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All episodes by Paul Bongiorno
Is it finally time to change immigration detention?
Over the past few years, Australia’s immigration detention policy, which was once the feature of political debates and elections, has stopped making front page news. That’s until a recent High Court decision deemed Australia’s indefinite detention policy unlawful, leading to the release of over 140 people who had been in indefinite immigration detention.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on calls for more accountability in Australia’s hardline immigration regime.
‘Extremely dangerous’: Did Dutton’s question go too far?
This week, Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton clashed in a fiery parliamentary confrontation some have labelled ‘extremely dangerous’.
Are our politicians equipped to moderate this divisive debate? Or are they doing more harm than good?
Are our leaders playing politics with war?
While Australians are distressing and grieving over the escalating human disaster that is the Israel-Hamas war - the political debate over Australia’s response is becoming more fractious. Splits are emerging not just between the major parties, but within them.
Today, Paul Bongiorno on the loss of bipartisanship over the conflict in the Middle East and the fault lines between friends and colleagues.
What was the point of Albanese’s US trip?
This week, Anthony Albanese was given the highest honour a guest of the US president can receive, a state dinner – attended by powerbrokers from Washington and Hollywood. But while the PM was riding high in the US, back home his government is polling at its lowest levels since their election.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on why Labor is losing popularity, and what they’ll need to do to win it back.
The Pezzullo texts: How power really works in Canberra
Texts from Mike Pezzullo, the secretary of Home Affairs, to a Liberal Party powerbroker appear to show a bureaucrat who wasn’t adhering to his duty of impartiality. The messages show a senior public servant bad-mouthing ministers, attacking political decisions and attempting to influence portfolio appointments.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on how Pezzullo’s secret correspondence reveals a bigger problem in the public service.
Is the ‘No’ campaign imploding?
A series of contradictory public statements from “No” campaigners has shown there are divisions in the team arguing the case against the Voice to Parliament. There have been inconsistencies in their views on treaties, Australia Day and the proposal for a second referendum.
Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether the tensions in the “No” camp will make a difference on polling day.
Leaks reveal ‘No’ tactics
It felt like only a matter of time before we’d begin to hear allegations of dirty tricks in the leadup to the referendum. This week, leaked documents and warped headlines have exposed the tactics that are being used to push the “No” vote.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on how the strategies to reject the Voice are reverberating through the halls of power.
Can the government fix the gig economy?
Australian workplaces are set to change again – with the Albanese government introducing its second round of industrial relations reform since it was elected.
It could change conditions for casuals and gig economy workers like food delivery riders – but not everyone is happy.
Albanese vs the ‘Noalition’: It’s about to get spicy
Parliament is back, and the government is once again sparring with the Greens as it pushes ahead with its contentious housing bill. Meanwhile, the Coalition has a new strategy for encouraging a ‘No’ vote in the Voice referendum.
So will the combative nature of this parliament stop Labor from being productive in government and could they lose key bills in the senate? Today, Paul Bongiorno on what lies ahead for the second half of the year in Canberra.
Albanese’s media blitz as Voice support drops
Anthony Albanese concedes support for the Voice to Parliament has slipped. Polls taken around this time last year showed around 60 per cent of Australians would vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum. Now, it’s as low as 41 per cent. Each side of the debate has just published their official case, which will be posted to every Australian household ahead of the vote.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on the arguments laid out in the pamphlets and why Anthony Albanese is feeling the need to go on a media blitz.
Who will the NACC nick?
Some of the biggest stories and characters in Australian politics could soon be under the scrutiny of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. It’s already had hundreds of referrals and more seem likely in the coming days.
But not everyone is warmly welcoming the new corruption watchdog to federal politics.
Stuart Robert, we thought we said goodbye
Stuart Robert may have resigned from parliament – but this parliament might not be done with him yet.
New allegations, which he strongly denies, paint a picture of a lobbying firm setting up arrangements to profit Robert if he helped them win government work.
Lidia Thorpe alleges sexual assault in Parliament House
Parliament began this week with bitter arguments over the handling of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation, but it took only two days for accusations of another sexual assault to emerge.
Liberal senator David Van has been advised he will no longer sit in the party room, following accusations of sexual harassment and assault from independent senator Lidia Thorpe, which he denies. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the standards and culture within Parliament House.
Philip Lowe thinks you should do more work
Is Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe pushing Australia into a recession?
That has now become the biggest question in the Australian economy – as household budgets are squeezed even further by an interest rate rise that almost no-one wanted to see.
The politicians who think the sky is falling
Anthony Albanese says politicians are running around Canberra claiming the sky is falling. “Chicken littles”, he’s calling them, doomsayers trying to whip up unfounded fears about the Voice.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton has reacted as if the reference to the old folk tale is a deeply insulting slur, but it’s hardly the most charged language that’s been used by one of our politicians in recent weeks.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the latest political skirmish – and whether WA premier Mark McGowan’s resignation is a sign the sky really is falling
Dutton's dangerous rhetoric unleashed in parliament
This week, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton stood to address parliament on the bill that will allow a referendum on the Voice to parliament.
What he said in that speech has alarmed many, and at least one spokesperson for the Voice said Dutton’s words have been echoed in the abuse he’s received from racist opponents online.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on what Dutton’s rhetoric will do to the debate on the Voice.
