Covering the Australian election campaign for 2016.
Table of contents
(June 1, 2016) Day 25 – A State of Origin
Arthur Sinodinos on superannuation policy
- Gabrielle Chan reported, “As confusion grows around the Coalition’s superannuation measures, the cabinet secretary commits the government to taking policy back to the party room”: Arthur Sinodinos flags post-election superannuation changes.
- Sky News Australia reported, “Sky News has been told the reforms never went to the government’s party room for consideration.”: Internal pressure on government over super.
Bring back Abbott
- Terry Barnes wrote, “As we near the half-way mark of this protracted, uninspired, turgid, scrappy campaign, opinion polls are stubbornly remaining stuck around a 50 per cent split of the two-party preferred vote between the Coalition and Labor.”: Turnbull must bring Abbott back – or risk losing the election.
- Calla Wahlquist reported, “Conservative Liberal senator says ‘linking to one interesting article’ doesn’t mean he endorses all author’s views.”: Cory Bernardi defends linking to article by ‘neo-masculinist’ Roosh V.
- New Matilda reported, “Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has been inundated with criticism after apparently directing Twitter followers to the website of men’s activist and ‘pickup artist’ Daryush ‘Roosh’ Valizadeh, a self-described “chauvinist” blogger who infamously published an article arguing rape should be legalised on private property.”: Cory Bernardi slammed after directing followers to ‘pro rape’ blogger.
Both leaders tour Brisbane
- Amy Remeikis reported, “Dreams. Courage. Imagination. Inspiration. Journeys. Jobs and Growth. Milly the cavoodle. Malcolm Turnbull’s Church of Innovation has it all.”: Behold, congregation of the Church of Innovation, here is Malcolm.
GDP growth figures
- Michael Janda reported, “The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the National Accounts today, showing the national GDP growth figure has risen by 1.1 per cent for the March quarter, taking the annual growth rate to 3.1 per cent.”: GDP growth figures: What are they? Why does it matter?
Company tax cuts
- Lenore Taylor reported, “Council of Small Business of Australia chief says only about 40,000 of the 870,000 small businesses receiving the cut are likely to use the bonus.” Fraction of small businesses likely to use Coalition tax cuts to expand – industry body.
- Lenore Taylor reported, “Investment bank says only 30% of the money forgone in corporate tax cuts is likely to contribute to economic growth.”: Goldman Sachs analysis of company tax cut finds benefits would go offshore.
Fairwork Commission and penalty rates
- Stephanie Anderson reported, “Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has pre-empted a decision on penalty rates by the Fair Work Commission, declaring the industrial umpire will not cut Sunday penalties.”: Bill Shorten says Fair Work Commission won’t cut Sunday penalty rates.
- Dan Conifer reported, “Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has given a gaffe-filled interview about superannuation, where she proposed a radical change in the system and appeared not to understand Australia’s superannuation regime or her party’s policy.”: Sarah Hanson-Young confuses superannuation regime and Greens policy.
Julie Bishop on her superannuation gotcha
- Gabrielle Chan reported, “Foreign affairs minister’s ‘gotcha’ moment with Neil Mitchell puts transition to retirement scheme back in spotlight”: Explainer: what Julie Bishop didn’t know about superannuation.
(May 31, 2016) Day 24 – Business warfare
War on business
- Annabel Hepworth and David Crowe reported, “Bill Shorten has lashed out at Labor stalwart Keith DeLacy over his criticism of the opposition’s anti-business agenda, mocking the former state treasurer as a company director who wants a tax cut, as business leaders called for an end to class-war politics.”: ALP ramps up its war on business.
Sex and Marijuana parties
- Joshua Robertson reported, “The new Senate voting rules have forced a joint ticket between two parties that are serious but far from po-faced as they target the progressive vote.”: Boring election? Alliance of Sex and Marijuana parties aims to change all that.
Concetta Fierranvanti-Wells survives
- Heath Aston reported, “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has prevailed in a potentially-destabilising battle over Senate preselections in NSW after the Liberal Party factions agreed to ensure the political survival of conservative minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.”: Liberal minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells survives as factions fall in behind Malcolm Turnbull.
