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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: By-elections of the 44th Australian Parliament (2013-2016) on: Today at 09:24:45 am
The writ for the by-election in Gippsland South has be issued. Here's the timetable:

Close of Electoral Roll - 24 February
Final day for nominations - 27 February
Election Day - 14 March

So far, three candidates have nominated:

Legislative Council member and former Peter Ryan staffer Danny O'Brien (National)
Shire of Wellington mayor Scott Rossetti (Liberal)
Public servant and activist Andrea Millsom (Greens)

For those who don't know, the Victorian Liberals and Nationals have once again ended their coalition agreement, hence why they're running against each other.

The Coalition Agreement hasn't ended, Liberals and Nationals together form the Shadow Cabinet. The Age reported (regarding a Liberal candidacy):

Quote from: The Age
Senior sources in the party say they do not expect to win but want to avoid a repeat of the Shepparton state election result which saw the Nationals defeated by independent Suzanna Sheed. They believe their vote will provide insurance for a Coalition win.

Both parties are playing down any animosity between the sides.
[/url]

My bad, I thought it did for some reason. Good to hear it hasn't, and I can see why both Coalition candidates are running - I don't think another Shepparton would be good for the Coalition.
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1984: No Watergate Election Series (Primaries) on: February 27, 2015, 01:12:32 am
AuH2O the 2nd.
3  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which Carolina do you like more (or dislike the least)? on: February 27, 2015, 01:05:20 am
I like both, from what I know and have seen about them.

I'll give the tip to South Carolina though, if only for this YouTuber.
4  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Gubernatorial Race: Teachout (D) vs. Cuomo (WF) vs. Astorino (R) vs. Hawkins (G) on: February 26, 2015, 08:19:30 pm
Astorino, very easily.
5  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which Dakota do you like more? on: February 26, 2015, 06:34:16 pm
6  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: AK's Australian Election Series - 2005 on: February 26, 2015, 11:00:46 am
Voting is now closed, thank you for your participation.
7  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Favorite country starting with "G"? on: February 26, 2015, 09:58:18 am
Germany!
8  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Death Penalty Support Poll on: February 26, 2015, 09:57:47 am
Yes (R)
9  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: AK's Australian Election Series - 2005 on: February 25, 2015, 10:42:49 pm
Final bump, with a reminder that voting closes at midnight AWST, or in just over 12 hours.
10  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: AK's Australian Election Series - 2005 on: February 24, 2015, 11:28:30 pm
Bump.
11  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: What should the voting age be? on: February 24, 2015, 08:28:39 pm
18 seems right in my opinion, if you're old enough to buy/rent R-rated material, drink alcohol and use tobacco products, you're old enough to vote.
12  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Thatcher vs. Tito on: February 24, 2015, 08:09:34 pm
Thatcher, easily.
13  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Favorite country starting with "F"? on: February 24, 2015, 07:52:49 pm
Fiji for the scenery.

This, plus for being one of Australia's neighbours.
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Describe a Romney 2012/Hickenlooper 2014 voter on: February 24, 2015, 09:42:18 am
There seem to be at least a few in Douglas and Mesa Counties, to name two.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you know Spanish? on: February 24, 2015, 08:42:36 am
I know of it, but cannot speak or read it. If I learn a foreign language, Spanish would be one of the languages I'd want to learn though.
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Best year of high school on: February 23, 2015, 10:19:28 pm
Using the Australian high school system (each "year" is basically the equivalent American grade):

