Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageMalcolm Turnbull risks provoking the conservatives within his party on the issue of same-sex marriage.AAP/Mick Tsikas

It was another good day at the office for the Turnbull government. Finally, Labor came on board with the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. And a package of changes for savings from Family Tax Benefits, replacing the disastrous one in the 2014 budget, has a prospect of getting through the Senate.

Labor, as much as the government, was thankful to clear the way for the awkwardly-dubbed ChAFTA. There was no way the opposition could have permanently obstructed it – that would have been politically disastrous and anyway, it was never the plan.

The government gave Labor some cover by being willing to agree to additional labour market protection.

Bill Shorten, caught between union militants and the electorate, needed a settlement. There was a lot of last minute toing and froing between Labor and the unions. There might be some union discontent about the outcome (though the CFMEU got most of what it wanted) but with voters, there is no harm in Shorten appearing to show a touch of independence from his industrial base.

The government, anxious to bank the achievement and needing to do so quickly in order to reap this year’s benefits from ChAFTA, lost no skin by the concession.

While ChAFTA is now certain of parliamentary passage, the Family Tax Benefit changes still have hurdles ahead, maybe requiring extra tweaking. But they have a much better chance of success than the original version. The recalibrated measures are less blunt and better targeted.

On this issue too, the government is very anxious to get a resolution - it has linked much of the savings to funding its proposed $3.5 billion child care package that will be one of the carrots it offers at the 2016 election. The new package saves about $2.4 billion, as against the original $3.8 billion, but the government is throwing in other savings to get the number close to the original one.

The all-round optimistic government mood was evident in the upbeat demeanour of Treasurer Scott Morrison and Social Services Minister Christian Porter as they spruiked the package.

Amid the glow, there were discordant notes.

Former treasurer Joe Hockey, departing parliament after nearly two decades, didn’t hold back in his valedictory speech. The revolving door of leadership change must be “jammed shut”, he said. Such instability was “the enemy of good public policy”. He stood strongly behind the Abbott government’s record – including his 2014 budget - conceding only political not policy mistakes.

His views will be discounted because he failed as treasurer and is now out of the picture. Nevertheless, he has laid down some tough markers for economic reform, including on tax, industrial relations and welfare, ahead of the Turnbull government having to decide just how brave it wants to be in what it puts to the people next year.

Less publicised but worth noticing were remarks by assistant minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells in an address to the National Press Club.

“As the senior conservative from NSW, I have spent a lot of time talking to our base”, she said. “In NSW, it is well known the left control the [Liberal party] division, but the base is mostly conservative.

“Many are devastated by the change, some have left and many have threatened to down tools. … The change of leadership will have an impact on our party … We rely on a volunteer base, mostly of older members, some who have simply had enough.”

One core issues for Liberal conservatives is same-sex marriage. Fierravanti-Wells said “a Coalition policy that directly supports same-sex marriage could place under threat some of our most marginal seats which have disproportionately high religious and migrant communities”.

For the conservatives in the parliamentary party, the post-election popular vote on same-sex marriage that Abbott announced - and Turnbull had to embrace when he was seeking the leadership - was a victory.

But now Turnbull is considering arrangements around that plebiscite that might become a red rag to them.

After Turnbull said in parliament on Wednesday that “the consequence of a ‘yes’ vote in the plebiscite will be that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia,” cabinet secretary Arthur Sinodinos explained that an option would be to frame legislation for same sex-marriage that was subject to the popular vote being carried.

As to whether Liberals would be given a free vote on such legislation, Sinodinos told Sky that it would have to go to the party room for endorsement - if approved, it would be party policy.

When something is party policy there is not (in normal circumstances) a free vote.

If Turnbull takes that option – which would be a very logical one – the debate among the troops might get quite willing.

Authors: The Conversation Contributor

Read more http://theconversation.com/turnbull-tests-the-water-on-same-sex-marriage-49535

Writers Wanted

Planning a road trip in a pandemic? 11 tips for before you leave, on the road and when you arrive

arrow_forward

Biden's cabinet picks are globally respected, but one obstacle remains for the US to 'lead the world' again

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Business News

Nisbets’ Collab with The Lobby is Showing the Sexy Side of Hospitality Supply

Hospitality supply services might not immediately make you think ‘sexy’. But when a barkeep in a moodily lit bar holds up the perfectly formed juniper gin balloon or catches the light in the edg...

The Atticism - avatar The Atticism

Buy Instagram Followers And Likes Now

Do you like to buy followers on Instagram? Just give a simple Google search on the internet, and there will be an abounding of seeking outcomes full of businesses offering such services. But, th...

News Co - avatar News Co

Cybersecurity data means nothing to business leaders without context

Top business leaders are starting to realise the widespread impact a cyberattack can have on a business. Unfortunately, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Tenable, some...

Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable - avatar Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion