Rolling coverage of the Australian election campaign for 2016.
Table of contents
(May 22, 2016) Day 15 – Mathias knew nothing
Senator Mathias Cormann didn’t know about the raids
Senator Mathias Cormann has given us all a break from his ‘jobs and growth’ three-word slogan to tell us he knew nothing of the AFP investigation into NBN leaks and thinks current politician entitlements are fair.
- Paul Karp reported, “Finance minister says rules that allow MPs to claim both travel allowance and tax deduction for the same property are independently set.”: Politicians ‘double-dipping’ on property claims aren’t breaking rules – Cormann.
Tim Costello on torture
- Paul Karp reported, “Opposition leader Bill Shorten says World Vision CEO ‘has a point’ and accuses government of delays in resettlement.”: Tim Costello says indefinite detention of asylum seekers is ‘torture’.
Medicare co-payment will return
Government must live within its means
In response to Labor’s health commitment, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reiterated the Coalition’s mantra that the government must live within its means. However, earlier today, when pressed by Barrie Cassidy on ABC Insiders, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was unable to see any correlation between this policy and politicians’ living away from home allowances.
- Adam Gartrell reported, “Labor is promising to keep the cost of prescription medicines down by officially ditching the Coalition’s “medicine tax.”: Bill Shorten’s $1b promise to keep medicine costs down.
Gerard Henderson complains about Libbi Gorr
Gerard Henderson has used his appearance on ABC Insiders to moan about the treatment of Sophie Mirrabella in an interview by Libbi Gorr for ABC 730.
Watch the full interview here:
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin didn’t tell government
Gold Coast politics
- Candidate in the recent Gold Coast council elections, Penny Toland, comments on the Federal member for Fadden Stuart Robert’s regime: LNP take over Gold Coast Council by stealth.
Puff piece on Barnaby Joyce
- Frank Robson wrote, “Barnaby Joyce threads his four-wheel-drive through the dark and silent world of his childhood, a little-visited valley where cattle hold leisurely soirées in the middle of the twisting, unsealed road. “Gedup, gedup,” mutters Joyce, nudging an indignant group aside with his enormous bull bar.”: Barnaby Joyce: Cross country.
Bill in Mal’s Wentworth
- Jane Lee reported, “Bill Shorten is beginning the third week of the election campaign in Sydney, and what better place to start than behind enemy lines?”: Bill Shorten parks his bus in Malcolm Turnbull’s Wentworth heartland.
(May 21, 2016) Day 14 – What Mitch knew
Communications Minister knew of NBN leaks referral to AFP
- Michael Safi reported, “As fallout continues over raid on Labor senator, Mitch Fifield confirms he was aware management had called in police but denies having told Malcolm Turnbull”: NBN files: minister knew Australian federal police were investigating leak.
- Adam Gartrell reported, “Communications Minister Mitch Fifield admits he knew about the police investigation into damaging National Broadband Network leaks but claims he did not tell Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.”: Mitch Fifield knew about NBN police probe but did not tell Malcolm Turnbull.
- ABC News reported, “Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says it is “inconceivable” the Communications Minister knew about a possible Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation into leaks from the NBN Co and did not tell the Prime Minister.”: NBN Co document leak AFP referral decision was made by management, Mitch Fifield says.
- SBS News reported, “Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has confirmed he knew alleged NBN Co leaks had been referred to the AFP but did not tell the prime minister.”: Senior minister aware of NBN AFP referral.
What they don’t want you to know
- Gina McColl reported, “A Chinese government-backed propaganda unit and a swag of companies that stand to gain from the China Australia Free Trade Agreement have made more than half a million dollars of political donations in Victoria, raising concerns about the influence of foreign donors.”: Chinese interests play increasing role in Australian political donations.
Losing the literary vote
- Susan Wyndham reported, “Anger and political passion built during a long night at the Australian Book Industry Awards in Sydney on Thursday, where speakers including Jeanette Winterson and Jonathan Franzen, Tim Winton and Jackie French condemned the federal government’s proposals for free import of books and free use of copyrighted material.”: ‘If you care about books, don’t vote Liberal’: Authors get political.
