GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

17 July 2015

Climate change policy caused heartburn to yet another Labor leader this week following the leak of internal Party documents which forced Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to confirm he will take an emissions trading scheme to the next election. The scheme would link the carbon price to similar international schemes, resulting in a price of $8 to $10. The news was immediately seized upon by the Government who labelled it a ‘triple whammy carbon tax’. The leak has been interpreted by some within the press as an attempt to destabilise Bill Shorten’s leadership amid signs of internal division.In vowing to fight the policy, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Government’s emission reduction targets would be ‘more ambitious’ than anticipated, amid speculation that the Government may set a reduction target of 15 to 25 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

Following revelations that Speaker of the House Bronwyn Bishop chartered a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser, the Opposition has referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police alleging misuse of taxpayer-funded entitlements. Mrs Bishop has agreed to repay the return flight plus a $1300 penalty but denies any wrongdoing. See SMH article here (subscription service).

Meanwhile on policy matters, Treasurer Joe Hockey continued talking tax, outlining the Government’s reform agenda in a speech delivered at a PwC Tax Reform Forum in Melbourne this week. See the speech here

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced he will recommend to the Governor General the Hon Margaret Stone be appointed Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security for five years from 24 August 2015. See media release here.

In the first budget of the new Queensland Palaszczuk Labor Government, Treasurer Curtis Pitt announced a surplus close to $1 billion for the year 2014-15. The Budget contains a range of economic and social investments, including a $1.6 billion Working Queensland jobs plan and a $180 million Advance Queensland plan, as well as $500 million of new money for schools and hospitals. See GRACosways Budget Brief here.

A day after his 65th birthday, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has announced his intention to lead the Liberal Party at the next state election due in March 2017. Declaring 65 is the new 50, Mr Barnett made his intentions clear whilst confirming he would hand over the leadership during that term should the Government be re-elected.

The South Australian Parliament sits next week for Budget Estimates hearings.


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