How Anthony Albanese’s doing a year after winning
It’s almost a year since Anthony Albanese did what no Labor leader had done in 15 years: win an election from opposition. It was a momentous time for him personally, and one that shifted the political landscape after a decade of conservative government.
Just how much has he accomplished? Is Albanese living up to the promises he made on election night? And is he willing to go beyond them?
The middle class vs. the poor: Why the Coalition wants them to fight
Since the budget dropped on Tuesday night, the Coalition and some parts of the media have begun to pick a very strange fight. It’s over whether some of the most vulnerable in the community should really get more help than middle-class Australian households with two incomes.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper, Paul Bongiorno on the strange politics at play and why there are bigger questions we should be asking.
Is Albanese going to ignore young people?
The economic news got worse this week, with the RBA unexpectedly raising interest rates and some dire economic forecasts. So far, it looks like the economic assistance the government will offer in the upcoming budget will be targeted. It probably won’t raise JobSeeker — except for over 55s — and it’s unlikely to pause rising HECS debt.
So, after a decade or more of young people falling behind economically, will we see any help at all on budget night? And what are the political risks if the government doesn’t offer something?
51 ways the RBA has to be better
It’s independent of government, has enormous power over our lives and hasn’t been reformed in 25 years. But yesterday, the Reserve Bank bowed to scathing criticism and even Governor Philip Lowe conceded parts of the RBA had been out of step with modern expectations.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on why the government took such bold action on the RBA, but won’t stop it inflicting more pain.
How Peter Dutton’s ‘No’ is tearing the Liberals apart
If the Liberal Party’s announcement that it would oppose the Voice to Parliament was meant to take attention away from their internal fractures– the result has been very different. This week, the party’s spokesperson on Indigenous Australians resigned his post, and the party’s most high-profile Indigenous figure tore up his party membership.
So how did it come to this? And have these splits torpedoed Peter Dutton’s case just as he’s begun to make it?
No Voice and no votes: the future of the Liberal Party
The Liberal Party has formally announced their opposition to the Voice to parliament. The announcement comes in the wake of two election defeats in two weeks, first in NSW and then the Aston by-election.
With the future of the Liberal party under scrutiny, what lessons is Peter Dutton taking from his election losses?
Inside Peter Dutton’s leadership test in Aston
The Liberal Party is in disarray. This weekend questions could multiply as the federal party faces the ballot box under Peter Dutton’s leadership for the first time, at the Aston by-election.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the must-win contest and how pressure is mounting inside the Liberal Party.
The dissent in Labor ranks over the US alliance
Australia’s AUKUS deal was supposed to have unanimous support, but it has thrown up unexpected challenges for the Labor government — with senior party figures breaking ranks to criticise its scope, price and impact on our relationships.
So, will there be a showdown over the $368 billion dollar plan? And if so, how will the Prime Minister handle it?
Will Albanese and Dutton agree on the $368 billion question?
The AUKUS agreement has brought a rare political sight this week: the government and the opposition are agreeing with each other. Both major parties support the deal, if anything they’re competing to show who can support it more strongly.
But how will we pay for it? Will we cut spending on other services? Or try to increase tax revenue?
What convinced Albanese to tackle superannuation
A week ago, superannuation reform was just an idea, a national conversation and the prime minister certainly wasn’t proposing anything. But the conversation was brief, and a decision was swift.
So what convinced Anthony Albanese his government had to act? And why was it worth the risk of being accused of breaking a promise?
Superannuation: Is the government breaking a promise?
This week, the treasurer said he wants to start a national conversation about super – but will it lead to reform, or will this conversation end up in the political graveyard?
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the future of our super.
The by-election that will define Dutton’s opposition
Speculation is swirling about who will be selected to run for the seat being vacated by Alan Tudge. While the pressure is on for the Liberal party to pick a woman, factional infighting means nothing is guaranteed.
So can the Liberals retain the seat of Aston, which it barely clung on to at the last election? Or is the seat within Labor’s grasp?
Thought the climate wars were over? A sequel’s out next week
Australia is supposed to be reducing its emissions at a rapid pace, and last year, the Albanese government put a new target into law.
Now, we will finally get to see exactly how Labor plans to force our biggest polluters to reduce their emissions. But will the proposal win the support it needs? And how will it shape the political year to come?
Spotlight: Russia moves on Ukraine, plus how prepared is Scott Morrison for conflict?
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has launched a military operation in Ukraine. Today, we cover the latest in Ukraine conflict and the political debate in Australia over our defence strategy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing the challenge of a global military conflict. His government’s increasingly aggressive stance towards both Russia and China has put the spotlight on Australia’s defence policy, and its preparedness for a potential war. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how equipped Scott Morrison is to handle escalating tensions in both Ukraine and in the Pacific.
Scott Morrison makes history (for all the wrong reasons)
A prime minister will never again be able to secretly appoint themselves to act in multiple ministries. The practice will be made unlawful, with new rules to make appointments public – even Scott Morrison agrees with that.
He said as much, when he rose in front of the parliament to explain his actions. But the speech he delivered was hardly an admission of guilt.
