Gallagher ruled ineligible as the spotlight turns to Labor MP’s

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The nightmare citizenship scenario for Labor is a reality – the High Court has booted Katy Gallagher and made it clear that a member of parliament must fully complete the citizenship process prior to the election.

Ms Gallagher has been ruled ineligible to sit as a Senator for the ACT, after her situation was used as a test case by the major parties to unpack what the definition of taking ’reasonable steps’ was with regard to renouncing citizenship of another country.

The pressure is now on Labor as up to 3 Labor lower house MP’s and a Centre Alliance MP could now be heading to the ballot box. Labor are considering whether they will ask their MP’s to resign, or take their cases to the court, which will drag this on for several months.

In one of several judgements, judges argued that the renunciation needs to be completed before polling day.

Budget 2018 | Infrastructure & Transport


Some serious cash is being thrown at Infrastructure and Transport across the nation. Here’s a snapshot of the 24 billion dollar program.

The centrepiece of this year’s infrastructure budget is $5 billion for Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport link. First designed in the 1950’s, $30 million was spent last year for a feasibility study which gave it the green light earlier this year. The Victorian State government will need to contribute $5 billion.

In Western Australia, both governments will work together to expand the rail network. Known as Metronet, the project now has a price tag of just under 2 billion dollars. The budget also allocates $700 million towards road upgrades and $150 million for water infrastructure.  

NSW will receive less funding for projects this year, mainly because of a commitment the government announced last year – the brand new Western Sydney Airport! $50 million dollars will be spent developing a business case for an additional railway line to the new airport from St Mary’s.

The budget commits $400 million for the Port Botany freight rail duplication, which should cut the amount of time it takes for goods to reach their destination. A billion dollars has been allocated to upgrade the Coffs Harbour Bypass, and $150 million dollars has allocated for a new bridge in Nowra.

There are also improvements to the Bruce Highway Queensland ($5.2 billion), Monaro Highway ($100 million) and $280 million dollars in the Northern Territory.




Budget 2018 | Overview


The 2018 Federal Budget sends one loud and clear message – get ready for an election.

The economy will enter its 27th year of economic growth, continuing the longest stretch of growth in the nation’s history.

The budget has received an unexpected increase in revenue, predominantly from corporate tax collection, with more companies across Australia achieving solid profits after recovering from the global financial crisis.

At the heart of this budget is an income tax cut for all tax brackets over a 7 year period. Those earning up to $90,000 will receive a $530 tax cut. The low-income tax offset will be lifted from $67,000 to $90,000 and the third tax bracket will shift from $87,000 to $90,000.

The 7-year income tax cut plan mirrors the corporate tax cut plan, which the government has confirmed it is proceeding with. Only time (and the Senate crossbench) will tell if this will become a reality.

The budget will return to surplus a year ahead of schedule. The last surplus that was delivered by a federal government was in 2007.

The economy is expected to grow by 3% over the next four years, with unemployment decreasing to 5 ¼%. Inflation is forecast at 2 ½% and wage growth will begin to increase towards 2 ¼%.

So what makes this budget an election budget?

The government is also cancelling planned tax increases – the increase to the Medicare levy for the NDIS will not go ahead. Aged care will also receive a significant boost with more money to fund in-home care options.

It appears there are no major program cuts that would cause issues. Portfolios like Infrastructure and Transport have been stacked with cash for projects – a likely sign that the government will seek to campaign on these projects.

Taxes on Tobacco are up and taxes on craft beer are down! A traditional budget!

More to come.




Public stunned at Royal Commission Evidence

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A major hearing of the Banking Royal Commission wrapped up last week, with all eyes on wealth and financial advice managers. Under the microscope was the concept of how customers could ever expect advice to be given advice in their best interest if the products being offered to them resulted in profits for the bank, and commissions for the advisor.

What was uncovered took even the Government by surprise: Fees charged to dead customers, banking employees impersonating clients, legal forms forged on hundreds of occasions and deliberately misleading the independent regulator being  – on one occasion more than 25 times.

