Political news

VET adviser steps aside after allegations


Matthew Knott 5:08 PM   One of the Abbott government's top advisers on vocational education and training has stepped aside following allegations the company he runs employed salespeople who lured vulnerable students into courses with free laptops. 

Private health insurance premiums to rise by 6 per cent

The cost of health insurance helped push up inflation in the second quarter.

Dan Harrison 5:06 PM   Private health insurance premiums will rise by a weighted industry average of 6.18 per cent from April 1, Health Minister Sussan Ley has announced.

Labor senate hopeful who joined fight with Islamic State contacts home

Matthew Gardiner has made contact with his family.

Heath Aston 4:29 PM   A would-be senator who left Australia in January to join the fight against Islamic State has made contact with his family.

Gillian Triggs hits back at claims she canvassed possible resignation

Gillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission appeared before a Senate Committee in Canberra on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares

Deborah Snow and Sarah Whyte 4:20 PM   The row between the president of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, and the federal government has escalated, with Professor Triggs flatly denying she ever canvassed her possible resignation with other members of the commission.

Parliament contracts poorly managed, in-house food under fire: audit

Carol Mills, Department of Parliamentary Services Secretary, during an earlier estimates hearing.

Primrose Riordan 4:16 PM   A new report has attacked DPS over its management of $62.8 million worth of contracts, saying the business cases for the majority of them don't show clear value for money.

Julie Bishop weighs in to speculation Tony Abbott's leadership is under renewed threat from Malcolm Turnbull

Julie Bishop in parliament

James Massola 3:52 PM   Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has warned her colleagues the Australian people will judge the Liberal Party at the next election, amid growing suggestions that key support for Tony Abbott is ebbing away.

$630m in counter-terror funding yet to be spent

Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his speech on national security on Monday.

David Wroe 3:48 PM   A $630 million counter-terrorism funding boost the Abbott government announced six months ago has still not begun to flow to the country's national security agencies, Fairfax Media can reveal.

'Presence of the next prime minister': Malcolm Turnbull praised in front of Joe Hockey

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 26:  Joe Hockey at the launch of the 120th anniversary of the Australian Jewish News on February 26, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Christopher Pearce/Fairfax Media)

Luke Malpass 3:46 PM   It was a case of assiduous avoidance as Joe Hockey and Malcolm Turnbull circled each other but did not come into contact at the 120th anniversary function of the Australian Jewish News and a launch of a book marking the occasion.

Labor folds on metadata retention

The Federal Government's controversial $400 million plan to force telecommunications providers to store the metadata of all phone and internet users for two years will go ahead after the Labor party agreed to support the move.

Patrick Durkin and David Ramli 3:45 PM   The Federal Government's controversial $400 million plan to force telecommunications providers to store the metadata of all phone and internet users for two years will go ahead after the Labor party agreed to support the move.

Bishop admits role with Triggs was discussed

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop during question time on Thursday.

Mark Kenny, Sarah Whyte, Deborah Snow 3:42 PM   Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has undermined the government's stance that there had been no inducement to Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs to leave her job, confirming an international posting for Ms Triggs had been the subject of discussions.

Most people believe up-front uni fees part of education reform, research finds

Melbourne Uni

Matthew Knott 3:41 PM   Over 80 per cent of respondents to market research commissioned by the federal government mistakenly believed that up-front university fees were being reintroduced as part of the government's proposed higher education changes.

Tony Abbott attempts to deflect questions over looming second leadership challenge

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time in Canberra on Tuesday.

Lisa Cox 3:41 PM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott has attempted to deflect questions about his leadership, providing a less than confident answer when asked if he expects to hold the job by the end of next week.

Julie Bishop brings back the death stare over leadership talk

Julie Bishop

Lisa Cox 3:40 PM   With a withering look, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop responded to a New Zealand journalist’s question about whether she would stand against Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership spill.

'His opportunity is gone': Former News boss calls for Abbott to go

John Hartigan says it's time for Tony Abbott to step aside.

