Volume 73 – number 26 – political news

Below is a summary version of this edition. Paid subscribers gain access to the full version of the newsletter as well as accessing video content in the members site and also there are back copies of the newsletter.
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The Week in Politics

A Lockheed Hudson Bomber and CA-16 Wirraway fly over Parliament House in Canberra during a commemoration service to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2 passing the Telstra Tower

The week started with something very different. The Prime Minister was joined in the Prime Minister’s Courtyard by former War Memorial Director Brendan Nelson, as it was announced that the Prime Minister has written to the Governor-General requesting he seek the approval of Her Majesty The Queen to posthumously award a Victoria Cross for Australia to Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean.

Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean

The Prime Minister said, “The Victoria Cross is the highest award that can be provided to any Australian serviceman or woman for their valour. It is a very serious award. And as Prime Minister and as a government, we have a very special responsibility to ensure that the integrity of the Victoria Cross is upheld for all of those who’ve been honoured by being bestowed, having bestowed upon them that award and all the others that will.”

Dr Nelson spoke about the review process and said, “As the Prime Minister said, awarding a Victoria Cross eight decades after the events is something that should not be entered into lightly and only when the evidence is compelling and the case for doing so is exceptional. And that is precisely the case here. This young man, this young Tasmanian Ordinary seaman, Edward or Teddy Sheean, was the youngest, lowest-ranked sailor on HMAS Armidale. The ship was attacked just after 3:00pm on the 1st of December 1942.”

This week the Prime Minister was busy behind the scenes. He did however front the media again on Friday to provide an update along with the acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

The PM had also earlier in the day given a speech for the launch of IBM and soldier on’s skills build program.

The Prime Minister said, “The challenges of supporting veterans that have returned from Afghanistan and the Middle East, most recently, are different to those who have been in Vietnam, Korea or Malaysia or places like that. And then, of course, back to the Second and First World Wars. Every generation that has passed through that period of service has presented new challenges for them. And one of the most interesting challenges, which is a positive one, is what we’re here to talk about today, and that is as part of the Veterans Employment Programme, the programme that I believe we’re seen to be really connecting veterans to workplaces, to jobs, and that requires the skills and the skills investment that has been made here by IBM to ensure that we can equip today’s veterans to be successful in a digital economy. It’s great for them. It’s great for IBM. It’s great for the Australian economy. It’s great for jobs. COVID or no COVID, the challenge is the same of equipping our veterans with skills.”

Later at Parliament House in the courtyard the Prime Minister mostly spoke about the COVID-19 situation including fielding questions about the Ruby Princess inquiry.

Canberra, Australia – 14 August 2020: Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference in the Prime Minister’s Courtyard. He said, “I will tell you one of the things we have learnt during this pandemic; you can have a plan, you can do the training, you can provide the funding – all of this has been done,” when a journalist said “Isn’t this a gross failure of governance on behalf of your Government?” in relation to the aged care sector. Photo by Rob Keating (https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au).

On Saturday morning the Prime Minister delivered a commemorative address at the Australian War Memorial to mark 75 years since the end of World War 2.

He shared stories about Australians that had fought in the war and were at the event, Derek Holyoake and Lance Cooke.

Derek was 16 when he joined the Navy. He pretended to be 17. He was on the HMAS Hobart when it was hit by a torpedo. 

Lance was a flight mechanic. He kept our Beaufighters in the air. He checked every spark plug to keep our pilots and navigators safe. And as he said “They were my mates”.

And Les, like Derek, tried to enlist at 16 – except the enlisting officer told him to “try the scouts!” 

Les wasn’t perturbed. He returned at 17 and his Dad signed up too. 

Why did Les join up? He put it simply…”it was the thing to do… you didn’t give it a second thought”

There was another reason too, he said: “to stop the bully”. 

The Prime Minister said, “So Ben Chifley declared 75 years ago; Fellow citizens, the War is over.”

Dancing man on the day World War 2 ended

Copyright Reforms to Better Support the Digital Environment

The Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP announced on 13 August 2020 copyright reforms to provide a more flexible and adaptable framework to better support the needs of Australians to access content in an increasingly digital environment.