Coalition cancer funding
- Belinda Merhab reported, “Not a lot of people can get away with slapping the prime minister in the face with a piece of paper.”: PM ‘raw’ after meeting 6yo cancer patient.
Coalition of the environmental unwilling
- Gareth Hutchens reported, “The Australian Conservation Foundation’s assessment of the parties’ policies awards the Coalition 11 points out of 100, Labor 53 and the Greens 77”: Environment scorecard rates Coalition’s policies ‘woefully inadequate’.
Putting northern Australia fund to work
- Lenore Taylor reported, “Bill Shorten plans to take $1.bn from Coalition’s $5bn infrastructure fund and allow it to be used for smaller projects.”: Labor to spend $1bn from northern Australia fund on tourism.
Chris Nelson kicked from Liberal Party
- Georgina Mitchell reported, “A chiropractor and osteopath who allegedly wrote racist Facebook posts on the page of Nova Peris has been kicked out of the Liberal Party.”: Chris Nelson booted from Liberal Party after alleged Nova Peris Facebook posts.
Julie Bishop on Liberal stroll
- Richard Willingham reported, “It was clear, crisp and cold in Melbourne’s bayside Liberal heartland of Hampton where Ms Bishop engaged in some old-fashioned street-walk campaigning. Ms Bishop helped make coffee in a cafe, hung with a Fevola, visited a wine bar (although she did not drink) and talked fashion.”: Julie Bishop has a very Melbourne morning.
- Tom McIlroy reported, “Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has denied falling out with former prime minister Tony Abbott over his troubled leadership and has ruled out ever challenging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.”: Julie Bishop rules out ever challenging Malcolm Turnbull.
- Melissa Davey reported, “Labor MP tweets support for Coalition funding for Maharishi school, which promotes ‘consciousness-based education’ and has fewer than 100 students”: David Feeney criticised for supporting $500,000 grant for school under investigation.
- Megan Palin reported, “She’s usually the model of decorum but Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has suffered a rare interview slip up in a self-confessed “gotcha moment” on live radio.”: Julie Bishop’s trainwreck radio interview: ‘Well, this is obviously a gotcha’ moment’.
Transition to retirement scheme changes
Growing pies, curing cancer
- Paul Karp reported, “Resources minister says candidates are challenging Bill Shorten’s authority on coal and Adani’s Carmichael mine.”: Josh Frydenberg targets Labor candidates opposed to new coalmines.
- James Massola reported, “Political strategists for both major parties believe the Coalition is on track to lose about 12 seats at the July 2 poll, slashing Malcolm Turnbull’s buffer in the Parliament but returning his government with a reduced second-term majority.”: The 12 seats the Coalition thinks it could lose to Labor on July 2.
Economic growth figures
- Shane Wright reported, “Treasurer Scott Morrison has revealed the Federal Government may “re-calibrate” its plans to boost the economy as it pins its hopes on small and medium-sized firms using a tax cut to invest and keep employing Australians.”: Sluggish growth may force tax policy reboot.
- James Massola reported, “Treasurer Scott Morrison has moved to pre-empt concerns about a potential slow-down in economic growth figures that will be released in Wednesday’s national accounts.”: Scott Morrison moves to head off economic growth fears.
12 week work experience
Holden closure in South Australia
- Michael Edwards reported, “There is concern the Elizabeth area of South Australia could turn into Australia’s version of the blighted American city Detroit when Holden closes its manufacturing centre next year.”: Holden closure in Elizabeth creates ‘pool of talent’ for high-tech manufacturing industry.
(May 30, 2016) Day 23 – Joe Hockey surfaces
The phantom journeys of Smokn’ Joe
Michael Evans reported on May 20, 2016, “Who exactly is Russell Howarth? He’s best known as the man who made citizens arrests while campaigning against the UberX ride sharing service when it was setting up in 2014.”: Riot cop, anti Uber activist, Hockey’s driver, bankrupt: The many faces of Russell Howarth.
- Sean Nicholls reported, “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is being called on to back an investigation by the Australian Federal Police into revelations about misuse of former treasurer Joe Hockey’s Cabcharge account.” Joe Hockey Cabcharge revelations: Malcolm Turnbull called on to back police investigation.
