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Federal politics continues to be focused almost exclusively on the Coronavirus pandemic and the Government response. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister made a keynote speech to the National Press Club in which he outlined his post-COVID vision.

The PM flagged a cooperative approach between government, business and unions in devising an industrial relations framework that builds consensus and helps keep Australians in jobs. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter will conduct working group meetings between now and September that will determine the shape Australia’s IR system takes following the reopening of the economy.

Separate to both the JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs, the PM also unveiled a new JobMaker scheme, aimed to boost employment during the recovery phase. More details are expected shortly.

Moreover, the PM announced a proposed overhaul of the skills and training sector. In particular, he emphasised the need for greater transparency and accountability over how state governments spend money provided by the Commonwealth in this area. The PM underlined his ambition to create a system of greater uniformity between each state jurisdiction that is less confusing. The overall goal of the reform is to attract high school leavers from the university system who would be better suited studying a trade.

Finally, the Eden Monaro by-election will take place on 4 July. Labor is fielding Bega Mayor Kristy McBain as its candidate, while the Liberal Party has pre-selected beef farmer Fiona Kotvojs. The by-election obviously takes place amongst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, but its result will be closely monitored by both major parties. A defeat for Labor would be bad news for Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, while a poor performance for the Liberals could be viewed as an adverse ruling on the Government’s handling of Coronavirus.

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