Paul Bongiorno

is a columnist for The Saturday Paper and a 30-year veteran of the Canberra Press Gallery.

By this author

Comment February 03, 2024

The aftermath of the stage three decision

“Dutton says you can no longer believe anything Albanese or Chalmers say on their future tax intentions. It hasn’t dawned on him that he lacks the clout of incumbency. Governments are in charge; oppositions can only promise and decry.”

podcast January 29, 2024

Why Albanese changed his mind on tax cuts

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on what to make of the big changes coming to our pay packets.

Comment December 23, 2023

Albanese needs to find his mojo

“So how have we got to this and how is Albanese going to respond? … There are big lessons from this year that, unless learnt, bode very poorly for the survival of the government. Albanese and his closest confidants know it.”

Comment December 16, 2023

Albanese takes front foot on Israel–Hamas war

“For a prime minister on leave, Anthony Albanese had a busy week. It’s a sure sign of knowing you can take nothing for granted in politics, especially when everyone keeps telling you to lift your game.”

Comment December 09, 2023

Dutton turns up the fear factor

“The latest batch of published polls suggest voters are not yet ready to switch to the Dutton-led Coalition. In this context, it is not hard to see why Dutton, who has always been a strident partisan warrior, has given no quarter as he attempts to turn …”

Comment December 02, 2023

MPs push Albanese on cost-of-living crisis

“The cage fight that passes for political debate in the Australian parliament is drawing to an unedifying close for the year. The Dutton-led opposition has rushed to exploit every fear and panic, and heads to the summer break convinced it has the Albanese …”

podcast December 01, 2023

Is it finally time to change immigration detention?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on calls for more accountability in Australia’s hardline immigration regime.

Comment November 25, 2023

Albanese dragged to Dutton’s level

“The opposition leader does not baulk at using the sort of post-truth politics employed by Donald Trump in the United States, where reality is not the touchstone but political advantage is. Any distortion to stir fears and resentments is utilised.”

Comment November 18, 2023

Dutton tracks the scent of victory

“As this term of government rapidly nears its halfway mark, the Coalition is convinced it has a greater chance of victory at the next election than it dared imagine over the past 18 months.”

podcast November 17, 2023

‘Extremely dangerous’: Did Dutton’s question go too far?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on why rhetoric in parliament has been labelled ‘extremely dangerous’.

podcast November 03, 2023

Are our leaders playing politics with war?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper, Paul Bongiorno, on how bipartisanship has been lost over conflict in the Middle East and the fault lines between friends and colleagues.

Comment November 04, 2023

Peter Dutton’s play at weaponising Israel–Hamas war

“Peter Dutton’s weaponisation of this human disaster is a cynical caricature of the government’s response. From day one Albanese and his foreign minister, Penny Wong, have not resiled from condemning the barbarity of the Hamas slaughter of …”

Comment October 28, 2023

Echoes of the Voice

“Anthony Albanese has moved on from his thwarted attempt to have an Indigenous Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution. It is frustrating the opposition and disappointing some key leaders in the Aboriginal community. Greatly assisting the prime …”

podcast October 27, 2023

What was the point of Albanese’s US trip?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on why Labor is losing popularity, and what they’ll need to do to win it back.

Comment October 07, 2023

The ‘Yes’ vote comeback we have to have

“Upset results and come-from-behind victories are as common in politics as they are on the sporting field. Opinion polls have famously got election results wrong over the years, although not as often as many underdogs would wish.”

Comment September 30, 2023

The legacies of Daniel Andrews and Mike Pezzullo

“The departure of one powerful man and the sidelining of another has accentuated the profound influence both have had in shaping the direction of the nation. Their legacies are now both a challenge and an opportunity for Anthony Albanese to learn from …”

podcast September 29, 2023

The Pezzullo texts: How power really works in Canberra

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on how Pezzullo’s secret correspondence reveals a bigger problem in the public service, which could undermine our democracy.

Comment September 23, 2023

The state of the ‘No’ campaign

“In the shadow of the National Library, inside the Parliamentary Triangle, the Yes23 organisers could scarcely believe their eyes as the crowd built for Canberra’s version of the Walk for Yes rally and march … Researcher Peter Lewis, of Essential, …”

podcast September 22, 2023

Is the ‘No’ campaign imploding?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the tensions in the “No” camp and whether they will make a difference on polling day.

Comment September 16, 2023

The power of the HAFF deal

“Going into the last sitting week before the referendum on a Voice to Parliament, Anthony Albanese was desperate to have something positive to talk about, to assure Australians he was paying attention to their immediate concerns.”

podcast September 15, 2023

Leaks reveal ‘No’ tactics

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on how the strategies to reject the Voice are reverberating through the halls of power.

Comment September 09, 2023

The flailing kangaroo

“Somehow Anthony Albanese is being blamed for the catastrophic failure of governance by the Qantas board and its long-time chief executive. The behaviour of Qantas since Alan Joyce became boss almost 15 years ago is marked by arrogance and anti-competitive …”

podcast September 01, 2023

Can the government fix the gig economy?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on what the government has unveiled – and why it’s pushing ahead with the reform in the middle of a historic referendum campaign.

Comment September 02, 2023

Between the hard right and a soft ‘No’

“By any measure this week marks the official countdown to a significant moment in the history of the Australian Federation and its foundation on the dispossession of the original owners of the land.”

Comment August 26, 2023

Labor’s small target syndrome

“When Tanya Plibersek was collared on the sidelines of last weekend’s conference, her assessment of how the government sees itself was particularly interesting. She fobbed off criticism that the old party of passionate firebrands from the left had …”

podcast August 04, 2023

Albanese vs the ‘Noalition’: It’s about to get spicy

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on what lies ahead for the second half of the year in Canberra.

Comment August 05, 2023

Morrison’s strong welfare cop-out

“For a while, late on Monday afternoon in the house of representatives, you could be forgiven for thinking the Peter Dutton-led opposition had finally cast itself adrift from Scott Morrison.”

podcast July 21, 2023

Albanese’s media blitz as Voice support drops

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on the official cases and why Anthony Albanese is feeling the need to go on a media blitz.

Comment July 22, 2023

‘No’ stretch of the imagination

“If you can believe the opinion polls, regional Australia has gone very cold on the idea of a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Rebel Liberal ‘Yes’ campaigner Julian Leeser certainly found a warmer reception in …”

Comment July 15, 2023

Inside the Fadden byelection

“No one was happier in the federal opposition than Peter Dutton when the embattled Stuart Robert quit the parliament a couple of months ago. Sure it triggered today’s byelection in Robert’s Gold Coast seat of Fadden, but it made clearing out …”

podcast July 07, 2023

Who will the NACC nick?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on how our politicians have greeted the new NACC.

Comment July 08, 2023

Tasks pile up for the NACC

“There’s a new party game in Canberra, sparked by the arrival of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The game has a simple enough name: Who’s for the NACCery?”

podcast June 30, 2023

Stuart Robert, we thought we said goodbye

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the latest Stuart Robert revelations and why opinion polls are putting chills through Canberra.

Comment July 01, 2023

Tensions focus on Fadden byelection

“The byelection in Stuart Robert’s old seat of Fadden is becoming a proxy battleground for the fortunes not only of Opposition Leader Peter Dutton but also for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.”

Comment June 24, 2023

Inside Labor’s housing fight

“Anthony Albanese is furious the ‘Greens political party’ – as he insists on always calling them – is blocking his signature Housing Australia Future Fund in the senate and he is now raising the prospect of using it as a trigger …”

podcast June 16, 2023

Lidia Thorpe alleges sexual assault in Parliament House

Columnist for The Saturday Paper, Paul Bongiorno, on the standards and culture within Parliament House.

Comment June 17, 2023

Trump-style politics on show in parliament

“So much for respect and reconciliation in the national capital. As parliament returned for the final two weeks before the long winter break, it was more bare-knuckle combat with no one wanting to take prisoners.”

Comment June 10, 2023

Big business attacks wages and workers

“The economy roared back into view as the major focus of contention this week, with some weird developments adding extra drama to the pain and usual blame game that happens when the going gets really tough for millions of Australians. The pain came with …”

podcast June 09, 2023

Philip Lowe thinks you should do more work

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on Phillip Lowe, the treasurer and the fight over wages.

Comment June 03, 2023

Dutton’s race rhetoric unleashed

“After Anthony Albanese received a standing ovation on Monday night for his Lowitja O’Donoghue Oration arguing the case for the Voice referendum to succeed, Adelaide’s lord mayor made a telling observation.”

podcast June 02, 2023

The politicians who think the sky is falling

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the latest political skirmish – and whether WA premier Mark McGowan’s resignation is a sign the sky really is falling

Comment May 27, 2023

Dutton’s vicious attack on the Voice

“The choice Australians will have later this year in the referendum goes beyond recognising the special place of First Nations people in the constitution. It also goes to the sort of national leadership we are prepared to endorse.”

podcast May 26, 2023

Dutton’s dangerous rhetoric unleashed in parliament

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on what Dutton’s rhetoric will do to the debate on the Voice.

podcast May 19, 2023

How Anthony Albanese’s doing a year after winning

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno spoke to the prime minister about his year on the job, and what’s next.

Comment May 20, 2023

The Albanese interview: ‘There is nothing timid’

“On Monday, the Albanese government will celebrate its first birthday. The prime minister is confident it has been a year that has established in voters’ minds the character of his government as responsible, measured and very busy.”

Comment May 13, 2023

Surplus and requirements

“Treasurer Jim Chalmers was so excited about the rabbit he was going to pull out of the hat that he couldn’t wait for budget night to tell the world he was about to deliver the first surplus in 15 years.”

podcast May 12, 2023

The middle class vs. the poor: Why the Coalition wants them to fight

Columnist for The Saturday Paper, Paul Bongiorno on the strange politics at play and why there are bigger questions we should be asking.

podcast May 05, 2023

Is Albanese going to ignore young people?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the priorities going into budget night – and what Anthony Albanese is thinking as he visits London.

Comment May 06, 2023

Albanese with the kingmakers

“With the prime minister in Britain to attend the coronation of our unelected head of state and the treasurer back home doing last-minute bean-counting ahead of Tuesday’s budget, the Greens’ Adam Bandt seized the moment to pose the key question …”

podcast April 21, 2023

51 ways the RBA has to be better

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on why the government took such bold action on the RBA, but won’t stop it inflicting more pain.

Comment April 22, 2023

Dutton hands Coalition to Nationals

“Something truly bizarre is happening in the federal Coalition under the leadership of putative Liberal Peter Dutton. With him in charge, the conservative parties have embarked on a cunning plan to abandon metropolitan voters in favour of rural and regional …”

podcast April 14, 2023

How Peter Dutton’s ‘No’ is tearing the Liberals apart

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on the consequences of saying ‘No’ for the Liberal party.

Comment April 15, 2023

Julian Leeser’s principled stand

“The resigning shadow minister for Indigenous Australians and shadow attorney-general, Julian Leeser, did something very rare in Australian politics this week: he quit the frontbench not to launch a challenge against the party leader but rather to undermine …”

Comment April 08, 2023

Voice exposes Dutton’s desperation

“By midweek it was obvious Peter Dutton wasn’t looking for a way to reconnect with the broader electorate, which is clearly what is needed. On the very morning Newspoll published a consolidated survey over three months of majority voter support across …”

podcast April 06, 2023

No Voice and no votes: the future of the Liberal Party

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the future of the Liberal party.

Comment April 01, 2023

Dutton sweating on Aston byelection result

“Peter Dutton faces his first real test at the ballot box as Liberal leader in the Aston byelection. He is bracing for the worst while hoping he is saved by the century-long precedent of oppositions never losing seats to governments in these contests.”

podcast March 31, 2023

Inside Peter Dutton’s leadership test in Aston

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on the must-win contest in Aston and how pressure is mounting inside the Liberal Party.

podcast March 24, 2023

The dissent in Labor ranks over the US alliance

Columnist for The Saturday Paper, Paul Bongiorno, on the increasing political cost of the AUKUS deal.

Comment March 25, 2023

Labor rift over submarine deal

“Paul Keating’s verbal torpedoes aimed at the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal have begun hitting their targets in the Labor Party. Keating – often and correctly described as a ‘Labor icon’ – has been joined by two of …”

podcast March 17, 2023

Will Albanese and Dutton agree on the $368 billion question?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on how $368 billion dollars in spending is inevitably getting political.

Comment March 18, 2023

Albanese and the AUKUS booby trap

“Make no mistake: Anthony Albanese, in the bright Californian sun this week, was doing more than putting the nation on an economic and strategic war footing; he was rendering his political opponents back home defenceless.”

Comment March 11, 2023

Is the honeymoon over for Anthony Albanese?

“There was a discernible shift in the national political calculus this week, with mounting challenges confronting the almost year-old Albanese government. It confirmed, if confirmation were needed, that there is no magic wand for easy solutions. The 10th …”

podcast March 03, 2023

What convinced Albanese to tackle superannuation

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on how Albanese made his decision, and why we could be talking about it for years to come.

Comment March 04, 2023

Jim Chalmers’ super gamble

“This week Anthony Albanese trod where many thought he would never dare: he raised taxes on excessive savings held in superannuation. While he did it in a way that can wedge his political opponents in the run-up to the next election, he also handed them …”

Comment February 25, 2023

Dutton’s leadership to be tested in Aston

“Not surprisingly, with so much on its plate, the government can afford to treat the Aston byelection as something of a sideshow. It sees it as secondary to getting on with its three ‘Rs’ of ‘relief, repair and restraint’.”

podcast February 24, 2023

Superannuation: Is the government breaking a promise?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the future of super.

podcast February 17, 2023

The by-election that will define Dutton’s opposition

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on the political test looming in Aston.

Comment February 18, 2023

Apologies on the way to Tudge byelection

“Dutton has decided to leave any final decision on the Voice referendum until after the Aston byelection. His carefully crafted apology does enough to leave the impression he is more sympathetic to the referendum than his naysaying would suggest, without …”

Comment February 11, 2023

A wink and a Tudge

“It is little wonder, then, that when the embattled former cabinet minister Alan Tudge finally announced his inevitable departure from parliament on Thursday, Liberal leadership speculation flared.”

Comment February 04, 2023

Labor on a wild ride to get things done

“The Albanese government’s second year in power is shaping up as a wild ride. The prime minister is intent on using every opportunity to establish a legacy as a Labor reformer ‘changing the nation for the better’ Leader of the house Tony …”

podcast February 03, 2023

Thought the climate wars were over? A sequel’s out next week

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on why next week could either end the climate wars, or start a whole new chapter.

podcast December 19, 2022

Spotlight: Russia moves on Ukraine, plus how prepared is Scott Morrison for conflict?

We’re featuring this episode from February with columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and whether Scott Morrison was prepared.

