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Grattan on Friday / Tony Abbott faces battle to avoid self-destruction

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra If Tony Abbott were risk averse, he wouldn’t have scheduled a National Press Club appearance for Monday. Or perhaps it was just another Abbott blind spot. Of course when Abbott signed up to turning up, he hadn’t become a national laughing stock via Prince Philip’s knighthood. But he did […]

Grattan / Murdoch's message: Abbott's chief of staff Peta Credlin must go

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra NEWS Corp chief Rupert Murdoch has made an extraordinary intervention in the Coalition controversy over Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin, declaring via Twitter that she must go. In a series of tweets in the wake of the highly damaging row over Abbott’s “captain’s pick” to award Prince […]

Grattan / The central question this political year will be whether Abbott is up to the prime minister’s job

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TONY Abbott’s “captain’s pick” of Prince Philip for a knighthood – on Australia Day, and when he says the government should consult more – suggests the Prime Minister’s head is in some very strange place. There is no credible, rational explanation. If Abbott was travelling strongly, one might write […]

Grattan on Friday: Being a “better government” will be a big job

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra AFTER getting a serious bollocking from Ray Hadley on Thursday, Tony Abbott told the Sydney shock jock that he’s determined to be “a better prime minister with a better government and a more effective parliament next year than this year”. It’s a fine New Year’s resolution but can he […]

Katy Gallagher nominated to the Senate unopposed

ACT Labor’s Administrative Committee has endorsed Katy Gallagher to replace Senator Kate Lundy as the Labor Senator for the ACT. “At the close of nominations, our General Returning Officer had received a single nomination, from Ms Gallagher, therefore she has been declared elected” ACT Labor Secretary Matt Byrne said. “Katy will play an important role […]

Grattan / Government reveals $40 billion budget deficit, clings to surplus hope

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra The budget is projected to return to surplus in 2019-20, according to the budget update which shows this financial year’s deficit has blown out from less than A$30 billion to more than $40 billion. Treasurer Joe Hockey said only the Coalition had “a plan on the table to get […]

Grattan on Friday: Abbott should ask Credlin what to do about Peta

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra JULIE Bishop and Peta Credlin had one significant parallel experience on the way to government. They both survived three Liberal leaders. Bishop was deputy to Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott. Credlin was chief of staff or deputy (Turnbull demoted her) in the offices of all three. The […]

Gary Humphries appointed Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

ATTORNEY-GENERAL George Brandis has announced that Canberra’s former Senator and Chief Minister Gary Humphries has landed a very juicy job as Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The most recent Remuneration Tribunal determination puts the total remuneration in the order of $460,000 a year which is nice work if you can get it. Sticking […]

Grattan / Australia finally contributes to Green Climate Fund

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE government has moved to scrape off another “barnacle” by announcing it will provide A$200 million over four years to the Green Climate Fund, despite its earlier criticism of the initiative. But it has also said it will not release its post-2020 emissions reduction targets until the middle of […]

sit in

Christian leaders occupy Zed’s office again

AVOWEDLY Christian Liberal Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja has once again had his office occupied by Christian leaders over his Government’s treatment of children in immigration detention. Today’s protest is part of a national action with sit-ins inside the electoral offices of 7 Government politicians in 6 cities. The action of more than 50 […]

Grattan / Co-payment compromise puts extra burden on doctors

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE government has stepped back from its A$7 proposed co-payment for visiting the GP but still aims to skin the Medicare cat, putting the onus on doctors to send a $5 price signal to non-concessional patients. In a more politically savvy package than the blunt-edged budget announcement that had […]

Grattan / Government can’t get its university changes through parliament but can spend taxpayer dollars promoting them

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra AMONG its many problems, the Abbott government is showing distinctly cannibalistic tendencies. It’s not just a matter of the odd leak, which happens in the healthiest of administrations. This is serious dog-eat-dog stuff – or dogs snapping back when they’re bitten. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop did not even resort […]

John Fraser gets the nod to take over Treasury

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has announced the new Secretary of Treasury, John Fraser. Mr Fraser brings significant experience in both the public and private sectors to his appointment. He is currently Chairman of UBS Global Asset Management and other UBS entities in Australia and internationally. He was Chairman and CEO of UBS Global Asset Management […]

Jon Stanhope endorses Katy Gallagher for her Senate run

WHILE some in the Canberra commentariat were relishing the prospect of a Stanhope / Gallagher preselection contest it seems it is not to be. The former Chief Minister has offered a warm endorsement of his protege to win the pre-selection. I am extremely happy that Katy Gallagher has nominated for the impending vacancy. She will […]

Grattan / Government determined to fight on for university fee deregulation

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra AFTER the Senate sent his higher education bill packing, Education Minister Christopher Pyne dropped into a Universities Australia reception, which serendipitously happened to be in full swing at Parliament House while the vote was on. Addressing the academic crowd, Pyne invoked Churchill’s fighting words about this not being the […]

Grattan / New Abbott tone – but one day does not a political revival make

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra After a shocker week in Canberra and a Liberal turf-out in Victoria, Tony Abbott conspicuously changed the tone of his government’s rhetoric. At his long Monday news conference he no longer behaved like a robotic actor treating his audience as mugs. But this was neither a mea culpa, nor […]


Stephen Parker: higher education changes a ‘fraud on the electorate’

By Stephen Parker, University of Canberra HAD someone told me last summer that I would be defending public universities on the first day of next summer I would have ridiculed the idea. Somehow I believed what the Coalition wrote in early 2013: that there would be no change to university funding arrangements. Somehow I believed […]

Former police chief gets plum diplomatic post

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra Tony Abbott is appointing the former chief of the Australian Federal Police, Tony Negus, as Australia’s new high commissioner to Canada. Meanwhile, career diplomat Paul Grigson is being sent as ambassador to the sensitive post of Jakarta. The two appointments are still being processed and have not yet been […]