Politics

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.



South Africa’s ANC names Thabo Mbeki successor

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

Kgalema Motlanthe, who like many of South Africa’s current leaders was involved in the struggle to end white minority rule, is to serve as head of state until national elections are held in seven months’ time. He has been considered a key African National Congress strategist who has appealed to supporters of both Mbeki and the outgoing president’s rival Jacob Zuma. Zuma, who is ANC president, is widely seen as the favourite to become head of state after the election.



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.



Cash for Trash

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

Some skeptics are calling Henry Paulson’s $700 billion rescue plan for the U.S. financial system “cash for trash.” Others are calling the proposed legislation the Authorization for Use of Financial Force. There’s justice in the gibes. While everyone agrees that something major must be done, Mr. Paulson is demanding extraordinary power for himself — and for his successor — to deploy taxpayers’ money on behalf of a plan that doesn’t make sense.



Obama Led Opponent in Spending in August

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

Senator Barack Obama significantly outspent Senator John McCain in August as the two campaigns ramped up their general election fight, with the Obama campaign spending $53 million that month, $32 million of which went to advertising. That compared with the $41 million spent by the McCain campaign, $23 million of which went to advertising.



Loan Titans Paid McCain Adviser Nearly $2 Million

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

Incensed by Republican advertisements critical of Senator Barack Obama, several current and former executives came forward to discuss the role that Rick Davis, Senator John McCain’s campaign manager and longtime adviser, played in helping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beat back regulatory challenges when he served as president of their advocacy group, the Homeownership Alliance, formed in the summer of 2000.