Latest political news

Immigration 'knew of Nauru asbestos risk'

United Voice, the union representing Wilson Security staff, said it had repeatedly raised the issue of asbestos exposure on Nauru.

Nicole Hasham   Piles of burnt rubble riddled with asbestos lay around a prison at Nauru where scores of asylum seekers have been held and government contractors have worked, posing a "potentially serious" health risk, leaked emails show.

Risk of recession put at 50 per cent

 Warwick McKibbin

Jessica Irvine    There is a 50 per cent chance Australia will slide into recession in the coming year, according to respected economist and former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin.

Peter Dutton hits back at New York Times

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

Kate Aubusson   Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has hit back at the New York Times editorial that criticised Australia's treatment of asylum seekers, insisting the government's policies were lawful, safe and worked.

Citizenship laws need to be narrowed: MPs

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will consider the amendments.

David Wroe   Laws to strip dual national terrorists of their Australian citizenship are likely to be passed within a fortnight after a bipartisan group of MPs backed the draft legislation while urging significant changes.

Sidelined competition review's $3m in costs

Review panel chairman Professor Ian Harper.

Heath Aston   The 550-page Harper review of competition laws, which Labor claims has been "punted off into the never never" due to divisions in the Abbott cabinet, cost $3 million in salaries and travel costs alone for the expert panel and 16 bureaucrats supporting them.

Push for science graduates could backfire

Research has questioned the push for more science and technology workers.

Matthew Knott   Calls to boost the number of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates are based largely on "hope and hype" and could leave many graduates jobless, according to a new report.

Gay-marriage referendum might hit powers

Illustration: Andrew Dyson

Mark Kenny   A referendum on same-sex marriage could lead to a weakened Parliament and even more ambiguity over the legal regulation of marriage, according to top-level legal advice.

Bipartisan backing for stripping of citizenship

Australian citizenship could be stripped for dual citizens under the proposals.

David Wroe   Laws to strip dual national terrorists of their Australian citizenship are a big step closer with a bipartisan committee of MPs calling for the bill to be passed, though with significant changes.

NDIS board ousted in 'midnight ambush'

Dr Bruce Bonyhady, chairman of the NDIS.

Sarah Whyte   Board members on the National Disability Insurance Scheme were given a "midnight ambush" when their jobs were advertised in a national paper before they were told, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.

Rupert Murdoch calls for snap election

Rupert Murdoch thinks Australians are "gtreAt people but with large problems".

Liam Mannix   The newspaper mogul tweets that Tony Abbott is still by 'far the best alternative' for a 'beautiful country ... with large problems'.

Comment & Analysis

The rise of ScoMo: it's not if, but when?

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Adam Gartrell 9:00 PM   Whatever happens with the Liberal leadership - and whichever party wins the next election - Scott Morrison will be sitting pretty.

Broderick led gender change 

Annabel Crabb dinkus

Annabel Crabb 9:00 PM   Sex discrimination commissioner created a new club for male business leaders, who then vied to one-up each other.

Australia technically on par with Nazi Germany

Charles Waterstreet.

Charles Waterstreet 9:00 PM   One good thing about the past is that it is over. Done. Gone.

Why our economy is no longer riding high

Peter Martin dinkus

Peter Martin 9:00 PM   The Twin Peaks that reveal why Australia's economy is struggling.

When the Border Force goes overboard

Protesters stop traffic outside Flinders Street during action against Operation Border Force.

Nicole Hasham   Last week's visa-check debacle in Melbourne, Operation Fortitude, has many questioning the motivation of the new Border Force whose actions left ordinary citizens feeling intimidated.

Time for Australia to tackle refugee crisis

Anne Summers dinkus Dinkus

Anne Summers   Like the Austrians who waited to greet Syrian refugees at a Vienna railway station this week, there are many Australians who have rolled out the welcome mat to desperate new arrivals to this country.

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No, PM, we don't have the answer

A migrant holding her child is detained in Bicske, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015.

Michael Gordon   No, Prime Minister, the Australian experience does not offer anything remotely useful to countries dealing with the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

Abbott's asylum seeker policy misrepresented

Haidar 41 (left) from Baghdad in Iraq holding his son Mohamed, three (2nd from left) with Nasma 25 (right) Libyan of Bangladeshi descent with her husband as they wait to be rescued from their wooden boat by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station crew supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres last Wednesday.

Mark Kenny   The New York Times has urged European leaders not to adopt the heartless Australian model of denying asylum seekers exercising the maritime option in their bid to escape war and seek a better, safer life.

Jumping off the hamster wheel

Peter Hartcher dinkus

Peter Hartcher   Not all politicians think in sound bites as the latest crop of books by Labor and Liberal MPs show.

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Two years on, it's all about Tony

Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Michael Gordon   The federal government's problems with voters start at the top.

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Rough edges to be knocked off laws

Immigration Department secretary Michael Pezzullo.

David Wroe   Friday's parliamentary report on planned citizenship laws is crafted to ensure the laws are more carefully aimed at the right people: foreign fighters and actual convicted terrorists back home.

Pub test: a new tool in the politics of cynicism

Waleed Aly dinkus. Dinkus

Waleed Aly   Critics who claim Dyson Heydon's decision would not pass the pub test should mount a challenge or shut up.