Albanese’s meeting with Xi Jinping: Will Australia get a second date?
Australia was one of the first western nations to recognise the communist government of China, almost 50 years ago. But more recently, China appeared to freeze out Australia diplomatically, and for six long years Chinese President Xi Jinping did not meet an Australian prime minister.
This week, that changed. But how did the meeting come about? What was said?
Listen to this before budget night
Ahead of the budget, the Labor party is in a tricky position by promising no tax hikes, no excessive borrowing, but fixing funding to services.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the storm clouds gathering as we go into budget week.
Albanese can’t be haunted by Labor’s ghosts
The Labor party keeps saying this coming budget is full of hard decisions. Anthony Albanese has vigorously ruled out dumping the expensive stage three tax cuts.
So what is left on the table for Labor to turn to?
Is Albanese about to axe the stage three tax cuts?
They are the tax cuts Scott Morrison promised, and Anthony Albanese said he would deliver as part of his election commitments.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on whether Labor could be ready to slowly ditch the stage three tax cuts.
The trauma of robo-debt is finally being investigated
Kath Madgwick said her son took his own life just hours after learning he owed a Centrelink debt through the scheme – she’ll be making a submission to the new royal commission into robo-debt.
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper, Paul Bongiorno, on how the commission is trying to find the truth, for the victims of robo-debt, and the future of integrity in our parliament.
Albanese's race to ease the cost of living
This week, rates rose to seven-year-highs and inflation still won’t be easing off anytime soon.
Cost of living is a problem the government has promised it’s aware of, but there will be increasing pressure for it to start implementing practical solutions that actually help people who are struggling.
The truth about the jobs summit: it's the descent that kills you
Will Labor’s Jobs and Skills Summit live up to the hype?
Anthony Albanese wants to make policy that’s good for workers and for employers, but the days leading up to the summit were full of tension between business and the unions.
Secret ministries are legal. Now what for Scott Morrison?
What Scott Morrison did was legal, but it fundamentally undermined principles of the constitution. So is that it? Should the country and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese move on? Or are there more questions to be answered?
Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the inquiry to come and if Anthony Albanese is overplaying his hand.
Scott Morrison’s secret ministries: everything you need to know
It's the rolling scandal that has dominated the week in politics, and permanently marked Scott Morrison’s legacy. This week it emerged that while in power the former prime minister secretly swore himself into five different ministries: Health, Finance, Resources, Treasury, and Home Affairs.
The public didn’t know, his former government colleagues didn’t know, and in most cases, the very ministers in those portfolios didn’t know.
How Peter Dutton is making himself irrelevant
Labor's first fortnight in power has been marked by a significant win — a successful agreement to pass a bill that would see a 43 per cent emissions reduction target become law.
That agreement was made entirely without the opposition, with Peter Dutton removing his party from negotiations at the beginning of the week.
Another test for Anthony Albanese
After five years of inaction, the Albanese government has made implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart a key item of business. Anthony Albanese has described it as a hand held out to the country.
But there are still questions over whether a referendum will succeed. Senator Patrick Dodson is telling colleagues they should put it up regardless - if the vote is lost, the country will have to live with it.
What Tony Abbott did next
This week, Tony Abbott re-emerged in a string of radio and television interviews. Some Liberals speculate it is part of a push Abbott is making to become president of the NSW Liberal Party.
In the course of this, he has also become a surprise backer of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s foreign policy. Another big week of international meetings was met with applause by a former prime minister better known for tearing down Labor leaders.
How much do you crossbench, bro?
Australia has a new emissions reduction target. But the Prime Minister wants to turn that target into law, by passing it through parliament. Whether he can, will come down to the historic new senate crossbench, which was finalised this week. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the battle lines in Australia’s new Senate.
The energy crisis just got serious
This week, the wholesale energy market was suspended. It’s the first time the Australian energy market operator has ever had to take that step to keep electricity flowing to homes and to businesses. But this crisis has been decades in the making, caused by a policy vacuum that both sides of politics share responsibility for.
The first steps towards integrity
A fully independent commission to investigate federal corruption was one of the biggest issues for voters at the recent election. Now, the new Labor government has given us a first glimpse of how they plan to set one up. Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on the first steps towards integrity.
Why Albanese is demanding discipline
As the new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attempts to set the agenda and tone of the next parliament, Labor’s challenges are crystallising. Climate policy is shaping up as a key battleground, with Labor confronted by a Greens dominated senate, and an Opposition that won’t back Labor’s targets. Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on Albanese’s agenda and why he’s demanding discipline from the Labor party room.
How did the Liberal Party get it so wrong?
As votes are still being counted in an election that has reshaped the political map. What do the results mean for the future of Australian politics? What will the greatest challenges for the new parliament be? And where will the battle lines be drawn?
The Vote Panel: Could Scott Morrison win again?
It’s all come down to this. On Saturday night, Australia will decide it’s next government and next Prime Minister. The final week of the campaign saw Scott Morrison, who is trying not to be a bulldozer, bulldoze a child during a media appearance at youth soccer training in Tasmania. And Labor released the costings on its policies, just two days out from the election.