Jared Lynch 3:26 PM   Former News Corporation chief executive John Hartigan has called for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to step aside in the nation's best interest.

Greg Hunt takes aim at rooftop solar standards as industry boss calls for his resignation

Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

Heath Aston 1:34 PM   The heavily subsidised solar industry appears set for a shake-up after Environment Minister Greg Hunt revealed his concern that 15 per cent of the 1.3 million rooftop systems in Australia are substandard.

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Ex-mandarin tells govt lawyers to write their own briefs

Former Attorney-General's Department secretary Roger

Markus Mannheim 11:46 AM   The government's legal bills continue to rise despite significant cuts to agency budgets.

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'Project Archer': Govt's plan to save the ABS

The Australian Bureau of Statistics had a torrid 2014 that began with departing Chief Statistician Brian Pink saying there was barely enough money to keep the lights on.

Noel Towell 10:20 AM   Merger of ABS and AIHW a "done deal", insiders say.

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Australian Border Force calls in reinforcements

 Mike Pezzullo

Noel Towell 8:42 AM   Immigration boss moves to plug gaps left by high-level defections.

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Abbott government to move on country of origin food labels

At least 18 people have been infected with hepatitis A following an outbreak caused by contaminated imported frozen berries.

Lisa Cox 5:53 AM   The Abbott government says it will act on country of origin labelling in the wake of the hepatitis A outbreak from frozen berries imported from China.

'Good': Albanese responds to Sydney Airport chairman's retirement plans

Anthony Albanese.

Lisa Cox 1:35 AM   It's the shortest but possibly also the most amusing press statement of all time.

Joe Hockey under fire for taxpayer-funded PR campaign on tax reform

Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Heath Aston 8:57 PM   Treasurer Joe Hockey is under fire for launching a taxpayer-funded public relations push to sell the need for tax reform.

I did not seek seek any other job: Triggs

Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs appears before a Senate estimates committee on Tuesday.

Sarah Whyte and Deborah Snow 8:53 PM   Gillian Triggs has categorically denied that she instigated any discussion for a new job with the secretary of the Attorney Generals department, after further allegations arose on Thursday.

Tax Office claims it's on track to recoup $1b revenue from multinationals


Nassim Khadem 8:37 PM   Amid dishing out billions of dollars of tax breaks to the nation's biggest companies and widespread condemnation of multinational profit shifting, Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan says the Australian Taxation Office is on track to recoup $1 billion in revenue from companies.

Buy your own anti-Abbott billboard

Tony Abbott 'hopeless' poster in Sydney.

Liam Mannix 7:04 PM   For a flat $3500, you can nail your political colours – and PM Tony Abbott's face – to the wall.

Tony Abbott's leadership facing renewed questions with Malcolm Turnbull breaking ranks

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time on Wednesday.

Mark Kenny and James Massola   Tony Abbott's judgment is again being questioned by colleagues over his continuing attack on Gillian Triggs with Malcolm Turnbull exposing the strategy as against the interests of the government and the nation.

Bali 9: Indonesian president Joko Widodo 'considering his position' on executions: Tony Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott travelled to Yeppoon on Thursday.

Latika Bourke   Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Indonesian president Joko Widodo is "carefully considering his position" on the impending executions of two Australians.

Lazarus accuses government of chaos and dysfunction in the Senate

PUP Senator Glenn Lazarus.

Latika Bourke   Palmer United senator Glenn Lazarus has launched an extraordinary attack on the federal government saying its management of the crossbench is "dysfunctional" and a mess.

Census not as useful as thought: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Row over census frequency: ABS chief executive David Kalisch.

Peter Martin   The Australian Bureau of Statistics has claimed the census is less useful than widely believed, as a leading trade union launches an online petition to save it.

Hundreds of thousands to pay much more to see GP, Senate hearing told

Greens senator Richard Di Natale believes hundreds of thousands of Australians will have to pay their full GP bill upfront.

Dan Harrison   Hundreds of thousands of Australians could face having to pay the full cost of their visit upfront as a result of the government's Medicare changes, a Senate committee has heard.