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The Week in Politics
The Eden-Monaro by-election held our attention over the weekend. As the votes were counted it was Fiona Kotvojs for the Liberals that saw a swing of 1.35% to her and a -3.29 swing against Labor, however it was Labor’s Kristy McBain that would claim victory, Kotvojs conceded defeat on Thursday.
On Sunday Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann announced that he would be leaving politics. He fronted the press in Perth and said, “Having decided not to recontest the next election, I can confirm that I have advised the Prime Minister that the end of this year would be an appropriate time for an orderly transition in my portfolio.”
On Monday as had been seen on the previous two Mondays, it was infrastructure announcement day, This time the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments will support construction jobs across Victoria by jointly investing an additional $525 million to deliver shovel-ready infrastructure projects and urgent road safety upgrades.
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Timing is everything in politics. There is no point in making an important political announcement if it is going to be overwhelmed by events. This occurred yesterday when two federal politicians whose electorates run along the NSW and Victorian border at the very time that the premiers of Victoria and NSW were announcing that that same border was going to be closed.
Government Services Minister Says All of Government Services will be online by 2025
On Tuesday the Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert made a broad policy statement regarding the future of Government Services in a digital age at the National Press Club. Starting his speech with the infamous line from President Ronald Reagan the 40th President of the United States – “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. The line President Reagan said are the most terrifying words in the English language.
Minister Robert went on to explain how he thought his departments would make this a statement citizen will believe. He said there have been failures which become public such as 30 million call blocks every year from genuine callers and long wait times, but he said those have all been rectified. Talking on the Government Disaster Recovery Payments the Minister said the average call wait time was measured in seconds and the payments were in most circumstances made in minutes. He said, “We only make mistakes once”.
Go Local First’ National Campaign to Support Small Businesses
A national campaign launched today at the Mocan and Green Grout Café in New Acton. The campaign will support the recovery of Australia’s small businesses by calling on all Australians to ‘Go Local First’.
Funded by the Morrison Government, the campaign led by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) will urge Australians to ‘Go Local First’ when they are purchasing products and services to help the small business sector get back on its feet.
The campaign will highlight the vital role of small businesses in our nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
From the Archives
The following content is from Inside Canberra Volume 58, No 454
published on July 8, 2005
IR hurting Howard as polls swing to Labor
Only a week ago, in the wake of the Latham rage against the ALP and Beazley, there was talk of Labor needing to find another Leader. After this week’s polls, no-one now is talking about a new leader. The sudden slump in the Government’s standing can only be a reflection of concern among voters about John Howard’s IR agenda. Right from the moment he unveiled the radical changes, it was obvious there would be a bad reaction to it. This is confirmed by the ACNielsen poll, which found 83% of those surveyed were aware of the Government’s planned changes to IR, with only 17% saying they were unaware. Of those who were aware, 60% opposed the changes and only 21% supported. The three latest polls (taken early July and after the IR “reform” announcement) all pointed to a surge of support for Labor. Nielsen was best for Labor, with a finding it had a two-party preferred lead of 54% (ALP), to 46% (Coalition). Morgan and Newspoll had the two-party preferred vote much closer.
Latham attack on ALP – Beazley, fails
Averaging the three polls gives the ALP a 39.8% primary vote to the Coalition’s 42%. This produces a two-party preferred average vote of ALP 51.5%, to the Coalition’s 48.5%. The polls also disagreed on approval ratings. Nielsen had Howard’s approval rating down 10% (to 49%), and Beazley down 4%, to 42%. Yet, as preferred PM, Howard dropped 5% (to 50%), and Beazley rose 4%, to 39%. Newspoll had Howard’s approval rating down 7% (to 47%), with Beazley down 2%, to 39%. As better PM, Newspoll had Howard down 3% (to 51%), and Beazley up 1%, to 29%. Given the bagging Beazley and the ALP copped from Latham, Nielsen had some interesting data on this. Asked who had done the better job as ALP Leader, 57% said Beazley and 26% Latham. Asked do you agree with Latham that Labor is “beyond repair”, 54% disagreed and 29% agreed. Asked whether they agreed with the statement that Beazley stood for nothing, 52% disagreed, and 36% agreed. In summary, the old adage still is relevant – Government’s are voted out of office, Oppositions are not voted in. There is a long way to go till the next election, but Howard, in pursuit of his ambitions to smash the unions, may have thrown Beazley and the ALP a lifeline.
ACCI spells out IR game
While saying it will counter the union advertising campaign against IR ‘reform’, the Government is yet to even sketch out the arguments for much of the changes. Unburdened by the political necessity to soften the intent of the sweeping changes, ACCI has spelt out what the game is all about in its analysis of the proposals. As ACCI CEO, Peter Hendy, is a former chief of staff to Peter Reith and Peter Anderson, (who runs workplace policy for ACCI) a former staffer to Tony Abbott, it can be assumed they are well plugged in to the aim of the IR changes. The only reason Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, has advanced for taking the minimum wage from the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and giving it to the new Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC), is that the AIRC has not applied “sufficient rigour” to the economic analysis of what flows from its decisions. The Commission rejects this.”
Pell,churches speak out
It is not just the unions which have attacked this proposal. Concern has been expressed by the Australian Council of Churches. Most significantly, Cardinal George Pell, (a close friend of Howard) and a social conservative, has warned the Government against “overreaching.” He says – “We’ve had a long period of prosperity in Australia and I think that means that the necessity for radical change needs to be established.” In its support for the new proposed threshold, ACCI does not attempt to put a figure on the number of jobs this would create. The Government’s ‘guesstimate’ is 75,000, yet there is no solid evidence it would create any jobs at all. ACCI is inconsistent in its argument on unfair dismissal. It comments on claims the proposed ceiling would create a disincentive to the growth of businesses under 100 employees (because they would not want to grow to over 99 and face unfair dismissals rules). ACCI says such a claim “is plain wrong.” And – “Employers do not stop their businesses growing simply to avoid employment obligations.” Exactly! That is the core of the argument against the claim unfair dismissals legislation is a handicap to job creation. As ACCI says, if a business is growing an employer doesn’t stop its growth because of unfair dismissals.”
Photos from this week
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