Political news

Young Nats support same-sex marriage

Fergus Hunter 9:04 PM   Young leaders of the Nationals have ramped up pressure on opponents of same-sex marriage, voting to support reform and condemning the actions of their party elders.

Border force to have thousands of weapons-ready officers

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg.

Peter Hartcher 8:46 PM   The new law enforcement agency that came controversially to public attention on Friday, the Australian Border Force, is building a 5000 to 6000 strong body of officers, most trained for use-of-force operations.

Fundraiser talk doesn't mean I back Libs: Heydon

Dyson Heydon arrives at the royal commission on Monday.

Anna Patty 8:14 PM   Dyson Heydon has refused to step down because the Liberal Party event he agreed to address was a "legal event" in nature.

Super concessions need sweeping review, says think tank

 super

Gareth Hutchens 12:15 AM   Superannuation tax concessions are benefiting the rich and are being used as tax mitigation measures, rather than to encourage retirement savings, one of Australia's most respected think-tanks has warned.

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

Senator Arthur Sinodinos.

James Massola 7:12 PM   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.

#BorderFarce: eight ways the government and bureaucratic spin is riddled with holes

Prime Minister Tony Abbott attended the swearing in ceremony of the inaugural Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvliegn with Immigration minister Peter Dutton at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 1 July 2015. Photo: Andrew Meares

Nicole Hasham 6:37 PM   Spin from government ministers and departments keen to downplay the fiasco is riddled with holes.

Nauru detention centre 'not run well' but operator Transfield given new five-year contract

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young was spied on during a visit to Nauru.

Nicole Hasham 5:55 PM   The detention centre at Nauru is badly run and despite the Australian government spending billions of dollars on the camp, its knowledge of what goes on inside is inadequate, a Senate inquiry has found.

Philip Ruddock blasts lack of US, European leadership on Syria

Liberal Party elder Philip Ruddock.

David Wroe 5:24 PM   Liberal Party elder statesman Philip Ruddock has gone further than any Coalition figure in blasting the "absent" leadership of the United States and Europe on the bloody turmoil in Syria.

'Fringe whingers': Joe Hockey blasts leaking cabinet colleagues as tensions rise

Prime Minister Tony Abbott shortly before addressing the media in Sydney.

James Massola 5:01 PM   Treasurer Joe Hockey has blasted cabinet colleagues who have been leaking against him for being "fringe whingers" and accused the media of undermining the government.

Dyson Heydon stays on as union Royal Commissioner

Royal commissioner Dyson Heydon: ''It is notorious among the legal profession that I am incapable of sending or receiving emails.''

Lisa Cox, Anna Patty, Michaela Whitbourn 4:56 PM   Mr Heydon was forced to consider his position after Fairfax Media revealed he was listed as a guest speaker at a Liberal Party fundraiser.

PM says Hockey has his 'full confidence'

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Treasurer Joe Hockey is doing a fine job.

James Massola 2:30 PM    Tony Abbott says Joe Hockey is "doing an excellent job" and enjoys the full confidence of the Prime Minister and cabinet, a day after two cabinet ministers told Fairfax Media that discussions were taking place about whether to move against on the Treasurer if the Canning byelection goes badly for the Coalition government.

Labor calls on Auditor-General to investigate Australian Border Force

Labor's spokesman for Immigration and Border Protection, Richard Marles.

Lisa Cox 11:03 AM   Labor has called on the Auditor-General to investigate what training Australian Border Force officials have been given since the agency was established in July this year and whether their legal powers extend to random visa checks.

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New artificial islands give China's military a strategic victory

China's reclamation efforts in the Spratly Islands, South China Sea in March.

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.

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.

Abbott 'urged to dump Hockey, call March poll'

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.

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."

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   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   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.

Unions set sights on Jeremy Stoljar, counsel assisting royal commision

Jeremy Stoljar SC, counsel assisting the Royal Commission

Lisa Cox   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   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".