The Vote Panel: Wage wars and leaked polls
With just one week to go until election day, the debate over the minimum wage has taken the spotlight. And the polls are showing some Coalition strongholds are at risk of falling. So what can we glean about how Labor and the Coalition are gearing up for the final days of the campaign, and should we trust the polls this time around?
The Vote Panel: Everyone is promising houses
As we close in on election day, housing affordability has become a central issue of this campaign. People’s mortgages are going up and it could put upward pressure on rents.
So, how are cost of living pressures factoring into the decision voters will make in just two weeks time?
The Vote Panel: Three weeks in and it’s all about to start
Today, Anthony Albanese is set to end his isolation and return to the campaign trail after he tested positive for Covid-19 last week. As he returns to campaigning in-person, the cost of living has become an even more pressing election issue and a deal between China and The Solomon Islands has opened up a surprising avenue of attack on the Coalition.
Who would select a candidate like Katherine Deves?
With a crucial deadline now passed, Liberal candidate Katherine Deves will almost certainly remain the Coalition’s pick for the seat of Warringah. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the Katherine Deves controversy and how it looks to the independents who could be shaping up as kingmakers.
The Liberal Party turns on Scott Morrison
With the countdown to the federal election on, both sides of politics are attempting to shore up internal support and reassure voters. Labor is still firmly ahead in the polls, but the race is getting tighter, at least according to newspoll. In an unprecedented development, however, members of the Liberal Party has begun turning on Scott Morrison. Today Paul Bongiorno on the fight ahead.
Budget ‘22: All hat, no rabbit
Last night, Josh Frydenberg delivered his last budget before the Morrison government goes to the polls. It was a pitch to voters worried about the cost of living, with new payments and bold claims about an economic turnaround.
The death of Kimberley Kitching
The death of Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has ignited claims of bullying within the party. Meanwhile, heavy losses for the Liberals in the South Australian election could have dire implications for Scott Morrison.
The Albanese glow-up
As an election inches closer, both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese are seeking to define their public images. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the battle lines being drawn, and just how personal this contest is likely to get.
Is Scott Morrison about to be toppled?
As criticism mounts over the government’s response to the floods in Queensland and New South Wales, Scott Morrison is facing another problem: disquiet within his own ranks about his leadership. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how precarious the Prime Minister’s position might be.
Floods, war and the PM’s Covid-19 diagnosis
This week, record breaking floods in Queensland and New South Wales have left thousands of homes decimated, with tens of thousands of residents forced to evacuate, and a number of people dead. Meanwhile, overseas, Russian forces have been intensifying their attacks on Ukraine. So how is the Prime Minister Scott Morrison dealing with these challenges? Today, Paul Bongiorno on Scott Morrison’s performance and plummeting popularity.
Russia moves on Ukraine, plus how prepared is Scott Morrison for conflict?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing the challenge of a global military conflict. His government’s increasingly aggressive stance towards both Russia and China has put the spotlight on Australia’s defence policy, and its preparedness for a potential war. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how equipped Scott Morrison is to handle escalating tensions in both Ukraine and in the Pacific.
Scott Morrison hits the panic button
With the government trailing in the opinion polls, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has attempted to improve his image. But will these last ditch efforts work, or do they just appear desperate? Today, Paul Bongiorno on how Scott Morrison is attempting to claw back ground as the election inches closer.
Bread, circuses and the ‘psycho’ text about the PM
Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the National Press Club in Canberra this week, hoping to reset his relationship with the public ahead of the federal election. Instead, it raised a series of questions about just how out of touch Morrison is. Today, Paul Bongiorno on what the price of bread and a series of leaked text messages have to do with Scott Morrison’s leadership
What to expect this election year
This year Australians will head to the polls and cast their judgement on the performance of the federal government. According to the latest polls the Labor opposition are the favourites to win, yet predicting Australian politics is notoriously fraught. Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno, on what kind of surprises might be in store this election year.
Scott Morrison prepares for the fight of his life
As 2021 comes to end, most of us are winding down. But in Canberra, with the election on the horizon, the contest is just beginning. Today, Paul Bongiorno on what we’ll see as both leaders fight for their political future.
Parliament ends in disunity and disarray
This week, two of the nation’s highest profile politicians have announced that they will be quitting politics. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the departure of the Health Minister Greg Hunt and former Attorney-General Christian Porter - and the internal division plaguing the Coalition.
How Pauline Hanson fractured the Coalition
The Coalition government has fractured on a number of issues this week, most significantly in response to a bill introduced by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.
As parliament enters its final fortnight of the year, a number of Coalition senators crossed the floor to vote against the government, in favour of One Nation’s legislation - which aims to oppose vaccine mandates.
The Liberal MP abandoning Scott Morrison
The federal Coalition government holds office by the barest of margins - just one seat. Now, a popular and high profile Liberal incumbent has announced he won’t be recontesting his electorate, throwing the party’s election preparations into jeopardy. Today, Paul Bongiorno on why the Liberal MP abandoning Scott Morrison thinks Anthony Albanese might be a better Prime Minister for the country.
A climate change election?
After an agreement was struck with his National party colleagues, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will bring with him a carry-on luggage sized climate policy to COP26 in Glasgow. With an election on the horizon, Labor has branded his agreement as “a steaming pile of nothingness”. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the problems with Scott Morrison’s climate plan.
