Australian News Media
Politics: National Releases Contract With Australia
National Party leader and Leader of the Official Opposition Tony Abbott has continued to push at the Government by releasing his Contract With Australia, a plan with several points as a means of trying to set up the National Party as a government-in-waiting. Full of red meat to the base, the Contract With Australia established the following points as principles for government:
- Reducing income tax from its current progressive six band structure (soon to be 5) to a three band structure with lower rates of tax.
- No carbon tax and a delay in the Government's emissions-trading scheme with a focus on nuclear energy and clean coal technology and shoring up the energy market and infrastructure.
- Repeal of the Master Plan for Higher Education, a key Clinton legislative win.
- Repeal of the Native Title Court.
- Means-testing of the Australian Basic Income for Citizens (APIC) rather than a flat rate for all income earners below $30,000 a year.
- Increase competitiveness of Australian agriculture.
- Attract investment to the Northern Territory and regional Queensland and Western Australia beyond mining.
- Tax write-offs for small business for 100% of new assets under $35,000
- Plebiscite on same sex marriage (despite the initial legislation to legalise same sex marriage arriving in the House of Representatives on Monday).
- Increase defence spending to 16% of the federal budget
- Rollback of the Clinton Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) expansion.
- Increase the rebate for private insurance holders from the Medicare levy.
- Privatise the NBN
Mr. Abbott, speaking at a press conference in his electorate of Warringah, said that "this was a contract that the National Party would make with the Australian people, and propose as alternate legislation to the Parliament while holding the Clinton Government to account". Many commentators have touted the move by Tony Abbott as a bold, innovative move to try and seize back the middle ground from the Government. Others have said that it is a rather desperate attempt by the National Party faced with the prospect that a much more centrist party in the Progressive Alliance has supplanted the Labor Party by being the main party of the left and it is rather popular. Some have also said that Tony Abbott is running scared of Pauline Hanson, whose One Nation party is stubbornly polling at 6%, 4% of which came from disaffected conservative National voters.
Polling of the parties in Parliament has shown National well behind the Progressives, with a 36%-28% gap between the two. Labor still solidly in third, but at 19%, with the Centrist Party at 7% and One Nation at 5% and the Greens on 4%. On those numbers, if an election were held today, the Government would be returned as a coalition with 171 seats, gaining 12, the Opposition parties would total 128, with One Nation gaining 8 seats while National and Centrist lose seats. National would lose 9 seats and the Centrists would lose 5. The Greens would be at 5 seats, Katter would win back his seat, and there would be two independents.
National Weather Forecast: 6 November 2017
Wet and windy weather in New South Wales, Victoria and South Queensland will bring up to 50 mm of rain during the day. Strong winds out of the southwest will carry the wet out to sea just in time for the Melbourne Cup. Spring continues to come barrelling to Australia as we see a warm up by the second half of the week, with Sydney reaching 25 degrees.
Let's take a look at our capital cities and regions:
- Sydney: 19/9 Rainy
- Melbourne: 18/7 Rainy
- Brisbane: 21/11 Rainy
- Perth: 27/12 Partly Cloudy
- Darwin: 31/15 PM Thunderstorms
- Adelaide: 28/19 Clear
- Hobart: 27/18 PM Thunderstorms
- Canberra: 21/14 Rainy
- Townsville: 28/20 Mostly Cloudy
- Cairns: 30/21 Partly Cloudy
- Uluru: 36/19 Clear
- Broken Hill: 19/10 Rainy
Politics: Is the Prime Minister considering a 2018 election call?
Prime Minister Hillary Clinton (L) and Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (R) of the Progressive Alliance and Australian Labor Party
The Prime Minister could be considering an early election at the beginning of 2018 as the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and the National Party still struggle to find their mark against a confident Hillary Clinton and Kevin Rudd team. Polling has shown that the Government right now could be sitting on as much as a 56-44 lead vs. the other Opposition Parties. Clinton has never been more popular than right now with her economic and social initiatives that have driven small business to grow in Australia, and for the economy to be on track for a 4% growth year, a very strong year for the Clinton Government and one of the best in recent Australian history.
