Beazley wins unopposed
The then Federal Minister for Finance, Kim Beazley became the natural successor to then Prime Minister Paul Keating, easily winning an election to become Deputy Prime Minister, this week 10 years ago.
Mr Beazley won the ballot unopposed after rivals Simon Crean and former Western Australian Premier and then Federal Minister for Health, Carmen Lawrence, indicated they would not challenge him.
Mr Keating confirmed Mr Beazley’s ascension gave him pole position in any future leadership change. He told reporters that Mr Beazley’s standing in the party, his record as a minister and his unanimous endorsement as deputy prime minister “makes him the obvious person in the longer haul”.
The deputy prime minister role became vacant after Brian Howe announced he would step down from the role.
Carmen Lawrence avoids Royal Commission
CARMEN Lawrence became able to avoid appearing before the controversial WA royal commission until after the impending federal election, following legal action.
Dr Lawrence did not stand as a candidate for deputy prime minister, although she vehemently denied that the suicide of Penny Easton, which was the subject of the Royal Commission, had influenced her decision.
Dr Lawrence said she would seek an injunction against the commission proceeding in the Supreme Court in WA and would take it to the High Court if necessary.
France plans nuclear tests
THE federal parliament debated a motion submitted by Prime Minister Paul Keating to condemn France’s plan to resume nuclear tests on the Mururoa atoll in the South Pacific.
The opposition camp proposed amendments urging Australia to take such measures as joining New Zealand in basically halting military cooperation with France, stopping refuelling of French military aircraft and recalling the Australian ambassador to France.
Property boom slows
FEARS of a housing crash were heightened after figures were released showing that home lending in Australia had slumped in April.
The number of houses financed during the month fell 3 per cent with the total value of loans also slumping 2 per cent.
The fall was reflected in falling house prices in most capital cities, with a 40 per cent decline in sales since the peak of the previous boom in March 1994.
Alcoa opens new alumina plant
ALCOA Australia officially opened a hydrated alumina plant in Kwinana, which was expected to produce about 270,000 tonnes of the material per year.
The company said the $43 million plant, built next to its alumina refinery in Kwinana, would produce hydrated alumina, worth around $45 million per year, with most of the product to be sold in Asia and Europe.
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