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Federal Politics

Politics Live: March 24, 2014

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'Gossip and scuttlebutt'

Question time Monday: Tony Abbott responds to reports the government is massaging economic forecasts and that he was warned against appointing Arthur Sinodinos to his ministry.

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Manus on Monday.

Floating accommodation block for staff working at the detention centre on Manus Island. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Floating accommodation block for staff working at the detention centre on Manus Island. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Manus Island, as seen by Alex Ellinghausen.

Building site for proposed accommodation for asylum seekers found to be refugees and permanently resettled, on Manus Island.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Building site for proposed accommodation for asylum seekers found to be refugees and permanently resettled, on Manus Island. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

As rain falls on Parliament House, it's about time we put on our gumboots and go dance like Gene Kelly.

But before we do, what did we learn today?

 

That's it from Andrew Meares and I here in Canberra. Alex Ellinghausen is on Manus Island and we leave you with some of the things he saw today on his travels.

One final note, a hip hip congratulations to Fairfax bureau researcher and video producer Lisa Visentin, who this afternoon scored a traineeship with The Sydney Morning Herald!!

 

And Jonathan Swan writes that Abbott government ministers are jostling for royal affections ahead of Wills, Cate and George's visit next month.

Employment Minister Eric Abetz says he wants to establish a parliamentary "support" group for monarchists before the royals arrive.

Seriously, standing on the side of the road and waving a Union Jack is tough.

Tony Wright also reports that the government is preparing a plan B for people who applied for tickets to Anzac Day at Gallipoli next year.

Veterans' Affairs minister Michael Ronaldson has announced that another event is being organised at Lone Pine on August 6.

Next week, the 45,000 people who applied to the Gallipoli ballot will find out if they got one of the 8000 spots.

A few more updates for your Monday afternoon.

During question time, we were alerted to the fact that George Brandis had been active in the Senate.

As Dan Harrison and Jonathan Swan report, the Attorney-General has defended the right of Australians to be "bigots".

(He was making the case for changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.)

Dan adds that indigenous senator Nova Peris has now labelled the comments "disgusting".

"They are a green light to racism and all other sorts of hate speech. What sort of message does this send to young Australians at a time when we are trying to stop bullying?"

 

It is a good week for food eaters in Canberra. Free pineapples and now free meat. Put them together and you're starting to get an O'Troppo burger.

That and the Press Gallery vending machine got refilled and fixed this morning.

GOOD TIMES.

And now, an update on Free Meat week.

 

Liberal man Michael Kroger is on Sky.

He reckons that Paul Howes' resignation is good news for the Liberal Party.

Because he will be replaced with someone less "articulate" ... 

 

The FOFA act was introduced by Labor last year. It imposes an overarching requirement on financial planners to act in the best interests of their clients.

It also prohibits them from obtaining sales commissions and other forms of conflicted remunerations.

The Coalition wants to remove the catch-all "best interests" provision. The definition of "conflicted remuneration" would also be narrowed.

 

Bowen is having a good ol' swing at the Coalition.

"They should just admit they've got it terribly, terribly wrong."

As Peter Martin and Gareth Hutchens report:

"The government had planned to introduce the regulations winding back the consumer protections in financial advice this Friday, after parliament rose for a six week break. The timing would have made it impossible for the parliament to immediately disallow the regulations.

"The move comes after months of criticism of the government's proposed changes to the Future of Financial Advice legislation, known as FOFA."

 

But now, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen is up in a press conference about the future of financial advice freeze.

(FOFAF)

He says a freeze is only a "good first step" and the planned roll back should be stopped altogether.

Labor's Sue Lines has also received a promotional pineapple.

In tropical fruit news, Parliament House has been inundated with hundreds of pineapples.

Coalition MP Michelle Landry is delivering the fruits to all MPs and senators to showcase the "diversity of the local industry" in her Queensland electorate of Capricornia. 

"We are world leaders in coal and beef production, crocodile farming and intellectual research through CQUniversity," Landry says.

"But you may not realise that Capricornia is a key player in Australia's pineapple industry."

The pineapples in question come from a company in Yeppoon.

The Pulse has taken custody of one of the pines in question. We can report it is a sturdy fruit. That is not too prickly and has a flamboyant coiff.

Michelle Landry, federal member for Capricornia, promoting her electorate's pineapple industry.

Michelle Landry, federal member for Capricornia, promoting her electorate's pineapple industry. Photo: Supplied

The ripple effect of the Sinodinos step aside continues.

As everyone emerges from QT for a cup of cocoa/ run on the treadmill the Australian Financial Review reports the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is temporarily freezing a controversial roll back of financial advice laws.

Cormann only took charge of the policy last week, when Arthur Sinodinos stepped aside, and he took up Assistant Treasurer duties.

He now says that he wants to have "a round of consultations with all the stakeholders".

Cormann also says that the government remains committed to the "FOFA [future of financial advice] improvements" it took to the election.

The government has planned to remove the catch-all requirement for financial advisers to act in clients' "best interests".

 

None more so than Albo.

Anthony Albanese was repremanded by the Speaker Bronwyn Bishop during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Anthony Albanese was repremanded by the Speaker Bronwyn Bishop during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Treasurer Joe Hockey during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Treasurer Joe Hockey during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

It truly is a miserable day here in Canberra.

Rainy and sad.

No wonder everyone in QT had their grump on.

A Dixer to Stuart Robert on military superannuation and Tony Abbott calls an end to QT.

The House goes back to debating the Land Transport Infrastructure Amendment Bill.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott departs question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott departs question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

BS bounces off this to ask TA:

What steps has the PM personally taken to ensure himself that AS has done nothing wrong?

Pyne protests.

"Yet again, the Labor Party's question is out of order [it is not within the PM's area of responsibility]..."

Bishop then gives the call to the PM.

"These are matters that are quite properly before the NSW inquiry, they will be dealt with by the NSW inquiry ... and let me say again, Senator Sinodinos is a fundamentally decent man," he says.

 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Kate McClymont has been reporting on the ICAC hearing today in Sydney.

Remember earlier today when Christopher Pyne kind of praised Paul Howes?

He is now asked a Dixer about what the government is doing to restore the rule of law on construction sites.

It does not take long for Pyne to reference the AWU head and compare him to Bill Shorten.

(here's a tip, Pyne reckons Shorten is still a union stooge.)

 

Sussan Ley has a Dixer on the Early Years Quality Fund and then we are back to AS.

Mark Dreyfus, shadow attorney-general, has another crack.

I refer to the PM's decision to give Senator Sinodinos portfolio responsibility for corporate governance.

Was the PM aware of failings of corporate governance at Australian Water Holdings between 2008 and 2011, including while the former assistant treasurer was chairman, before the PM appointed him to the Treasury portfolio?

TA keeps his response short.

"Senator Sinodinos is a fundamentally decent man who has done the honourable thing by stepping aside for the duration of this inquiry at least insofar as it applies to him."

After a Dixer to Scott Morrison on boats turning up (or not turning up), we have another Sinodinos question.

Mark Dreyfus asks of the PM:

I refer to reports that a Liberal frontbencher has said it is difficult to imagine Heffernan didn't offer these views to Peta Credlin and Tony Abbott ...

The PM says he will not respond to gossip and scuttlebutt.

If you thought that this would be a Sinodinos-free question time, you thought wrong.

BS is back.

He has a question that relates to a News Corp report that Liberal senator Bill Heffernan first raised concerns about Arthur Sinodinos' busines interests three years ago (when AS was pre-selected).

I refer to concerns raised by Senator Heffernan ...  Did he ever raise his concerns with the PM before Senator Sinodinos was appointed to the Abbott ministry?

Pyne tries to have the question ruled out (arguing it is not within the PM's area of responsibility because it relates to a NSW pre-selection).

Shorten has to rephrase.

The PM then says that by stepping aside, "Sinodinos upheld the very best of the Westminster [tradition]."

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

We've now reached that time of question time when people are described as Disney characters.

Christopher Pyne has been Dixered about schools funding.

In the process of this, he calls Bill Shorten "the Mr Potato Head of Australian Politics" (because of Mr Potato Head's ability to change his faces).

There is much mucking about as a result.

Pyne is asked to withdraw. And then suggests that perhaps Shorten would prefer the title of Hugo: Man of a Thousand Faces.

But Shorten also has to "unconditionally withdraw" a comment to Bronwyn Bishop that "you are casting this house into disrepute when you allow [Pyne] to carry on [like that]".

 

Time for a shakeup. Looks like George Brandis has been chatting in the Senate.

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek stirs the house from its half-time slumber with a question for the PM on the Racial Discrimination Act.

For almost 20 years, section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has protected the Australian community from the divisive and destructive effects of racially motivated hate speech while preserving freedom of speech. 

