Category Archives: Politics in a Pinch

Spin, issues and media grabs.

Abbott’s front bench a “blue tie” affair

Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has unveiled his new cabinet and it’s one for the record books. While Kevin Rudd, after ousting Julia Gillard, chose to elevate a record number of women to ministry, Mr Abbott has named his cabinet with only one woman listed: Julie Bishop took on the Foreign Minister position held by Labor’s Bob Carr under the Gillard/Rudd government.

Tony Abbott with wife Margie and their daughtersFor Margie Abbott it’s nothing but egg on her face. The woman married to Tony Abbott and the mother to his three daughters, spoke out on breakfast TV in October last year against allegations that Mr Abbott didn’t understand women and didn’t like dealing with powerful women.

It’s something that doesn’t sit well now that Mr Abbott has won government and has ensured he doesn’t have to deal with powerful women on a daily basis through surrounding himself with predominately older, white men. It proves he still unequivocally believes in what he said on Four Corners in 2010:

‘I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons’

Mr Abbott’s cabinet consists of 19 men and one woman, while his outer ministry boasts four woman and seven men. One female parliamentary secretary rounds it out. As the Labor Party have pointed out, Australia now has less women in its ministry than Afghanistan which has three women on it’s front bench.

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Turnbull dismisses NBN petition as undemocratic

PrintThe National Broadband Network was a key policy under both the Rudd and Gillard governments and was a key election issue at this month’s federal election which saw the Liberal Party return to government after a six-year hiatus.

Post Tony Abbott’s victory, a petition hosted by change.org began to circulate on social media, asking the newly elected government to ditch their NBN policy which advocates a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) model in favour of Labor’s fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) model.

At time of publication, the petition had 218,657 signatures and is easily the most supported online petition Australia has seen but it will largely be ineffective due to the Liberal government believing they have a mandate to move to an FTTN model.

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How YouTube will remember the election

With less than two weeks to go until polling day, we thought it’s a good time to give you a wrap of the best this election has delivered – the best YouTube videos that is.

Clive Palmer has been good for news gold since before the election was called, from his plan to build a replica of the doomed Titanic to wanting to open a Jurrasic Park on the Sunshine Coast, Mr Palmer has always been good for a laugh – and he also seems to like pie.

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It’s about time: Kevin Rudd embraces marriage equality

rudd marriage equality

PHOTO: AUSTRALIAN MARRIAGE EQUALITY

It’s official – Kevin Rudd has come to his senses, officially changing his stance on marriage equality. In a blog post on his site last night, the former prime minister wrote: “I have come to the conclusion that church and state can have different positions and practices on the question of same sex marriage. I believe the secular Australian state should be able to recognise same sex marriage.”

The reversal follows his vote against a marriage equality bill last year – he was one of 98 MPs who voted against the bill. The change, he says, is a result of “a lot of reflection” and “conversations with good people grappling with deep questions of life, sexuality and faith.”

It’s a move that will most likely make the controversial politician more popular with the people, but get him into strife with his party as he upstages Prime Minister Julia Gillard once again.

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John for G-G: Howard’s Next Potential Career Move

abbott and howardIf rumours are correct, Tony Abbott wants John Howard to be Australia’s next Governor-General.

Fairfax Media has reported the Opposition Leader has sent a letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard demanding she not name a replacement for Governor-General Quentin Bryce, whose term will end next March.

The government is suspicious that Mr Abbott is hoping to keep the G-G position vacant in order to appoint his former boss, former primer minister John Howard.

But would former prime minister John Howard, the second longest serving PM in Australia’s history, be a suitable choice for the position?

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The Giving and Taking of The Gonski Reforms

give a gonskiThe “I give a Gonski” campaign has been successful. That is, politicians have listened and are acting on the recommendations made by the Review of Funding for Schooling chaired by David Gonski. Over the weekend, the Federal Government announced plans to increase school funding by $14.5 billion over six years – $2 billion of this funding will come from existing university funding. The funding plan has been met with widespread criticism and condemnation, with supporters of education funding arguing that you can’t take funding from one part of the education sector to give to another.

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An NBN Alternative: The Coalition Prepares Their Rebuttal

PrintThe National Broadband Network – a key policy of both Rudd and Gillard’s Labor governments – has been widely criticised by the Coalition for being too expensive and for taking too long to be rolled out. Malcolm Turnbull, the Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, has been particularly vocal on the topic, but so far the party has been quiet when it comes to an actual policy.

That is until now. Turnbull is expected to make an announcement on the details of the policy the Liberal Party would take to the election this week, with experts tipping it to happen tomorrow.

The imminent announcement looks set to focus on the financial differences between the two policies, with new analysis contained in the Coalition’s broadband policy suggesting the final cost of the NBN roll out could be more than double and exceed $90 billion by the time it is finished. Continue reading

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Super: is it the answer to the surplus problem?

surplusAustralian politics since the GFC and the consequent crash in profits in our national coffers, has left the Australian political scene dominated by one obsession: can we get a surplus?

With the Federal election looming, the question now is which political party will deliver this desired surplus? However, the real question Australians should be asking is, “At what cost will a surplus be delivered and how can it impact me?”

A surplus will only be gained through budget cuts and taxes, but what Australians will politicians put in the firing line? Continue reading

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Three men and a PM: who should lead the ALP?

gillardAfter a failed challenge last year, former prime minister Kevin Rudd promised to not challenge again and to sit, content and loyal, on the backbench.

We’re less then 7 months out to this year’s election, and the leadership of Julia Gillard seems plagued with Labor doubt. But who else can save Labor from an election wipe out?

The options for a new leader seem to be three men: Kevin Rudd, Bill Shorten or Simon Crean.

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Tony 2.0: is Abbott really a changed man?

tony abbottHe’s in for the fight of his life as tries to gain the trust of the Australian voting population; but is Tony Abbott the new-age sensitive man he says he is?

On Sunday night, Abbott tried to present as a changed man in an interview with Liz Hayes for Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes.

Nothing was off the table for the interview. His views on sexuality, marriage rights and how his religion impacts on his politics were all discussed. The Abbott presented was a family man, pouring dressing on a salad and joking with his three daughters at a family BBQ.

But like all families, this one has had its dramas too.

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