Barnaby Joyce is holding Australia hostage
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under pressure, both from voters and Australia’s international allies, to publicly support a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. But his coalition partners, the Nationals, are yet to support the policy. Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the Coalition’s war over net zero, and how Barnaby Joyce’s National party is holding the country’s future to ransom.
From a lump of coal to net-zero: Morrison’s climate makeover
Four years ago Prime Minister Scott Morrison wielded a lump of coal in the Australian Parliament, demonstrating his commitment to fossil fuels. Now he’s trying to pivot, shifting his government towards a position of supporting net-zero emissions by 2050. Today, Paul Bongiorno on Scott Morrison’s newfound enthusiasm for net zero, and whether his own ministers will back him.
How Scott Morrison turned Australia into a climate pariah
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing pressure over his reluctance to attend this November’s climate change conference in Glasgow. But what’s really driving the PM’s unwillingness to participate in the most important international climate event in years? Today, Paul Bongiorno on the climate policy paralysis plaguing the Morrison government and what it means for Australia’s international reputation.
Morrison's French kiss off
Scott Morrison has hailed Australia’s military alliance and new submarine deal with the United Kingdom and United States as a landmark achievement. But it’s already led to a global diplomatic standoff. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the fallout from Australia’s nuclear submarine deal and why the President of France won’t return Scott Morrison’s phone calls.
Does anyone trust Scott Morrison?
After a slow and delayed start, vaccination rates across Australia are finally gaining momentum, with NSW and Victoria hitting 80 percent and 70 percent single dose targets this week. Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether the Morrison government has the trust and credibility to maintain the goodwill of the Australian public throughout the rest of the pandemic.
Are we heading towards a pandemic election?
The country might still be in the grip of a pandemic and ongoing lockdowns, but our major parties are already planning for a looming federal election. The Prime Minister has strongly hinted the nation could be heading to the polls in just a few months, and the political battle lines are now being drawn. Today, Paul Bongiorno on what the election will be fought over.
Scott Morrison’s coming out of his cave, and he’s doing just fine
A couple of weeks ago the Prime Minister, along with state and territory leaders, signed off a plan to end lockdowns and border closures when vaccine rates reached 80% of the adult population. But it didn’t take long for the so-called national plan to fall apart. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the Prime Minister’s odd decision to invoke a movie to help argue his case for opening up.
Scott Morrison is late to the rescue
This week the federal government was caught out without a clear plan on two of the biggest crises facing the world right now: the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether being underprepared is now a feature of Scott Morrison’s leadership.
The anti-lockdown movement reaches Parliament
Australia’s anti-lockdown movement reached federal parliament this week, when a rogue Coalition MP took to the floor to blast public health measures used to limit the spread of Covid. The comments highlight growing divisions in the government over Australia’s approach to the pandemic. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the challenges Scott Morrison is facing from his own party.
Scott Morrison’s in the race of his political life
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is now facing the consequences of a slow and messy vaccine rollout. To try and claw back public support the PM has tried to tap into the country’s Olympic spirit, describing our vaccine challenge as a “gold medal” race. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the intertwined fates of the vaccine rollout and the Prime Minister’s political fortunes.
Labor’s great surrender
While many Australians were focused on watching the Olympics this week, the federal Labor Opposition quietly made some significant policy changes. The party has now fallen in line with the government's tax cuts for the wealthy, despite previously labelling them unfair and ineffective. Today, Paul Bongiorno on Labor’s small-target strategy, and if it will work.
The “menacing” and “controlling” Scott Morrison
For most of the past year the Coalition government has faced sustained criticism over its treatment of women. Now a former Liberal MP has added fuel to the fire, lashing a culture of sexism and bullying in the Liberal party, and accusing a cabinet minister of sexual harassment. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the latest allegations levelled against the Morrison government and why there seems to be no consequences.
Barnaby Joyce sinks to the top… again
After two years on the backbench, Barnaby Joyce is back as leader of the Nationals and as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister. His return to power has put the spotlight on the tense relationship between the two Coalition parties. Today, Paul Bongiorno on what triggered Barnaby Joyce’s return and what it means for the future of Australian politics.
Scott Morrison dodges responsibility
For the past week the federal government has been locked in a tussle with Victoria over who is responsible for financially supporting those suffering the economic consequences of another lockdown. Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the fresh political challenges facing the federal government.
Who's to blame for Victoria's lockdown?
Victoria has been plunged back into lockdown, the state’s fourth since the start of the pandemic. But this time there’s one big difference: vaccines that were supposed to help keep us safe and avoid outbreaks like this are now available, but in Australia take up has been slow. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how Victoria entered lockdown and who shoulders the blame.
Morrison doubles down on Fortress Australia
Travel restrictions have played a crucial role in keeping Australia relatively safe from the worst of the pandemic, but the federal government has been reluctant to announce their end date. Today, Paul Bongiorno on why Prime Minister Scott Morrison is so intent on keeping our borders closed.
Who foots the bill?
The federal government is about to drop its highly anticipated budget, laying out its priorities for the next 12 months. The stakes couldn’t be higher, as Australia reckons with the global economic fallout from the virus, and plots an uncertain future. Today, Paul Bongiorno on what the Treasurer is planning, and what it might tell us about who should pay for Australia’s pandemic recovery.
