Volume 73 – number 15 – political news

Published 29 May 2020

Below is a summary version of edition no. 15 for 2020. To access the full version you need to subscribe.

The Week in Politics

Murrumbateman, Australia – 24 May 2020: The media looks on at Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Robyn Rowe Chocolates where he announced Fiona Kotvojs would be the Liberal Candidate for Eden-Monaro. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

 On Sunday the Prime Minister ventured out to Robyn Rowe Chocolates in Murrumbateman, just north of Canberra. 

He was joined by Senator Jim Molan and Dr Fiona Kotvojs. The latter was to be announced by the Prime Minister as the Liberal candidate for Eden-Monaro. 

During a doorstop interview that followed the Prime Minister’s tour of the small boutique chocolate factory he said, “But the other job, the other curve we have to work on is the jobs curve and we need to do things that create jobs. And what I’m interested in doing is working with anyone in this country who wants to work with me to create jobs. I’m not interested in ideology. I’m not interested in all those other things. I’m just interested in getting Australians back into jobs.

COAG is no more

Canberra, Australia – 24 May 2020: Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “COAG is no more”. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

On Friday following the National Cabinet Meeting, the Prime Minister announced that The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) will be replaced by a completely new system based on the success of the National Cabinet formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During the COVID-19 period, National Cabinet will continue to meet every two weeks. In the future, these meetings will take place once a month.

The Prime Minister also again encouraged Australians to download the COVIDSafe app. So far more than 6.1 million Australians have already done so.

The JobKeeper Stuff Up – Was It A Case Of Artificial Imbecility?

Penny Wong said Treasurer Frydenberg should have “the courage” to appear before the COVID-19 committee. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

On Friday, the Treasury announced a $60 billion shortfall in the amount of money required for the JobKeeper programme. The question is – How did this happen?

The truth is, there were two stuff-ups: the tax Office overestimated the number of people applying for JobKeeper while Treasury over-estimated the eventual cost of the programme. The Tax Office mistake was due to a simple error on the part of employers filling in the form. In the box asking for the number of employees to be put on JobKeeper, 1,000 businesses entered the amount of money to be paid to them. So if there were two employees to go on JobKeeper they entered 3,000.

Defence science sees the light

If you had ever wondered what the science of photonics covered, except that it had something to do with light (and your science-trained correspondent had to admit that he didn’t) you could have found out by viewing the National Press Club Address on ABC TV or Sky News at 12.30 last Wednesday. 

The speaker was Chief Defence Scientist, since March last year, Professor Tanya Monro.

Professor Monro’s field covers not only optics but the entire spectrum of it’s applications — lasers obviously but the laser diode, fibre optics and fibre amplifiers are examples. 

By Jon Millard

From the Archives

The following content is from Inside Canberra Volume 61, No 593 published on May 30th, 2008

Canberra, Australia, 12 February 2018: Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the National Press Club, as Mr Rudd delivered his address titled, ‘Address on the 10th Anniversary of the National Apology to Indigenous Australians’. Mr Rudd said, “More importantly, however, the targets were hard because the time had come to actually measure what we were doing. What gets measured gets done..” (Photo by Rob Keating/Keating Media)

IC petrol politics prediction spot on 

We reported over a month ago (18 April) that Kevin Rudd might come to regret ever making such a big deal about petrol prices, as part of his election campaign. This week’s events fully confirmed our assessment. Rudd didn’t specifically promise to reduce the price of petrol, nor stop further rises, yet this was the indelible impression he left in the minds of voters. This week was the worst week for his Government since the election. The leaks are gushing and deeply embarrassing. 

‘FuelWatch’ panned by key departments 

Tuesday’s The Australian revealed the letter of dissent on ‘FuelWatch’ by Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson (to Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen) warning of the damage it would do to battlers. Then on Wednesday, Channel NINE news revealed the leak that four government department’s – including Rudd’s own department – had advised the Government that ‘FuelWatch’ could make petrol more expensive. The petrol price monitoring system may at best deliver a small cut in petrol prices to the majority of motorists of a few cents a litre. That is all Rudd can do in the immediate future. Sensibly, he seems to have abandoned the idea of removing any GST on the petrol excise component of fuel prices. The GST route would mean an avalanche of pleas from other industries for GST relief, and the states would then have to be compensated. 

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