Labor would appoint LGBTI Discrimination Commissioner
- Nicole Hasham reported, “Labor would appoint a champion of gay and lesbian rights if it wins government, in a move that further highlights Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s adherence to his predecessor Tony Abbott’s same-sex marriage stance.”: Labor pledges gay and lesbian rights watchdog if it wins office.
New candidate for Fremantle
- Guardian Australia reported, “Former teacher and diplomat Pierrette Kelly unanimously endorsed to contest seat following original candidate’s decision to resign.”: Liberals name new candidate for Fremantle to replace Sherry Sufi.
Foreign aid uncut
- Adam Gartrell reported, “Labor has pledged to reverse the Coalition’s latest $224 million cut to the foreign aid program but is making no promises about the many billions slashed under Tony Abbott’s government.”: Labor pledges to reverse the Coalition’s latest foreign aid cuts.
- Adam Gartrell reported, “The Turnbull government has spent more than $5 million on an advertising blitz urging Australians to be more responsible when they travel overseas as part of a new direction for the troubled Smartraveller scheme.”: Turnbull government spends $5m on new advertising campaign targeting travellers.
Bill in Campbelltown
Mal in Wyong
Western Sydney in play
- Michael Safi reported, “Who wins the 2016 election may rest in western Sydney’s outer-suburban electorates. But whether the prime minister can appeal to the same voters Howard once wooed remains a great unknown.”: Western Sydney returns to election battlefield in fight to convince ‘real Australia’.
- Mark Kenny reported, “Voters expect Malcolm Turnbull to survive but his preferred prime minister rating is sinking and his personal approval is lower than Julia Gillard’s when she failed to secure a majority against a less popular Tony Abbott in the 2010 “dead-heat” election.”: Fairfax-Ipsos poll: Malcolm Turnbull’s approval slides as election campaign drags.
(May 20, 2016) Day 13 – Send in the cops
Bill in Woy Woy
- Gareth Hutchens reported, “Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook reveals that middle-income voters may have to wait a while for their tax cut since it has to pass parliament first”: Final budget update: Treasury warns Coalition and Labor on spending.
- Michael Janda reported, “Treasury and the Department of Finance have stuck by their budget forecasts, leaving the key numbers and assumptions unchanged.”: PEFO budget numbers unchanged, Treasury stands by forecasts.
AFP raid to recover leaked NBN documents has been leaked
- ABC News reported, “The National Broadband Network (NBN) has agreed to destroy photographs taken by one of its employees during last night’s police raids on Labor Party offices.”: NBN to destroy photos of documents subject to parliamentary privilege following AFP raids.
- Sky News reported, “Lawyers for shadow communication minister Stephen Conroy have claimed that a NBN staff member took photos of seized documents and sent them to his colleagues.”: NBN staffer may face jail for document leak.
- Lenore Taylor and Gareth Hutchens reported, “ALP complains to Australian federal police that photos taken and disseminated from raid on Stephen Conroy’s office could have included its broadband policy”: Labor anger after NBN employee spread raid photos before files were sealed.
Labor raided over leaked NBN documents
Mark Kenny reported on February 29, 2016, “Malcolm Turnbull’s cut-price National Broadband Network is facing mounting delays and rising costs, according to a damning internal progress report obtained by Fairfax Media.”: NBN: Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘faster, cheaper’ roll-out falters.
- Michael Bachelard wrote,”Let’s be clear. The news stories about the failings of Malcolm Turnbull’s National Broadband Network which led to last night’s police raids were squarely in the public interest.”: NBN leaks were of public interest, so why the late night police raids?
- Michael Slezak reported, “Alleged leak investigated by federal police is likely to relate to costs and delay in Malcolm Turnbull’s overhaul of Labor’s ambitious NBN strategy”: NBN: the trouble with Coalition’s plan for quicker and cheaper broadband.
