Political news

Government slams Labor over siege politicking

Mark Kenny 6:48 PM   The federal government has accused the opposition of breaching the normal bipartisanship over national security during heated opposition questioning over intelligence failures in the lead-up to the Martin Place siege in December 2014.

Australia must choose between strategic, economic security: expert

National security issues

David Wroe 6:23 PM   Australia will have to choose between safeguarding itself against a strategic "storm brewing" and economic "dark clouds" gathering, the nation's leading independent defence economist says.

Will Great Barrier Reef be declared endangered by UN?

Climate change still poses the biggest risk to the Great Barrier Reef.

Tom Arup and Lisa Cox 6:11 PM   Early on Saturday morning we get the biggest clue yet to whether the Great Barrier Reef will be deemed a world heritage site "in danger".

Same-sex marriage circuit-breaker emerges as Liberals, Labor MPs propose compromise

Warren Entsch

James Massola 6:08 PM   Liberal MP Warren Entsch and Labor MP Graham Perrett are prepared to team-up on a same-sex marriage bill in a potential circuit-breaker that would end the political impasse over the social reform.

State and federal ministers head for education showdown

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne.

Josh Gordon 6:00 PM   Victorian and South Australian governments say states may be unable to deliver "high quality" standards for all students because of federal budget cuts.

Too early to consider fresh World Cup bid, says Ley

Sport  Minister Sussan Ley said it was ''inappropriate to be talking about putting more taxpayers' funds into a rebid when we have serious allegations about corruption unfolding''.

Dan Harrison 5:40 PM   Federal Sport Minister Sussan Ley said it was too early to consider Australia making another World Cup bid while corruption allegations cast a shadow over the sport's governing body.

Government denies starving FOI watchdog of funds

Transparency secrecy generic

Markus Mannheim 3:18 PM   Former Supreme Court judges say inadequate funding makes government 'less transparent and accountable'.

Home insulation scheme was 'appalling policy', says Combet's chief of staff -

Allan Behm

Latika Bourke 2:49 PM    Kevin Rudd's home insulation scheme was "appalling public policy, appallingly executed" and drove advisers working on the program "close to despair", says former climate minister Greg Combet's chief of staff.

Dole no 'Ikea catalogue': Morrison

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.

Lisa Cox 2:33 PM   A proposal that relaxes a government plan to make young people wait six months for the dole should not be treated like an "Ikea catalogue to go shopping for benefits", Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has said.

Don't put competition policy reform in the too-hard basket, says small-business lobby

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry boss Kate Carnell is worried about the government's decision to ditch the small business commissioner at the ACCC.

Nassim Khadem 2:08 PM   ACCI chief Kate Carnell hopes the government will be brave enough to implement Harper's proposed reforms, backing most of the proposals.

Defence pay offer could leave military short-staffed: expert

The Abbott government's approach to defence pay could lead to recruitment problems.

David Wroe 1:21 PM   The Abbott government is conducting a "brave experiment" by giving military personnel below-average pay rises.

Australians expect a Liberal conscience vote: Shorten

Shocked if no free vote: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

James Massola 11:53 AM   Australians will be "shocked" if Prime Minister Tony Abbott fails to grant Liberal MPs a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says, while conceding the issue has to be handled in a bipartisan fashion.

Abbott must stop letting lobby groups rule the tax reform debate: PwC

"Everything should be on the table – there are no sacred cows or panaceas - the whole tax mix needs to be reviewed,": PwC's advice to the Abbott government.

Nassim Khadem 11:50 AM   The Abbott government must stop listening to lobby groups who are arguing for negative gearing and superannuation concessions to be left off the table for tax reform, says PwC.

Joyce's office calls on ACMA to investigate Sandilands interview

Kyle Sandilands

Lisa Cox 11:42 AM   Barnaby Joyce's office has called on Australia's media watchdog to investigate an interview in which radio announcer Kyle Sandilands attacked the Agriculture Minister for his treatment of Johnny Depp and his dogs.

Comments 88

Is this Joe Hockey's Kevin Rudd moment? Treasurer ridicules male journalists

Treasurer Joe Hockey asks journalists how old they are during a late-night press gallery visit.

Latika Bourke 11:30 AM   Labor has accused Mr Hockey of "insulting" journalists and behaving unprofessionally.

