Binding vote on gay marriage 'foolish': union heavyweight

Judith Ireland and Matthew Knott 11:44 AM   Prominent same-sex marriage opponent Joe de Bruyn says Tanya Plibersek's push for a binding vote on the issue is just about her "playing up" to her inner-city electorate.

Latest political news

Gay Liberal senator attacks Plibersek

Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek wants Labor MPs to have a binding vote on gay marriage.

Matthew Knott 6:52 PM   Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has "wrecked" progress within the Liberal Party towards a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, the Liberal Party's first openly gay federal parliamentarian says.

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0.002 per cent: BHP reveals effective tax rate

The world's biggest miner said its third-quarter iron ore production rose 5 per cent on the three months ended December 31.

Heath Aston 12:15 PM   BHP Billiton has revealed the true extent of its sweetheart deal with tax authorities in Singapore.

Bishop 'very disappointed' with Indonesia

Disappointed: Julie Bishop.

James Massola 2:38 PM   Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says there is "no evidence" Indonesia is responding to diplomatic pressure.

Turnbull denies influence on SBS sacking

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull

1:59 PM   Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has denied having any influence in a decision by SBS to sack one of its reporters over offensive Anzac Day tweets.

Means-testing could boost pensions: study

"They are not just places to live but untapped assets": Matthew Taylor, Centre for Independent Studies.

Peter Martin 8:03 AM   Including the family home in the pension assets test could be a political plus if handled properly, a new report suggests.

Tax man loses $400m to super dodgers 


Heath Aston 10:12 AM   Cbus, which manages $27 billion on behalf of building and construction workers, is calling on the Abbott government to crack down on employers who duck the super guarantee contribution.

Labor, Greens join calls for Bali 9 clemency

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek during a candlelight vigil for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in February.

James Massola   Labor and the Greens have backed calls for Bali 9 pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to be granted clemency, even as the condemned men confront the reality that they could be killed by the Indonesian state as soon as Tuesday night.

Push for all Labor MPs to back gay marriage

Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek wants her party to uniformly support same-sex marriage.

Judith Ireland 11:14 AM   EXCLUSIVE Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek is calling on her party to make all Labor MPs vote for same-sex marriage in a fresh bid to get federal parliament to legalise the reform. Ms Plibersek will argue the ALP should change its platform at the party's national conference in July.

Savings 'should go back into the system'

Shadow Health Minister Catherine King during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 27 November 2014. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

James Massola   Labor Health spokeswoman Catherine King says any savings found in a review of the system should be re-invested in health care, not used to repair the budget bottom line.

One in 10 on welfare is overpaid: Centrelink

The biggest class of over-payment was family tax benefit, followed by Newstart and the single parent payment.

Heath Aston   Nearly 750,000 welfare recipients were overpaid by Centrelink in the second half of last year, creating what welfare advocates say is a "bonanza" for debt collectors.

Comment & Analysis

In terror, conflating the threats inflates the fear

We should be careful not to exaggerate the role of Islamic State as an inspiration and training ground for jihadist terrorism.

Hugh White 12:15 AM   Australia’s response to jihadist actions is out of proportion to the danger.

Comments 6

Negative gearers are not battlers

"It's aspirational for people to have that opportunity to go and invest in property to try and provide for their future,'' Social Services Minister Scott Morrison says.

Peter Martin 12:15 AM   It is disturbing that the Property Council's advice is preferred to that of the RBA. 

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Abbott has put spill behind him for now

Tony Abbott

Peter Reith 10:21 PM   The Prime Minister's political scare is sure to have made him more wary of the ramification of his decisions.

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Constitutionally, what is Noel Pearson up to?

Noel Pearson, indigenous rights campaigner photographed for The AFR Magazine s 2007 Power Issue by Louie Douvis. August 2007.   NB  STRICTLY NOT TO BE PUBLISHED BEFORE FEBRUARY 2007 WITHOUT PERMISSION OF AFR MAGAZINE ART DIRECTOR TONY RICE ON  02  9282 2243 SPECIALX POWER

Dominic Kelly 12:15 AM   Is the Indigenous leader’s latest manoeuvre veering to the pragmatic or cunning?

Why take offence at offence?

Rhys Muldoon dinkus

Rhys Muldoon 9:45 PM   I disagreed with most of Scott McIntyre's ANZAC tweets, but I wasn't offended by them.

High health costs can be cut, review shows

Jeffrey Braithwaite dinkus

Jeffrey Braithwaite   The decision of Health Minister Sussan Ley to set up a three-part review of Medicare does some important things.

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Democracy: Use it or we may lose it

Ballot box

Amanda Vanstone   It's a worrying development that so many people who live in democracies are either dissatisfied with politics or, worse still, have little faith in democracy as a system.

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Long live Prince Charles, king of Australia?

Tim Dick

Tim Dick   Prince Charles, next King of Australia, delivered a perfectly apt dawn address to the crowds at Gallipoli, suggesting his rule does not have to be the meddling disaster-in-waiting many fear.

Stop the boats, just like Australia

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Julie Bishop shake hands after a joint press conference in Berlin.

David Wroe   Across Europe, and particularly in Germany, newspapers this week carried stories that asked: Could Australia's tough border protection regime serve as a model for Europe?

The dangerous view of Iran

Illustration: Jim Pavlidis

Daniel Flitton   Covering Julie Bishop's visit, the first by an Australian minister to Tehran in more than a decade, was a chance to see a country in what might be the final days of relative international isolation.

