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The Week in Politics
The Government are looking to break a 100-year trend where a government has not won a by-election seat from the opposition since December 18, 1920.
Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs is contesting the Eden-Monaro by-election but she is facing an uphill battle if we can believe a poll from the Australia Institute.
The poll has the Labor candidate Kristy McBain 52% to 48% with the two party preferred numbers.
In the primary vote McBain leads with 38.1%, Kotvojs 37.5%, the Greens Cathy Griff has 7.3% and the Nationals candidate Trevor Hicks on 5%.
The voters in Eden-Monaro will be casting their vote tomorrow.
Infrastructure $1 billion announcement for NSW
The week has been mostly focussed on announcements by the government about infrastructure and defence as well as campaigning.
It all kicked off on Monday with the Prime Minister in Sydney to jointly announce a $1 billion investment in shovel-ready infrastructure projects and road safety upgrades.
Environmental Approval for Snowy Hydro 2.0
On Tuesday morning the Prime Minister flew by helicopter to visit the site of Snowy 2.0 at Lobs Hole in Kosciuszko National Park
Dr Kotvojs was on hand to introduce the Prime Minister , Minister for Energy Angus Taylor, and the Minister for Environment, Sussan Ley.
The big announcement was Australia’s largest ever renewable energy project, Snowy 2.0, has been given the green light. The government said the project would create thousands of new jobs and put downward pressure on electricity prices.
$1.35 billion cyber security investment
Also on Tuesday the government announced Australia’s largest ever investment in Cyber Security with $1.35 billion over the next decade to enhance the cyber security capabilities and assistance provided to Australians through the Australian Signals Directorate and the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
$270 billion to defence spending over 10 years
There was more to come on the defence front. The Prime Minister visited the Australia Defence Force Academy to deliver a speech during which he launched the Australian Government’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and the 2024 Structure Plan.
“My first priority is keeping Australians safe,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister visits Electro Optic Systems
On Thursday the Prime Minister was again talking defence and was again out on the campaign trail with Fiona Kotvojs.This time they visited Electro Optic Systems Pty Ltd (EOS) which is an Australian technology company operating in the space and defence markets.
The Prime Minister used the occasion to strongly endorse Kotvojs as the Liberal Party candidate as he was streamed live on Facebook.
Albo on the campain trail
On Friday it was Anthony Albanese who was doing what he could to get Kristy McBain elected as the member for Eden-Monaro. The opposition leader joined McBain in Narooma for a doorstop interview.
A Change In Our Defence Posture
Professor Owen Harries died on the weekend. He was famous as a promoter of the ‘realist’ view of geo-politics. Harries supported the Vietnam war because he was concerned about the expansionism of China but he opposed the Iraq war because he believed the neo-conservative approach of trying to democratize the Middle East, was an exercise in futility.
In a tribute to Professor Harries, the current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has adopted a realist approach to our future defence posture.
By John McDonnell
Joint Council on Closing the Gap Communique
The Joint Council met today and made recommendations about a National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The National Agreement is based on, and underpinned by, Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples’ priorities. It is built around four new Priority Reforms that will change the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Priority Reforms are:
Developing and strengthening structures to ensure the full involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in shared decision making at the national, state and local or regional level and embedding their ownership, responsibility and expertise to close the gap
From the Archives
The following content is from Inside Canberra Volume 63, No 693
published on July 2, 2010
Elections: No rush, but don’t delay too long
We don’t know when Julia Gillard will call an election, nor the date of the poll. Sundays are good days to go Government House seeking an election. The shots of Gillard leaving for, arriving at, and coming back from Yarralumla, would be all over evening TV and, on Monday morning, would dominate the news. Before that, she has to give a little time for the aura of Prime Minister to settle over her. Also, the new PM would want to demonstrate she is not rushing into an election just because of good polls. On the other hand, she is being told by many MPs the sooner she jumps in and takes advantage of her popularity, the better.
Reuters poll trend good for Gillard
Reuters Poll Trend – which analysed all the polls this week – has the two-party preferred as ALP 51.6%, Coalition 48.4% (a gap of 3.2%), bettering the thin advantage Rudd had in the last Reuters Poll Trend, of only 1.4%. The improvement under Gillard would have been even greater, but for a strange Morgan poll. It showed that after Gillard took over, Labor was 2% behind the Coalition. All the other polls – Newspoll, Nielsen, Essential and Galaxy – showed Labor improving with the departure of Rudd. As ‘Preferred PM’, Gillard has opened up a 19.2% lead over Tony Abbott, an increase on the last reading of Rudd, where the lead was 15.8%.
Late August, early Sept looking likely
The election will not be next year because of the NSW state election in March, nor can it be as late as November/December, because of the Victorian state election on 24 November. This suggests that the latest date for an election could be the first or second Saturday in November. More likely it will be soonish, 28 August or 4 September. Gillard need not worry about being accused of taking the Parliament out early on these dates. The average time between elections since 1949 is two-and-a-half years, and a late-August, early-September election would be around the average.
Gillard not hurt by her frankness as an atheist
Julia Gillard will not be hurt by revealing that she is an atheist. The founding fathers wisely decided that Australia should have a secular Constitution, not attached to any religion. Of the 12 Prime Ministers since the war that preceeded her, Kevin Rudd alone was overtly Christian. He wore it like a neon sign on his sleeve. Press conferences outside church on a Sunday were common. Neither Curtin, Chifley, Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon, Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating nor Howard were regularly seen on their knees – apart from funerals and weddings. Hawke, as PM, was an agnostic, and Whitlam a proud atheist. Whitlam earned the undying hatred of the churches when he removed sales tax from the contraceptive pill for women. The general population thought it a great idea.”
Emerson opposes lease restrictions
On 16 June, in an interview on radio in Canberra, Craig Emerson was forthright about his opposition to the policy: “We believe in competition. We believe it is good, more competition is better. And when you knock competitors out of the market, then the others that remain in the market know that they don’t have to face that stiff competition. And the potential losers from that are the supermarket customers in the ACT. So we don’t support the policy of the government here in the ACT”. Inside Canberra finds the arguments of Emerson curious. If Woolworths and Coles continue to win choice sites for new supermarket leases, surely that amounts to lessening competition and greater movement towards a supermarket duopoly. The Commonwealth has the power to strike down decisions of territory governments. Rudd did not use the powers to side with Emerson, and we doubt that Gillard will. Often forgotten in the argument about consumers’ rights are the rights of suppliers to Woolies and Coles. Be it pig farmers, potato growers, or biscuit manufacturers, the two supermarket giants can wring tough supply deals from them.”