The proposed changes follow two years of extensive industry consultation and finalise the Government’s response to the copyright recommendations made in the Productivity Commission’s 2016 Intellectual Property Arrangements Report.

Copyright law seeks to create an appropriate balance between competing interests. It is concerned with encouraging the creation and dissemination of works of art and intellect, but it also acknowledges that there are appropriate limits to the rights of copyright holders. Maintaining the correct balance is always a difficult task and this is even more so in the digital age. The reforms seek to maintain this balance and are very welcome given the increasing importance of the digital society.

This article is not legal advice, please contact Mills Oakley for more specific information or advice in this area as required.

By Paul Amarego, Special Counsel and Siobhan Ingall, Associate at Mills Oakley

Mission possible?  Let’s hope so.

Well, Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive of CSIRO, certainly thinks so and this was reflected in the title of his address to the National Press Club last Wednesday.  It was:

‘Mission possible – A vision for Australia’s recovery and future resilience.’

But Dr Marshall’s choice of words in the current context was significant.  

He emphasised, quite rightly, Australia’s remarkable record of scientific achievement over such a long period.

Larry’s list of achievements in fields of science and technology is itself impressive, both individually and through his multitude of organisations.

Whether his and others’ success can be repeated in the field of COVID-19 and other deadly viral disease remains to be established. But who knows?  

His optimism has yet to be supported by results – and such words as ‘resilience’ were perhaps not always within the lexicon of researchers.

Those of us who can remember the ancient TV ‘Mission Impossible’ series however, knew that the missions would always turn out to be possible.  

Let us hope that these will occur without the change of prefix!

By Jon Millard

From the Archives

The following content is from Inside Canberra Volume 61, No 604 published on 15 August 2008

Voters stick with Rudd but clouds gather

While the polls remain great for the Rudd Government, it would be foolish to take too much for granted with a slowing of economic growth now a reality and unemployment on the way up. In its latest quarterly economic review, the Reserve Bank forecast 100,000 jobs will be lost in the next 12 months and it could be higher if the financial crisis hitting world economies, because of the US sub prime crisis, worsens. This can be weathered by Rudd. Recall that during the 1993 election campaign, the economy recorded an historic one million unemployed. Yet Keating went on to win the election, mainly because the public would not trust John Hewson and his GST.

Ferguson warns PM on carbon leakage

Reaction to the green paper shows how difficult, politically, dealing with climate change will be for the Rudd Government. It might well mishandle climate change through a combination of timidity and bad design of an emissions trading system (ETS). There were raised eyebrows in Parliament House following the none-too- veiled warning to Rudd by Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson. In Bangkok, referring to the ETS he told Anne Hyland (Fin 9 Aug) the government had to work out a balance which would prevent a carbon leakage, “which means we are pure but all our jobs go offshore”.  He added, “That’s something that neither I nor the great majority of Cabinet will sign up to.” He didn’t literally mean ‘all’ jobs would go offshore, only those involving industries subject to competition from imports or heavily reliant on exports, or both.

Photos from this week

More photos can be viewed or purchased at https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au/

Use the code – (available to paid subscribers) to receive a 50 per cent discount on any photo purchases.

Canberra, Australia – 14 August 2020: Prime Minister Scott Morrison checks his notes during a press conference in the Prime Minister’s Courtyard. Photo by Rob Keating (https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au).
Canberra, Australia – 14 August 2020: Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly takes some notes during a press conference in the Prime Minister’s Courtyard. Photo by Rob Keating (https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au).
A Lockheed Hudson Bomber and CA-16 Wirraway fly over Canberra during a commemoration service to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2 passing the Telstra Tower
Canberra, Australia – 15 August 2020: National Service memorial fountain at the Australian War Memorial on the day that commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2. Photo by Rob Keating (https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au).

Above is a summary version of this edition. Paid subscribers gain access to the full version of the newsletter as well as accessing video content in the members site and also there are back copies of the newsletter.
Visit http://insidecanberra.com/subscribe to select your option.

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