GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

18 September 2015

It was an extraordinary week in national politics, with Australia’s 29th Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull sworn in by the Governor General on Tuesday. This followed a leadership challenge issued by Mr Turnbull on Monday and a party room ballot that evening, in which Mr Turnbull became Leader of the Liberal Party, receiving 54 votes to Tony Abbott’s 44. At the same time, Julie Bishop was re-elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, receiving 70 votes to Kevin Andrews’ 30 votes.

In his final statement as Prime Minister, Tony Abbott made a pledge to ensure the leadership change was as smooth as possible, stating “there will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping”. Mr Abbott concluded his statement by saying: “Finally, I thank my country for the privilege of service. It is humbling to lose, but that does not compare to the honour of being asked to lead.” The seating arrangements in the House of Representatives have been altered, with Mr Abbott being allocated a seat on the backbench.

Prime Minister Turnbull has stated his new Cabinet and Ministry will be sworn in on Monday, with changes in ministerial responsibilities expected to be announced over the weekend. Mr Turnbull has appointed Communications Department Secretary Drew Clarke as his acting chief-of-staff while also bringing highly experienced Liberal adviser Tony Nutt into his office to oversee the transition phase. Results of a Galaxy poll published this morning have the Coalition leading Labor on a two-party preferred basis, 51 per cent to Labor’s 49.

One of Mr Turnbull’s first acts as Prime Minister was to sign agreements with the NSW and Victorian governments for the full roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, to start in July 2016. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Mike Baird joined the PM in Canberra for the announcement on Wednesday. See the transcript of the announcement here.

In other news, the by-election for the Federal seat of Canning in Western Australia will be held tomorrow. There are 12 candidates vying for the seat previously held by the Liberal Party’s Don Randall, who died suddenly in July this year. Further information about the by-election is available from the ABC here.

The SA, WA, ACT and Tasmanian parliaments will sit next week.

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