Australian Politics


Polls: Labor streaks ahead

From Roy Morgan today: If a Federal Election were held today it would result in a clear ALP victory – two-party preferred support is ALP 54.5% (up 1% since the Morgan Poll of March  1/2 & 8/9, 2014) cf. L-NP 45.5% (down 1%) according to the Morgan Poll. This multi-mode Morgan Poll on voting intention


Paul Howes bows out, or does he?

From locked-BS: Australian Workers’ Union boss Paul Howes has confirmed he will step down as national secretary from July. “For some time now I have been contemplating the next steps in my life. And as such I recognise the right thing to do is to step down,” Mr Howes said in a statement. “Of course


Sinodinos stands down as Assistant Treasurer

By Leith van Onselen Just in via Business Spectator, Arthur Sinodinos will stand aside as Assistant Treasurer following allegations of corruption connected to an ICAC inquiry in NSW: The move comes in the face of increasing pressure from the opposition and the Greens, who earlier today demanded Mr Sinodinos explain inconsistencies between a statement he


Roy Morgan: Labor extends lead

Fresh from Roy Morgan: If a Federal Election were held today it would result in an ALP victory – two-party preferred support is ALP 53.5% (up 3% since the Morgan Poll of February  15/16 & 22/23, 2014) cf. L-NP 46.5% (down 3%) according to the Morgan Poll. This multi-mode Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted over the last two weekends


Newspoll: Libs close the gap

From The Australian: According to the latest Newspoll survey, taken exclusively for The Australian on the weekend, primary vote support for the Coalition rose from 39 to 41 per cent in the past two weeks and Labor’s fell from 39 to 35 per cent. Support for the Greens and others was virtually unchanged on 11


Santorum endorses Abbott

From the AFR: Tony Abbott is a conservative “hardliner” who Republicans in the United States can learn from to win elections, potential Presidential candidate Rick Santorum has told the party’s faithful. Mr Santorum, who has indicated he will probably run for President in 2016, invoked Mr Abbott’s name and embraced his leadership style as an


Lucky John reaps the legacy

By Leith van Onselen The Australian newspaper today reports that a new poll has ranked John Howard as the best Australian Prime Minister of the past 40 years: The poll, conducted last week by Essential Research and provided exclusively to The Australian, shows that 39 per cent of voters ranked Mr Howard, the Liberal prime


Who runs Australia’s gulag archipelago?

From Crikey today, for your edification and action if you believe in ethical investment, here are some profiles in brief of the managers of Australia’s gulag archipelago. G4s: The London-based security giant had a $244.5 million contract from the Australian government to run the Manus Island camp (“operational and maintenance services”). It lost the contract a few


Labor jumps in polls (or does it?)

From Newspoll today: LABOR’S support is the highest it has been since Kevin Rudd was removed as prime minister in 2010, as tough budget talk on Medicare co-payments and lifting the retirement age seems to have pushed the Coalition and Tony Abbott to their worst position since the election. The ALP’s primary vote support of


The unpopularity contest

If you thought the last election presented you with an historically poor choice of leadership candidates (at MB we sure thought so) then you may find comfort in the ANU’s epic Trends in Australian Political Opinion study which found the public rated this batch of pollies the worst since the survey began in 1987. I’ve listed


Government prepares Qantas liberation

From the AFR: After The Australian Financial Review reported lifting the act was the long-term option being considered by the Coalition, Treasurer Joe Hockey revealed preparations were well advanced ahead of a cabinet discussion on Qantas some time after February 27. …The government would not ­elaborate on what changes were being proposed to the 1992 law which


High Court voids WA senate poll

It’s awwwn, he moans: West Australians are set to go back to the polls within weeks for an unprecedented standalone Senate election after the High Court today voided the results of last year’s disputed ballot. High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, agreed with the Australian Electoral Commission that the


Rent-seekers trump the consumer

By Leith van Onselen It’s been a stiff fortnight for the Australian consumer. Consider the following actions over the past two weeks (in no particular order) launched by the Abbott Government. First, Assistant Treasurer and former NAB executive, Arthur Sinodinos, has moved to gut sweeping Future of Financial Advice Reforms (FoFA), which were born out of


What does Bill Shorten stand for?

