Australian Politics


In bed with business

Credlingate appears to gathering some momentum. From Fairfax: Labor has accused the federal government of taking “cash for questions” after it was revealed that Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin, planned to use Parliament to showcase the case of a prominent Liberal Party donor against the carbon tax. …The emails reveal that, in March


A stocktake of Abbott’s first year

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Tony Abbott promised a government of no surprises but has delivered a year chock-full of them. A prime minister expected to lean to caution has thrown it to the winds. A leader without a cushion of popularity has taken big political risks. A man who campaigned on trust has squandered much


Time to pause before war

The evidence is everywhere that we have a dilettante government: in failed policy ideas and process, a political tin-ear, butchered budgets, negotiating ineptitude, shifting values and whacky ideologies. That doesn’t mean that the Government won’t learn and improve. Sure it will. It’s slowly backtracking from it’s more outlandish budget ideas, is crawling back to the political


How damaging is the Coalition identity crisis?

The think tank loon pond that underpins Coalition ideas these days appears to have overreached. A shakeout of sorts has begun and one wonders if it can transpire without further deleterious impacts upon the economy.  Tristan Edis reports that: Alan Moran, who has been one of the most vociferous and long-standing opponents of renewable energy and


Labor’s lead narrows, or not

From Newspoll: Looks like Tony and Rupert may have finally have picked themselves a winner in “terror”. Meanwhile, from Roy Morgan: ALP support fell to 55.5% (down 0.5%) still well ahead of the L-NP 44.5%, (up 0.5%) on a two-party preferred basis. If a Federal Election had been held the ALP would have won easily


The Palmer singularity sucks in all

Clive Palmer’s spectacular personality explosion continues to wreak havoc in politics. Following the last few weeks of conservative hand-wringing and bluster over free speech and the “right to be a bigot” ensconced in the now withdrawn repeal to section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, conservatives are now queuing up to condemn and shut down that


Coalition slow to learn compromise

By Leith van Onselen The Abbott Government appears to finally be giving ground on controversial Budget measures, flagging that it might accept compromise packages that water down the proposed $7 GP co-payment and Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave (PPL) scheme. Regarding the GP co-payment, the Government is reportedly looking “seriously” at exempting vulnerable groups, such


Boots on the ground as Iraq must be saved!

It’s back into Iraq we go. From The Australian: PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has refused to rule out deploying Australian troops on the ground in Northern Iraq — the first such mission in more than a decade — to assist in the humanitarian protection of the Yazidi people stranded on Mount Sinjar. It is understood


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