Political news

Abbott faces leadership questions on tour of regional Victoria

Under fire: Tony Abbott.

Beau Donelly 3:51 PM   After a week of stinging criticism sliding opinion polls and leadership rumours, for the Prime Minister's press team it was the best laid plan.

Abbott considered Murdoch journalist for plum posting

Fairfax Media has been told Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Greg Sheridan first discussed the posting before the 2013 election.

James Massola 3:03 PM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott considered his close personal friend, The Australian newspaper’s Greg Sheridan, for the plumb posting of High Commissioner to Singapore after the 2013 election.

Barnaby Joyce's $700,000 punt on PM's longevity

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 13 November 2013. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Heath Aston 2:56 PM   Tony Abbott's "knightmare" start to 2015 could eventually cost him the prime ministership but his political failure would come at a quantifiable price for Barnaby Joyce: $700,000.

Bishop and Turnbull perform well because of their 'captain', says Abbott

Tony Abbott

Latika Bourke 1:33 PM   Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he will "absolutely" lead the government to the next election and has described the strong performances of potential leadership rivals Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull as the result of their "good captain".

Lay off Credlin: Palmer warns Murdoch

News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch used Twitter to call on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to sack Credlin.

Latika Bourke 11:20 AM   Clive Palmer says he regrets once attacking Peta Credlin and has told media baron Rupert Murdoch to lay off from "personally" attacking Prime Minister Tony Abbott's chief of staff.

What's wrong? Ask Grong Grong - the locals will be honest

Michael McCormack.

Declan Rurenga, Latika Bourke 11:00 PM   Surely there's an Australian who's deserving of an award locals say.

Liberals weigh up leadership options

Punters believe Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull would be the most likely replacement should Prime Minister Tony Abbott lose the top job.

Mark Kenny 7:16 PM   Some are said to be actively considering Julie Bishop or Malcolm Turnbull, but others are dismissive.

Privacy commissioner questions need for two-year metadata storage plan

Lawyers have warned of dangers in proposed data retention laws.

Lisa Cox 5:58 PM   Australia's Privacy Commissioner has questioned whether phone and internet providers should be required to store customer metadata for as long as two years.

The $400,000 jobs the public service can't fill

Department of Human Services associate secretary Ben Rimmer.

Noel Towell 5:03 PM   Dozens of top public service jobs at the giant Department of Human Services are sitting vacant.

Australia delivers equipment to Afghan military to counter homemade bombs

Afghan soldiers from the 2nd unit of the third brigade of the 205 Corps.

Dan Harrison 5:02 PM   Australia has started delivering equipment to the Afghan military to counter improvised explosive devices.

New Australian border force bootcamp ordered

push ups

Noel Towell 11:30 PM   Thousands of public servants at the Immigration Department and Customs a service will have to get physical if they want a job at the new "Australian Border Force".

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'Abbott's mistakes are Abbott's mistakes': Shorten defends Credlin

Ms Credlin is facing calls, including from News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch, for her to quit or be sacked.

James Massola   Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has launched an extraordinary defence of Tony Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin, declaring the Prime Minister should be held accountable for his own mistakes.

Bookies say Tony Abbott more likely than not to face leadership challenge

Turnbull

Dan Harrison and Latika Bourke   Punters believe it is more likely than not that Prime Minister Tony Abbott will face a leadership ballot before the next election.

Forget knights and dames, let's focus are outrage on domestic violence

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Amy Corderoy   Now is the moment. You can feel it - the momentum building, the light finally shining on Australia's dark epidemic of domestic violence. So why are we all talking about knights and dames?

PM urged to visit country pub for 'honest appraisal'

Tony Abbott

Latika Bourke   One of Tony Abbott's frontbenchers is urging the city-based Prime Minister to stop reacting to the "texting, latte-sipping, keyboard warriors who frequent the tapas bars of Sydney and Melbourne" and visit a country pub to get an "honest appraisal" of how the government can improve.

