Paul Bongiorno

politics November 18, 2017

Turnbull’s reality check is in the mail

Malcolm Turnbull couldn’t wait to jump on board his RAAF VIP jet and make it back to Australia from Manila for the same-sex marriage survey result. After the eight-hour flight there wasn’t a hint of jet lag as he bounded into the prime ministerial...

immigration November 11, 2017

Manus Island, dual citizenship and the postal result

The offer from the freshly minted New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, was genuine and in the name of not ignoring “the human face of what Australia is dealing with now”. The immediate focus was the humanitarian crisis unfolding in our name...

politics October 28, 2017

What’s NXT without Nick Xenophon?

Last Monday, it was clear Nick Xenophon was itching to get out of the place. He sat in his first-floor office on the senate side of Parliament House surrounded by cardboard boxes stuffed full of documents and belongings. He had decided long before...

politics November 4, 2017

Turnbull’s charge of the fright brigade

With some pride Malcolm Turnbull led a large Australian contingent commemorating the 1917 charge of the Fourth Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba. It was a turning point of World War I. The courage and decisive derring-do of the Australian horsemen...

politics October 21, 2017

Nervous energy on power plan

Craig Kelly, the chair of the Liberal Party’s backbench environment and energy committee, had a very uncomfortable night on Monday. The outspoken climate change sceptic is one of the key players Malcolm Turnbull needed to win over to the latest...

politics October 14, 2017

Tony Abbott’s shadow over government policy

The story of the Turnbull government is hauntingly summed up in the Hughes Mearns poem “Antigonish” and its famous line about the man who wasn’t there. This week, the man turned up again. It doesn’t take much to imagine Turnbull recalling the...

politics September 23, 2017

Abbott’s all-out assault over energy

American baseball legend Yogi Berra was famous for malapropisms that somehow found their way into common usage. With Tony Abbott’s latest interventions, one of his most famous phrases comes instantly to mind: “It’s deja vu all over again.” We’ve...

politics September 16, 2017

Turnbull turns Chifley on energy

In a sure sign the Turnbull government is thrashing about in its death throes, this week it resembled the Labor Party of Ben Chifley in 1949 more than anything else. The late Labor icon was a champion of big government. He favoured intervention and...

politics September 9, 2017

Coalition tensions fuel energy debate

The Liberals’ Ian Macdonald has been around the federal parliament a long time, as he proudly boasts. He is the father of the senate and the parliament – the double due to his 27 years in the place. At this week’s meeting of the government party...

politics September 2, 2017

Turnbull and the greasy poll

Next week is shaping as a watershed for Malcolm Turnbull and his government. The parliament resumes, the latest Newspoll will be published and the High Court will consider two challenges to the voluntary postal survey on same-sex marriage. And if...

politics August 26, 2017

Echoes of Gillard in citizenship fight

A Labor staffer who was part of the wild ride that was the Gillard minority government says there’s more than a whiff of deja vu about what’s happening to the Turnbull operation right now. He says the process goes like this: the prime minister gets...