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Politics with Michelle Grattan
26 minutes | Jan 30, 2023
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Treasurer Jim Chalmers answers critics of his ‘values-based capitalism’
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has rejected as “laughable” criticism he has turned his back on the Hawke-Keating reform era in his blueprint for “values-based capitalism”. In this podcast Chalmers also reveals he spoke with Paul Keating while writing of the essay, published in The Monthly. “Capitalism after the crises” looks at Australia’s future following three international crises: the GFC, the pandemic, and the current energy and inflation shock. Chalmers advocates government-private co-investment, the renovation of the Reserve Bank and the Productivity Commission, and improving the functioning of markets. Critics have labelled his values-based capitalism highly intervention, and counter to the direction of the reforms Bob Hawke and Keating implemented.
39 minutes | Dec 16, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Albanese flags new progress in China relationship ’in coming weeks’
In this, our last podcast for 2022, we talk with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton. We spoke to each of them on the day the parliament was back to pass the energy package. Albanese, who met Chinese President Xi Jinping during the recent summit season, reveals he anticipates a further positive development in China's relationship with Australia within weeks. Asked whether he expected some relaxation of China's trade restrictions on Australia any time soon, he said: "I'm hopeful that any of the barriers to normal economic activity are removed and that we have stronger economic relations. "China is our major economic partner and I think in coming weeks you will see further measures and activities which indicate a much improved relationship, which is in the interests of both of our countries, but importantly as well is in the interests of peace and security in the region."
17 minutes | Dec 7, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Energy crisis has ‘badly damaged’ social licence of coal and gas
Australians are currently confronting a cost of living crisis that includes soaring energy prices. Ministers have been working for weeks on a strategy to contain the prices of coal and gas, driven up by the fallout from the Ukraine war. It’s the toughest, most complicated policy issue so far faced by Anthony Albanese, and it’s involved some head-butting with the NSW and Queensland governments. In this podcast, we talk with Professor Bruce Mountain, Director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre at Victoria University, about this energy policy conundrum, and the attempt to deal with it by price caps. Mountain says: “One of the great difficulties in capping wholesale coal or gas prices is there’s no guarantee that that will impact the price of electricity. There’s a long chain to be followed between a wholesale cap on coal or gas and the price that the customer pays.”
22 minutes | Nov 29, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Niki Savva on her book Bulldozed, Scott Morrison and the Liberals’ woes
Six months after Scott Morrison was ousted, he remains a centre of attention, with parliament set to censure him on Wednesday over his multi-ministry power grab. In exquisite timing, journalist Niki Savva’s book Bulldozed is released this week. It documents Morrison’s style, which eventually shocked even those closest to him in government. “He’s a very secretive character. He’s distrustful. He’s a control freak. He’s a bully. He’s stubborn. He doesn’t listen to anyone,” Savva says. “And he was, as Alex Hawke [former minister and a Morrison numbers man] has said on the record, addicted to executive authority. He liked to be in absolute control, taking every decision but not taking responsibility for every decision.” Savva says Hawke believed Morrison was frightened of a leadership challenge. “Alex Hawke […] believed Morrison was panic stricken by the thought that both left and right were out to get him. And although he was worried about Frydenberg, he was more worried about Dutton. He thought that there would be a move initiated by Frydenberg and then Dutton would come through the middle.”
19 minutes | Nov 23, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: ’Teal’ Monique Ryan on the Victorian election and six months in parliament
The Australian National University Dictionary Centre has just announced its word of the year is “teal”. Senior researcher Mark Gwynn described it as an “easy choice”. “The colour came to represent a movement of independent and strong female voices taking on the establishment.” Monique Ryan, the member for the Melbourne seat of Kooyong, is the giant slayer of the movement, having defeated former treasurer Josh Frydenberg. “It’s fascinating that the now the word ‘teals’ is now a noun that everyone recognises,” she says. “That was not the case a year ago.
30 minutes | Nov 17, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Tim Colebatch, Kos Samaras and Sumeyya Ilanbey on the Victorian Election
Victorians go to the polls on November 26, with the Andrews government seeking a third term. Labor is the clear favourite, but it is under pressure in a number of seats. The premier is a polarising figure, especially (although not only) as a result of the trials Melburnians endured with the prolonged harsh lockdowns during COVID. Victoria will be a fresh test of what we saw in the federal poll – the disillusionment of many voters with the major parties.
29 minutes | Nov 10, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Karen Andrews on the Medibank hack, visa scams, and winning back women voters
Karen Andrews is the former home affairs minister and now shadows that portfolio, which includes cyber-security. With Australians shocked by hackers starting to post Medibank data on the dark web, in this podcast Andrews calls on the health insurer to provide more information. “There are some very serious questions that need to be put to Medibank about what it actually did.” “They have sustained incredible reputational damage. The only way that I can see forward for them to be able to improve their public standing is to be very clear and open about what happened, why it happened, and what they are doing to assist their customers".
