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Grattan on Friday: The government wins on carbon – pity about the budget shambles

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra AFTER the parliamentarians finally head off for the winter break, the government desperately needs the major win it had this week to flow through to the opinion polls – because it is struggling with head winds on so much else. The Coalition at last ticked off the repeal of […]

Grattan / Hockey should stop making threats about the future and try to manage the present

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TREASURER Joe Hockey, just back from holidays, seems to be suffering from a nasty bout of tin ear. With the Senate in logjam, querulous, and with many budget measures still to be debated, or even introduced, Hockey on Wednesday was already getting out a new big stick. If the […]

Grattan / FoFA deal encourages government to humour Palmer

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE government has grabbed an unlikely victory to preserve its changes to Labor’s Future of Financial Advice legislation, after a last-minute deal with Clive Palmer. Just over a week after Palmer insisted his party would not be swayed by government lobbying and “they can stick it up their arse”, […]

Grattan / Just how rubbery is Tony Abbott’s carbon saving pledge?

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra EVEN before the Senate has finally voted to repeal the carbon tax, the debate has moved to a new stage in which the government’s claims will be tested against what Julia Gillard would have called the “lived experience”. Will the average household really get to be $550 better off […]

Grattan / The government’s financial advice regulations are in the Senate’s firing line

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra NEXT week could be very character forming for Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, one of the government’s high flyers. The Senate is set to vote on his regulations to change Labor’s Future of Financial Advice legislation, which have been widely criticised for watering down consumer protection. Among other things, these […]

Grattan on Friday / Abbott government feels the pain from PUPS with teeth

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE first sitting week of the new Senate has been a humbling experience for a government often too cocky for its own good. After fighting desperately to have the carbon tax scrapped by Thursday, a last-minute Palmer United Party amendment meant the tax’s life has been extended for at […]

Grattan / Everyone says they want economic reforms but the Senate is about to kill a big one

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra The eccentricities of the Senate permitting, the government will finally get its legislation repealing the carbon tax through Parliament on Thursday. In an attempt at control, it tried to hassle the Senate into a Wednesday vote. But, in a symbol of what this Senate is to be like, the […]

Zed’s dream of Greater Tuggeranong marches on

LIBERAL Senator Zed Seselja has let it be known that his plan of concreting down to and over the Murrumbidgee has been referred to the National Capital Authority for consideration. “After a series of discussions with Senator Zed Seselja who is passionate about Canberra’s future, I have asked the NCA to commence work to consider […]

Grattan / High Court puts interim block on Sri Lankan asylum transfer

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra The High Court has issued a temporary injunction to stop the Australian government transferring more than 150 asylum seekers, who are on a boat unheard of publicly for more than a week, to the Sri Lankan authorities. The injunction, which applies until this afternoon, was issued by Justice Susan […]

Grattan / Muir’s prepared to help the government if it helps him

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra AS senators prepare for tomorrow’s swearing in, Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir’s strong message to the government is that he’s prepared to help it if it helps him. Muir has a formal alliance with Clive Palmer’s Senate PUPs, but his senior adviser Glenn Druery made it clear today […]

How we can reinvigorate the Australian Federation

By Vince FitzGerald, Australian National University WHEN our two major levels of government work in partnership, our Federation can function well. The standout period for cooperative federalism was the Hawke/Keating term of government, producing the National Competition Policy, the east coast power grid, a national rail agreement, harmonised regulation and consumer standards, and mutual recognition […]

Grattan on Friday: Abbott government needs to acquire an empathy gene

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra What is offensive about this government is not that it is pursuing tough policies, but that it is trashing accountability and is so lacking in empathy. The boats did need to be stopped; the budget does require fixing. But an empathetic government would bring some humanity to the first […]