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Grattan on Friday / Abbott’s reality show has trouble with the script

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE Abbott government desperately tries, but nearly always fails, to run to a tight script. The current script has two big headings: “economic security” and “national security”. Its lines are about the budget’s giveaways for small business, and the Coalition’s constant vigilance in finding ways to keep the community safe. […]

Grattan / Gay marriage heading to cross-party bill

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra SOME pro-gay marriage Liberals might be railing against Bill Shorten’s pre-emptive private member’s bill but its effect has been to suddenly raise the prospect of common political ownership of the issue. Liberals remain divided on marriage equality but united on not wanting Shorten, who has given notice he’ll introduce the […]

Grattan / Abbott prefers to stay on the high moral ground in a war mired in murkiness

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TONY Abbott was asked on Monday whether, if the United States increased its troop numbers in the fight against Islamic State (IS), Australia would consider boosting its commitment. Abbott replied that, as always, Australia stood ready to work with its partners and allies – the US, Iraq and other countries […]

Video / The week in Politics with Michelle Grattan and Frances Shannon

UNIVERSITY of Canberra Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Frances Shannon and Professorial Fellow Michelle Grattan discuss the week in politics including the new the latest bump in the Fairfax Ipsos poll and the chance of an election in 2015. Andrew Forrest and the inquiry into iron ore prices and the conditions at the detention centre on Nauru.

Grattan / Iron ore inquiry off but row continues

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE government has given into the pressure from the big miners and formally abandoned the idea of a parliamentary inquiry into the iron ore sector. Treasurer Joe Hockey announced late Thursday that “after discussing the issue with regulatory bodies and stakeholders across the resources sector, the government will not be […]

Grattan / Coalition backbenchers concerned balance shifts too far to dual income families

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra WITH the budget squarely targeted at getting more mothers into work or working extra hours, a group of Coalition backbenchers is forming to fight for the interests of stay-at-home parents. Its organisers are Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan and ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja. It is likely to number about […]

Grattan / Polls show budget well received but mixed voting results

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra LAST week’s giveaway budget has received the thumbs up from voters and boosted Tony Abbott’s personal rating in the Fairfax/Ipsos poll and Newspoll. But the polls diverge in their two-party voting results. The Ipsos poll has the government lifting substantially to 50-50% with Labor while Newspoll, published in The Australian, […]

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Malcolm Turnbull’s staffer charged with drug and indecency offences after Canberra Airport incident

The New Daily has a bizarre story on charges laid today against Malcolm Turnbull’s staff member Stephen Ellis. The Australian Federal Police has confirmed Stephen John Ellis, 48, was wearing a bondage mask and allegedly engaged in an obscene act in a public area of the airport shortly before his arrest. The ACT Magistrates Court […]

Grattan / After last year’s “crazy brave” comes the hangover budget

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THIS is a budget for when the economy has gone soft and the political situation is precarious. The bold reforming zeal, accompanied by a “we know best” attitude, of last year has gone. The government reaffirms its commitment to long-term fiscal repair. But this budget is driven by the imperative […]

Grattan / We’ve had the endless budget warm up – now it’s game on

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra Budget day is high risk for all the political players. Think of it this way. Fast forward two months. By early July, will we look back on the Coalition’s second budget as one that consolidated Tony Abbott’s position, or undermined it? Where will it have left the currently weak man […]

Public Service cuts back on the Abbott Government agenda

FINANCE Minister Matthias Cormann has announced a fifth round of the Smaller Government Reform agenda, better known to Canberrans as public service job cuts. Attorney-General’s and Immigration have been flagged for steep cuts and functional reviews announced for a range of Departments including: The Department of Agriculture; The Department of the Environment; The Department of […]

Grattan on Friday / A budget that desperately tries to avoid trouble

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra HERE we are with the budget almost upon us and Tony Abbott has had to assure the public, and Joe Hockey, that the Treasurer won’t be sacked if it’s a flop. It’s an indication that while things have quietened within the government, under the surface the tensions, rivalries and fears […]

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Sex Party to appeal their de-registration

THE Australian Sex Party says it will vigorously appeal a de registration notice from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) handed down today. Registered Officer and co founder of the party, Robbie Swan, said the party was shocked and amazed that from an established membership list of 6,000 people, with an elected member in the Victorian […]

Budget to smooth the way for small business start-ups

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra REGISTRATION of small businesses will be streamlined as part of the government’s package for the sector, which will be a centrepiece of Tuesday’s budget. Announcing measures to cut red tape, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said a single online registration site would be established. It would […]

Grattan / Labor ahead in Newspoll, but Abbott gains ground on Shorten

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE government goes into next week’s budget trailing Labor on a two-party basis but satisfaction with Prime Minister Tony Abbott has risen to a seven month high in the latest Newspoll. Abbott is also now level with Bill Shorten as better prime minister. The ALP’s two party lead increased from […]

Grattan on Friday / Australia-Indonesia relationship will never be easy

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra SINCE Tony Abbott became prime minister, three issues have strained relations with Indonesia. Before the fracture over the fate of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, there were difficulties from the Coalition’s tow-back policy and a major crisis after revelations of Australian spying. It was Abbott’s choice to annoy Indonesia by […]


Zed’s plan for a greater Tuggeranong over the Murrumbidgee marches on

THE Australian Government has announced plans to streamline planning and cut red tape across the ACT through a review of the National Capital Plan. Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs and our own ACT Senator Zed Seselja said the Government is committed to driving growth across the region and striking the right […]