Shorten drags China free trade deal into byelection fight

Mark Kenny 7:44 AM   Bill Shorten has moved to put the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement at centre-stage of the Canning byelection campaign while brushing off claims he is becoming politically isolated as a slew of Labor premiers and other senior figures back the plan.

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Latest political news

Sidelined competition review's $3m in costs

Review panel chairman Professor Ian Harper.

Heath Aston 3:50 PM   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 6:45 PM   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.

Bipartisan backing for stripping of citizenship

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

David Wroe 1:16 PM   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.

Comments 9

NDIS board ousted in 'midnight ambush'

Dr Bruce Bonyhady, chairman of the NDIS.

Sarah Whyte 1:45 PM   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 3:17 PM   The newspaper mogul tweets that Tony Abbott is still by 'far the best alternative' for a 'beautiful country ... with large problems'.

Australia flags naval drills in signal to China

A Chinese missile frigate takes part in  exercises conducted by the Singaporean and Chinese navies in the South China Sea earlier this year.

David Wroe, John Garnaut 10:25 PM   Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has flagged the revival of four-way naval drills with the US, India and Japan in a signal Australia is pushing back against Chinese assertiveness.

Joko urged to pay urgent visit to improve ties

Indonesian President Joko Widodo with Tony Abbott at the G20 summit in Brisbane last November.

Latika Bourke   Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo should urgently visit Australia to reset relations at the highest levels, a former Indonesian vice-foreign affairs minister says.

Abbott shipping changes 'will sink 1000 jobs'

Opponents to the shipping industry changes say they will cost jobs.

Heath Aston 7:45 AM   More than nine in ten domestic seafarers will lose their jobs if the Abbott government's plan to relax shipping regulations passes Parliament, research suggests.

NYT attacks Abbott over boats policy

Asylum seekers inside the compound on Nauru.

Nicole Hasham 1:52 PM   The New York Times has launched a blistering attack on the Abbott government's asylum seeker policies, urging European leaders not to follow suit.

Hastie rules out discussion of religious beliefs

Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie.

Lisa Cox, Mark Kenny   The Liberal Party's star candidate in the Canning byelection, Andrew Hastie, has ruled out a discussion of his religious beliefs while campaigning with former prime minister John Howard.

Comment & Analysis

Pub test: a new tool in the politics of cynicism

Waleed Aly dinkus. Dinkus

Waleed Aly 8:56 AM   Critics who claim Dyson Heydon’s decision would not pass the pub test should mount a challenge or shut up.

Comments 191

Paying the price of the good times

Jessica Irvine

Jessica Irvine 3:26 AM   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.

Comments 144

China trade deal is the PM's greatest success

Mark kenny dinkus

Mark Kenny 10:03 AM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott finds himself standing with the sensible centre now that the trade deal has become partisan.

Comments 124

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 12:00 AM   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 1:18 PM   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.

Comments 142

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.

Comments 6

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.

Comments 48

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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oped tuesday 24 2.jpg

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

Comments 37

Libs light a fire and complain about the heat

Mark kenny dinkus

Mark Kenny   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.

A jihad, Mr Dutton? Hand us the confession

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says Australia has 'a lot to be proud of'.

Tony Wright   Peter Dutton, you may have noticed, has accused Fairfax Media of conducting a jihad against the current regime. We hastily confess to knowledge that jihad is being waged. Who wouldn't?

Wedge politics game has few winners

Ross Gittins

Ross Gittins   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.

Power to the people: give politicians the flick

Alan Stokes.

Alan Stokes   One Australian party with the best name ever, Online Direct Democracy – Empowering the People!, wants every voter to use a free app to tell the party's MPs how to vote.

Comments 56

Australia must help the US bomb Syria

The Islamic State magazine Dabiq had a feature on the beheading of American journalist James Foley.

Denis Dragovic   Australia can play an important role in calculated attacks to clear Islamic State from Turkey's border with Syria, but we must do the job properly.

'Police or perish' gets some big muscle

Peter Hartcher dinkus

Peter Hartcher   The creation of the Australian Border Force is a transformative event for this country. It represents a new era for the way Australia conceives its border.

We're sleepwalking into an economic mess

Peter Martin dinkus

Peter Martin   Economic growth has slowed to a crawl and the government lacks the will for tax reform. Get ready for hard times.

Comments 42

Luck is running out on foreign relations

Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott welcomes President of China Xi Jinping to the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Hugh White   Political bipartisanship reached even before Australia has embarked on a robust foreign policy debate is an easy way to get out of making hard decisions.

Comments 5

Labor risks all by not tackling unions on FTA

Peter Reith.

Peter Reith   Treasurer Hockey has not had a great run, and is under pressure, but he is needed to campaign for the free trade deal with China

Royal commissioner goes to The Wire

Paul Sheehan

Paul Sheehan   The political passion play surrounding royal commissioner Dyson Heydon reminds me of the final series of The Wire, regarded by many, including me, as the greatest television drama yet made.

Labor needs to join in union corruption purge

Amanda Vanstone.

Amanda Vanstone   Union corruption is rife, and the royal commission is necessary to root it out.

Special features

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.

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.

Australia must help the US bomb Syria

Denis Dragovic Australia can play an important role in calculated attacks to clear Islamic State from Turkey's border with Syria, but we must do the job properly.

Labor risks all by not tackling unions on FTA

Treasurer Hockey has not had a great run, and is under pressure, but he is needed to campaign for the free trade deal with China

'Police or perish' gets some big muscle

The creation of the Australian Border Force is a transformative event for this country. It represents a new era for the way Australia conceives its border.

How to give yourself the kiss of life

Damien Murphy Papyrus-faced Dyson Heydon rarely looks a hale fellow but his usual taut self seemed slightly tighter when he entered his own bench to deliver judgment on Monday.

Heydon shows why judges are a breed apart

Mark Kenny Heydon may well be completely unbiased. But self-evidently, many people do not think so.

We're sleepwalking into a real economic mess

Economic growth has slowed to a crawl and the government lacks the will for tax reform. Get ready for hard times.