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michelle grattan

Grattan on Friday / Abbott will look tricky if he tries to abort the same-sex marriage bill he encouraged

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE prime minister is suddenly looking like a throwback to Tony Abbott, health minister, when he was fighting trenchantly against losing ministerial power over the abortion drug RU486. Driven by the wish to keep the support of Liberal conservatives, on whom his leadership depends, and by his personal moral views, […]

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Grattan / Abbott caught in no-win situation on same-sex marriage

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TONY Abbott’s office took quite a while to respond to Sky News’ Wednesday report that a group of backbenchers from across the parliament planned to bring forward a same-sex marriage bill on August 11, with the party room considering a week later whether Liberals should get a conscience vote. When […]

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Grattan / Turnbacks remain an irritant in Australia-Indonesia relations: former foreign minister Natalegawa

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra FORMER Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa has called out the Abbott government over its attempt to shrug off any cost to the bilateral relationship caused by the unilateral manner of its boat turnbacks. But equally, Natalegawa has complicated Labor’s looming policy decision on whether to embrace turnbacks to limit its […]

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Grattan / Broad coalition formed to seek common ground on tackling climate change

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra Major business, union, research, environment, investor and social groups have formed the Australian Climate Roundtable in an effort to “put the climate policy debate on common ground and offer a way forward”. The group’s formation comes just weeks before the Abbott government announces Australia’s emission reduction target for post-2020, in […]

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Grattan on Friday / Winter risks are greater for Shorten than Abbott

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE parliamentary budget session has ended with Tony Abbott having reason to feel a good deal more confident than Bill Shorten. After the budget itself going down relatively well for the government, some $14 billion of savings have been passed in the last fortnight. Abbott has planted national security centre […]

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Grattan / QandA controversy plays into hands of ABC’s government critics

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE ABC’s decision to allow a well-known, one-time terrorism suspect to ask a question on Q&A was a mistake that potentially weakens the broadcaster’s position against its many enemies in high places. Permitting Zaky Mallah to appear, whether through lack of thought or in pursuit of controversy, was bad in […]

CPSU stop work

Big turnout for the CPSU’s public service stop work meeting

THE Community and Public Sector Union’s campaign to protect the rights, conditions and pay of thousands of public sector workers reached Canberra today with a well attended stop work meeting. Members of the CPSU walked off the job for a half-day strike gathered at the Canberra Convention Centre to be addressed by the CPSU President […]

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Grattan / Abbott government runs very quickly from idea of user pays for public schools

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra FIRST it was the tax paper falling victim to the exigencies of politics; now it’s the federalism one. Neither is finished but already the government has, under sharp political pressure, ruled certain options out. No, there won’t be changes to the GST, never mind that all the experts think they […]

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Joy Burch says no to means testing public education

JOY Burch has strongly rejected any plans to make parents pay for public education in Australia. A leaked discussion paper has lead to reports that some families could be required to pay for their children to attend public schools. The paper was developed within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. “Universal free public education […]

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Government’s citizenship changes target members of listed terrorist organisations

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra WHEN Bill Shorten was asked by the royal commission into union corruption to appear before it, he said he wouldn’t be commenting on allegations about his time as an Australian Workers Union official until he gave evidence. The no-comment position quickly became untenable. On Sunday, Shorten was on the ABC’s […]

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Grattan on Friday / Bill Shorten’s purgatory puts Labor into limbo

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra BILL Shorten’s July 8 appearance before the royal commission into union corruption is crucial for his credibility and has major implications for his leadership. Shorten needs to lay absolutely to rest any suggestion that in his previous life as Australian Workers Union (AWU) chief he put the union’s interests ahead […]

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Butler wins Labor presidency and backs quick start on party reform

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra FEDERAL frontbencher Mark Butler has won the ALP national presidency after a ballot that saw nearly 19,500 rank and file party members cast votes. Butler immediately issued a statement saying the party’s July national conference should respond to the rank and file’s strong calls for reform of the ALP’s internal […]

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Grattan / Politicians put forward their worst sides

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra In the latest Essential poll, just 11% have some or a lot of trust in politicians and 49% have no trust. Not a surprising result perhaps. What is surprising is that politicians don’t seem much worried how badly they are regarded collectively. Despite the evidence that ordinary people are often […]

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Grattan / Australians very fearful of Islamic State and terrorism, Lowy poll finds

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE Abbott government’s anti-terrorism pitch is tapping into and feeding a deep vein of national security fear in the Australian population, the Lowy Institute’s 2015 poll shows. As the Coalition prepares to introduce to parliament a tough law to strip citizenship from dual nationals involved in terrorism, the poll shows […]

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Grattan / Big tick for same-sex marriage as Labor gains: Ipsos poll

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra MORE than two-thirds of voters support legalising same-sex marriage in a Fairfax/Ipsos poll that shows Labor again ahead of the Coalition on a two-party basis. The poll also found 57% believed that in the area where they lived it was not affordable for a first-time buyer to purchase a home; […]