Rumours around the halls of Canberra could see the Prime Minister ask President Stephen Conroy to dissolve the Parliament and the country go to a snap general election sometime, perhaps in March, which would put the election time table sometime for early May. When asked about the prospect of an early election, both Clinton and Rudd were coy and unwilling to say whether or not the rumours had any merit to them. Former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating and Progressive Alliance founder and husband Bill Clinton think otherwise when asked at a book launch in Melbourne for Keating's biography.
"I think the Prime Minister would be daft not to go to the country on such strong personal numbers and strong numbers for both the Progressive Alliance and a third place Labor Party. As it stands right now, Labor have work to do to regain the prominence among the left of Australia, but this would be a good start," Keating said to the Melbourne audience.
Within that 56% approval for the Government, 36% is for the Progressive Alliance and 20% for Labor, while the National Party sit on 30% in the Opposition polling, the Greens moving up to around 6% nationall and One Nation still sitting on 7%.
2017 in Review: Politics
This year was the year of Hillary Clinton. The Prime Minister landed victory after victory legislatively, passing a whopping 95% of her manifesto and successfully creating Australia as one of the top economies and most politically free nations in the European Union. After the presidential election last year set up the parliamentary republic system that we now operate in, it was about getting the job done for Australians, according to the Progressive-Labor coalition.
1) Native Title Court and Aboriginal Australian reform
This was perhaps the Clinton government's biggest achievement, but this reform has allowed for disputes between Aboriginal tribes in Australia and farmers and mining companies to be resolved by a neutral third party. The Clinton government, whose coalition of voters between metropolitan liberals, young people and minorities put the Progressive Alliance way ahead of their contemporaries, has really come alive after passing the native land rights reform. It was a legislative victory that will pave the way for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Australians as first inhabitants.
2) Health care reforms
These are common sense, establishing a system of Medicare hospitals that operate fully at the national level. While doctors and specialists still operate as part of the private sector and bill Medicare, the hospital system which had been ballooning out of control in New South Wales and Victoria, the two most populous states in Australia. The National Hospital System as it is now called, to parody the National Health Service from the United Kingdom, is working and looks to dampen hospital costs and service costs at hospitals across the nation.
3) Economic management
In contrast to the National Party's stark forecast for deficits and debt if Labor were to join the Progressives in Government, economic management has been stable. The dollar hasn't fallen or risen out of line with market expectations, the stocks are roaring and Clinton can claim credit for being a moderating force on her party, which was baying for the reforms and management of the Nats to be thrown out the window but Clinton held firm, knowing it was the consensus of her husband, Bill Clinton, in the 90's for the ALP and Progressives to come to the altar on the need to safeguard the free market principles of liberal democracies across Europe.
4) Infrastructure bank
A stroke of genius on both the economic front and the fact that Australia has had underdeveloped infrastructure for decades. Outside of Sydney and Melbourne (and lately Brisbane), most Australians only had roads connecting them with very few rail lines fit for passenger train use. That has changed with the Clinton government, with projects extending to a Perth to Melbourne rail link that would connect across the north of the country. Additional freight lines, energy and technology infrastructure at a total amount of investment of $450 billion while the bank continues to gain value from its current investments and contributions from the federal government accrue interest. Not to mention the amount of superannuation funds contributing to the bank as it finds and makes investments into infrastructure on behalf of public super funds. Retirement secure, infrastructure build booming, and an institution at the federal level that surely will last the rest of the existence of the current financial system. Three huge wins for Clinton that lend her further credibility on the economy.
Chelsea Clinton Puts Hat in Ring for Commission
EUROPOLIS --- The Clinton family has had quite the grip on Australian politics since the 1990's, but now their daughter, Chelsea Clinton-Mezvinsky is looking to make a name for herself beyond the family brand. She has put in her name for Internal Affairs Commissioner. She announced her candidacy, hoping to work with the other elected Commissioners to revitalise European politics and bring more of the European Union to the national governments.
