Australian Politics


McKibbin calls for new election

From the SMH: Former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin has suggested a new election may be needed to resolve the Senate impasse holding up vital budget savings, and has hit out at the political populism of the Greens and Palmer United Party. Professor McKibbin, who left the RBA in 2011 and is now a


Tony bounces, or not

It’s polling day and take your pick. Newspoll has a bounce for the Coalition to 48-42:   But Roy Morgan has the opposite: The ALP has increased its support to 56% (up 1.5%) over the L-NP (44%, down 1.5%) on a two-party preferred basis after last week’s ABS unemployment figures showed Australian unemployment rising to


Coalition sticks it to public in internet policy

By Leith van Onselen The Australian’s Grace Collier has written an interesting article imploring the Abbott Government to tackle cost-of-living concerns, such as “The Australia Tax” on consumer goods, rather than pursuing policies that will drive-up costs, such as its internet policy: THE government should not work to eliminate internet piracy without working to bring


Australia’s spooks get their entitlement

By Leith van Onselen The Australian’s Adam Creighton has written a cracking article today on the huge blow-out in spending on Australia’s securities agencies, which are due to receive a huge slab of additional funding under the Abbott Government’s new counter-terrorism program: [Securities agencies] combined funding between 2000 and 2010 grew at a compound annual


The Abbott Government is falling apart

By Leith van Onselen The Abbott Government appears to be coming apart at the seams. Wit the Budget in tatters, infighting about Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave (PPL) scheme took hold, and now the Government’s flawed data retention plan – which will require telecommunications companies to store detailed information about the calls and internet use


Will someone give Hockey a good kick in the arse (members)

Another stellar lineup of mewling today from Australia’s greatest whinger, Joe Hockey, via the AFR: In an outburst following months of criticism over his failure to win broad public and Senate support for his first budget, Mr Hockey complained it was “bloody hard” explaining the complexities of Australia’s challenges after two decades of economic growth.


Sith Lord Brandis stokes rebellion

By Leith van Onselen The Abbott Government’s plan to require telecommunications companies to store detailed information about the calls and internet use of its customers for two years has been slammed by the commentariat. The Guardian’s Geordie Guy has written a cracking piece telling George Brandis to get a warrant if he wants our metadata:


Big Brother Brandis to track your every click

By Leith van Onselen The Abbott Government sure does hate the internet and civil liberties. Following its plans to require internet services providers (ISPs) to police copyright (effectively removing the burden of enforcement from the digital creators and the courts), which could add around $100 million a year to the cost of providing broadband in Australia


Fairfax spanks bawling Hockey

By Leith van Onselen Fairfax Media has stepped up its attack on Joe Hockey following the Treasurer’s hissy fit over the weekend in which he accused Fairfax of “malevolent attacks” in relation to its Budget reporting. Following yesterday’s exchange, where Fairfax economics correspondent, Peter Martin, challenged Hockey to release the Treasury’s detailed modelling showing the


Hockey dials whambulance on Budget coverage

By Leith van Onselen After Fairfax Media revealed details yesterday of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request showing the Budget’s adverse impact on lower income earners, Treasury Joe Hockey cracked a tantrum, accusing Fairfax of “malevolent attacks”. From The Australian: Mr Hockey claimed Fairfax Media’s coverage of the Treasury analysis… failed to take account of


Polls swing to Tony

From Roy Morgan: The L-NP (45.5%, up 2%) has increased its support after the Abbott Government’s strong response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, but still trails the ALP (54.5%, down 2%) on a two-party preferred basis according to today’s multi-mode Morgan Poll conducted over the last two weekends  –  July 19/20 &


Fallout from Hockey biography continues

By Leith van Onselen The fallout from Treasurer Joe Hockey’s new authorised biography – Hockey: Not Your Average Joe – continues, with The AFR’s Laura Tingle slamming the book’s poor timing and the portrayal of Hockey as a “very hollow vessel”: Unfortunately the book has emerged at perhaps the worst possible time: the budget sales pitch


Hockey biography ignites leadership tensions

By Leith van Onselen The Australian’s Dennis Shanahan has reported that Treasurer Joe Hockey’s new authorised biography – Hockey: Not Your Average Joe – has invoked the wrath of the Coalition party room, with many viewing Hockey’s public statements as an act of self-indulgent treachery: That Hockey wanted an even tougher budget with even more


Tony and Rupert’s $5 billion PPL thought bubble

By Leith van Onselen A new biography of Treasurer Joe Hockey has dropped a bomb on Tony Abbott’s contentious Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme, revealing that Abbott gave Rupert Murdoch a “full rundown” of the proposed scheme before announcing the policy in 2010 and without consulting his shadow cabinet or MPs. From The Guardian: “The


Abbott’s poll nightmare continues

From Nielsen via the AFR comes news of Tony Abbott’s ongoing poll nightmare: Mr Hockey has lost a 17-percentage point lead he had over Mr Bowen two months before the budget and the men are now statistically tied at 43 per cent and 42 per cent respectively. Despite the fulfilment of the gov­ernment’s biggest election promise, Labor leads the


The rise of Clive

From Crikey’s Poll Bludger: …The other notable feature of BludgerTrack this week is the result for Palmer United, which has tested the bounds of the error margin with an increase from 6.3% to new high of 7.5%. Here we encounter a complication, in that the model does not account for the very different picture of


Voters unite against university fee rises

By Leith van Onselen The Abbott Government seems to have picked a loser in announcing in the May Federal Budget that it would raise university fees and cut-back funding to universities, pushing the cost of higher education further onto young Australians. Extensive phone polling across 23 electorates and all states by UMR Research showed that


Should the public service shift north?

By Leith van Onselen On Monday, the Canberra Times published an article claiming that the Abbott Government was considering a push by regional centres in northern Australia to decentralise the federal bureaucracy and shift public servants from Canberra to the north: The Abbott government has already indicated it is open to the idea and, if


The Age of Australian Plutocracy (members)

Ask any grey beard of Australian economics about the pre-1980s period and they will describe a closed economy that relied upon protection, national champions, policy that favoured businesses not markets, comfortable relationships between unions and corporations and mateship. Although not without its flaws, Paul Kelly’s seminal work, “The End of Certainty” neatly described this as


George W. Abbott can’t carry the policy day

Tony Abbott really is Australia’s answer to George W. Bush. His homespun slogans are attractive to the punters (we’ll call them the great unwashed) , as is his masculine demeanor. The same characteristics alienate the educated and chardonnay sipping middle classes (we’ll call them the wankers) who don’t really matter politically given most of Australia’s


Still in love with Malcolm

From Crikey today: Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the best-regarded government minister, while “Environment” Minister Greg Hunt, the author of “Direct Action”, and Education Minister Christopher Pyne are in a tight tussle for least popular minister . Turnbull has the highest approval rating and by far the highest net approval rating of any nominated minister


Palmer’s Budget reforms don’t add up

By Leith van Onselen Clive Palmer’s political theatrics are a sight to behold. Following the release of the Federal Budget, the Palmer United Party (PUP) brushed-off claims of an impending Budget emergency and vowed to oppose virtually every significant measure in the Budget, including “the imposition of a debt tax, huge cuts to public sector