Is the PM weakening decades of the racial hate speech and does the PM agree with the Attorney-General when he said today in the Senate "people do have a right to be bigots"?

Tony Abbott has a bet both ways.

He says that the government is "determined" to try and ensure that Australia remains a "free and fair and tolerant society, where bigotry and racism has no place".

"We also want this country to be a nation where freedom of speech is enjoyed."

He then notes that the government said before the election that it would repeal section 18C in its current form.

"The government will keep its commitment."

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

WA Liberal MP Christian Porter Dixers Warren Truss

He asks for an update on infrastructure projects the Coalition is undertaking in WA and elsewhere.

(No, I am not making this up.)

There are some enthusiastic heckles going on during this. 

There is a chorus of "massage" from the Labor benches, while Graham Perrett has added: "bring out the baby oil!"

After a Dixer to Ian Macfarlane on electricity and the mining tax, we are back to Bowen.

Things are getting a bit wonkical.

I refer the Treasurer to the most recent national accounts which show corporate profits growing at a rate of around 9 per cent.

Does the Treasurer stand by his decision to cut company profit growth projections in the mid-year economic and fiscal year outlook to 2.25 per cent, a rate which is less than a quarter of the established long-run average?

Is that a sigh from Hockey as he approaches the despatch box?

"We stand by all our forecasts and all of the projections in MYEFO. Someone had better give the member for McMahon a lesson about the difference between forecasts and projections."

 

This is brutal.

Treasurer Joe Hockey during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Treasurer Joe Hockey during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Tony Burke, Manager of Opposition Business, takes issue with Hockey's use of "Swanny" in his reply.

Madam Speaker agrees. The Treasurer should be referring to people by their titles.

Hockey is withering in response.

"You've hit me!" he tells Burke.

"This is brutal!"

 

Chris Bowen is back.

He quizzes Hockey thus (it is a wordy one):

I refer the Treasurer to his answer in the house last week that it is not possible to say how much the budget deficit had been blown out as a result of the government's changes in economic assumptions in the mid-year forecast.

I also refer the Treasurer to pages 29 to 30 of that forecast which actually outline a $5.7 billion blow-out driven by his changes to economic assumptions.

Why did the Treasurer mislead the house? 

Madam Speaker does not like the last part of the question and so, the Assistant Treasurer rephrases it:

Why has the Treasurer not come into the house to correct his mistake?

 

From the GST we step lightly over to a carbon tax Dixer.

Nola Marino, another WA MP, asks Greg Hunt:

Are there any plans to further extend the reach of the carbon tax that will further impact on WA?

 

The crossbench question today is from Clive Palmer, PUP leader and member for Fairfax and is to the Treasurer.

It is about GST and how WA should receive more.

Does the Liberal Party and the Labor Party care more about the seats in the eastern states?

Hockey replies with a question of his own.

"Ultimately when it comes down to the distribution of money ... if you are going to give one state more money, then you have to take it off another state.

"I would invite the honourable member to identify which States he would like to take the money off?"

Clive Palmer during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Clive Palmer during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen is up.

He refers the PM to the report about "massaging" jobs figures.

And btw, does the government stand by the economic assumptions in the mid-year economic update?

The PM again bats the question back.

Of course the government stands by its MYEFO assumptions.

AND

"We absolutely reject" the insinuations in Bowen's question.

The next Dixer is also to Joe Hockey.

Will you outline the trends in spending and debt inherited by the Coalition government?

There's a real pre-WA Senate election + last sitting week before the budget flavour to proceedings today, no?

"It's going to take years to climb this mountain. But we are determined to climb this mountain," Hockey says.

Why is the government spending more time fighting the facts that fighting for jobs?

BS pings another question the PM's way.

He is referring to a report in the Oz today that staff in Eric Abetz's office called on officials to "massage" jobs figures.

"The insinuations in the Leader of the Opposition's question are simply false," the PM replies.

We've got another ripper.

This time from the Coalition's Melissa Price (the member for Durack in WA).

Will the Treasurer outline the importance of repealing the mining tax?

Joe Hockey is delighted.

"It is a very good question," he begins.

WA Labor MP Melissa Parke has another question to the PM on releasing that Commission of Audit report.

Will you release this "secret report" before the April 5 election?

The PM calls on Labor to calm its farm.

"There is nothing wrong with this."

He notes that Labor waited to release the Gonski report and the Henry Tax Review.

 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Primo Dixer.

It is from the Coalition's Rick Wilson (in O'Connor in WA).

And it is to the PM on the carbon tax.

How will scrapping the mining and carbon taxes benefit WA?

"The carbon tax is a piece of economic vandalism," says TA wheeling out an old favourite.

Primo question.

BS to TA.

Why won't you release the Commission of Audit's 900-page interim report before the WA Senate election?

If you won't trust Western Australians, why should WA's trust you?

(Bronwyn Bishop rules the last part of that out of order.)

The PM begins by noting that the Commission of Audit has done a "very good job" and has produced a "long and detailed interim report".

"It hasn't yet produced a final report and when the report has been finally produced and when it has been carefully considered it will be produced to the public."

Question time.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares

What about the theory that Howes has stepped down because he wants to see Labor and labour break up?

When asked if Labor was too close to the union movement, he wouldn't really be drawn on the question. But he did note there was a lot of speculation.

You said this will be your last interview for a while. Will we see Paul Howes again?

Howes laughs. "I'm not dying."

 

What about asylum seekers?

Howes has previously roused on MPs from both sides of politics for whipping up fear in the community.

This afternoon he notes that those in favour of more humanity in the debate - including himself - have done a "pretty appalling job" at putting their case.

 

Howes is then asked about his role in the June 2010 leadership coup, when he went on Lateline and said that his union had switched from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard.

"It was a major mistake for me to do that Lateline interview and it was silly," he says.

He quotes a bit of Frank.

"Regrets, I've had a few."

Howes is asked about Bill Shorten.

"I think Bill's doing a really good job," he  says.

What's your relationship like?

"Pretty good ... we talk semi-regularly."

Here's a pledge for you. Howes says that in his post-AWU career, he will not be heckling/advising the union movement from the sidelines.

"There's nothing more ex than an ex."

Paul Howes appeared on television to explain his resignation from the AWU on Monday.

Paul Howes appeared on television to explain his resignation from the AWU on Monday.

Howes, when pressed, says his resignation is not a sign that he is disillusioned with the labour movement.

Chief political correspondent Mark Kenny has just written that people should forget all the conspiracy theories.

"It is more simple: personally and professionally, Howes is burnt out."

The country's most high profile union leader says that he is looking forward to not doing interviews "like this" in the next phase of his life.

When pressed about his failed bid for the NSW senate seat last year, Howes says there were "numerous issues regarding my candidacy".

Did you get support from Sam Dastyari?

"It was clear to me that it was going to be a big battle."

Howes is asked about a move to parliament.

He describes speculation about him coming to Canberra as flattering. But re-insists that he is not leaving the AWU for a political career.

"I'm not ruling anything in or out ... I want to do other things."

 

Paul Howes appeared on television to explain his resignation from the AWU on Monday.

Paul Howes appeared on television to explain his resignation from the AWU on Monday.

Sky's David Speers is a bit incredulous.

"You genuinely have no plans?"

 

Howes left school at 14 and notes he has never had the opportunity to study.

"It's to my eternal regret [that I've not studied more]."

The AWU head is not sure what he will study, however. 

He does know that he wants to try new things.

 

But given that the union movement is facing a royal commission, is this the best time to go?

"We're all just passing through," Howes observes.

What are you going to do now?

"I'm not sure."

He says that he was not bored with the job.

It is "impossible" to be bored when you work at the AWU.

"I leave with enormous affection ..." he says.

 

Paul Howes begins his interview with Sky by noting that his entire adult life has been spent working in the union movement.

He has been thinking about his decision for a few months.

"All good things must come to an end."

Paul Howes appeared on television to explain his resignation from the AWU on Monday.

Paul Howes appeared on television to explain his resignation from the AWU on Monday.

We are just about to tune in to Paul Howes' tete-a-tete with Sky.

Before that, can I point you to Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders' piece on why Howes is leaving his union post.

They write that Howes will press for Labor and the unions to cut their historic link.

"In behind-the-scenes discussions the young leader has recently revealed his personal conclusion that affiliation was damaging both the party and affiliated unions. However he has been hamstrung in his public comments by the fact that AWU's official position was at odds with his personal view..."

It's a long way from being the world's best Treasurer to the Federation Chamber.

 

Remember that bit about Tony Abbott wanting to be known as the "infrastructure prime minister?"

Well, today, the PM has announced a new sub-committee of cabinet.

It will be known across the land as the National Infrastructure Committee.

TA himself will chair it, and Warren Truss, Joe Hockey and Jamie Briggs (Assistant Minister for Infrastructure) will be invited. Along with "relevant" departmental secretaries.