"We have to do better, and we have to listen to what the national governments and the citizens of our constituent nations are telling us," said Ms. Clinton-Mezvinsky.
News Highlights from 13 February 2018
- Clinton Government announces roll-out of four new nuclear power plants, one of whom will be in New South Wales, one in Victoria, one in Queensland, and one in South Australia.
- Federal Parliament will be considering legislation to legalise same-sex marriage
- The Progressive Alliance is ahead in polling by new heights, 42-32 over the Nationals, with Labor sitting at 18, giving the Progressive Alliance key marginals and potentially a route into majority government at the next election.
- Lorde begins the Australian leg of her European tour.
- Melbourne and Geelong begin intense training for their AFL seasons ahead of anticipated clash on 25 March
- NSW Government plans upgrade to WestLink.
- European Commission begins work, Internal Affairs Commissioner Clinton-Mezvinsky proposing changes to the Marriage Recognition Act.
- Medicare puts forward funding proposals to Health Minister ahead of budget considerations.
- Duxburian wins big lottery payout of nearly K:220 million in one of the largest lottery payouts in European history.
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Politics: Bill Clinton: "Government could call election in April"
Former Progressive Alliance leader and husband of the Prime Minister, Bill Clinton, stated that the Government could call a snap election in April. The Government, which had said in Question Time this week that it would not call an election without consulting both parties, has not confirmed or denied the rumours.
"The Government has done a good job with running the country, and if they do call a snap election this year, it would give them four additional years to give good, honest government to the people of Australia. Now, that's not my decision to make," said Mr. Clinton during an interview with Leigh Sales on 7:30 yesterday. "Hillary doesn't really talk that much politics with me but if I were her, I'd be eyeing an election this year. The National Party will only get stronger and the Government will have been in office longer."
Talking about the achievements of the Progressive Alliance-Labor coalition government, Mr. Clinton had nothing but praise.
"I'm glad to see Kevin and Labor come over to the side of the sensible left, bringing the Labor caucus with them to the centre. It's important. No Government of Australia can be ideologue. Paul Keating and myself found that out in the 80's, John Howard in the 90's, and Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard now," Mr. Clinton said.
When asked about the state of the left and the right in Australia:
"There's still work to do. The mixed-member proportional system will allow the Progressive Alliance, Labor, National, One Nation, Centrist to exist as five fairly equal parties should people really gravitate towards them. On the left, it's a shift in who dominates the politics of the left. I think Hillary has done a good job in pushing the Progressive Alliance to the forefront and getting real talent in Government right now. Labor is a little more socially conservative, and that is okay. It's the right that really is trying to come together. The National Party has lots of fiscal conservatives, but the right is really interested in, and the left as well, they're both interested in social issues more. One Nation and the Centrist Party play to social issues far more than the National Party, though many will still vote National at the next election."
Mr. Clinton still backed the Government at the next election.
"I think the Progressive Alliance will hold many of their historic seats and Labor will gain the ones that the Progressive Alliance might lose in the regions. National will win in conservative suburbs and cities, while One Nation will go far in conservative regional Australia. The Centrists will do well in spurts too, probably mostly party list."
12 March 2018
Kia Ora, good morning. Here's the top news stories across Australia:
- The Government's polling has put the Progressive Alliance within the window of governing alone, causing the minor parties and National Party to try and mitigate fears that Prime Minister Hillary Clinton will call an early election earlier than the predicted April window.
- Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has asked for a European-level investigation into the Omnibus election and the actions of former President Shane Raimi and current President Vlaidimir Rhaegar.
- A Sydney man has been charged with the murder of three people, including one child, in an overnight robbery turned deadly. Sydney Police have arraigned John Ferrante, age 47, and he is currently being held on bail.
- Autumn flooding in Queensland could cost the Queensland Government up to $1.1 billion in damages as Ipswich, regional Queensland starts to see floodwaters recede.
- AFL season is days away, with Melbourne and Geelong set to open in prime time Sunday, 25 March. The Saturday blockbuster pits Hawthorn against Collingwood.
