Volume 73 – number 14 – political news

Published 22 May 2020

Below is a summary version of edition no. 14 for 2020. To access the full version you need to subscribe.

The Week in Politics

Health Minister Greg Hunt thanked the EU for its leadership in co-sponsoring the COVID-19 resolution. (photo by Rob Keating)

With Parliament now in recess until June 10 the focus has been elsewhere. The bigs news came at the World Health Assembly where Australia was a co-sponsor of the COVID-19 resolution which was passed due to the strong leadership that came from the European Union. 

The outcome was to have support for an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the global response for COVID-19. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a video statement, “But no single country or organisation can effectively respond to COVID-19 alone. We therefore thank the EU for its leadership, and are proud to co-sponsor the COVID-19 resolution. We are pleased to have support for an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the global response. We need to learn the lessons from this pandemic and ensure we have the strongest possible global health architecture, with an enhanced stability to prevent and respond to future outbreaks…

Open the borders

Back on 8 May the Prime Minister announced a Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia

He said at the time, “today National Cabinet agreed on a three step plan and a national framework to achieve a COVID safe economy and society and it is our goal to move through all of these steps to achieve that COVID safe economy in July of this year.”

Ultimately it is up to the Premiers and Chief Ministers to decide when each step is taken. We have seen a reluctance from Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania to open their borders to their fellow Australians.

Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk has come under fire from Peter Dutton and Pauline Hanson. 

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment would like to see the state borders open. (Photo by Rob Keating)

Technology Roadmap discussion paper

Yesterday at Parliament House Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor announce the release the Government’s Technology Roadmap discussion paper which he said was the first stage in an important process of establishing technology priorities for reducing emissions in the short term, medium term and the long term.

The Minister said, “At its heart, it’s about technology not taxes, reducing the cost of living not raising it, and improving businesses, helping businesses to employ, to invest not destroying jobs. This is really crucial because this is how we’re going to reduce emissions and at the same time, strengthen the economy as we come out of the COVID crisis.”

Karen Andrews at the National Press Club

Canberra, Australia – 20 May 2020: Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology acknowledges the audience at the end of her NPC address. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

On Wednesday Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology delivered an address at the National Press Club. The minister talked about a vital sector of Australian industry – manufacturing.

Minister Andrews opened up with a story about ninety-two year old retiree called Joe Carmody who lives in a nursing home in Shepparton, Victoria.

Going back around 38 years ago when Joe was an engineer at Ardmona Cannery he also happened to make a machine to produces surgical masks.

Such was the quality of the machines two of the three were still operational earlier this year. 

In the past Joe had exported his machines around the world and he founded his own manufacturing business, Med-Con. 

Now in current times Army Engineers and consultants studied Joe’s machines that are now run by Joe’s former son-in-law Ray Stockwell. They helped boost capacity and show that Australian companies can quickly adapt to provide essential products such as medical face masks…

From the Archive Vault

The following articles are from the May 18, 2007 edition of Inside Canberra which was part of Volume 60.

Govt in deep trouble – what to do?

Now the Government is in real trouble – nothing it tried has ended Rudd’s honeymoon. It tried the Brian Burke gambit; questioning Rudd about the events after the death of his father when he was 11; accusing him of being too inexperienced to run the economy; and (above all) threatening Australia’s future with his IR policy. Nothing worked. Howard’s backflip on AWAs, in announcing a safety net after insisting for over a year this was not necessary, has failed to help. Now he has backflipped again on IR, renamin the WorkChoices call centre the Workplace Info line. Staff have been told not to use the term WorkChoices. Don’t be surprised if there are more backflips on IR, yet he needs to get off IR altogether (see – PM’s standing still poor).

Budget no help at all

Now the Budget, hailed by the media as from good to brilliant, has failed to lift the Government’s position in this week’s Newspoll. In fact it has gone backwards. The primary vote is Labor 50% (up 2%), Coalition 36% (down 1%). Two party 

preferred it’s Labor 59% (up 2%), Coalition 41% (down 2%). This poll confirms the bad Galaxy poll for the Government published in News Ltd’s weekend papers. Since February 2006 Labor has won 24 Newspolls, the Coalition 4, and there were three dead heats. The Coalition has not won a poll since August 2006. If this week’s poll was repeated in an election Labor would have around 100 seats in the Parliament and the Opposition 50. Of course this won’t happen, but it illustrates the magnitude of the Labor lead.

PM’s standing still poor

Yet Rudd hasn’t done anything to justify this lead, apart from not being Kim Beazley or Mark Latham, he has made a few promises which most voters couldn’t remember. He has made a mark as a youthful looking pollie, obviously well educated and smart, but polite (note he always refers to ‘Mr’ Howard). The Coalition is in a very difficult position. Howard’s personal standing with voters has seriously declined. His IR policy is clearly unpopular. Howard’s own polling must be telling him this. The PM needs to start talking about something else but IR.

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