Andrew Bolt attacks Tony Abbott over 'pathetically stupid' Prince Philip knighthood

Andrew Bolt (file photo) asked 2GB's Steve Price: 'Don't we need a frank debate ... into how the Islamic culture, muslim culture, how they integrate here?'

Latika Bourke   Tony Abbott continues to take friendly fire over the Prince Philip knighthood, with conservative commentator Andrew Bolt declaring the decision “pathetically stupid” and potentially fatal for Tony Abbott’s leadership.

Pressure mounts on Tony Abbott to dump Peta Credlin

Tony Abbott in discussion with his chief of staff Peta Credlin.

Mark Kenny and Heath Aston   Pressure is mounting on Tony Abbott to dump chief of staff Peta Credlin as disgruntled Liberal MPs were joined on Wednesday by conservative commentators including media baron Rupert Murdoch in expressing concerns about his office.

Asylum seekers legally detained on Customs vessel, High Court rules

Ocean Protector: 157 asylum seekers were detained on the vessel for a month last year.

Sarah Whyte   The Australian government's detainment of 157 asylum seekers on the high seas for a month last year was lawful, the High Court has ruled.

Abbott government's second budget must be fairer than its first, says ACOSS

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie.

Gareth Hutchens   The Australian Council of Social Service is urging the Abbott government to make its second budget much fairer than its first, saying low and middle-income households cannot continue to bear the brunt of spending cuts this year

Abbott's domestic violence policy re-announced

Greens Senator Larissa Waters says Mr Abbott's announcement was designed to deflect attention from criticism.

Dan Harrison, Judith Ireland   When Prime Minister Tony Abbott stepped up to the lectern to announce his commitment to tackle the scourge of domestic violence on Wednesday, some of his words had a familiar ring.

#Knightmare: Houston and Prince battle for social media mentions

Angus Houston and Prince Philip

Lucy Cormack   On Australia Day Prime Minister Tony Abbott awarded knighthoods to two people. But if you were watching social media, you could be forgiven for only having heard about Prince Philip.

Murdoch calls on PM to sack Credlin

Peta Credlin

Latika Bourke   Conservative media baron Rupert Murdoch has called on Tony Abbott to show leadership and make the "cruel choice" to sack his controversial chief of staff - and if the Prime Minister won't act, Peta Credlin should resign.

Christopher Pyne's Senate ultimatum: pass higher education reform by March

Education Minister Christopher Pyne.

Matthew Knott   Education Minister Christopher Pyne has set himself a two-month deadline to pass higher education reform, while warning he will not "adulterate" his proposals to the point they become meaningless.

Senator Ricky Muir reveals new position on Abbott government's university reforms

Media attempt to question Senator Ricky Muir outside Parliament House on Tuesday.

Latika Bourke   Key crossbench Senator Ricky Muir has issued a fresh challenge to Education Minister Christopher Pyne, urging him to seek an election mandate on the government's university reforms.

'I'm determined to learn from this': PM responds to Prince Philip controversy

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Latika Bourke   Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised his colleagues that he is listening and learning the lessons of his widely mocked decision to honour Prince Philip with an Australian knighthood on Australia Day.

APS outsourcing: no-one is safe, says 1990s outsourcing guru

Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Noel Towell   No public servant is safe from the Abbott government’s privatisations agenda, one of the pioneers of federal government outsourcing has warned.

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'Keyboard warriors' needed to help fight Islamic State

Jamal Rifi.

Deborah Snow and Rachel Olding   A leading member of Sydney's Lebanese community warns that Islamic State is winning the propaganda war and that a cohort of cyber-savvy " keyboard warriors" may be needed to push back against IS's slick online recruitment campaigns. 

Liberal backbenchers consider meeting after Tony Abbott's decision to make Prince Philip a knight

Tony Abbott

Latika Bourke   Liberal backbenchers are considering calling a meeting to discuss the "direction of the team", with speculation rife about Prime Minsiter Tony Abbott's leadership.