Leigh Sales: Good evening, I'm Leigh Sales and this is the 7.30 programme. The Prime Minister looks primed and ready to go to the President and ask for a snap general election to be held in May, trying to hit a timetable of a 5 May election day. The reason behind the Government's want of a federal election looks like it would be a way to catch the National Party, struggling to get their support higher than 30%, off guard. The Government, sitting ahead of the National Party with a combined 27 point lead, now looks to see who will win the majority of the left if the election were to be held. Joining us tonight is the Deputy Leader of the Progressive Alliance and Cabinet minister Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd from Labor, and the Shadow Treasurer of the National Party Scott Morrison. First, we dive into the psyche of Kevin Rudd.
Rudd was Australia's Prime Minister from 2008-2010 before being deposed by Julia Gillard, who in the face of dismal numbers during the general election potentially losing to Tony Abbott at the next federal election, only for the Labor Government to be defeated by Abbott under the rule of Julia Gillard, opening the door for the Progressive Alliance to start to pick off key Labor seats at the 2012 federal election, setting them up to challenge Labor as the party of the left. Labor under Rudd again came in third at the 2016 election and formed part of the coalition government as of now. Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, welcome.
Kevin Rudd: Quite an auspicious welcome, Leigh. Thank you for having me.
LS: Let's begin with Labor's third place currently in the polls, and their status as the third party, swapped with the Progressive Alliance since 2016. You are currently sitting at 12% of the Government's 57% polling. Is Labor at risk of being put permanently in third place?
KR: Oh, Leigh, what a question to lead out on. I think that we should instead be talking about Labor's contribution to the government. When the Prime Minister wanted to form a formal coalition with us for the Parliament, she had to incorporate Labor's key issues into the Government's agenda. Hillary had to compromise and bring forward Labor's proposal for increasing the rights of workers and unions in pay and workplace disputes, she's had to compromise and give the Fair Work Commission more powers to settle disputes and enforce them. She's had to compromise and not pursue the privatisation of the investment bank, but instead use it as a way to get the Federal Government to contribute to state and regional projects. Remember, her idea for the investment bank was to make it a private entity that took more into account the profitability of the project, not if it contributes to the greater good. Labor has done a good job in moderating some of the more economically conservative elements of the Progressive Alliance and gave Australia a true centre-left, economically and socially progressive government that it needed.
LS: I'm going to have to challenge you on that. I have the manifestos right here from the last election, and Mrs. Clinton clearly promised that she wanted an investment bank backed by the Treasury. It says it right here, and Labor called for the same thing. You weren't the one who changed her mind. She made that up herself.
KR: But Leigh, you fail to realise that I'm the Deputy Prime Minister, sitting at the Cabinet table and hearing these things. She maybe posed as a champion of the left, but she took a hard turn to the right initially once she got into Government, and it is only with Labor's Cabinet members and support that she backed down and delivered her own manifesto promise. That is something that we did for the people of Australia.
LS: Yes, but how is that Labor's contribution. Again, it's in the Progressive's manifesto in 2016, it's even in their manifesto in 2012 but not in the Labor one that you took to the 2012 election that you lost. So, how can you claim to be helping the Progressives stay on the left if they had one of the most progressive ideas before you did?
KR: Leigh, we can go back and forth all night. I promise you, when I was leading the Labor Party...
LS: You're leading it now!
KR: ...We were putting it to the party; we have a different mechanism to the Progressives. They can just put whatever they want in; we have to put it past the unions and the party membership before it is officially in our manifesto.
LS: Let's move on to another topic: the Government has taken Australia out of neutrality. This was a proposal that was pushed heavily by you and Malcolm Turnbull onto Hillary Clinton, have you decided that you got it wrong?
KR: No, but times change. Europe is dangerous and we are looking to bring ourselves closer to our allies and contribute to the efforts in Dromund Kaas. As the Foreign Minister, I've been happy to work with the Prime Minister on our foreign policy, with our Civil Service, and with DFAT specifically to maximise Australia's reach.
