Australasia

Australian PM Tony Abbott faces tough summer

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‘Barnacle-clearing’ leader believes he can turn government’s fortunes around The Irish Times – Pádraig Collins Sometimes a phrase just sticks with a government. Historians will have two great contenders when looking to sum up how last year went for Australian prime ministerTony Abbott: “barnacle-clearing” and “shirtfront”. The former is what Abbott said he was going to do in the dying days ... Read More »

Tony Abbott’s ‘compassionate parents’ comments irritate and are presumptive

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Not having children doesn’t make you less compassionate The Age - Terry Barnes In his wider than expected ministerial reshuffle, Prime Minister Tony Abbott promoted his tough-as-an-old boot Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, into an expanded portfolio of Social Services. Even before Abbott’s press conference announcing the changes began, Twitter pundits were joking that Morrison’s mantra would change ... Read More »

Australia records biggest emissions drop in a decade as carbon tax kicks in

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Greens and conservation group say significant drop in annual emissions shows the carbon price, which was scrapped by the Abbott government, was effective The Guardian – Oliver Milman Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 1.4% in the second full year of the carbon price – the largest recorded annual decrease in the past decade. Data released by the Department of the Environment ... Read More »

Scott Morrison’s calculated cruelty is his legacy

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He proved to be a callous Immigration Minister, yet he is given another portfolio that requires compassion. The Canberra Times – Julian Burnside Scott Morrison’s performance as immigration minister will be assessed differently, depending on where you stand. For those who think boat people are criminals who should be locked up, his time in the immigration portfolio has been hailed ... Read More »

Detainees: the injustice remains, the vigil goes on

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The Bladin and Wickham Point detention facilities are 35 kilometres south of Darwin. Every Sunday afternoon, 74-year-old Richard Davis conducts a lone vigil outside the centres. A tall, slim man, with a straggly white beard, he perches on a stool beside his white four-wheel drive. In front of him rests a knee-high placard, captioned: “Until we are all free, none ... Read More »

Tony Abbott commits to free vote on euthanasia

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised a dying man that he will allow Liberal Party members to vote with their conscience on a euthanasia bill being developed by a Greens senator. The Age – Kate Hagan Peter Short, 57, said receiving the commitment during a half-hour phone conversation with the Prime Minister on Friday was like reaching “the top of a ... Read More »

Julie Bishop and the empathy deficit

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Julie Bishop’s status as the rising star of the Abbott government was enhanced in the popular media this week when she toppedWho magazine’s list of the “most intriguing people” of 2014, just one month after our ownGood Weekend magazine pondered in a cover story whether she might one day be prime minister. Brisbane Times – Michael Gordon, Political editor, The Age In ... Read More »

Tony Blair gets sweaty over Wendi Deng question

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The former Prime Minister denies any impropriety when asked about the affair rumours The Telegraph – Rosa Silverman Tony Blair has said he will never discuss the nature of his relations with Wendi Deng, the ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch. The former Prime Minister lost his cool when questioned on the subject in a recent interview, banging his coffee cup “so loudly ... Read More »

John Kerry is ‘preoccupied’ with the Middle East and climate change in Asia: Kim Beazley

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Australia’s top diplomat in the United States, Kim Beazley, has lashed United States Secretary of State John Kerry for being “preoccupied” with the Middle East and focusing too much on climate change – not geo-strategic issues – in Asia. The Age – James Massola, Political correspondent And in an interview with Fairfax Media in Washington, the former Labor Party leader – who had his ... Read More »

Post Sydney siege idea over gun laws is absurd

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Editorial If the government cannot protect individual Australians from evil acts of the sort that occurred at Sydney’s Martin Place on Monday, then it ought not to stand in the way of a rational discussion about the practical right to self-defence, Senate crossbencher David Leyonhjelm said on Thursday. The liberalisation of Australia’s gun laws, for that is what Senator Leyonhjelm ... Read More »