Year 12
Year 11
Year 10
Year 9
Year 8

Basically, each year was better than the last.
17  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Favorite country starting with "E"? on: February 23, 2015, 07:24:57 pm
Egypt, particularly because of its interesting history, especially before 30 BC.
18  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Ignoring age, Would you be able to vote under these qualifications? on: February 23, 2015, 07:24:06 pm
Obviously none of the three IRL, although VT and IN if I lived in the US.
19  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: AK's Australian Election Series - Master Thread on: February 23, 2015, 10:53:41 am
An asylum policy which upped Australia's intake of asylum seekers, in tandem with a firm processing policy, ensuring they were treated fairly and working with Nauru and Papua New Guinea, was officially confirmed in the first session of Parliament. In addition to the government, Labor also supported the policy, although Natural Law claimed it did not go far enough, and the Patriotic Front were their usual racist selves. More unfortunate events broke out late in 2002, firstly the Bali, Indonesia Bombings on the 12th of October, which took the lives of 88 Australians, and a shooting at Monash University on the 21st of October, which killed three people. Security rules were once again re-enforced, and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock banned terror group Jemmah Islamiyah from entering Australia. Memorials were built around the country, notably a fountain in Melbourne, and a memorial facing Bali itself in Perth opened the following year. Australia also began to strengthen its relations with Indonesia, inviting its President Megawati Sukarnoputri to address the Australian Parliament in late 2002.

2003 would see the War on Terror grow even larger, and Australia breaking the mould, much like in the late 1960s, by not sending additional troops to the new war, in a similar position to the French government, led by President and fellow conservative Jacques Chirac. Perhaps as a result, anti-Iraq war protests were not as strong as they were in the likes of the US, Canada and UK, and while US President George W. Bush was disappointed that Australia would not commit troops to the War on Terror, he respected the decision, and would remain an important ally and friend of PM Costello. The war broke out in March 2003, and Australian public opinion was strongly divided, with many on both sides disagreeing over whether or not to join the conflict. A law which enabled gay couples to inherit their partners' private superannuation was passed around this time, along with some more free trade agreements, namely with Singapore and Thailand.

2003 also saw an agreement made with the state governments, that all new suburban developments would incorporate broadband internet infrastructure, working with both Telecom and private telecommunications communications companies. Fibre-to-the-node was the agreed standard, with provisions for future upgrades to fibre-to-the-node, for those who desired them. Deputy PM Lees stated that "if we had gone to war, we would not be able to afford this!" On an economic note, inflation was basically a non-issue by 2003, and unemployment, while having risen in the wake of the bust of the dot-com bubble in the not-too-distant past, was also low, at around 3%.

Australia's military would be used for a peacekeeping mission, along with those of fellow Commonwealth nations, in the Solomon Islands, starting July of 2003. This aimed to control the violence that had arose in the past few years, and the Governor-General of the Solomon Islands requested assistance from fellow Commonwealth nations. Labor backed the Government's position, while Natural Law, the Patriotic Front and Anticapitalist Alliance opposed it, along with some Democrats.

A new political party, based around family values, and aptly named Family First, was founded in late 2003. While not an explicitly Christian party, and it aimed to capture the votes from people of all faiths, a large number of its supporters and members were Christians. Its first leader was Steve Fielding, conservative Christian and Knox City, Victoria councillor. Fielding stated that "Australia has long lacked a true faith-based voice in politics, and it's about time the vacuum was filled". Fielding announced he would be running for the Victorian Senate at the next election, due by no later than November of 2005.

Riots in Redfern, an inner Sydney suburb, broke out in early 2004 after the death of Thomas Hickey, a 17 year old Aboriginal youth was impaled on a high fence after an accident on his bicycle, and was being followed by a police car. The police state that Hickey could not be saved, while Hickey's family and friends claimed the police car hit Hickey, causing riots in the community. To this very day, it remains unclear as to whether or not the police car hit Hickey. At around the same time, QANTAS launched Jetstar, a budget airline that helped fill the gap that Ansett left behind a couple of years prior.

At the local government level, March 2004 saw Conservative Campbell Newman become the first right-wing Mayor of Brisbane since 1991, amidst another Labor success at the state level under Premier Beattie. Over the course of the Parliament, support for gay marriage began to increase amongst some MPs and former MPs, although only Natural Law and the Anticapitalist Alliance adopted it into their platforms, the other parties either opposed it, or allowed their members free votes on the issue.