21 minutes | Nov 2, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Energy expert Bruce Mountain on what to do about the gas crisis
The aftermath of the Albanese government’s first budget has seen the political and policy debate turn sharply onto the spectre of households and businesses facing sky-high power prices over the next 18 months. The government is now scrambling to craft a policy to bring the domestic price of gas down. In this podcast, Michelle Grattan talks with Professor Bruce Mountain, Director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre at Victoria University, about this power price crisis, and the options available to deal with what he calls “a weeping sore”. Mountain offers four key ways to address gas policy.
23 minutes | Oct 26, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan:Jim Chalmers, Angus Taylor and Danielle Wood on the budget
Treasurer Jim Chalmers says of his first budget: “Inflation is the dragon we need to slay”. Chalmers’ worry about inflation was reinforced by Wednesday’s release of the September quarter CPI, which showed inflation at 7.3%. In this podcast, we talk to Chalmers, shadow treasurer Angus Taylor, and the head of the Grattan Institute Danielle Wood. Among the topics we canvass are the budget’s broad fiscal settings, the huge increases in power prices it forecasts, the pressures for tax and spending reforms in future budgets, the government’s housing initiative, and the implications of the childcare policy for women’s workforce participation.
22 minutes | Oct 13, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Rod Sims on tax reform and the gas price crisis
The government has flirted with, and now ruled out, changing the Stage 3 tax cut in the October 25 budget, which appears set to be dominated by some deep spending cuts. In the longer term, however, debate will continue over the need to reform Australia's tax system, as the calls on revenue to finance big programs increase. Meanwhile, the government is locked in a battle to get high domestic gas prices down, with its light touch policy towards the gas producers not having much impact. In this podcast, Michelle Grattan talks with Rod Sims, former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and now a professor at the Australian National University's Crawford School for Public Policy, on tax, gas and privatisation.
30 minutes | Oct 6, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Bill Shorten on NDIS reform and the Optus fallout
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a landmark reform of the last decade. But while delivering much benefit, it has operational problems and its cost has escalated dramatically – currently around $30 billion annually, there have been suggestions it could reach $60 billion. The scheme looms as one of the major pressures on the Albanese government’s budgets in coming years. In this podcast, Michelle Grattan talks with Bill Shorten, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Minister for Government Services about the issues around the scheme and the reforms needed to improve its operation and contain its cost.
18 minutes | Sep 29, 2022
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus on the National Anti-Corruption Commission
The government has introduced its legislation for the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which has received the endorsement of opposition leader Peter Dutton and so is assured of passage through parliament. But critics are unhappy that its public hearings will be limited to when there are “exceptional circumstances”. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus in this podcast strongly rejects the argument this is too high a hurdle. The government has yet to nominate a head of the powerful new body, and Dreyfus says it is open to suggestions. Asked if he has anyone particularly in mind he says, “No I do not. […] We’re going to be trying to find someone who’s eminent, who has a real standing in the community.” On the question of so-called “grey corruption”, notably misuse of ministerial discretion in grants schemes, Dreyfus stresses it will be completely up to the commission to decide what might justify investigation.
25 minutes | Sep 23, 2022
Ukraine ambassador urges Australian embassy in Kyiv to reopen ASAP
The Ukraine conflict has escalated this week, with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announcing a partial military mobilisation and once again raising the threat of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile Ukraine has been pressing Australia to provide another 30 Bushmasters, after those already helping the war effort are proving very effective. In this podcast Ukraine’s ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko urges the Albanese government to reopen Australia’s embassy in his country as soon as possible. “By now 60 different countries have sent their embassies and ambassadors back to Kyiv. And I think it’s important for Australia to go back because if Bruce Edwards [the ambassador, now stationed in Poland] is on the ground, he’s capable of meeting people there and interacting with the minister of defence, with the minister of foreign affairs, with other stakeholders in Ukraine, to provide a better feedback to Canberra.”
26 minutes | Sep 15, 2022
Professor Joseph Ibrahim on COVID in aged care - and the end of nursing homes
Joseph Ibrahim, Professor and Head, Health Law and Ageing Research Unit, Monash University, specialises in aged care issues. He has been a long-term advocate for improving the quality of life for those in residential care and for reform of the sector. In this podcast, Ibrahim says currently COVID in aged care facilities is going largely unnoticed in the media. “If you have a look into the media coverage it would seem that it’s not a problem at all. [But] COVID deaths are far greater than at any time in the last two to three years”. While the vaccines have helped get things under control, the absence of restrictions is seeing infection rates at an all-time high. Ibrahim believes there should be a more tailored approach to outbreaks at facilities, depending on the circumstances.