Comment December 17, 2022

What the prime minister did next

“What we are seeing already is a government comfortable in the exercise of power and confident enough to risk losing a fight that it judges worth having. A Newspoll analysis of support for the past four incoming governments at the end of their first six …”

podcast December 16, 2022

How Albanese, Bandt and Dutton ended the political year

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on how Adam Bandt, Peter Dutton and Anthony Albanese ended their year and what that tells us about the political battles ahead of us in 2023.

Comment December 10, 2022

A Covid positive end to Anthony Albanese’s year

“Just when Anthony Albanese was set to finish the most successful year of his political life with another win, he was struck down by Covid-19. The acting opposition leader, Sussan Ley, sent her best wishes but little sympathy. She called for the national …”

podcast December 09, 2022

Anthony Albanese’s race to get energy prices capped

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the race to cap electricity prices before we see more damage to the economy.

Comment December 03, 2022

Nationals pull ‘tragic’ reversal on Voice

“The last sitting week of the federal parliament at the end of a momentous election year was overshadowed by a jarring intervention in the process to enshrine recognition of First Nations people in the constitution. The Nationals on Monday spectacularly …”

podcast December 02, 2022

Scott Morrison makes history (for all the wrong reasons)

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on what Scott Morrison did when faced with the chance to explain himself.

Comment November 26, 2022

A wild ride in the red chamber

“Turning on its head a famous line from the English poet T. S. Eliot, it is no exaggeration to say 2022 is ending not with a whimper but a bang for the Albanese government. The much-derided small-target leader has set a frenetic pace in the first six …”

Comment November 19, 2022

The Xi Jinping handshake

“Anthony Albanese’s handshake with Xi Jinping was more than a reset in relations between Australia and China; it was confirmation that the dynamics of domestic politics here have changed. The spectre of the ‘yellow peril’, particularly …”

podcast November 18, 2022

Albanese’s meeting with Xi Jinping: Will Australia get a second date?

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on how Anthony Albanese sat down with Xi Jinping in Bali.

Comment October 29, 2022

Making sense of the budget

“Jim Chalmers is no stranger to the dynamics and pitfalls of federal budgets. He has worked on 16 of them in and out of government – as a staffer, adviser, shadow minister and finally, this week, at the helm himself. On Tuesday, in delivering the first …”

Comment October 22, 2022

The best-laid plans

“The admiration for Anthony Albanese’s political smarts was palpable down the line from one of his senior colleagues. ‘Albo,’ he says, ‘has 360-degree vision.’ The prime minister is not just looking at the next …”

podcast October 21, 2022

Listen to this before budget night

Paul Bongiorno on the storm clouds gathering as we go into budget week.

Comment October 15, 2022

Power prices without glory

“The ghosts of broken promises past are spooking the Albanese government as it prepares to unveil its first budget on October 25. More specifically, the prime minister is determined not to give his political opponents the chance to criticise him on …”

podcast October 14, 2022

Albanese can’t be haunted by Labor’s ghosts

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on whether Labor is brave enough to make big changes to the economy.

Comment October 08, 2022

Labor’s approach to the stage three tax cuts

“Deep in the bunker that is federal Parliament House’s cabinet room, the Albanese government’s economic brains trust spent much of Tuesday strategising about Australia’s response to what the treasurer calls the ‘gathering storm clouds in the global economy’. …”

podcast October 07, 2022

Is Albanese about to axe the stage three tax cuts?

Paul Bongiorno on whether Labor could be ready to slowly ditch the stage three tax cuts.

Comment October 01, 2022

Bill Shorten and the robo-debt inquiry

“Shorten had flown to Brisbane for the first day of hearings at the royal commission into the robo-debt scandal. He had been relentless in his determination to expose the full extent of what he calls the ‘greatest failure of public administration …”

podcast September 30, 2022

The trauma of robo-debt is finally being investigated

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper, Paul Bongiorno on how the commission is trying to find the truth for the victims of robo-debt, and the future of integrity in our parliament.

Comment September 24, 2022

Penny Wong resets the agenda in New York

“It’s seven hours’ flying time from London to New York, but there is a huge chasm between the pageantry of a past empire on one side of the Atlantic and the 77th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the other. Foreign Affairs Minister …”

Comment September 17, 2022

Uneasy lies the head of a republican prime minister

“Australia’s most ardent monarchist prime minister – not Tony Abbott or John Howard but Robert Menzies – would have been very impressed with the response of our avowed republican leader, Anthony Albanese, to the passing of our borrowed head of state, …”

podcast September 16, 2022

Australia is mourning the Queen longer than the UK

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on Australia’s extended grieving.

Comment September 10, 2022

Industrial-strength labour reforms

“Anthony Albanese is storming the Bastille erected by a sclerotic government more intent on its own maintenance of power and privilege than effectively advancing the national interest. The spectacle may not be as dramatic as that moment in French …”

podcast September 09, 2022

Albanese’s race to ease the cost of living

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on Labor’s attempts to reign in a cost of living spiral.

podcast September 02, 2022

The truth about the jobs summit: it’s the descent that kills you

Columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the promises and perils of Labor’s Jobs and Skills Summit.

Comment September 03, 2022

The view from the jobs summit

“Anthony Albanese is looking to foster ‘a new culture of co-operation’ for the future, rather than pitting unions against business. What’s good for the worker should always be good for the employer. It’s a guiding light …”

podcast August 26, 2022

Secret ministries are legal. Now what for Scott Morrison?

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the inquiry to come and if Anthony Albanese is overplaying his hand.

Comment August 27, 2022

A Hawke from a handsaw

“Three months into leading his new government, Anthony Albanese is riding higher than even his most ardent supporters would have imagined. This situation was given its vivid, if lurid, expression at a rock concert in Sydney earlier this week.”

Comment August 20, 2022

Quit or get off the tin-pot

“With a day to go before he was due to return to work, Anthony Albanese was at a resort in Broome when he read a report revealing his predecessor had secretly made himself a co-minister in two key portfolios at the beginning of the pandemic.”

podcast August 19, 2022

Scott Morrison’s secret ministries: everything you need to know

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the perplexing question of why Scott Morrison kept secretly giving himself more ministerial powers.

Comment August 13, 2022

Diplomatic, systematic, emblematic: Dutton’s ceased enlightening

“Opposition Leader Peter Dutton is putting extreme strain on Australia’s bipartisan foreign policy when it comes to dealing with our biggest trading partner, China. He continues to speak very loudly while Australia is carrying a stick he admits isn’t …”

podcast August 12, 2022

China warns Australia to pipe down on Taiwan

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on China’s message to Australia.

Comment August 06, 2022

The Peter Dutton schtick

“It still hasn’t dawned on the Liberal and National parties why they suffered such a stunning defeat at the May election. Maybe Labor’s slender majority masks the rejection of the Liberals in their heartland seats, which resulted in a near-record …”

podcast August 05, 2022

How Peter Dutton is making himself irrelevant

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on what Dutton is telling his party room, and the divisions already becoming apparent in the Coalition.

podcast July 29, 2022

Another test for Anthony Albanese

Today, columnist from The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the first week of a new parliament.

Comment July 30, 2022

Putting a statement into action

“More than any other figure in our democracy, a prime minister can influence the direction of the nation. Anthony Albanese knows it, and he is not allowing the most difficult economic and strategic circumstance in more than three decades to deter him from …”

podcast July 22, 2022

It’s pronounced ‘climate targét’

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the state of the environment.

Comment July 23, 2022

Glass half-empty (or 43 per cent full)

“The full impact of the change of government nine weeks ago will be clear on Tuesday when the new parliament sits for the first time. It will be an acid test for the Albanese government. The test is one it has largely set for itself. Despite claiming …”

podcast July 15, 2022

What Tony Abbott did next

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on what Tony Abbott did next.

Comment July 16, 2022

What’s behind Tony Abbott’s return to the spotlight?

“No one did more to shape the direction of Australian politics in the past decade than Tony Abbott. His ruthless and determined resistance to effective action on climate change was reprehensibly short-sighted but was the template for four election campaigns.”

Comment June 25, 2022

Heavy crossbench to bear

“Thirty-four is the number and it has turned federal parliamentary politics on its head. While the Albanese government has a slender majority in the lower house – 77 of the 151-seat chamber – it falls a long way short in the senate.”

podcast June 24, 2022

How much do you crossbench, bro?

Paul Bongiorno on the battle lines in Australia’s new senate.

Comment June 18, 2022

The week the energy crisis hit home

“This week, the need for the new Albanese government to fix the mess it has inherited became personal for millions of Australians at the mercy of a failed energy market. The threat of blackouts and of freezing in their homes in the middle of one of the …”

podcast June 17, 2022

The energy crisis just got serious

Paul Bongiorno on the suspension of the energy market and the political blame game that's followed.

podcast June 10, 2022

The first steps towards integrity

Paul Bongiorno on the first steps towards integrity.

Comment June 11, 2022

Albanese finds his balance on a bamboo bike

“Visual stunts – or picture opportunities, as they are called in the trade – are nothing new in contemporary politics. On Tuesday, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo provided the visual metaphor of a bike ride, which neatly summed …”

podcast June 03, 2022

Why Albanese is demanding discipline

Paul Bongiorno on Albanese’s agenda and why he’s demanding discipline from the Labor party room.

Comment June 04, 2022

Ghosts of prime ministers past

“Albanese brings to the job the enormous authority of leading the party out of the wilderness after almost a decade. Over the past three years there were plenty of wellwishers but also plenty of doubters. Albanese’s ‘come from behind, …”

Comment May 28, 2022

Labor’s Quad workout

“There has been an earthquake in Australian parliamentary democracy, which has checked the dominance of the two major parties and demonstrated two-thirds of the country were hungry for change.”

podcast May 27, 2022

How did the Liberal Party get it so wrong?

As votes are still being counted in an election that has reshaped the political map. What do the results mean for the future of Australian politics?

Comment May 21, 2022

Oh no, here we go again

“Expectations of a Labor victory today have been trimmed dramatically. Far from the landslide many were increasingly confident of just a week ago, forming a minority government is now widely seen as the best they can expect.”

podcast May 20, 2022

The Vote Panel: Could Scott Morrison win again?

It’s all come down to this. On Saturday night, Australia will decide it’s next government and next Prime Minister.

Comment May 14, 2022

The word is ‘absolutely’

“Scott Morrison is desperately looking to generate a last-minute momentum shift in this election, but Anthony Albanese believes it is already occurring around the kitchen tables of the nation.”

podcast May 13, 2022

The Vote Panel: Wage wars and leaked polls

With just one week to go until election day, the debate over the minimum wage has taken the spotlight. And, the polls are showing some Coalition strongholds are at risk of falling.

Comment May 07, 2022

Every galah in every pet shop in Australia

“This week, the Reserve Bank of Australia played itself into the federal election campaign in a way we haven’t seen for 15 years. Whatever the impact of its 0.25 percentage point rate rise on Tuesday – the first in more than 10 years – …”

podcast May 06, 2022

The Vote Panel: Everyone is promising houses

As we close in on election day, housing affordability has become a central issue of this campaign. People’s mortgages are going up and it could put upward pressure on rents. So, how are cost of living pressures factoring into the decision voters will make in just two weeks time?

podcast April 29, 2022

The Vote Panel: Three weeks in and it’s all about to start

Today, Anthony Albanese is set to end his isolation and return to the campaign trail after he tested positive for Covid-19 last week. As he returns to campaigning in-person, the cost of living has become an even more pressing election issue and a deal between China and The Solomon Islands has opened up a surprising avenue of attack on the Coalition.

Comment April 30, 2022

Everything is going up, except Morrison’s chances

“Unfortunately for the prime minister, he himself is a known known, with a record over the past three years that he is having great difficulty defending or explaining. How sweet must be the memory of the blank page that he presented the last time he faced …”

podcast April 22, 2022

Who would select a candidate like Katherine Deves?

Paul Bongiorno on the Katherine Deves controversy and how it looks to the independents who could be shaping up as kingmakers.

Comment April 23, 2022

‘Just so nasty and dirty and people hate it’

“At the end of week two of the campaign we are confronting the prospect of neither major party being able to govern in their own right, which says everything about how underwhelming voters see the choice on offer.”

Comment April 16, 2022

Nobody likes a bad dentist

“A shock, a self-inflicted wound on day one of the six-week formal election campaign has put Anthony Albanese on the back foot. That has to be the biggest takeout of week one, making the next five even more fraught for the Labor leader as he tries to persuade …”

podcast April 08, 2022

The Liberal Party turns on Scott Morrison

With the countdown to the federal election on, both sides of politics are attempting to shore up internal support and reassure voters. Labor is still firmly ahead in the polls, but the race is getting tighter, at least according to newspoll.

Comment April 09, 2022

‘They know he’s a bullshitter’

“The election campaign is off to an early and intense start. There was no need to wait for the governor-general to dissolve the house – Morrison stopped governing months ago and has been swamping the media with taxpayer-funded ‘government’ ads …”

Comment April 02, 2022

Stewing in their own juices

“In fact, the Coalition is in such a spiral of self-destruction that earlier this year Labor pulled back on its social media spend. The explanation was simple: ‘The government is doing all the work for us. ’”

podcast March 30, 2022

Budget ‘22: All hat, no rabbit

Last night, Josh Frydenberg delivered his last budget before the Morrison government goes to the polls. It was a pitch to voters worried about the cost of living, with new payments and bold claims about an economic turnaround.

podcast March 25, 2022

The death of Kimberley Kitching

The death of Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has ignited claims of bullying within the party. Meanwhile, heavy losses for the Liberals in the South Australian election could have dire implications for Scott Morrison.

Comment March 26, 2022

‘They are cacking themselves’

“The equivalent of a political nuclear bomb hit South Australia last weekend and its shockwaves are reverberating through the nation. Blown to smithereens are the notions that the Covid-19 pandemic is a guarantee for the survival of incumbents or that …”

Comment March 19, 2022

Albanese is triggering Morrison’s green-eyed monster

“There’s not much doubt about it: Labor’s Anthony Albanese is messing with Scott Morrison’s head. The prime minister knows he has the fight of his life on his hands – and so far, he’s losing it.”

podcast March 18, 2022

The Albanese glow-up

Paul Bongiorno on the battle lines being drawn, and just how personal this contest is likely to get.

podcast March 11, 2022

Is Scott Morrison about to be toppled?

Paul Bongiorno on how precarious the Prime Minister’s position might be.

Comment March 12, 2022

The cabinet minister organising against Morrison

“A senior member of the government – a minister in Morrison’s cabinet – has begun contacting ‘like-minded’ colleagues by email to arrange meetings where they can discuss the crisis. One recipient says, ‘The last …”

podcast March 04, 2022

Floods, war and the PM’s Covid-19 diagnosis

Paul Bongiorno on Scott Morrison’s performance and plummeting popularity.