By the middle of 2004, a majority of Australians supported the government's decision to stay out of the war in Iraq, 52-45 with 3% abstaining from a poll taken in July of 2004, despite Saddam Hussein having been otherthrown. The following month saw Opposition Leader Mark Latham being diagnosed with pancreatitis, and subsequently hospitalised. Simon Crean would serve as Acting Opposition Leader, although Latham recovered enough to resume the job later in the year. An inquiry into 2001's "children overboard" affair began in September 2004, the Opposition going from inconclusive evidence from the video footage. Nothing much became of the inquiry, with MPs from all ideologies having their own thoughts of what really happened.

Boxing Day of 2004 saw a large tsunami, triggered by an undersea earthquake, devastate Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives and Somalia, killing over 230,000, and devastating millions. Australia, along with other nations, immediately provided financial and humanitarian aid in the wake of the tsunami, to combat the diseases and damage in the wake of the tsunami, Australia would end up contributing $1.5 billion to rebuilding efforts in the regions affected by the disaster. Politicians of all parties, except for the Patriotic Front, supported the rebuilding efforts. While PM Costello met up with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, further improving Indo-Australian relations, Opposition Leader Mark Latham was criticised for not taking time off from his Christmas leave. With continued poor health, Latham resigned as Labor leader in February of 2005, to be replaced by Acting Opposition Leader Simon Crean.

In the wake of the Boxing Day Tsunami, as it would become known to most Australians, and a temporary hike in income taxes to higher earners, 2005 began with some more rioting, in southwestern Sydney suburb Macquarie Fields, when a police chase resulted in a 20 year old, driving a stolen car, to crash into a tree, and kill his two passengers in the process. After the criminal's aunt made a false claim that police aggravated him, four days' worth of disturbances, consisting of clashes with the police broke out. The police were criticised for not reacting fast enough, and their soft approach, although 55 arrests were made. Various charity concerts and drives, notably Wave Aid early in 2005, were also held to raise funds and awareness alike.

A few Australians were also convicted of serious crimes in early-mid 2005, on foreign soil - on the 17th of April, nine Australians, who would become known as the Bali Nine, were arrested for planning to smuggle over 8kg of heroin into Australia from Indonesia. The nine convicted met various fates, ranging from 20 years imprisonment to the death penalty, although the trial would not take place for a long time afterwards. Schapelle Corby was convicted of drug smuggling by an Indonesian court the following month, and sentenced to 20 years in jail. On a non-criminal note, long-serving NSW Premier, Labor's Bob Carr, retired in July after 10 years as Premier, to be replaced by Morris Iemma. Earlier in the year though

In the lead up to the imminent election, due late in the year, environmental issues began to take spotlight in the media, particularly that of global warming and carbon emissions, with Natural Law taking the "ethically correct" position, as they stated, claiming "Catastrophes will occur unless we drastically change", while many in the Conservative Party hit back at Natural Law's suggestions, calling them "ridiculous" and "hypocritical", the latter stemming from the two parties' differences on nuclear energy, and nuclear issues in general. Logging in Tasmania also became an issue, with the industry being a cornerstone of Tasmania's economy supporting the continuation of logging, while those supporting the environmental movement wanted to bring the practice to an end.
20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: AK's Australian Election Series - Master Thread on: February 23, 2015, 10:53:04 am
















The first election of the 21st Century saw the left-wing vote increase, and a drift back to more traditional left-wing parties, away from the Anticapitalist Alliance, although Labor achieved their second-worst result, second only to 1988. At the same time, the Democrats and Natural Law won 20% each, the former's best ever total, both as the Democrats and the Australia Party. The Conservatives remained the largest party, but won a mere 24% of the primary vote. The Patriotic Front achieved their largest share of the vote and seats yet, with 12% of Australians opting for the openly racist party. This would mean yet another borderline-deadlocked election, at least at first.

