GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

31 July 2015

Speaker of the House Bronwyn Bishop is under pressure to resign over her use of travel entitlements. Several Government ministers have distanced themselves from the Speaker, with reports that a growing number of her colleagues believe she should go. The Opposition will seek to move a motion of no confidence in Mrs Bishop when Parliament returns on 10 August.Meanwhile, The Australian Labor Party concluded its national conference on Sunday having outlined a number of policy announcements it will take to the next election. The conference agreed to an ambitious renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, a bill for marriage equality in the first 100 days of a new Labor government and voted down an attempt to overturn Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s support of boat turn-backs.

Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb was in Hawaii this week to progress negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Progress has stalled on a number of fronts, including United States opposition to dairy liberalisation. At home, five Queensland members of the federal Nationals party room have vowed to oppose the TPP if it does not make allowances for Australian sugar exporters.

Greens state member for Franklin, Nick McKim, has been announced as Christine Milne’s replacement, who retired from the Senate earlier this year. McKim, a former state party leader and minister in the Giddings Government, was one of nine candidates to contest the ballot. McKim’s replacement for the state seat of Franklin will be determined by countback, under the rules of Hare-Clarke. See announcement here.

In a joint interview with The Australian this week, Defence Department secretary Dennis Richardson and Defence Force chief Mark Binskin said the forthcoming defence white paper will focus on re-equipping the Royal Australian Navy and the preservation of the Australian shipbuilding industry. Mr Richardson described the process as the most meticulous approach ever taken by a government, with the paper due for release in late August. Read more here (subscription service).

In what has been labelled an embarrassing defeat in the NSW Government’s prosecution of UberX, the Government has been forced to drop charges against 24 UberX drivers citing ‘evidentiary issues’. In response the Government announced it will be increasing its efforts by conducting random roadside checks.

In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the appointment of Philip Dalidakis as the new Minister for Small Business on Friday. Mr Dalidakis replaces Adem Somyurek who resigned on Tuesday following an inquiry into allegations of staff bullying by the former minister. Somyurek was highly critical of the Premier’s handling of the issue and called for the sacking of the Premier’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Premier James Merlino.


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