Politics with Michelle Grattan
Adam Bandt on Greens’ hopes for future power sharing

Adam Bandt on Greens’ hopes for future power sharing

February 10, 2020

Adam Bandt began his political journey in the Labor party, but the issue of climate change drew him to the Greens. Last week he became their leader, elected unopposed.

Asked about his ambitions for the party, Bandt aspires to a power-sharing situation with a Labor government, akin to the Gillard era.

"Ultimately Labor's got to decide where it stands, and if Labor decides that it does want to go down the path of working with us on a plan to phase out coal and look after workers in communities, then great.

"If Labor prefers to work with the Liberals, maybe we're going to see a situation like we do in Germany at the moment where there's a grand coalition between the equivalent of the Labor and Liberal parties because they find that they've got more in common with each other than with us."

Additional audio:

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image:

AAP/Mick Tsikas

Michael McCormack moves on from his near-death experience

Michael McCormack moves on from his near-death experience

February 10, 2020

Starting the year with a leadership spill will be seen by many, especially those hit by the bushfires, as the Nationals being particularly self-indulgent.

Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack admits as much, but notes he wasn’t the initiator of his party’s bad behaviour.

“We should not have been talking about ourselves. This was never of my making or doing. And we should have spent the entire day, not just those sitting hours, but the entire day reflecting on just what has taken place this summer,” he tells the Politics podcast.

McCormack also says he supported Bridget McKenzie “the whole way” through the sports rorts controversy and he again stands by her decision-making.

The National leader defends his new frontbench line up against criticism that it’s short on women, mounts a strong pitch in favour of coal, and rejects claims he’s been too invisible and a weak leader.

Additional audio:

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image:

Mick Tsikas/AAP

Mathias Cormann and Jim Chalmers on the mid-year budget update

Mathias Cormann and Jim Chalmers on the mid-year budget update

December 16, 2019

The mid-year budget update has seen the government downgrading its forecast for Australia’s economic growth in 2019-20 by 0.25%, and slashing the projected surplus by A$2.1 billion, to $5 billion. The forecast for wage growth has also been reduced, and unemployment is projected to be slightly higher than was envisaged at budget time.

The figures indicate a worsening economy, but the government has sought to put a positive spin on the situation, saying the Australian economy is showing resilience.

Joining this podcast is finance minister Mathias Cormann and shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers to talk about the figures and the outlook.

Additional audio:

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image:

The Conversation

Andrew Hastie on foreign influence, security and veteran mental health

Andrew Hastie on foreign influence, security and veteran mental health

December 11, 2019

Chinese government influence and interference has been a contentious issue in Australia politics in the past year.

Weighing up concerns about foreign money in state and federal campaigns, candidates’ direct relationships with arms of the Chinese Communist Party and the defection of a Chinese spy operating within Australia, against the fragile trade relationship we have with our largest export market has been one of the more difficult topics for both major parties.

Andrew Hastie, Liberal member for the seat of Canning, is one of the most outspoken government members on the issue of foreign interference.

He’s used his position as a backbencher – and as chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security – to speak openly about his concerns and what he sees as the expansion of “revisionist” countries trying to “remake the world order … pushing out to secure their economic and strategic influence beyond their geographical borders”.

He also talks about why he thinks it would be untenable to have security clearance for every member of parliament, the role of the media in scrutinising candidates, and concerns about mental health among returned veterans.

Additional audio: 

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image:

AAP/Lukas Coch

Minister David Littleproud on bushfires, drought, and the Nationals

Minister David Littleproud on bushfires, drought, and the Nationals

November 13, 2019

Bushfires continue to burn across NSW and Queensland, the death toll has risen, and the damage to properties, wildlife and the environment is devastating. With conditions predicted to worsen over the summer, climate change has inevitably come into the frame.

The Prime Minister and Opposition leader have said policy arguments should be avoided until the immediate crisis has passed, but many - including former emergency chiefs and some victims - disagree. And Greens and Nationals have had vitriolic exchanges.

The Nationals David Littleproud has ministerial responsibility for water, drought, and natural disaster and emergency management. In this podcast, he says while “the man on the street” can link climate change and the bushfires, but “as elected officials, we’ve got a responsibility” to wait for the right time to have such discussions.

After announcing the government’s drought package last week, Littleproud criticises the states for not stepping up their efforts, and says they have done “three-fifths of bugger all”.

