My post today was going to be about the Repugs, but this morning’s events dictate otherwise. From the ABC’s live blog (edited for patrons’ convenience):
10:52am: It’s been a dramatic week in politics. First Julia Gillard surprised most people – even those in her own Government – by announcing a federal election would be held on September 14.
11:06am: Julia Gillard says Evans and Roxon are standing down. She has been discussing their moves with them since last year:
“They certainly go with my thanks and they will be able to reflect on a proud track record of achievement.”
11:08am: Julia Gillard praises Senator Evans’ work as immigration minister:
“He shaped changes to our temporary and permanent skilled migration streams, he made sure that that was serving our economy and he played a major role in cracking down on the rorts in 457 visas, the temporary visas bringing people into the country who were being exploited once they got here. He abolished temporary protection visas and detention debt and introduced Labor’s detention values for the treatment of asylum seekers.”
11:09am: Gillard now paying tribute to Nicola Roxon. She says they entered Parliament at the same time.
11:10am: Julia Gillard mentions Nicola Roxon’s work introducing plain cigarette packaging:
“She has fiercely taken on the power of big tobacco and she has won. And has an international reputation for taking on big tobacco and winning.”
11:11am: Chris Evans speaking now. He cracks a joke that Julia Gillard spoke so nicely about him that now he doesn’t want to leave.
11:13am: Chris Evans says he is stepping down as Labor Senate leader and resigning from Cabinet, effective in the next couple of months.
“I want to thank the PM for her support, she indicated that we had a conversation a fair while ago now about a planned departure and that I indicated I would go at the time of her convenience as she reshaped the team for the coming election.”
11:15am: Chris Evans:
“I want to make it very clear, I’m not leaving tired, sick or bitter, I’m leaving fit, healthy and confident of the future of the Government.”
11:18am: Chris Evans says Julia Gillard is the “outstanding PM of her generation”. He also pays tribute to his staff:
“I want to thank my staff in particular, this in game you’re only as good as your staff. I’ve had great support from my staff, tremendously talented and loyal people.”
11:19am: Nicola Roxon up now. Confirms she is standing down.
11:20am: Roxon struggling to hold back tears. She says she is struggling to keep doing her job at 200 per cent.
“All of us need to make decisions about the right time to leave and I believe the right time is now and I must say PM, what was a very difficult decision was made a lot easier by the fact that the Labor Party does bat so deep. The PM has a wealth of talent and ability and enthusiasm to choose from in replacing me and in replacing Chris.”
11:22am: Both Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans have said they believe Labor can win the election in September. Roxon is now talking about her achievements as health minister and Attorney-General.
11:23am: Nicola Roxon also has a dig at Opposition Leader Tony Abbott:
“My only regret as health minister is the inordinate amount of time we were too long fixing many of the problems that Mr Abbott left from his time as health minister. A lot of my time, a lot of the Government’s time, a lot of staff and bureaucratic time fixing issues that were simply neglected for the nearly four years that he was the health minister.”
11:25am: Nicola Roxon says she is amazed we have a Prime Minister “made of titanium”.
11:28am: Julia Gillard is speaking again, with a tissue on hand – she says it’s been an emotional day.
11:29am: Julia Gillard outlines who is going where:
Chris Bowen will replace Senator Evans as Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research.
Mark Dreyfus will replace Ms Roxon as Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management, relinquishing the role of Cabinet Secretary to Jason Clare, who retains Home Affairs and Justice.
Brendan O’Connor will become Minister for Immigration and Citizenship whilst Mark Butler takes on Housing and Homelessness.
Mike Kelly enters the Ministry as Minister for Defence Materiel.
Ms Gillard says she also welcomes new Parliamentary Secretaries Yvette D’Ath (Climate Change and Energy Efficiency), Kelvin Thompson (Trade) and Melissa Parke (Mental Health, Homelessness and Social Housing) and thank Justine Elliot for her contribution in the Trade portfolio.
11:33am: Julia Gillard says Labor caucus likely to come together on Monday to vote in the new Senate Leader. If it suits the Governor-General, Ms Gillard says the swearing in for the new ministers should also happen Monday.
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My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that it’s a strong team for Election 2013. What do other PUB patrons think?