GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

28 November 2014:

Despite Prime Minister Abbott’s determination to deal with some “barnacles” impeding the Government’s run to Christmas, the Coalition found itself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in this penultimate parliamentary sitting week for the year.  By week’s end, the future of the proposed GP co-payment was uncertain at best, with numerous media reports advising of its demise but neither the PM, Health Minister Peter Dutton or other Cabinet members prepared to confirm it had been axed.

In other scenes, Senator Jacqui Lambie resigned from the Palmer United Party on Monday and will now sit as an Independent, while on Wednesday, Defence Minister David Johnston was censured in the Senate for his remark that the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) couldn’t be trusted ‘to build a canoe’.  On Thursday, a record breaking 18 ALP members were ejected from question time in the House of Representatives.  Both houses of Parliament will sit for the final time next week, where the Government remains committed to progressing its higher education reforms through the Senate.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry annual dinner.  Read the speech here.

Meanwhile, ABC Managing Director Mark Scott briefed ABC staff on Monday on a number of job cuts, program changes and other reductions in response to the Government’s budget cut to the broadcaster announced by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week.

Labor Senator and former Minister for Sport Kate Lundy has announced that she will retire at the next election.

Stephen Sedgwick will finish as the Australian Public Service Commissioner in December.  His replacement will be announced shortly.

Transcripts for the Senate estimates hearings into the communications portfolio have now been published, see here.

Victorians head to the polls tomorrow for the 2014 State Election, with the polls pointing to a win for Labor leader Daniel Andrews and his team.  For analysis and all the announcements from the final week see GRACosway’s latest election newsletter here.

Federal, SA, WA and Tasmanian parliaments sit next week.

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