Collector's Notes


Abbott's first Ministry

16 September 2013

  • Warren Truss: deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and regional development.
  • Jamie Briggs: assistant minister for infrastructure and regional development with specific responsibility for roads.

Foreign affairs

  • Julie Bishop: minister for foreign affairs
  • Brett Mason: parliamentary secretary to the minister for foreign affairs.


  • Eric Abetz: minister for employment, minister assisting the prime minister on the public service and leader of the government in the senate
  • Luke Hartsuyker: assistant minister for employment and deputy leader of the house.


  • George Brandis: attorney-general
  • Michael Keenan: minister for justice


  • Joe Hockey: treasurer
  • Mathias Cormann: finance
  • Arthur Sinodinos: assistant treasurer
  • Steve Ciobo: parliamentary secretary to the treasurer
  • Michael McCormack: parliamentary secretary to minister for finance


  • Barnaby Joyce: minister for agriculture
  • Richard Colebeck: parliamentary secretary


  • Christopher Pyne: education minister
  • Sussan Ley: assistant minister for education, childcare and early childhood
  • Scott Ryan: parliamentary secretary


  • Ian Macfarlane: minister for industry, energy and resources
  • Bob Baldwin: parliamentary secretary

Social services:

  • Kevin Andrews: minister for social services
  • Mitch Fifield: assistant minister for social services - responsible for the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and aged care.

Human services:

  • Marise Payne: minister for human services
  • Concetta Fierravanti-Wells: parliamentary secretary with special responsibility for multicultural affairs and settlement services.


  • Malcolm Turnbull: minister for communications
  • Paul Fletcher: parliamentary secretary

Health and sport:

  • Peter Dutton: minister for health, mental health; and minister for sport
  • Fiona Nash: assistant minister for health

Small business

  • Bruce Billson: minister for small business

Trade and investment

  • Andrew Robb: minister for trade and investment


  • David Johnston: minister for defence
  • Michael Ronaldson: minister for veterans affairs, special minister of state
  • Stuart Robert: assistant minister for defence personnel
  • Darren Chester: parliamentary secretary


  • Greg Hunt: minister for environment
  • Simon Birmingham: parliamentary secretary for environment and water

Immigration and customs (and women!):

  • Scott Morrison: minister for immigration and border protection
  • Michaelia Cash: assistant minister for immigration and border protection; and minister assisting the prime minister for women.


  • Nigel Scullion: minister for indigenous affiars

Parliamentary secretaries to the prime minister:

  • Josh Frydenberg and Alan Tudge


Cabinet and outer ministry

Here is Tony Abbott's cabinet.

  1. Tony Abbott (PM)
  2. Warren Truss (DPM/infrastructure)
  3. Julie Bishop (foreign affairs)
  4. Eric Abetz (employment)
  5. George Brandis (attorney-general)
  6. Joe Hockey (treasury)
  7. Barnaby Joyce (agriculture)
  8. Christopher Pyne (education)
  9. Nigel Scullion (indigenous)
  10. Ian Macfarlane (industry/resources/energy)
  11. Kevin Andrews (social services)
  12. Malcolm Turnbull (communications)
  13. Peter Dutton (health and sport)
  14. Bruce Billson (small business)
  15. Andrew Robb (trade and investment)
  16. David Johnston (defence)
  17. Greg Hunt (environment)
  18. Scott Morrison (immigration)
  19. Mathias Cormann (finance)

And the junior ministry:

  1. Mitch Fifield (social services)
  2. Luke Hartsuyker (employment)
  3. Fiona Nash (health)
  4. Michael Ronaldson (veterans)
  5. Sussan Ley (education)
  6. Marise Payne (human services)
  7. Michael Keenan (justice)
  8. Stuart Robert (defence)
  9. Michaelia Cash (immigration/women)
  10. Jamie Briggs (infrastructure)
  11. Arthur Sinodinos (assistant treasurer)


Federal govt regionalism


Recent valedictory speeches






WA Nationals

Tony Crook

Personal website

Party website

Email Tony Crook

David Hawker MP

Gary Humphries, who was ousted by his own party for the Liberal Senate candidacy in the ACT

Warren Entsch MP

RETIRING WA Nationals MP Tony Crook

Deposed, resigned

Gillard supporters quitting their positions: Wayne Swan, Craig Emerson, Stephen Conroy and Joe Ludwig

Stephen Conroy as Leader of the Senate

Greg Combet has released a statement on his decision to resign.

