Little comfort for Abbott in Baird's re-election

Mark Kenny 11:43 PM   Analysis NSW success points up a big difference between the leadership styles of the likeable Mike Baird and the polarising Tony Abbott.

Latest political news

2500 metadata 'cops' unleashed

Insists legislation contained "strengthened safeguards": Senator George Brandis.

David Wroe 12:15 AM   Police officers comprise the majority of people empowered to sign off on access to Australians' phone and internet records, Fairfax Media has found.

ACCC to spend $500k on conference

ACCC accused of holding lavish parties.

Matthew Knott 9:03 AM   Taxpayers will spend half a million dollars for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to host a gathering of global competition watchdogs in Sydney next month.

Union call to expel former Labor minister

AFR. 21/03/2014. Hon Martin Ferguson Group Executive - Natural Resources, Seven Group Holdings speaking at the Energy State of the Nation at the Pullman Hotel in Sydney. Photos Chris Pearce

Nick Toscano 1:42 AM   Victoria's union chiefs have unanimously called on Labor to expel Rudd-Gillard frontbencher Martin Ferguson from the party as anger rises over recent comments savaging the ALP and the trade union movement.

Australia 'cooking books' on emissions

Hazelwood - Australia's most emissions-intensive major power plant.

Adam Morton and Lisa Cox 12:15 AM   The Australian government is changing how it expresses climate change targets in way that could make it appear to the public as though it is cutting greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly than it is.

Ministers meet to discuss Germanwings crash

Co-pilot behind deliberate crash: Andreas Lubitz.

Matthew Knott 1:33 AM   The National Security Committee has met to canvass options following the Germanwings crash that killed 150 people.

Childcare pricing plan lags behind real fees

Childcare generic.

Judith Ireland 12:15 AM   The Abbott government is considering how to limit extra spending on childcare while minimising the number of families left worse off.

Australia 'at risk of failing' biggest climate test 

 Environment Minister Greg Hunt says Australia is committed to action on climate change "because it's real and significant and important".

Lisa Cox 3:41 PM   The government says it will be a constructive player in global climate talks but environment groups warn it is laying out a path that puts Australia at risk of failing the most important climate test in a decade.

ABS merger off as census goes Code Red

The government is expected to decide the fate of the 2016 census before the budget in May. Cancellation would require an amendment of the Census and Statistics Act.

Peter Martin   The Abbott government rejects a plan to merge the Bureau of Statistics with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, part of a suite of measures put forward by the bureau to help it find savings.

Macfarlane confident of RET crossbench deal

Ian Macfarlane, Australia's industry minister, speaks during the International Mining and Resources conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. The conference runs until Sept. 26. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Ian Macfarlane

Lisa Cox   Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane believes he does not need Labor to pass major reductions to Australia's renewable energy target and can secure a deal with the crossbench.

Fraser remembered at state funeral service

FRASER; 970930; MELB; PIC SEBASTIAN COSTANZO; GEN;
MALCOM FRASER AT THE LEGACY LUNCH

Lisa Cox and Jason Dowling   Malcolm Fraser's granddaughter has revealed intimate details of the former PM's life away from politics.

Comment & Analysis

Little comfort for Abbott in Baird's re-election

Opposing propositions: Tony Abbott the polariser and Mike Baird the likeable.

Mark Kenny 11:43 PM   Mike Baird's growing ease as election day loomed was matched by a similar sense of relief in Tony Abbott's mind.

How Baird kept the PM afloat

Indebted to Premier Mike Baird: Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Michael Gordon 12:05 AM   The next time Tony Abbott is having a surf with his mate Mike Baird, he should acknowledge his debt to Manly's quiet achiever by calling Baird into the best of the waves.

Detainees: their living nightmare

Daniel Flitton

Daniel Flitton   Okay, metadata is bad. I get it. The apprehension, fear of unwarranted state interference, the digital manifestation of Big Brother. But why do Australians ignore an actual scandal involving the use of secret intelligence happening right now?

Comments 56

A real fixer has won the climate debate

Peter Hartcher dinkus

Peter Hartcher   As Direct Action swings into gear, Australia is ahead in its task to combat carbon emissions under a prime minister who once thought climate change was absolute crap.

Comments 117

Fraser put values into public life

Martin Flanagan

Martin Flanagan   It is no surprise the public liked a politician who argued for values in public life when doing so no longer served his personal interests.

Comments 7

Same-sex marriage fizzer doesn't mean end

"Support for marriage equality does not require, or indeed imply, approval of any particular marriage or marriage outcome": Senator David Leyonhjelm.

Judith Ireland   It was either a failure of nerves or of organisation says Senator David Leyonhjelm. But what happened?

Chinese diplomats run rings around Australia

China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei.

John Garnaut   Successive Australian governments have failed to talk with honesty and nuance about China, making challenges posed by the rising power look more daunting than they are.

Comments 11

Has the pro-business party lost its nerve?

Have Abbott and Hockey lost their appetite for fiscal reform?

Mark Kenny   Business bodies are concerned that a weakened Coalition leadership is putting political stability ahead of reform.

Comments 112

Sick of Abbott? Send Baird to Canberra

Alan Stokes.

