Political donations 'like cash in a brown bag' deals, says MP

Latika Bourke 10:30 AM   A federal MP claims Australia's political donations system is little better than the sleazy cash-in-brown-paper-bag operations that occur in corrupt developing nations.

Latest political news

'Rubbish' question time puts off women: MP

Victorian MP Sharman Stone says current citizenship requirements are "slack".

Stephanie Peatling 11:40 AM   A government MP says the aggressive nature of Parliament, including the "rubbish" of question time, is a disincentive to women wanting to enter politics.

Comments 30

Doubts over Bishop's wedding travel claim

Bronwyn Bishop (left) at the wedding of Sophie Gregory Mirabella, with Tony Abbott.

James Robertson 7:26 AM   Bronwyn Bishop is under pressure to fully explain what "official business" she was undertaking when she charged taxpayers for attending Sophie Mirabella's wedding.

Comments 288

Abbott and Shorten face off over donations

Federal MP Andrew Wilkie

Sean Nicholls 7:33 PM   The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader traded blows over the influence of political donations from registered clubs on their parties' poker machine policies while in government.

ALP gay marriage move a curveball for reform

Tanya Plibersek and Bill Shorten

Mark Kenny 7:42 PM   Right-wing Liberals say Labor's policy of allowing its MPs a conscience vote on same-sex marriage equality only until 2019, and binding them to support it thereafter, provides Tony Abbott with a justification to do nothing on the issue.

Comments 95

Bishop's blunt message to Russia on MH17

Ms Bishop pictured speaking to members of the Security Council during a meeting at UN headquarters in July last year.

James Massola 10:23 AM   NEW YORK. It is the toughest diplomatic test Julie Bishop has faced as Foreign Minister - and the next chapter is about to get under way at United Nations headquarters in New York.

Comments 39

Manus guards found naked with woman

Asylum seeker tents at the detention centre on Manus Island in 2013.

Kate Aubusson 11:00 PM   Three Australian guards on Manus Island found naked with a woman who claims she was drugged and raped were sent home before local authorities could investigate, the ABC reports.

Nanny subsidy trial 'set up to fail'

Nanny

Judith Ireland 6:38 PM   Australia's peak body for nannies has hit out at guidelines for the government's nanny subsidy trial, arguing the cost to providers that participate in the program will outweigh the fundng.

Labor slams PM on $60b renewables bill claim

Bill Shorten

Nicole Hasham 5:18 PM   Labor has described Tony Abbott as "the most unscientific" leader in Australia's recent history after he claimed the party's ambitious renewable energy goal would cost consumers $60 billion.

Comments 103

Abbott avoids questions on Bishop's expenses

Bronwyn Bishop at the wedding of Sophie Gregory Mirabella, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott. and another wedding guest, in 2006.

James Robertson 4:51 PM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott has dodged questions about whether Speaker Bronwyn Bishop should repay travel entitlements claimed to attend a colleague's wedding, despite doing the same himself.

US to retreat on big pharma in trade pact

The United States is poised to concede some ground on protections it has sought for biopharmaceuticals in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

John Garnaut 5:31 PM   The United States is preparing to retreat from demands that could have pushed the price of innovative medicines out of reach of millions of patients with intractable diseases.

Comment & Analysis

Political donations: why voters are tuning out

John Hewson

John Hewson 3:50 PM   The demand is real for the resolve to reform electoral funding and lobbying.

Comments 20

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.

Comments 159

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

Published polls suggest Shorten's Labor has a real chance of being returned to the treasury benches at the next election.

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.

Bill Shorten's trifecta bet

"Bring it on": Bill Shorten addresses the ALP national conference in Melbourne on Friday.

Michael Gordon   The Labor conference is likely to do more to help than hinder the Shorten cause.

First the booing, then leader's triumph

Bill Shorten greets his deputy, Tanya Plibersek, during the conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

Tony Wright   Who would have thought? A deal carrying Bill Shorten through his first national conference as leader, even if there was a scattering of ritual booing first?

Trick or treat: pollies' perks under scrutiny

<i>Illustration: John Shakespeare</i>

Deborah Snow and James Robertson   Australians want to know why, if the age of entitlement is really over as Joe Hockey declared in February last year, it's not also over for their elected representatives.

It's time to reclaim the flag

Judith Ireland

Judith Ireland   Beyond its official, non-controversial use in government buildings and at sporting events, in a day-to-day sense, the Australian flag has become intertwined with a certain brand of intolerance.

Getting to 50%: building our renewable future

RayGen Resources' concentrated solar photovoltaic power station in Victoria.

Peter Hannam   Labor wants renewables to supply half of Australia's electricity by 2030, but is that feasible?

Your cheat sheet to ALP's national conference

Labor's national conference is the place where the policy direction for the next three years is determined.

