Heath Aston

Heath Aston

Heath Aston is a political reporter in the Canberra bureau. Most recently Heath was the state political editor for the Sun-Herald. Before joining the NSW press gallery he worked for newspapers in Sydney and London.

Barnaby Joyce's $700,000 punt on Tony Abbott's longevity as Prime Minister

Heath Aston Tony Abbott's "knightmare" start to 2015 could eventually cost him the prime ministership but his political failure would come at a quantifiable price for Barnaby Joyce: $700,000.

Pressure mounts on Tony Abbott to dump Peta Credlin

Tony Abbott in discussion with his chief of staff Peta Credlin.

Mark Kenny and Heath Aston Pressure is mounting on Tony Abbott to dump chief of staff Peta Credlin as disgruntled Liberal MPs were joined on Wednesday by conservative commentators including media baron Rupert Murdoch in...

Cormann backs inquiry into indigenous purchase of Ayers Rock Resort

Sails in the Desert: The Ayers Rock Resort is surrounded by dunes.

Heath Aston, political correspondent EXCLUSIVE: The purchase of the five-hotel Ayers Rock Resort overlooking Uluru, by the Indigenous Land Corporation is to be investigated by the federal government.

Police to receive new `active shooter' training to take on mass shooting and terrorist threat

Armed police on standby for action during the Martin Place siege.

Heath Aston Twelve thousand general duties police officers will undergo enhanced weapons training to deal with "active shooter" situations like the Islamist massacres that rocked Paris and lone wolf terror...

Relationship between federal and state Liberals becomes a blackspot over Princes Highway funding

Gareth Ward and NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay inspect roadworks on the Princes Highway.

Heath Aston A member of the federal government has lashed out at a state Liberal colleague for suggesting Tony Abbott has neglected funding for a notorious stretch of highway.

Jacqui Lambie ponders formation of political party

Jacqui Lambie

Heath Aston Jacqui Lambie is considering launching her own political party, saying Tasmanians, Defence personnel, veterans and Australians from other states "keep asking" for a Lambie brand in politics.

Australia to join White House counter-terrorism summit in wake of Paris attacks

TIGHT SECURITY: A general view of the White House in Washington.

David Wroe, Heath Aston Australia will join a major gathering of countries in Washington next month in the wake of the Paris attacks for a counter-terrorism summit to consider how to stop young people being drawn to violent...

Paris terror sparks new push to bolster freedom of speech in Australia

Thousands gather in Paris for a solidarity march with victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The attack has sparked new calls to bolster the right to free speech in Australia.

Heath Aston and Latika Bourke The Abbott government is facing calls to bolster free speech in Australia in response to the massacre at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by Islamist terrorists.

Sussan Ley vows to focus on indigenous health and GP co-payment

Sussan Ley

Gareth Hutchens and Heath Aston Incoming Health Minister Sussan Ley has vowed to put more focus on the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, while also listening to crossbench senators to ensure the country gets a...

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Social Services scraps funding for homeless and housing groups

Moving on from Immigration: Scott Morrison.

Heath Aston The Abbott government has quietly signalled a retreat from the homelessness and low-income housing sector.

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New Defence Minister Kevin Andrews takes flak for 'no interest' in the military comment

Declaration: Incoming Defence Minister Kevin Andrews does not recall making the

Heath Aston, Latika Bourke Incoming Defence Minister Kevin Andrews is under fire for an apparent lack of interest in all things military.

'No interest' comments come back to haunt new Defence Minister Kevin Andrews

Heath Aston In his first day as Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews has hit a landmine of his own making.

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MPs' 'gravy plane' from the west coast cost $10,000 each per flight

The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion  can be seen on low-level clouds as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean looking for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Heath Aston Air force-operated flights that transport federal MPs and senators between Western Australia and Canberra are costing taxpayers more than $10,000 per parliamentarian, per flight – five times...

Hockey backflips on tax laws to target multinational profit shifters

Joe Hockey

Heath Aston Treasurer Joe Hockey has broken a pledge to impose tough tax avoidance rules on multinational companies that have been exploiting a loophole that benefits large foreign and Australian companies with...

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Martin Place siege: Man Haron Monis has long history of hatred of politicians

Man Haron Monis outside a Sydney court in February 2010.

David Wroe, James Massola and Heath Aston The man behind Sydney’s siege, Man Haron Monis, expressed outrage about Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s “Team Australia” comments in a series of online tirades.

Martin Place siege: How Tony Abbott and the Security Committee reacted behind the scenes

Thrust into the spotlight: Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Heath Aston It was just after 10am in Canberra when government advisers interrupted a meeting of cabinet, thrusting Prime Minister Tony Abbott into the centre of another testing national security situation.

Senator who backed out of Ebola airfare offer gave money to charity instead

Nationals MP Barry O'Sullivan owns 50 properties

Heath Aston A government senator who was labelled a "welcher" for backing out of an offer to pay for Senator Richard Di Natale to fly into the Ebola zone of West Africa has quietly donated $4500 to the Red Cross...

Australian Ebola hospital opens but returning senator calls for greater contribution

Nine-year-old Nowa Paye is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of the Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, about nearly 50 kilometres north of Monrovia, Liberia.

Heath Aston Australian doctors and nurses will begin treating Ebola patients this week but a Greens senator who has returned from the infection zone in West Africa says Australia should double its human...

Joe Hockey confirms Tax Office crackdown on multinational tax 'robbers'

Treasurer Joe Hockey:

Heath Aston Treasurer Joe Hockey has confirmed the government is moving towards imposing a so-called "Google tax", warning that tax-minimising multinationals are "robbing Australians" when they don't pay tax on...

Release of ministerial travel costs could damage our international standing, government claims

The Abbott government is refusing the release documents revealing the cost of Coalition ministers' travel overseas.

Heath Aston The Abbott government is refusing to release documents detailing the cost and purpose of overseas travel by Coalition ministers, claiming they could "cause damage to Australia's international...

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