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Paying the price of the good times

Jessica Irvine

Jessica Irvine   When times were good, Australia chose the path of individualism. It's a path that successive governments have followed, and now Australians are likely to pay the price.

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China trade deal is the PM's greatest success

Mark kenny dinkus

Mark Kenny   Prime Minister Tony Abbott finds himself standing with the sensible centre now that the trade deal has become partisan.

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Bending truth on tests for Chinese workers

Chinese state-operating enterprises could soon be able to tender for big infrastructure projects, such as Sydney's Westlink, with their own workers.

Bob Kinnaird and Bob Birrell   Trade Minister Andrew Robb can't deny what is written in the Australia-China free trade agreement.

Markson Sparks! presents PM's new job push

Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Konrad Marshall   In Melbourne's Ringwood on Thursday Prime Minister Tony Abbott was merely one half of an odd pairing with the shiniest of Sydney PR impresarios.

Why 60 cents might be just what we need

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Peter Martin   The Australian dollar has dipped below 70 US cents twice in the last two days. Next time, it's set to stay below 70 and keep falling.

Bill Shorten is flogging a dangerous horse

Paul Sheehan

Paul Sheehan   Despite claims that Dyson Heydon's decision to stay on as head of the trade union royal commission would not pass the sniff test, an online radio poll shows his rebuttal has weight in the community.

Laws will increase Aboriginal deaths 

AFR First use only please ---- 14th August 2007 --- AFR Pic by Ben Plant

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Image shows the Australian Aboriginal Flag in the foreground against the background of the George V Statue in the grounds of Old Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Generic, Flag, Protest, Aboriginal, Aborigine, Torres Strait Islander, Land Rights, Indigenous affairs, Traditional owners, Statue, Building, Canberra, Racism, Australian

Rob Hulls   More Aborigines will die unless we overturn laws such as those in the NT that allow arrests with no police accountability.

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Smart politicians find news ways to be heard

Sports will be the key to the Foxtel and Ten deal

Josh Gordon   The government is unable to get its message across and its frustration is growing.

When politicians need a poll boost, be afraid

?John Shakespeare colour cartoon / illo / illustration / toon / artwork 

Tony Abbott in army uniform with fist tattooed with GOOD on each finger/cape made out of the Australian flag

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Sally Young   Flag waving and inciting security concerns can help lift a government’s approval rating, but it is only temporary.

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Special features

When the Border Force goes overboard

Nicole Hasham Last week's visa-check debacle in Melbourne, Operation Fortitude, has many questioning the motivation of the new Border Force whose actions left ordinary citizens feeling intimidated and unwelcome.

Jumping off the hamster wheel

Not all politicians think in sound bites as the latest crop of books by Labor and Liberal MPs show.

Abbott's asylum seeker policy misrepresented

Mark Kenny The New York Times has urged European leaders not to adopt the heartless Australian model of denying asylum seekers exercising the maritime option in their bid to escape war and seek a better, safer life.

No, PM, we don't have the answer

Michael Gordon No, Prime Minister, the Australian experience does not offer anything remotely useful to countries dealing with the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

Federal politics quiz: The week ending September 4

Ten questions, 10 chances to prove yourself.

Economy neither wonderful nor woeful

Searchers after truth rather than headlines don't take quarterly changes in GDP too literally. This graph shows why we shouldn't lose our bundle over the economy.

Pub test: a new tool in the politics of cynicism

Critics who claim Dyson Heydon’s decision would not pass the pub test should mount a challenge or shut up.

Why 60 cents might be just what we need

Peter Martin The Australian dollar has dipped below 70 US cents twice in the last two days. Next time, it's set to stay below 70 and keep falling.

Nazi reference reveals PM's recklessness

Mark Kenny Tony Abbott never uses the words, Islamic State, or IS, or ISIS, or ISIL.

Yesterday's budget jam risks leaving the cupboard bare

When times were good, Australia chose the path of individualism. It's a path successive governments have followed, and now Australians are likely to pay the price.

Bill Shorten is flogging a dangerous horse

Despite claims that Justice Dyson Heydon's decision to stay on as head of the trade union royal commission would not pass the sniff test, an online radio poll shows his rebuttal has both moral and legal weight in the community.

Defence spending keeps economy growing

A 41.5 per cent jump in government spending on defence equipment helped Australia's economy grow by 0.2 per cent for the three months to June. If it wasn't for that,  the economy wouldn't have grown at all.

Smart politicians find news ways to be heard

The government is unable to get its message across and its frustration is growing.

Dutton media attack a reminder of Gillard era

A government flailing in the polls, struggling to explain a policy agenda and beset by internal instability. A senior minister emerges from the wreckage to accuse the media of bias. I say "deja", you say "vu".

Wedge politics game has few winners

If you wonder why our politicians don't seem interested in good government, their addiction to playing the wedge-and-block game explains a lot.

When politicians need a poll boost, be afraid

Sally Young Flag waving and inciting security concerns can help lift a government's approval rating, but it is only temporary.

Government lights a fire and then complains about the heat

Voters might experience it like a recurring wave of nausea. A faltering government is lashing out, blaming others as the accounts of its own dysfunction pile up. This seems too familiar. And too rich an irony.