Political news

Australia to double clean energy research spending under Obama-led push

Tom Arup in Paris and Mark Kenny in Canberra 8:38 PM   Australia has signed-up to a multi-billion dollar global innovation plan that will require it to double its investment in clean energy research and development over the next five years.

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Older Australians too cautious about their finances, says Productivity Commission

The Productivity Commission has found older Australians are "too cautious" with their money.

Peter Martin 7:44 PM   There's such a thing as too much caution. Older Australians could enjoy far higher standards of living and could cut their reliance on the aged pension if they just ate into just a portion of the $1 trillion tied up in their homes, a new Productivity Commission study has found.

'I would have died happy': Abbott

Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin

Peter Hartcher 7:01 PM   Tony Abbott says he would have died happy with his government's achievements if he had been accidentally killed on the morning of the day he was removed as prime minister.

Japanese to go whaling as Turnbull government relies on diplomacy

Minke whales on the deck of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru in the 2013 season.

Andrew Darby 6:22 PM   The Turnbull government appears to have been caught out by Japan's whalers - pinning hopes on diplomacy to halt them, just as the fleet's departure for the Antarctic was announced.

Dutton replaces Morrison as new conservative champion

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton

James Massola 6:07 PM   Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has emerged as a new champion of the Liberal Party's conservative wing following Scott Morrison's elevation to the position of Treasurer.

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'We have lost sight of the goal': calls for climate reset

Greg Hunt and Clive Palmer

Nicole Hasham 6:00 PM   Australia's climate debate has become so polarised "we have lost sight of the key goal" of slashing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, the Turnbull government's climate change advisers say, in a report that calls for the slate of public discussion to be wiped clean.

Government backs down on family payment cut to grandparents

Grandparent carers will receive more generous allowances under a Turnbull government backdown.

Judith Ireland 5:53 PM   The Turnbull government has backed down slightly on its family payments package, announcing more generous allowances for grandparent carers and single parents over 60 than previously proposed.   

Call for Turnbull government to consider halal labelling overhaul

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has warned that a ban on halal certification would render the meat export industry "unviable".

Heath Aston 4:15 PM   The Turnbull government will be asked to consider overhauling halal certification in Australia, including clearer labelling for food sold in the domestic market.

Morrison downplays report Turnbull offered him Treasury post in February

Treasurer Scott Morrison outlined the government's vision for an overhaul of the country's retirement income system.

Latika Bourke 10:34 AM   Scott Morrison has attempted to downplay fresh reports Malcolm Turnbull first offered him the Treasury position in February before an unsuccessful spill motion which Mr Turnbull did not end up contesting.

Loyalty, power and the plan to replace a PM

Tony Abbott

Peter Hartcher 9:12 AM   As Tony Abbott ignored the views of those with his best interests at heart, Malcolm Turnbull hatched a secret scheme.

Attacks on Grand Mufti 'work of Hansonites', says Muslim moderate

SMH/NEWS.  Portrait of Dr Jamal Rifi before he spoke at a Rotary Club of Sydney Luncheon.  Pic by Nic Walker.  Photographed at the Boutique Hotel in Sydney.  Pic by Nic Walker.  Date 27th Jan 2015.

David Wroe 7:48 AM   A Sydney GP praised by Turnbull Cabinet Minister Josh Frydenberg as a key moderate Muslim voice has slammed the minister's own attacks on Australia's Grand Mufti as "doing the dirty work of the Hansonites".

Grandparents exempt from childcare changes

Labor MP Kate Ellis is concerned the government's childcare package will make childcare less affordable for many families.

Stephanie Peatling 7:44 AM   Government under pressure to release details of childcare package ahead of its introduction to Parliament.

Never getting back to surplus: Budget billions worse than forecast as revenue crumbles

Treasurer Scott Morrison said this month the government did not have "a revenue problem" if the term meant a need to tax people more in order to raise more revenue.

Gareth Hutchens and Peter Martin 7:44 AM   The Australian budget is facing deficits $38 billion worse than forecast and on present settings will never return to surplus, an authoritative new analysis finds.

Turnbull pays respect to Paris terror victims in memorial visit

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joins New Zealand's John Key to lay flowers for victims of the Paris terror attacks.