Flagship ABC show hopelessly biased: senator

Tony Jones

Matthew Knott 9:27 AM   The ABC's flagship discussion program Q&A consistently leans to the left and needs to include a more balanced selection of panellists, a Coalition senator has told ABC Managing Director Mark Scott during Senate hearings.

Koch was told of key review week before on-air tirade

Koch

Dan Harrison, Megan Levy 5:21 AM   David Koch was told of a review into organ donation programs seven days before he dramatically quit his position as chairman of a government advisory council on live television.

Q: How many bureaucrats does it take to buy a Thermomix? A: An entire panel of them

New model: Thermomix appliance demonstrator Trudy Frolich at her home in Roseville Chase

Heath Aston 12:38 AM   It was more than three months ago that Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove impressed foodies everywhere with an intention to buy a Thermomix for the kitchen at Yarralumla.

America, and now Australia, muscle up to China

BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 30:  Chinese President Xi Jinping waits to welcome French Prime Minister Manuel Valls at the Great Hall of the People on January 30, 2015 in Beijing, China. Valls is in China during the three-day trip. (Photo by Fred Dufour - Pool/Getty Images)

John Garnaut 12:15 AM   The problem for China's President Xi Jinping is that the harder he pushes at his borders, and the more muscle he devotes to the cause, the more the world pushes back.

Abbott points way for same-sex marriage reform

Prime Minister Tony Abbott departs question time at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 27 May 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares

Mark Kenny and Judith Ireland 8:34 PM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott has set out the conditions for a conscience vote in the Liberal party room on same sex marriage and a subsequent parliamentary vote as early as August in what many see as a major shift in his language on the long-blocked reform.

Calm down, Australia! Here are the facts on what is happening with same-sex marriage

An Irish supporter of same-sex marriage after the referendum at the weekend.

Judith Ireland 8:30 PM   Is it time to get out the rainbow flag? There's more to this story than meets the eye.

Immigration Department has to compensate lawyers over blocked access

Christmas Island detention centre.

Sarah Whyte 12:00 AM   The Immigration Department has been forced to pay at least $10,000 compensation to lawyers who were denied access to a compound at the Christmas Island detention centre, after the Victorian Supreme Court found staff at the centre had behaved in a "high-handed" manner, with an "unacceptable disregard" for the rule of law.

SBS says sorry over Struggle Street promo video

Struggle Street

Matthew Knott 8:07 PM   SBS management personally apologised to participants of the controversial series Struggle Street for a promotional video showing one of the stars of the show passing wind.

UN 'dismayed' at Australia's treatment of asylum seekers

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has previously dismissed criticism from the UN.

Sarah Whyte   The High Commissioner for Human Rights has told a global audience that he is "dismayed" in Australia and the country's treatment of people seeking asylum in detention centres.

ABC Arts Portal to close in 2016, regional job losses not ruled out

The ABC's Ultimo headquarters after a meeting held in November by managing director Mark Scott announcing staff cuts

Andrew Taylor   The ABC will close its online Arts Portal in 2016, shifting arts content to its web-based ABC iview service and News Online, and create a new division called ABC Regional.

$10 tampon tax splits Prime Minister and Treasurer

Treasurer Joe Hockey and Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time on Wednesday.

Latika Bourke    "Tamponomics" has split the Prime Minister and Treasurer and was raised again in Parliament on Wednesday. But how much tampon tax are women actually paying?

Minerals Council misses deadline to make submission to inquiry it called for

The mining industry believes green groups are using public donations to advance political agendas.

Heath Aston   One of the key players behind a push to strip green groups of their charitable status, the Minerals Council of Australia, has missed the deadline to make a submission to the parliamentary inquiry that could deliver that result.

Same-sex marriage vote 'should be owned by the Parliament': Tony Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Judith Ireland   Prime Minister Tony Abbott has hinted that same-sex marriage should be brought before Parliament via a cross-party bill, in a major shift in his language on the reform.

Liberal same-sex marriage supporters lash Shorten

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced late on Tuesday that he will introduce a private member's bill on same-sex marriage next week. His deputy Tanya Plibersek will co-sponsor it.

James Massola, Judith Ireland   Two of the strongest Liberal supporters of same-sex marriage have lashed Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's move to introduce a bill on the topic to Parliament next week.