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Bill Shorten’s blaming of the Abbott government for the death of the car industry and condemning the royal commission into union corruption were entirely predictable positions. But they also highlight the major challenges ahead of the opposition leader – positioning himself on key economic issues and loosening the constraints imposed by


Pulling the Shorten straw backfiring?

From The Australian, Newspoll suggest we don’t like the Libs but we really don’t like Bill Shorten: BILL Shorten’s personal standing has slumped and Labor’s primary vote has fallen during a Christmas parliamentary break dominated by corporate closures, job losses, union corruption and controversy over the Coalition’s handling of industry aid and asylum-seekers. For the


Banks curry favour in Canberra

From the SMH: The big four banks outweighed the mining sector in corporate donations to the major political parties in the lead-up to last year’s election, while the Labor Party was ahead overall in the fundraising stakes by nearly $3 million on June 30 last year. Australian Electoral Commission data show the Labor Party’s total receipts were ahead


Abbott’s ABC blunder

From John Birmingham comes an insight I agree with: You could cut Howard’s fingers off and poke him in the eye with them, he wouldn’t blink. He wouldn’t give you the bloody satisfaction of it. John Howard might have looked like a brylcreemed super nerd but he was a hard nut who could absorb inhuman


Roy Morgan: Abbott hits post election low

Today from RM: On a two-party preferred basis the ALP is 53% (up 0.5% since the Morgan Poll of January 4/5 & 11/12, 2014). L-NP support is 47%, down 0.5%. If an election were held now the result would be a clear ALP victory according to the MorganPoll. This multi-mode Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted over the last


Australia moving to “China containment” policy?

From Crikey: Abbott has never outlined any China policy, and [former Chinese ambassador Stephen] FitzGerald says the government simply does not have one. But someone clearly does. Foreign affairs insiders say the policy shift in favour of Japan (read: the US) is the handiwork of Andrew Shearer, Abbott’s chief foreign affairs adviser, a former diplomat


Howard cronies jobs boom

By Leith van Onselen The claim that the Abbott Government is “open for business” appears to have been a red-rag-to-a-bull for Australia’s largest companies, which are reportedly scurrying to employ former Howard Government ministers and other Coalition operatives as lobbyists: The torrent of activity in the increasingly partisan lobbying industry has in turn sparked a


The dependent ally spins the wheel of fortune

Foreign policy wonks will be writhing in pain this week as Chris Joye described the latest international gaffe in the Abbott Government’s pugilistic approach to strategic matters: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop sees the United States, not China, as Australia’s most important economic partner, rejecting one of the main assumptions of the previous Labor government’s “Asian


Stop press: Crazy old man sees Indo invasion

That’s not my headline. It was sent to me today by a professional strategic analyst about Gotti today: …it’s clear the Indonesians believe their greatest threat is from Australia. Air Force chief spokesman Air Commodore Hadi Tjajanto told The Jakarta Post: “We are concentrating on four radars in Timika, Merauke, Saumlaki and Buraen, which face Australia.


Abbott’s stimulus hypocrisy

Prime Minister Abbott is making an art form of the international gaffe. Last night it was Davos’ turn. From the SMH: Prime Minister Tony Abbott has used his contribution to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to criticise Labor’s stimulus spending during the global financial crisis while also calling on the US to tread


What goes around comes around for Abbott

By Leith van Onselen Business Spectator’s Rob Burgess has written an interesting article today in Business Spectator explaining how the Tony Abbott’s phoney war against the carbon tax, which he used to great effect against the former Labor Government, risks biting the Coalition’s backside now that it is in Government: One of the really difficult


A bald razor will shred Abbott’s Government

From the AFR: Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s signature paid parental leave policy and Labor’s National Disability Insurance Scheme could be scaled back, potentially saving billions but leaving the ­government open to political attack. The Coalition and the Greens have held discussions about the structure of the parental leave scheme, which is forecast to cost $5.5


Coaltion nutters attack Turnbull

Ahh, bring it on Malcolm! From the SMH: Anger is rising within the Abbott government over Malcolm Turnbull’s advocacy for gay marriage, with the Communications Minister publicly criticised by two backbench colleagues. South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi has urged Mr Turnbull to either resign from the frontbench or stop commenting on “fringe issues outside party