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Stanhope rides forth to savage Labor over refugee policy

FORMER ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope has strongly criticised Labor’s recent hard line on asylum seekers and refugees, saying the party’s policies on mandatory detention and offshore processing are inconsistent with Labor values. Mr Stanhope, who has just finished a two-year stint as Administrator of the Indian Ocean territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) […]

Grattan on Friday / Abbott government gets some wins – and gives the odd hostage to the future

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra IN a move that channels John Howard, Tony Abbott has put changing the GST on the political agenda, just over a year after assuring the public it would not be altered, “full stop, end of story”. In the run-up to the 1996 election, Howard said there would “never ever” […]


Ian Watt departs Prime Minister and Cabinet. Michael Thawley steps in

THE Public Service has been shocked by the resignation of Dr Ian Watt and the announcement by the Prime Minister of his replacement by Michael Thawley from 1 December. In addition to over three decades of experience in the Australian Public Service, Mr Thawley was the senior adviser on international relations to former Prime Minister, […]

With friends like the Feds, life becomes even harder for Napthine government

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra ON the ropes already and facing the polls on November 29, the Victorian Liberals have yet again been knocked by their federal colleagues. Tuesday’s move to reintroduce fuel indexation by the tariff route, with the gamble that validating legislation will get through later, is a clever tactic from a […]

It’s official. Mr Fluffy houses to be bought back and demolished

CHIEF Minister Katy Gallagher says more than one thousand Canberra houses affected by ‘Mr Fluffy’ loose fill asbestos insulation will be bought and demolished by the ACT Government following an in principle agreement with the Commonwealth Government. The Commonwealth will provide the ACT with a $1 billion concessional loan towards the cost of the program. […]

Grattan / Abbott floats GST change but puts limits on commitment to major federation reform

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE headline out of Tony Abbott’s weekend Henry Parkes Oration on federalism was his highlighting that the federal government is willing to contemplate a more onerous GST – on certain conditions. The more subtle message was his note of hesitancy about charging full bore ahead on trying to dramatically […]

Katy on Gough

CHIEF Minister Gallagher has blogged her speech to the Assembly’s Gough Whitlam condolence motion. Here’s what she had to say: Madam Speaker, the entire Australian nation has been moved this week by the news of Gough Whitlam’s passing. It has brought grief from Gough’s home in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, to Indigenous Australians in […]

Abbott’s court is full of flatterers, and it’s a recipe for groupthink

By Ian McAuley, University of Canberra In a democracy governments cop criticism: that’s a rule of politics. Opposition parties and politically-aligned organisations will always exploit opportunities to have a go at the government. But it is particularly irritating for a government when criticism comes from institutions noted for their political independence, and when some of […]


Idiotic Niqab ban in Parliament revoked

A sheepish Department of Parliamentary Services has sent out a circular backing down from the lunatic sideshow of how to deal with the non-existent issue of women with face coverings wanting to watch question time. All visitors entering Parliament House will be required to temporarily remove any coverings that prevent the recognition of facial features. […]

Grattan / Some diplomatic dancing over the Abbott-Putin encounter

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TONY Abbott did not repeat his pledge to “shirt-front” Vladimir Putin when pressed on the subject a day after his initial threat. Now the promise is for a “very, very robust conversation” with the Russian president, assuming he does come to the G20 in Brisbane next month. Abbott said […]

Julia Gillard book cover

Book review / Gillard’s My Story, a defence of her prime ministership

By Natalie Mast, University of Western Australia JULIA Gillard’s autobiography, My Story, presents a comprehensive defence of her prime ministership. Gillard dives straight into the heart of her story, beginning on the day she was sworn in as prime minister. The book is laid out via a series of themes. So rather than having to […]

Grattan / Abbott readies to shirt front Putin as Russian diplomat recalls better times

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra A senior Russian diplomat says Australia-Russia relations are at an “historic low”, as Tony Abbott has pledged to “shirt front” President Vladimir Putin at the G20 next month over the downing of MH17. In a bipartisan attack on the Russian president, Opposition leader Bill Shorten accused the Putin of […]

A new home for the rescue helicopter team

ZED Seselja is celebrating the opening today of a new centre for the Snowy Hydro SouthCare rescue helicopter team. Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss says today’s opening of the Snowy Hydro SouthCare Training and Administration Centre will improve the medical support provided by the existing helicopter base. “This Centre will play a vital role in […]