Political news

Bali nine: Australia considers recalling Indonesian ambassador over executions

James Massola, David Wroe 7:56 PM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop are considering all options, including the dramatic step of recalling Australia's ambassador to Indonesia.

Plibersek's same-sex marriage push causes shockwaves in ALP

Push to make Labor MPs vote on same-sex marriage: Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek.

Judith Ireland 7:24 PM   Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek's push to make Labor MPs vote for same-sex marriage has sent shockwaves through the party with at least one MP promising to cross the floor if they had to support the reform.

Gay Liberal senator Dean Smith slams Tanya Plibersek over gay marriage move

Liberal senator Dean Smith.

Matthew Knott 6:52 PM   Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek has "wrecked" progress within the Liberal Party towards a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, the Liberal Party's first openly gay federal parliamentarian says.

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Greens propose deep emissions cuts for post-2020

Bayswater Power Station in the Hunter Valley

Peter Hannam 6:29 PM   With climate change accelerating, Australia - and the rest of the world - need to aim for deep emission cuts, the Greens say in revealing their post-2020 targets.

Transparency on drug company payments and trips for doctors a step closer

A new code of conduct for the pharmaceutical industry has been approved by the ACCC.

Dan Harrison 6:21 PM   Patients will find out what payments and "educational" trips their doctors have received from drug companies, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved a new code of conduct for the pharmaceutical industry.

BHP Billiton reveals minuscule Singapore tax bill as ATO chases it for $500m

The ATO says BHP Billiton owes $500 million in unpaid taxes and fines.

Heath Aston 5:17 PM   BHP Billiton has revealed the true extent of its sweetheart deal with tax authorities in Singapore and acknowledged that the Australian Tax Office is chasing it for $500 million in unpaid taxes and fines in relation to the so-called "Singapore sling".

Women still way behind on pay, career and help: UN report

A new UN report has found women across the world are still lagging behind men in their pay and are also doing more housework.

Judith Ireland 8:00 PM   Women worldwide earn only three quarters of what male workers are paid, while they do almost two and half times the amount of housework, a United Nations report has found.

Treasury's controversial Dr Karl advertising campaign escaped independent vetting

Dr Karl spruiks the <i>Intergenerational Report</i> in a YouTube video.

Markus Mannheim 2:58 PM   Marketing blitz, worth at least $1.75 million, apparently breached government policy.

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Bishop disappointed with Indonesia over Bali nine pair

Disappointed: Julie Bishop.

James Massola 2:38 PM   Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she is "profoundly dismayed" Bali nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been given 72 hours' notice of their executions, and that there is "no evidence" Indonesia is responding to diplomatic pressure.

Grave fears for one Australian

Injured Sherpa guides being evacuated from Mount Everest Base Camp on Sunday.

James Massola 2:36 PM   Foreign Minister Julie Bishop holds "grave fears" for the safety of an Australian who was at Mount Everest Base Camp after a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, India and Bangladesh. 

Turnbull denies influence on SBS sacking

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull

1:59 PM   Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has denied having any influence in a decision by SBS to sack one of its reporters over offensive Anzac Day tweets.

Corporate tax inquiry: BHP reveals effective tax rate in Singapore

The world's biggest miner said its third-quarter iron ore production rose 5 per cent on the three months ended December 31.

Heath Aston 12:15 PM   BHP Billiton has revealed the true extent of its sweetheart deal with tax authorities in Singapore.

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Binding vote on same-sex marriage 'foolish': union heavyweight

Labor should keep conscience vote: Joe de Bruyn.

Judith Ireland and Matthew Knott 11:44 AM   Union heavyweight and prominent same-sex marriage opponent Joe de Bruyn has dismissed Tanya Plibersek's push for a binding vote on the issue, arguing she is just "playing up" to her inner-city electorate. 

Plibersek push to make Labor MPs vote for same-sex marriage

Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek wants her party to uniformly support same-sex marriage.

Judith Ireland 11:14 AM   Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek is calling on her party to make all Labor MPs vote for same-sex marriage in a fresh bid to get federal parliament to legalise the reform. Ms Plibersek will argue the ALP should change its platform at the party's national conference in July.

