GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

12 June 2015

The cost of housing dominated federal politics this week, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott forced to defend Treasurer Joe Hockey, following comments he made during a media conference on Tuesday about housing prices. The Opposition labelled the Treasurer as out of touch for his advice that first home buyers should ‘get a good job’. Meanwhile, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens labelled Sydney housing prices as ‘crazy’.

Prime Minister Abbott has called on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to provide detail of any ‘sweetheart deals’ he may have been involved in during his tenure as National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union. The call came after Victorian Labor MP Cesar Melhem resigned as Premier Daniel Andrews’ upper house whip following allegations aired at the Royal Commission into Union Corruption.  Mr Shorten has denied any wrong doing and said he would cooperate with the Royal Commission.

Several months after the departure of the last departmental secretary, Daryl Quinlivan has been sworn in as Secretary of the Australian Department of Agriculture. Mr Quinlivan, who has most recently been the Head of Office at the Productivity Commission, was Deputy Secretary of the Department from 2005 to 2010.

Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews announced the appointment of the Expert Advisory Panel to oversee the Future Submarine Competitive Evaluation Process. The Panel includes Professor Donald Winter, a former Secretary of the United States Navy, the Hon Julie Anne DoddsStreeton, Mr Ron Finlay and Mr Jim McDowell. See the announcement here.

NSW Premier Mike Baird announced Professor John McMillan AO as the NSW Ombudsman on a two year appointment. Prof McMillan will replace Bruce Barbour, whose term concludes on 30 June. See media release here.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop announced former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell will join the Australia-India Council as Deputy Chair, from 1 August for a five-year term.

Federal, SA, WA, NT parliaments sit next week, while the Tasmanian and ACT parliaments have estimates.

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