GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

7 August 2015
Prime Minister Tony Abbott was in Adelaide this week with his Cabinet as part of efforts to restore South Australia’s confidence in the Coalition amidst declining polls. On Tuesday, PM Abbott announced an $89 billion plan to establish a permanent naval shipbuilding industry in Australia. The plan will see the Navy’s Future Frigates and Offshore Patrol Vessels built domestically and brings forward construction of the Frigates by three years. Mr Abbott said 2500 jobs would be created or saved as a result of the announcement. See the Prime Minister’s release here.Mr Abbott has also this week rescinded a ban on Government MPs appearing on ABC’s Q&A program. The decision follows the ABC Board’s announcement the program will be moved from the entertainment to the news division, subjecting it to more rigorous guidelines for fairness and balance.Following the resignation of Speaker Bronwyn Bishop last Sunday, a Melbourne Cup field of candidates is assembling to contest  the Speaker’s Chair. Victorian Liberal Tony Smith is said to be the front runner to fill the vacancy when Parliament resumes next week. Others likely to contest the  role include South Australian Liberal Andrew Southcott, Queensland MP Ross Vasta and father of the House Philip Ruddock. The candidate will be determined at a 9am Coalition meeting on Monday and formally approved by the House of Representatives shortly after.

As the expenses controversy continues, the Leader of Opposition Business Tony Burke has now found himself the subject of media attention over his claims, having successfully prosecuted the case against Mrs Bishop. While the issue is seen as a pox on both houses, the Prime Minister has called for a truce on the issue which he hopes to address through a  review of parliamentary entitlements.

The Federal Court has overturned Federal Government environmental approval of the proposed Carmichael coal mine and rail project due to inadequate provisions for the protection of the yakka skink and ornamental snake – two vulnerable species in Queensland. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt will now be asked to reconsider certain aspects of the proposal, with a revised decision expected within six to eight weeks. See departmental statement: Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project

The Baird Government announced a $1 billion reform package to the State’s workers’ compensation scheme, WorkCover. The package includes three main elements; a simplified system, enhanced benefits for injured workers, and reduced premiums for responsible businesses. WorkCover will be split into three separate agencies to remove the perceived conflict of interest of being both the safety regulator and insurer.  See press release here.

Federal, NSW, WA and ACT parliaments sit next week.


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