A sermon from the Church of Morrison
At a recent appearance at the Australian Christian Churches conference Scott Morrison referred to social media as evil, and said he believed he was doing God’s work as Prime Minister. Those comments have ignited debate over the role of faith in political leadership. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the Prime Minister's Pentacostal faith and how it fits with some of his policy decisions.
The real story behind Christine Holgate’s exit
Six months after the chief executive of Australia Post, Christine Holgate, was forced out of her job, she’s now broken her silence. Holgate claims that she was bullied, and has revealed the real reason she believes she was targeted. Today, Paul Bongiorno on what really happened at Australia Post.
Scott Morrison’s vaccine shambles
The federal government promised that by the end of March four million Australians would be vaccinated against Covid-19 but as of this week we’ve barely hit a quarter of that target. Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether Scott Morrison is doing enough to vaccinate the country.
Christian Porter goes back to parliament
Christian Porter is still facing calls for an inquiry into allegations of sexual assault levelled against him, allegations he denies. But Porter has announced he will return to parliament in his role as the nation’s first law officer. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the conflicts of interest facing the attorney-general.
Inside the Christian Porter strategy
The Attorney-General has so far refused to resign, denying the rape allegation levelled against him. He’s been supported by senior ministers and the Prime Minister. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how Scott Morrison fought alongside Christian Porter to keep him in his job, and what happens next.
A Neanderthal on the crossbench
This week, Craig Kelly quit the Liberal Party to sit on the crossbench. It’s a huge risk for the Coalition - and any action on climate change.
Episode 400: Sitting week
The Brittany Higgins case has dominated the week in Canberra. This is the story of how the prime minister has responded to her alleged assault, and how he has tried to manage the coverage that followed.
The Coalition’s climate standoff
The Prime Minister is trying to calibrate his climate policy to better fit into a post-Trump world, but he faces a conservative revolt on his own backbench. On the other side, Australia faces trade sanctions if it doesn’t implement serious emissions reduction targets. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the Coalition’s climate standoff.
The miseducation of Craig Kelly
Scott Morrison’s attempt to restart the political year was blown off course after one of his backbenchers was criticised for promoting misinformation about Covid-19. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the problems rogue Liberal MPs are making for the Prime Minister, and why it took him so long to rein them in.
The year that was (plus, Buon Natale from Paul Bongiorno)
Scott Morrison started the year bruised by his response to the bushfire crisis. But the pandemic has seen a big bounce in his approval ratings. With an election predicted for next year, will it be enough to secure another term? Today, Paul Bongiorno on how federal politics played out in 2020, and what’s coming next.
Morrison gears up for a summer brawl
Just as parliament was wrapping up for the year, the government introduced radical and controversial proposed changes to workers' rights. The new legislation looks set to dominate the political agenda in the new year. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how the political battlelines are being drawn.
Scott Morrison feeds the trolls
The growing diplomatic dispute between China and Australia took an ugly turn this week, after a Chinese government official posted an incendiary tweet. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the realities of dominant China, and whether Scott Morrison can navigate Australia through a period of growing tension.
How to lose a trade ally in 14 ways
Australia’s relationship with China is at its lowest point in decades. Trade boycotts are impacting local businesses, and now the Chinese government has issued a fourteen point list of grievances it has with Australia. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the challenges Scott Morrison faces trying to navigate a tense moment in global politics.
The truth about robodebt and political responsibility
The federal government has settled the largest class action in Australian history, over the unlawful robodebt program. Today, Paul Bongiorno on who was responsible and whether anyone in the government will be held accountable for this policy.
How Biden is changing Australian climate policy
Joe Biden’s victory in the United States has already had ramifications for Australian politics, particularly on the issue of climate change. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the political shockwaves rolling across the Pacific.
Not by the Hehir of my political sin
Pressure has started to mount on the federal government following a string of scandals involving senior public officials. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the government’s attempts to use Covid-19 to deflect criticism.
Scott Morrison’s Labor obsession
As political battles over the government’s stimulus measures and proposed industrial relations reforms loom, Scott Morrison has been taking aim at the federal opposition. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how the prime minister is drawing influence from his political predecessors.
Mr. Morrison goes to Queensland
With the Queensland state election looming, the Prime Minister has hit the campaign trail. But just as he arrived it was revealed that the LNP Opposition leader had been referred to the election watchdog for alleged impropriety. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the growing political scandals around the country.
Albanese draws the political battlelines
In his budget reply speech last night Opposition leader Anthony Albanese outlined his response to the economic crisis and criticised the federal government for spending in the wrong places. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how the political battlelines between the major parties are being drawn.
“The most important budget since World War II”
As the Treasurer prepares the upcoming federal budget he’s facing pressure to spend big and keep the economy afloat. But can a government historically preoccupied with cutting spending invest more in economic stimulus? Today, Paul Bongiorno on the challenge facing Josh Frydenberg, and the country.
Escape from Tony Abbott
Scott Morrison has spent the week untangling himself from Tony Abbott’s policies, on both climate change and the NBN. Today, Paul Bongiorno on new roadmaps and old problems.