The NIC will "provide information to cabinet on infrastructure projects and policy".

"Taxpayers are tired of grandiose but unmet commitments from Labor governments. They want governments to get on with building the roads, ports and freight networks our nation needs."

Public servants no doubt will be thrilled that they now have another meeting to organise.

Say it with me: roads of the 21st century.

As James Massola writes, Howes' relationship with Shorten was damaged after BS switched allegiances to Kevin Rudd ahead of the 2013 federal election.

No sign of that in this here statement.

(C'mon, even the most hardened political cynics will have their hearts warmed with that "I wish him well".)

Labor leader Bill Shorten has also been making statements.

But not about jobs. His concern is one Paul Howes.

"Paul Howes has made an excellent contribution to the Australian labour movement, both at the AWU and prior," Shorten begins.

"It was my privilege to work with Paul at the AWU.  When I left, I knew I was leaving the delegates and members in good hands when I supported Paul to replace me ... He leaves the AWU united, with a robust membership and strong finances.

"I hope that Paul will continue his vast contribution to workers' rights in the years to come.  I wish him and his family well."

And now a word about jobs.

The Australian reported today that staff in Employment Minister Eric Abetz's office encouraged federal officials to "massage" forecasts about jobs figures to match the government's pledge to create one million jobs over the next five years.

Abetz has now come back with a media statement.

"At no stage did any staff in my office suggest that figures be 'massaged,'" he says.

"The Department of Employment ... will be publishing its annual employment projection figures this week, as was always intended. These figures are based on November 2013 MYEFO data and, as such, do not take account of the government’s policy initiatives designed to increase employment.

"During the course of the production of these figures, the Department offered to provide a second set of figures which take into account government policies to create jobs, such as the abolition of the carbon tax and mining tax. These figures will not form part of the employment projection report to be published this week.

"The leaked email quoted in the story clearly only requested input into the wording around the media release and in no way sought to alter the figures to be published."

Got that?

Liberal senator Cory Bernardi is on his feet in the Senate in the mining tax repeal debate.

He has accused his Greens colleague Rachel Siewert of mispronouncing "hyperbole".

That and the tax "encapsulates [Labor's] complete incompetence".

We reported earlier that Paul Howes was going to do a press conference from Perth.

An update, he will appear on Sky News for an exclusive interview at 1pm Canberra time.

As the Senate continues to debate the mining tax (Greens leader Christine Milne has described the argument that getting rid of the mining tax will create jobs as "nonsense"), the House has been caught up on matters on public broadcasting.

Labor MP Melissa Parke moved that the House call on the government to "confirm there will be no cuts to the ABC or SBS" and "cease its unwarranted, politically motivated vilification of the ABC ..."

Debate then ensued, with Labor and Liberal MPs weighing in (there has been no vote). 

Sydney MP Craig Laundy's contribution stood out from the crowd.

The Liberal MP for Reid said that Monday night was his favourite on the ABC, given the line-up of the news, 7.30, Australian Story, Media Watch and then Q&A

Of host Tony Jones, Laundy said: "I reckon he's a swinger. And when I say that, I mean voter of course."

The AFR this morning said it had been told Howes was seeking a corporate gig.

"But it is understood Mr Howes has no immediate plans."

The union honcho says that it has not been an easy decision to step down.

"While I am stepping down as an officer of the AWU, I want you all to know it will always be a part of me."

Howes has spent the past seven years as national secretary (taking over from Bill Shorten when Shorten went to parliament).

He says he is not leaving the job to pursue a seat in parliament:

"I know my decision may come as a surprise. But I was elected to this role seven years ago, at 26 years of age. I left school at 14, and commenced full-time work in the union movement at 17.

"I have always said that representing the AWU’s members is the highest honour I can imagine seeking. And so, despite what you may hear, I am not leaving this job to pursue a seat in parliament.

For some time now I have been contemplating the next steps in my life. And as such I recognise the right thing to do is to step down."

The AWU has just sent out a statement.

It is from Paul Howes, confirming he will step down as national secretary from July.

The photo means that Tony Abbott can now be added to the hotel's rather illustrious wall of fame.

Photos of dignitaries who have visited the Airways Hotel in PNG. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Photos of dignitaries who have visited the Airways Hotel in PNG. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The PM also posed with hotel staff before he left Port Moresby.

The Pulse understands that the manager (jokingly) told staff before the snap: "no smile, no pay!"

Prime Minister Tony Abbott poses for a photo with hotel staff on his departure from Port Moresby on Sunday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott poses for a photo with hotel staff on his departure from Port Moresby on Sunday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Where's Tony?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott poses for photos with students from Koki Primary School on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott poses for photos with students from Koki Primary School on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Where he and his chief-of-staff, Peta Credlin, received the kind of enthusiastic welcome that only Kevin Rudd and Justin Bieber are used to.

Peta Credlin, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, meets with students from Koki Primary School on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Peta Credlin, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, meets with students from Koki Primary School on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The PM also visited a primary school.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is presented with a lei during his visit to the Koki Primary School on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is presented with a lei during his visit to the Koki Primary School on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

And drinking a cola beverage.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott drinks a coca-cola during a quick break at the Port Moresby City Mission farm in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott drinks a coca-cola during a quick break at the Port Moresby City Mission farm in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Touring a war cemetary

Prime Minister Tony Abbott tours the Bomana War Cemetary in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott tours the Bomana War Cemetary in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Training with rugby league players

Prime Minister Tony Abbott joins a training session with rugby league players during his visit to the Port Moresby City Mission on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott joins a training session with rugby league players during his visit to the Port Moresby City Mission on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

To touring a dockyard

Prime Minister Tony Abbott tours the Curtin Brothers dockyard during his visit to Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott tours the Curtin Brothers dockyard during his visit to Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

It included everything from opening facilities at a high school

Prime Minister Tony Abbott officially opens Australian aid-funded facilities at Caritas Technical Secondary School in Port Moresby on Friday.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott officially opens Australian aid-funded facilities at Caritas Technical Secondary School in Port Moresby on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

And the trip was a textbook definition of jam packed.

Alex Ellinghausen was travelling with the PM in PNG.

 

Singsing dancers wait for the arrival of Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Port Moresby on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Singsing dancers wait for the arrival of Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Port Moresby on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

As Heath Aston and Michael Gordon report this morning, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has also defended PNG government moves to shut down a judicial inquiry into human rights inside the Manus Island centre.

"This is a matter for the PNG government and we support the actions they consider are necessary to take ... within their own sovereign jurisdiction and consistent with their own constitution," he said in a statement on Sunday.

Daniel Webb, a lawyer who had access to the detention centre over the weekend, told Radio National that he was shocked by what he saw.

''I think I've read every report that’s been written about conditions inside the Manus processing centre and I was still absolutely shocked and confronted by what I saw," he said this morning.

''We saw poor toilet and sanitation facilities. There was a really overwhelming security presence.

''We weren't allowed to interview detainees but everywhere we went we were swamped by crowds of asylum seekers just desperate for help and desperate for someone, anyone, to listen to their stories.''

During the trip, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill pre-empted decisions on the status of asylum seekers held on Manus Island, saying "a good majority" are not genuine refugees.

As Michael Gordon reported, O'Neill also said that PNG will only resettle some of those whose claims for refugee status are recognised.

He said that other countries in the region needed to "carry the same burden as we do".

Over the weekend, Tony Abbott could not nominate another country that has said it will take refugees from Manus Island.

This morning, during his interview with Radio National, neither could Warren Truss.

Tony Abbott is back in town after a four day visit to PNG - his first as Prime Minister.

During his trip, Australia and PNG signed an economic co-operation treaty. But the subject of asylum seekers was never far away.

 

Earlier this morning, Deputy PM and Transport Minister Warren Truss also warned that weather was expected to get worse today, which will make it difficult for civilian spotters. 

Truss was over at RAAF base Pearce near Perth at the weekend, checking out the search effort.

"There was nothing of note found yesterday," he told Radio National. "It was a fruitless day."

As the hunt continues for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has issued a statement.

The search resumed this morning.

"AMSA reiterates this is a challenging operation. The flight has been missing since March 8 and AMSA continues to hold the gravest concerns for the passengers and crew on board the missing flight."

There are a total of 10 planes searching for possible objects today.

The weather forecast in the search area (about 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth) is expected to "deteriorate".

Away from Canberra, can we also point out that Cardinal George Pell is appearing before the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

This is all happening from Sydney.

Fairfax has a live video stream here.

Both houses are now sitting.

The House is dealing with private members' business.

In the Senate, the mining tax repeal is being debated.

The LNP's Ian Macdonald has managed to weave in a comment about Paul Howes during his speech.

Macdonald tells the Senate that he doesn't know why Howes is resigning.

"Only a Labor treasurer" could have devised a tax that "simply raised no money," the Queensland senator continues.

