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January 2011



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A disability election message from Bill Shorten

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If you live with disability, care for a person with disability or have an interest in disability issues, your vote has never been more important than in the 2010 federal election.

After 12 long years of neglect, the Gillard Labor Government has put support for people with disability back on the national agenda. So, if disability is important to you, I urge you to consider our record and plan for the future when you cast your vote on August 21.

Our record

We delivered historic increases to the DSP and Carer Payment now worth around $100 per fortnight for singles. We invested $1.7million in Disability Employment Services to end waiting lists for people with disability who want help finding a job.

We are doubling funding to the states and territories under the National Disability Agreement, providing more than $6 billion over five years. We ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and signed the Optional Protocol.

The Gillard Labor Government is making public buildings more accessible through new Access to premises standards, and brokered a landmark agreement with the housing industry for all new homes to meet universal design standards by 2020. We worked with the cinema industry on a watershed deal to make cinemas more accessible for people with vision or hearing impairments.

We provided early intervention services for children with autism, and if re-elected will provide $12,000 for early intervention services for up to 7800 more young children with disability. We will also provide $60 million in capital funding to build innovative, community-based supported accommodation places.

We also worked with the states and territories to develop the National Disability Strategy to outline a long-term plan to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. The Strategy outlines a nationwide approach to improving the lives of people with disability. It will guide public policy across governments and aims to bring about change in all mainstream services and programs as well as community infrastructure.

For more information about our election policies, see: http://www.alp.org.au/agenda/

The future

The Gillard Labor Government knows that much more must be done to ensure that people with disability are able to fulfil their potential. Prime Minister Gillard has said that the status quo in disability can not continue, and a re-elected Gillard Labor Government is committed to major reform in disability services.

That’s why our government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake its landmark inquiry into the feasibility of a national care and support scheme for people with disability. A national disability insurance scheme would be a complex and transformative reform that requires detailed consideration. The Productivity Commission inquiry will assess whether a national disability insurance scheme would be appropriate, practical and economically responsible in the Australian context.

Make your vote count

The Coalition has little credibility on disability issues. The former Coalition Government ignored people with disability and their carers for 12 long years and stood by while demand grew for disability services and disability pensioners struggled with the cost of living.

So, if disability policy is important to you, an important choice awaits you on 21 August. A vote for the Gillard Labor Government will ensure that the needs of people with disability and their carers will remain a first order priority for the Federal Government.

The choice is clear – make sure your vote counts.

Regardless of the result of the election on August 21st, the fight for a better deal for people with disability will continue. 

Yours sincerely,

Bill Shorten

Australia’s “kingmakers” meet to discuss next government

Tuesday 24th August, 2010.

A handful of independent and Green MPs who will decide the make-up of Australia’s minority government were set to begin talks on Tuesday to decide whether to support Labor or the conservative opposition’s bid for power. Skip related content

Latest counting gives Labor and the opposition conservatives 71 seats each — with 76 seats needed to form the government — but poll experts predict both will end up with 73, leaving three independents and a Green MP holding the balance of power.

“Let’s draw breath and wait for the numbers to come in … and then get down to some policy issues,” said independent Rob Oakeshott, indicating the political limbo would last until a final result is declared, which may take 10 days.

There were no talks yet scheduled with Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard or opposition leader Tony Abbott. Bookmakers say Labor is favourite to govern with a handful of independents.

At stake in the election is the fate of Labor’s planned 30 percent resources tax, a $38 billion fibre-optic broadband network and a future carbon price which the power sector says is needed to ensure continued investment.

Standard and Chartered Bank’s regional economist Simon Wong said the mining tax was now dead, whoever ended up in power.

“The mining tax is likely to be further scaled back or even scrapped, even in the case of a Labor-led minority,” he said.

“The debate over this issue in the run-up to the election proved to be a key factor that eroded Labor’s initial lead, and is likely to be too heavy a political burden for the incoming administration to bear.”

Abbott said he could run a stable government, in contrast to tensions in the Labor Party, and said he would offer “serious roles” to the independents. He declined to say if he would change any policies, and noted the result could still take some time.

“No-one should expect that this will be a speedy process. The counting itself still has a long way to go,” Abbott told reporters.

Oakeshott has called for parliamentary reform and a unity cabinet in which politicians across the political spectrum put aside rivalries and join on issues that would unite the politically-fractured nation.

News cartoons made light of his idea, showing Abbott and Gillard standing arm in arm, surrounded by flying pigs and fairies, and with an Irish leprechaun standing beside Greens lawmakers at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold.


Financial markets have rowed back on early expectations of a minority conservative government and now seem comfortable that both sides are fiscally prudent, although they would be concerned by any Green-backed government.

Both Labor and the Liberal-National coalition have pledged to return the budget to surplus by 2012-13.

Still, a Labor-Green minority government, which may see an increase in spending, would worry markets.

“There would be concerns about what sort of deals are done with the Greens to be able to guarantee that support,” said Craig James, chief economist at CommSec equities securities.

There was also concern over how a future minority government may deal with foreign investment in Australia.

China is the third-largest foreign investor in Australia and its biggest trading partner, but increasing investment in the resource sector by state-owned Chinese firms has led to concerns among many voters and lawmakers.

Labor and the opposition have said they will review foreign investment on a cases-by-case basis, but analysts raised the possibility of protectionist pressure from some independents.

“Given the extraordinary circumstances of a hung parliament, and the as yet unknown requirements of the independents who may hold the key to governing, it cannot be discounted that changes to the foreign investment regime may be bargained for support,” said Malcolm Brennan, special counsel at Mallesons Stephen Jaques.

(Additional reporting by James Grubel in Canberra and Michael Perry in Sydney; Editing by Ed Davies and Sanjeev Miglani)

Source:  http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20100824/tts-uk-australia-election-ca02f96.html

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