In terms of seats, here's a summary of each state's results from the 2002 election in the House of Representatives:
New South Wales (68 seats) – 20 Conservative, 17 Labor, 15 Natural Law, 10 Democrats, 5 Anticapitalist Alliance, 1 Patriotic Front
Victoria (52 seats) – 23 Conservative, 12 Democrats, 9 Natural Law, 8 Labor
Queensland (35 seats) –14 Patriotic Front, 10 Conservative, 5 Labor, 3 Natural Law, 2 Democrats, 1 Independent (Bob Katter)
Western Australia (18 seats) – 8 Conservative, 5 Patriotic Front, 3 Labor, 1 Natural Law, 1 Democrats
South Australia (17 seats) – 11 Democrats, 3 Conservative, 2 Labor, 1 Natural Law
Tasmania (5 seats) – 2 Natural Law, 2 Conservative, 1 Democrats
Australian Capital Territory (3 seats) – 2 Natural Law, 1 Democrats
Northern Territory (2 seats) –1 Conservative, 1 Natural Law
Total – 67 Conservative, 38 Democrats, 35 Labor, 34 Natural Law, 20 Patriotic Front, 5 Anticapitalist Alliance , 1 Independent

Here's the Senate summary from 1999:
New South Wales: 4 Conservative, 1 Labor, 1 Natural Law, 1 Democrats, 1 Anticapitalist Alliance
Victoria: 3 Conservative, 2 Democrats, 2 Labor, 1 Natural Law
Queensland: 3 Conservative, 2 Labor , 2 Patriotic Front, 1 Natural Law
South Australia: 3 Democrats, 3 Conservative, 1 Natural Law, 1 Labor
Western Australia: 4 Conservative, 2 Labor, 1 Democrats, 1 Patriotic Front
Tasmania: 2 Natural Law, 2 Conservative, 2 Labor, 1 Democrats, 1 Anticapitalist Alliance
Total: 19 Conservative, 10 Labor, 8 Democrats, 6 Natural Law, 3 Patriotic Front, 2 Anticapitalist Alliance

Here's the Senate summary from 2002:
New South Wales: 2 Conservative, 1 Labor, 1 Anticapitalist Alliance, 1 Democrats, 1 Natural Law
Victoria: 2 Conservative, 2 Democrats, 1 Natural Law, 1 Labor
Queensland: 2 Conservative, 2 Patriotic Front, 1 Labor, 1 Natural Law
South Australia: 3 Democrats, 1 Labor, 1 Conservative, 1 Natural Law
Western Australia: 2 Conservative, 1 Patriotic Front, 1 Labor, 1 Natural Law, 1 Democrats
Tasmania: 2 Natural Law, 2 Democrats, 1 Labor, 1 Conservative
Australian Capital Territory: 1 Natural Law, 1 Democrats
Northern Territory: 1 Natural Law, 1 Conservative
Total: 11 Conservative, 10 Democrats, 9 Natural Law, 6 Labor, 3 Patriotic Front, 1 Anticapitalist Alliance

Summary of 2002 election:

House of Representatives
Conservative – 67 (-11)
Democrats – 38 (+13)
Labor – 35 (-11)
Natural Law – 34 (+10)
Patriotic Front – 20 (+3)
Anticapitalist Alliance – 5 (-4)
Independent - 1 (nc)

Senate
1999: 19 Conservative, 10 Labor, 8 Democrats, 6 Natural Law, 3 Patriotic Front, 2 Anticapitalist Alliance
2002: 11 Conservative, 10 Democrats, 9 Natural Law, 6 Labor, 3 Patriotic Front, 1 Anticapitalist Alliance
Total: 30 Conservative, 18 Democrats, 16 Labor, 14 Natural Law, 6 Patriotic Front, 3 Anticapitalist Alliance

