Political news

New artificial islands give China's military a strategic victory

John Garnaut 10:47 AM   China has won the first round of its contest for control in the South China Sea by completing construction of an archipelago of artificial islands which will enable it to further project its military power.

Arthur Sinodinos slams cabinet ministers for 'political sabotage' of Abbott government

Senator Arthur Sinodinos.

James Massola 10:26 AM   Respected NSW senator Arthur Sinodinos has launched an extraordinary attack on his former ministerial colleagues for leaking against Treasurer Joe Hockey, calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to sack anyone found guilty of destabilising the government.

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Farewell Joe, hello ScoMo? Testing Abbott's loyalty

Prime Minister Tony Abbott ...  one of his finest qualities as a friend is loyalty.

James Massola 7:10 AM   Analysis: Tony Abbott is famed for his personal loyalty, but it might yet cost him dearly politically.

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Abbott 'urged to dump Hockey, call March poll'

The PM is being urged to dump Treasurer Joe Hockey.

James Massola 7:10 AM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott is being urged to consider dumping Joe Hockey as Treasurer if the Canning byelection goes badly for the Liberal Party, in a move designed to shore up his own leadership.

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Australia should embrace 'US-style privately managed public schools'

Charter schools have the potential to boost academic performance, a new report has found.

Matthew Knott 7:09 AM   State governments should look to US-style "charter schools" - privately-managed public schools - as a way to boost the poor test results of Australian students, a new report argues. The report, published by the free market Centre for Independent Studies, argues that charter schools would encourage innovation and extend school choice to poorer parents who cannot afford private schooling. Charter schools would be funded at an equivalent rate to public schools, but would be run by private organisations - including for-profit companies. They would not charge fees. "Charter schools can be much more responsive to the challenges local communities face," one of the report's authors, CIS policy analyst Trisha Ja, said. "There has been a strong trend towards greater school autonomy in Australia over recent years and this would be the next step to bring more flexibility and choice into the public system."

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Medibank and Calvary resolve dispute at 11th hour

Calvary and Medibank have settled their dispute but neither party will reveal the terms of the new agreement.

Peter Martin, John Thistleton 6:03 PM   Customers of Medibank Private will be free to use hospitals run by Calvary Health Care after agreement over a new contract

Bill Shorten encouraged by Qld Labor's win in battleground state

Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk arrives for the election after party.

Cameron Atfield 1:14 PM   Queensland Labor's rise from just seven state MPs to once again holding government within three years has been lauded by federal Labor leader Bill Shorten in his quest to similarly topple a conservative government after just one term.

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Unions set sights on Jeremy Stoljar, counsel assisting royal commision

Jeremy Stoljar SC, counsel assisting the Royal Commission

Lisa Cox 11:38 AM   The Australian Council of Trade Unions has shifted its attention to the counsel assisting the royal commission into trade unions and what role he played in the Dyson Heydon controversy.

Taxpayers slugged $100,000 for G20 flags

Prime Minister Tony Abbott poses with the G20 leaders for the family photo in Brisbane.

Adam Gartrell   Flag costs detailed after $1.8 million blowout in hotel and taxi bills for the summit revealed.

Expert queries PM's motivation for Syria strikes

The Abbott government may be considering offering Australian Super Hornet fighter jets.

Adam Gartrell   Tony Abbott's rush to join air strikes in Syria appears politically rather than strategically motivated, Middle East expert says.

'Obviously it was a mistake': Abbott on Border Force release

Under the pump: Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Jacob Saulwick   Tony Abbott has denied his office had any knowledge of the cancelled Australian Border Force operation in Melbourne.

Push for portable long service leave

Adam Bandt

Adam Gartrell 12:15 AM   A Victoria move to hold state-based inquiry into portable long service leave has prompted a push for Federal Labor to get behind the idea.

Border Force patrol 'a deliberate act to create fear'

Former independent MP Tony Windsor hit out at the PM.