- Sean Nicholls reported, “The two-page letter advised Hockey of an “apparent fraud” against his taxpayer funded Cabcharge card involving alleged “phantom journeys” amounting to thousands of dollars.”: Was Joe Hockey taken for a ride? The taxi driver, Cabcharge dockets and secret investigation.
Women’s sport not interesting, says Leyonhjelm
- Mike Hytner reported, “Labor leader calls David Leyonhjelm a ‘stone age man’ after he said women’s sport was not interesting enough to warrant more funding for TV broadcasting.”: ‘Back to the cave’: Bill Shorten calls out senator Leyonhjelm on gender equality.
Man charged after racist attack on Nova Peris
- ABC News reported, “NSW Police have charged a Central Coast man over allegedly posting racist comments on the Facebook page of outgoing Northern Territory Labor senator Nova Peris.”: Nova Peris: NSW Central Coast chiropractor charged over online racist abuse.
Antics in Dawson
Chas gets roughed up
- James Robertson reported, “The Chaser has made its first appearance on the federal election campaign crashing, in spectacular style, an appearance by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in western Sydney.”: The Chaser team pull stunts on Malcolm Turnbull: ‘I think the feds broke my fall’.
Liberal MP Craig Kelly hands out Abbott Government flyers
Heath Aston reported, “It’s not the message Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants to see issued on the streets of Sydney as he tries to present a united front with the still-bruised conservative ranks of the federal Liberal Party.”: Conservative Liberal MP hands out flyers spruiking a ‘government under Tony Abbott’.
Mal in Western Sydney
Battle for Indi
- Tony Wright reported, “Sophie Mirabella steamed out of her office and on to the Wangaratta footpath.”: Ten seats that will determine the campaign: Sophie Mirabella, Cathy McGowan and the battle for Indi.
Sinodinos referred to privileges committee
- Sean Nicholls reported, “Cabinet secretary Arthur Sinodinos has been referred to the powerful Senate privileges committee to determine if he is in contempt by refusing an order to attend an inquiry into political fundraising bodies.”: Senator Arthur Sinodinos referred to privileges committee over Senate inquiry no-show.
Coalition governing with independents on table
- Paul Karp reported, “Finance minister says Labor on ‘unity ticket with the Greens’ after analysis shows Coalition could lose 16 seats in three states.”: Mathias Cormann refuses to rule out Coalition governing with independents.
- James Cook Uni reported, “Coral reef scientists estimate that mass bleaching has killed 35% of corals on the northern and central Great Barrier Reef.”: Coral death toll climbs on Great Barrier Reef.
- Michael Slezak reported, “As mass bleaching sweeps the world heritage site, scientists also find an average of 35% of coral dead or dying in the northern and central sections of the reef”: Most coral dead in central section of Great Barrier Reef, surveys reveal.
- Chris Mooney reported, “‘For months, coral reef experts have been loudly, and sometimes mournfully, announcing that much of the treasured Great Barrier Reef has been hit by “severe” coral bleaching, thanks to abnormally warm ocean waters.”: A whole new ballgame’: Scientists find 35 percent coral death in parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
- Peter Hannam reported, “More than one-third of the coral reefs of the central and northern regions of the Great Barrier Reef have died in the huge bleaching event earlier this year, Queensland researchers said.”: ‘Huge wake up call’: Third of central, northern Great Barrier Reef corals dead.
Bill in Cairns
- Malcolm Farr reported, “The Great Barrier Reef becomes an election campaign battle front today with Labor pledging $500 million to rescue the world-famed natural phenomenon.”: Labor pledges $500 million for Great Barrier Reef.
- Gareth Hutchens reported, “Extra cash for scientific monitoring and management promised by Bill Shorten to support one of party’s ‘highest priorities’”: Labor pledges $500m over five years to support Great Barrier Reef.
- The Conversation has created an infographic, “Political donations at a glance.”: Infographic: a snapshot of political donations in Australia.
(May 29, 2016) Day 22 – Women in sport
Labor pledge for women
It’s rare to see women’s sport widely covered across the media. Rarer still to see it raised as an election issue. Labor has chanced its arm today by pledging funds for the national broadcaster to boost the viewing audience of women’s sport across Australia.