(Wayne, I think he means you.)

Pyne also shared his view on the SA election result, given that independent Geoff Brock has decided to side with the Labor party (to form a minority Labor government).

According to the Coalition government's most senior South Australian, "Jay Weatherill's government is an illegitimate government".

I know you are all busting to know what Christopher Pyne makes of the Howes news.

"I assume Paul Howes is making a play for federal parliament. And he certainly has a lot more ideas about the future of Australia ... than the current crop of people who represent the Labor Party in Canberra," the Education Minister told reporters at the House of Reps doors.

"He’d be very welcome here, but that’s a matter for the Labor Party."

For all that and more, we are expecting Howes to hold a press conference from Perth at 11.30am Canberra time.

Paul Howes, National Secretary of the Australian Workers' Union, addresses the National Press Club in Canberra on February 5 2014.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Paul Howes, National Secretary of the Australian Workers' Union, addresses the National Press Club in Canberra on February 5 2014. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

But does this mean Howes' potential political career is over?

Shoppies head Joe de Bruyn (who backed Deb O'Neill, not Howes for the NSW senate spot) has told Fairfax Media that it will be "much harder" for Howes to get into politics because he will no longer have a union base to launch him.

 

You may recall that Howes also had a bit of a tilt at parliament last year, during the jockeying for Bob Carr's replacement.

But Howes ended up pulling out of the race, saying he wanted to avoid a "messy fight".

(There were some within Labor who didn't want to see Howes get up.)

During this process, the AWU head fell out with former NSW Labor secretary and now NSW senator, Sam Dastyari.

The relationship between Howes and Bill Shorten is also understood to be strained/not peachy.

 

Howes' announcement (not that he has made it yet) has taken people a bit by surprise.

It was only in February that he stood up at the National Press Club and called for a "grand compact" between unions and business.

But as Clay writes, the AWU boss is engaged to Qantas executive Olivia Wirth. Since announcing their relationship, Howes has been unwilling to comment on issues relating to the airline.

A bit of an issue perhaps, given that the AWU has members working for Qantas.

The Age's workplace editor Clay Lucas also reports that sources within the AWU confirmed on Sunday soir that Howes will make his announcement today.

The union man was re-elected as national secretary only last year.

The big news of the morn is a report in the Australian Financial Review that Australian Workers' Union national secretary Paul Howes is about to quit.

 

 

Good morning and welcome to a grey and gloomy day in the National Capital.

(The Pulse seriously considered bringing a doona to the office today.)

What happens when a faceless man resigns?

It is speculation a-go-go ahead of Paul Howes' appearance at an AWU meeting in Perth this morning.

Back in Canberra, Tony Abbott is back from PNG for the last sitting week of Parliament before the May budget.

 

Sort comments by:
  • Just for the record, does anyone know how many times Julia Gillard refused to answer the question: "When did the Prime Minister become aware that the member for Dobell was under investigation?"?

    It goes both ways kids.

    Commenter
    Details Reqd
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 5:00PM
    • Abbott hounded Labor relentlessly over Thomson, on the basis of allegations. There were allegations surrounding Sinodinos, so Abbott reaps what he sows in this regard. He is being questioned in the same manner that he relentlessly questioned the previous government.

      He is getting what he deserves.

      Commenter
      Master Blaster
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 6:05PM
  • Re:"We are leaders in coal production...and intellectual research."

    Err, do they understand what an oxymoron is in Queensland?

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 4:46PM
  • 4:21 - Chris Bowen - perhaps what you're trying to say is that the Coalition are able to listen to voters and are able to change their minds.

    Labor should try it sometime, there's a couple of burning issues right now in fact.

    Commenter
    Hacka
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 4:46PM
  • Michael Kroger is kidding himself -
    Bob Hawke - inarticulate,
    Bill Shorten- inarticulate,
    Greg Combey - inarticulate,
    Ged Kennedy - inarticulate,
    Sharron Burrows - inarticulate
    but conversely - Tony Abbott - articulate, Clive Palmer - articulate,
    Bob Katter - articulate..
    i don'tthink so

    Commenter
    rod steiger
    Location
    toukley
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 4:44PM
    • Kroger,one of the chief faceless men of the Libs.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:49PM
  • Did Brandis really mean to say Bolt and his ilk are bigots

    Commenter
    henri
    Location
    western australia
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 4:38PM
    • Big, Bad, Boisterous and Bolted on Bigotry,

      Yes he did.

      Commenter
      Master Blaster
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 6:11PM
  • The question that needs to be asked is whether some MPs will receive the rough end of any of those pineapples delivered to Parliament House (4:04PM)

    Commenter
    stevek
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 4:36PM
    • For someone with the name of Pyne it d be apt.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:47PM
  • "Arthur Sinodinos was personally warned by Dr Schott that he should be careful of the company he was keeping&suggested AWH dishonest #ICAC"

    Kate McClymont's tweet bears repeating. Arthur might be a nice guy, but he is no innocent victim of subterranean manipulation. If Dr Schott and others who have already given evidence are to be believed (and why not?) at the very least it would seem that Arthur knowingly turned a blind eye to what was happening in the business whose affairs he was directing.

    Commenter
    Whyalla Wipeout
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 3:59PM
    • How very convenient of Arthur Sinodinis to stand down the day before he was required to make a statement in parliament about what he knew about Australian Water Holdings.

      Sinodinis who was Chairman, Director, lobbyist and shareholder of Australian Water Holdings when he was also NSW Liberal party Treasurer, claims ignorance of both the donation paid by AWH and the donation received by the NSW Liberals.

      So who the heck was in charge of finances and producing the financial accounts for shareholders?

      AWH only had 10 employees - 4 directors, 5 lobbyists and 1 other employee and only 1 contract with Sydney Water, which was awarded without public tender.

      AWH also had massive cashflow problems.

      Commenter
      Tristan
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 5:20PM
  • ‘People do have a right to be bigots’, says Australia’s Attorney-General.

    ‘Racism tops fears for migrants,’ says this morning’s headline.

    Ah, makes you proud to be Australian, doesn’t it?

    Commenter
    Gigondas
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 3:46PM
  • The current Opposition cannot be effective during Question Time, for one reason alone. It has nothing to due with the lefties calls of bias against the Speaker, but all to do with Labor's incompetence when they were in Government. Basically, Labor is a sitting duck as any question asked by them can easily be deflected back to their own dismal performance when in Government. Health, Education, Border protection, you name it. Too bad, so sad.

    Commenter
    Four term Tony
    Location
    Whyalla
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 3:37PM
    • Who cares? Nothing that happens in Question Time matters unless it makes it onto the news broadcasts. So Abbott and Dolores can continue to run the place like a private club and nobody will notice until Labor leads the inevitable walk-out when it can have the most impact.

      Commenter
      Whyalla Wipeout
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:55PM
    • I'd spin it slightly differently. The Government's reflexive answering every criticism of their performance with a criticism of their predecessor's performance may play well with people who already agree with them, but it is getting very, very tiresome for those wanting to hear an intelligent argument, or even a cogent rebuttal of the criticism.

      And, let's face it, it is the ones who are not rusted on who will decide whether Tony ends up as Four Term Tony or One Term Tony. It might be a good idea for him to engage in the argument, and leave the abuse / blame / excuses to the hard-working army of Liberazzis on this site.

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:55PM
    • fixed term/eligible for parole Tony - Arfur has nothing to do with Labor, unless you think Arfur was connected with the Obeid clan? which doesn't go down well I think - especially as the whole mess will contaminate NSW LNP as well - Arfur and his Chairmanship is a rare gift from the LNP to Labor

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:58PM
    • "Not because the speaker is biased"? You have got to be kidding, this is without doubt the most biased, unfair speaker ever to stain the speakers chair. I'll give her one thing, her imagination in applying questions to rules that have no resemblance of the standing orders in question. For terminal tony, the PM's refusal to answer the questions on when he first knew about Sinodinis' involvement, should have been mandated. The Speaker's role is to apply relevance, she did not.

      Commenter
      cycloniq
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:59PM
    • Now that Howes has confirmed that the bust up is on, does this mean that the unions will start rallying against the carbon tax and other job-reducing ALP policies ?

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:00PM
    • I think the LNP mantra of blaming Labor for everything is working as well as their 3 word slogans. We will need for the Australian people to wake and smell how bad this government really is. It will take another but judging by the way the opinion poles are sliding maybe sooner rather than later.

      Commenter
      Get Real
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:01PM
    • If that be true your man would be beyond his use-by date.

      Commenter
      Jason of Gold Coast
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:02PM
    • lol FTTony Thanks for a good afternoon laugh. On happy hour now, huh?

      Commenter
      Jump
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:09PM
    • And at the same time the government look like a possessed divorcee ranting, blaming labor for every thing under the sun and not moving forward.