Two-party preferred vote: 55.20-44.80

After the results were confirmed, one thing was for certain - there would not be a military commitment to Afghanistan, or any War on Terror, from whoever would form the next government. The next government would either be a continuation of the Conservative-Democrat government, first elected in 1999, or a "traffic light" Labor/Democrat/Natural Law government, both of these hypothetical combinations would have small majorities in the House and Senate. Incumbent Prime Minister Costello had the first pick, as per the Constitution, but Deputy PM Meg Lees, who stated that she was open to working with both sides, made it very clear that she would not be supporting any more war efforts in the War on Terror, stating that she did not "want another Vietnam". Lees, whose party held more seats than either Labor or Natural Law, was more of a centrist than a  leftist, and thinking back to the previous traffic light government of 1997-99, announced that after a party meeting, decided that the Democrats will continue to back a Conservative-led government, on the basis of a good relationship with much of the Conservative Party, PM Costello agreeing to not commit any more forces to the War on Terror, although diplomatic support to the US would remain, and more stability in government (two parties as opposed to three), Costello and Lees both citing that a majority of Australian electorates voted for either a Tory or Democrat MP .

After this announcement, amidst grumbling from supporters all over the political spectrum, Kim Beazley announced his retirement from the Labor leadership, stating that "It is time for a fresh face and fresh direction". In the leadership election that followed, Mark Latham, first elected at the 1994 election, was elected Labor leader. All other parties retained their same leaders from pre-election, and Paul Keating as once again re-elected President. The government agreement was slightly amended, to allow for one-quarter of the ministries to be held by Democrats.
21  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: AK's Australian Election Series - 2005 on: February 23, 2015, 10:49:57 am
In the wake of the Boxing Day Tsunami, as it would become known to most Australians, and a temporary hike in income taxes to higher earners, 2005 began with some more rioting, in southwestern Sydney suburb Macquarie Fields, when a police chase resulted in a 20 year old, driving a stolen car, to crash into a tree, and kill his two passengers in the process. After the criminal's aunt made a false claim that police aggravated him, four days' worth of disturbances, consisting of clashes with the police broke out. The police were criticised for not reacting fast enough, and their soft approach, although 55 arrests were made. Various charity concerts and drives, notably Wave Aid early in 2005, were also held to raise funds and awareness alike.

A few Australians were also convicted of serious crimes in early-mid 2005, on foreign soil - on the 17th of April, nine Australians, who would become known as the Bali Nine, were arrested for planning to smuggle over 8kg of heroin into Australia from Indonesia. The nine convicted met various fates, ranging from 20 years imprisonment to the death penalty, although the trial would not take place for a long time afterwards. Schapelle Corby was convicted of drug smuggling by an Indonesian court the following month, and sentenced to 20 years in jail. On a non-criminal note, long-serving NSW Premier, Labor's Bob Carr, retired in July after 10 years as Premier, to be replaced by Morris Iemma. Earlier in the year though

In the lead up to the imminent election, due late in the year, environmental issues began to take spotlight in the media, particularly that of global warming and carbon emissions, with Natural Law taking the "ethically correct" position, as they stated, claiming "Catastrophes will occur unless we drastically change", while many in the Conservative Party hit back at Natural Law's suggestions, calling them "ridiculous" and "hypocritical", the latter stemming from the two parties' differences on nuclear energy, and nuclear issues in general. Logging in Tasmania also became an issue, with the industry being a cornerstone of Tasmania's economy supporting the continuation of logging, while those supporting the environmental movement wanted to bring the practice to an end.

An election has been called for the 22nd of October, 2005, in a continuing attempt to shorten, as much as possible, the gap between House and Senate terms.

