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Andrew Leigh asks when will Immigration’s future be decided?

THE Immigration Department might have joined the ACT Public Service in taking a special day off on Anzac Monday while the rest of the public have to work, but uncertainty remains over where the Department will he housed and Labor’s Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh wants to know what’s going on. “The Abbott Government must […]

Grattan on Friday / Howard and Baird offer lessons in the art of persuasion

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra SATURDAY’S New South Wales election will be seen as a major test of whether a popular leader can sell the public a much-disliked economic reform policy. On the polls – and I stress that qualification – Premier Mike Baird is on track to win, with the Coalition’s position improving in […]

Grattan / Pre-budget battle weapons – a slogan and a slide show

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra PLAYING the slogan game might degrade the political debate, but it worked alright for Tony Abbott – so now Bill Shorten’s launched into it ahead of the May budget. Labor has unveiled its “Mr Abbott. Don’t Pocket Our Pension” campaign, targeting the government’s plan, still not legislated, to change the […]

Grattan / Abbott gets poll relief as Coalition narrows the gap

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra The Coalition has had a substantial lift in the latest Newspoll, now trailing Labor in two-party terms 49-51% compared with 45-55% a fortnight ago. This is its best two-party result since September. The Coalition’s primary vote has risen three points to 41%, the first time it has been above 40% […]

Grattan / Procedural fairness? That doesn’t apply to us, says Immigration department

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE day that then-immigration minister Scott Morrison announced an inquiry into allegations of abuse in the Nauru detention centre, News Corp tabloids ran dramatic claims against Save the Children. The story, briefed by the government, said that the organisation was alleged to have “fabricated” stories of abuse. An “intelligence report” […]

Grattan on Friday / Double dissolution chatter undermines Abbott’s need to project stability

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra ONE government man has an interesting theory on why Tony Abbott mightn’t mind talk of a double-dissolution election. The prime minister finds governing very hard, he says – and would love to be back on the campaign trail. The point about Abbott’s view may or may not be correct. However, […]

Grattan / Abbott struggles with budget lines, telling the 'structural reform enthusiasts' this is not their year

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra TONY Abbott is making a particular hash of his messaging this week. The prime minister – and some other senior ministers too (think Treasurer Joe Hockey) – often throws out lines seemingly without much thought about how they can come back to give a nasty bite. At Tuesday’s joint partyroom […]

Parker / Drawing positives from negatives: looking back at the higher education reforms

Stephen Parker, University of Canberra FOLLOWING months of uncertainty, the Senate has rejected for a second time a package of higher education reforms that were first announced like a bolt from the blue on budget night last May. Respected columnist Paul Bongiorno captured it well when he wrote: The whole saga from the moment [Christopher […]

Departmental Secretary Paul Grimes sacked by Barnaby Joyce

LATIKA Bourke has tweeted an email from the Secretary of the Agriculture Department informing staff that he’s been removed from the job. This will put the frighteners through the Public Service. In letter to staff Ag Dept Sec Paul Grimes says his appointment was 'terminated.' @Barnaby_Joyce said 'step down.' — Latika Bourke (@latikambourke) March […]

Grattan on Friday / Abbott government suffers self-inflicted pain in an untidy week

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra THE Abbott government has followed one step forward by a couple back. After an improved performance became the media story of last week, it’s been slipping and sliding all over the place. Tony Abbott had another bad word day. Treasurer Joe Hockey sat awkwardly aboard a hobby horse. Industry […]

Grattan / In Conversation with Scott Morrison: From confrontation to a search for consensus

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra IN racing parlance, Scott Morrison is sitting one out and one back, very well placed politically for both the short and longer terms. If Tony Abbott survives, Morrison’s social services portfolio gives him plenty of scope to demonstrate policy skills and be in the public eye. If there’s a […]