GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

29 May 2015

Just over two weeks since Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered the 2015-16 budget, attention this week shifted to a Government strong suit in national security after Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a raft of new counter terrorism measures, including four new appointments and controversial changes to citizenship laws.

PM Abbott and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced changes that would see dual citizens who commit acts of terror stripped of their Australian citizenship.  And in a shake up to counter terrorism coordination, Minister for Justice Michael Keenan will add Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism to his duties.  He will be supported in this role by former Ambassador to Iran and Indonesia Greg Moriarty, who has been appointed to the new position of Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Coordinator.

Meanwhile Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General, and Philip Ruddock appointed Special Envoy for Citizenship and Community Engagement.  The two have been charged by the PM with leading a ‘national consultation’ to improve understanding of the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship.

The campaign for marriage equality also gained significant attention this week after Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek announced they would introduce a Private Members Bill in support of same sex marriage.  In response, the Prime Minister said that no one party should own such a major reform and has instead proposed a cross party initiative to work on any such legislation.

The Prime Minister has called an Indigenous leaders summit in July to discuss the timing and wording of the referendum for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution.

Victorian Minister for Small Business Adem Somyurek has been stood down from Cabinet following allegations of systemic bullying, abuse and intimidation, and is currently under investigation following complaints from his chief of staff.

The Tasmanian Government has handed down its 2015-16 budget, revealing a $315 million jobs package and a predicted return to surplus in 2016-17.  See the budget papers here.

Federal (Senate Estimates continues), NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and ACT parliaments sit next week.


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