Independent Andrew Wilkie has written to Kevin Rudd and pledged to support him in any no-confidence motion, which effectively gets Rudd over the line Wilkie said in a statement. Crossbencher Tony Windsor said this morning that in that event he would likely support Tony Abbott. Bob Katter has said he would support Kevin Rudd as PM.

senior cabinet ministers who will be under significant pressure to resign if Kevin Rudd returns to the prime ministership - they include Peter Garrett, Wayne Swan, Stephen Conroy, Craig Emerson and Brendan O’Connor, although the list could well grow. A major pre-election ministerial reshuffle would likely occur.

Also Emerson, Roxon, D'Ath RT @jamesmassola: MPs walking with Ms Gillard include Swan, Ellis, Ludwig, Leigh, Danby, Lundy, O'Connor

Gillard backer Steve Gibbons

Mr Slipper rose in Parliament on Thursday to give what he called his “precautionary valedictory speech” in case he loses in the upcoming federal election and does not return to Parliament. Read more:

Defence Minister Stephen Smith announcing that he will quit politics at the next election.

Senate Valedictory Speech - 26 June 2013

Barnaby Joyce


Other links

Useful participants

Steve Irons is a tech writer who has worked for many years for large corporations and government departments and non-government organisations, writing on policy, procedures and work instructions. He was an early Internet service provider setting up his own website more than a decade ago when there was a lot of empty, far-fetched, global Internet projects, raising billions and providing nothing. Steve sat down and prepared hundreds of templates useful for small business operators and SME companies and corporate executives. Steve's Internet site (called docDownload) was the first download site in Australia and one of the first around the world. He enhanced the Australian scene of small business and SME, with documents and a range of dictionaries. These dictionaries created an infrastructure that was not available on the Australian scene until docDownload came along. 

More recently, Steve set up the Technical Writers Australia group on LinkedIn (900 members) and the Small Business Australia group (450 members).

Steve has always been opinionated and his attitude has always focussed on broad-based political and ethical considerations. Many documents available on docDownload provide solutions to particular ethical problems.

When Rudd was elected 2007, early in his first term he called a get-together in Canberra under the banner of ‘Australia 2020’. It brought together one thousand ‘important persons’ to discuss "a long term strategy for Australia’s future directions". In an attempt to make the Summit more inclusive, Rudd also invited submissions by ordinary battlers to be discussed by these working groups. Steve wasn’t an important person, but, as an ordinary battler, he jumped at the opportunity to have his ideas included. He wasn’t in the cynical crowd but he wasn’t starry eyed, either. He had tried to take part in similar calls for ‘inclusion’ at the State level, only to be ignored dramatically. So he was realistic in his expectations. But he saw it as a real opportunity to get together ideas he had had in his head for years. The ideas in Steve's new website (set up in 2012) come from that initial Map for new state boundaries sent to be included in Australia 2020 deliberations.

BloggerMe introduces you to 32 proposed new 'States' in Australia and 5 'Sub-States'. The idea contained in this map is that the formation of these new States and Sub-States will coincide with the moment that Australia becomes a republic. This site does not argue the need for the change to a republic; just recognises that it is going to happen, and looks at the broader picture; associated changes that are in the 'national best interest' that must accompany that change. It also introduces the concept of a 'Super-State'. 

Steve Irons sees himself as 'in with' a large number of Australians who have, continuously, since federation in 1901 to the present, argued for and worked seriously on, important, necessary, constitutional reforms, especially that huge number of important persons who have argued for the abolition of the states.

Draft in preparation for

Final Published 4 July, 2013 7:30 am

Referendum for recognising local government in the Constitution of Australia on Sept 14 – Really? Hadn't heard of it!

In September 2011 an expert panel recommended that the Gillard government do what is necessary to recognise local government in the Constitution (Final report).

