Workplace law proposals raise some familiar fears

Mark Kenny, Anna Patty, Jane Lee 7:01 AM   A proposal for a new take-it-or-leave-it class of "enterprise contracts", reminiscent of the Howard government's much-loathed WorkChoices laws, has sparked a fresh scare campaign by Labor and the unions, despite the Abbott government distancing itself from the idea.

Latest political news

Bishop would retire on a $255,000 salary

Bronwyn Bishop has served in Parliament for 29 years.

Latika Bourke 2:40 PM   Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop would retire on a taxpayer-funded salary of $225,000 plus 10 free domestic return flights per year, if she were to take the Prime Minister's hint and quit Parliament at the next election.

No evidence for dole wait, welfare groups say

unemployment

Judith Ireland 2:14 PM   Community and welfare groups have slammed the Abbott government's plans to make young unemployed people wait four weeks to get the dole, telling a Senate committee there is no evidence it will help vulnerable youths find work. 

Pyne cautions against exenses 'witch trial'

Education Minister Christopher Pyne says if Liberal colleagues want to given Bronwyn Bishop advice about her future "they should do it to her face".

Latika Bourke 9:49 AM    Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne has hit out at his "cowardly" colleagues privately briefing the media urging former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop to retire.

Kokoda aid program of 'limited value'

Entering Naduri Village, Kokoda.

Rory Callinan 12:22 PM   Australian taxpayer funded projects on the Kokoda Track were poorly coordinated and some were unsuccessful, an internal government report has revealed.

Coalition rejects emissions call by own adviser

Coal

Nicole Hasham 1:15 AM   The Abbott government has rejected a call by its independent advisers to impose extra scrutiny on polluters to ensure billions of dollars are not spent on emissions cuts that would have occurred anyway.

Comments 79

Negative gearing, cap gains shift can save $9b

Negative gearing and capital gains tax have been examined in a Parliamentary Budget Office inquiry.

Peter Martin 12:00 AM   Limiting negative gearing to new properties and cutting the discount on capital gains tax could save the budget $9 billion over four years, the Parliamentary Budget Office finds.

Comments 99

Citizenship bill 'likely to fail in High Court'

Professor George Williams said he had no doubt such a citizenship law would be challenged in the High Court.

Jane Lee, Judith Ireland 7:49 PM   The High Court would strike down a plan to automatically revoke dual nationals' citizenship if they are convicted of one of a wide range of crimes, a leading constitutional law expert says.

South Australia wins in $40b shipbuilding plan

Prime Minister Tony Abbott meets with Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 28 July 2015. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Lisa Cox 7:47 PM   The government has unveiled an $40billion plan to cement South Australia as Australia's ship building hub.

Childcare aid: 'All volunteering should qualify'

Childcare

Judith Ireland 3:43 PM   Volunteering for activities such Meals on Wheels and at school tuck shops should count as "work" that will qualify parents for childcare payments, major childcare providers say.

Leak forgotten as committee dissolves

Wind turbine, windfarm

Nicole Hasham 3:34 PM   The Senate committee that examined the health effects of wind farms has vanished without a trace – and so too has an investigation into who leaked its draft findings.

Comment & Analysis

Commission finds nothing much wrong

Peter Martin dinkus

Peter Martin 7:53 PM   Key finding of the Productivity Commission's workplace relations inquiry is perhaps the most surprising: "Australia's recent labour market performance does not suggest a dysfunctional system."

Is Abbott government Australia's worst ever?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's personal approval rating dropped into negative territory much faster than it did for other leaders, after just months in office.

Sally Young 8:36 PM   Its inability to pass meaningful legislation is just one of many areas where the government has substantially failed.

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Poor captain's picks may hit reform prospects

Peter Reith

Peter Reith   Tony Abbott can't afford too many more obvious mistakes. And just about every one of his "captain's picks" has been a disaster for him.

Bishop's expensive penchant for timeliness

Bronwyn Bishop turned estimates hearings into virtual show trials.

David Leser   As Bronwyn Bishop was pursuing public servants over their spending habits in the 1990s, David Leser found she was racking up bills of her own.

Gay marriage isn't the foe of religious rights

Andrew Dyson cartoon / illo / illustration / toon / artwork
street sign, same sex marriage issue, church,

 Age opinion 2 June 2015

David Glasgow   Marriage equality increasingly appears inevitable, but its opponents are using religious freedom to undercut the terms of the victory.

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Bishop: the untenable became unbearable

Paul Sheehan

Paul Sheehan   The Bronwyn Bishop saga became the Tony Abbott saga. The Speaker's excesses became the political property of the prime minister. Her immovability became his failure.

How to save our ABC from Abbott, Murdoch

ABC supporters are digging in to protect the broadcaster.

Ranald Macdonald   If you value Aunty, then it's time to speak up and defend her.

Chance to fix mess could mark historic shift

Under pressure: Federal Speaker Bronwyn Bishop.

Mark Kenny   As a shell-shocked government looks to rebuild its credibility from the damage sustained by the Bronwyn Bishop "choppergate" scandal, attention appropriately swings to who should take over and why.

A jaded country's lost faith in democracy

Pat Campbell cover artwork for The Public Sector Informant, August 2015.

