Morning Report – Friday, 27 April 2012

Good morning, and welcome to Friday, 27 April 2012.

Labour Leader, Chris Watson in the House of Representatives in 1902

Today in 1904, Chris Watson became the first Labour Prime Minister of Australia after he and Deakin fell out over the issue of extending the scope of industrial relations laws concerning the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill to cover state public servants. The fallout caused Deakin to resign, and when he was approach, Free Trade leader George Reid declined to take office. Watson’s Labour Government was the first in the world.

Here is the news for this morning.

Australian Politics

HSU branches round on eastern cousin

Almost all the branches of the Health Services Union (HSU) have thrown their weight behind the Federal Government’s move to push the union’s troubled East branch into administration.

The East branch, which covers Victoria and New South Wales, has been gripped by in-fighting and is the subject of a long-running Fair Work Australia investigation.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten says the branch is dysfunctional and is intervening to allow HSU members to reassert control.

HSU WA state secretary Dan Hill says the branches are backing the Government because they want fresh elections to be held.

ABC News | The Australian

Backbench revolt looms on Peter Slipper

Labor backbenchers are questioning Julia Gillard’s continued support for Peter Slipper’s return to the Speaker’s chair while sexual harassment allegations remain unresolved, believing the affair is damaging the government and threatening to overshadow the budget.

As the Prime Minister maintained her position that Mr Slipper should be free to return to his position if he is cleared of Cabcharge rorting allegations, but before a sexual harassment claim is resolved, some Labor MPs declared the embattled MP should resign the Speakership.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, after earlier appearing to distance the government from Mr Slipper, was late yesterday forced to back Ms Gillard’s latest comments on Mr Slipper, despite conceding he did not know what they were.

Amid growing concern at the impact of the Slipper affair on the government, one MP told The Australian: “I just think we’ve got to live without him (Mr Slipper). It’s not doing us any good.”

The Australian | SMH

Treasury forecasts of 3.25pc growth to put budget in black

Treasury is confident the economy can achieve 3.25 per cent growth next year, with the government expected to use the forecasts as the basis for its return to budget surplus.

The key government economic forecasting group has concluded that rising resource exports, a build-up in business investment and moderate household consumption will lift growth from the subdued levels of last year.

The Australian