      Commenter
      Tim
      Location
      Inner City
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:27PM
    • You obviously don't watch question time to see how biased bishop is or otherwise you just think contempt for the Speakers chair is fair behavior.

      Commenter
      Lance
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:30PM
  • 2.48 pm. I leave for an appointment only to come back to find that there's nothing new in Question Time (from one day to the next).
    I think it's time for all politicians to give up this charade - it's such a waste of our taxes. And, to think that we people voted in these puerile people to represent us? What a joke!

    Commenter
    Jump
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 3:31PM
  • Dixers on the carbon & mining tax which as neither of which have had anywhere near the "disastrous" effects predicted, even the Libs look half-hearted

    This is pretty much the only thing we have heard.

    For months.

    But that's apparently ok according to Bronnie's interpretation, the standing orders do not actually require answers, but it is just fine to keep asking the same question.

    And they wonder why people are disengaged with politics, and they get paid how much again?

    Commenter
    Sambo
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 2:57PM
    • Sambo, like you, I've had a gutful of our politics, especially the bully-boy taunitng form the one side. The same side that were in opposition last year. Have they not learned anything? As someone who believes in having their say, and having someone listen, question time is a farce, the speaker hasn't got a clue, and the opposition questioning is poor.
      I might have to just pull my head in and let this unruly mob undo everything that went before them.Back to the sixties indeed!

      Commenter
      Al48
      Location
      Gippsland
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:12PM
  • Every time the Prime Minister won't answer a question in question that requires a simple yes or no we onlookers can only assume that what the opposition assumes by the question must be correct. All Australians need to take a look at the British Parliament's question time where yes and no answers are to the fore. The speaker Browyn Bishop is a disgrace in allowing the Prime Minister to evade answering questions.

    Commenter
    RTP
    Location
    Sawtell
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 2:54PM
    • Oh yes, we need Parliamentary tips from a democracy that has become a cultural basket case.

      Any other ideas?

      Commenter
      Malik the magic sheep
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:03PM
    • RTP, you should tell it how it rally is.
      No politician of ANY persuasion EVER answers a question with a simple yes or no, unless this question is a set queue from that politicians own camp. The master of this deception during the past 40 years has been Kevin Rudd. ALL others, simply answer the question with a statement which serves their own cause best ! ..... FACT !

      Commenter
      Pistol Pete
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:06PM
    • Ha! It was exactly the same during the last parliament, nothing has changed at all.

      Labor supporters just can't get around to the fact that its not as much fun when the boot is on the other foot.

      Commenter
      SteveH.
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:09PM
    • SteveH.
      You're sounding more and more mature each year Steve; like a good bottle of Pinot Noir from Central Otago

      Commenter
      Econorat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:01PM
    • I'm having a lot of trouble envisioning SteveH as the Block 5 Felton Road of amateur political commentators. It's a highly disturbing thought. It may well drive me to drink.

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:44PM
  • Madam Speaker is surely getting her own back for the times she was ejected.

    A more bias Speaker could not be envisaged.

    Shorten should lead his colleagues from the House.

    Commenter
    Jason of Gold Coast
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 2:51PM
    • A gargoyle is "a spout, terminating in a grotesque representation of a human or animal figure with open mouth, projecting from the gutter of a building for throwing rain water clear of a building."

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:58PM
    • She's a disgrace. Makes no attempt to keep the House in order in the true sense of Order

      Commenter
      Graeme
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:10PM
    • Can anyone overrule the speaker? Let her cool her heels for an hour?
      Has there been any truly independent,
      impartial speakers. Harry Jenkins seemed to have been fairly decent. Peter Slipper is the closest we've had to an independent speaker but he clearly had an axe to grind with the LNP after he jumped ship.

      Commenter
      stevek
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:11PM
    • I'm surprised they haven't conducted a walkout. Ever happened before?
      Can't believe the farce, I used to enjoy QT.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:12PM
    • It goes with the government gorilla tactics, throw the same stones each day, run and hide behind/under the speakers skirt each time they break thew rules. The speakers dyslexia isn't getting any better when "members on my left" is used for the "right" side.

      Commenter
      Tim
      Location
      Inner City
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:18PM
    • a walkout IS the only answer

      Commenter
      paff
      Location
      syd
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 5:02PM
    • Jason of Gold Coast, what are you whinging about, Shorten is leading his colleagues from the House.
      Come the next election, Labor will be lucky to have 10 seats.

      Commenter
      Thepres
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 5:50PM
  • Err, “Mr Hockey, why do we need to repeal the Mining Tax?”

    Hockey: “That is good question.”

    “Thankyou. But what is your answer to the question?”

    Hockey: “As I said, it is good question.”

    Err. “Yes, but you have not answered the question, are the mining companies falling on hard times, is this a reason for repealing the Mining tax?”

    Hockey: “That’s another good question.”

    “Err, Mr Hockey, are you aware that BHP paid the ex-chairman of BHP, Marius Kloppers's $75 million payout, with the promise of another $19 million in shares. That Klopper’s windfall may exceed BHP’s meagre Mining Tax payment by several million?”

    Hockey: That’s a good question, perhaps you should ask BHP.

    “Err, you do understand that the mining companies are making record profits. BHP recently registered a six month profit of $7.6 billion; Woodside: $1.753 billion; and Rio Tinto $10.2 billion.”

    Hockey: “What I understand is not the question.”

    “Err, but you have not answered the question, Mr Hockey.”

    Hockey: “What question is that?”

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 2:48PM
    • Sounds similar to the Abbott and Costello skit who's on first.
      Except the joke is on the Australian people.

      Commenter
      Get Real
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:35PM
    • ...and how close did we come to having Abbott and Costello running the house. The Abbott/Hockey comedy show is bad enough.

      Commenter
      MP
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 5:03PM
  • Didn't JG get into a bit of strife over the neckline of one of her tops?
    One rule for one, one for others.

    Commenter
    A country gal
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 2:40PM
    • Who is JG?

      Commenter
      Malik the magic sheep
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:01PM
  • Honestly, the Government needs to get over its obsession with blaming everything on the ALP. It's like watching someone fight with their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend - always the other one's fault.

    Just get on with governing!

    Commenter
    pseudomys
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 2:33PM
  • Dah-dah-dah-dahdaah-dah-dah-dah-dahdahh is that the Lone Howes coming to the rescue of the Labor Party? Oh no, it's Short’s dust retreating from the fray..
    Can anyone see Jool's? No? Oh my God, where is Kevin?

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 2:16PM
    • Kev's off shining his pipe and posing for painted portraits in some European drawing room...

      Commenter
      Malik the magic sheep
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:05PM
  • It struck me last week, as both major parties scrambled to repay embarrassing political donations, why should the money go back to its dodgy source? Rather than making the dodgies richer by giving them their money back, why not simply donate it to charity so it goes to someone who needs / deserves it? Or, in the Liberal’s case, why not put it straight into consolidated revenue if the cupboard is really as bare as Joe’s so loudly proclaiming?

    Commenter
    Gigondas
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:57PM
    • Gigondas - excellent suggestion. However, would the charity want to be in receipt of dodgy funds?

      Commenter
      Sarah of Carnegie
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:04PM
    • Political donations needs a total overhaul but will never happen whilst the duopoly controls.
      The Greens have tried, but to no avail.
      It also gets me in an age of technology why these donations are not made public once the money is banked and cleared.
      No excuses, none, zilch.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:06PM
    • Gigondas, if you're refering to the dodgy AWH donations to the LP then that money has or should be rightly returned to the NSW taxpayers, i.e. NSW Water. It was ripped out of them in the first place.

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:09PM
    • Gig - It's my understanding under Federal electoral laws that if a donation is deemed illegal or cannot be properly traced and attributed to a third party for disclosure then the funds revert to the Commonwealth.

      Commenter
      Smack
      Location
      City of the Fallen
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:34PM
  • I wonder if PNG would consider broadening the current asylum seeker agreement and just keep Tony as well ?

    Commenter
    thefinn
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:54PM
    • I would ship them all 150 HoR MP's and all 76 senators & pay them heaps to resettle them all in PNG.

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:18PM
  • I just hope that all those who voted against Howe going into politics in the SMH poll were Labor supporters if not Labor is well and truly doomed.

    Commenter
    RTP
    Location
    sawtell
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:36PM
    • Labor Doomed!! not really as long as Abbott is PM there will always be a pulse.

      Commenter
      Get Real
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:52PM
    • @Get Real

      Did you actually read what you wrote? Abbott IS PM. That alone signals the death knell of the ALP.

      Time to find a new party that will have a chance - and I don't mean The Greens. They went under when Bob Brown left the house for a moment and the kids started a fire in the kitchen.

      Commenter
      Malik the magic sheep
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:07PM
  • It's true Paul Howes is not going into politics....yet..

    He's going back to school to do his HSC !