Additional audio: 

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive

Image: 

AAP/Dan Peled

Ross Gittins on the government’s ‘surplus obsession’

Ross Gittins on the government’s ‘surplus obsession’

October 29, 2019

The Australian economy is growing slowly, with people not opening their purses and businesses uncertain about the future.

The Reserve Bank has cut interest rates three times this year - the official cash rate is currently at a historic low of 0.75%. Many are arguing monetary policy has run its course, and fiscal stimulus is needed. This week’s Essential poll shows voters tend to think so as well, with 56% agreeing that stimulating the economy should be prioritised over getting back to budget surplus.

The Morrison government, however, is reluctant to do anything impinging on the projected surplus, which has become a political icon for it.

How long can the government maintain this position if the growth numbers don’t improve? And does action need to be taken now? Joining Michelle Grattan to talk about these issues is Ross Gittins, economics editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Additional audio:

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image:

AAP/ Mick Tsikas

On the trust divide in politics

On the trust divide in politics

October 27, 2019

Democracy 2025 is an initiative by the Museum of Australian Democracy and the University of Canberra, which aims to stimulate a national conversation on the state of our democracy, including the trust divide between the political class and everyday citizens.

A just-released report by the project gives the perspective of federal politicians - key voices in the debate.

Members of the last federal parliament were surveyed on their attitudes to democracy, the faults they see in the present political system, and how they thought it could be improved. Some 43% of the parliamentarians replied to the survey, done shortly before the election.

Professor Mark Evans and Professor Gerry Stoker, two of the authors of the report, join Michelle Grattan on this podcast to discuss the findings, and share their thoughts on the future of Australian democracy.

Additional audio: 

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive

Image: 

Shutterstock

Deputy PM Michael McCormack on the drought and restive Nationals

Deputy PM Michael McCormack on the drought and restive Nationals

October 23, 2019

While the drought continues to hit the Nationals’ constituents hard, the party faces a testing terrain on a political level.

In this episode of Politics with Michelle Grattan, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack acknowledges the mishandling of the bring-forward of the dairy code, which will increase the negotiating power of milk producers.

Tensions blew up in the Nationals party room this week after Pauline Hanson managed last week to win an acceleration of the code. The deal was all about the government wanting Hanson’s Senate co-operation. But agriculture minister Bridget McKenzie had previously told Nationals who have been fighting for the code that it couldn’t be finalised until well into next year.

McCormack also shared his willingness to consider a proposal from the drought policy released by the National Farmers’ Federation for exit assistance for drought-striken farmers who sell.

But he had a cautionary message for those deciding whether to stay or leave, saying “they absolutely need to make sure they don’t self-assess. They need to absolutely make sure that they consult their families foremost, that they talk to rural financial counsellors, they talk to their accountants, their banks. They take every bit of good advice available before they take that ultimate step”.

Additional audio:

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image:

AAP/ Mick Tsikas

Tim Watts on Australia’s changing identity

Tim Watts on Australia’s changing identity

October 14, 2019

Tim Watts is Labor member for the Victorian seat of Gellibrand, one of the most diverse electorates in Australia. His own family is a microcosm of diversity - Watts comes from a long line of Australians with ancestors deeply rooted in the old attitudes of "white Australia", while his wife is from Hong Kong, and his children Eurasian-Australian.

In his new book, The Golden Country, Watts reconciles the past and present in his family, as well as examining immigration, race and national identity in modern Australia.

In this podcast with Michelle Grattan he also explores the "bamboo ceiling" in our politics, business and other areas, and talks about his efforts to encourage Asian-Australians to climb the ranks in Labor, which presently has ALP Senate leader Penny Wong as the only Asian-Australian face among its federal MPs.

Additional audio:

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image:

AAP/ Erik Anderson

Daughters of Robert Menzies and Arthur Calwell say parliament wasn’t always a “fort”

Daughters of Robert Menzies and Arthur Calwell say parliament wasn’t always a “fort”

September 23, 2019

Last week, a very special event took place in Parliament House. The daughters of Sir Robert Menzies and Arthur Calwell - Heather Henderson and Mary Elizabeth Calwell - came together to reflect on their fathers’ legacies, and to offer their perspectives on a different era in Australia’s political history. Michelle Grattan moderated the conversation.

The event was organised by the Menzies-Calwell Group, made up of members of parliament from both sides of the political divide. Inspired by the friendship between Menzies and Calwell, the group aims to inject a degree of bipartisanship into our present hyper-partisan politics.

Additional audio: 

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Image: 

Office of Maria Vamvakinou MP