LS: Is that why we have been so slow to move on the Omnibus situation or invite new EU members to Canberra or Sydney?
KR: Leigh, you're only focusing on the negatives and not the achievements of the coalition.
LS: Because the achievements aren't the only thing the public deserves to know about Labor's record in the coalition. The Prime Minister has put her credentials forward as a trading, economically sound leader of a competent government, but as you are the nation's chief diplomat, you are responsible for the fact that aside from meetings with Theresa May and Sam Courtenay, Australia has done nothing on the international scene.
KR: I do not agree with that. The Prime Minister reached out to Turkmenbaijan and responded to that crisis much to the leadership that I and DFAT put forward to her. As a coalition, cabinet government, each minister has to fight for their department's agenda with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and then we take some collective decision making with relevant ministers and the PM.
LS: So it's even more important that you, the Foreign Minister, are fighting for Australia's voice to be magnified on the world stage. We're a large economy, a nation of riches from its culture and people to its minerals and resource wealth. You are also the leading minister in the Department. Why aren't you getting on the Trade Minister to get more business to Australia?
KR: The Government has made trade deals with Angleter, the Duxburian Union, and the United Kingdom, 3 of the 4 largest economies in Europe, and we are ready to get a deal in place with Inquista, the largest economy in Europe. We are the fifth largest economy in Europe, we are doing well. Why don't we look at the economic growth, the strongest of the developed economies in Europe, in part due to our good trade arrangements. Leigh, this is the kind of talking down of Australia that the people are tired of...
LS: With all due respect, Deputy Prime Minister, if I am talking down anyone, I'm talking down you and the fact that you are not holding up your part of the deal as the Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Australia. Anyway, we have to come back after the break. Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Leader of the Progressive Alliance and Scott Morrison, Shadow Treasurer up next.
Breaking: Live from Parliament House, Canberra
Mark Ferguson: Good afternoon, we are live at Parliament House in Canberra where the Prime Minister, Hillary Clinton, will be calling a snap general election for 5 May. Let's go to the Prime Minister now:
Hillary Clinton: Good afternoon. After a meeting of the Cabinet, our coalition partners in Labor, and the President of Australia, I am announcing that the President of Australia will issue a writ of election for the House of Representatives. The Government believes that it is time to secure the gains that Australians have seen under the Progressive Alliance and Labor Government, and to seek a mandate for further reforms that the Australian economy and society so desperately need.
We also seek re-election to prove that Australia is a player on the world stage and that includes this Government. So if you want to keep the gains on your take-home pay, the security of a union that fights for its workers without stiffing its members, rights for all our Australian brothers and sisters including our Aboriginal first owners, and if you want to see the real social change including a law passing marriage equality, then I think the choice is clear.
Federal Election 2018: Battle on the Left Overshadows Interesting Contest on the Right
Hillary Clinton campaigning in Sydney the first weekend of the snap federal election.
MELBOURNE --- Perhaps it's just the way that everything has shaped up and the dynamics of the coalition government between the Progressive Alliance and Labor, but the election has implications for both sides of politics and it is far more interesting on the right than on the left. Under the leadership of Christian Porter, the National Party (though quiet in the lead-up to the election being called) has been unified and figuring out its messaging, and perhaps it has found something that could hit in the core of its support base: regional Australia and suburbs, particularly since the Progressive Alliance is going hard at metropolitan areas.
The right of Australian politics has undergone some scene shifting. Economic conservatives will find comfort in Porter's plans for the National Party, including a hefty company tax cut to replace the tax rises on businesses under the Clinton coalition government. Social conservatives have always called the National Party home, but the right-wing of the party and its supporters are seeing a challenge from Pauline Hanson's One Nation. Classical liberals and libertarians are also finding solace in the Centrist Party, keen for representation. We are seeing several parties on the centre-right to solid right emerge as a new coalition that could boot both the Progressive Alliance and Labor out of power.