- Matthew Knott reported, “Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has vowed to boost the amount of women’s sport on the ABC’s TV and digital channels by 500 hours, saying it was time female athletes receive the same treatment as men.”: Bill Shorten vows to boost TV coverage of women’s sport.
More environmental cover-ups
- Michael Slezak reported, “Fears about damage to the Great Barrier Reef were removed from UN report along with concern about a threat to the environment in two other heritage sites”: Australia covered up UN climate change fears for Tasmania forests and Kakadu.
Leaders’ dead heat debate
- Paul Karp reported, “The debate went down predictable lines, but there was heat in exchanges between Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten on asylum seekers and climate change”: The five moments that mattered in the leaders’ second election debate.
- Michael Gordon reported, “If Sunday’s leaders’ debate was scored according to who gave the more polished and confident performance, and who was more consistently on message, Malcolm Turnbull took the points, narrowly.”: Leaders’ debate: Malcolm Turnbull on message, Bill Shorten goes the biff, and the voters lose.
- Gina McColl reported, “Top Liberal ministers raised more than $1 million in 2014-15 through shadowy entities with no reporting requirements, accountability to donors, codes of conduct or independent oversight, a Fairfax Media investigation has revealed. Where the money came from is largely obscured. Only about a tenth of the $1,045,730 raised by ministers Kelly O’Dwyer and Josh Frydenberg and former ministers Andrew Robb and Kevin Andrews was contributed by disclosed donors.”: Political donations: new fears over shadowy Liberal fundraising groups.
Fighting the Medicare freeze
- Ben Doherty reported, “Michael Gannon, who had previously said the AMA was becoming too left wing, says the six-year freeze is ‘unfair’ and ‘wrong’”: ‘GPs are at breaking point’: new AMA president vows to fight Medicare freeze.
The media has zoomed in on Shorten’s inability to name the captains of the Hockeyroos and Southern Stars. Perhaps it highlights the need for the policy for the ABC to provide more hours of women’s sport.
In 2014, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott famously mispronounced socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak as “Mike”.
More Chris Jermyn
- Adam Gartrell reported, “Coalition candidate Chris Jermyn was involved in a notorious student politics conference in which his fellow Young Liberals proudly chanted about being racist, sexist and homophobic.”: Liberal candidate Chris Jermyn at conference involving racist, sexist, homophobic chant.
Qld Labor coming for Christensen, Dutton
- Michael Koziol reported, “Labor certainly thinks so. It has high hopes of claiming two big Coalition scalps in Queensland: Mr Christensen in Dawson and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton in his outer suburban Brisbane seat of Dickson.”: Labor has George Christensen and Peter Dutton in its sights.
(May 28, 2016) Day 21 – Recognition and racism
- Fergus Hunter reported, “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have found a rare moment of unity on the campaign trail, agreeing that racism in Australia persists and there is more work to be done on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. But just over an hour after the Prime Minister spoke, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann struck a different note, attacking the Opposition Leader’s “very negative” comments on entrenched racism.”: Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten agree racism persists.
The long walk
- Matthew Knott reported, “National Broadband Network chair Ziggy Switkowski has mounted a fierce defence of the company’s decision to call in the police over leaks, saying the NBN has been the victim of ideologically-motivated theft.” Ziggy Switkowski: NBN leakers were thieves, not whistleblowers.
The Chris Jermyn moment
- Adam Gartrell reported, “A Liberal candidate’s bid to gatecrash one of Bill Shorten’s campaign events has backfired spectacularly with a car-crash media interview. Chris Jermyn found himself unable to articulate the Coalition’s health policies before declaring his hatred for journalists and beating a hasty retreat.”Liberal candidate Chris Jermyn implodes at Bill Shorten event.
- ABC News reported, “Liberal candidate Chris Jermyn’s plan to ambush the Opposition Leader in the marginal Victorian seat of McEwen has backfired. Mr Jermyn, who is running for the Labor-held seat, declined to outline his party’s policy when he was asked a few times about the Government’s freeze on Medicare rebates.”: Liberal candidate Chris Jermyn’s attempt to ambush Bill Shorten fails after Medicare policy stumble.