This came about because in June of that year, a few days before she took over from Rudd, the High Court had ruled that direct funding from the Commonwealth to local government was outside the Commonwealth's scope to spend money, and therefore, 'illegal'.

In May 2013 PM Julia Gillard launched the YES campaign for a referendum to change the Constitution to recognise local government. The plan was, she said, to conduct a referendum on the same day as her plan for a federal election on September 14. This was welcomed by the local government association ALGA and was given wide public support, including bi-partisan support from across the parliament, from those important independent MPs, the LNP and the Greens.

In June 2013 the bill for setting up the referendum was voted into law. A few days later the Minister for Local Government, Anthony Albanese announced a commitment of $10 million to explain the government's YES case, most of which would go to ALGA to promote their cause, and which included half a million to explain the NO case.

In this article STEVE IRONS, chief blogger from BloggerMe, a site promoting constitutional reform, discusses the issues related to the "referendum we were going to have".

Referendum on September 14?

Where has the referendum gone?

It was promoted as an important change to the Constitution of Australia, one that the government of the day could not live without.

It was passed with strong bipartisan (one should say non-partisan in a hung parliament) support to be a referendum to concur with the election on September 14.

Since then we have seen a useful FAQ from the ever-diligent UNSW Centre of Public Law, a couple of useful articles keeping us up to date from the professional and diligent Michele Grattan in Conversation ((1) & (2) for example), and very little else. We all know that in Australia you can’t win a referendum in this manner. So it seems that everyone on all sides have already written it off!

I only hope the bureaucrats haven’t already committed the $10 million, or it could be a bad example of the 'waste of taxpayers’ money' due to of lack of ‘due diligence’ on the part of an executive whose mind is on other matters!

Of course, I can’t be too critical. I have been playing a similar game myself, keeping a low profile, when the outcome of the referendum is of prime importance to me. I documented in BloggerMe the interesting moment of the passage of the bill to 'conduct the referendum ' through the House of Reps and the Senate. And I kept track of the newspaper articles.

But I haven’t made much comment myself, hoping it would all go away.

I have to say, I am one of the few in Australia who are against the referendum while at the same time promoting the increase in power of local government and the abolition of the states. (The others who are against the referendum are traditional supporters of increased states' rights over the Commonwealth, not people I want to be seen to be in bed with! Hee hee!!!)

LNP's position: two faced

There was always a problem with supporting the referendum for Tony Abbott. He was at a point in the electoral cycle where the last thing he wanted to do was support something promoted by the Gillard government. And he had some real grumblings from key people in his own coalition, and for good reasons. But he knew it was an important change required for proper functioning of local government funding from the federal government, without giving away to the states unnecessary power to intervene and stuff up and scheme and seek obtuse advantage from support of this or that funding, that the states are all capable of, and, on past experience, highly likely to inflict on both local government and the Commonwealth to enhance their own petty internal machinations.

So Abbott reluctantly supported the bill for the referendum.

He controlled its passage through the house with only two rogue members breaking ranks to bitch about the weakness and stupidity of the change. Quite a few of his traditionally 'states' rights' members fell into line and supported the bill (probably on the grounds that while it gave constitutional recognition for the first time for a third tier of government and legal rights to the Commonwealth to deal directly with this tier, the states maintained power over the formation and continuation of local government boundaries, and it therefore gave the states quite a bit of power to dictate the development of local government in the state and intervene if they weren’t happy).

The Senate was less controlled with a number of Abbott's key states' rights senators making some serious remarks and voting against the bill. But the special number of senators required for the passage of the bill into law was easily achieved.

Since then Abbott has backtracked and now wishes he hadn’t been so easily persuaded. His recent comments for voters to "feel free to vote No!" has probably killed the referendum for good, as a majority in every state is required to bring the change to the constitution into law. But Abbott needs to be careful. Supporting the government in the parliament and then backtracking in the electorate is a pretty stupid thing to do, and could have political consequences. That is the last thing that Abbott needs, since Rudd took over as prime minister, and put the LNP into a minority in polls, and forced Abbott to become one of the lowest polling contenders in the history of the federation.

