GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up
Political uncertainty over the dual citizenship saga and intensifying debate in relation to the same-sex marriage postal vote may have adversely affected the Turnbull Government’s popularity, with the latest Newspoll indicating a one-point drop in the Coalition’s primary vote to 35 per cent. Labor’s primary vote has climbed to 38 per cent; its best result this year. In addition, Labor’s two-party preferred (2PP) lead over the Coalition has increased to eight points, 54 to 46 per cent. Malcolm Turnbull remains preferred Prime Minister, although his lead over Bill Shorten has dropped from 15 to 10 per cent.
In a directions hearing this week, the High Court scheduled hearing dates to consider the eligibility of Minister Barnaby Joyce, senators Matt Canavan and Malcolm Roberts, and former senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, to hold office. Beginning 10 October, the court will reportedly also consider cases against senators Fiona Nash and Nick Xenophon if they are referred by the Senate before this time. The Prime Ministerremained optimistic, indicating he is “very, very confident” of the Coalition members’ eligibility. During this week’s hearing, Senator Canavan admitted to having been an Italian citizen since the age of two, despite previous claims his mother had applied for foreign citizenship on his behalf in recent years. Meanwhile, Senator Roberts argued that he had emailed the British Home Office renouncing citizenship prior to his nomination, but did not receive a form until after his election. See the media coverage here.
In an address to the Sydney Institute this week, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has strongly critiqued Labor’s economic policies under Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, taking aim at the Opposition’s plans to crack down on family trusts; eliminate negative gearing; and raise the top marginal tax rate to 49.5 per cent. Minister Cormann criticised Mr Shorten’s “rhetoric” as “the divisive language of haves and have nots”, representing “socialist revisionism at its worst”. Minister Cormann suggested Labor will “go after successful people”, who will allegedly “leave Australia and go where hard work, risk-taking and success are more highly valued and rewarded”. The Minister’s sentiments were echoed later in the week by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who claimed to “have never known such a left-leaning Labor leader” as Mr Shorten and declared that Labor’s “dangerous economic policies” of reduced small business taxation “would drive a stake through the heart of Australia’s growth”. See the media coverage here.
The Victorian Government introduced the Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Bill 2017 into Parliament this week, creating new Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (VRET) of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. Premier Daniel Andrews indicated the VRET will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent by 2034-35, and significantly reduce household and business energy costs. In response, Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has insisted that state-based initiatives encourage “higher prices and a less stable system”, as “national problems require national solutions”. See the media coverage here.
Victorian Parliament was adjourned this week to honour Minister for Family Violence Fiona Richardson, who died on Wednesday night after a battle with cancer. In a statement, Premier Daniel Andrews expressed his condolences to her family and colleagues, describing the Minister as “a person of conviction, of character, of extraordinary composure”. He described the final report of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence as “her greatest legacy to public life”. See the statement here.
The NSW Parliament will sit next week, conducting its Budget Estimates.