Tony Abbott

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Treasurer Joe Hockey has announced that the government will not pursue an inquiry into iron ore prices. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Iron ore inquiry off but row continues

The government has given into the pressure from the big miners and formally abandoned the idea of a parliamentary inquiry into the iron ore sector.
Giving constitutional status to an Indigenous advisory body would give Indigenous Australians a say about laws that directly affect them. AAp/Tracey Nearmy

Putting words to the tune of Indigenous constitutional recognition

Proposals for constitutional recognition of Indigenous people are gaining momentum but also raising legal concerns. Here is a form of words to create an advisory council that overcomes those concerns.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is in a nasty squeeze, with Andrew Forrest, founder of Fortescue Metals Group, and some of the other smaller miners on one side, and the big producers, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, on the other. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

War between miners catches government in the crossfire

Tony Abbott has got into a terrible tangle over whether there should be an inquiry into iron ore prices.
President Joko Widodo is not crying over cuts to Australian aid for Indonesia. AAP Image/Eka Nickmatulhuda

How will a 40% cut in Australian aid affect Indonesia?

Australia has cut aid to Indonesia by 40%. That may cause diplomatic displeasure, but the country has restructured its development programs in recent years to be less dependent on foreign money.
More mines, more roads, as the government puts its drive towards economic development ahead of all else. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

There are no green shoots for sustainability in this Budget

Amid talk of paths to surplus and investing in infrastructure, both sides of politics seem to have forgotten Australia's longstanding responsibility to govern sustainably, and not just for the economy.
A swing and a miss: instead of taking its own advice to ‘have a go’ in its second budget, the government is like the captain who sends in a nightwatchman instead of himself. AAP/Tony Ashby

Budget week reveals an appetite for government but not to govern

Joe Hockey's second budget has two large deficits: the fiscal one, plus the lack of a coherent and creative plan for Australia. The Abbott government failed to 'have a go' at building the future.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his government have been encouraged by the budget’s initial reception. AAP/Sam Mooy

Election this year? It seems unlikely

A soft budget - if you overlook the nasty bits still there from last year – with more giveaways than takeaways inevitably fanned talk of a possible double dissolution this year.
In his first budget and in opposition, Joe Hockey’s single-minded focus was on cutting the budget debt and deficits. For his second budget he’s telling a different story. AAP/Paul Miller

Debt disaster is so last year – now Hockey’s giving a helping hand

Joe Hockey's first budget was a declaration of ideological belief. The second is about political survival and depends on breathing life back into the economy -- the ideological urgency can wait.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison announces that a A$3.5 billion child-care subsidy will begin from July 1 2017 if the Senate passes previously rejected Family Tax Benefit savings. AAP/Paul Miller

Focus on working parents misses true value of universal early childhood services

Lost in the political debate about subsidising child care is the fact that universal free preschool care has been abandoned as a goal of good social policy.
Maurice Newman, chairman of the Prime Minister’s business advisory council, has written that climate change is a United Nations power grab. AAP/Julian Smith

Government’s RET compromise guarantees uncertainty for renewables

As the Abbott government prepares Australia's post-2020 emissions targets for this year's Paris conference, the chairman of the Prime Minister's business advisory council has make an extraordinary intervention in the climate debate.
Joe Hockey, pictured arriving for the Liberal leadership spill in February, would not be delivering his second budget had Tony Abbott lost that vote. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Will Hockey really put ‘tough choices’ behind him for sake of survival?

In just a year, the Abbott government has gone from a radical nation-changing budget to promising a 'dull' one. Are we to believe the ideological zeal is gone, or has the survival instinct kicked in?
When not employing the description ‘death cult’, Prime Minister Tony Abbott prefers to use the name Da'esh because the group ‘hates being referred to by this term’. AAP/Lukas Coch

Explainer: ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State or Da'esh?

The terrorist group now calls itself Islamic State, but the many names by which it is known reflect both its own evolution and the deliberate choices others make in how they refer to it.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott can use the latest Newspoll as evidence to his colleagues that he is clawing back. AAP/Lukas Coch

Labor ahead in Newspoll, but Abbott gains ground on Shorten

The government goes into next week's budget trailing Labor on a two-party basis but satisfaction with Tony Abbott has risen to a seven month high in the latest Newspoll.
Bill Shorten faces some budget pressure too. His budget reply performance will be judged partly on whether he includes new substance. AAP/Paul Miller

Leaders shape up for debate over budget’s ‘fairness’, as Deloitte projects $45 billion 2015-16 deficit

Against the grim outlook of a continuing massive deficit, Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten are both seeking to frame the debate ahead of Treasurer Joe Hockey bringing down his second budget next week.

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