The President, John Howard, said yesterday he would not hesitate to use his powers of dismissal if the Prime Minister could not resolve the dispute that caused the Opposition to block key bills in the Senate.
The Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, has told Liberal senators to follow a policy of “total obstruction” until the Prime Minister, Peter Garrett, abandons his plan to build a nuclear reactor in every state capital. Mr Turnbull is supported by four of the eight Greens senators, three of the six Holy Family senators, and the Democrat Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja.
Mr Howard delivered his threat during a ceremony in Canberra to mark Australia’s return to 20 million people under the “depopulate or perish” program. Mr Howard congratulated the Government on its anti-immigration and anti-fertility measures, which put Australia on track to reach the so-called “Flannery line” of 18 million by 2026.
Then Mr Howard departed from his prepared speech to add: “When Peter Garrett reached across the party divide to nominate me as the first president of the republic, he called it an act of national reconciliation. I told him at the time that this would not prevent me from doing my duty to the nation, and that includes ensuring the Parliament can function.”
Mr Howard’s remarks were immediately condemned by the Victorian Premier, Peter Costello, and the NSW Premier, Pru Goward. Both are supporters of Mr Garrett’s program to cut Australia’s dependence on coal-fired power stations. “That little toad kept me waiting so long I had to move back to Melbourne and join the Labor Party to get career advancement,” Mr Costello said. “Now he’s threatening the first green Labor government in this country’s history. He should respect the Garrett mandate.”
Mr Garrett accused Mr Turnbull of wanting to continue Australia’s greenhouse emissions so global warming would give his Woollahra home a water frontage.
STOP PRESS: the College of Cardinals in Rome has elected an Australian as the new Pope. He is the former politician Tony Abbott, who returned to the priesthood in 2008 after the Liberal Party failed to choose him as leader.
He will take the name Pope Abbott I, “in recognition of the way a humble Abbott can rise, through hard work and determination, to the top job in the world’s most powerful religious corporation.”
Pope Abbott said his first priority was to “ramp up” what he called “the war of ideas with Islam”. “Christianity needs to be packaged more dynamically, and I believe I have the diplomatic skills to do that,” he said.
Original article featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, Stay in Touch feature.