- Matthew Doran reported, “The raids are connected to documents leaked from the National Broadband Network (NBN) company, described as “concerning allegations of the unauthorised disclosure of Commonwealth information”.”: Why did the Australian Federal Police raid Labor offices?
- Gareth Hutchens reported, “Labor’s shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, says because Conroy was sitting on a senate committee into the NBN, the documents are protected.”: NBN documents seized by federal police have parliamentary privilege, Labor says.
- Paul Farrell, Lenore Taylor and Calla Wahlquist reported, “Raids on premises, including senator Stephen Conroy’s office and a Labor staffer’s home, are understood to be in relation to alleged leaking of National Broadband Network documents”: Australian federal police raid Labor senator’s office over alleged NBN leaks.
- Guardian Australia reported, “Seven News-ReachTel poll shows 55.6% prefer prime minister to keep top job, down from 57.7% two weeks ago and 74.9% in early February”: Poll shows Coalition and Labor remain tied but Turnbull’s popularity sliding.
Murdoch press front pages of raid
Capricornia: What mothers want
- Blythe Moore reported, “Childcare affordability and paid parental leave are weighing heavily on the minds of mothers in the marginal seat of Capricornia in central Queensland.”: What mothers want in marginal Queensland seat of Capricornia.
Lewd incident: Liberal candidate Sherry Sufi throws in the towel
- Jacob Kagi reported, “The Liberal Party’s candidate for the federal seat of Fremantle, Sherry Sufi, has resigned from his position in the wake of controversy over past comments he made about same-sex marriage and constitutional recognition.”: Sherry Sufi quits as Liberal candidate for Fremantle.
Vote Compass: Indigenous issues
- Clare Blumer and Mazoe Ford reported, “Two-thirds of Australians would like to see the federal government commit to reducing the rates of Indigenous people in prison, Vote Compass data suggests.”: Vote Compass: Australians support action on Indigenous imprisonment rates.
News Corp’s abuse of power
- Elle Hunt reported, “Australian community leaders have publicly expressed concern about Q&A audience member Duncan Storrar’s “extreme” targeting by the media, singling out News Corp Australia newspapers for their “abuse of power”.”: Duncan Storrar: ‘A line has been crossed’ by media, say community leaders.
Julie Bishop fundraiser with drug dealer
- Joshua Robertson reported, “Foreign minister’s office denies it knew of concerns over LNP fundraiser that had been scheduled for Brisbane’s Mariosarti, which is owned by Daniel Milos”: Fundraiser with Julie Bishop moved from restaurant owned by convicted heroin trafficker.
Bill in Mt Druitt
A man called Dutton
- Heath Aston reported, “A Sudanese refugee chosen by NSW Premier Mike Baird to deliver this year’s Australia Day address says he has always voted Liberal since arriving in Australia but has withdrawn his support for the party in response to Peter Dutton’s comments on job-stealing asylum seekers.” Sudanese refugee lauded by Mike Baird withdraws his support for Liberals over Peter Dutton’s asylum seeker comments.
- Joshua Robertson reported, “The immigration minister hit the headlines again this week yet remains all but anonymous to those he represents.”: ‘Who is Peter Dutton?’ The MP for the least engaged electorate in Queensland.
- Ben Raue wrote, “The Liberals’ chances of forming government may hinge on five seats in Sydney that are home to some of Australia’s most diverse communities.”: Dutton’s refugee remarks face uncertain reception in multicultural marginals.
- Will Woodward wrote, “Peter Dutton’s line about refugees this week was a classic from the Crosby Textor playbook – Australia should expect more of the same in the weeks ahead.: Any election involving Crosby Textor will include dead cats, and we’ve just been thrown one”.
Mal back in Tasmania
(May 19, 2016) Day 12 – Medicare thaw
Heated exchange on ABC 730
Labor raided by AFP
- Stephanie Anderson reported, “The Australian Federal Police are raiding Labor party offices in Melbourne, Labor frontbencher Tony Burke has confirmed.”: Federal Police raids Labor party offices in Melbourne.