Comment March 05, 2022

Scott no friends

“Scott Morrison’s isolation this week with Covid-19 is a pertinent metaphor for the political malaise besetting him. Always a loner, he is again friendless. This is a severe impediment for any chance he has of saving his government. If the opinion …”

podcast February 25, 2022

Russia moves on Ukraine, plus how prepared is Scott Morrison for conflict?

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on how equipped Scott Morrison is to handle escalating tensions in both Ukraine and in the Pacific.

Comment February 26, 2022

Emperor Morrison has no clothes

“Uncertain times are usually thought to favour incumbent governments, but that presumes these governments have retained more than a modicum of confidence among a majority of voters. Evidence is mounting that the Morrison–Joyce Coalition has failed …”

Comment February 19, 2022

At home with the Morrisons

“The raucous, shambolic penultimate sitting of federal parliament this year is all the evidence you need to know Scott Morrison is running very scared. Governments can find parliament a political killing field and never relish the scrutiny its opponents …”

podcast February 18, 2022

Scott Morrison hits the panic button

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on how Scott Morrison is attempting to claw back ground as the election inches closer.

Comment February 12, 2022

The narrow road to the Trojan Horse

“A hung parliament after the next election is emerging as a real possibility, enhanced by this week’s divisive religious discrimination debate. Among the winners could be the Greens and others who have stood up against a push to wind back years of …”

podcast February 04, 2022

Bread, circuses and the ‘psycho’ text about the PM

Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper, Paul Bongiorno on what the price of bread and a series of leaked text messages have to do with Scott Morrison’s leadership.

Comment February 05, 2022

Scott Morrison faces the tumbrel

“Make no mistake: the tumbrel is rolling for the Morrison government and the political guillotine is looming as its inescapable fate. Responding to a devastating Newspoll at the beginning of the week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reminded us that ‘many …”

podcast January 28, 2022

What to expect this election year

This year Australians will head to the polls and cast their judgement on the performance of the federal government.

Comment January 29, 2022

Send in the clowns

“The Australia Day holiday is now behind us. By convention, this signals that the nation is back at work. It also sets the clock ticking down for a federal election within four months. The sense of foreboding within the Morrison government is palpable. …”

Comment January 22, 2022

On a wing nut and a prayer

“Wishful thinking and an incompetent handling of the pandemic over the summer have shattered the chances of Scott Morrison pulling off another improbable election win. What I would call the ‘Ellis factor’ may yet save him, but it is a …”

Comment December 18, 2021

Unpacking China

“This week Scott Morrison was given a lesson in the sort of diplomacy needed to deal with China, the bully that also happens to be our biggest trading partner. It was a jarring reminder, on the cusp of an election year, that the almost decade-old Coalition …”

podcast December 10, 2021

Scott Morrison prepares for the fight of his life

Paul Bongiorno on what we’ll see as both leaders fight for their political future.

Comment December 11, 2021

White knuckle dragger

“Three years after winning the leadership, the reality is setting in about Scott Morrison. The chance of him winning again are slimmer than before. The idea that he is a government unifier and a change from Malcolm Turnbull has shifted. The photo opportunities …”

podcast December 03, 2021

Parliament ends in disunity and disarray

Paul Bongiorno on whether Scott Morrison has lost control of his own party, and what that means in the leadup to the next election.

Comment December 04, 2021

Symptoms of decay expose Morrison’s old and tired government

“If the last fortnight of parliament for the year is any guide, Labor has its tail up and the government is in the doldrums. The lack of engagement from the Coalition backbench as the prime minister and his ministers slugged it out with the opposition …”

podcast November 26, 2021

How Pauline Hanson fractured the Coalition

Paul Bongiorno on why the Coalition is in chaos, and the political ramifications it will have for Scott Morrison.

Comment November 27, 2021

A question of characters

“Anthony Albanese is convinced the tide is going out on the Morrison government. Scott Morrison senses it too, but, like King Canute, he is desperately trying to prove he’s still in control. The embattled prime minister is being swamped by almost …”

podcast November 19, 2021

The Liberal MP abandoning Scott Morrison

Paul Bongiorno on why the Liberal MP abandoning Scott Morrison thinks Anthony Albanese might be a better Prime Minister for the country.

Comment November 20, 2021

John Alexander turns on Scott Morrison

“Former Australian tennis great John Alexander doesn’t like the way the game of politics is being played. Winning is everything and the biggest losers are Australians. Good policy and a genuine bipartisan search for what is best for the nation, in …”

Comment November 13, 2021

Scott Morrison’s trust pitch

“Morrison, like Howard, has made no secret of his determination to turn the election into a referendum on who people can most trust to run the economy, secure in the knowledge that come next May the country should be humming along.”

podcast November 05, 2021

The Prime Minister, the President and the leaked texts

Paul Bongiorno on Scott Morrison’s damaged international standing, and the impact it has on Australia.

Comment November 06, 2021

How Morrison spectacularly failed the diplomacy test

“In one of the most remarkable developments, certainly since the Second World War, an Australian prime minister has leaked a highly confidential security document against an American president. Think about that. On the international stage, Scott Morrison …”

podcast October 29, 2021

A climate change election?

Paul Bongiorno on the problems with Scott Morrison’s climate plan.

Comment October 30, 2021

A steaming pile of nothingness

“When Scott Morrison flew out of Canberra in his VIP Airbus on Thursday night for the Glasgow climate summit, Labor’s Anthony Albanese wasn’t on board. He wasn’t even on the tarmac waving goodbye.”

podcast October 22, 2021

Barnaby Joyce is holding Australia hostage

Paul Bongiorno on the Coalition’s war over net zero, and how Barnaby Joyce’s National party is holding the country’s future to ransom.

Comment October 23, 2021

Morrison’s amazing disappearing government

“As the week dragged on without agreement the impression strengthened that Morrison was a hostage to the Nationals. His claimed strategy of patience looked increasingly like impotence. ”

podcast October 15, 2021

From a lump of coal to net-zero: Morrison’s climate makeover

Four years ago Prime Minister Scott Morrison wielded a lump of coal in the Australian Parliament, demonstrating his commitment to fossil fuels. Now he’s trying to pivot, shifting his government towards a position of supporting net-zero emissions by 2050.

Comment October 16, 2021

Mission zero, credibility less

“The dramatic shifts in the politics of climate change have finally caught out Scott Morrison. It’s a reckoning that’s been coming since the catastrophic Black Summer bushfires.”

podcast October 01, 2021

How Scott Morrison turned Australia into a climate pariah

Paul Bongiorno on the climate policy paralysis plaguing the Morrison government, and what it means for Australia’s international reputation.

Comment October 02, 2021

Is this Scott Morrison’s next miscalculation?

“Thirty-five thousand feet above the Rocky Mountains on his way home from Washington, DC, Scott Morrison indicated he had learnt little from the greatest miscalculations of his prime ministership, the ones about holidays and family.”

Comment September 25, 2021

Morrison, the jaded emperor

“Scott Morrison’s plans to make the looming election as much about keeping Australia safe from a Chinese threat as anything else have begun to take serious water.”

podcast September 24, 2021

Morrison’s French kiss off

Scott Morrison has hailed Australia’s military alliance and new submarine deal with the United Kingdom and United States as a landmark achievement. But it’s already led to a global diplomatic standoff, pitting Australia against a number of European countries as well as further deepening tensions with China.

podcast September 17, 2021

Does anyone trust Scott Morrison?

After a slow and delayed start, vaccination rates across Australia are finally gaining momentum, with NSW and Victoria hitting 80 percent and 70 percent single dose targets this week.

Comment September 18, 2021

Scott Morrison’s credibility deficit

“Credibility is everything for a political leader. Lose it and the game is over. There are real fears within his parliamentary ranks that Scott Morrison’s has done just that – or is close to it.”

Comment September 11, 2021

The secret life of Scott Morrison

“Scott Morrison loves to keep a secret. It has become a trademark of his government and famously manifested itself long before he snatched the keys to The Lodge. It is serving him and the workings of our democracy poorly.”

podcast September 03, 2021

Are we heading towards a pandemic election?

The country might still be in the grip of a pandemic and ongoing lockdowns, but our major parties are already planning for a looming federal election.

Comment September 04, 2021

Morrison in damage control

“Scott Morrison is flailing about as he struggles to get back on the ‘narrow path’ he keeps talking about to deliver him another election victory. Nowhere is this more obvious than the desperate damage control he embarked on earlier this …”

podcast August 27, 2021

Scott Morrison’s coming out of his cave, and he’s doing just fine

A couple of weeks ago the Prime Minister, along with state and territory leaders, signed off a plan to end lockdowns and border closures when vaccine rates reached 80% of the adult population. But it didn’t take long for the so-called national plan to fall apart.

Comment August 28, 2021

Will Morrison push for a November election?

“The fictional Stone Age family of largely unremembered animated children’s film The Croods is the prime minister’s latest inspiration for a nation exhausted by lockdowns and living in fear of the Delta strain of Covid-19.”

podcast August 20, 2021

Scott Morrison is late to the rescue

This week the federal government was caught out without a clear plan on two of the biggest crises facing the world right now: the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Comment August 21, 2021

Always late to the rescue

“Morrison defended our 20-year ‘longest war’ as worthwhile in the name of freedom. Australian soldiers dying for freedom is never in vain, he said. But whose freedom is the question? Apparently, it is not the freedom sought by those who flee the Taliban’s …”

Comment August 14, 2021

The madness of KingGee George

“Morrison said if others wanted to undermine the government’s job looking after the health of the nation, ‘it’s up to them’. But, he said, ‘We do not support misinformation in any way, shape or form.’ What he does support …”

podcast August 13, 2021

The anti-lockdown movement reaches Parliament

Australia’s anti-lockdown movement reached federal parliament this week, when a rogue Coalition MP took to the floor to blast public health measures used to limit the spread of Covid-19.

podcast August 06, 2021

Scott Morrison’s in the race of his political life

After riding high in the opinion polls for the past 12 months, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is now facing the consequences of a slow and messy vaccine rollout.

Comment August 07, 2021

Morrison plays the other race card

“The setting for the government parties room meeting back in Canberra after the winter break was depressing. It wasn’t hard to see it as a metaphor for the deep hole in which the Morrison government finds itself. Having spent the first four months of …”

podcast July 30, 2021

Labor’s great surrender

While many Australians were focused on watching the Olympics this week, the federal Labor Opposition quietly made some significant policy changes. The party has now fallen in line with the government's tax cuts for the wealthy, despite previously labelling them unfair and ineffective.

Comment July 31, 2021

Albanese makes a taxing decision

“The timing of Labor’s announcement – ditching a significant tax policy it had taken to the previous two elections – may have been curious. Its significance, however, should not be missed.”

Comment July 24, 2021

Delta variant’s political toll

“There is an increasing likelihood that the Delta strain of the Covid-19 virus has dealt a fatal blow to the prospects of the Morrison government retaining office at the next election, whenever it is held. The prime minister has spent the week holed up …”

Comment July 17, 2021

Covid-19 lockdowns and the PM for NSW

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, nothing was more eloquent than the joint news conference of Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian at the prime minister’s Sydney accommodation, Kirribilli House, this week. The Lodge in Canberra has been relegated …”

Comment July 10, 2021

It’s all going wrong for Morrison

“Morrison’s decision to call in the military to sort out the vaccine rollout hasn’t provided him with the cover it was designed to. It’s one thing to send a general into war; it’s another not to give him any ammunition.”

podcast July 09, 2021

The “menacing” and “controlling” Scott Morrison

For most of the past year the Coalition government has faced sustained criticism over its treatment of women. Now a former Liberal MP has added fuel to the fire, lashing a culture of sexism and bullying in the Liberal party, and accusing a cabinet minister of sexual harassment.

Comment July 03, 2021

Barnaby Joyce divides again

“The Morrison government was brought to the brink of collapse this week in a confrontation between the prime minister and reinstalled Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. And while Scott Morrison emerged the undisputed winner after bruising negotiations over …”

podcast June 25, 2021

Barnaby Joyce sinks to the top… again

After two years on the backbench, Barnaby Joyce is back as leader of the Nationals and as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister. His return to power has put the spotlight on the tense relationship between the two Coalition parties.

Comment June 26, 2021

The return of Barnaby Joyce

“Before the voters got a chance to pass judgement on the Morrison–McCormack Coalition, the Nationals’ party room did. And its judgement was that the deputy prime minister was failing to deliver for his core constituencies. Dispatched was mild-mannered …”

Comment June 19, 2021

Scott Morrison and QAnon

“The relationship between the Australian prime minister and the country’s highest-profile devotee of the QAnon conspiracy cult became even more problematic this week for the absent Scott Morrison. The Labor opposition seized on revelations in the …”

Comment June 12, 2021

The human toll of border protection

“This weekend, Scott Morrison would be hoping pictures of him rubbing shoulders with United States President Joe Biden and the world’s major democratic leaders at the G7 summit in Britain would speak volumes about his importance and worth to Australian …”

podcast June 04, 2021

Scott Morrison dodges responsibility

For the past week the federal government has been locked in a tussle with Victoria over who is responsible for financially supporting those suffering the economic consequences of another lockdown.

Comment June 05, 2021

PM hits spin cycle again on rollout

“The latest outbreak shows only one person needs to catch the bug in hotel quarantine in Adelaide, bring it unwittingly into Melbourne and carry on with a very active life in the community across several suburbs. ”

podcast May 28, 2021

Who’s to blame for Victoria’s lockdown?

Victoria has been plunged back into lockdown, the state’s fourth since the start of the pandemic. But this time there’s one big difference: vaccines that were supposed to help keep us safe and avoid outbreaks like this are now available, but in Australia take up has been slow. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how Victoria entered lockdown and who shoulders the blame.

Comment May 29, 2021

Joel Fitzgibbon and Victoria’s virus crisis

“Scott Morrison has found a very useful ally in an unlikely place. His name is Joel Fitzgibbon, opposition member for the New South Wales seat of Hunter, and the prime minister is certainly grateful for his contribution. The veteran Labor member, whose …”

podcast May 23, 2021

Morrison doubles down on Fortress Australia

Travel restrictions have played a crucial role in keeping Australia relatively safe from the worst of the pandemic, but the federal government has been reluctant to announce their end date. Today, Paul Bongiorno on why Prime Minister Scott Morrison is so intent on keeping our borders closed.

Comment May 22, 2021

Jumping on the campaign trail

“A government doesn’t spend $100 billion in a budget addressing every political problem, either of its own making or imposed on it, and leave anything to chance. Scott Morrison certainly didn’t this week. No sooner had parliament adjourned than he …”

Comment May 15, 2021

What is Scott Morrison’s plan?

“The morning after the three-ring circus that is budget night in Canberra, Scott Morrison came close to telling the truth: that he and the treasurer are in fact flying blind. Morrison repeated in his round of dawn media interviews that he has a plan, a …”

podcast May 10, 2021

Who foots the bill?

