already effectively a monopoly operator of gas transmission assets and saying a change in ownership would have little impact on competition.

APA Group declined to comment on the matter.

Original Article

Continue Reading

Australia

China is after intellectual property — but it’s not always illegal

Related Story: Intellectual property theft, not metal, is the real trade war in US sights and it's a much bigger worry Related Story: Chinese hackers infiltrate systems at ANU Related Story: China blamed for 'massive' cyber attack on BoM computer Related Story: Rio hacked at time of Hu arrest

China has continued to steal intellectual property from other countries, according to a report out this week — but one cyber security expert says that's not the real issue.

A report released this week by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says that China is clearly, or likely to be, in breach of its bilateral cyber espionage agreements.

And it warns that if Australia doesn't ramp up the pressure, China is unlikely to stop.

The stakes are high
“Essentially, it's the lifeblood of economies,” said Fergus Hanson, the head of the Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre.

If ideas from companies or universities are stolen, products can be manufactured..

Related Story: Intellectual property theft, not metal, is the real trade war in US sights and it's a much bigger worry Related Story: Chinese hackers infiltrate systems at ANU Related Story: China blamed for 'massive' cyber attack on BoM computer Related Story: Rio hacked at time of Hu arrest

China has continued to steal intellectual property from other countries, according to a report out this week — but one cyber security expert says that's not the real issue.

A report released this week by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says that China is clearly, or likely to be, in breach of its bilateral cyber espionage agreements.

And it warns that if Australia doesn't ramp up the pressure, China is unlikely to stop.

The stakes are high

"Essentially, it's the lifeblood of economies," said Fergus Hanson, the head of the Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre.

If ideas from companies or universities are stolen, products can be manufactured by companies in China without the need to pay research and development costs.

The firms that initially designed those products can be out-priced and killed off.

Mr Hanson said he spoke to a broad selection of government officials and industry while doing the research.

"Firms that are conducting R&D are basically storing information on computers in their headquarters or around the world, and because it's connected through the internet to China, China is able to remotely access that."

The Institute's report looked at incidents from the United States, Germany and Australia.

These included cyber espionage attacks on Rio Tinto, and the Bureau of Meteorology in 2015 by a foreign intelligence service, reported to be Chinese.

"It's become clear that China is in fact continuing to steal intellectual property, albeit with slightly different tactics from before," Mr Hanson told The World Today.

"China is narrowing its targets and hitting a smaller number of companies, but still continuing with the activity," he said.

'The US Government does the same thing'

But Professor Greg Austin from UNSW Canberra Cyber said the evidence that information was applied in the marketplace for commercial gain was "very thin".

"The ASPI report puts almost no evidence in the public domain of a significant case where the Chinese government has stolen commercial information since 2015 and put that to the advantage of a Chinese private sector corporation."

For example, he noted, the United Steel Corporation and Westinghouse, two companies named in the US indictments, have not in fact suffered any commercial disadvantage.

"So the picture is not really what ASPI and others are painting — one of decreasing competitive advantage of Western corporations because of what's happening. That's not the reality."

Professor Austin described industrial espionage as just a normal part of international relations — practiced by China, but also by the United States, France and Israel.

"If you look at the CIA organisational chart, you'll see that two of its four intelligence directorates are involved in scientific, technical and economic espionage," he said.

"I'm confident that the Chinese Government continues to engage in intellectual property espionage; I'm confident that the United States Government does the same thing."

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) logo is reflected in glasses

Bigger things to worry about

Professor Austin said some of China's lawful business practices are a more concerning problem.

"The bigger policy issue that the US Government put on the agenda in a special report in March this year … was the Chinese policy of pressuring foreign corporations investing in China to hand over their intellectual property … under Chinese law," he said.

"This is part of the Chinese Government's indigenisation campaign.

"They've decided that they can't lock out the foreign technology corporations because they need them very much.

"But if they're going to have to put up with them, then they're going to insist on regimes that allow more comprehensive transfer of their intellectual property through new partnership agreements and sharing agreements with the Chinese domestic corporations."

US President Donald Trump has put sanctions on Chinese corporations and companies due to that policy, Professor Austin said.

"And that's a practice that Australia needs to pay more attention to, not the almost unstoppable practice of Chinese government theft of commercial secrets through espionage," he said.

ASPI is warning that countries like Australia, the US and Germany need to do more to stop the threat.

Mr Hanson said countries should band together to increase pressure on China.

"We need to start putting this issue onto the international agenda, putting it onto the agenda with China … and if it doesn't respond, looking to impose costs on China for that behaviour."

Supplied photo of detained Rio Tinto worker Stern Hu

But Professor Austin said the Australian Government would be better off putting its policy effort into protecting companies from coercion by China, rather than focusing on "the hardly proven cases of cyber espionage for commercial gain".

"I think the Australian Government needs to get behind Australian corporations and protect them from the same pressure that's coming on US corporations who hand over IP if they want to invest in China," he said.

"I think we need to shift the conversation a little bit from where ASPI put it today with the release of this report."

In a statement, a spokesman for the Government said: "Australia condemns cyber-enabled intellectual property theft for commercial gain by any country".

"As a matter of principle and long-standing practice, the Government does not publicly discuss specific cases, including those outlined in the ASPI Report, which may prejudice national security or compromise commercial confidentiality and privacy of Australian businesses.

"The Coalition Government has strengthened Australia's cyber security arrangements, including through the consolidation of cyber security policy in the Department of Home Affairs.

"Through actions such as our Cyber Security Strategy and the rollout of Australian Cyber Security Centres nationally, we are working to ensure that businesses and communities are resilient to cyber threats, including to cyber-enabled IP theft."

Original Article

Continue Reading

Trending