GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up: PM ScoMo hits the ground running
31 August 2018
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new ministry was sworn in earlier this week.
- The latest Newspoll results show the Coalition has a lot of ground to make up after last week’s internal leadership turmoil.
- Morrison has toured drought-affected parts of outback Queensland, in his first official visit as PM.
- The PM has also made his first international trip, visiting Indonesia to sign a free trade deal with President Joko Widodo.
- Former PM Malcolm Turnbull is resigning from Parliament, triggering a by-election in his Sydney electorate of Wentworth.
Morrison ministry announced
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new Ministry was sworn in at Government House on Monday, as the new government attempts to draw a line in the sand after a whirlwind week of internal conflict. Mr Morrison said the “new generation team” will restore stability. Major changes in the new ministry include the promotion of Marise Payne to Foreign Minister, Angus Taylor to Energy Minister and the appointment of Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott to special envoy positions for drought and indigenous affairs respectively. If you missed GRACosway’s detailed ministry briefing note from earlier this week, you can catch up here.
Coalition support falls in latest Newspoll
The latest Newspoll, conducted following Scott Morrison’s elevation to PM, has unsurprisingly showed voters are punishing the Coalition after last week’s internal divisions. The Coalition’s primary vote has fallen four points to 33 per cent, compared to Labor’s 41 per cent – an improvement of 6 per cent. This marks the Coalition’s lowest level of popular support in a decade. The two-party-preferred vote has also ballooned out, with Labor now leading the Coalition by 12 points, 56 to 44. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is now the preferred Prime Minister, leading 39 per cent, a seven-point gain, to new PM Scott Morrison’s 33 per cent.
PM visits drought-stricken Queensland
In his first official visit as Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has travelled to south-west Queensland to speak with farmers and regional communities in Quilpie struggling with the effects of severe drought. After declaring the drought would be his government’s number one priority, Mr Morrison said more needed to be done to assist farming communities to not just deal with the drought but to also better prepare for and recover from future droughts.
PM jets off to Jakarta
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also made his first overseas trip as leader this week, travelling to Jakarta to meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Mr Morrison and Mr Widodo are expected to announce Australia and Indonesia have reached an in-principle free trade agreement. The trade deal, known as the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), has been under negotiation for many months and is expected to be officially signed later this year. Mr Morrison’s first overseas trip will be short – he will not proceed with visits to Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, or attend the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru as was originally planned under former PM Turnbull.
Turnbull triggers Wentworth by-election
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed this week he will be resigning from the Parliament today, triggering a by-election in his electorate of Wentworth. The by-election date will be set by the Speaker but reports suggest it will likely be held on October 6, meaning that for at least two sitting weeks the Government will hold only 75 of 149 seats in the House of Representatives. In a message on his Facebook page and letter to his constituents, Mr Turnbull thanked his local community for their support and listed his proudest achievements, while also reaffirming his view that “the best place for former PMs is out of the parliament”.
A Melbourne Cup field of contenders is now lining up to take over Mr Turnbull’s prized seat in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Confirmed Liberal candidates include former Business Council of Australia executive director Andrew Bragg; former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma; and City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster, who is the sister of former PM Tony Abbott. Independent City of Sydney councillors Kerryn Phelps and Angela Vithoulkas have also thrown their hats in the ring, while Labor has already preselected local businessman Tim Murray and the Greens have nominated Waverley Deputy Mayor Dominic Wy Kanak.
In other news, Victorian Liberal MP Julia Banks has announced she will not recontest her marginal seat of Chisholm at the next election. Ms Banks, who was the only Coalition MP to win a seat off Labor at the last election, said she was no longer interested in staying in the parliament, citing the “scourge” of bullying and intimidation of women in politics and stating the toppling of Malcolm Turnbull was “the last straw”.
The Victorian, Queensland and South Australian Parliaments are sitting next week; NSW Budget Estimates will also continue. The 2018-19 South Australian Budget will also be handed down next week.