The federal government is about to drop its highly anticipated budget, laying out its priorities for the next 12 months. The stakes couldn’t be higher, as Australia reckons with the global economic fallout from the virus, and plots an uncertain future.

Comment May 08, 2021

PM budgeting on an election

“Next Tuesday the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, will up-end 40 years of Liberal Party ideology with a budget that will hugely increase spending and create deficits as far as the eye can see. The small government, ‘trickle down’ prescriptions championed …”

podcast April 30, 2021

A sermon from the Church of Morrison

At a recent appearance at the Australian Christian Churches conference Scott Morrison referred to social media as evil, and said he believed he was doing God’s work as Prime Minister. Those comments have ignited debate over the role of faith in political leadership.

Comment May 01, 2021

Politics, Morrison and faith

“It may console some Australians to know that their prime minister is doing God’s work. Millions of others are more likely to be confused, and even flabbergasted. Yet courtesy of a scratchy YouTube video, shot at a Pentecostal conference on the Gold …”

Comment April 24, 2021

Lean times for ineffective Morrison

“Joe Hockey infamously divided the nation into “lifters and leaners”. There’s little doubt which side of that line Prime Minister Scott Morrison now finds himself on. Morrison is a political leaner, just ask the states, who are frustrated with the …”

Comment April 17, 2021

Morrison’s delivery failures pile up

“Revenge, so the expression goes, is a dish best served cold. Six months after her ‘humiliation’ by the prime minister and ‘bullying’ by Australia Post’s chairman, Christine Holgate gave ice-cold vent to her fury. And while the former chief executive …”

Comment April 10, 2021

No political jab to inoculate Morrison

“The prime minister ends the quarter still well ahead of Labor’s Anthony Albanese … but he has been steadily losing ground. This echoes Labor’s research that finds the PM’s support is ‘a kilometre wide and a millimetre deep’.”

Comment April 03, 2021

Government reset on women

“All governments have horror stretches; the Morrison government is certainly no exception, as the past six weeks attest. But it is how governments deal with these political crises that can seal or save their fate. The Americans have a colourful turn of …”

Comment March 27, 2021

Government’s bailout scuppered

“The Morrison government resembles a sinking ship in one of those pirate movies where practically everything, including the cannons, is thrown overboard in an attempt to stay afloat. And there has been a good deal of ballast unloaded in this sitting fortnight …”

Comment March 20, 2021

Morrison’s problem with women

“All of a sudden, the Morrison government is looking very vulnerable. And the prime minister knows it. Like all governments staggering towards the political abyss, it is not only events beyond their control at play but also, more importantly, their misreading …”

Comment March 13, 2021

Morrison ministers MIA

“Key ministers in the political line of fire over the past two weeks will be missing in action when parliament resumes on Monday. The Morrison government, currently being held together by gum and string, is in full strategic retreat in the hope it can …”

Comment March 06, 2021

Christian Porter, accusations and denials

“It took one week for Australia’s first law officer, Christian Porter, to come out of hiding. In those seven days, he and his prime minister did everything to minimise the grave allegations of a violent historic rape. Porter has issued vehement denials …”

Comment February 27, 2021

Morrison in survival mode

“Craig Kelly’s fulsome praise of Scott Morrison as Kelly quit the Liberal Party this week was akin to the Mafia sending roses to its next victim. Kelly said he sincerely hoped Morrison would ‘go on to be one of Australia’s greatest and longest-serving …”

Comment February 20, 2021

Notes on a Coalition scandal

“When bad news is dominating the headlines, the best solution for a prime minister is to eclipse it with good news. How fortunate then for Scott Morrison that he was able to finally announce on Tuesday that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine had been approved …”

Comment February 13, 2021

Nationals still hot on coal

“On Monday Scott Morrison walked into RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle to the soundtrack of the movie Top Gun. It may have been appropriate to his mission that day – lauding the progress of the Joint Strike Fighter program – but it was …”

Comment February 06, 2021

Election fever grips parliament’s return

“Try as he might, Scott Morrison can’t help letting slip his early-election ambitions. His most telling giveaway was in his first pep talk of the year to the Coalition party room in the Great Hall at Parliament House. But the prime minister merely confirmed …”

Comment December 19, 2020

Big holes in the Coalition’s pre-election bucket list

“As the year like no other draws to an end, the challenges and crises it presented have highlighted the nation’s strengths and dramatised its weaknesses. Facing up to these realities will be particularly daunting for our political leaders as they ready …”

Comment December 12, 2020

PM’s year-end review masks ongoing woes

“The prime minister was more the circuit preacher than ‘Scotty from marketing’ as he addressed the final Coalition party room meeting of the year. His stirring words of self-congratulation were tempered with a gentle reminder they all needed to stay …”

Comment December 05, 2020

PM looks rattled as he feeds the trolls

“Upon mature reflection, it is increasingly looking as though Scott Morrison’s angry reaction to a ‘truly repugnant’ social media attack from a Chinese government official has only deepened the crisis in the relationship between the two nations … …”

Comment November 28, 2020

Can Australia’s relationship with China be healed?

“China’s ‘Wolf Warrior diplomacy’ is proving more than a menacing howl for Australia, and what to do about it seems beyond the gumption of the Morrison government. It is one thing for the prime minister to dismiss a list of grievances from the Chinese …”

Comment November 21, 2020

Robo-debt: a government-sanctioned debt sentence

“An inconvenient truth rocked the Morrison government this week when it was finally brought to some account over the long-running robo-debt scandal … Don’t imagine the architect of the scheme, the prime minister himself, doesn’t realise how big a …”

Comment November 14, 2020

Political climate changes with Biden win

“Australia’s political leaders were among the first to declare their faith in America’s democracy when the Biden victory in the presidential election became clear. They realised that what was at stake was the credibility of a nation that for the past …”

Comment November 07, 2020

Palaszczuk’s one day, and also the next

“There’s no doubt the prime minister had picked up on the enormous hurt suffered by businesses during the pandemic, particularly in the tourism sector, but what he had missed was people’s concerns about their health. To that end, older voters …”

Comment October 31, 2020

Keeping the government honest

“During senate estimates in the past fortnight, Labor has not squandered any chance to call the government to account. Its senators have seized on the forensic work carried out by the auditor-general and indeed their own ferreting to reveal disturbing …”

Comment October 23, 2020

Will Scott Morrison go full-term?

“It is always fascinating to watch the cat-and-mouse game that Australian prime ministers play with election dates. Unencumbered by fixed terms, convention dictates that the campaign starts whenever the incumbent believes they are in the best position …”

Comment October 17, 2020

Dark clouds descend on PM in the Sunshine State

“A beaming Scott Morrison gave the TV news crews the sort of picture opportunity they really appreciate. Perched behind a machinegun in the turret of a military tank, the prime minister was having a fun ride. The fun, however, didn’t last and the image …”

Comment October 10, 2020

Furiously digging a deeper hole in the budget

“The hole could surely be seen from Mars: a deficit of $213.7 billion this financial year and projected to fall to $66.9 billion in 2023-24, still massively in the red by previous Australian standards … The sheer size of the numbers suggests to seasoned …”

Comment October 03, 2020

Changing gears in a two-speed economy

“‘The first thing Josh Frydenberg should do in next Tuesday night’s budget speech is say sorry,’ says Wayne Swan, the man whom the Liberals cut no slack after he failed as treasurer to deliver Labor’s promised budget surpluses. Neither a global …”

Comment September 26, 2020

Ripping up Tony Abbott’s legacy

“Tony Abbott has a lot to answer for. The former prime minister’s judgement on the national broadband network, climate and energy have led to costly and embarrassing failures. Now Scott Morrison is left to pick up the pieces – trying to reposition …”

Comment September 19, 2020

The case against winding back JobKeeper

“Two weeks ago, during the last sitting of the federal parliament before the budget early next month, Anthony Albanese decided it was time to take up the fight against the government on the economy. The Labor leader sensed the prime minister and his treasurer, …”

Comment September 12, 2020

The wheels fall off Morrison’s bus

“Scott Morrison emerged from last Friday’s meeting of his national cabinet a defeated leader. His hastily constructed vehicle to co-ordinate a coherent response to the coronavirus pandemic crisis had fractured. The prime minister announced that the notion …”

Comment September 05, 2020

Recession and the long way out

“On Wednesday, when the national accounts confirmed Australia’s biggest economic contraction since the Great Depression, the federal government had a ready and credible excuse. But it was of little consolation to the one million Australians already out …”

Comment August 29, 2020

Aged-care failures continue to plague government

“Red-faced and contrite, the minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians and minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck, apologised in the senate and offered his ‘sincere condolences’ to hundreds of grieving families. That he cut a sorry figure …”

Comment August 22, 2020

Inquiry sinks ministerial responsibility

“Any notion that ministers, state or federal, are responsible for anything much appears sunk in the wake of the Ruby Princess. And the ramifications are significant for the quality of our democracy and what we as citizens can rightly demand of …”

Comment August 15, 2020

Our hands-off prime minister

“Scott Morrison could have picked up the phone to two members of his much-vaunted national cabinet this week, to sort out what was truly a bizarre situation. But he didn’t, and his decision not to says a lot about his approach to the pandemic. Morrison’s …”

Comment August 08, 2020

Morrison backtracks on WA border closure

“Scott Morrison keeps misreading the mood of a nation gripped by fear. Nowhere is this more obvious than his now-abandoned legal case against state border closures – or, to be more precise, against the lockouts in the Labor-governed states of Western …”

Comment August 01, 2020

Aged-care failings hurt Morrison

“Scott Morrison went into disaster management mode this week as the coronavirus pandemic came awfully close to home, both personally and politically. The ‘catastrophe’, as his political opponents described it, was the Covid-19 outbreak spreading through …”

Comment July 25, 2020

Economy in the deep freeze

“Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s hands were blue as he stood behind his lectern, physically distanced from Scott Morrison in the prime minister’s courtyard on Tuesday. The pair were holding an outdoor news conference on an icy Canberra morning, and nothing …”

Comment July 11, 2020

Labor scrapes through in Eden-Monaro

“Four days after the voters of Eden-Monaro kept the marginal seat in opposition hands, the Reserve Bank governor summed up the nation’s predicament: we are all flying by the seat of our pants. Scott Morrison, too, put it succinctly: ‘This is a global …”

Comment July 04, 2020

Test for PM in Eden-Monaro

“Unfailingly, since World War II, the voters in the New South Wales seat of Eden-Monaro have picked the mood of the nation at every federal election. Well, almost every election – 2016 and 2019 were the exceptions. Today those of the seat’s 114,000 …”

Comment June 26, 2020

Injustices at the High Court

“The shorthand title was the trade union royal commission – and the highest-profile targets were a former Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, and the then Labor leader, Bill Shorten. And everybody knew it. Undaunted by the howls of foul play from the …”

Comment June 20, 2020

The spectacular fall of Adem Somyurek

“It took a carefully orchestrated sting lasting 12 months to rid the Australian Labor Party of a strongman few could tolerate any longer. But the fall of factional warlord Adem Somyurek has ramifications well beyond the borders of his Victorian fiefdom. …”

Comment June 13, 2020

Scott Morrison faces a dilemma

“There’s nothing like the prospect of voters about to mark their ballot papers to focus the minds of politicians. And as parliament resumed this week, the spectre of the Eden-Monaro byelection hung over the place, jolting it out of its brief coronavirus …”

Comment June 06, 2020

Morrison dragged into Trump’s mire

“As if Scott Morrison hasn’t got enough on his plate, now he has been dragged into the quagmire of Donald Trump’s increasingly ugly campaign to cling to office. The invitation to attend the September summit of G7 world leaders in the United States …”

Comment May 30, 2020

Unplugging the economy’s life support

“At the National Press Club on Tuesday, Scott Morrison went all medical as he framed his prescription for economic recovery. Key ministers in the room smiled their nodding approval when he said: ‘At some point you’ve got to get your economy out of …”

Comment May 23, 2020

China blunders and the fallout

“Just at the moment the government claimed vindication for a big win on the world stage, China ridiculed its grandstanding. A terse, one-paragraph statement from its Canberra embassy called Australia’s response ‘a joke’. If anything encapsulates …”

Comment May 16, 2020

Chokehold on the economy

“If anybody needed reminding, the Australian economy is in deep trouble, much deeper than either the treasurer or the prime minister realised at the beginning of last month. Then, the talk was of a ‘snapback’ from the damage of the coronavirus pandemic; …”

Comment May 09, 2020

An economy on life support

“It’s been a long six weeks since Australia’s governments first imposed economy-crushing lockdowns to flatten the coronavirus curve. Scott Morrison has no doubt the pain has been worth it, saying ‘thousands of Australian lives have been saved’. …”

Comment May 02, 2020

Covid-19 inquiry call infuriates Beijing

“Australia’s relationship with its biggest trading partner, China, has plunged to depths not seen since formal recognition of the Communist-governed state 48 years ago. The stakes for Canberra could not be higher, with business leaders and exporters …”

Comment April 25, 2020

Malcolm Turnbull vents his spleen

“No matter how hard Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his senior ministers try to ignore Malcolm Turnbull’s explosive memoir, it simply will not go away. And for that, the deposed PM is far from apologetic. During a lunchbreak this week from the …”

Comment April 18, 2020

IMF forecasts dire economic outcomes

“The ‘Great Lockdown’ – as the International Monetary Fund dubbed the coronavirus crisis this week – is plunging Australia and the world economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Just as that cataclysmic economic …”

Comment April 11, 2020

A long road to recovery

“The federal parliament came out of hibernation midweek to commit a mind-boggling $130 billion to saving the jobs of millions of workers. But there is a six-month limit on the emergency wage subsidies, with Scott Morrison desperate for a way out of the …”

Comment April 04, 2020

Coalition’s seismic economic shift

“The earth moved on Monday, when the coronavirus pandemic opened up a wide chasm between Australia’s governing Coalition and its political substructure. Don’t take my word for it, take the prime minister’s: ‘We are living in unprecedented times …”

Comment March 28, 2020

Government’s crashing failure in face of crisis

“If anything crystallises the brutal impact of the coronavirus crisis in Australia, it is the thousands queued outside Centrelink offices around the country this week. The lines began forming the day after the prime minister announced that vast sectors …”

Comment March 21, 2020

Morrison’s coronavirus awakening

“There in the prime ministerial courtyard of Parliament House, Scott Morrison finally admitted his world had crumbled. ‘Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world,’ he began his news conference midweek. ‘Life is going to …”

Comment March 14, 2020

Morrison announces ‘Team Australia’ stimulus

“The coronavirus-induced panic that has caused the great run on toilet paper is not confined to the herd instinct of millions of shoppers. Fear of being the first government to preside over the end of 30 years of uninterrupted growth is gripping Scott …”

