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There has been non-stop activity across the Albanese Government following the October budget. It is hard to believe that it was only one month ago.

Foreign policy wins have been secured, with the Prime Minister meeting with President Xi at the G20 Summit, addressing the APEC plenary session and Australia being well received at the COP27 conference.

Challenges remain however, with the Government intent on securing important legislative wins before the Christmas break. The National Anti-Corruption Commission will be passed with bipartisan support and allows the Government to mark another election commitment delivered.

The other major piece of legislation, the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill however has become the centre of intense political and policy debate. The goodwill shown in early September at the Jobs and Skills summit has given way to fierce debate about multi-employer bargaining and whether this bill symbolises progress or a retreat to the past. The introduction of the bill four weeks ago and the rushed nature of the committee process has drawn the ire of crossbench Senators and key stakeholders and likely increased the concessions that the Government will agree to.

Our view is that this bill will be passed in the coming days. Minister Tony Burke continues his negotiations and the Senate agreeing to extended sitting days is a sure sign that a deal will be struck. Our discussions in Canberra have picked up a high degree of confidence in Government to get this done and they are not dissuaded by the media commentary and political attacks. However, this same bill has also formed a rallying point for the Coalition, and it feels like the new Opposition have found their feet.

The other major domestic issue is energy pricing. The gas industry awaits the Treasurer announcing the Government’s market intervention in the days and weeks ahead. The credibility of the decision was strengthened when Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy indicated his support for action during Senate Estimates. The Opposition added political pressure during this time of uncertainty and emphasised the need to bring on more supply in the long term. Our view is that this decision will be a pivotal point where debate will clearly shift from the legacy of the previous Government to holding the new Government accountable for energy pricing and maintaining Australia’s investment attractiveness.

As 2022 draws to a close, the Government will be heartened by its successful transition into Government and its delivery of key election commitments around climate change, an anti-corruption commission, aged care, and childcare without any major scandals. The Opposition have rallied around industrial relations and energy prices and will end the year in better shape than it might have otherwise expected.

2023 will see other policy areas come to the foreground. We will likely see natural disasters continue to be a feature of public commentary over the summer, a tough budget will be handed down in May and the Government will need to make hard decisions, and take accountability for, fixing the primary care health system and the delivery of major defence and infrastructure projects.

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