Political news

Labor claims Joe Hockey 'verballed his department' over jobs threat warning in question time

Heath Aston 8:22 PM   When Joe Hockey got to his feet in Parliament on March 2 to critique Labor's $2 billion plan to reduce profit shifting by multinational companies, he had a simple and devastating message: the proposed policy would cost "jobs, jobs, jobs".

Nanny funding trial gets mixed reception


Judith Ireland 6:04 PM   A coalition of corporate and women's lobby groups has applauded the Abbott government's plan to trial funding for nannies, but the childcare sector has questioned how different the new policy will be from an existing program.

Rio Tinto hits back at ATO claims it doesn't pay enough tax

Rio Tinto Australia CEO Phil Edmands says Rio Tinto pays a "huge amount of tax".

Nassim Khadem 5:11 PM   Rio Tinto Australia managing director Phil Edmands has hit back at claims by Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan that the miner isn't paying enough tax.

The countries where it is hardest to be a woman


Judith Ireland, Fergus Hunter 4:13 PM   UN Women has released a damning report on the progress of women worldwide. 

Bali 9: Brandis calls for stay on executions until legal proceedings conclude

Attorney-General George Brandis: "These proceedings raise serious questions regarding the integrity of the two men's initial sentence and the clemency process."

Matthew Knott 3:35 PM   Attorney-General George Brandis has urged his Indonesian counterpart not to allow Bali nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to be executed before all legal hearings related to their cases have been concluded.

Carol Mills accused of misleading parliamentary committee

Former Department of Parliamentary Services Secretary Carol Mills

Stephanie Peatling 3:03 PM   The sacked head of Parliament House has been accused of misleading a committee investigating her department's use of CCTV footage to spy on a public servant who was leaking material to Labor Senator John Faulkner.

Abbott government commits $250 million for nannies trial program

The trial will provide funds for about 4000 nannies.

Judith Ireland 12:43 PM   The Abbott government will spend almost $250 million on a two year nanny trial program, providing funding to about 10,000 children. 

Plibersek's same-sex marriage push causes shockwaves in ALP

Push to make Labor MPs vote on same-sex marriage: Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek.

Judith Ireland 12:09 PM   Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek's push to make Labor MPs vote for same-sex marriage has sent shockwaves through the party with at least one MP promising to cross the floor if they had to support the reform.

Hockey says AAA credit rating safe, signals crackdown on tax diversion

Treasurer Joe Hockey has confirmed new measures will be introduced to target profits diverted overseas by big companies to avoid paying taxes on profits in Australia.

James Massola 9:45 AM   Treasurer Joe Hockey says Australia's AAA credit rating is safe so long as the federal budget is on a credible trajectory back to surplus, pushing back against a warning the rating was "vulnerable" from financial system inquiry chairman David Murray. 

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Bali nine: Australia considers recalling Indonesian ambassador over executions

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop: "profoundly dismayed".

James Massola, David Wroe 8:12 AM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop are considering all options, including the dramatic step of recalling Australia's ambassador to Indonesia.

Malcolm Turnbull did not request Scott McIntyre sacking

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Scott McIntyre's comments were so offensive that they deserved the widespread condemnation that they received.

Michael Koziol 5:30 AM   Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull alerted SBS managing director Michael Ebeid to "offensive" Anzac Day tweets by former journalist Scott McIntyre, but did not appeal for McIntyre to be sacked, Fairfax Media has confirmed.

Women still way behind on pay, career and help: UN report

A new UN report has found women across the world are still lagging behind men in their pay and are also doing more housework.

Judith Ireland   Women worldwide earn only three quarters of what male workers are paid, while they do almost two and half times the amount of housework, a United Nations report has found.

Gay Liberal senator Dean Smith slams Tanya Plibersek over gay marriage move

Liberal senator Dean Smith.

Matthew Knott   Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has "wrecked" progress within the Liberal Party towards a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, the Liberal Party's first openly gay federal parliamentarian says.

Islamic State bigger threat to world order than communism: Bishop

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

David Wroe 9:30 PM   The Islamic State terror group and similar violent jihadist movements are an even greater threat to world order than communism was during the Cold War, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said.

