GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up

9 December 2016

The week began with the latest Newspoll revealing Labor’s sixth consecutive lead over the Coalition, 52 to 48 per cent on a two-party preferred (2PP) basis, despite a small increase in the Government’s 2PP vote. Figures also show that Malcolm Turnbull’s rating as preferred Prime Minister has fallen to its lowest level since he came to power, with polling indicating that voters want to see the Government concentrate on jobs, economic growth and the budget in the year ahead.

Prime Minister Turnbull chaired a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra today, covering a wide range of issues including family violence, rising electricity prices and national security. Mr Turnbull was unable to secure full support for a national economic plan following a quarterly 0.5 per cent fall in GDP for the September quarter. Queensland, Victoria and South Australia split from other governments over a proposal aimed at promoting greater competition. The meeting did resolve recent debate concerning the ban on imports of the Adler shotgun, which the Prime Minister described as a strengthening of control over weapon imports. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill also took the opportunity to continue pressing the Prime Minister on the need for a national energy plan. This follows the release of a preliminary report by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel that found Australia will not meet its 2030 carbon pollution reduction target. See media coverage here.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has received criticism following his announcement of a climate policy review earlier this week, sparking fresh divisions within the Coalition amid references to the implementation of a potential carbon tax on electricity generators. In response, Mr Frydenberg later ruled out a possible “emissions intensity scheme”, with the Prime Minister insisting, “the government’s policy is very clear. We will not be imposing a carbon tax and we will not be imposing an emissions trading scheme, however it is called.” Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne firmly denied the Government would support a carbon tax and insisted it will achieve its 2020 emissions targets via its current climate policy. See media coverage here.

A new report released by the Productivity Commission (PC) has identified a range of services within the human services sector that will benefit from increased competition, contestability and user choice. This initial report responds to a request made by Treasurer Scott Morrison as a result of increased costs, new technology and obstacles associated with an ageing population within the sector. The Commission will now investigate recommendations on how to apply these measures to the service areas identified and deliver its final report in October 2017. See media coverage here.

Millionaire Dick Smith has announced his support of One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson and offered to advise her prior to the next state and federal elections. While Mr Smith agrees with Senator Hanson’s immigration policies and predicted that One Nation will see a “Trump-like” swell of support from conservative groups, he signified he does not support her views on climate change or Muslim immigration and further, will not provide financial backing to the party.

The High Court reserved its decision on the validity of One Nation Senator Rod Culleton’s election to the Party this week, following the revelation that the Senator held a larceny conviction at the time of his election which was later annulled. See media coverage here and here.

Queensland LNP MP Lawrence Springborg has announced he will not contest the seat of Southern Downs at the next Queensland election in early 2018. A principle figure in the LNP merger, Mr Springborg led the Party in three state elections but narrowly lost the leadership to Tim Nicholls in May this year. LNP President Gary Spence declared that “there would be few, if any parliamentarians, who could match Lawrence’s record and breadth of experience”. See media coverage here.

The ACT Parliament will sit next week for the final time in 2016.

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