Labor’s Citizenship Nightmare

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Labor are nervously bracing for the next instalment of the Citizenship crisis – because they’re directly in the firing line.

ACT Senator Katy Gallagher has British heritage. She knew this at the time of the 2016 election, and submitted the renunciation paperwork before she nominated – but it wasn’t confirmed by the UK. Gallagher argues she had taken ‘all reasonable steps to renounce’ which is a key judgment from a previous High Court ruling.

In short, the High Court is considering the question ‘what is the definition of reasonable steps?’ Can it include waiting for a foreign power to complete the renunciation? Should a democratic process in Australia, be hampered by the administration of another country?

The High Court has traditionally been very strict in this area, and this is an important test case.

If Gallagher is booted by the court, it could spell disaster for Shorten as there are Labor MP’s in the same scenario – which would result in 4 by-elections, some of which were won by a handful of votes.

#Auspol #Citizenship #Labor

Cyclone Newspoll

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Federal Politics is bracing for Cyclone Newspoll, expected to make landfall early Monday morning. As you know we seldom focus on opinion polling – it rarely drives good public policy and is often used to fuel an unhelpful theatrical element of politics.

We’re making an exception today to note that 30 negative Newspoll results were used as a yardstick for mounting a challenge to the leadership of Tony Abbott in 2015 – in amongst a number of other issues that the then Communications Minister used to argue for a change in leadership.

So will the PM be booted on Monday?

Absolutely not. This will be an opportunity for a bit of anti-Turnbull ‘sniping’, and then we’ll all move on. For now.

#Auspol #Newspoll

How is the GST Distributed?

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Have you ever seen seagulls fighting over a hot chip? The same process is similar with Australia’s Treasurers. Let’s talk GST and the sexy subject of ‘Horisontal Fiscal Equalisation’.
The revenue is collected by the Federal Government and distributed to the states to pay for services like schools and hospitals. But the revenue that is collected in a specific state, doesn’t automatically return to it.
The Commonwealth Grants Commission is responsible for implementing a complex series of formulas that result in the GST being spread evenly across the nation. To do this it takes into account both the multitude of revenue sources each individual state and territory has, and the cost of funding those services.
In short, states performing well economically fund weaker states, to ensure the return is equal for each Australian, no matter which state they reside in. The distribution changes from year to year depending on how well each state performs.
The distribution announced yesterday included some major changes and begins to correct WA’s low return rate, which has been strongly objected to in the past. The Government will soon receive a report that is researching how to share the GST more evenly – but will everyone be happy? Maybe not.
#Auspol #GST

Australia Boots Russian Spies

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The first use of a chemical weapon on European soil since World War Two has forced the Turnbull government to boot Russian spies, posing as diplomats from Australia. Similar action has been taken by other countries like the UK.
The Prime Minister explicitly named Russia as a country that is on notice for its intrusion into the domestic matters for other countries – elections in France, USA, Catalonia and the Brexit referendum are all currently being assessed for Russian interference.
The Turnbull government is working on updating Australia’s espionage laws for the modern era and will consider Russia’s actions in the international community.

Michael McCormack elected Nationals leader as Joyce saga ends

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#Breaking Michael McCormack has been elected the new Leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister.
He won the contest from late entrant into the race – George Christiansen!
Born in Wagga Wagga, Michael has been the member for Riverina since 2010. A former journalist, he is currently the Veterans Affairs Minister, and will enter the cabinet for the first time, possibly as the minister for Small Business.
His elevation comes as Dr David Gillespe withdrew from the contest yesterday as well as David Littleproud, who was canvassing support as late as last night.
Barnaby Joyce now sits on the backbench.

Joyce matters implode as Nationals Partyroom supports leader

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Truth be told, we haven’t written anything about Barnaby this week as each time we got close, the situation exploded again.
Together with the improper employment allegations of his new partner, Joyce has faced further pressure over receiving a house rent free for 6 months. The owner of the house, offered him this to him as a gift, noting his personal circumstances. The pair are friends.
Labor has uncovered that the owner of the house also owns a hotel in Armidale, which the government has used for functions in the past, paid for by the taxpayer. 

This new set of questions revealed on Thursday came at a point where tensions inside the Nationals were beginning to simmer.

Mr Joyce is now on personal leave next week. All reports from Nationals HQ is that they are solidly behind him as the leader.

Brandis resigns from the Senate to become the UK High Commissioner

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After more than a decade in the Parliament, George Brandis resigned as a Senator on Wednesday.

A victim of the cabinet reshuffle last December, Mr Brandis will become the next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

In his valedictory speech that traversed many topics, Mr Brandis called upon his colleges to return to the classical forms of liberalism and keep a watchful eye on further attacks on Australia’s institutions.

This was no doubt a subtle elbow to the ribs for the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who took responsibility for several security organisations off the Attorney General’s Department.

Mr Brandis listed his two greatest achievements in office – the passing of the Same-Sex Marriage bills and the newly created counter Terrorism legislation.

Dual Citizenship scandal continues as Lamb details missing documents

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Susan Lamb has detailed why she hasn’t been able to clarify her citizenship.

The marginal Queensland MP claims she is unable to access her parent’s marriage certificate as her father has died and she has been estranged from her mother since childhood.
But within minutes of the speech, journalists clarified with Queensland authorities that she could have access to the marriage certificate due to ‘exceptional circumstances’.
This, together with the fact that The Australian has tracked down her estranged mother, who has confirmed she is willing to obtain the documents, points to more of a delaying tactic, rather than a genuine roadblock.

Her statement hasn’t shifted anyone in the Government – they may still refer her to the High Court. #auspol

Child Abuse Royal Commission wraps up after 5 years

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The Prime Minister announced this week the nation will formally apologise to victims of child sexual abuse, later in the year.
This follows the conclusion of the Royal Commission into institutional responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which heard the stories of more than 8,000 people and undertook 57 case studies.
The Federal Government is also working with the States, victim support groups and institutions to pull together a national redress scheme, which will commence in July.

What happened over the summer?

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It’s great to be back in 2018!

Here’s a snapshot of what happened over the summer:

  • Citizenship: Jacqui Lambie has resigned (she’s Scottish) and the Liberal’s Jim Molan replaced Senator Fiona Nash today.
  • Susan Lamb, Josh Wilson, Justine Keay, Rebeka Sharkie and Jason Falinski still have questions to answer
  • John Alexander won the Bennelong by-election, following the discovery of his dual citizenship
  • Labor’s David Feeney has resigned as the member for Batman, setting up a Labor/Green by-election
  • Sam Dastyari resigned as a Senator, following too many unanswered questions about his connections to Chinese businessmen
  • His vacancy will be filled by Kristina Keneally, Labor’s unsuccessful candidate for Bennelong
  • Tasmania and South Australia are in election mode in state polls in a few weeks
  • Independent Senator Lucy Gichuhi has turned blue! She now sits as a Liberal Senator for South Australia
  • Lyle Shelton has quit the Australian Christian Lobby and has joined Cory Bernadi’s Australian Conservatives.
We’ll let you know if anything else happens!