The Government has given the commission until February next year to deliver its fine report and recommendations, however, after the events of the last fortnight, the Finance Minister has indicated he is open to the idea of extending the commission’s deadline if it is required.

#Auspol #Banking #RoyalCommission

Labor MP to resign sparking byelection

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Politics is tough on families and it can be especially brutal for MP’s who represent Western Australia.

For Tim Hammond, the MP of the city based electorate of Perth, it seems to have taken its toll. Elected in 2016, Tim has a young family of three kids – at a minimum, he spends 20 weeks of the year away from the family home, and many other commitments result in him travelling to the more populous eastern seaboard.

He announced today that he will shortly resign, in order to spend more time with his family. This means Labor will face a byelection for the reasonably safe seat of Perth – a poll Bill Shorten will hardly wish to face at the moment.

Mr Hammond will return to the WA legal bar, continuing his previous career practising law.

Best of luck!

Reforms promised as live crisis deepens

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Live animal export is a minefield of policy complexity. On one hand, the welfare of animals must be considered and it’s also a critical source of revenue for farmers. On the other hand, those buying the livestock require them alive, as access to refrigeration is limited in some areas and cultural practices require the livestock to be slaughtered in a certain way.
The recent revelations concerning a shipment of live sheep to the middle east, which resulted in over 1,000 deaths outraged those in the sector, including the agricultural minister who labelled the scandal as ‘bullshit’. The sector has agreed to appoint an independent monitor with investigative powers, and the minister has asked his department for an explanation.
MP’s have already begun mustering support for ceasing the industry, with Susan Ley announcing the introduction of a private members that phase out the practice.
The report is due in a couple of weeks. #auspol #AusAg

Can you help us get to Canberra?

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As you read this, we are busily preparing for the 2018 Federal Budget.

It’s our third budget night and it will be the biggest one yet! For the first time, we’ll go live on Facebook to give you all the details.

Based out of Sydney, we travel to Canberra regularly to cover the action from Parliament House.

 This has become quite costly over the years – we are trying our hardest to not introduce advertising as we think it will ruin your experience.

So could you help us get to Canberra?

 We have a Gofundme page here.

All money raised will be spent on accommodation, transport and our annual website hosting costs. We’ll provide a full report on our expenditure after the budget, as we believe in accountability and transparency.

Any amount you could contribute would be awesome and helps us enormously, as we seek to give you the stories that matter to you. You can donate by clicking here

Happy to answer any of your questions over on our Facebook page.


Politics in a Paragraph

When could the next election be?

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Malcolm Turnbull has asked his state directors to finalise the preselections by June at the latest.

A few readers spotted this and asked us – when will the next election be? Here are some potential roadblocks for the PM as he makes his choice.

The Government needs four to six weeks to conduct a campaign. It’s a bit hamstrung as the half the Senate must be elected before the 18th of May next year. There’s also a traditional summer break to factor in and most importantly, two state elections.

A poll in Sep/Oct 2018 would be considered too early. A poll in May 2019 disrupts the Federal budget, and NSW runs the risk of suffering from ‘voter fatigue’ with 2 elections is in 3 months.

Note that this is the traditional model – we usually elect the full House and half of the Senate at each election. Turnbull could choose to just have a half senate election in this period, followed by the lower house at a later point but it would be quite expensive to do so.

The golden rule? Go when you think you can win.

AEC Electorate Shake-Up

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One of the jobs of the Electoral Commission is to ensure that each seat in the House of Representatives has an even amount of voters.

To ensure this, the AEC adjusts the boundaries of electorates and can abolish seats in some states because of population growth in others. Its a process know as redistribution.

The South Australian seat of Port Adelaide is to be abolished, with a new seat in Victoria created. Its MP Mark Butler is considering his options. Several electorates have been renamed, and an additional seat has been created for the ACT, taking the number in the House to 151.

The most interesting observation from the proposed changes is adjustments to the margins of several seats in Victoria. Seats considered safe and winnable for the Liberal Party are now marginal or even notional Labor.

The changes are open to public consultation and will be in effect from July 20.

#Auspol #elections #AEC