The cliff and the climate
The federal Opposition is seeking to capitalise on the current economic downturn by arguing that the government’s policies are making things worse. Meanwhile, the prime minister is pinning his hopes on a gas-led recovery. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how Labor fired up, and the political battle over energy policy.
Scott Morrison’s shattered cabinet
Scott Morrison is waging a war on two fronts this week. He’s locked in a battle with state governments to reopen borders, and he’s increasingly blaming the Victorian government for the severity of the state’s second wave. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the growing political divide across the country.
Here comes the recession
The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg started this week by launching an extraordinary attack on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and ended it by presiding over the biggest fall in economic activity in decades. Today, Paul Bongiorno on Australia’s economic predicament and who’s really to blame.
The minister for not caring
In a week where the minister for aged care was unable to answer questions about the crisis in his portfolio, and details emerged about a branch stacking scandal in his own party, the Prime Minister is finding himself under increasing pressure. Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether we should be expecting more from our politicians.
Look over there! A vaccine!
As a number of inquiries interrogate how prepared state and federal governments were for the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister has evaded criticism by changing the topic to a potential coronavirus vaccine. Today, Paul Bongiorno on Scott Morrison’s attempt at distraction.
Scott Morrison, a man of inaction?
At the beginning of the pandemic Prime Minister Scott Morrison was keen to project himself as a unifying leader. But as the crisis has stretched on he’s adopted a much more reserved approach. Today, Paul Bongiorno on Morrison’s strategy of inaction and if it will work.
Morrison’s coronavirus backdowns
While most of the focus has been on Victoria, behind the scenes the federal government has been sending mixed-messages on economic policy and state border closures. Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether Scott Morrison is accurately reading the mood of the electorate during this phase of the crisis.
Pandemic politics: Morrison vs. Andrews
Throughout the Covid pandemic traditional political hostilities have been dialled back, and governments have tried to project a sense of national unity. But that’s starting to fray. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the growing political stoush over the crisis in Victoria’s aged care system.
The broke and the brittle
As the government reveals the extent of the budget deficit, Scott Morrison has become increasingly short in answering questions.
Morrison to the virus: ‘Ich bin ein Melburnian’
As Victoria enters a second lockdown, Scott Morrison has offered an apolitical response to the Labor state.
The Eden-Monaro Missile Crisis
The timing of Scott Morrison’s $270 billion defence announcement is being linked to votes in Eden-Monaro as much as it is to the country’s strategic future.
Politics and Dyson Heydon
The harassment allegations against Dyson Heydon have reminded some in Canberra of the royal commission that traded on his “stainless reputation”.
Everything you need to know about the Somyurek scandal
The Adem Somyurek scandal has now involved the federal Labor party, and poses a big question: who leaked?
Does Scott Morrison want an early election?
As Scott Morrison looks at a bleak five years economically, some in his own party think he’s gearing up for an early election.
Tear gas in the Rose Garden
As protests against police violence and inequality continue in the United States, Scott Morrison had a private phone call with Donald Trump.
Morrison’s economy (unplugged)
Scott Morrison is strongly against further economic stimulus. But as a $60 billion hole shows up in the JobKeeper program, questions are being asked about whether enough is being spent.
Don’t mention the trade war
The Morrison government’s excitement about a coronavirus inquiry cannot cover over the trade war opening up with China.
Back in black. Cough, cough.
As the federal government struggles to rebuild Australia’s battered economy, the threat of a trade war with China risks hampering our recovery. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the twin challenges of rebuilding the economy, and managing our relationship with our largest trading partner.
Snakes in the garden of Eden-Monaro
Infighting within the Coalition has been exposed as candidates emerge and then quit in the race for the seat of Eden-Monaro. Today, columnist for The Saturday Paper Paul Bongiorno on the divisions laid bare, and the first real test for Scott Morrison’s popularity.
How Scott Morrison sparked a new war with China
Scott Morrison’s push for an inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak has further strained Australia’s relationship with China. The Chinese government has expressed concern and threatened retaliation. Today, Paul Bongiorno on a new low in Chinese–Australian relations.
Malcolm Turnbull’s last word
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull went on a media blitz this week to promote his new book. In the memoir Turnbull shares his brutally honest opinion on the current prime minister and senior cabinet ministers. Today, Paul Bongiorno on Malcolm Turnbull’s return to centre stage.
Virus economics: you and whose numbers
With the global economy facing its biggest downturn since the Great Depression, the Treasury and the IMF are at odds on the extent of the damage in Australia. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the competing economic forecasts for the country, and the way forward.
How Scott Morrison became an accidental socialist
The past week has completely changed the way politics works in Australia, with a right-wing government introducing the most radical economic measures in a generation. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the political earthquake that rocked Parliament House.
Coronavirus, part five: One month in
Scott Morrison’s first national address on coronavirus was one month ago. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the decisions his government has made since then and how they stack up.
The day coronavirus swallowed Scott Morrison
With the cost of coronavirus growing everyday, will Scott Morrison’s stimulus be big enough and fast enough? Today, Paul Bongiorno, on the future of the economy, and the Prime Minister.
Can Team Australia beat the coronavirus?