Stephen Bartos   If politicians want voters to trust public institutions, they must cede control to independent agencies and open themselves to scrutiny.

The myth of merit for women in leadership

Judith Ireland

Judith Ireland   When it comes to talk about the lack of women in positions of power and influence, the infamous m-word is never far away.

PM's choice on donations: jump or be pushed

Sean Nicholls dinkus Dinkus

Sean Nicholls   A couple of important issues lie at the heart of the Bronwyn Bishop helicopter saga - and politicians' entitlements isn't the more critical one.

Abbott's loyalty to Bishop invites calamity

Mark kenny dinkus

Mark Kenny   In a spectacular own goal, the Prime Minister's hand-picked Speaker is now his greatest liability.

Marriage: a bourgeois bargain for men

Julie Szego

Julie Szego   When same-sex marriage is legal, we'll dump the baggage of an outdated institution.

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What's to fear from donation transparency?

Justin Di Lollo dinkus

Justin Di Lollo   Corporate donors don't fear transparency because by-and-large they don't expect anything concrete in return for their donation.

Comments 3

Labor now setting policy agenda

Bill Shorten

Nicholas Reece   Labor is finally on the right side of the debate. Watch the Coalition fumble now.

Comments 2

Broken promises can come back to haunt

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes   Bronwyn Bishop promised to be impartial as Speaker. Rupert Murdoch promised to be a climate-change hero. They didn't really say that, did they?

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Political donations: why voters are tuning out

John Hewson

John Hewson   The demand is real for the resolve to reform electoral funding and lobbying.

Shorten creates a ticking bomb

Paul Sheehan

Paul Sheehan   Bill Shorten wants Labor to fight the asylum-seekers war again. He remains deluded about the electorate's unwavering majority support for genuinely tough border security policies, not posturing.

Ground control to Major Bron

Annabel Crabb.

Annabel Crabb   The Speaker has no time for namby-pamby rules and colleagues when it comes to saving the government.

Bishop wings clipped but she's still in box seat

Bronwyn taking the bus: Bronwyn Bishop meme

Adam Gartrell   Bronwyn Bishop has survived the choppergate controversy, and so has the broken parliamentary entitlements system.

Shorten shores up his position with win

Bill Shorten

Mark Kenny   In politics, nothing unites like the prospect of electoral success. So it is perhaps unsurprising that Labor's notoriously rambunctious internal agitators have tamed themselves at the party's National Conference.

Special features

Why Abbott is yet to criticise Labor MP on entitlements

Mark Kenny Malcolm Turnbull doesn't like the term "travel entitlement". The communicationally gifted Communications Minister is a former journalist and barrister, so he knows a thing or two about the power of words in conveying the correct meaning.

Tony Abbott's fateful prediction: I've been damaged

Mark Kenny Prime Ministers strain credulity as they conflate the national interest with their own political goals, but history shows when they predict a bad reaction from voters, they usually know what they talking about.

Ghost of WorkChoices still haunts Tony Abbott

Way back when Tony Abbott tasked the Productivity Commission with examining the industrial relations system set up by Labor, he assumed it would feed into a late-term strategy.

PM ignores 'visionary' advice and risks support

Tony Abbott has endangered Indigenous support for constitutional recognition of the first Australians by ignoring the advice of Noel Pearson.

Bishop's greatest hits (or misses)

Judith Ireland Bronwyn Bishop's time in the speaker's chair may have been brief. But it was far from boring.

Trans-Pacific Partnership: still alive and capable of doing us harm

Peter Martin Past trade agreements were good for the citizens of the nations involved. They cut prices. This one puts them up.

Abbott's move on Bishop late but correct

Mark Kenny Timing, they say, is everything in politics and Tony Abbott's just lately has not been good.

No PM, Bronwyn, not the system, was the problem

Michael Gordon Ultimately, it boiled down to a simple proposition: if Bronwyn Bishop didn't go, it would have been Tony Abbott's position that became indefensible and unsustainable.

Strong leadership needed on carbon reduction policies

Basic truths about our survival, and our managing risks relate to how well we manage diversification, innovation and constant adaptation – these are the keys to business and national prosperity.

Political hubris cannott be swatted away

Tony Abbott thinks he is giving his party a lesson in loyalty. But it will come at a greater cost than a helicopter ride.

Abbott and Bishop's friendship

Photos: Tony Abbott and Bronwyn Bishop's friendship goes back decades.

Who should replace Bishop as Speaker?

Tony Abbott has a golden opportunity for progress while fixing Bronwyn Bishop's mess.

A PM is left behind by premiers and a casino boss

Comment In choosing to stay outside the ring over the Goodes mob bullying, Tony Abbott reveals a further contradiction about himself.

Federal politics quiz

Were you paying attention? Test yourself with 10 questions about the week in politics.

11 questions Bronwyn Bishop still needs to answer on expenses

She's apologised, but there are still a number of questions for Speaker Bronwyn Bishop to answer over her expense claims.

College visit a lesson in eating humble pie

Konrad Marshall There were no questions form the students, but Mrs Bishop did have an answer conspicuously prepared, just in case travel expenses were raised.

Bishop's apology is too little, too late

Michael Gordon Bronwyn Bishop's belated mea culpa is too little, too late and will not save her.