It was budget week this week which was expected to dominate the political news cycle but was overshadowed by another twist in the dual citizenship saga with a new High Court ruling setting up a super Saturday of by-elections. To discuss that and more we are joined again by The Unshackled’s Political Editor Michael Smyth.
The High Court ruled the day after the budget that ACT Labor Senator Katy Gallagher was a dual citizen at the time of her nomination. This had the effect of knocking out Labor’s Susan Lamb, Josh Wilson, Justine Keay and the Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie. This will mean 5 by-elections in a super Saturday in June including in Perth triggered by Tim Hammond’s resignation. The Liberals are not running in Perth and Fremantle, marginal Labor seats Braddon and Longman will be contested contests and a potential referendum on alternative budget proposals.
Bill Shorten delivered his budget reply on Thursday evening. He proposed a Working Australians Tax Refund costing $6 billion over 4 years, worth $928 a year to 10 million low-income earners. He also promised to scrap upfront TAFE fees and to uncap university places again. He reaffirmed Labor’s policy of blocking the company tax cuts, reintroducing debt levy and also blocking the flat tax proposal outlined by the Turnbull Government in the budget. Shorten on paper has the money to do this and still reach a surplus next year if their extra taxes don’t have the effect of hampering Australia’s economic upturn.
The big international story of the week was United States President Donald Trump withdrawing from the Obama negotiated Iran nuclear deal. This unfroze Iranian funds and lifted economic sanctions in exchange for Iran not developing nuclear weapons. Israel’s influence has been key in this decision as they showed Trump a report that claimed Iran had previously tried to develop a nuclear bomb. Iran had been assisting the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war. The aftermath of Trump’s announcement has been rockets fired into Israel by Iran and back into Syria to Isreal. There have been protests in Iranian parliament and on streets with chanted of death to America
Hillary Clinton spoke at $195 ticket events in Sydney and Melbourne in conversation with former Prime Minister Julia Gillard still blaming misogyny and fake news for their downfall. While in New Zealand Clinton scored $5.5 million of taxpayers’ funds for her besieged Clinton Foundation. In Australia, she also met Julie Bishop, Bill Shorten and Daniel Andrews in a clear indication the political class are still fawning over her.