Party platforms at this election:

Conservative Party – Prime Minister Peter Costello and the Conservative Party are campaigning against any taxation on the emerging mining boom, a continued strong defense at home, scrapping the national petrol tax, support for the logging industry in Tasmania while supporting a smaller conservation area than Labor,  and maintaining the traditional federal-state balance when it comes to legislative powers. The Conservatives' 2005 slogan is "For Growth and Security, Vote Conservative"

Australian Democrats – Deputy Prime Minister Meg Lees and the Democrats are once again running on their tenure in government, their progress of strengthening Internet connections in Australia, their success in keeping Australia out of the now almost three year old Iraq War, and proposals to tax profits from mining, although not to the same extent as Natural Law, the Democrats' proposal is closer to Labor's policy. The Democrats' 2005 slogan is "Stay Connected, Vote Democrat".

Labor Party – Opposition Leader Simon Crean and Labor are running on introducing a paid parental leave scheme, taxing mining profits but not carbon dioxide emissions, conservation of forests, much to the chagrin of Tasmanian loggers, and upholding the federal-state power agreement as per the 1979 Constitutional amendment, should any state or territory legalise gay marriage. Labor's slogan for 2005 is "Australia Deserves Better".

Natural Law Party - Kerry Nettle and the Natural Law Party are campaigning on higher petrol taxes, taxes on carbon dioxide emissions, taxes on mining profits, support for gay marriage, a repeal of the 1979 amendment to the Constitution that enables states to have rights where the Commonwealth Government does not make laws, an end to logging, and other progressive or green legislation, such as restrictions on what lightbulbs can be produced and used in Australia. Natural Law's 2005 slogan is " The Time Is Now To Go Green".

Patriotic Front – Pauline Hanson and the Patriotic Front are running against new taxes, while repealing the GST and  amending other taxes, an immediate halt to all immigration, until "problems are solved", a ban on Islamic immigration,  repeal of gay rights legislation at all levels, and automatic rejection of all asylum seekers. The Patriotic Front's 2005 slogan is "Defend Your Homeland".

Anticapitalist Alliance – Lee Rhiannon and the Anticapitalist Alliance are running on a modified version of their 2002 platform, namely nationalising all industries, taxing mining companies at a rate of 98%, withdrawing Australia from ANZUS and the UN, claiming it is “too elitist”, a 95% top income tax rate, and disbanding the Australian military. The Anticapitalist Alliance’s 2005 slogan is “Come Together For The Greater Good".

Family First – Steve Fielding and Family First are running on a family-centric campaign in their first federal election, particularly on petrol taxes, a commitment to marriage being the union of one man and one woman, tax breaks for families, and a commitment to pro-life policies. Family First's inaugural slogan is "For Faith and Family"

Voting is open for 72 hours.

Me: Conservative, although if this was a real election, I would be tempted by Family First.
22  General Politics / Individual Politics / AK's Australian Election Series - 2005 on: February 23, 2015, 10:48:37 am
The first election of the 21st Century saw the left-wing vote increase, and a drift back to more traditional left-wing parties, away from the Anticapitalist Alliance, although Labor achieved their second-worst result, second only to 1988. At the same time, the Democrats and Natural Law won 20% each, the former's best ever total, both as the Democrats and the Australia Party. The Conservatives remained the largest party, but won a mere 24% of the primary vote. The Patriotic Front achieved their largest share of the vote and seats yet, with 12% of Australians opting for the openly racist party. This would mean yet another borderline-deadlocked election, at least at first.

Summary of 2002 election:

House of Representatives
Conservative – 67 (-11)
Democrats – 38 (+13)
Labor – 35 (-11)
Natural Law – 34 (+10)
Patriotic Front – 20 (+3)
Anticapitalist Alliance – 5 (-4)
Independent - 1 (nc)

Senate
1999: 19 Conservative, 10 Labor, 8 Democrats, 6 Natural Law, 3 Patriotic Front, 2 Anticapitalist Alliance
2002: 11 Conservative, 10 Democrats, 9 Natural Law, 6 Labor, 3 Patriotic Front, 1 Anticapitalist Alliance
Total: 30 Conservative, 18 Democrats, 16 Labor, 14 Natural Law, 6 Patriotic Front, 3 Anticapitalist Alliance