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Tax man loses $400m annually as employers rob staff of super


Heath Aston 10:12 AM   Cbus, which manages $27 billion on behalf of building and construction workers, is calling on the Abbott government to crack down on employers who duck the super guarantee contribution.

Sussan Ley confirms Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme crackdown in May budget

Health Minister Sussan Ley.

Matthew Knott 8:59 AM   Health Minister Sussan Ley has confirmed the government will tackle "perverse incentives" in the health system by removing over-the-counter medications - such as Panadol, aspirin and antacids - from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in the May budget.

Means-testing the family home could boost pension incomes, study says

"They are not just places to live but untapped assets": Matthew Taylor, Centre for Independent Studies.

Peter Martin 8:03 AM   Including the family home in the pension assets test could be a political plus if handled properly, a new report suggests.

Australian PM Tony Abbott gets request from French counter-terror unit

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott visiting RAID's offices in France.

Nick Miller 6:50 AM   The head of the elite counter-terrorism unit that broke a January terrorist siege in Paris has asked Australian prime minister Tony Abbott to put him in touch with the team that faced a similar challenge in Sydney the month before.

Labor, Greens join calls for Bali 9 clemency

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek during a candlelight vigil for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in February.

James Massola 2:18 AM   Labor and the Greens have backed calls for Bali 9 pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to be granted clemency, even as the condemned men confront the reality that they could be killed by the Indonesian state as soon as Tuesday night.

Australian doctor in ISIL shows "pervasive" threat

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says Dr Kamleh joining the "evil death cult is concerning for all Australians".

James Massola 11:11 PM   ISIL recruits an Australian medical professional that outwardly showed no signs of supporting extremist Islamic views.

Nepal earthquake: 349 Australians 'unaccounted for'

Emergency rescue workers carry a victim on a stretcher after Dharara tower collapsed in Kathmandu, Nepal.

James Massola 9:39 PM   200 Australians have been confirmed safe, but 349 have not been accounted for.

Labor says health savings should go back into the system

Catherine King has called for any savings found in the review to be reinvested in health care.

James Massola   Labor Health spokeswoman Catherine King says any savings found in a review of the system should be re-invested in health care, not used to repair the budget bottom line.

One in 10 on welfare is overpaid: Centrelink

The biggest class of over-payment was family tax benefit, followed by Newstart and the single parent payment.

Heath Aston   Nearly 750,000 welfare recipients were overpaid by Centrelink in the second half of last year, creating what welfare advocates say is a "bonanza" for debt collectors.

Australia seen as 'public enemy number one' on climate, Peter Doherty says

Peter Doherty

Dan Harrison   Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty says Australia is being seen as "public enemy number one" on climate change and risks being isolated as China seeks to reduce its reliance on coal.

Product safety recalls: punching bag contained nails, needles and food

Recalled: "Egg-free" ice cream that contained egg whites.

Dan Harrison   From risk of fire to choking hazards, a record number of products were recalled from Australian shops last year because they were unsafe.

Melanoma 'wonder drug' recommended for PBS listing

Ron Walker says the drug will save thousands of lives.

Dan Harrison   Businessman Ron Walker is thrilled that the drug he credits with saving his life could be made publicly available.

Julie Bishop 'fears the worst' for death row Bali nine pair

Fears the worst: Julie Bishop.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she fears the worst for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, as Australian embassy officials are called to a meeting about Indonesia's plans to execute them.

Lomborg appointment likened to putting Brian Burke in charge of economy

Professor Bjorn Lomborg.

James Massola, Matthew Knott   Academic Ray Wills has compared the appointment of  "sceptical environmentalist" Bjorn Lomborg to head up a new development think tank to putting disgraced former premier Brian Burke in charge of economic policy.

Pyne set to show different side of himself in upcoming memoirs

Education Minister Christopher Pyne is writing a book, A Letter to My Children.

James Massola   He's been called the most hated man in Australian politics, an alien from another planet, and describes himself as a "fixer". But now Christopher Pyne is preparing to show a different side of himself in his memoirs "A Letter to My Children".