GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

27 November 2015

As Parliament rose for the week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull headed to Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), after which he will travel to Paris for the UN Climate Conference. Ahead of attending the Paris conference, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has announced Labor’s new climate change policy, which calls for a 45 per cent reduction in emissions on 2005 levels by 2030 and a carbon neutral Australia by 2050.

Labor will be hoping that its climate change policy helps it recapture some political momentum from the Prime Minister, with the latest Newspoll showing support for the Government at 53 per cent. The Prime Minister now leads Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister by the extraordinary margin of 64 to 15 per cent, leading some to suggest Mr Turnbull’s honeymoon is developing into a happy marriage with the electorate.

On Wednesday, Treasurer Scott Morrison released the Federal Government’s response to the Competition Policy Review (Harper Review), announcing the Government’s full or partial support for 44 of the reports 56 recommendations. The Government will continue to examine the remaining 12 recommendations, including the heavily debated effects test. See the Treasurer’s media release here and GRACosway’s summary from earlier in the week here. 

Earlier in the week, the Prime Minister confirmed Drew Clarke, former Communications Department Secretary, will remain his Chief of Staff, while former Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson will replace Michael Thawley as Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. In a further bureaucratic reshuffle, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Varghese, has announced he too is stepping down, with a replacement yet to be confirmed.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced Australian-led consortium ‘NSW Electricity Networks’ has won the tender for the 99 year lease of TransGrid, for an agreed price of $10.258 billion. The proceeds of the transaction, to be completed by mid-2016, will fund the Government’s Rebuilding NSW plan. See the Premier’s media release here.

Meanwhile, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is calling for a radical change to taxation that would see states given the right to levy income tax in exchange for the federal government retaining one third of GST revenues and withdrawing funding for schools and hospitals. Premier Weatherill will argue his plan at the Council of Australian Governments meeting on December 11.

The Palaszczuk Government in Queensland announced it will host a major innovation summit in April 2016. The Advance Queensland Innovation and Investment Summit will be hosted in Brisbane to establish new local, national and international connections which the Queensland Government has recognised as a matter of importance in times of rapid development. See the Premier’s media release here.

The Federal, Queensland, SA, WA, Tasmanian and NT parliaments sit next week.

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