After a week of lobbying via media, state and territory leaders finally met the Prime Minister today in Canberra for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG
) meeting. With Prime Minister Abbott
wanting to talk about domestic violence, national security, and the drug ice, it was WA Premier Colin Barnett who sought to make it all about the carve up of the GST, arguing for major reforms to the way the tax revenue is distributed. The PM said he was sympathetic to WA’s claims but would not change arrangements. The leaders did agree to a national Domestic Violence Order scheme, and to reconvene in July to talk about health and education funding. See the Communiqué here
The Government’s pre-budget positioning continued this week with the Prime Minister reiterating a commitment for a small business tax cut to an Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry lunch. Abbott also confirmed he would not make changes to negative gearing, and repeated his promise not to raise taxes on superannuation or make adverse or unexpected changes to super this term.
Meanwhile Mr Abbott confirmed that 300 ADF personnel
will head to Iraq as part of the international Building Partner Capacity training mission to prepare Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIL.
Defence Minister Kevin Andrews
released the RAND Corporation report into Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry this week, which found that Australia could sustain a naval shipbuilding industrial base with a continuous ship building strategy. See the media release here
Attorney-General George Brandis
announced that Federal Court judge Michelle Gordon will join the High Court in June, replacing Justice Kenneth Hayne.
In the latest Newspoll
, Labor leads the Coalition 51:49 in the two-party-preferred vote.
Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Bernie Ripoll
announced that he will retire from federal politics at the next election, continuing Labor’s generational change in Queensland.
, Mark Pearson of the Animal Justice Party has secured the final spot in the state’s upper house. With all results now declared, the 42 person NSW Legislative Council will comprise 20 representatives from the Coalition, 12 from Labor, 5 from The Greens, 2 each from the Christian Democrats and Shooters and Fishers, and 1 from the Animal Justice Party. For the full results see here
WA and Tasmanian Parliaments sit next week.