    Commenter
    Enrico
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:35PM
    • never too late enrico

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:52PM
    • Good on him if he does, but as an adult he will be exempt if wanting to attend Uni.
      You sound sarcastic.
      I'm no Howes fan but if he decides to educate himself further, then that is a positive thing.
      Kudos to him, if so.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:15PM
    • neither did Keating.
      Circumstances and family situations can derail even the brightest.

      i'd suggest he is probably pretty gifted in the IQ area.

      You can mock him if it makes you feel you're better than him.

      Commenter
      Econorat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:21PM
    • How about someone ask Hunt about how successful DA is going to be in reducing emissions whilst allowing for more forest degradation and paying polluters to pollute.
      Given BHP had a profit of $8+B, time they paid for their pollution, a few measly M and a grant of 100M.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:27PM
  • Bill Shorten should be very aware. When he looks over his left shoulder from now on he will see the face of the smiling assassin, Paul Howes. The clock is ticking BS, he is coming to get you.

    Commenter
    Airato
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:34PM
  • I hope someone asks Abbott how on earth can PNG resettle our refugees, when PNG Govt cannot even take care of their own people. PNG rates as one of the worst most violent places on earth,and cannot possibly resettle people. Next thing now, Abbott will be shopping them around Asian nations on Ebay.!

    Commenter
    Piesnchess
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:28PM
    • Judging by the Abbott's photo opp tour of PNG it is safe to say he toured the safe areas. You would think a PM would visit the site of his one and only so called "policy".

      Commenter
      Get Real
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:51PM
  • Not surprised Howes is burnt out. Would be an extremely tough sell to even suggest that Labor Future should be more about working people and less about unionists. Did I read that only 19% of working Australians belong to a union?

    Commenter
    Sarah of Carnegie
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:27PM
    • and yet over 50% of Australians would, 2 party preferred, elect labor in an election held today! Fancy that! I guess the union bashing is largely irrelevant Sarah so save you strength and give it up. Horse dead flogged.

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:41PM
    • Rod, now don't burst a gasket. Why are you getting all defensive?

      I would like to see a Labor Party move into this direction. Might surprise you that when in NZ I voted Labor. Never once National. I don't vote here in Australia.

      Commenter
      Sarah of Carngie
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:52PM
    • But there wont be an election held today or tomorrow, or the week after so that point is moot Rod.

      Commenter
      Sarah of Carnegie
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:57PM
    • ah, but, left-leaning Sarah, a double dissolution looms - could Abbott be that dumb? never say never ..

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:01PM
    • @Rod - there won't be a DD as pony tony lied about it. He said at the election (and even did his us bully boy threats after he was elected) to go to a DD if the carbon tax was rejected. Well it was rejected d we are still waiting. Why? Because he doesn't have the ticker to honor his word and from a man who said he would be better than the last mob.

      Commenter
      Lance
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:37PM
  • So the picture caption showed Mr. Abbott mingling with the Locals.
    I, for one, would have been happier to have seen him show courage in speaking with those his heartless Government has incarcerated!

    Commenter
    Cicero
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:25PM
  • Hmmm Paul Howes "There's nothing more ex than an ex."

    What does KRudd think about that statement?

    Commenter
    stevek
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:24PM
  • When even The Australian writes a report about you as if you've already permanently left parliament, you know you're political career is over.

    Don't you Arthur Sinodinis?

    Busy man.

    2 back to back ICAC investigations - Australian Water Holdings and Liberal slush fund EightByFive, followed by a lawsuit from disgruntled AWH investors.

    Commenter
    Tristan
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:19PM
  • Bold move by Howes. Is he proposing that he is the proponent-instigator of the ACTU-ALP bust up ? You'd imagine it will take several years and many tears.

    I wonder if he gave Shorten advance notice, or kindly repaid the favour from when Shorten back flipped on Jules.

    Commenter
    Hacka
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:05PM
    • Welcome back Hacka! Recovered from the jet lag and back into the deflection gotta keep Arthur out of the news today. By the way love the pic 11:12am!

      Commenter
      Get Real
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:15PM
    • or
      "a government I lead will create one meeeeellion jobs"
      a government that is devoid of a plan to create anything might get to one million jobs but it won't be creating them, the opposite

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:36PM
    • Ah, Hacka, I see my prognostication at 9:13 was right...

      "To deflect from the Arthur Sinodinos Show and any number of embarrassments and policy vacuums, the Liberazzi will be loudly pushing the ‘watch out Bill, Paul’s after your job’ line. Who needs functioning policy when you’ve got the Labor Party to kick."

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:37PM
    • Ha ha Gigondas - so basically any topic that isn't your chosen one of the day is about deflection ?

      Sorry - Sinodinos is last week's news, there's a new show in town now - it's called The Bust Up, and it's coming your way.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:51PM
    • you better get onto Rupert, hacks - he stilll thinks it's news and reports it in the Australian

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:03PM
  • "commenced full-time work in the union movement"

    oxymoron?

    Commenter
    dRod
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 1:00PM
    • you mean like "living dead"
      or "Open for business"
      or "Direct action"
      or "Coalition's Real Solutions Plan"?

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:19PM
    • or "open honest government"
      or "Adults"

      Commenter
      Get Real
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:27PM
    • or 'Education Minister, Christopher Pyne'?

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:40PM
    • Or Environment Minister, Greg Hunt.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:11PM
  • 12.47 NIC, sounds like a direct reference re Pt Abbot dredging. Good luck and kudos to MCC and also Getup for providing the $150K to fight for the survival of the GBR.

    Commenter
    A country gal
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:57PM
  • The Pulse @ 12:27pm

    With such enthusiastic praise from Bill "I wish him well" Shorten, Paul Howes had better watch his back.

    Commenter
    Lewis
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:43PM
  • So basically BS would have done anything to get power. I can't understand why he is such a limp dishrag in Opposition. Lacks the ticker. Where is the same passion he demonstrated when he knifed two PM's.

    Commenter
    Sarah of Carnegie
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:40PM
    • Still bereft of ideas then?

      Commenter
      tasch2
      Location
      Mornington Peninsula
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:47PM
    • Of who might be the next Labor Leader? Not at all. Already thrown my pick into the ring.

      Commenter
      Sarah of Carnegie
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:02PM
    • if you actually bothered to watch him deliver a speech in Parlt he is a very good speaker, Ive seen him give several firebrand speeches, one last week. Far better than Abbotts, with his constant errs, ahhs, umms, ahhs,. I don't think Albo would be any better either.

      Commenter
      Piesnchess
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:24PM
    • Sarah
      Prevails you could give us a clue as to a policy (any policy? ) that you think Shorten could oppose.
      Perhaps Tony could give his seat to Shorten. At least then we could have a policy to debate.

      Commenter
      Steve
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:30PM
    • yes it is a win lewis - completely against prognostications prior to the election, and down to one Anthony Abbott's flailing around on industry assistance policy - an excellent opposition hairball in the S-bend, but a hopeless tangle when in government

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:15PM
    • Sarah: Just when are your lot going to start acting like a government. They are now expected to do more than simply run the ALP down. Its your mob that are in government after all Sarah. How about they actually start doing something constructive? Personally i think you all need to grow up and stop acting like schoolyard bullies. Or are Abbott and his boys simply bereft of actual policy and ideas?????????

      Commenter
      meganjj
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:21PM
    • meganjj - they not my lot. I didn't vote for them.

      Commenter
      Sarah of Carnegie
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:48PM
  • Seeing as though Howes has got the nation's attention today, why doesn't he do a Clive and call the press conference for 2pm ?

    Commenter
    Hacka
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:40PM
    • Better still, lets have a press conference on how the Libs lost the SA election?

      Commenter
      lance
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:58PM
    • "To lose,
      The unloseable election,
      To shoot,
      Oneself in both feet"
      No such a thing as a drover's dog when the NLP get to work on th electorate

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:05PM
    • Easy Weatherill is good at negotiating unlike the liberals.

      Commenter
      Amro
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:12PM
    • Yes i did wonder if you Labor guys would be impressed with Howes move - clearly not.

      The good news is you'll be able to rewrite the ALP charter and get rid of all that stuff Kev forced in just before the election. Will smooth the path for Howes to replace Bill after it's all done and dusted.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:33PM
    • meanwhile, hacky, back at LP HQ in Adelaide -
      "Why did we run with this kid? and when we did , why did we run with the credlin low profile out of the press conferences method? Got to get replace him fast"
      " I know a drover with a really smart dog?"

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:50PM
    • This triumphalism is hilarious. The ALP was absolutely trounced in NSW, QLD, WA, NT, Federal & TAS elections. They do win convincingly in ACT but just sneak in the back door in SA elections with just 47% 2PP & this is a win?

