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Peter Costello says the government’s first preoccupation would have to be internal management. Lucas Coch/AAP

Costello questions what the Turnbull government can achieve

Former treasurer Peter Costello has raised questions about how much the Turnbull government can achieve given its political situation, and warned of the risk of a defection.
Coalition senator Eric Abetz claims he and other Liberal MPs do not have to respect the result of a coming plebiscite on same-sex marriage. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Coalition tensions expose the flaws of the same-sex marriage plebiscite

It is easy to envisage a number of arguments that MPs might use in an attempt to justify ignoring the result of a same-sex marriage plebiscite and voting contrary to its result.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is struggling to contain instability in an openly divided team. Lukas Coch/AAP

A well-functioning cabinet – who are they kidding?

When Kevin Rudd came under attack from some of his ministers for the way he ran his cabinet, it turned out to be the beginning of the end. Now we are seeing Tony Abbott struggling to contain instability…
Barnaby Joyce has been outspoken in opposition to a government decision to build a coal mine in his electorate of New England. AAP/Lukas Coch

Joyce breaks cabinet rules, but his fate is PM’s call

Collective responsibility – or cabinet solidarity – is an axiom of political prudence that has mutated into a constitutional convention of how ministers should behave.
Critics are already seeing Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s reaction to a cross-party same-sex marriage bill as Abbott going back on his word. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: Abbott will look tricky if he tries to abort the same-sex marriage bill he encouraged

The prime minister is suddenly looking like a throwback to Tony Abbott, health minister, when he was fighting trenchantly against losing ministerial power over the abortion drug RU486.
The CFMEU says corruption within the building industry should be referred to the police for prosecution, but the government is looking to a revived ABCC. Julian Smith/AAP

Bikies, unions … and the ABCC? Spinning the policing of work

Recent investigations into the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) by the ABC and Fairfax have revealed relationships between rogue union officials, underworld figures and outlaw motorcycle…

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