Lucy Cormack   Former independent MP Tony Windsor has slammed a bungled government operation that would have seen people stopped for passport checks on the streets of Melbourne, telling ABC radio he had no doubt that some in the Abbott government "hope that something goes wrong domestically."

Seven brutal realities facing Indigenous Australians

Tony Abbott joins students from Tagai State College on Mer Island.

Sarah Whyte and Fergus Hunter   Progress has been made in smoking and Indigenous birthweights, but not in reading rates and employment.

Consumers kept in the dark on seafood origins

Scallops caught by Aqua Marine Tasmania pictured at Deepwater Jetty in Triabunna, east coast of Tasmania.

Nicole Hasham   The Senate this month rejected a push to force restaurants, cafes, pubs and takeaway shops to disclose if their seafood is local or imported.

Abbott under fire over Border Force farce

Protesters stop traffic outside Flinders Street during action against Operation Border Force.

Nicole Hasham   The Abbott government is under pressure to explain why the Australian Border Force ruined a complex police-led operation in Melbourne by implying people would be randomly stopped for visa checks.

Apology from Liberals in Tasmania over Mantach failure

Former Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach.

Andrew Darby   The Liberal Party has moved to clear its record with the Australian Electoral Commission over a $48,000 debt repaid in Tasmania by former director Damien Mantach, as Labor calls for a police investigation.

Robb slams unions for 'economic sabotage' on China FTA

Andrew Robb

Philip Wen   Andrew Robb has described the trade union movement's opposition to Australia's free trade agreement with China as "nothing short of economic sabotage".

Sheikh won't stand at next federal election for family and business reasons

Simon Sheikh

Tom McIlroy   High profile former Greens Senate candidate Simon Sheikh won't contest the 2016 federal election, 

Union numbers used to dump sitting senator

Senator Lisa Singh, pictured during an estimates hearing at Parliament House, has been dropped to the fourth spot on Labor's Senate ticket in Tasmania.

Mark Kenny   Dumped Labor senator Lisa Singh was the preferred choice of her party's rank and file in a pre-selection race but lost her spot on the Senate ticket in a factional power-play to a little-known union official.

Tortuous timeline of the royal commission saga

 Dyson Heydon

Heath Aston   When royal commissioner Dyson Heydon wants documents those in his sights are left in no doubt as to what is required.

Operation Fortitude a case of uniformed insanity

Protesters took to Melbourne's CBD streets.

Mark Kenny   No matter who decided it was a good idea for the freshly uniformed paramilitary types of the Australian Border Force to team up with police to randomly intercept citizens in Melbourne to undertake random visa checks this weekend, it is a very bad look for the Abbott government.

Australian Border Force cancels plans to patrol Melbourne CBD as part of antisocial behaviour operation


Nicole Hasham   An operation involving the Australian Border Force that was to target potential visa fraudsters in the heart of Melbourne has been cancelled following a public backlash.

Could you be stopped by a Border Force official?

Protesters stop traffic outside Flinders Street during action against Operation Border Force.

Jane Lee   Border Force officials have a range of powers to enforce migration laws, but lawyers say such powers can only be exercised if the official has a reasonable suspicion someone has breached a migration offence.

Operation Fortitude cancelled as protesters take to Melbourne's CBD streets

Demonstrators protest against Border Force

Alana Schetzer and Tammy Mills   The controversial Border Force visa checks across Melbourne's CBD has been cancelled.

Melburnians fight Border Force with memes

The Australian Border Force logo.

Alana Schetzer   What do you do when something appears so ridiculous, so absurd, that a logical response just doesn't cut it?

Abbott's warning on Indigenous recognition

Tony Abbott

Michael Gordon   Tony Abbott has warned advocates of strong constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians that, if they go for everything they would like in the referendum question, they will "probably end up with a proposal that won't pass".

Federal politics quiz: The week ending August 28

The week in politics

Fergus Hunter   10 questions, 10 chances to prove yourself.

Why the spotlight is on Heydon

Dyson Heydon is due to decide on his future as royal commissioner on Monday.

Lisa Cox   Why is the spotlight on Dyson Heydon?