23 minutes | Sep 8, 2022
Simon Holmes à Court on ’community candidates’ and two state elections
Simon Holmes à Court and his Climate 200, the body that provided funding for “teal” and some other independent candidates who promoted action on climate change, integrity and women’s issues, had great success at the federal election. But will community candidates become a big force in November’s Victorian poll and the March NSW election? In this podcast, Holmes à Court talks about the “enthusiasm” from the community independents movement about the desertion by voters of the major parties, and the mobilisation already under way in various areas to get behind candidates. But he stresses there will be new challenges to face in the two state campaigns. A major one is the more restrictive arrangements around funding, compared with the federal election. Community independents in the state elections will target frustrations in their local areas, but climate change and integrity will be strong themes of their campaigns. “In Victoria, our polling shows that climate is very high [in voters’ minds] and people are frustrated with the pace of change in some of the Andrews government’s actions there - we have the dirtiest grid in the country and a less certain plan for phasing out coal than New South Wales, for example”. Federally, teal candidates ran in Liberal seats. In Victoria, where there is a long-time Labor government, can we expect to see strong community independents also in Labor seats? “There is talk in Victoria that there might be some independents or minor parties challenging more in the outer suburbs and putting a lot of heat on the Andrews government, responding to the frustrations in those communities.”
26 minutes | Aug 30, 2022
Treasurer Chalmers on boosting migration and a ’resilience’ budget
For Treasurer Jim Chalmers, this week's jobs and skills summit is the prelude to what will be his main game, the October budget. The summit, to be held in Canberra on Thursday and Friday, still has many moving parts, notably in the intense debate we're hearing about what changes should be made to the wages system. But Chalmers can already welcome "a broad appetite" for raising permanent migration from the present cap of 160,000.
24 minutes | Aug 25, 2022
David Littleproud on charting his course in opposition
David Littleproud runs his own race. In opposition he’s Nationals leader first and Coalitionist second. Thus he was quick out of the blocks criticising Scott Morrison’s power grab, and when Peter Dutton rejected an invitation to next week’s jobs and skills summit, Littleproud said he wanted to go. In this Podcast Littleproud says about the government’s planned inquiry into Morrison’s actions: “I’m happy to work within whatever the constraints of what the government decides, that’s their prerogative. But it just seems to me this has now become an obsession of Anthony Albanese.” Of the conflicting signals from the opposition about the jobs summit, Littleproud says: “We’re two separate parties. I represent the National Party and Peter Dutton represents the Liberal Party. He made a decision on behalf of the Liberal Party that he would not attend.” He’s scathing that the Nationals were not originally invited. “The fact that this government didn’t even bother to ask anyone from regional and rural Australia to represent their interests was a failing to start with.”
9 minutes | Aug 23, 2022
Word from The Hill: Morrison faces inquiry into how he flouted responsible government
As well as her interviews with politicians and experts, Politics with Michelle Grattan includes “Word from The Hill”, where she discusses the news with members of The Conversation politics team. In this podcast, politics editor Amanda Dunn and Michelle discuss the solicitor-general’s advice on Scott Morrison’s secret appointment to multiple ministries, which flouted “responsible government”. Morrison’s action will now be scrutinised by an inquiry. They also canvass next week’s jobs and skills summit, where the government will be seeking agreement on immigration and improving industrial relations.
25 minutes | Aug 18, 2022
Crossbencher Helen Haines on Morrison and integrity
The revelation that Scott Morrison secretly had himself appointed to five separate portfolios has triggered widespread outrage, just when the broader question of integrity has been a big political issue. In this podcast, Michelle Grattan speaks with Independent member for Indi Helen Haines, who has pushed for a national integrity commission. Such a body will soon be legislated by the Albanese government. Haines strongly condemns Morrison’s behaviour, although she doesn’t see it as the sort of matter that would go to an integrity commission. “It doesn’t appear apparent to me that there are questions here of corruption. But we don’t know really what motivated the prime minister to keep all of this a secret.” Haines says an Anti-Corruption Commission needs to have the capacity to investigate what has been dubbed “grey” corruption, such as jobs for the boys and pork barrelling. She argues that “public money being spent for political gain through so-called rorting or pork barrelling is potentially corruption.” “These bodies are seeking to stamp out corruption and they are seeking to shine a light in dark places. Now, in shining that light, they may well determine that there’s nothing to be seen. "But on the other hand, they may well find that there are practices which have been accepted as kind of matey and okay that in fact lead to poor governance, that lead to poor public policy, that lead to an erosion of trust in our leaders.” “There needs to be a pathway that communities can see is fair and just. [So] that if you need a hospital in your electorate (as indeed I do), if you need new roads or a bridge or whatever it might be, that there’s a clear pathway to applying for those funds, putting forward a case, and a legitimate system that shows where you are in the queue to achieving the infrastructure that you need in your community.” In her maxim for integrity in politics, Haines says politicians need to “be what you want to see.”
9 minutes | Aug 16, 2022
On Scott Morrison’s bizarre power grab
As well as her interviews with politicians and experts, Politics with Michelle Grattan includes “Word from The Hill”, where she discusses the news with members of The Conversation politics team. In this podcast, politics editor Amanda Dunn and Michelle discuss this week’s revelations that former prime minster Scott Morrison had himself secretly sworn into five different portfolios. They talk about the criticisms some are making of Governor-General David Hurley for his role, and the political fallout which has seen one Liberal frontbencher, Karen Andrews, saying Morrison should leave parliament.
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