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Lest we forget Gallipoli was a disaster

Peter Hartcher dinkus

Peter Hartcher   As we commemorate the Anzacs, it is vital we recognise that Gallipoli was a military debacle we must strive never to repeat.

Brothers in arms a compelling narrative

Brothers in arms.

Gina McColl   It's a dangerous idea, drawing parallels between the idealistic recruits who left Australia for Gallipoli and World War I  and young jihadis leaving to fight with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq today. And  potentially incendiary on Anzac Day in its centenary year.

Double standard politics takes a new leap

David Leyonhjelm dinkus

David Leyonhjelm   It always surprises me when people ask whether a comment I've made is "appropriate" for a Senator. It implies that my standards should be different from everyone else's.

A fresh take on sacrifice and glory

 john birmingham dinkus

John Birmingham   It wasn't always this way. Fifty years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the landings at Anzac Cove, the dawn service was much smaller, attended by a few hundred survivors of the Gallipoli campaign, the returning ghosts of battles past, their passage paid for by the Australian and Turkish governments.

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Medicare review could help patients, budget

Health minister Sussan Ley has found a more successful approach than her predecessor.

Harriet Alexander   Sussan Ley's collaborative approach, in contrast to her predecessor's combative approach, has the healthcare sector on-side.

The East West Link is dead, accept it

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15:  Collingwood resident Helen Bonanno  poses for a photo on April 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today officially scrapped the East West Link project, announcing that the State Government will pay $339 million to East West Connect - the group contracted to build the road.  (Photo by Pat Scala/Fairfax Media) *** Local Caption *** Helen Bonanno

Shane Green   This is the headline you were never going to read: 'Labor to build East West link'. And rightly so.

Time to stop fighting other peoples' wars

Alan Ramsey

Alan Ramsey   Fifty years on and the anniversary of Australia's entry into its first war without Britain, the "mother country" has been ignored, smothered by the jingoism of the circus the Gallipoli centenary has become.

Hockey and Abbott pay the iron price

Treasurer Joe Hockey's struggle to balance Australia's books has left the government vulnerable to attacks by the opposition.

Mark Kenny   As the iron-ore price heads back towards its long-term average, taking revenue with it, frustration is about the only thing filling the space between the represented and those doing the representing.

A young person's view on radicalisation

Radicalised youth

Rizina Yadav    The government needs to engage with young people to fight radicalisation, not lecture them.

Crackdown politically risky, but makes sense

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen.

Mark Kenny   Tax concessions on super were designed to encourage people to save for retirement, not to allow the very wealthy to park their money out of reach of the taxman.

Our shining Foreign Minister needs to focus

John Garnaut dinkus Dinkus

John Garnaut   These are testing times and Julie Bishop should keep a close eye on her portfolio.

Special features

Supporting start-up entrepreneurs

The government is considering increasing support for hi-tech start-up companies. Liberal MP Wyatt Roy explains why.

Pyne set to show different side of himself in upcoming memoirs

James Massola He's been called the most hated man in Australian politics, an alien from another planet, and describes himself as a "fixer". But now Christopher Pyne is preparing to show a different side of himself in his memoirs "A Letter to My Children".

Hockey and Abbott pay the iron price

Mark Kenny As the iron-ore price heads back towards its long-term average taking revenue with it, frustration is about the only thing filling the space between the represented and those doing the representing.

A young person's view on radicalisation

Rizina Yadav The government needs to engage with young people to fight radicalisation, not lecture them.

Our shining Foreign Minister needs to focus

John Garnaut These are testing times and Julie Bishop should keep a close eye on her portfolio.

Labor's crackdown on super tax breaks risky, but makes sense

Mark Kenny Tax concessions on super were designed to encourage people to save for retirement, not to allow the very wealthy to park their money out of reach of the taxman.

Labor's house of cards

Bill Shorten's the winner after a realignment of factions within the Victorian ALP. James Massola explains.

Soldiers’ courage, stoicism set example

On a still spring night a century ago the ships carrying the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps stole in towards the high coastline of the Gallipoli peninsula.

A chilling step closer to Australian secret police

Foreign journalists are falling off their chairs in shock at the brutality of our data retention law, yet we hardly blink an eye.

The compelling case for deeper emissions cuts

Tom Arup Australia needs to set much more ambitious targets if it wants to keep up with other nations on climate change policy.

One million Australians in poverty - it's not good enough

Judith Ireland When we think about poverty, we don't think of Australia. But new data suggests that attitude is not helping us address the large number of Australians doing it tough.

Bishop visits Charlie Hebdo cartoonists 

Nick Miller A new cartoon sits on the crowded walls of Charlie Hebdo's offices in Paris.

Black or white: no need to be afraid of each other

Harold Ludwick Only constitutional reform can bring real, rather than symbolic, recognition.

The view from Iran

Fairfax's Daniel Flitton witnesses history in the making in Tehran as Julie Bishop forges a new relationship.

Skol doesn't sit quite right

When Tony Abbott downed that beer, he didn't just put an end to all those jokes about his shandy drinking.

The forgotten Anzacs

Tony Wright Aboriginal families of Condah have fought in every war since World War I despite their own lands being stolen and being denied soldier benefits.

The real Julia Gillard

'People ask me: what is Julia Gillard like? The former PM's speechwriter reveals what makes the her  tick.