Comment March 07, 2020

Scott Morrison’s misleading hedges

“It is getting harder by the week to believe a word uttered by the prime minister of Australia. And no one has done more to undermine Scott Morrison’s credibility than the man himself. This harsh judgement is shared not only by his political opponents …”

Comment February 29, 2020

Scott Morrison’s quest for immunity

“There’s an old saying in politics, ‘Never waste a good crisis.’ And it’s crystal clear Scott Morrison isn’t wasting any moment where he can be seen responding to the threat coronavirus – or COVID-19, as it’s now known – is posing to Australia …”

Comment February 22, 2020

Scott Morrison’s slow burn

“Scott Morrison must regret that he did not use the enormous authority of his shock election win last year to impose a credible climate and energy policy on his fractious Coalition government. This failure of leadership has now painted him into a very …”

Comment February 15, 2020

Coal-blooded attacks on Coalition unity

“When a prime minister has to appeal for unity in his ranks, not one but two weeks running, you know there isn’t any. And the awful reality for Scott Morrison is that he’s got one hand tied behind his back as he tries to restore the promised stability …”

Comment February 08, 2020

Climate wars return amid Coalition chaos

“The old tautology ‘deja vu all over again’ has become a jarring reality for the Coalition. And shattering the promised peace and stability are all the same factors that destroyed the prime ministership of Malcolm Turnbull: climate change, energy policy …”

Comment February 01, 2020

Scott Morrison’s rebranding mission

“Scott Morrison hates the pejorative nickname that has taken hold on social media. “Scotty from Marketing” was conferred on him by the satirical magazine The Betoota Advocate. The moniker has gained currency because it captures the growing gap between …”

Comment December 21, 2019

PM travels as country burns

“Scott Morrison’s year of living miraculously ended with our elected leader disappearing from view and his whereabouts being treated like a state secret. The attitude that the prime minister’s location is nobody’s business is a strong indication …”

Comment December 14, 2019

PM’s clouded judgement on climate

“On a day when thick, acrid smoke made Australia’s largest city virtually uninhabitable, the prime minister claimed climate policy success. Scott Morrison told a news conference – which had been called not to respond to the crisis but to discuss the …”

Comment December 07, 2019

Playing hide and seek on medevac deal

“Gone in a cloud of bluff and bravado is the compassionate medevac law that gave doctors the major role in transferring sick refugees to Australia for treatment. The senate and the people of Australia were told by the Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie …”

Comment November 30, 2019

Taylor twist as Morrison phones a ‘friend’

“Scott Morrison’s handling of the police investigation into Energy Minister Angus Taylor this week brazenly flouted conventions of propriety and integrity. The prime minister actually phoned the New South Wales police commissioner, Mick Fuller, and then …”

Comment November 23, 2019

Dogged by dollar dilemmas

“While politicians, experts and commentators debate the threats and opportunities China poses for Australia, our own government’s behaviour has also come into the frame. In focus: the Department of Human Services’ bullying of at least one million Australians …”

Comment November 16, 2019

A burning issue

“It has been a long time coming and it has taken the biggest fire front in Australia’s history to do it, but climate change denial has finally lost its political potency. The pressure is now on Scott Morrison to resolve the fierce resistance in his own …”

Comment November 09, 2019

Post-election blues all round

“Never has it been more obvious: getting elected is one task, governing is another. While Labor tries to move on from its election loss review, delivered to the executive on Thursday, Scott Morrison is finding that running the country is harder than winning …”

Comment November 02, 2019

The Coalition’s surplus focus

“Who else but that old master of political imagery Paul Keating could sum it all up so colourfully? The Australian economy is stagnant, and he says the Morrison government can’t do anything about it because the Liberal Party has a ‘surplus virus’ …”

Comment October 26, 2019

The shadowy corridors of power

“A citizen’s right to know should be a motherhood statement in our liberal democracy, but too much vested interest gets in the way. Most essentially, the pursuit of power – and the holding on to it – is the primal force distorting the way our Commonwealth …”

Comment October 19, 2019

PM under the pump over drought and economy

“For Scott Morrison, God obviously votes Liberal – that’s how he explains his ‘miraculous’ win in May. His mother-in-law confirmed on election night the family had all been praying for the result they got. On Tuesday, at the National Prayer Breakfast …”

Comment October 12, 2019

The hot topic of climate change

“The ghosts of leaders past are haunting the political firmament as climate change, the one issue that played a major role in their demise, flares spectacularly. While Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten ruminate on their contributions to and …”

Comment October 05, 2019

Coalition flailing on drought

“The Morrison government is scrambling to persuade the nation it really knows what it is on about and how it will achieve it. The drought and a stubbornly sluggish economy aren’t helping. Nor is Morrison’s new best mate, Donald Trump.”

Comment September 28, 2019

Trump awards Morrison metal of honour

“Scott Morrison is back on Australian soil with the ramifications of his seven-day Trumpfest romp still to play out. He returns with an accolade from the United States president still ringing in his ears. No ‘man of steel’, this Aussie leader is a …”

Comment September 21, 2019

Entering Trump’s dinner circle

“The duchessing of Scott Morrison in Washington begins today with one of the most colourful ceremonies Donald Trump can muster. The United States Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, resplendent in their 18th-century uniforms and playing antique instruments, …”

Comment September 14, 2019

The politics of integrity

“The Morrison government is running away from a national integrity commission at breakneck speed. Its reluctance is made all the starker by its unrestrained willingness to seize on the embarrassment caused to its Labor opponents by Australia’s toughest …”

Comment September 07, 2019

Seeking mercy for Tamil family

“There’s no doubt the populist backlash over attempts to deport a Tamil family from Queensland has caught the government by surprise. All of a sudden the perceived advantage for the Coalition in the areas of national and border security was slipping …”

Comment August 31, 2019

Timor-Leste independence and press freedom

“At the very time the world’s most powerful democracy is locked in a trade war with the planet’s biggest authoritarian state, Australia’s reputation as a free nation is under severe strain. And nothing highlights this more than the independence celebrations …”

Comment August 24, 2019

Testing Scott Morrison’s diplomacy

“In a frank admission – rare for prime ministers, who like to impress they are confidently in charge – Scott Morrison has revealed what keeps him awake at night. That is the feud between our biggest customer and our closest friend. The problem for …”

Comment August 17, 2019

Press freedom and Hastie words on China

“Whoever chose the venue for the first day of the federal parliamentary inquiry into press freedom had a sense of humour. At least, it tickled the funny bones of journalists assigned to the story when they learnt the inquiry was to be held at the New South …”

Comment August 10, 2019

Australia’s trade balancing act

“The Trump presidency has been a wild ride for its ally Australia, and is becoming dangerously more bizarre by the day. Canberra is being railroaded into a confrontation with Beijing, which is clearly not in its economic or strategic interests. The Morrison …”

Comment August 03, 2019

Prisoners of the Crown

“Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie has returned to the senate convinced that people don’t trust politicians. That’s the message she received anywhere she went in the island state during her enforced exile from parliament over citizenship eligibility, …”

Comment July 27, 2019

Opposition ignore PM, focus on Taylor

“Scott Morrison, who famously shrank the Liberal Party to near-invisibility to win the May election, was this week confronted by his party’s reappearance, and he doesn’t much like it. In just the second government party room meeting since polling day, …”

Comment July 13, 2019

Scott Morrison, prayers and Hillsong

“Rapturous applause welcomed Scott Morrison to the annual Hillsong conference. Twenty-one thousand delegates bowed their heads as the prime minister led them in prayer for our nation – for veterans doing it tough, young people considering suicide, those …”

Comment July 06, 2019

Faith and tax cuts as 46th parliament begins

“In politics, so the wisdom goes, ‘perception is reality’. And this week, with the opening of the 46th parliament, the perception and the reality of the federal election hit home, particularly for the vanquished Labor Party. But for the victors, not …”

Comment June 29, 2019

Labor’s contortions on tax package

“From New York, Josh Frydenberg aimed a political missile with laser-like accuracy. ‘Earth to Anthony Albanese: Labor lost the election. Now it’s time to support the Coalition’s tax cuts in full.’ It hit the opposition midship, striking at the …”

Comment June 22, 2019

The cost of Coalition tax cuts

“The tax cuts impasse between the government and the opposition has opened the way for a familiar play from the senate crossbench. As Scott Morrison was basking in the warmth of a holiday in Fiji, it was the Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick who was …”

Comment June 15, 2019

All quiet on the Morrison front

“Scott Morrison is assiduously doing nothing much of consequence. In fact, this week he appeared to have taken a leaf out of the opposition leader’s book and, like Anthony Albanese, is doing a lot of listening. He has apparently decided this is the safest …”

Comment June 08, 2019

Morrison goes from royals to rate cuts to raids

“Scott Morrison and his treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, don’t intend to repeat the Keating government’s mistake of crab-walking away from their key pre-election promises, not that they made many. Frydenberg still trumpets the $100 billion promise over …”

Comment June 01, 2019

Morrison and Albanese set out their plans

“Already, the race is on for the next election. Both a jubilant Scott Morrison and a perky Anthony Albanese are off and running. Morrison has set himself the task of winning a fourth term for the Coalition, while Albanese is determined to learn from the …”

Comment May 25, 2019

Reserve Bank ends Coalition celebration

“Along with the rest of the nation, Scott Morrison could scarcely believe it. His mother told journalists a lot of prayers went into the shock defeat of Labor, and her jubilant son told the cheering party faithful he had “always believed in miracles”. …”

Comment May 18, 2019

A brooding reluctance in voter-land

“Bill Shorten began the week on an upbeat note, saying he had detected a mood for change. Constant opinion polling has reinforced his discerned wisdom but there is a brooding reluctance in voter-land. One of Shorten’s key strategists was quietly confident …”

Comment May 11, 2019

Murdoch papers give Shorten his moment

“Labor has been the frontrunner in the published opinion polls for the past three years. This week was no different, with the tightening since the election was called reaching a plateau. But Bill Shorten has supplied a powerful campaign moment in an otherwise …”

Comment May 04, 2019

Nowhere for Scott Morrison to hide

“How much easier would life be for Scott Morrison if he was a Liberal prime minister seeking his third term in government? He could point to the delivery of an agenda outlined back in 2013 and his leadership of a united, cohesive team of senior ministers …”

Comment April 27, 2019

Coalition takes water, presses on

“Just when many of his troops were beginning to believe Scott Morrison’s Easter prayers might be answered, their hopes were shattered by Barnaby Joyce. The New England MP has form in derailing Liberal prime ministers when they appear to be making …”

Comment April 20, 2019

Dutton serves as Labor’s Easter bunny

“Peter Dutton’s war chest to save his seat is believed to be in the vicinity of $1 million. He refuses to say how much he is spending but his face is splashed across every billboard in Dickson. A Labor insider says, ‘We are delighted to …”

Comment April 13, 2019

PM sets tone for May 18 election

“The prime minister seems to have decided the best way to win over voters is to treat them like mugs. ‘Their problem,’ one Labor strategist says of the government, ‘is the voters aren’t as dumb as they think.’”

Comment April 06, 2019

Coalition banks on infrastructure

“Consolidated Newspolls show a swing against the Coalition in every state. Government MPs are hoping that the budget will give them some momentum to save them, but that is optimistic.”

Comment March 30, 2019

Morrison gears up for last-ditch budget

“The budget will be Scott Morrison’s attempt to buy his way back to the Treasury benches. But many of his troops believe it is too late. One MP who is battling hard to hold his marginal seat says, ‘Nothing can save us now.’ Not even massive tax cuts, …”

Comment March 23, 2019

The politics of hate

“The cowardly, hate-filled attack has shaken both nations to their core, and exposed the lethal consequences of Australia’s political obsession with playing to people’s fears and prejudices. This is a dramatic shift, more potent than the demonising …”

Comment March 16, 2019

Joyce’s war on metropolitan Liberals

“This week began with the Coalition government recording its 50th consecutive Newspoll loss, and that by a margin of eight points. A National Party source has no doubt it was that result that triggered Barnaby Joyce’s declaration of war on metropolitan …”

Comment March 09, 2019

Outgoing Liberals and parliamentary pensions

“The perception surrounding the Coalition’s late announcers is that they have waited until the eleventh hour in the hope the Morrison government’s fortunes would start looking up. More worrying for the government, though, is that its highest-profile …”

Comment March 02, 2019

Climate of fear as election campaign begins

“The 2019 election campaign began in earnest last Sunday. There is a feeling among government politicians that Morrison will go to the polls on May 11. If he does, that’s an 11-week campaign. Liberal MPs need no persuading they are in the fight of their …”

Comment February 23, 2019

Helloworld, this is free

“No longer confident it controls the parliament of Australia, the Morrison government has shut it down for the next six weeks. And no wonder: it is reeling from revelations of cronyism, incompetence and profligate, unaccountable spending. Scott Morrison’s …”

Comment February 16, 2019

Morrison doubles down on security

“What a week for the Morrison minority government. It started with the prime minister promising to keep Australians safe and secure. It ended with him and his government looking less assured they will be around long enough to deliver. Tuesday’s historic …”

Comment February 09, 2019

The beginning of the end game

“Morrison’s hyperbolic warning – that any show of compassion to the 1000 or so refugees still holed up on Manus and Nauru will destroy the border protection regime and lead to a new influx of boats – is of the same genre as his repeated warnings …”

Comment February 02, 2019

A trip down memory pain

“The speech in Brisbane on Tuesday was billed as a “major” announcement, the first for the year from the prime minister. Absent from this manifesto, though, was any mention of climate change, energy policy or stagnating wages – all issues critical …”

Comment January 26, 2019

Foolish Endeavours

“Callers to the prime minister’s Radio 4CA interview weren’t distracted by quibbles about who did what centuries ago, they were more exercised over what’s happening now – to them and their businesses. A businesswoman named Linda rang in to complain …”

Comment December 22, 2018

Morrison Broad-sided

“The Prime Minister’s Office insists Morrison only learnt about Broad’s use of a website for ‘sugar daddy’ arrangements on the day New Idea broke the story. It is simply an incredible and grave dereliction of duty on McCormack’s …”

opinion December 15, 2018

Morrison government’s surplus baggage

“The fact is they believe, as does John Howard, that the Opposition leader is the chink in Labor’s armour and they will keep attacking Shorten in the hope that wary voters will not risk him. Except negative views of the Labor leader pale into insignificance …”

opinion December 08, 2018

Morrison and the Kelly outbreak

“The prime minister denied the intervention was in light of Craig Kelly’s implied threats, made to several media outlets, to similarly quit the Liberals if he was disendorsed. It is the most logical explanation, although some in the party suspect Morrison …”