Two-party preferred vote: 55.20-44.80

After the results were confirmed, one thing was for certain - there would not be a military commitment to Afghanistan, or any War on Terror, from whoever would form the next government. The next government would either be a continuation of the Conservative-Democrat government, first elected in 1999, or a "traffic light" Labor/Democrat/Natural Law government, both of these hypothetical combinations would have small majorities in the House and Senate. Incumbent Prime Minister Costello had the first pick, as per the Constitution, but Deputy PM Meg Lees, who stated that she was open to working with both sides, made it very clear that she would not be supporting any more war efforts in the War on Terror, stating that she did not "want another Vietnam". Lees, whose party held more seats than either Labor or Natural Law, was more of a centrist than a  leftist, and thinking back to the previous traffic light government of 1997-99, announced that after a party meeting, decided that the Democrats will continue to back a Conservative-led government, on the basis of a good relationship with much of the Conservative Party, PM Costello agreeing to not commit any more forces to the War on Terror, although diplomatic support to the US would remain, and more stability in government (two parties as opposed to three), Costello and Lees both citing that a majority of Australian electorates voted for either a Tory or Democrat MP .

After this announcement, amidst grumbling from supporters all over the political spectrum, Kim Beazley announced his retirement from the Labor leadership, stating that "It is time for a fresh face and fresh direction". In the leadership election that followed, Mark Latham, first elected at the 1994 election, was elected Labor leader. All other parties retained their same leaders from pre-election, and Paul Keating as once again re-elected President. The government agreement was slightly amended, to allow for one-quarter of the ministries to be held by Democrats.

An asylum policy which upped Australia's intake of asylum seekers, in tandem with a firm processing policy, ensuring they were treated fairly and working with Nauru and Papua New Guinea, was officially confirmed in the first session of Parliament. In addition to the government, Labor also supported the policy, although Natural Law claimed it did not go far enough, and the Patriotic Front were their usual racist selves. More unfortunate events broke out late in 2002, firstly the Bali, Indonesia Bombings on the 12th of October, which took the lives of 88 Australians, and a shooting at Monash University on the 21st of October, which killed three people. Security rules were once again re-enforced, and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock banned terror group Jemmah Islamiyah from entering Australia. Memorials were built around the country, notably a fountain in Melbourne, and a memorial facing Bali itself in Perth opened the following year. Australia also began to strengthen its relations with Indonesia, inviting its President Megawati Sukarnoputri to address the Australian Parliament in late 2002.

2003 would see the War on Terror grow even larger, and Australia breaking the mould, much like in the late 1960s, by not sending additional troops to the new war, in a similar position to the French government, led by President and fellow conservative Jacques Chirac. Perhaps as a result, anti-Iraq war protests were not as strong as they were in the likes of the US, Canada and UK, and while US President George W. Bush was disappointed that Australia would not commit troops to the War on Terror, he respected the decision, and would remain an important ally and friend of PM Costello. The war broke out in March 2003, and Australian public opinion was strongly divided, with many on both sides disagreeing over whether or not to join the conflict. A law which enabled gay couples to inherit their partners' private superannuation was passed around this time, along with some more free trade agreements, namely with Singapore and Thailand.

2003 also saw an agreement made with the state governments, that all new suburban developments would incorporate broadband internet infrastructure, working with both Telecom and private telecommunications communications companies. Fibre-to-the-node was the agreed standard, with provisions for future upgrades to fibre-to-the-node, for those who desired them. Deputy PM Lees stated that "if we had gone to war, we would not be able to afford this!" On an economic note, inflation was basically a non-issue by 2003, and unemployment, while having risen in the wake of the bust of the dot-com bubble in the not-too-distant past, was also low, at around 3%.

