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Grattan / No pressure Joe, but you are back in the spotlight

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE government wants the public to take several political messages out of the Intergenerational Report (IGR) Joe Hockey is releasing on Thursday. Stated crudely, these are: first, that Labor’s policy settings would have taken us to hell in a hand basket; second, that but for the pesky Senate, the […]

Grattan / Medicare co-payment: a case study in policy implosion

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TONY Abbott was in full confessional mode after Tuesday’s formal interment of the Medicare co-payment. As a former health minister, “I should have known better than to attempt health reform without the strong co-operation and support of the medical profession”, Abbott told parliament. “I accept chastisement,” Abbott said. “But […]

Grattan / Abbott gets poll help as Bishop complicates leadership question

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra ASLiberal MPs gather for more testing days in parliament, a Fairfax/Ipsos poll showing improvement in the ratings of both the Coalition and the prime minister should help Tony Abbott fireproof himself for the moment. The two-party vote has the Coalition up three points since January – it now trails […]

Grattan on Friday / Liberals sweat over timing of next tilt against Abbott

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra CANBERRA, thanks to politics being its main industry and the politicians being non-residents, is the quintessential fishbowl. When a leadership change is contemplated, people watch keenly to see who dines out with whom. So it was duly noted when Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt were together on […]

Peter Slipper not guilty

JUSTICE Burns has judged that former Speaker of the House of Representative Peter Slipper is not guilty of rorting cabcharge vouchers to visit Canberra Region wineries. I accept that the evidence before the Magistrate was capable of raising, as a rational inference, the proposition that the appellant undertook each of the three journeys for purposes […]

Grattan / When is an offer not an offer? Ask Julie Bishop

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE government’s war on Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs has deepened into a major test of credibility, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop flatly contradicting evidence given by a senior public servant. Bishop was asked in parliament on Wednesday what role the government had offered Triggs – who it […]

The CPSU and its ballots, Zed weighs in

LIBERAL Senator Zed Seselja kicked off a fight this morning attacking the public sector union for not using the Australian Electoral Commission for its ballots. “The Community and Public Sector Union was last night outed at Senate Estimates for outsourcing all of its Protected Action Ballots (PABs) in the current public service bargaining round to […]

Grattan / Labor refers Brandis to police over offer to Human Rights Commission president

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra AFTER a day-long government assault on Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs, she’s still in place. But Labor has asked the police to investigate the conduct of Attorney-General George Brandis. It’s not exactly been a political triumph. An embattled government has embarked on an unnecessary fight, all because it […]

Grattan / Credlin crisis escalates with an outburst by the Liberal Party’s treasurer

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TONY Abbott’s leadership is now so fragile that he seems nearly beyond being able to rebalance himself. Abbott is the victim of leaks and general destabilisation, and the continued miscalculations by himself and his office. The Liberals’ crisis over Abbott’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin, escalates by the day. […]

Grattan / Abbott’s message to Muslim leaders: speak up and mean it

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TONY Abbott has urged Muslim leaders to speak out more – and sincerely – in the fight against terrorism, as he unveiled tough new measures that would remove or curb the citizenship rights of those linked to terrorist activity. Delivering his national security statement, Abbott said: “I’ve often heard […]

Feds reward asset sales with $60 million for light rail

ANDREW Barr says the Capital Metro project will receive an injection of around $60 million in Commonwealth funding under an agreement with Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey. “The Commonwealth will make a contribution to this investment under its Asset Recycling Initiative. Under this scheme the Territory is eligible for a 15 percent bonus from the Commonwealth […]

Grattan / Shorten likely to stay glued to Abbott on national security

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE national security debate, involving potentially life and death issues but heavily overlaid with politics by an embattled government, is tricky ground for the Labor opposition. Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s default position is bipartisanship. But he also has a constituency suspicious of ever more controls, which he can’t ignore. […]

Grattan / Turnbull isn’t challenging – just inviting the Liberals to make the comparison

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra MALCOLM Turnbull walked the high wire in a masterful Q&A performance on Monday night, as he displayed his credentials for leadership. Turnbull was neither loyal nor disloyal to Tony Abbott. He ran the government’s case but managed to stand apart from the prime minister. He made his dissent on […]

Property Council rubbing its hands together at the idea of Government real estate divestment

THE Commonwealth Government’s decision to undertake a scoping study into the divestment options of six Commonwealth properties has been welcomed by the Property Council of Australia. The six buildings – John Gorton and Treasury Buildings, East and West Block and Anzac Park East and West – are all located within Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle. “It is […]