GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

27 March 2015

In the final sitting week before the budget, the parliament paused for a day on Monday to reflect on the life of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.  Later in the week, the Senate passed the government’s controversial data retention laws, the fourth tranche of national security legislation for Attorney-General George Brandis, which will force telecommunications providers to keep individuals’ phone and internet use for two years.  The government is now widely expected to release the Taxation White Paper and the final report of the Competition Policy Review early next week.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that the head of Operation Sovereign Borders, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, will be appointed Chief of the Army in May and Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Davies will be appointed Chief of the Air Force in July.

The Prime Minister will head to Singapore on the weekend to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew.

The Prime Minister announced an additional $100 million in new funding for the Great Barrier Reef Trust to support the implementation of a new Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan, jointly released by the Federal and Queensland governments last weekend.

In an address to the Australia China Business Council, Treasurer Joe Hockey said that Australia is considering its position in joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) before Tuesday’s deadline to sign a memorandum of understanding.  Treasurer Hockey listed best practice governance principles Australia would like to see applied to the new body in his speech.

Long-time Queensland Liberal Senator Brett Mason announced that he will retire from politics before the May budget.  He gave his final speech to the Senate this week.  Also in the Senate, former ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher was sworn in to replace Labor’sKate Lundy who has now retired.

The Productivity Commission released terms of reference for an inquiry looking into the most cost-effective way of developing mobile broadband capability for public safety agencies.  See the review homepage here.

In Defence, media reports suggest the Government will soon release the findings of the David Peever-led First Principles Review into the Defence Department and its agencies, recommending a major reform package.

This week’s Newspoll shows Labor leading the Coalition 51:49 in the two-party-preferred vote.

In Queensland, the 55th Parliament was officially opened this week with Independent Peter Wellington becoming Speaker.

Voters go to the polls tomorrow in the NSW state election, with Premier Mike Baird hoping to better Labor’s Luke Foley to secure a second-term for the Coalition Government.  GRACosway will bring you a final wrap of the campaign later today.

No parliaments sit next week.

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