Political news

Australians to live and work longer, Intergenerational Report shows

Mark Kenny, James Massola 9:34 PM   Australia's population will live longer and be poorer over the next 40 years, with slower economic growth and a massive spike in the number of people living to 100, the latest Intergenerational Report shows.

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DFAT lodges complaint about treatment of Bali nine pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran

Myuran Sukumaran is surrounded by masked security personnel upon arriving at Cilacap airport.

David Wroe, Su-Lin Tan 9:11 PM   The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has lodged a formal complaint at the Indonesian embassy about the "general treatment of both Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran". 

Intergenerational report: Health spending to soar but causes surprise

medical

Dan Harrison 8:37 PM   Federal government health spending will more than double in real terms over the next four decades.

Corporate giants to front Senate over bribery

Senator Sam Dastyari

Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker 8:23 PM   Some of corporate Australia's top figures, including former executives from BHP Billiton and Leighton Holdings, are set to be called to a Senate inquiry and grilled about allegations the firms bribed foreign officials.

Audit office criticises health department's handling of $15 billion pharmacy deal

 Pharmacy

Dan Harrison 7:16 PM   The federal health department has been criticised by the Australian National Audit Office for its administration of a $15 billion agreement with pharmacists.

Abbott government buys Vietnamese fishing boats to tow back asylum seekers

Two of the Vietnamese fishing boats in a Darwin boat yard on Thursday.

Sarah Whyte 6:50 PM   A small fleet of Vietnamese fishing boats based in Darwin are believed to be replacing the orange lifeboats to tow back asylum seeker boats that make it to Australian waters.

Intergenerational report: Government's productivity assumptions 'overly optimistic'

work

Gareth Hutchens 6:22 PM   The 2015 intergenerational report has assumed that average annual labour productivity growth will be 1.5 per cent over the next four decades in Australia.

Analysis

The future won't be as bleak as you think

Treasurer Joe Hockey delivers the Intergenerational Report.

Peter Martin 6:14 PM   The biggest economic challenge facing Australia in 40 years time will be a shortage of workers. The finances aren't nearly as challenging.

Tax cuts off the table for up to six years as government revenues continue to lag

Treasurer Joe Hockey delivers the Intergenerational Report.

Mark Kenny, James Massola 5:59 PM   Income tax cuts flagged for 2017 are off the table and are unlikely to be granted for another six years as federal government revenues continue to lag behind their pre-global financial crisis levels.

Ricky Muir's long-awaited first speech delivers defence of penalty rates

Ricky Muir delivers his inaugural speech to the Senate on Thursday.

Heath Aston 5:47 PM   "To everyone sitting in this chamber, if you think $20 a week is nothing, or just a pack of cigarettes and or a few beers, you have never lived in the real world."

Abbott's sweet Cadbury deal collapses

Tony Abbott, then opposition leader, at the Cadbury factory in Hobart during the 2013 election.

Andrew Darby 5:41 PM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott's controversial $16 million election sweetener for a Cadbury's expansion has collapsed.

Intergenerational report 'ignores' climate change

Treasurer Joe Hockey delivers the 2015 Intergenerational Report .

Lisa Cox 5:41 PM   It sets out the challenges Australia will face for the next 40 years, but the intergenerational report has come under scrutiny for skimming over one subject: climate change.

Subjects trimmed in primary school curriculum shake-up

Education Minister Christopher Pyne.

Matthew Knott 5:38 PM   The primary school curriculum will be trimmed down – with four subjects combined into one – and teachers will place more emphasis on phonics when teaching children how to read under a redesign of the national curriculum approved by all state governments.

Intergenerational Report: where Australia is heading

money

Jacob Greeber 5:08 PM   How Australia will change over the next 40 years

Intergenerational Report: Dole, disability spending to drop regardless of Abbott government spending crackdown

Social Services minister Scott Morrison released the McClure report on welfare reform at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday 25 February 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares

Judith Ireland 4:54 PM   Spending on the dole and disability support pension is on track to drop over the next 40 years, even if the government's harsh budget measures like the six-month Newstart wait for under 30s are not implemented, according to Treasury projections.  