With economic and social effects of the coronavirus outbreak accelerating, the government has finally released the details of a $17.6 billion stimulus package. Today, Paul Bongiorno on whether the government’s actions will be enough to stave off a recession.
My name’s Scott Morrison, and I have a truth problem
Scott Morrison has admitted he attempted to invite Hillsong founder Brian Houston to a White House dinner. But why did he deny it for so long? And is he telling the truth about his office’s involvement in the sports grants scandal?
Scott Morrison’s fortunate disaster
Coronavirus has provided Scott Morrison with an opportunity to re-establish his leadership credentials, but will it work? Today, Paul Bongiorno on how the prime minister is making the most of this crisis.
Does Scott Morrison finally have a climate policy?
Scott Morrison is sandwiched between the climate deniers in his own government on one side and Russell Crowe on the other, as he tries to come up with a new climate policy.
Llew ‘Who’ O’Brien and the National Party turducken
Why the chaos that installed Llew O’Brien as deputy speaker is really about Queensland state politics - and how it’s set the clock on nine months of dysfunction from the Coalition.
Barnaby Joyce’s failed coup
Barnaby Joyce lost his leadership tilt but has reopened a schism in the Coalition on climate policy.
Scott Morrison’s eternal present
As Scott Morrison pivots to the coronavirus evacuation and deploys the military to the fire zone, questions are being asked about the management of both responses.
A very Morrison Christmas
As fires continue on both sides of the continent, and the government succeeds in putting off commitments at the UN climate talks, Scott Morrison has gone on holidays.
Where there’s smoke, there’s climate change
As fires burn across the east coast and Sydney suffers catastrophic air pollution, the Coalition government is arguing to do less on climate change.
Jacqui Lambie’s secret deal
Jacqui Lambie says she has a deal with the government to repeal medevac. She won’t say what it is, and the government says it never existed.
Defending Angus Taylor (the lone wolf and the albatross)
Scott Morrison has put himself in a difficult position, calling the NSW police commissioner to check on an investigation into his own minister.
Robo-debt and China (a week in two acts)
The Morrison government has halted its robo-debt program, finally confronting issues with the troubled scheme. Separately, the government has affirmed its reliance on Chinese trade – irrespective of human rights concerns.
The burning truth
As fires burn through NSW and Queensland, a fundamental shift can be detected in Canberra: the politics of climate change have altered.
The sniff, the scent of victory
As Labor responds to an internal review of its election defeat, some in the party feel they have already lost the next election.
The surplus disease
The Morrison government is committed to a budget surplus above all else. But as Paul Keating points out, this commitment can be a kind of sickness.
To Howard with love
Paul Bongiorno on how the Liberal Party celebrates and how the National Party brawls.
The luck and the chutzpah
As the Liberal Party slides further on climate change, the Labor Party fights an internal push to abandon its platform.
Trump, Morrison, money and the drought
As Scott Morrison tried to shift Australia’s focus to the drought, and the cash rate fell below 1 per cent, Donald Trump’s paranoia followed the prime minister home.
Scott goes to Washington
Tomorrow, Scott Morrison will be received in Washington on a state visit. It highlights his special relationship with Donald Trump and his difficulty with Beijing.
Holding onto Gladys Liu
As some backbenchers express doubt that Gladys Liu can stay in parliament, Scott Morrison is digging in behind his MP.
What Morrison didn’t expect in Biloela
How support for a Tamil family in Biloela blindsided the government and caused the prime minister to panic.
Timor bug, China spy
While Australia remains belligerent over the Witness K case, Canberra is standing up to Beijing over the imprisonment of Yang Hengjun.
Scott Morrison vs. the World
As he arrives for talks in Vietnam, Scott Morrison is struggling to match his attempts at diplomacy with his position on climate change.
Hastie and Morrison
As the Morrison government begins its inquiry into press freedom, there is concern about the bipartisanship of the committee hearing it. At the centre is Andrew Hastie.
Rodney Rude diplomacy
A visit from US ministers gives a clearer picture of what America wants. But as Trump’s trade war with China escalates, it also sets the stakes for Scott Morrison’s visit to Washington.
Betting against integrity
Amid claims of misconduct against Crown Casino, Labor and the Coalition voted down a parliamentary inquiry into the affair.
Labor strategy and ‘the secret agenda’
The Labor Party has come back to parliament with a plan to ignore Scott Morrison, making the most of an ill-disciplined backbench.
A Voice and a prayer
Scott Morrison began the week praying in front of 21,000 people. He closed it promising a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
Faith and taxes
As Scott Morrison’s tax cuts make their way through the parliament, there are fresh questions over religious freedoms.
Condemned to interesting times
As Labor loses party discipline over tax cuts, the Coalition enters into an ugly post-mortem of its leadership change.
Double bluffs and Cory Bernardi
As Labor and the Coalition explore a double bluff on tax cuts, Cory Bernardi wants back into the Liberal Party.
The Morrison vacuum
As Scott Morrison searches for a path to legislate his tax cuts, concerns over press freedom continue to trouble his government.
Rates, raids and meeting the Queen
Scott Morrison flies back from meeting the Queen to a flagging economy and concern over raids on the ABC and other reporters.