Labor's position

Labor's position has always been sound. The High Court said that direct funding was unconstitutional, and therefore illegal. The Committee they set up advised against all subsequent funding to be paid to the states with provisos and advised them to remedy the illegality with a minor change to the constitution, recognising for the first time the third tier of government. I don't agree with their position, but to put in play a minor constitutional amendment required by the High Court and recommended by a joint parliamentary committee, is strategically, politically, and legally sound. Only problem with Labor's position is they then dropped the ball as their focus moved to internal politics and saving their skin at the next election.

State abolition – Labor's problem

But Labor came up with the constitutional change without considering the history of related issues, such as state abolition. The Gillard government saw it purely as a legal issue, requiring a small tweaking of the rules. Constitutional change rarely turns out to be one of those; usually having serious & lasting impact on lives, long into the future.

Labor has always had a problem internally with the concept of abolishing the states. They know that the reason for the continuation of the old-style 'federation' has long disappeared; but they can't quite bring themselves to commence such a major constitutional change. That is because their power bases, both in the party and the AWU, have always had state supremacy written into their history and is still alive in current machinations.

State abolition – a long-standing coming together of the finest pollies

But there have been a huge number of key politicians, over the whole life of the federation, that have spoken about the need to abolish the states. This has included leading pollies on all sides of the chamber.

Names such as Kennett, Windsor, Tanner, Everingham, Hawke, Keating, Howard, Costello, Fitzgibbon, Cherry, Farmer, Whitlam, Menzies, Chifley, Costa, Joyce, Beattie, all ring bells in our ears.

And there have been some major intellectuals in universities around Australia, such as Murray, Woldring, Williams, Brown, Hudson, Consandine, Hall, Drummond, Putland, and others, Patience, McIntyre , etc. promoting new systems to allow proper governance following the removal of the states, many of them still involved in a major project to reform the constitution.

I am with these guys; though my method of achieving such 'regionalism' (rather than abolishing the states, which is difficult, constitutionally) is to increase the number of states to coincide with political and physical realities of modern Australia and to finally give existing local governments their proper place in the governance of Australia, as states in their own right. (See my re-drawn map of Australia based on the FOWTOR Model)

So where to, now?

At present it looks like the referendum will be abandoned. If it is not abandoned by Rudd, it will be lost. Of course it is still early days. Labor could bring it to the forefront; the LNP could turn things around and get together with Labor and promote constitutional change "for the good of local government" and the nation; ALGA could take their 9.5 million and really make a go of it. On the other hand Labor could set the date for an election prior to the date set aside for the referendum, meaning another vote on that date or, more likely, abandoning the referendum altogether. At present we can't say. But my money is at present on no recognition for local government any time soon. If that happens, and a new parliament, Labor or LNP, is handed the keys without this being resolved, Australia has a huge problem to solve. The last thing we want going forward is for the states to step in and play a major role in distributing federal money at the local government level, thereby giving them something to do, when they have all outlived their use-by date.

Local Govt - Twitterati


Abolition & the 1988 Constitutional Commission Report

Report TROVE

  [Matching item] Final report of the Constitutional Commission 1988.
Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service, - Parliamentary paper ; nos. 229 (v.1), 230 (v.2) of 1988
1195 pages
1988 English Article 70
  [Matching item] Final report of the Constitutional Commission 1988.
Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service,
81 pages
1988 English Book 1
  [Matching item] Final report of the Constitutional Commission 1988 : volume two.
Canberra : Australian Govt. Pub. Service, 1988 English Book 1

Climate change - Bureau Of Meteorology (BOM) Australia’s warmest 12-month period on record, again Murray Darling Basin - annual mean temperature increase since 1910 Murray Darling Basin - annual mean rainfall increase since 1910 Northern Australia - annual mean temperature increase since 1910 Eastern Australia - annual mean temperature increase since 1910 Australia - annual mean temperature increase since 1910 Southern Australia - annual mean temperature increase since 1910 Southeastern Australia - annual mean temperature increase since 1910 Southwestern Australia - annual mean temperature increase since 1910


1. (There's no question who owns any water in Australia. Because the border of the State is defined by the top of the ridge between two major water courses, the State owns all the water (and is responsibe for all the shit) that flows into the sea; therefore, only the State can act to protect the sea associated with its own, particular shore-line.)

2. See New Page

3. See

4. Front page