Australia's military would be used for a peacekeeping mission, along with those of fellow Commonwealth nations, in the Solomon Islands, starting July of 2003. This aimed to control the violence that had arose in the past few years, and the Governor-General of the Solomon Islands requested assistance from fellow Commonwealth nations. Labor backed the Government's position, while Natural Law, the Patriotic Front and Anticapitalist Alliance opposed it, along with some Democrats.

A new political party, based around family values, and aptly named Family First, was founded in late 2003. While not an explicitly Christian party, and it aimed to capture the votes from people of all faiths, a large number of its supporters and members were Christians. Its first leader was Steve Fielding, conservative Christian and Knox City, Victoria councillor. Fielding stated that "Australia has long lacked a true faith-based voice in politics, and it's about time the vacuum was filled". Fielding announced he would be running for the Victorian Senate at the next election, due by no later than November of 2005.

Riots in Redfern, an inner Sydney suburb, broke out in early 2004 after the death of Thomas Hickey, a 17 year old Aboriginal youth was impaled on a high fence after an accident on his bicycle, and was being followed by a police car. The police state that Hickey could not be saved, while Hickey's family and friends claimed the police car hit Hickey, causing riots in the community. To this very day, it remains unclear as to whether or not the police car hit Hickey. At around the same time, QANTAS launched Jetstar, a budget airline that helped fill the gap that Ansett left behind a couple of years prior.

At the local government level, March 2004 saw Conservative Campbell Newman become the first right-wing Mayor of Brisbane since 1991, amidst another Labor success at the state level under Premier Beattie. Over the course of the Parliament, support for gay marriage began to increase amongst some MPs and former MPs, although only Natural Law and the Anticapitalist Alliance adopted it into their platforms, the other parties either opposed it, or allowed their members free votes on the issue.

By the middle of 2004, a majority of Australians supported the government's decision to stay out of the war in Iraq, 52-45 with 3% abstaining from a poll taken in July of 2004, despite Saddam Hussein having been otherthrown. The following month saw Opposition Leader Mark Latham being diagnosed with pancreatitis, and subsequently hospitalised. Simon Crean would serve as Acting Opposition Leader, although Latham recovered enough to resume the job later in the year. An inquiry into 2001's "children overboard" affair began in September 2004, the Opposition going from inconclusive evidence from the video footage. Nothing much became of the inquiry, with MPs from all ideologies having their own thoughts of what really happened.

Boxing Day of 2004 saw a large tsunami, triggered by an undersea earthquake, devastate Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives and Somalia, killing over 230,000, and devastating millions. Australia, along with other nations, immediately provided financial and humanitarian aid in the wake of the tsunami, to combat the diseases and damage in the wake of the tsunami, Australia would end up contributing $1.5 billion to rebuilding efforts in the regions affected by the disaster. Politicians of all parties, except for the Patriotic Front, supported the rebuilding efforts. While PM Costello met up with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, further improving Indo-Australian relations, Opposition Leader Mark Latham was criticised for not taking time off from his Christmas leave. With continued poor health, Latham resigned as Labor leader in February of 2005, to be replaced by Acting Opposition Leader Simon Crean.
23  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1988 Election on: February 22, 2015, 06:20:33 pm
Reagan as per usual.
24  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1984 Election (Fifth Time's the Charm) on: February 22, 2015, 03:00:24 am
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: By-elections of the 44th Australian Parliament (2013-2016) on: February 21, 2015, 03:33:03 am
The writ for the by-election in Gippsland South has be issued. Here's the timetable:

Close of Electoral Roll - 24 February
Final day for nominations - 27 February
Election Day - 14 March

So far, three candidates have nominated:

Legislative Council member and former Peter Ryan staffer Danny O'Brien (National)
Shire of Wellington mayor Scott Rossetti (Liberal)
Public servant and activist Andrea Millsom (Greens)

For those who don't know, the Victorian Liberals and Nationals have once again ended their coalition agreement, hence why they're running against each other.
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