Factcheck Senator Penny Wong
Labor to restore Medicare funding
- ABC News Radio reported, “Brian Owler is the President of the doctor’s lobby group, the Australian Medical Association, and he speaks to ABC NewsRadio’s Mark Tamhane.”: AMA President Brian Owler welcomes Labor’s promise to lift freeze on Medicare rebates to preserve bulk billing.
- Mark Kenny reported, “Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will unveil a major plank of Labor’s pitch for middle Australia on Thursday, pledging to re-invigorate Medicare by restoring the inflation-based growth rate to Medicare payments to doctors for the provision of medical services.”: Labor to restore Medicare funding.
Borderforce under investigation
- Guardian Australia reported, “Immigration department and police examine allegations of connections between officials, crime gangs and drug and tobacco smugglers”: Border Force officials investigated over alleged links to serious crime.
- Eliza Borrello reported, “The Immigration Department and Border Force have confirmed they are working with police to investigate allegations of serious criminality by their officers.”: Immigration and Border Force officials under investigation in organised crime probe.
Low wage growth and high childcare costs
Stuart Robert investigations
- Paul Weston reported, “Felicity Stevenson, the council election candidate who went into hiding after it was revealed she received a $30,000 LNP handout, is back working for Fadden MP Stuart Robert.”: Council candidate Felicity Stevenson won’t talk about a $30,000 hidden donation from her boss.
Dutton’s refugee comments fallout
- Abby Dinham reported, “An Iranian-born author and actor has taken the opportunity of winning a major NSW literary award to speak out against Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s controversial comments about ‘illiterate’ refugees.”: Iranian-born refugee wins major literary award, criticises Dutton’s ‘illiterate’ comments.
- Matthew Knott reported, “Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has brushed off calls for his sacking, saying he has Malcolm Turnbull’s “rock solid” support following his controversial comments on “illiterate” and “innumerate” refugees stealing Australian jobs.”: Peter Dutton brushes aside resignation demands, says PM’s support is ‘rock solid’.
- Tony Wright wrote, “An ugly, anti-immigration dunderhead from the 1950s could barely have found a more pointed construction of words than those uttered by Peter Dutton.”: Remind us, Peter Dutton: who built the Snowy Mountains Scheme?
- Ebony Bowden reported, “In one of his strongest editorials to date, Today co-host Karl Stefanovic has lashed Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and called on him to apologise for “un-Australian” comments made this week on the dangers of accepting “illiterate” refugees.”: Karl Stefanovic calls out Peter Dutton for ‘un-Australian’ comments on refugees.
Stop the arts
- Michael Burge wrote, “Much is being made of this week’s wholesale cuts to arts funding in Australia. We knew it was coming, it’s shocking to witness, but does it mean anything to the average Australian artist?”: Cut the crap about arts funding, just grant us access.
- Lucy Carter reported, “More than 60 Australian arts companies that previously received Federal Government support have had their latest funding applications rejected, leaving a lot of them facing uncertain futures.”: Jobs, careers on the line as ‘Black Friday’ cuts hit arts sector.
Bill on the Central Coast
Mal in Sydney
(May 18, 2016) Day 11 – They took our jobs and growth
Townsville stadium turns into a rail link
James Massola reported, “Malcolm Turnbull’s office has moved to a war footing, bringing in key advisers, tightening co-ordination and moving to address concern in Liberal ranks it is not ready to fight a long election campaign.”: Malcolm Turnbull’s inner circle moves to war footing amid campaign concerns.
Dirty Turnbull Government deal
- Lenore Taylor wrote, “Malcolm Turnbull’s peace deal with the pathology industry will leave the biggest players $50m to $70m better off, analysis shows”: Big pathology firms could reap millions from Coalition bulk bill deal – analyst.
