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The Commonwealth appear to hold the aces when it comes to state-federal funding, but the states have cards to play. AAP/Stefan Postles

Time for states to change the script over GST gains

The stoush over GST redistribution followed a predictable script of squabbling between states; but now is the time for an alternative agenda.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to lowering taxes. AAP/Nikki Short

Small business win in a budget with ‘fair’ savings: Abbott

Tony Abbott has reaffirmed that the government's aim is "always to get taxes down" in a speech also saying that the May 12 budget will offset all new spending with "responsible and fair" savings.
Bill Glasson, pictured campaigning with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the Griffith byelection, has confirmed he is a candidate to fill a Senate vacancy. AAP/Dan Peled

Ex-AMA chief Glasson throws hat into Senate ring

Former Australian Medical Association president Bill Glasson is in line to fill the Senate vacancy created by the resignation of Brett Mason.
Ideally, the cabinet should include four of the seven types of leaders - and only two of those make effective prime ministers. AAP/Lukas Coch

The real leadership challenge: only six Liberals are suitable to be PM

Analysis of the mindsets and responses of thousands of senior leaders tells us only about 7% are likely to have the right stuff to lead effective government responses to wicked problems.
The competition policy review is just another difficult conversation for the Abbott government. Gary Schafer/AAP

Government writing reform cheques it’s unlikely to cash

Big reforms in taxation and competition policy are on the table for the Abbott government, but has it spent too much political capital to get any of them across the line?
The Abbott government is running out of time to try to come up with new ideas and refresh its reason for being. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Lacking an agenda, the Abbott government’s time is running out

When it comes to producing a comprehensive, far-reaching policy regime – a coherent vision for Australia’s society and economy and how to turn it into reality – the government is only getting started.
The World Heritage Committee has called for a comprehensive assessment not just of the threats to the Great Barrier Reef, but of their cumulative effect. AAP Image/Australian Institute for Marine Science, Ray Berkelmans

Is Australia meeting the UN recommendations for the Great Barrier Reef?

The government says it has met all of the recommendations for safeguarding the Great Barrier Reef. But a close reading of the dozens of UN recommendations shows that many have been only partly fulfilled.
Mike Baird has been rewarded for being upfront about a difficult issue, while Tony Abbott was less forthcoming before his election and lost many voters' trust as a result. AAP/Nikki Short

Bold Baird’s win in NSW is good news for Abbott, but for how long?

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop said the take out from the result was that "people are ready for reform as long as it's explained to them, and that's what Mike Baird did". It was a pointed comment.
AAP/Jason Reed

AIIB: Abbott’s incredible investment backflip

Even for a government that has recently made an artform of policy backflips, the Abbott government’s belated, but seemingly inevitable decision to join China’s proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment…
Because their votes may be open to negotiation, crossbench senators often have the final say on the form, and passage, of legislation. AAP/Alan Porritt

Scorn the crossbench, ignore Australian political history

Instead of treating crossbenchers in parliament as a source of chaos and an aberration, we should recognise that they play a crucial role in shaping legislation as the constitution provides.
Shadow minister for families and payments Jenny Macklin at the launch of Labor’s pensions campaign. AAP/Lukas Coch

Pre-budget battle weapons – a slogan and a slide show

Playing the slogan game might degrade the political debate, but it worked alright for Tony Abbott – so now Bill Shorten’s launched into it ahead of the May budget. Labor has unveiled its “Mr Abbott. Don’t…
Given Australia’s involvement in Iraq, Tony Abbott cannot dismiss human rights abuses by Iraqi security forces fighting Islamic State militants. AAP/PMO

Australia has an obligation to stop human rights abuses by Iraq

Australia has a clear obligation under international law to take action to stop abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law by the ISF and Shi’a militia.
From boyhood to late in life, Malcolm Fraser always seemed to be slightly removed from those around him. AAP/Tim Dornin

The long and lonely political journey of Malcolm Fraser

Malcolm Fraser's record in public life was remarkable, ensuring he'd be remembered not only for his role in The Dismissal, but for how far apart he and the party he once led came to be.

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