GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

6 February 2015

With speculation building all week that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership was on the line, WA MP Luke Simpkins this afternoon advised Chief Government Whip Philip Ruddock of a motion, seconded by WA MP Don Randall, to spill the leadership positions of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party at next Tuesday’s party room meeting.  Abbott later made a short statement, saying he will stand with Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop and urge the 102 member partyroom to defeat the motion, and therefore avoid a vote for the two leadership positions.

Earlier in the week Abbott addressed the National Press Club where he defended his record, and leadership – stressing that only the Australian people should ‘hire and fire’ Prime Ministers – and promised to be the most consultative and collegial Government in future.  Abbott also announced that his signature paid parental scheme was no longer government policy, that all future knighthoods would be the responsibility of the Council of the Order of Australia, and that the Government would unveil a families package this year focussed on childcare. He would also ensure a tax cut for small and medium businesses of at least 1.5% on July 1.

Counting continues in Queensland following last Saturday’s historic election with Labor slightly ahead but a result still to be determined. While Premier Campbell Newman lost his seat of Ashgrove to Labor’s Kate Jones, he will continue to lead a caretaker government until a result is clear.  Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk remains hopeful of forming government in her own right, however the votes of the crossbench could prove important.  So far Independent MP Peter Wellington has announced that he will support the Labor Party to form government, while the two Queensland Katter Party MPs have said that they will refrain from making a decision until the count is clearer.  Pre-poll and postal votes continue to be counted in a number of yet to be decided seats, and there is a possibility that a re-election could be triggered in the seat of Ferny Grove.

In South Australia, the Davenport by-election precipitated by the retirement of former Liberal leader Iain Evans has been one by Liberal Sam Duluk.

Also in SA, Premier Jay Weatherill announced a number of ministerial changes following Jennifer Rankine’s resignation as education minister.  Upper house MP Kyam Maher is the new Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation and Minister Susan Close will take on the education and child development portfolio.  For all the changes see the Premier’s media release here.

In a bizarre turn of events in the Northern Territory, Adam Giles is still the Chief Minister after Willem Westra van Holthe announced to a late-night media conference that he had won the support of his partyroom and was Chief Minister ‘designate’.  Giles refused to sign a resignation letter, and after 18 hours of uncertainty, remains Chief Minister with Westra van Holthe now his deputy.

In Victoria, former Nationals leader Peter Ryan is resigning from politics, a decision that will see a by-election take place in the seat of Gippsland South.

Federal, VIC, SA and ACT parliaments sit next week.

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