Greens propose deep emissions cuts for post-2020

Bayswater Power Station in the Hunter Valley

Peter Hannam   With climate change accelerating, Australia - and the rest of the world - need to aim for deep emission cuts, the Greens say in revealing their post-2020 targets.

Transparency on drug company payments and trips for doctors a step closer

A new code of conduct for the pharmaceutical industry has been approved by the ACCC.

Dan Harrison   Patients will find out what payments and "educational" trips their doctors have received from drug companies, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved a new code of conduct for the pharmaceutical industry.

BHP Billiton reveals minuscule Singapore tax bill as ATO chases it for $500m

The ATO says BHP Billiton owes $500 million in unpaid taxes and fines.

Heath Aston   BHP Billiton has revealed the true extent of its sweetheart deal with tax authorities in Singapore and acknowledged that the Australian Tax Office is chasing it for $500 million in unpaid taxes and fines in relation to the so-called "Singapore sling".

Treasury's controversial Dr Karl advertising campaign escaped independent vetting

Dr Karl spruiks the <i>Intergenerational Report</i> in a YouTube video.

Markus Mannheim   Marketing blitz, worth at least $1.75 million, apparently breached government policy.

Bishop disappointed with Indonesia over Bali nine pair

Disappointed: Julie Bishop.

James Massola   Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she is "profoundly dismayed" Bali nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been given 72 hours' notice of their executions, and that there is "no evidence" Indonesia is responding to diplomatic pressure.

Grave fears for one Australian

Injured Sherpa guides being evacuated from Mount Everest Base Camp on Sunday.

James Massola   Foreign Minister Julie Bishop holds "grave fears" for the safety of an Australian who was at Mount Everest Base Camp after a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, India and Bangladesh. 

Turnbull denies influence on SBS sacking

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has denied having any influence in a decision by SBS to sack one of its reporters over offensive Anzac Day tweets.

Corporate tax inquiry: BHP reveals effective tax rate in Singapore

The world's biggest miner said its third-quarter iron ore production rose 5 per cent on the three months ended December 31.

Heath Aston   BHP Billiton has revealed the true extent of its sweetheart deal with tax authorities in Singapore.

Binding vote on same-sex marriage 'foolish': union heavyweight

Labor should keep conscience vote: Joe de Bruyn.

Judith Ireland and Matthew Knott   Union heavyweight and prominent same-sex marriage opponent Joe de Bruyn has dismissed Tanya Plibersek's push for a binding vote on the issue, arguing she is just "playing up" to her inner-city electorate. 

Plibersek push to make Labor MPs vote for same-sex marriage

Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek wants her party to uniformly support same-sex marriage.

Judith Ireland   Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek is calling on her party to make all Labor MPs vote for same-sex marriage in a fresh bid to get federal parliament to legalise the reform. Ms Plibersek will argue the ALP should change its platform at the party's national conference in July.

Tax man loses $400m annually as employers rob staff of super


Heath Aston   Cbus, which manages $27 billion on behalf of building and construction workers, is calling on the Abbott government to crack down on employers who duck the super guarantee contribution.

Sussan Ley confirms Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme crackdown in May budget

Health Minister Sussan Ley.

Matthew Knott   Health Minister Sussan Ley has confirmed the government will tackle "perverse incentives" in the health system by removing over-the-counter medications - such as Panadol, aspirin and antacids - from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in the May budget.

Means-testing the family home could boost pension incomes, study says

"They are not just places to live but untapped assets": Matthew Taylor, Centre for Independent Studies.

Peter Martin   Including the family home in the pension assets test could be a political plus if handled properly, a new report suggests.

Australian PM Tony Abbott gets request from French counter-terror unit

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott visiting RAID's offices in France.

Nick Miller   The head of the elite counter-terrorism unit that broke a January terrorist siege in Paris has asked Australian prime minister Tony Abbott to put him in touch with the team that faced a similar challenge in Sydney the month before.

Labor, Greens join calls for Bali 9 clemency

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek during a candlelight vigil for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in February.

James Massola   Labor and the Greens have backed calls for Bali 9 pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to be granted clemency, even as the condemned men confront the reality that they could be killed by the Indonesian state as soon as Tuesday night.