Tom Arup 6:56 AM   Malcolm Turnbull has paid his respects to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks with an evening visit to the Bataclan theatre, the site of the most deaths during the November violence on the streets of the French capital.

Optimism as 140 world leaders gather for change summit

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.

Adam Morton   Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is coming from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta, where he lobbied other Commonwealth leaders and criticised Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's uncosted pledge on greenhouse gas emissions.

Is this Malcolm Turnbull's moment to stand up on climate change?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.

Tom Arup   For a political figure once defined by his strong stance on climate change, Malcolm Turnbull has kept his powder remarkably dry on the issue since becoming Prime Minister

Government minister accuses Grand Mufti of a failure of leadership

Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg.

Stephanie Peatling   A senior cabinet minister has broken ranks with his colleagues and criticised the Grand Mufti of Australia for failing to adequately condemn the Paris attacks.

Turnbull dismisses Shorten's emissions target as both head to Paris

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.

Lloyd Jones, AAP   Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed Bill Shorten's 45 per cent emissions reduction target as a "heroic offer" that is too expensive, as he prepares to fly to Paris for key climate change talks.

Syrian refugee crisis likely to get worse: Peter Dutton

Bleak assessment: Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

David Wroe   Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says the Syrian refugee crisis will likely "get worse before it gets better", signalling a pessimistic assessment of global efforts to find a political circuit-breaker for the war-torn nation.

$600,000 windfall for wind farm watchdog

Andrew Dyer is Australia's first National Wind Farm Commissioner.

Adam Gartrell   The Turnbull government's controversial wind farm watchdog will earn more than $600,000 in the part-time role.

Special childcare help for parents on irregular hours

Parents who work irregular hours will not miss our on childcare subsidies under the forthcoming Jobs for Families package.

Adam Gartrell   EXCLUSIVE: Special arrangements will be put in place to ensure parents who work irregular hours – such as fly-in fly-out workers – don't miss out on the Turnbull government's new childcare subsidy.

Consultant costs cancel out salary savings

Have public servants made redundant just been replaced by more expensive consultants?

Adam Gartrell   EXCLUSIVE: The money federal government departments are saving through job cuts is being cancelled out by a massive increase in expenditure on high-paid consultants and contractors.

Re-Joyce! What a card – Barnaby re-enacts Christmas past

Barnaby Joyce and Warren Truss  during question time at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 26 November 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares

Adam Gartrell   He's a little rounder, his hair has thinned and his grinning face is an even brighter shade of red. But overall, 10 years in politics hasn't done too much physical damage to Barnaby Joyce.

Republican PM Malcolm Turnbull meets the Queen

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.

Lloyd Jones   Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, an avowed republican, has met the Queen at the opening of the CHOGM leaders' meeting in Malta.

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi mistakenly quotes neo-Nazi

Senator Cory Bernardi.

Kate Aubusson and Fergus Hunter   Liberal senator Cory Bernardi was the toast of Twitter on Friday as it was revealed he mistakenly quoted an American neo-Nazi charged with child pornography offences.

Between a rock and horse stud: coalmine verdicts divide communities

The location of two stud farms close to Anglo American's Drayton operations in the Hunter Valley could stymie expansion plans.

Peter Hannam   The Baird government has been accused of ranking the health of horses above humans after a coal mine near famous studs got knocked back but another near a Hunter village won approval.

Consumers lose as banks snub Apple's 'digital wallet' system: MP

Labor MP Ed Husic believes Australians are being denied choices in digital payments.

Heath Aston   The Reserve Bank has been urged to examine potential anti-competitive behaviour in the emerging card-free payments market amid claims the banks have frozen out newcomer Apple Pay.

Poll finds Abbott's assumed security strength a misconception

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday.

Heath Aston   Tony Abbott's principal perceived strength over Malcolm Turnbull – his uncompromising approach to national security – is an illusion, according to a surprise national poll.

12,000 disappointed students as Vocation collapses

Vocation is widely expected to be liquidated and its financial affairs examined thoroughly.

Sarah Danckert and Eryk Bagshaw   The push for reform of the vocational education sector has ramped up in the wake of the collapse of Vocation.