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:05PM
    • Re Question at 1.09. We know how Joe started his answer, I guessing he finished it with "because we prefer to rip money from the pockets of constituents rather than from Companies making billions"

      Commenter
      tasch2
      Location
      Mornington Peninsula
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 2:16PM
    • well as I am not a Lbor guy your comment doesn't really effect me however personally I couldn't care less as to what owes does. It is no issue as far as I am concerned but given how Peta has asked you to keep mentioning it I suspect there is something else you are trying to deflect people from?

      In any case, they still lost the SA election as they demonstrated yet again they can't negotiate, it isl or nothing.

      Here's a thought. There was a comment that pointed out IChristopher Pyne has been reported as describing the new SA Government as illegitimate. His thesis presumably is that although the ALP won more seats, it didn't win the two party preferred vote. Funny that, because in 2010, Pyne, Abbott and Co decried the Gillard government as illegitimate because it won fewer seats than the coalition, despite winning the two part preferred vote. Getting caught up in their own spin - again.

      Commenter
      Lance
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 4:28PM
  • Whether unemployment figures are massaged or not it does hide the fact of the massive discrepancy between ABS and Morgan unemployment figures.

    “Morgan unemployment figures released yesterday show an estimated 1.561 million Australians are now unemployed. This represents 12.3 per cent of the workforce and is now the highest figure since February 1994, some 20 years ago. An additional 1.08 million Australians are classified as underemployed, working part time while looking for more work.”

    Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points but the rounded estimate remained at 6.0 per cent in February, as announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 14/3/2014).

    Who is lying and why? Who has something to gain by lying?

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:38PM
    • I'll give you a hint, Pen. Even the ABS do not really believe their own figures.

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:46PM
  • This leaves a vacancy for Shorten the Union Puppet, he could go back to his old job. He should feel quite at home.

    Commenter
    Observer
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:33PM
    • If it was his old job then you would think he would be at home with - duh! Not sure what your point was?

      Commenter
      lance
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:59PM
  • "The leaked email quoted in the story clearly only requested input into the wording around the media release and in no way sought to alter the figures to be published."

    The Liberals have their version of the Pete Seeger song: 'for every thing spin, spin, spin. There is a reason spin, spin, spin'

    Commenter
    Whyalla Wipeout
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:30PM
  • So Howes has no plans. Err could Shorten have been taken off the short list for PM?

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:22PM
  • Did he visit Manu's Island? NO he didn't
    Did he 'tour' and 'meet' the asylum seekers detained anywhere in PNG? NO he didn't.

    What the hell was the outcome of his visit and playing footy with the locals?

    Useless really

    Commenter
    Not Really
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:19PM
    • Typical hysteria, the point of the visit was to talk to the PNG PM, not to froth up the inner city latte set.

      Commenter
      SteveH.
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:26PM
    • Looks like the point of the visit was one big photo op.

      Commenter
      Whyalla Wipeout
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:31PM
    • So... SteveH, do you have some qualm with Lattes or Inner CIty?

      Or are you trying to tell me that politicians just like to 'visit' politicians from other countries these days without any intended purpose of the visit?

      Commenter
      Not Really
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 3:36PM
  • Re: “The Liberal MP for Reid said that Monday night was his favourite on the ABC, given the line-up of the news, 7.30, Australian Story, Media Watch and then Q&A.”

    Obviously some people can never get their fill of the Australian pastime: she’ll be right mate?

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:13PM
  • Can someone please ask melbourne centrist why one of the key indicators and consequences of global warming is the massive ice loss at both poles and why evermore ice is melting.

    The main difference between the amounts of ice melting at the poles is the Arctic polar region ice floats on the ocean, whereas the Antarctic regional ice is on land and sea. Obviously warming seas dictate the differentials by which they melt.

    Nevertheless measurements of Antarctic ice made by the CrySat satellite reveal an average yearly ice loss of approximately “150 cubic kilometers from the West Antarctica ice sheet alone. This is considerably more ice loss than previously estimated. Perhaps Melbourne centrist can explain how the sun alone is responsible for this?

    So what is happening is the main losses derive from melting glaciers, their runoff waters flow into the sea but the seas overall are not cooling by this inflow of chilled water they are warming, warming seas means sea expansion and expansion means sea rise of approximately one metre by the 2090. This rise will drown millions of hectares of Australian coast line.

    Climate scientists from the U.S. Navy claim the Arctic could see its first almost ice-free summer in just two, in 2016. Why? Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere and directs it toward the ocean’s surface. The heat cannot penetrate deep by itself, however it does heat the the lower layers by decreasing the temperature gradient that is the steepness. A temperature gradient steepness works like a river decreases in flow as it steepness decreases.

    All of this is true proven scientific fact and not ridiculous inane comment like that of melbourne centrist.

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:05PM
  • Paul Howes could be the saviour of the Labor Party if he choses to enter politics. The current Labor mob are not worth two bob !!!!

    Commenter
    noitall
    Location
    Beacon Hill
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 12:03PM
    • You cannot be serious

      Commenter
      BooHoo
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:35PM
    • More suited to the Libs. He's a dig it up, chop it down sorta guy.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:11PM
  • So Paul Howes is seeking a corporate career. The next Qantas CEO perhaps?

    Commenter
    Lewis
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:48AM
    • he couldn't do worse that the current nuff nuff.

      Commenter
      petern
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:32PM
  • So, Howes has gone. Story acknowledged. Can we move on to something more interesting/important now? Cheers.

    Commenter
    Jump
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:38AM
  • Pic of the Day Alex @11.12 am.

    Commenter
    Sarah of Carnegie
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:28AM
    • now if we could have somehow snuck a yellow vest in there it would have been perfect

      Commenter
      harry
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:30AM
  • Hmm..looking at the 11:17Amk photo of Peta Credlin. Two of the Aussie flags are upside-down and the kid on the left is gesturing to someone. Is he ordering, or expressing an opinion?

    Commenter
    stevek
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:28AM
  • I notice that Christopher Pyne has been reported as describing the new SA Government as illegitimate. His thesis presumably is that although the ALP won more seats, it didn't win the two party preferred vote. Funny that, because in 2010, Pyne, Abbott and Co decried the Gillard government as illegitimate because it won fewer seats than the coalition, despite winning the two part preferred vote. In truth, I suspect C Pyne considers any ALP government to be illegitimate.

    Commenter
    Paulm
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:23AM
    • When it comes to defining 'hypocrisy', Pyne provides a whole separate entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.

      Commenter
      Whyalla Wipeout
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:50AM
    • Pyne's been trotted out, must be time for a deflection.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:19PM
    • WW, I'm looking forward to it being included in the Pyne Curriculum (the one that has Menzies and Howard as the twin pinnacles of Australian political achievement).

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:20PM
  • 11.17am. The relevance, please?
    Seriously, who wishes to glorify our 'Queen of No' as an Australian?
    Nothing to see here...

    Commenter
    Jump
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:22AM
    • Clearly worthy of your erudite comment however.

      Commenter
      LESTWEFORGET
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:32PM
  • 11.17am - nice photo of the PM meeting with some school children

    Commenter
    harry
    Location
    melbourne
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:20AM
    • Notice the other with Peta, about to grab the string. puppets string or is it an NBN cable.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:49PM
    • He was talking about the one with Peta...

      Commenter
      Jason
      Location
      Avalon
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:06PM
    • Jason- paid!

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:20PM
  • What have we've done to deserve the barrage of Abbott pics this morning! Not a great way to start my week at least....

    Commenter
    Passionfruit
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:17AM
  • 10.04 am. Are they already crying over the result - calling the bogus 'illegitimate government' ruse again? Not surprised.

    Commenter
    Jump
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:15AM
  • Memo (or maybe sms) from Howes to Pyne: Thanks mate for that kiss of death.

    Commenter
    Passionfruit
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:11AM
    • Reply from Pynne: "Any time , pal! My pleasure."

      Commenter
      Lewis
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:14AM
  • Re: "The sun is the main driver of climate change. Not you or CO2."

    Really, has anyone had a look at Venus lately? I suppose there must be some other reason why it is the hottest planet in the solar system other than an atmosphere mainly comprising Co2?

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:09AM
    • The reason that Venus went so hot is because it was a little too close to the sun for water to exist long terma a liquid. it's rain that can cool a planet and we all know the most efficient greenhouse gas that is water vapor... don't we?

      Commenter
      Brettie
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 1:39PM
  • Scott Morrison said...
    "This is a matter for the PNG government"

    Did he even read the James Diaz plan in the the last federal election?

    Commenter
    Squeptical
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:07AM
  • If all else fails, Abbott is no doubt thinking of making use of the $7 million worth of orange unsinkable saunas and have the Manus mob sent back to people smugglers paradise.

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 11:02AM
  • Here's a thought: Paul Howes launches his own political party. PUP has shown that the electorate is after another credible choice other than the two-horse race we have now. PUP voters may feel they have been sold a pup so the door is open again.