Bali nine executions: Australian politicians hold rare candlelight vigil outside Parliament House

Unity: Bill Shorten looks on as Tony Abbott kisses Julie Bishop.

Latika Bourke 4:46 PM   It was a stunning, if not slightly angry backdrop for the solemn, sombre start to the day.

Recognising Aboriginal Australians in constitution 'perverse racism': Senator David Leyonhjelm

Senator David Leyonhjelm.

Heath Aston 4:17 PM   Senator David Leyonhjelm has become the first Australian politician to break with the bipartisan push for constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, saying their identification in the nation's foundation document would represent a "perverse sort of racism".

National $30 million campaign to tackle domestic violence

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten greets Senator Michaela Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

Judith Ireland 4:03 PM   Federal and state governments will spend $30 million on a national awareness campaign to stop domestic violence as Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament he will meet with Labor to discuss a bipartisan approach to the issue.

Scullion proclaims 'new relationship' with Indigenous Australians

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion.

Dan Harrison, Michael Gordon 4:02 PM   The Abbott government has proclaimed "a new relationship of engagement" with Indigenous Australia.

Momentum builds toward RET deal after 'most significant discussion yet'

Environment Minister Greg Hunt says the potential exists for a breakthrough on Australia's renewable energy target.

Lisa Cox 4:01 PM   A breakthrough in the long-running stand-off over Australia's renewable energy target appears closer than ever, with the government and clean energy industry expressing optimism a deal can be done.

Bali nine executions: Julie Bishop offers prisoner swap to spare lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran

Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop: which expression is this one?

Latika Bourke 4:00 PM   Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has raised the prospect of a prisoner swap in a last-ditch attempt to spare the lives of two Australians on death row in Indonesia.

Tony Abbott's soldier pay rise risks dispute with top Defence bureaucrat

Close observers have told Fairfax that the Abbott government's latest policy surprise on defence pay puts at risk decades of painstaking effort to build an equitable, rational and durable defence remuneration system.

John Garnaut and David Wroe 3:07 PM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott has risked a dispute with his most experienced official, Dennis Richardson, by undermining decades of work to build a rational and independent system for setting soldier pay.

Ex-public servants to be less of a burden report shows

Superannuation, public service

Phillip Thomson 2:27 PM   Retired public servants are much more of a burden on the public purse now than they will be in the coming decades.

Intergenerational Report to show Labor's spending was growing out of control

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time on Wednesday.

Peter Martin, James Massola 2:17 PM   Australia would have needed to lift its tax take by almost 50 per cent to meet Labor's long-term spending promises, Thursday's Intergenerational Report will show.

MH370 search cannot continue 'at this intensity forever', says Abbott on first anniversary

Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks on the search for flight MH370 on Thursday.

Latika Bourke 12:47 PM   The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot continue at its current intensity forever, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned, in an address to Parliament to mark one year since the plane's disappearance.

Arrests of refugees soar on Nauru

Refugee protesters inside jail on Nauru.

Sarah Whyte 11:48 AM   The Nauruan government has compared the arrests of protesting asylum seekers on the island's main throughfare to arresting protesters on Sydney's busy Pitt Street.

Another Westerner killed by Islamic State days after Australian Ashley Johnston slain in Syria

Fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units in the Syrian Kurdish city of Qamishli.

Heath Aston 2:11 AM   A second Westerner has died in battle against Islamic State, just days after Australian Ashley Kent Johnston was killed fighting alongside Kurdish comrades in Syria.

Hot housing is a risk to nation, says Abbott's adviser

Pumping house prices have prompted concerns.

Nassim Khadem 1:58 AM   Australian regulators need to consider introducing caps on borrowing to stop house price growth and further risk to the financial system, says the head of the Abbott government's financial systems inquiry David Murray.

Jeff Kennett blasts Clive Palmer over 'commit suicide' comment

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer during a press conference at Parliament House on Wednesday.

Matthew Knott 10:22 PM   Jeff Kennett, chairman of the beyondblue depression initiative, has blasted Clive Palmer for saying Tony Abbott should "commit suicide" because of his government's plan to deregulate university fees.