Comment December 01, 2018

Julia Banks and the Coalition’s loss of a sensible centre

“The day the Morrison government sank deeper into minority with the desertion of backbencher Julia Banks, the Opposition leader went for the jugular. Bill Shorten asked, ‘Given that his minority government is consumed by division, dysfunction and chaos, …”

Comment November 24, 2018

Populist Morrison reverses policies

“Politicians staring down the barrel of defeat inexplicably think the way to avert the harsh judgement of the voters is to abandon the policies and positions that they have argued are best for the nation and do whatever it takes to give the mob what it …”

Comment November 17, 2018

Scott Morrison fails to persuade voters

“The question dogging Scott Morrison as he rubs shoulders with world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby this weekend is how long he will remain a member of this exclusive club. By his own admission, the chances are …”

Comment November 03, 2018

PM Scott Morrison’s sinking popularity

“The near 20 per cent shift against the Liberals in Wentworth is the harbinger of impending doom for the Coalition government. The third Liberal prime minister in five years admits he has a significant challenge ahead but says he’s “getting on with …”

Comment October 27, 2018

Morrison and the tide of Wentworth

“Voters don’t like Shorten, or trust him, because, among other negatives, ‘he knifed two prime ministers’. But a new book by respected press gallery journalist David Speers, On Mutiny, casts serious doubt on Morrison’s …”

Comment October 20, 2018

Judgement day cometh in Wentworth

“The previous time a byelection was held to replace a prime minister dumped by his own party, the government lost the seat. It was 26 years ago, when Bob Hawke’s seat of Wills fell to the independent Phil Cleary. The Morrison government is giving every …”

Comment October 13, 2018

Morrison’s race to the bottom

“Morrison is signalling he wants stronger laws exempting religious institutions from Australia’s discrimination laws. Government sources say Morrison believes the Ruddock recommendations are too weak. For example, its recommendations on the legality …”

Comment October 06, 2018

The haunting of Scott Morrison

“Turnbull allies in the parliamentary party are increasingly sceptical of Scott Morrison’s ‘I knew nothing’ stance. One says Morrison confidant Stuart Robert, a former soldier, planned the manoeuvre with military precision, dudding Peter Dutton and …”

Comment September 29, 2018

Morrison raises the flag again

“The Scott Morrison version of the Liberal government continues to be one of relentless activity and half-baked ideas. Morrison’s hand-waving, an early feature of his prime ministership, became flag-waving during the week as he replanted the Union …”

Comment September 22, 2018

Morrison’s ‘momentum’ peters out

“In the government party room on Tuesday Morrison told incredulous members that “we have momentum”. One quipped later: “Yeah, the sort of momentum you get when you jump off a cliff.” Maybe Morrison was taking heart from the fact he was more popular …”

Comment September 15, 2018

The Morrison muppet show

“The stakes are extremely high in Wentworth. A loss there would see Morrison lose his majority in parliament. The prime minister is understood to have urged his state division to preselect a woman in what is an acknowledgement that he and the party have …”

Comment September 08, 2018

Leaks undermine Scott Morrison’s image

“There is compelling evidence a vicious ‘Scuttle Scott’ campaign is under way and, unlike the ‘Kill Bill’ strategy, this one is being mounted from inside the government itself. The new prime minister faces parliament next week for the first time …”

Comment September 01, 2018

Aftershocks of Morrison’s victory

“Earlier in the week, Bishop announced she would go to the back bench and was coy about her plans up to or beyond the election. She has no ambition to be opposition leader. Friends say the role of governor-general wouldn’t appeal. An ambassadorship or …”

Comment August 25, 2018

The collapse of Turnbull

“Previously, dumping prime ministers was not done lightly or indeed regularly. But the precedent has been well and truly set, as the musical chairs of the past decade attest. And this despite what is clearly a costly move for the government party. The …”

Comment July 07, 2018

Tony Abbott’s latest demolition job

“Last Tuesday night, Tony Abbott was in his element. Surrounded by climate change sceptics and deniers he set about destroying Malcolm Turnbull’s signature energy policy. And he did so with panache, his opening line more a battle cry: ‘It takes character …”

Comment June 30, 2018

Bases loaded for Frydenberg

“On Wednesday, the government parties in the Senate voted with a Hanson motion calling for the building of new coal-fired power stations and the retrofitting of existing base-load power stations. It failed 34–32, but proved a revealing insight on where …”

Comment June 23, 2018

Turnbull’s aspirational targets

“As one Liberal lamented, no matter what happens, voters won’t have received any tax cuts in their pockets at the time of the next election. But according to the prime minister’s inner sanctum, Labor will do the Liberals a huge favour by promising …”

Comment June 16, 2018

Parliament fixes its focus on the election

“The giveaway that electioneering is top of mind is the urgency claimed for bills dealing with foreign interference, espionage and sabotage. Absent from the list is the long overdue bill to ban foreign political donations. Labor voluntarily gave up on …”

Comment June 09, 2018

The latest Barnaby Joyce fallout

“As far as his Nationals colleagues are concerned, last Sunday night’s nationally televised interview was Barnaby Joyce’s political death warrant. Kevin Humphries, whose state seat of Barwon is within the boundaries of Joyce’s federal …”

Comment June 02, 2018

Barnaby Joyce wreaks havoc again

“The exasperation in the government is palpable. ‘The only thing anyone is talking about this week is the Barnaby Joyce soap opera,’ was the reaction of one fed-up backbencher. But it is not only the distraction that is the issue; it is the spectre …”

Comment May 26, 2018

Pauline Hanson’s need for attention

“Consistency is not Hanson's strong suit, but on Tuesday she sounded Trumpesque in the way she was contradicting herself. She capped off her Hobart news conference by saying “business needs immediate relief, not seven or eight years down the track”. …”

Comment May 19, 2018

Byelections beware

“The fact is Labor senator Katy Gallagher referred herself to the High Court as a test case for “reasonable steps”. Turnbull’s attack on Shorten for gaming the system is very rich given he argued that Barnaby Joyce was eligible until the court declared …”

Comment May 12, 2018

Morrison’s budget fails to inspire

“Voters are being asked to buy a pig in a poke. Morrison wants them to take him on trust. This is despite the fact he is a treasurer whose budget last year did not foresee the massive revenue increase that materialised over the past four months, a revenue …”

Comment May 05, 2018

Morrison’s budget play

“If Shorten is having nightmares over the thought of Morrison demolishing his politically toxic corporate tax cuts, the Business Council of Australia has signalled it is putting together a war chest estimated at $26 million to campaign for them. Here, …”

Comment April 28, 2018

Turnbull’s about-face on the banks

“The government attacks the unions, particularly the CFMMEU, for seeing fines as the cost of doing unlawful business. It has now been exposed as being far more tolerant of its corporate mates doing the same thing. No wonder Labor can throw back at the …”

Comment April 21, 2018

Turnbull’s home fires blazing

“Credlin is no run-of-the-mill commentator. One veteran Liberal says there’s no doubt she’s one of the key campaign strategists for the Abbott camp. ‘She’s a player,’ he says. Just how big a player is hard to determine. But so deep are the suspicions …”

Comment April 14, 2018

Life after 30 for Malcolm Turnbull

“The same strategic miscalculation was at play when other ministers decided to answer journalists’ questions with the same candour as Dutton. It was simply extraordinary that Treasurer Scott Morrison or Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg didn’t see that …”

Comment April 07, 2018

Pro-coal right comes after Turnbull

“This trashing of the Liberal Party’s defining philosophy has some on the back bench shaking their heads. It is one thing for the Nationals, often dubbed agrarian socialists, to call for a renationalisation of energy supply. It’s quite another for …”

Comment March 31, 2018

Abbott’s giving up is not the same as letting go

“The fact is Abbott has given up on the Coalition winning the next election. Last weekend he told an invitation-only meeting in his Sydney’s northern beaches electorate that the government ‘is heading for a massive defeat’. The upside to this prospect, …”

Comment March 24, 2018

Bill Shorten’s strategies paying off

“The atmosphere was electric when Labor’s victorious Batman candidate, Ged Kearney, entered the room flanked by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. You would think they had just won the general election rather than retained a seat they had held for the past …”

Comment March 17, 2018

Shorten acts on tax as Batman votes

“Bill Shorten seized the political agenda in a dramatic way on Tuesday, overshadowing practically everything in domestic politics. He did it by homing in on a tax concession that is costing the budget billions but is a sacred cow for the Liberals. Donning …”

Comment March 10, 2018

Malcolm Turnbull’s poll count looms

“Of course preferred prime minister is not an indicator of an election outcome – it is not unusual for a premier or prime minster to be preferred right up until the time voters dump them and their party. But this metric was for a long while a morale …”

Comment March 03, 2018

The Coalition after Barnaby Joyce

“The fate of the Turnbull Coalition government depends on McCormack holding his party together. It is no easier task than Turnbull has with his party – although the Liberals seem to have come to the realisation that Tony Abbott is no longer the answer …”

Comment February 24, 2018

New order to follow Joyce division?

“If the Nationals were paralysed by fear that if they sacked Joyce he would set about destroying the government from the back bench, they will now see if his own resignation spares them that. As one National MP told me before Joyce’s announcement: ‘If …”

Comment February 17, 2018

Joyce ruins Turnbull’s turnaround

“It will take quite some work to restore credibility to the Nationals as the “family values” party. If the party room sticks by Joyce, they are endorsing his hypocrisy – nowhere more on show than in his support of the “No” case on marriage equality. …”

Comment February 10, 2018

Brandis departs amid LNP pessimism

“‘Why would he quit his career pretty well at the top of his power and influence if he didn’t think the odds were against us winning the next election?’ was the wry comment of one Liberal.”

Comment February 03, 2018

Shorten outpaces Turnbull on vision

“Attorney-General Christian Porter seemed unwilling to replicate ICAC federally. Politicians nobbling such a body would be a very bad look, almost as bad as refusing to set one up now that it is squarely on the table. And that’s the challenge Shorten …”

Comment January 26, 2018

Turnbull presses on over summer

“Turnbull has spent the past few weeks meticulously planning strategy and tactics for his revival. One insider says the PM has had a series of deep-dive sessions on policy. He has also had backbenchers break their holidays to meet him for a drink and frank …”

Comment December 23, 2017

Spoiled for Joyce

“Joyce’s ham-fistedness, if not vindictiveness, in also sacking Queenslander Keith Pitt from the frontbench has precipitated a new threat to the government’s majority. An angry Pitt has told colleagues he is seriously considering moving to the crossbench. …”

Comment December 16, 2017

Political missteps over China

“This shift in government rhetoric and sentiment around China did not start with Dastyari and Bennelong. These two events have merely blown it out of any sane proportion. It can be traced back to the arrival of the mercurial Trump presidency worsening …”

Comment December 09, 2017

Is Bill Shorten running out of luck?

“Maybe Bill Shorten’s luck is running out. Complicating Labor’s campaign in Bennelong is Senator Sam Dastyari’s highly controversial dealings with Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo. Turnbull slammed Dastyari as an ‘agent of foreign influence and …”

Comment December 02, 2017

Nationals turn on Turnbull

The Courier-Mail says eight Queensland federal Nationals will divorce themselves from the LNP campaign at the next election. The eight are counting on Barnaby Joyce to win this weekend’s byelection in New England and to relaunch them in …”

Comment November 25, 2017

Queensland MPs threaten revolt

“The Turnbull government’s overdraft with the Australian electorate is well and truly spent. And the prime minister’s desperate attempts to keep his creditors at bay have only served to worsen his precarious position. His decision to cancel next week’s …”

Comment November 18, 2017

Turnbull’s reality check is in the mail

“The dangerous, retrograde bigotry pushed by many on the “No” side was rejected overwhelmingly in the survey. Fellow travellers on the right saw voters disprove their claims that they were speaking for most of them. Their mistake is to equate their …”

Comment November 11, 2017

Manus Island, dual citizenship and the postal result

“It’s likely Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t want to cross Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. The creation of the new Home Affairs ministry, against the objections of erstwhile allies in cabinet such as Julie Bishop and George Brandis, is as good …”

Comment November 04, 2017

Turnbull’s charge of the fright brigade

“Turnbull’s message: “It’s business as usual.” That’s meant to assure the nation that the government will keep governing smoothly. The fixed smile can’t mask the reality. Business as usual means more of the same dithering and internecine strife …”

Comment October 28, 2017

What’s NXT without Nick Xenophon?

“While Xenophon would dearly love to run 30 candidates in SA, finding the right ones takes more than wishful thinking. The infrastructure has to be constructed from scratch and the money has to be found to fund it. Other minor parties, such as Pauline …”

Comment October 21, 2017

Nervous energy on power plan

“There is an irony in all of this. Turnbull moved away from the CET because Abbott and many in the party room thought it was too close to Labor’s policy. Ditching it was to emphasise product differentiation and, according to government insiders, their …”

Comment October 14, 2017

Tony Abbott’s shadow over government policy

“Flying in the face of science is not something Turnbull or Frydenberg say they want to do. Neither, incidentally, did Abbott when he was prime minister. But now if we are to believe Abbott’s London speech, that was all a charade. He never really stopped …”

News October 07, 2017

Hanson gunning for Queensland

“There is a strong conviction that outside of Brisbane and the increasingly urban conglomeration that is the Sunshine and Gold coasts, guns swing votes. They are “a freedom issue”, as Katter proclaimed after tough restrictions were imposed on the Adler …”

Politics September 30, 2017

Name-calling in the energy debate

“It is completely disingenuous for Turnbull to accuse Labor of not heeding warnings eight years ago on how the intense export drive could affect domestic supply and prices. Those warnings were offset by assurances from the exporters that it would not happen. …”

Comment September 23, 2017

Abbott’s all-out assault over energy

“The tragedy for the nation is that Abbott is not framing his arguments in terms of ending the energy wars. Rather, he wants to inflame them. His only focus: the next election and drawing a sharp distinction between an affordable and reliable energy target …”

Comment September 16, 2017

Turnbull turns Chifley on energy

“The chutzpah of Turnbull strongarming Vesey can only be explained as desperation borne of diabolical politics within the government spilling over into the public’s perceptions of division and inertia. So, unable to enact the sort of energy policy recommended …”

Comment September 09, 2017

Coalition tensions fuel energy debate

“Many Liberal backbenchers are furious with the Nationals. One says Joyce’s unwillingness to forgo his ministerial salary is being put ahead of the government’s best interests. A minister says it has more to do with him not wanting to let a Liberal …”

Comment September 02, 2017

Turnbull and the greasy poll

“To appeal to the Hansonites, Turnbull and his ministers are trying to out-Pauline Pauline. To get at Labor they have hit the nuclear button on political hyperbole. Both tactics reek of political desperation but after 18 consecutive bad Newspolls – the …”

Comment August 26, 2017

Echoes of Gillard in citizenship fight

“You know a government is racked by self-doubt when it spends more time back-pedalling after it has thrown the first punch. Junior woodchuck minister Angus Taylor was sent out earlier in the week to demand that Bill Shorten come clean and prove he has …”

Comment August 19, 2017

The mad Katter’s tea party

“Katter says there are two sets of rules at work here: one for Matt Canavan, a less senior minister in the Nationals, and one for the number two in the Coalition government, Barnaby Joyce. He says Turnbull can have no credibility with the Australian people …”

Comment August 12, 2017

Why Tony Abbott can’t be ignored

“The Abbott grab bag of alt-right grievances amply demonstrates his crusade against same-sex marriage is merely a proxy against the sort of modernity he identifies with Malcolm Turnbull and contemporary Australia.”

