Australian Politics


The Greens hideous fuel excise hypocrisy

By Leith van Onselen All opposition parties seem intent to follow Tony Abbott’s (aka “Dr No’s”) example in opposition and oppose nearly all attempts at sensible reform. Since the release of the Federal Budget, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) has opposed the re-indexation of fuel excise, claiming that it is a broken promise by the


Palmer gives Abbott a way out on parental leave

By Leith van Onselen For months, Tony Abbott’s $5.5 billion a year Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Scheme has been condemned from every corner. Back in March, The AFR reported that former Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, had cautioned against the Scheme, questioning whether it was appropriate as the Federal Budget comes under increasing pressure as the


Roy Morgan: Nation still wants Malcolm

From Roy Morgan this afternoon: Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull (44%, down 7% since July 16-17, 2013) is still clearly the preferred L-NP Leader over Prime Minister Tony Abbott (15%, down 1%). Treasurer Joe Hockey is next with 11% (down 3%) ahead of Deputy Leader Julie Bishop at 7% (unchanged). However, L-NP voters clearly prefer Prime


Is Tony Abbott a dead duck PM? (updated)

This post has been updated from earlier after a reader noted my Tony Abbott chart was overly flattering. Apologies! —————————– I know the recent Coalition leadership stoush has been stirred up by the usual loud-mouths, but one still has to ask just how badly and resonant the collapse in confidence around Prime Minister Tony Abbott


Bernardi attacks Turnbull for attacking Bolt for attacking Turnbull for attacking Abbott

More today on leadership speculation. From Fairfax: Senator Cory Bernardi has come to the defence of columnist Andrew Bolt, calling him ‘a very principled man’. On the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night Senator Bernardi, an outspoken conservative who moved to the backbench in 2012 after linking acceptance of same-sex marriage with acceptance of bestiality, said everyone


Another Liberal MP attacks Budget

Yesterday it was an MP defection to Labor, today it’s caustic criticism from within the Coalition ranks: In a speech delivered in Parliament on Tuesday night, West Australian MP Dennis Jensen described the government’s science policies as “foolish” and incoherent. Dr Jensen, a former research scientist and defence analyst, criticised the government for cutting funding to


SA Liberal defects to Labor over Abbott agenda

Wowsers, the great Australian adjustment claims another scalp. From The Australian: FORMER South Australian Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith has declared himself an independent and will become a minister in the Labor government. The decision by the opposition MP to take the portfolios of investment and trade, defence industries and veterans affairs will boost the Weatherill


“…the Chinese hate Clive Palmer”

WA Premier Colin Barnett says billionaire MP Clive Palmer is weighing on the China relationship with his state: …“It does make a difference and to put it bluntly, the Chinese hate Clive Palmer,” Mr Barnett told ABC radio today. …Mr Palmer was “making it very difficult” for others to use Cape Preston port, which was


Tony Abbott’s mining tax moment

Can you sense it? Chaos is again engulfing Australia’s political economy. It’s moving fast, faster than politicians can contain it. It’s a mixture of dying media interests desperate to carve out a partisan niche, a confused and spoiled polity that has been systematically lied to, a political class that is equal portions political bastardry and


Abbott Government polling collapses

It was always going to be hard to outdo the previous government’s self-destruction but Team Abbott is giving it a damn good shot. Newspoll has collapsed for the Government with two-party preferred now at 45-55 against and Tony Abbott copping the blame dropping 10 points and Bill Shorten up 10 points as preferred PM: Neilsen


Palmer for PM!

It’s a mad world and it’s getting madder: Come July, Clive Palmer will have control of the Senate – but he’s after a lot more. The leader of Palmer United Party has formally announced he will run for Prime Minister if a double dissolution is called over the budget, claiming he’s got a chance of taking the lower


Budget war on all fronts

It’s not an especially encouraging sign when the day after the Budget the Prime Minister is forced to roll out his biggest cannon: AN election fight looms over the federal budget as Tony Abbott ­demands the Senate pass his economic agenda, despite a furious response to sweeping welfare reforms and school funding cuts. Laying out


No more dodgy little parties

It looks the days of preference-harvesting are numbered for the Senate. From Crikey: While the technicalities remain to be ironed out, an interim report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has recommended following the example of the New South Wales upper house in allowing voters to rank parties in order of preference above the line,


Will the opposition support raising fuel excise?

By Leith van Onselen If a sensible policy reform like raising the fuel excise can’t achieve broad political support, then I don’t know what will. When quizzed about whether Labor would support the measure, Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, was non-committal, declaring reports about raising the fuel excise as “just another ‘kite’ being flown by the


Australia’s “whipping boy” youth

Cross-posted from The Conversation. In the English court during the 15th and 16th centuries boys were engaged to cop the punishments of young princes. These young people were referred to as “whipping boys”. When the young crown prince misbehaved, the whipping boy was beaten and made to suffer. Such practice seems fanciful now. However, the idea


ICAC and the Prime Minister

The AFR has quite a lead story today: The Independent Commission Against Corruption’s investigation is inching closer to the Prime Minister’s office. Questions have emerged over Tony Abbott’s role in selecting Karen McNamara as Liberal candidate for the federal seat of Dobell despite doubts over her fund-raising claims. Mr Abbott was widely reported to be