    Commenter
    stevek
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 10:55AM
  • The Sinodinis affair is like MH370: no one really knows where to look for the wreckage.

    Commenter
    Pen of hrba
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 10:48AM
    • It also similar to our Government which went off course immediately after take off.

      Commenter
      tasch2
      Location
      Mornington Peninsula
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:02AM
    • Bravo Pen. Well put, sir

      Commenter
      stevek
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:04AM
    • They know the wreckage is floating out there in the Obeid Ocean, but neither side wants to look too closely there.

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:11AM
    • Good quip Pen :-)

      Commenter
      Jump
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:19AM
    • Pen of hrba-They didn't have the same problem with Obeid, Macdonald, Thomson and Williamson. The Union Royal Commission will be starting up-watch this space.

      Commenter
      noitall
      Location
      Beacon Hill
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:07PM
    • Gold, "Dr Pen".
      So many theories but little result.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:31PM
  • Please do not mention anything about Arthur Sinodinis today people. We've worked really hard to deflect from the fact that the Liberals are now linked to Obeid, and it appears to be working. The Craig Thomson affair might have gone on for more than a year but we appear to have got this one off the front pages within days. Good effort. Not on the front page of any News Corp or Fairfax paper today. Lucky for us there were some great alternative stories that we could help focus the media on.

    Commenter
    Tony
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 10:29AM
    • ''Great alternative stories'' Tony? A Sheehan rant (two weeks too late) and an article asking whether Australians are racist? Don't we already KNOW the answers (and purpose) for these 'deflection pieces'?

      Commenter
      Jump
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:18AM
  • paul howes can see the writing on the wall with the rc coming....first of many I suspect when it comes to union officials.... and when bill the knife shorten gets called as a witness in the royal commission, will he have to stand down like Arthur?

    Commenter
    melbourne centrist
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 9:38AM
    • I hope so melb-centrist. If ANY of them have been found to be lining their own pockets, out of their elected position, then they should be summarily turfed out.

      Commenter
      Jump
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:13AM
  • Howes is probably disgusted that labor have gone to the last two elections promising no carbon tax only to change their minds once the people have voted.

    Maybe he doesn't want to deal with the fallout from the RC. He knows what has happened in the past and is ashamed. Will he call for BS to stand aside when he is called in front of the RC? Labor should have no issue with this given that is the position they have already taken.

    Commenter
    Pragmatic prince
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 9:28AM
    • I suspect Howes has had enough of the vile and vicious personal attacks that conservatives launch on their opponents.

      Commenter
      whyalla Wipeout
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 10:39AM
    • Feeling sore about losing an election PP? Oh, too bad for you.

      Commenter
      Jason
      Location
      Avalon
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 10:39AM
    • Probably? Maybe? You really don't know at all and just make things up to suit your position. That is a certainty.

      Commenter
      Dr Bombay
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:59PM
  • So what’s the agenda today? Let me prognosticate.

    To deflect from the Arthur Sinodinos Show and any number of embarrassments and policy vacuums, the Liberazzi will be loudly pushing the ‘watch out Bill, Paul’s after your job’ line. Who needs functioning policy when you’ve got the Labor Party to kick.

    Meanwhile, the Laborazzi are less predictable- they could be up in arms about the failings of the ABCC (no, not the ABC, the one with the extra C), or the plunging value of unemployment benefits, although in the age of greed is good, no-one wants to appear too sympathetic to the desperately poor.

    And what will they both try to avoid? The asylum seeker debacle for one, which they can both claim part ownership, the continuing attacks on public education, again a terrific example of misguided bipartisanship, and the complete failure to do anything credible to do our bit to slow global warming.

    Commenter
    Gigondas
    Location
    Date and time
    March 24, 2014, 9:13AM
    • global warming? haven't you read the latest science from the un climate organization? 16 years with no discernible warming.... wasn't that why it got changed to climate change?

      Commenter
      melbourne centrist
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 10:20AM
    • So, melbourne centrist, without entering into a my stats/your stats argument (although I will say that looking at the whole data set without filtering it through an economic realist or anti-science prism you’d be hard pressed not to come to the conclusion that our actions are changing the climate, and that future generations will suffer as a result), what’s your view of Tony ‘Climate Change is Crap’ Abbott spending $3.2 billion (that’s billion, not million) of my money and your money on a policy that not only won’t work, but that is aimed at a problem he and you don’t think even exists?

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 10:38AM
    • Bloomberg Aug. 29, 2013 is reporting that global governments are asking serious questions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in advance of the upcoming release of a new report. Friends of Science say the current 16 year period of no global warming as reported in the Daily Mail October 13, 2012 (despite a rise in carbon dioxide – CO2) would seem to invalidate the theory that carbon dioxide causes global warming in any catastrophic way.

      “Governments have relied on IPCC computer model predictions and instituted sweeping climate policies and GHG reduction targets,” says Len Maier, president of Friends of Science.

      A study by German researchers revealed that 65 climate models failed to predict the current hiatus.

      Germany is abandoning many of its climate change policies and is presently building some 25 coal plants as reported in Forbes as early as August 31, 2012. Bloomberg reported on April 24, 2013 that carbon emissions prices in Europe collapsed this spring from a price of 34.90 euro per unit in 2008 to just 3.06 euro.

      In addition to this, the Dutch government issued a direct statement to the IPCC recently stating: “The IPCC needs to adjust its principles: " We believe that limiting the scope of the IPCC to human induced climate change is undesirable, especially because natural climate change is a crucial part of the total understanding of the climate system, including human-induced climate change.”

      Commenter
      melbourne centrist
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 10:45AM
    • Forbes reported Feb. 13, 2013 that a peer-reviewed study of Alberta, Canada’s army of earth scientists and engineers have mostly been skeptical of those who hype global warming with scaremongering. Most point to the graph of the Holocene Epoch that stretches back 11,500 years. Ancient fossil and isotopic evidence show historic extremes of climate change, long before human use of fossil fuels.

      Says Maier, "We've been telling people for over a decade, the sun is the main driver of climate change. Not you or CO2.”

      Commenter
      melbourne centrist
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 10:46AM
    • Yes, mc, lots of stats (I'm tempted to say 'your stats are bigger than my stats', but that would be childish, so I won't), but I repeat the focus question:

      What’s your view of Tony Abbott spending $3.2 billion of our money on a policy that won't fix a problem that he and you don’t think even exists?

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:04AM
    • im only interested in facts gigondas... and the facts are that there has been no warming in 16 years... do you accept this scientific fact? as for both parties policies.... both do not do any good apart from stripping cash out of people pockets.... as the un was quoted... carbon taxes are nothing to do with climate... the taxes are all about wealth distribution......

      Commenter
      melbourne centrist
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:11AM
    • mc, your portrayal of 'facts' is like picking out 10 blondes with tattoos in an AFL crowd to prove that only tattooed blondes attend AFL games.

      No item of data has meaning without comprehensive context.

      Commenter
      Whyalla Wipeout
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:16AM
    • so whyalla you now don't believe the ipcc report?

      Commenter
      melbourne centrist
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:32AM
    • Every picture has two sides- and this one is no exception. Sixteen years is a small time frame when we’re talking about climate change. Most studies focus on much larger time frames. Furthermore this study is based solely on atmospheric temperature, whereas scientists believe that atmospheric warming accounts for less than 3% of the total warming, with 93% of warming stored in the oceans (much of it at great depth). This in turn affects ocean currents, and so affects weather patterns.

      But we could go on swapping stats and theories forever- even in the (in my view) highly unlikely event that the Lord Monktons of this world are right, taking action to reduce carbon emissions will still reduce particular pollution, which is no bad result.

      Commenter
      Gigondas
      Location
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:33AM
    • i love denier "science" - not even cherry picking - denier citations are like needles found in a haystack - which are used to prove the satck is actually a needlestack - here's some stats from CSIRO this month
      "◦Australia’s mean surface air temperature has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910.
      ◦Seven of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.
      ◦Over the past 15 years, the frequency of very warm months has increased five-fold and the frequency of very cool months has declined by around a third, compared to 1951–1980.
      ◦Sea-surface temperatures in the Australian region have warmed by 0.9°C since 1900."
      .. and you love facts - from Forbes?
      ah yes, Forbes, and the motto of Forbes magazine is "The Capitalist Tool"....(really) - facts from Friends of Science?? there's an unbiased, non-petrochemical industry funded body for you

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 11:55AM
    • So MC, you are weighing the claims of one organisation against the pro-AGW side.

      Firstly Friends of Science appears to be the basis of your claims and their opinion needs to be weighed against other sources. Try here: http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Friends_of_Science

      You also mentioned the latest science from the un climate organization. I checked and found no such claims. Perhaps you can point us to this "latest science"

      Commenter
      stevek
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 24, 2014, 12:24PM
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