Coalition supports National candidate in Indi
- Gabrielle Chan reported, “Barnaby Joyce mocks Mirabella while endorsing his party’s Marty Corboy amid reports Mirabella is cut off from federal Liberal funding”: Sophie Mirabella losing out as Coalition gets behind Nationals Indi candidate.
Fadden Forum and murky Queensland politics
- Peter McCutcheon and Mark Solomons reported, “Gold Coast City councillors and their financial backers are under scrutiny by state and federal authorities following allegations of undisclosed Liberal National Party (LNP) funding of candidates in the March local elections.”: Gold Coast councillors under scrutiny over campaign funding link to LNP MP Stuart Robert.
Mal in Cairns
Bill in Botany
Refugees are illiterate
- Stephanie Anderson reported, “The comments made by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on the dangers of an increased refugee intake have been described as everything from factual to offensive.”: How accurate are Peter Dutton’s comments on ‘illiterate’ refugees?
- Neil McMahon wrote, “Peter Dutton’s statement on asylum seekers was, in its way, a work of art. Critics may yet come to consider this latest gust of enthusiasm the Minister’s best work yet, “: English overboard: Dutton ditches the dog whistle and barks instead.
- Lenore Taylor wrote, “Immigration minister says refugees will ‘take Australian jobs’ and simultaneously ‘languish in unemployment queues’. Well, no, minister.” When Peter Dutton insults refugees he insults the Australian people.
- The Sydney Morning Herald editorial: Peter Dutton’s dog-whistle demeans all Australians and demands repudiation.
- Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson reported, “Putting aside for a moment that Australia takes refugees not because it needs their skills but because they need its protection, Peter Dutton was wrong in his statements to Sky News. The immigration minister’s own department, other branches of government, the parliamentary library and the bureaucrats who work for him say so.” Fact check: was Peter Dutton right about ‘illiterate’ refugees ‘taking jobs’?
- Amy Remeikis reported, “Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has slammed comments Immigration Minister Peter Dutton made about “illiterate and innumerate” refugees taking Australian jobs and long-term welfare recipients, pointing to herself as a refugee family success story.”: Qld Premier slams Dutton’s ‘illiterate’ asylum seeker comment.
- Kerrie Armstrong reported, “Evidence currently on the Immigration Department’s website demonstrates refugees bring significant economic rewards in the long-term.”: Australia ‘reaps rewards’ from investment in refugees.
- Matthew Knott reported, “Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has backed comments by her colleague Peter Dutton that “illiterate and innumerate” refugees would take Australian jobs or “languish” on the dole if Australia was to significantly increase its humanitarian intake.”: Julie Bishop backs Peter Dutton on ‘illiterate’ asylum seekers.
- Sky News Australia reported, “Labor’s immigration spokesman has called on the prime minister to reject Peter Dutton’s ‘deeply offensive’ comments that refugees are taking Australian jobs.”: Labor calls on PM to reject refugee comments.
- Paul Karp reported, “Immigration minister criticises pledges by Labor and the Greens to increase Australia’s refugee intake, claiming it would lead to unemployment.”: Peter Dutton says ‘illiterate’ refugees would be ‘taking Australian jobs’.
Senator Ian Macdonald contradicts himself
- In 2015, Amy Remeikis reported, “A Queensland Senator has suggested north Queensland be used to settle Australia’s increased Syrian refugee intake. Speaking to an estimates hearing in Canberra, Ian Macdonald raised northern Australia as the perfect location to resettle accepted refugees, to help regions with “dwindling populations.”: Syrian refugees a win-win in north Queensland: Ian Macdonald.
David Feeney racks his mind
- James Massola, Nick Toscano and Richard Willingham reported, “Labor MP David Feeney’s own tenants have turned on him and urged locals in the Melbourne seat of Batman to vote for Greens candidate Alex Bhathal.”: David Feeney’s tenants turn on him to urge ‘vote green’.
- Melissa Davey reported, “Frontbencher says ‘maelstrom of events’ after his 2013 election led to him failing to register the negatively geared house”: Labor’s David Feeney: I racked my mind about forgetting to declare $2.3m house.