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Grattan on Friday / Plans for local atrocities bring the Middle East conflict close to home

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra Thursday’s revelation that an Australian who is senior in Islamic State allegedly told supporters in this country to commit atrocities randomly against people on the street has dramatically highlighted the link between what’s happening in the Middle East and the home front. On the day Tony Abbott and Bill […]

Abbott has given his ministers straight ‘A’s – do they deserve it?

By Misty Adoniou, University of Canberra Tony Abbott has given his ministers their report cards for the year. Apparently they are all receiving As and A+s. That might mean they are very, very clever compared to all other ministers who have done the job the past. This is what we call norm-referenced assessment. We start […]

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Labor MPs to speak against Labor refugee policy at Canberra meeting.

THE Canberra Refugee Action Committee is hosting two Labor Members of Parliament, Anna Burke and Melissa Parke, at a Canberra meeting to explain why refugee policy must change, including Labor Party policy. In addition to the wave of international condemnation of Australia’s treatment of refugees, Australian Labor Party State and Territory branches have voted to […]

Grattan / Abbott says exhortations are coming from the Middle East to stir local terrorism attacks

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra IT was an unusual build up to Friday’s raising of the terrorism threat level in Australia from medium to high, though the action itself isn’t particularly surprising. After ASIO’s head David Irvine flagged it on television earlier in the week, there was little doubt it would happen. The decision […]

Renewing Australian federalism

By Miranda Stewart, Australian National University THE reform of Australia’s federation is under review, with a White Paper process currently underway. In partnership with the Australian National University’s Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at the Crawford School of Public Policy and with the University of Melbourne School of Government, “The Conversation” have asked leading Australian […]

Grattan on Friday: Australia’s new commitment in the Middle East could be a long one

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra PRECISELY 13 years after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington that led to the Afghanistan and Iraq engagements, Australia is embroiled in another escalating conflict with an uncertain road map. Once again an Australian prime minister is joined at the hip with an American president in […]

Grattan / Cabinet’s only woman wins the public ratings contest hands down

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THIS beauty contest is one with a difference – it’s a poll of the performance of the Abbott cabinet ministers a year into their jobs. Done by McNair Ingenuity Research, it found Foreign Minister Julie Bishop top of the class, and Treasurer Joe Hockey wearing the dunce’s cap, with […]

Grattan / ICAC set to send more rumbles through the conservative side of politics

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE sticky paper of scandal and the politics of money are embroiling players across the spectrum, with claims and revelations guaranteed to further disillusion already cynical voters. In the week that Julia Gillard is due to appear before the royal commission into union corruption, federal Liberal minister Arthur Sinodinos […]

Bowles and Moraitis take over at Health and Attorney-Generals

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has announced new appointments in the high flying world of Departmental Secretaries. Mr Martin Bowles PSM will be Secretary of the Department of Health for five years from 13 October 2014 and Mr Chris Moraitis PSM will be Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department five years from 15 September 2014. Bowles has […]

Grattan / Mining tax deal ticks off a commitment in time for the birthday

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra WITH its first anniversary on Sunday, the Abbott government wants to trumpet achievements. Ministers have been asked to put forward what they’ve done in their portfolios for airing in question time this week. But beyond that, given all the budget pain, a substantial victory was needed on a signature […]

Natural disaster grants for Canberra organisations

Commonwealth Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, and ACT Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, have announced 20 projects that will share in $5.2 million to help communities withstand the effects of disasters and emergencies in the ACT. Mr Keenan said the funding partnership between the Commonwealth and the ACT Government strengthens the territory’s […]

Grattan / Arms runs likely to be step to deeper Australian role against Islamic State

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra WHEN Tony Abbott says he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself on Australia’s Middle East commitment – specifically about joining air strikes – what he means is that he can’t get ahead of Barack Obama. The government announced on Sunday that Australia would help transport stores of military […]

Grattan on Friday: Attacking the RET will open another tough battlefront for Abbott

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TONY Abbott has got a heap of unwanted publicity this week as a result of his response to cantankerous Liberal senator Ian Macdonald, who upbraided him for being late to Tuesday’s Coalition parties’ meeting. As a putdown of Macdonald, an impatient Abbott said he’d had a Monday night fundraiser […]

Robert Menzies

Menzies, a failure by today’s rules, ran a budget to build the nation

By Richard Denniss, Australian National University ROBERT Menzies left Australia in far worse financial shape then he found it, at least according to current treasurer Joe Hockey’s favourite debt and deficit benchmark. Having inherited budget surpluses from the Chifley Labor government, the Menzies Coalition government ran small budget surpluses from 1949-50 to 1957-58. But then […]

John Howard

The John Howard Reading Room opens here in Canberra

BILLIONAIRE Kerry Stokes will today formally open the John Howard Reading Room at UNSW Canberra (known to most Canberrans as ADFA) today with the former Prime Minister John Howard attending. The new Reading Room is named in honour of Australia’s second-longest serving Prime Minister. It will enable scholars, students and the general community to view […]

Canberra’s School Welfare Officers under the axe in chaplaincy row

LABOR Senator Kate Lundy says new Government documents show that the welfare officers of 25 schools across Canberra are facing unemployment as a result of the Abbott Government’s decision to only fund religious chaplains. In June this year the High Court ruled that it was constitutionally invalid for payments to be made directly to schools […]

Grattan / Clive Palmer to Chinese: I’m sorry

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra PUP leader Clive Palmer has made a grovelling apology to the Chinese for his extraordinary outburst on television, in which he referred to them as “bastards” and “mongrels”. In a letter to the Chinese ambassador Ma Zhaoxu, Palmer said: “I most sincerely apologise for any insult to Chinese people […]