The Inside Word
Federal Politics Update – Thank God for Easter, a break from politics.
Wow! What a lot has happened since our last Inside Word.
Mainland Australia is now officially red, with NSW the final piece to fall in the ALP jigsaw.
Leader Chris Minns and the NSW ALP took the election by storm last Saturday night, but as the week wore on a minority ALP Government seems the most likely outcome. By contrast, the Perrottet NSW Liberals lost a swag of seats in Western Sydney but, inversely, held on to most of its northern suburb’s seats against the predicted teal wave.
Tasmania is now the last bastion in the Liberal Party fold. The Federal Liberal Party face’s its own test this weekend with electors in the federal seat of Ashton (Melbourne) going to the polls. Whilst inconsequential for the Government, a loss by the Liberals would be a hammer blow to Peter Dutton’s leadership.
Meanwhile back in Canberra the Albanese Government has been on a roll, cracking three significant bills in the March parliamentary sittings. With the support of the Greens the Government has succeeded in passing the 15 billion National Reconstruction Fund – legislation to enable the mechanics behind the Voice referendum to proceed and the ALPs signature policy – the Safeguard Mechanism sailing through the Senate.
Unlike the Greens of the Bob Brown era that opposed all the Rudd-Gillard climate policies, the Greens under Adam Bandt have positioned themselves as deal makers.
Likewise, Minister Chris Bowen has emerged as the ‘Greens whisperer’, having succeeded twice in winning over the Greens on two key bills:
Firstly, legislation enacting the 43 per cent emissions target by 2030 and secondly, the Safeguard Mechanism that regulates Australia’s 215 biggest polluters, and puts on tough controls capping total emissions on all new fossil fuel projects. The latter will have a tsunami that prevent many new future coal and gas projects.
The response from the gas and coal sector has been swift warnings that prices will head north, jobs will head south, and a new carbon tax by stealth has been imposed. In addition, the issue of sovereign risk has emerged with energy dependent nations such as Japan questioning our reliability as a primary source of energy.
While the Labor Government has won on the Safeguard Mechanism, the same cannot be said for the $10 billion Housing Bill, which has stalled in the Senate. The Greens and the cross bench have dug their heels in on this bill, arguing for more funds and symbolically demonstrating to their left-wing constituency that they are not just patsies for the Government, having compromised on the two climate bills. Party and product differentiation is critical if political parties are to survive and thrive.
As Easter approaches, MPs and Senators will head back home for a welcome break to recharge their batteries and focus on their constituencies
This is not so for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Treasurer Jim Chalmers, and the Cabinet as they hammer out the final details for the Budget due on Tuesday the 9th of May.