Alan Stokes   Vote for Mike Baird.The federal Libs need a saviour. So he goes to Canberra and a Turnbull-Bishop-Baird dream team takes over. Simple.

Comments 15

Greste delivers a lesson in journalism

Journalist Peter Greste addresses the National Press Club on Thursday.

Lisa Davies   Peter Greste walked to the microphone at the National Press Club and deftly schooled the nation's media in journalism. 

Minor league players will decide election

Glenn Druery dinkus

Glenn Druery   In 2011, voters brought about the political evisceration of the ALP after 16 long years in government. We witnessed some of the biggest swings against the Labor in NSW political history.

Comments 25

Time to act on undeniable harm on Nauru

Steven Glass dinkus

Steven Glass   On September 25 last year, for the more than 900 asylum seekers in Nauru, hope for a life free of persecution turned instantly to despair.

Same-sex marriage bill simply about equality

Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street

David Leyonhjelm   Most Australians are horrified when they hear how some parents arrange their children's marriages and then get angry, or even violent, when the kids won't play along. 

Why Liberal Party risks becoming irrelevant

Doug Anthony and Malcolm Fraser at the Liberal Party rally at St. Mary's, 13 October 1980,

Dale Hughes   The Liberals need to engage young people by focusing on big picture ideas that politicians like Malcolm Fraser championed.

Whistleblowers likely to become rare species

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten leaves the House after supporting the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill at Parliament House in Canberra on March 19.

Jonathan Holmes   Data retention laws mean journalists must be technologically competent enough to honour a promise of confidentiality to a source.

Bishop needs to leave Speaker's chair

Madam Speaker Bronwyn Bishop made an end of year speech at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 4 December 2014. Photo: Andrew Meares

Tim Dick   Bronwyn Bishop is a formidable political combatant but a terrible parliamentary speaker. She should be moved on.

Catholic funding pleas fall on willing ears

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Ross Gittins   Catholic schools' superior bargaining power tends to spread gains to other religious and independent schools.

Joe Hockey to tart up the budget with lipstick

Peter Martin dinkus

Peter Martin   The Treasurer moans about Labor’s budget tricks, yet considers a similar sleight of hand.

Game of seduction we need to battle

Islamic State is using social media as an effective recruitment tool for vulnerable young people.

Debra Smith and Virginie Andre   Like any predator, Islamic State knows its target and its savvy social media campaign is tapping into the emotional needs of young people seeking to make their mark on the world.

Aid becomes a pawn in leadership play

Mark Kenny

Mark Kenny   The exasperation on the Foreign Minister's face on Monday spoke more clearly than a thousand angry words.

How democracy is letting us down

Peter Hartcher dinkus

Peter Hartcher   Lee Kuan Yew built Singapore into a fully developed economy, but he leaves it a half-developed democracy. And that’s just the way he liked it.

Special features

How Baird kept the PM afloat

Michael Gordon The next time Tony Abbott is having a surf with his mate Mike Baird, he should acknowledge his debt to Manly's quiet achiever by calling Baird into the best of the waves.

The long, hard road to empowerment

Michael Gordon It is one word that has proved hard to define and impossible to deliver, but it has underpinned almost every substantial discussion about closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage and achieving reconciliation.

State of disunion

Ben Schneiders Has neoliberal economics fatally wounded Australia's once invinsible union movement?

A family says farewell

Tony Wright The powerful and the mighty past and present came, of course, and filled The Scots Church and spilled over Russell St Street to St Michael's church, this being the state funeral of a former prime minister.

Family affairs

Australians have wildly different experiences on their journeys to children, Judith Ireland reports.

How property investing politicians have skin in the game on the negative gearing debate

Interactive Australia's federal politicians have been outed as the country's most enthusiastic property investors.

Fraser funeral: as it happened

Judith Ireland Malcolm Fraser was farewelled on Friday during a moving state funeral service in Melbourne.

Greste gives journalists a lesson in journalism

Lisa Davies Peter Greste walked to the microphone at the National Press Club and deftly schooled the nation's media in journalism.

Malcolm Fraser, 1930-2015

See our full coverage as Australian political figures, past and present, pay tribute to former Liberal prime minister who has died age 84.

Chinese diplomats run rings around Australia

John Garnaut Successive Australian governments have failed to talk with honesty and nuance about China, making challenges posed by the rising power look more daunting than they are.

I don't have a Facebook page!: Howard

Former US president George W Bush once called John Howard a "man of steel" in a reference to his steadfast support for the United States-led invasion of Iraq.

The Pulse live from Parliament

It's the last parliamentary sitting day for quite some time. But before we up stumps there are a few things to tick off the to-do list.

Why Liberal Party risks becoming irrelevant

Dale Hughes The Liberals need to engage young people by focusing on big picture ideas that politicians like Malcolm Fraser championed.

Same-sex marriage bill is simply about equality

David Leyonhjelm Most Australians are horrified when they hear how some parents arrange their children's marriages and then get angry, or even violent, when the kids won't play along. 

Whistleblowers likely to become rare species

Jonathan Holmes Data retention laws mean journalists must be technologically competent enough to honour a promise of confidentiality to a source.

Bronwyn Bishop needs to leave the Speaker's chair

Tim Dick Bronwyn Bishop is a formidable political combatant but a terrible parliamentary speaker. She should be moved on.