Paul Bongiorno

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

By this author


podcast June 10, 2022

The first steps towards integrity

Paul Bongiorno on the first steps towards integrity.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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?

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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. …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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’.”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 … …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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. …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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; …”

Opinion 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’. …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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’ …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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”. …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.’”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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”. …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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. …”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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. …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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. …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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, …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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’.

Opinion 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”.

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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?”

Opinion 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’.

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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 …”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.’”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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?”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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?”

Opinion 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.’”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.'”

Opinion 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?”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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’.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion August 08, 2015

Bishop, entitlements and parliament’s Slipper-y people

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

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.’ ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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”?”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.'”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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'.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.’”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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. ”

Opinion 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.”

Opinion 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.”