Volume 73 – number 21 – political news

Below is a summary version of this edition. Subscribers gain access to the full version of the newsletter as well as accessing video content in the members site and also there are backcopies of the newsletter.
Visit http://insidecanberra.com/subscribe to select your option.

The Week in Politics

Canberra, Australia – 8 July 2020: Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “There are three rings of containment and the rings of containment has always been part of the Government’s national plan together with the states and territories. There are those suburbs specifically where we are seeking, I should say the Victorian Government is seeking to ensure that containment measures are there.,” he said when asked about the coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

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. 

Subscribe to read the full newletter

Political Waste

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

Canberra, Australia – 7 July 2020: Stuart Robert answering Tim Shaw’s question. “We’ll progressively build it out with authentication services -so, myGov ID in a biometric authenticated manner – September-ish this year, but by the end of the year, including getting major payments up..” Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

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

Canberra, Australia – 10 July 2020: Peter Strong, CEO Council of Small Business of Australia and Minister for Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash at the launch for Go Local First. Photo by Rob Keating (https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au)

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

Canberra, Australia – 7 July 2020: Stuart Robert answering Tim Shaw’s question. “So, we want to move very, very quickly so that Australians can actually have that simple personalised transparent service.” Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au
Canberra, Australia – 10 July 2020: Minister for Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash at the Mocan and Green Grout Cafe in New Acton with small business owners. Photo by Rob Keating (https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au)
Canberra, Australia – 10 July 2020: Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly during a press conference in the Prime Minister’s Courtyard. Photo by Rob Keating (https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au)
Canberra, Australia – 8 July 2020: Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “I’d be saying to those particularly in New South Wales and those in the border towns that, particularly in the border towns, we’re not seeking to see people move from there up to Sydney or places like that. I think for the time being, it’s wise and good common sense that if you live in and around those border towns, that you’d stay close to those towns at present and not be going off to family events or other things more broadly across the state,” he said when asked about the coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

More photos can be viewed or purchased at

Leave a Comment