Comment August 05, 2017

Turnbull’s conviction problems

“There are three policy areas that hitherto have been identified with Turnbull: climate change, marriage equality and the republic. While it is true that politics is the art of compromise, any accommodation becomes dangerous if it is seen as a sellout. …”

Comment July 29, 2017

Canavan’s dual citizenship imbroglio

“Already there is some natural justice in politics. The prime minister was quick to condemn the Greens for “incredible sloppiness”, while Trade Minister Steve Ciobo was even harsher, accusing the Greens of amateur-hour incompetence. Those assessments …”

Comment July 15, 2017

The Liberals’ fight for Menzies’ legacy

“With Abbott’s call to arms for conservatives “to take our party back”, the prime minister has no real option but to retaliate. And nothing is more basic than defending his leadership as completely Liberal orthodox against accusations that he is …”

Comment July 08, 2017

Tony Abbott keeps up the fight

“Again we are seeing Abbott the pugilist, rejecting bipartisanship as a false mantra. Labor’s Mark Butler, in a thoughtful book released this week, unsurprisingly called Climate Wars, spells out the enormous price the country is paying for Abbott’s …”

Comment July 01, 2017

Pyne and Abbott deliver Turnbull a rough ride

“Bolt invited renegade Liberal senator Cory Bernardi on his show to begin what is now a Pyne pile-on. Bernardi, who betrayed the Liberal Party to form his own Australian Conservatives, claimed “Christopher Pyne is the most untrustworthy person he has …”

Comment June 24, 2017

Polls unmoved as parliament breaks for winter

“Turnbull has unveiled a needs-based schools-funding package winning Labor’s champion reformer David Gonski to its cause. And he began to look and sound like the Turnbull of yore with a clean energy target scheme that takes climate change seriously and …”

Comment June 17, 2017

Citizenship opportunism

“To the consternation of much of Australia’s legal fraternity, Dutton has set about the deliberate undermining of confidence in our judicial system. He framed changes to visa and citizenship requirements in terms of new members of society embracing Australian …”

Comment June 10, 2017

Playing the blame game on terror attacks

“Politicians playing the blame game are nothing new, especially in the current febrile climate. It is made all the harder for Turnbull because he is under fire from within his own ranks for not being more outspoken on ‘Islamic’ terrorism. As a result, …”

Comment June 03, 2017

Frydenberg’s carbon capture pipe dream

“Seven years ago Malcolm Turnbull’s assessment of CCS was that it was an industrial pipedream. He said it was sobering that “as of today, there’s not one industrial-scale coal-fired power station using carbon capture and storage – not one”. This …”

Comment May 27, 2017

Labor pushes on with budget reply

“Turnbull’s problem is he comes to the fray politically weakened thanks to his one-seat majority. It denies him clout in dealing with the hostile senate. ‘They can’t really govern,’ is the conclusion of one Liberal veteran. It’s certainly not …”

Comment May 20, 2017

Scott Morrison’s pitch for a post-budget bounce

“Morrison’s sales pitch still looks like it is coming from a government at war with its own past convictions. There is something dissonant about a Liberal treasurer talking about the banks “fleecing their customers”. He is, after all, a treasurer …”

Comment May 13, 2017

Turnbull’s budget turnaround

“One of Malcolm Turnbull’s inner sanctum was upbeat as journalists pored over the details of this week’s budget. ‘Labor’s got nowhere to go,’ he said. Judging from his demeanour in the Parliament House lock-up, Treasurer Scott Morrison shared …”

Comment May 06, 2017

Scott Morrison unveils ‘good’ and ‘bad’ debt

“On Tuesday night at 7.30 Treasurer Scott Morrison will preside over the burial rites for the economic belief system that has guided the Liberal Party for 25 years. Gone is the dogma that the market knows best and the national interest is optimally served …”

Comment April 29, 2017

Turnbull adopts a war footing

“Malcolm Turnbull has put his prime ministership on a war footing. It worked for a similarly besieged Liberal PM 16 years ago, and it’s definitely worth a shot now. The image of a helmet-wearing, Kevlar-vested Australian leader scurrying out of an RAAF …”

Comment April 22, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull crosses the line on 457 visas

“Turnbull’s visa crackdown certainly got the media talking about something else other than the government’s Abbott-fanned internal divisions. That almost certainly accounts for the announcement’s timing, even though Turnbull insists the government …”

Comment April 15, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull, Gautam Adani and the Carmichael mine

“Turnbull is caught between the wily billionaire Gautam Adani and the hyperventilation of the Nationals prepared to give the businessman whatever he wants to get the giant Carmichael mine project in Queensland going. And, by the way, assist other billionaires …”

Comment April 08, 2017

Scott Morrison’s pre-budget bluster

“Old heads on the government backbench aren’t holding out for Morrison to provide a circuit-breaker in May. Good budgets – that is, ones the public don’t get too upset with – tend to disappear within the first sitting fortnight. Even tax cuts are …”

Comment April 01, 2017

Turnbull’s muddle kingdom fails on extradition treaty

“The botching of the treaty ratification with our biggest trading partner exposed much that is wrong with this government. It brought to the surface, yet again, deep divisions that have leadership implications. And it exposed a political tin ear that is …”

Comment March 25, 2017

The Racial Discrimination Act’s section 18c charade

“On Wednesday, Labor tried to have the bills debated in the house of representatives. Bill Shorten said the government’s choice of the senate was nothing more than a cynical attempt by the prime minister ‘to be able to make the claim to the extreme …”

Comment March 18, 2017

Jay Weatherill’s energy showdown

“One report says an emission intensity scheme would save businesses and households up to $15 billion in electricity bills over a decade. But that is an inconvenient truth.”

Comment March 11, 2017

Colin Barnett’s One Nation gamble in the WA election

Just as Barnett benefited from the disarray in the ALP and the backlash against the Gillard government in 2013, now he has the baggage of his Canberra colleagues replaying a similar script.

Comment March 04, 2017

Coalition divides and stonkers

Abbott’s mantra that Turnbull is losing the base to One Nation is not addressed by aping her policies.

Comment February 25, 2017

Gaps in Turnbull’s Coalition and credibility

Put simply, many on the backbench are fed up with the slack Turnbull cuts to outspoken right-wingers such as the Nationals’ George Christensen.

Comment February 18, 2017

Parliamentary attacks reveal politics out of touch

Political attacks often thrill partisans but appear puerile to innocent bystanders. They reinforce the impression that the politicians are more interested in themselves than voters’ concerns.

Comment February 11, 2017

Turnbull’s desperate fight to restore credibility

One senior Liberal doubts whether Turnbull would hang around to lead the government to a defeat. And most fear eventual defeat is more likely than not.

Comment February 04, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull caught out on donation and US deal

When asked why he wouldn’t reveal how much he had given, Turnbull’s answer was as opaque as it was shifty. On Channel Nine, Laurie Oakes accused him of ‘looking like a hypocrite’.

Comment December 24, 2016

Scott Morrison’s ‘zombie’ budget cuts

The numbers are in fact worse than when Morrison and the Liberals in opposition railed against “debt and deficit disasters” and a “budget emergency”.

Comment December 17, 2016

Republican Turnbull’s thorny crown

Turnbull isn’t convincing on the so-called bread-and-butter issues. And there is growing pessimism that it is already too late for him to turn that around.

Comment December 10, 2016

Comparison to John Key unflattering to Malcolm Turnbull

“New Zealand has a much less fraught political culture. Key certainly didn’t have a deputy PM who led another party that had a deep antipathy to, and suspicion of, him. ”

Comment December 03, 2016

Backpackers, ABCC and parliamentary chaos

“If Turnbull – and Abbott before him – had been as prepared to compromise on the construction industry watchdog as we saw this week, the ABCC and Registered Organisation bills would have passed a couple of years ago. ”

Comment November 26, 2016

Peter Dutton’s racism to the bottom

“Peter Dutton seems convinced the best way to deal with these extremists is to match them. In that, he has allies in the Coalition National Party. ”

Comment November 19, 2016

Political games over refugees and 457 visas

“Shorten didn’t need Trump to prompt him to take his message to communities with high unemployment that are resentful. This week, He made his 20th visit to regional Queensland for the year. ”

Comment November 12, 2016

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tries to shift focus

Malcolm Turnbull’s intemperate attack on Gillian Triggs is a sure indication of the heat the PM is feeling from his hard-right flank. That he panders to it in such a ham-fisted way has many on his own side despairing.

Comment November 05, 2016

Rudd and Abbott return to spite Turnbull

“One Liberal says when Rudd quit as foreign minister, at a dramatic press conference in Washington, it was to blow up the government. Why would Turnbull risk it with Abbott?”

Comment October 29, 2016

The rising toll of PM Malcolm Turnbull’s disappointments

Turnbull is being seen as ‘weak’ – unable to stand up for what he really believes in against the conservatives in his party. Worse, he ‘stuffs up’.

Comment October 22, 2016

Turnbull takes a hit in the Adler gun debate

“In parliament, Turnbull did what he failed to do on Radio National and vowed never to trade away Howard’s gun laws but to strengthen them. But he then mired himself in an apparent contradiction. ”

Comment October 15, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull’s first 100 days since election assessed

“The difficulty for Turnbull is the split between the hardliners and the moderates. Throw in bruised egos and thwarted ambitions and all Shorten has to do is add water and stir.”

Comment October 08, 2016

Parliamentary bank hearings inadequate

“ANZ’s Shayne Elliott, like CBA’s Ian Narev, came to the parliamentary hearing in sackcloth and ashes. But the penitent’s garb could impress only the most gullible. ”

Comment October 01, 2016

Plebiscite politics

“George Christensen says the only option is a plebiscite. If the prime minister accepts this in the hope the issue will go away, he is deluding himself.”

Comment September 24, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull at the United Nations General Assembly

“If ever leadership was needed it is now, before these corrosive views are allowed to destroy the multicultural cohesive society Australia has become.”

Comment September 17, 2016

Running repairs on the budget omnibus

“One of the most significant concessions was the dropping of the baby bonus. The $367 million payment was a condition of the Coalition agreement and a key promise of the Nationals.”

Comment September 10, 2016

ALP senator Sam Dastyari’s Chinese payment mistake

“The irony is that Dastyari hadn’t broken any of the disclosure rules. He even declared his dumb mistake. But what gave the government attacks force is that he appeared to have been caught out telling his Chinese donors what they wanted to hear. ”

Comment September 03, 2016

Smoke and mirrors of the 45th federal parliament

“Destabilising Turnbull is as much a motivation as fighting for pristine free speech. The laudable conservative value of promoting ‘civility’ is collateral damage in this play.”

Comment August 27, 2016

Jelly roll Shorten

“While Turnbull is confident the plebiscite vote will pass, the republic, another of his magnificent causes, looked a no-brainer only to fail amid confusion and skulduggery.”

Comment August 20, 2016

Tony Abbott and political shame on Malaysian Solution

“We should remember Tony Abbott has form. He’s much like an addict who knows he has to kick the habit, says he’s going to do it, only to keep falling off the wagon.”

Comment August 13, 2016

Coalition’s eye on the numbers

“The green light was given for the first online census, to outsource it and to extend the length of time for names and addresses to be held. All without serious explanation or adequate planning. The government even left the Australian Bureau of Statistics …”

Comment August 06, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull’s week of missteps

“Attention to detail doesn’t seem to be the attorney-general’s strong suit. But in a scramble to save face, George Brandis, QC, would have none of the criticism.”

Comment July 30, 2016

Decisive Turnbull faces tiny majority government

“Christensen’s fit of pique on superannuation only reinforces just how precarious is the Coalition’s hold on government.”

Comment July 23, 2016

The ins and outs of Malcolm Turnbull’s expanded cabinet

“For a prime minister who had just won an election, Turnbull’s hold on authority is remarkably precarious. ‘He’s a sitting duck and he knows it,’ was the way one of his MPs put it.”

Comment July 16, 2016

Shorten targets Turnbull’s instability

“The question exercising the minds of many is whether Turnbull has the skills of a Menzies, to not only survive but to propel the Coalition to a handsome win next time. ”

Comment July 09, 2016

Mediscare testing

“Turnbull’s ‘I have a scream’ speech on election night betrayed his anger and hurt. 'The boss is in a bad place,’ was the way it was put to me.”

Comment July 02, 2016

Turnbull’s moment of truth

“What is clear is that Turnbull’s rush of blood to the head in calling a double dissolution to clean out the obstructive senate is sure to prove foolhardy. ”

Comment June 25, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull a Faust among equals?

“The fact of the matter is the published national opinion polls have the election in a deadlock. Labor has been in front by a nose in three of five polls in the past fortnight.”

Comment June 04, 2016

Parties adjust rhetoric after Turnbull-Shorten TV debate

“If business is miffed that the Coalition is going softly on tax cuts, they’re not showing it. But on the Coalition’s own timeline, it’s not at all certain they’ll be in power long enough to deliver the whole plan.”

Comment May 28, 2016

Turnbull looking for fireworks in long election campaign

“Immigration department officials are already exploring an arrangement with the Canadians. As it was put to me: ‘Turnbull has given the department a hunting licence.’”

Comment May 21, 2016

Turnbull, Dutton stick to Abbott refugee strategy

“It was time to get serious on an issue that works like a treat for the Coalition … National security is, to use Malcolm Turnbull’s earlier assessment, all they’ve got. ”

Comment May 14, 2016

Labor’s hopes to win back ’Q&A vote’

“It is 85 years since a first-term government was thrown out. But Victoria and Queensland state elections show that voters are more interested in performance than in precedent. ”

Comment May 07, 2016

Turnbull and Morrison’s 2016 federal budget let-down

“This budget was more than an opportunity missed, it was a wilful blind eye to an emerging central economic reality. ”

Comment April 30, 2016

Coalition attempts to win votes with submarine politics

“Turnbull’s big effort to refloat the Liberal vote in South Australia may work. Much will depend on how forgiving the threatened car industry workers and their families are.”

Comment April 23, 2016

Turnbull leaves nation in twilight zone before election call

“For the first time since Turnbull replaced Abbott, the government did not lead in a single poll … this election will be hard-fought trench warfare in the marginals.”

