GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up
4 September 2015
Economic growth figures released this week show the economy recorded its lowest growth rate in two years for the three months to June 2015. Treasurer Joe Hockey says Australia is not headed for a recession, despite a growth rate of only 0.2 per cent. See the Treasurer’s statement: Continued growth in the Australian economy
On Tuesday, the Federal Government announced the proposed bank tax levy will not go ahead. The announcement comes not long after it was revealed that Treasurer Joe Hockey had agreed to apply the levy only to the four big banks – exempting small banks to appease disgruntled backbenchers. The policy was originally proposed by Labor in 2013, but wasn’t legislated. See media release: Dumping Labor’s Bank Deposit Tax
A Cabinet discussion of Small Business Minister Bruce Billson’s proposed amendments to Federal competition laws, which aim to crack down on the misuse of market power by big business, has been deferred due to reported division on the issue among ministers.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced the ALP will not support the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (chAFTA) because of concerns about labour provisions in the deal. The agreement has sparked divisions inside the Labor Party, with Shadow Trade Minister Penny Wong throwing her support behind the chAFTA and Labor Premiers Jay Weatherill, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Daniel Andrews publicly backing the deal.
Justice Dyson Heydon announced he will continue as head of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, despite pressure from unions and the Labor Party to step down over allegations of bias. The Opposition will move a Senate motion next week in an attempt to remove the Commissioner but the Federal Government says the motion would be of no legal consequence.
Former Victorian Premier Denis Napthine and former Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder announced their resignations from Parliament this week, with Dr Napthine seizing the opportunity to urge Premier Daniel Andrews to build the East West Link toll road. Both MPs’ seats are safely held by the Liberals; Dr Napthine’s son, Tom, is one of four candidates who will seek Liberal Party preselection for his father’s seat.
Adelaide City Councillor Robert Simms has been announced as successor to South Australian Greens Senator Penny Wright who is leaving the Senate for personal reasons. Simms will face re-election at the 2016 Federal Election. Still on South Australia, Federal Liberal MP Dr Andrew Southcott has announced he will not recontest the seat of Boothby at the next election. Dr Southcott first won the seat in 1996.
The Federal, NSW, SA and WA parliaments sit next week.