Abbott, Pragmatic Nationalist, Proposes Modest Reform Of Federation

Describing himself as a “pragmatic nationalist”, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he believes it is worth another try to “harmonise” the revenue and spending responsibilities of the States and the Commonwealth.

ParkesAbbott spoke at the Sir Henry Parkes Commemorative Dinner in Tenterfield, NSW. On October 24 1889, Parkes, a five-time premier of NSW, delivered his famous Tenterfield Oration, a call for the colonies to federate.

Abbott said: “Now I remain a pragmatic nationalist – but the states exist, they have wide powers under the constitution and they can’t be abolished; so – rather than pursue giving the Commonwealth more authority over the states, as I proposed in my 2009 book, Battlelines – better harmonising revenue and spending responsibilities is well worth another try.”

Abbott said he used to think that “the states should become subordinate legislatures to the Commonwealth”, but he now doubted that “any such constitutional change could succeed”. He said: “…in any event, it’s a good principle to propose the smallest change that will actually tackle the problem – that’s why resolving the mismatch between what the states are supposed to deliver and what they can actually afford to pay for is worth another go.” [Read more...]


Widodo Inauguration: Abbott Stresses Jakarta Focus In Foreign Policy

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has flown to Indonesia to attend the inauguration of its new President, Joko Widodo.

In his weekly video message, Abbott repeated his earlier remarks that “our foreign policy needs a ‘Jakarta’ focus rather than a ‘Geneva’ one”.

He said one million Australians visit Indonesia each year. “It has the world’s largest Muslim population, it is the world’s third largest democracy and, along with India, it’s the emerging democratic superpower of Asia.”

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  • Listen to Abbott (3m)

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Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s weekly video message.

Today I am going to Indonesia for the Inauguration of its new President – Joko Widodo.

The transition to a new administration highlights Indonesia’s successful move to a popularly elected democracy. [Read more...]


Cormann Says Shorten Is An Economic Girlie Man

The Minister for Finance, Senator Mathias Cormann, today described Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as an “economic girlie man”.

Cormann

Interviewed on the Sky News Agenda program, Cormann was asked about comments by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten that a budget surplus was more likely under a Labor government “than this current mob”.

Cormann said: “He’s dreaming. I mean the Labor Party has not delivered a surplus in Australia for 25 years. The problem that the Labor Party has today is that Bill Shorten is an economic girlie man. He doesn’t have what it takes to repair the Budget mess that they have left behind.”

Husic

ALP Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Treasurer, Ed Husic, also appeared on the program. He said Cormann should stop the “juvenile name-calling” and deal with the Budget. “The Terminator should become the Deodoriser and get the stink out of his budget,” Husic said.

Cormann’s remarks set off a Saturday media flurry. Allegations of sexism were aired on social media.

Cormann’s Belgian accent is often compared to that of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s film character The Terminator.

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Transcript of Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann’s interview with David Lipson on Sky News Agenda.

DAVID LIPSON: G’day, welcome to the program, I am David Lipson. It is six months since the Budget was handed down and there are still more than $28 billion in savings being held up in the Senate. And though the House of Representatives returns next week, the crucial Senate has only three sitting weeks left before the summer break. The Government insists it hasn’t given up the fight but each day that passes equates to savings lost. And Labor which along with the cross bench is blocking the savings even claimed this week, rather flippantly; it could deliver a surplus sooner than the Coalition. Here is Bill Shorten with David Speers earlier this week: [Read more...]


Government Announces Industry Innovation And Competitiveness Agenda

The Federal Government today announced an Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.

Abbott

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and the Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, announced a series of measures to life apprenticeship rates and encourage employee share ownership. The plan also aims to promote science and technology skills in school, reform the 457 visas programme, and establish Industry Growth Centres.

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Statement from Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry.

Strengthening Australia’s competitiveness is the key to our future prosperity. [Read more...]


Hockey Talks Of Economic Reform In Speech To London Institute

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has addressed the Institute of Economic Affairs in London on the future of the Australian economy.

HockeyIn his speech, Hockey discussed the importance of economic change. “Economies, and their enterprises, that are slow to adapt will be left behind,” he said.

Hockey compared Ford and Google: “The Ford Motor Company, which revolutionised manufacturing and the auto industry in the 20th century, currently has a market capitalisation of $53 billion after 110 years of operation. Google is more than 7 times larger in just 15 years.”

Structural reform will “lay the foundation for a more promising and secure future,” Hockey said. “Over the next decade, the traditional macroeconomic levers of monetary and fiscal policy will not deliver enduring growth… With fiscal policy constrained and monetary policy limited, the only alternative to facilitate growth is to undertake further structural reform in response to global change. Structural reform is indeed the key plank of Australia’s economic strategy under the Abbott Government.” [Read more...]