Matthew Knott, Adam Gartrell   Labor's national conference is the party's pre-eminent decision making forum - the place where the policy direction for the next three years is determined.

Baird fills Abbott's leadership vacuum

Peter Hartcher dinkus

Peter Hartcher   There is a world of difference between the NSW Premier's pragmatism and the Prime Minister's track record.

Stop using stereotypes to slam private schools

Education
Photo Michele MOssop
Wednesday 30th September 2009
Mamre Anglican School, Erskine Park western Sydney
Generic education private school learning lunch childhood uniform teaching reading writing study classroom religious plaits SPECIAL 114943

Michelle Green   Education is not a zero-sum game where choosing a private school for your child equates to a state school student losing out.

PM's climate responses not conservative

Richard Benyon dinkus

Richard Benyon   British Conservatives value climate science and finding market solutions to address the biggest environmental challenge of our era.

Comments 18

Renewables brawl needs to get real

Reducing emissions will come at a financial cost but we need to do it.

David Blowers and Cameron Chisholm   Both sides of politics have drawn up the battlelines over renewable energy and each side has its head in the clouds.

MPs' expenses system geared to allow abuse

Whether Bronwyn Bishop stays or goes is not the biggest concern here, because neither outcome will change the system.

Sally Young   The repeated failure to reform the entitlements system lets politicians play fast and loose with the public's purse strings.

In search of a recipe for magic pudding

Ross Gittins dinkus

Ross Gittins   A host of different groups are pushing for higher GST, but they all want to use the proceeds to pay for something different.

Abbott has sold out Australians to China

Seeing red: The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will impact workers in ways that are not being discussed.

Joanna Howe   The government's not being open about how workers are hurt by the free trade deal.

The real housing crisis facing Australia

Catherine Yeomans.

Catherine Yeomans   Yes, getting on the housing ladder is an issue. But we also needed to ask what effect the growing cost of housing is having at the extreme end of the spectrum.

Skewed view from Bishop's broken heartland

Alan Stokes.

Alan Stokes   "Avalon village" used to be called a northern beaches suburb when I was a boy pretending to be Prince Planet and doing a poo in the outside loo.

Done right, negative gearing can work

gearing

Peter Martin   The government is out of step on the tax concession, but a Labor plan could position the party as a champion of more affordable housing.

Special features

Abbott now has Bishop in his pocket

Mark Kenny By putting Bronwyn Bishop "on probation", Tony Abbott has cynically extinguished what remained of the Speaker's independence.

Shorten gets a lifeline on boat turnback policy

There is much to like about the policy but there are also many unanswered questions.

Albanese factor wanes as Shorten shines and Left loses its way

There seems little doubt Albanese has lost some friends over the weekend, despite being the "people's choice".

Ten striking pictures from Labor's emotional same-sex marriage debate

Bill Shorten has narrowly avoided an attempt to bind Labor MPs to support same-sex marriage equality, triggering emotional scenes at the party's national conference in Melbourne.

Shorten might not be Labor's best bet to beat Abbott

Kenneth Davidson Rather than beating up on the Abbott government's enemies, a more worthy royal commission target would by political funding.

Meet the opposition's five rising stars

The rising stars of Labor are an intelligent, literate group, with some fire in the belly.

Trick or treat: pollies' perks and entitlements under scrutiny

Deborah Snow and James Robertson It seems the age of entitlement is not over for everyone.

It's time to reclaim the Australian flag

Have you noticed the spurt of reclaiming that has been going on recently?

First the booing, then leader's triumph: ALP ritual observed

Tony Wright Who would have thought? A deal carrying Bill Shorten through his first national conference as leader, even if there was a scattering of ritual booing first?

Bill Shorten's trifecta bet

Michael Gordon The Labor conference is likely to do more to help than hinder the Shorten cause.

Question Time: Weekly politics quiz

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

Your cheat sheet to Labor's national conference

Labor's national conference is the party's pre-eminent decision making forum - the place where the policy direction for the next three years is determined.

Shorten's turn-back policy vulnerable on two fronts

Michael Gordon The problem at the heart of Labor's border protection policy is that Bill Shorten wants to replicate Tony Abbott's boats policy without the sharp and ugly edges: the secrecy, the self-centredness and the cruelty.

Abbott considers changing the flag. Turns out there's no point

Tony Wright Tony Abbott hasn't studied the Australian flag in as much detail as you'd imagined.

Renewables brawl needs to get real

David Blowers, Cameron Chisholm Both sides of politics have drawn up the battlelines over renewable energy and each side has its head in the clouds.

Stop using stereotypes to slam private schools

Michelle Green Education is not a zero-sum game where choosing a private school for your child equates to a state school student losing out.