Comment April 16, 2016

Turnbull picks a move on truck drivers, not banks

“Attempts to delink rates of remuneration with road safety are not borne out by studies ... It is a no-brainer that Truck drivers struggling to meet their lease or mortgage payments will push the envelope.”

Comment April 09, 2016

The Coalition’s Delusional Conservatives explained

“If you compromise with zealots all you do is encourage them to keep threatening to blow up the joint. And don’t worry: Turnbull is learning that at great cost. ”

Comment April 02, 2016

Malcolm Turnbull’s tax reform plan a work in progress

“Curiously, Scott Morrison says ‘you can’t tax your way to surplus’. Tell that to Peter Costello. The revenue that gave him his surpluses was just that: revenue. ”

Comment March 26, 2016

Turnbull’s cunning double dissolution election ploy

“Labor’s senate strategists are scathing of Turnbull’s use of the constitutional ploy. Just how far the opposition is willing to drag “the Crown” into the political fray remains to be seen. ”

Comment March 19, 2016

Treasurer Scott Morrison stalling on tax talk

“Why would a treasurer invest so much time and capital softening up the electorate for big tax changes only to ditch them, not once but three times?”

Comment March 12, 2016

Jeff Kennett rounds on Malcolm Turnbull

“The mere spectacle of the leader who took the party from opposition to government sitting on the backbench puts up in neon lights failure and division.”

Comment March 05, 2016

Tony Abbott’s party room broadsides

“Abbott and his acolytes have seized on the vacuum created by the government’s protracted consideration of its tax plans to wage a proxy war on Turnbull. ”

Comment February 27, 2016

Turnbull rattled over tax reform

“In parliament Turnbull gave weight to Labor’s taunts that he was ‘rattled’. Gone was the equilibrium and humour in evidence since he grabbed the nation’s top job.”

Comment February 20, 2016

Turnbull and Morrison’s pre-election budget positioning

“Turnbull is about winning a mandate in his own right. The time for bravery is year one after an election victory, providing you haven’t done a Tony Abbott and ruled out everything you want or need to do.”

Comment February 13, 2016

Turnbull’s states of pay over GST and tax reform

“Tinkering with Medicare, or at least appearing to, is almost as dangerous for a conservative government as wanting to raise the GST. ”

Comment February 06, 2016

Turnbull weighs up double-dissolution election

“The longer the GST option is left hanging, the more ingrained becomes the perception that the conservatives really, really want to do it. ”

Comment January 30, 2016

Tony Abbott leading the conservative fight from the backbench

“Instead of merely being a lightning rod for internal dissent, Abbott intends to lead it in public as well. He knows he won’t be returning to the ministry. ”

Comment December 19, 2015

Turnbull and the national accounts

“Morrison’s claim that he would not raise the GST simply to allow the states to spend the revenue is baffling. All revenue is raised so governments can spend it. ”

Comment December 12, 2015

Ian Macfarlane’s power play

“Many Liberals are furious about Macfarlane’s venality and Joyce’s overreach. It spells humiliation for Turnbull if he caves in.”

Comment December 05, 2015

PM Malcolm Turnbull hits a rough spot with Mal Brough

“Why would Turnbull give the portfolio of special minister of state to a man who has a cloud over his treatment of the very institutions he is now charged with administering?”

Comment November 28, 2015

Heat on for Malcolm Turnbull ahead of Paris conference

“While some in the party frame the contrary positions on national security as healthy policy debate, the view of that argument is pretty blunt. It was put to me as follows: ‘Bullshit.’”

Comment November 14, 2015

Shorten uses the Dismissal to seize republic debate

“Labor is hoping its leadership on the republican issue will send a message to progressive voters, who have deserted it for Turnbull.”

Comment November 07, 2015

Goods and nervousness: Turnbull’s GST gamble

“Peter Hendy’s assessment about the cost of electioneering on big tax reform is shared by veteran Liberals who remember 1998 with a shiver up their spines.”

Comment October 31, 2015

Tony Abbott loosens his collar at Thatcher Lecture

“Eric Abetz, before he was unceremoniously dumped by Turnbull, was being lined up as our ambassador to Berlin. That Abbott project has been quietly shelved.”

Comment October 24, 2015

Resolving doors and Malcolm Turnbull’s spat with Mike Baird

“Two weeks ago there were flashes of the old Turnbull in a heated phone confrontation with NSW premier Mike Baird. ‘A leopard can’t change its spots,’ was the reaction of one MP.”

Comment October 17, 2015

Abbott’s prospects flat as a board

“Abbott has said he’s not interested in being an ambassador. 'Diplomacy wasn’t his greatest skill,' a highly connected liberal businessman says, 'so it’s just as well.'”

Comment October 10, 2015

Malcolm Turnbull, trade deals and penalty rates

“Morrison says we need to have a mature discussion. But is there a grown-up way of cutting the wages and conditions of four million Australians?”

Comment October 03, 2015

Turnbull’s gritted self-belief

“In a disturbing development for the Labor narrative that nothing has changed but the leader, Turnbull has parted ways with Abbott’s chief business adviser, Maurice Newman.”

Comment September 26, 2015

Malcolm Turnbull a class war act

“One of Labor’s key strategists says they don’t have to be explicit in playing to class envy; it is already happening. Everyone knows Turnbull is a ‘rich dude’.”

Comment September 19, 2015

Malcolm Turnbull the National Circuit breaker

“What will give Turnbull a freer hand is his performance as measured in the opinion polls. The early signs are ominous for Labor and the hard right.”

Comment September 12, 2015

Abbott’s borderline success on Syria refugees

“This issue can never shake its racist and xenophobic undertones. Abbott is to be commended for taking no notice of those in his party room on the extreme right. ”

Comment September 05, 2015

More cracks in Abbott’s cabinet

“Arthur Sinodinos gave the ministerial disunity story a huge blast of oxygen. He would not have done so without full knowledge of the ramifications. ”

Comment August 29, 2015

Embattled PM ignores carbon, backs Hockey’s tax cut pledge

“Already, the Liberals appear not to see Abbott as a plus. He doesn’t feature in their campaign material for the seat of canning. Julie Bishop is the big attraction there.”

Comment August 22, 2015

Tony Abbott’s game of fallow the leader

“Abbott’s position is so parlous every challenge his government faces is an acid test. Few doubt the September 19 appointment with Canning’s 110,000 voters will be a moment of truth.”

Comment August 15, 2015

Out of plebiscite, out of mind

“Turnbull spoke for many in the party room when he pointed out that rather than taking marriage equality off the agenda, Abbott has ensured it will be an issue up to the election and beyond.”

Comment August 08, 2015

Bishop, entitlements and parliament’s Slipper-y people

“The Bishop saga is definitely a plague on all their houses. ”

Comment August 01, 2015

Shorten picking up the Bill

“Labor has begun to show a political adroitness many thought beyond it. And maybe Shorten’s political luck has returned. ”

Comment July 18, 2015

Barnaby Joyce’s undermining over coal

“This ability to deny reality or redefine it to suit your convenience is, for some, the art of politics. For most sane people, it is simply incredible.”

Comment July 11, 2015

Bill Shorten and the $80 million unions royal commission

“Dragging the Labor leader through this expensive demolition exercise could be Abbott’s last throw of the dice.”

Comment July 04, 2015

Tony Abbott’s ABF and excessive use of higher force

“Asylum seekers must always be seen as threats, queue jumpers and illegals, and never as desperate human beings, men, women and children.”

Comment June 27, 2015

Tony Abbott’s federal election preparations

“Tony Abbott’s behaviour in recent weeks is throwing up pretty compelling evidence that he is poised to rush to the polls as soon as he thinks he has a better than even chance of winning.”

Comment June 20, 2015

Tony Abbott baits hooks and pays crooks

“Nowhere does the ‘hook or by crook’ doctrine reveal itself more dramatically than in the mounting evidence that the government is now in the people-smuggling business.”

Comment June 13, 2015

Dutton and Coalition wag the human rights watchdog

“Immigration Minister Peter Dutton shrouds everything he does in ‘operational’ secrecy. North Korea couldn’t do it better.”

Comment June 06, 2015

PM Tony Abbott calls out the cabinet Judases

“One voterland issue finding its way into Canberra is same-sex marriage. Do not be fooled by reports the issue has become an inevitability.”

Comment May 23, 2015

Post-budget polls reflect Abbott’s burning of economic principles

“Half a billion dollars has been saved by stopping the boats, says the budget. That’s dwarfed by the $913 million a year that implementing the policy is still costing.”

Comment May 16, 2015

The budget prepares Scott Morrison

“There are signs Hockey is feeling very insecure in his job. His embarrassment is compounded by his invisibility in the past couple of weeks and Scott Morrison’s in-your-face presence everywhere.”

Comment May 09, 2015

Treasurer Joe Hockey: the man who knew to mulch

“Sounding like a politician who wants to win an election rather than fix his budget, Hockey said: ‘It’s only Labor that wants to increase taxes on superannuation.’ ”

Comment May 02, 2015

Post-Bali Nine executions, Tony Abbott still has axiom to grind

“According to the polls, when it comes to one of the Coalition’s favourite mantras of ‘returning the budget to surplus’, the electorate is of little faith.”

Comment April 25, 2015

Coalition missing in action over climate change strategy

“Real pressure is mounting on the coalition to come up with something meaningful on emissions reduction before the Paris conference at the end of the year.”

Comment April 18, 2015

Unfriendly fire as Costello blasts Abbott government

“Peter Costello’s ‘look at me’ moment had invited closer scrutiny of his contribution. Labor couldn't believe its luck.”

Comment April 11, 2015

Big business, economic reforms and fair taxation

“Who would have thought that a joint statement from nine of Australia’s peak business groups would attack a political leader for an “almost continuing focus on budget fairness”?”

Comment April 04, 2015

Abbott undermines Hockey’s Re:think on tax

“Abbott says there can be no GST change unless Shorten wants it – either a white flag or a de facto admission he hasn’t got the political clout to pressure the senate to support a change.”

Comment March 28, 2015

Liberals clutch at straw polls in the wind

“There is still a nagging suspicion that Abbott has not completely killed off the option of a double dissolution election if his budget repositioning works. ”

Comment March 21, 2015

Christopher Pyne’s Holy Grail of education reform

“For a government desperate to re-establish its credibility, Pyne’s performance is a major setback … His education changes are a template for what not to do. ”

Comment March 14, 2015

Abbott running short of spares

“Everything that is happening with the government is through the prism of leadership. The opinion polls are the pulse of the PM’s grip on his political life.”

Comment March 07, 2015

Joe Hockey, the wily old fortune-seller

“Why on earth would anyone think they have any idea what our economy will look like in 40 or 100 years? The only credible prediction is there will be an economy.”

Comment February 28, 2015

Higginson leak targets Abbott, Credlin and Loughnane

“The whole episode illustrates that for Abbott little has changed. He is more comfortable attacking and creating enemies than in reaching out and making friends.”

Comment February 21, 2015

Tony Abbott’s foul-mouthed fury at whip Philip Ruddock

“Some months ago there was an ugly confrontation between Philip Ruddock and the PM. It ended in acrimony, with a prime ministerial “get fucked” adding colour.”

Comment February 14, 2015

Joe Hockey: 19 points behind ‘Don’t Know’

“What Credlin and Abbott must know is that the same agitators who precipitated last Monday’s spill motion have a plan to strike again. This time the performance of Hockey will be the trigger. ”

News February 07, 2015

Abbott burying his head in the quicksand

“The fact is, the agenda that is responsible for the government’s plunge in support is still very much on the table. ”

Comment December 20, 2014

Tony Abbott looks to the event horizon for his fate

“Abbott says he’s looking for answers on how the hostage taker slipped below the radar. Just as urgent politically is to find an answer to the toxicity poisoning his government at the top. ”

Comment December 13, 2014

How the PM’s office is wrecking his government

“Just as stories of the Rudd office’s dysfunction began seeping into the media for months before he was brought down, persistent reports are beginning to appear about the Abbott office.”

Comment December 06, 2014

Abbott through the looking-glass

“Many coalition MPs are fuming at the government’s political woes and lay the blame squarely at the door of the PM and his senior ministers. Some worry that they are as delusional as Humpty Dumpty.”

Comment November 29, 2014

Abbott scraping barnacles off a sinking ship

“Without blushing Abbott insisted, 'This is a government that has fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people.'”

Comment November 22, 2014

Post G20, Abbott gets the thin edge of the sandwich

“The breakaway of Lambie and Muir spells big trouble for Abbott. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was apoplectic. But no one was angrier than Clive Palmer.”

Comment November 15, 2014

A change in climate

“When you realise the budget is in fact the government’s 'Economic Action Strategy' being trumpeted in Brisbane, the PM better hope no one is looking too closely. ”

Comment November 08, 2014

Liberals beauty pageant of preferred leaders

“One senior Labor politician says the Liberals may well return to Malcolm Turnbull, 'if they get to be as desperate as we were in the run-up to the last election'.”

Comment November 01, 2014

Australia’s political leaders enter the lions’ den

“Shorten was not making a sensationalist play for attention. It was a carefully thought-through statement of his principles and a manifesto for his leadership.”

Comment October 25, 2014

Claiming Gough’s political legacy

Both sides of parliament rose to eulogise Whitlam, but neither shares an enthusiasm for his reforming agenda.

Comment October 18, 2014

Putin-Abbott showdown to derail G20

“The prime minister seems to acknowledge his play for domestic plaudits in this instance was at best inelegant, at worst demeaning.”

Comment October 11, 2014

Union commission witch-hunt and budget booby trap

“Voters can smell a political witch-hunt. The fact that John Howard expressed negative views about going after defeated political opponents also feeds into this sentiment.”

Comment October 04, 2014

Disconnect on Joe Hockey’s budget rhetoric

“The ABC asked Hockey if he was about to beat a budget retreat. ‘No, the story is wrong,’ Hockey replied. ‘The bottom line is: if you can win a battle, you take that victory, but you never give up on the war.’”

Comment September 27, 2014

Abbott saving the world and killing the planet

“Shrouding the prime minister from any humiliation over climate change is the fog of war. Australia is now in anti-terrorism overdrive. The nation is panicked.”

Comment September 20, 2014

Black rights and white wrongs

“Abbott seems to be listening. He wants the recognition referendum to succeed. He’s burying the habit of a lifetime to be a national, inclusive leader. ”

Comment September 13, 2014

Abbott waging war on the past and the future

This week the government relentlessly pursued fallen political foes and rhetorical enemies abroad.

News September 06, 2014

Tony Abbott’s year of magical winking

“In many ways Tony Abbott is a victim of his own unequivocal promises, made simply and with a conviction deeper than the Grand Canyon.”

Comment August 16, 2014

Base politics

“The Abbott government prides itself on being a continuation of the Howard government, but its political management lacks the deft touch of the old master.”