Is that likely though? No; for all the shifting on the right, it looks very clear that the Progressive Alliance may gain enough seats to have its way with coalition partner Labor or simply govern alone as a minority or majority government. However, it is very clear that the interest in this election lies on the right while the distraction and headlines will be with Clinton and Rudd.
Federal Election 2018: "Migrant Issue Defining Election" - Kevin Rudd
MELBOURNE --- Campaigning in the Labor heartlands of the Melbourne's west, Kevin Rudd announced to his supporters and the rest of political Australia that he and other parties will use the refugee situation as a major campaign issue in the election.
"The next Australian Government will have to put forward a response to the situation that will be able to withstand the migrant situation. Labor and the Progressive Alliance have worked well together so far, but a strong Labor presence in Parliament and a strong Labor presence in Government will give people the choice to limit the migrant numbers, stop the boats from coming and figure out safe arrangements to Australia," said Labor leader Kevin Rudd.
The National Party have also postured on a more aggressive refugee policy that would involve screenings in Dromund Kaas and the admittance to Australia of 10,000 refugee women and children per year. The Progressive Alliance have set themselves as more open to bringing in as many as 50,000 migrants per year, prioritising complete nuclear families. Christian Porter, the Nationals' leader, seems to be very strong on this issue with the public, having a 5 point lead over Hillary Clinton when it comes to immigration and refugee policy.
"If the Government is returned to Canberra with a majority, you can expect an out of control situation. Hillary Clinton does not understand the fact that Australia has finite space and resources, a large swath of our country being the Outback...desert! Why crowd the liveable spaces of our country, a country of 47 million people, with more people? Not to mention the radicalised Sith refugees that carried out the terrorist attack in London last year."
Despite the increased focus on immigration, the economy has been doing well and employment has increased under the Government, and people are voting with their pocket book. With Workplace Participation Rates at 84%, people are in work, taking home more money than ever before in their pay packets and the Progressive Alliance seems to be making key demographic gains with younger Labor voters and suburban National voters. If the election were held right now, a 4% swing towards the Progressive Alliance would put them at 45% of the seats in Parliament as a baseline, with projected gains of 15 seats, meaning the Progressive Alliance would govern alone.
Federal Election 2018: Clinton Backs Refugee Act, Challenges Rudd, Porter
National Party leader Christian Porter at the National Press Club delivering a speech on the economy
CANBERRA --- Very rarely has a politician of the left taken such a lead over a politician of the right among the National Press Club members, but such was the occasion. That Hillary Clinton, the Prime Minister and Progressive Alliance leader, and National Party leader Christian Porter went on the same day was already an amazing opportunity as it was, but to see them back to back deliver their speeches on the vision for the country. No starker contrast was the standpoint on the refugee issue. Here's Hillary Clinton:
"Australia is a nation blessed with riches and a culture that accepts all as long as they are ready to work hard and have a fair go at prosperity. For some political parties to use refugees as bargaining chips for political gain, that is wrong and immoral. I challenge Labor, the National Party and the rest of the Australian political spectrum: what exactly are you proposing as an alternative to accepting refugees and helping not only the military effort in Dromund Kaas but the humanitarian effort as well?"
Here's Christian Porter:
"Hillary Clinton and the Government will find a way to sell Australian security down the drain. Economic security will be lost by the fact that these refugees will have a free pass to economic migrant status and work for pennies on the dollar. She will bring in radicals that will conduct terrorist attacks in our nation, much like they have in the United Kingdom at Piccadilly Circus. She will not stop the boats of humanity, destroying Australia's moral security in its position as a leader in the region. She is perhaps the most dangerous politician we have had in Australian history ever occupy the Lodge (the residence of the Australian Prime Minister)".
Two quotes, but the response from the audience was clear as a standing ovation for Clinton last almost 4 minutes while tepid applause greeted Christian Porter. The National Press Club has been, for now, the bastion of the centre-right and has acted as coronations for National Party Prime Ministers like John Howard and Tony Abbott. That took a step towards changing this weekend with the arrival of Hillary Clinton.