Australia

Bligh no Beattie so trouble looms

Sep 24th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia

Peter Beattie as a politician was sly, manipulative and cunning, but he also had the brilliant knack of being able to lead public opinion. He had the capacity to quickly change the terms of a public debate. His legendary ability to apologise for problems of the day was might have enraged the political class, but it went down a treat with the voters.



Voters turn against Labor states, says Newspoll

Sep 24th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia, Lead Stories

Labor’s longest-serving premier, Mike Rann, is in deep trouble in South Australia, where the ALP’s primary vote has been overtaken by the state Liberals, leaving tied after preferences. Labor’s primary vote in Queensland dropped five percentage points to 38 per cent, against 41 per cent for the newly merged Liberal National Party.



Liberals look to fight on green agenda

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia

Victorian Andrew Robb has been given the elevated portfolio of infrastructure, federal-state relations and emissions trading. The former foreign affairs spokesman said the Opposition would develop policies that would challenge Labor’s approach on many issues. Mr Robb said today that he was well-placed to develop bold ideas in the area because Labor was failing to develop environmental policies with the economy front and centre.



McCain pledges to renew Australian alliance

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia, Election 2008

The Republican presidential candidate says he will work with the Rudd Government to establish a global framework that would encourage China and India to become part of the solution to man-made climate change. Senator McCain says he is committed to a market-based cap-and-trade system aimed at reducing carbon emissions. And he wants a closer bilateral partnership on other key issues such as nuclear proliferation, trade liberalisation and combating terrorism.



Costa calls it a day … his way

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia

Like his boss, former premier Morris Iemma, who has also quit politics, former treasurer Michael Costa crashed and burned over their doomed attempt to privatise New South Wales’ electricity industry. Earlier this month, in the most tumultuous week in state politics since the 1930s, Mr Iemma told Mr Costa he was being dropped from the ministry 12 hours before Mr Iemma himself was decapitated by Labor’s dominant Right faction.



Wayne Swan still has a job to do on welfare

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia

The mixed result in the analysis of Australia’s tax and handout system shows how much further the Rudd Government has to go in order to achieve its stated goal of a simpler, fairer and more jobs-friendly regime. The analysis shows that 97,000 families in the top half of the income ladder lost family payments because of the budget. However, the clawback was offset by 53,000 new family payment recipients coming from the bottom half of the ladder, due to other tax changes.



Liberals take battle to PM Kevin Rudd’s turf

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia

The new Opposition Leader named sustainable development, in all areas including cities, as his key personal policy interest, signalling a dramatic departure from the direction of the Howard government, which saw no role for the commonwealth in urban affairs. But as Mr Turnbull trumpeted his forward-looking approach, Labor’s Julia Gillard said his team was stacked with climate-change sceptics and cheerleaders for Mr. Howard’s Work Choices industrial relations laws.



Minor parties force changes to Medicare threshold

Sep 23rd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia, Lead Stories

The Rudd Government has bowed to pressure from the Greens and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and slashed the proposed income thresholds for the Medicare surcharge to $75,000 for singles, although Health Minister Nicola Roxon wants to leave the proposed new threshold for couples unchanged at $150,000.



Turnbull to seize on Rudd’s absence

Sep 22nd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia

The Prime Minister today defended the trip as in the national interest, and received some unlikely support today from Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who said now was the time to talk to world leaders in the wake of the global financial crisis. But Liberal frontbencher Eric Abetz said this morning: “Kevin747 seems to be a very good little tagline for him. It’s, unfortunately, indicative of what he’s been doing in recent times.”



Turnbull puts life into Libs

Sep 22nd, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Australia

Although the primary vote did not change outside the margin of error of the latest Newspoll survey, taken on the weekend, the Coalition did register its best performance since the election with a primary vote of 38 per cent, up one point, compared with Labor’s 42 per cent, down two points. The two-party-preferred support was back to the levels of mid-July, with the Coalition on 45 per cent and Labor on 55.