• Hannah Phillips

This Week in Politics


This week has been dominated by Donald Trump and his tariffs.

Bill Shorten has been calling for the government to take a tough approach, which might or might not include retaliation.

The government, on the other hand, has been pinning its hopes on the statements from the White House that there may be exemptions for some countries.


Mexico and Canada have been granted temporary exemptions while the North American Free Trade Agreement is being renegotiated.

The role of the Western Australian Nationals in the revelation of the complaint by Catherine Marriott against Barnaby Joyce has become murkier with the leader of the WA Nats, Mia Davies, admitting she had conversations with Ms Marriott but denying she was instrumental in the complaint being lodged.

At the moment it’s unclear who leaked the details of the transgressions or what their motives might have been.

Behind the scenes Attorney General Christian Porter released details of the new amendments of the Espionage and Foreign Interference legislation in which the prohibitions on dealing with classified information by public servants have been clearly differentiated from prohibitions applied to journalists.

Journalists are offered a stronger defence to prosecution and the definitions of what constitutes secret and top secret material has been clarified.

In a sop to International Women’s Day the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a new position of Ambassador for Women in Science.

The ambassador will travel around the country encouraging girls to enter into science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions.

In a speech for the day Mr Turnbull acknowledged the gender gap and said that a lot of work needed to be done to overcome it.

Bill Shorten made a number of trips to Adelaide to promote the cause of the Weatherill government.

The polls in that state are stubbornly refusing to move which puts the best chance of government with a Labor - Xenophon coalition.

From the Gallery • The Prime Minister started the week with a reception at his residence in Canberra, The Lodge. He welcomed the Commonwealth Games Team and their staff at a reception on Monday afternoon.

• Vice Chancellor of the ANU Professor Brian Schmidt launched Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner Andrew Leigh’s new book Randomistas at the Australian National University. The book looks at randomised tests are carried out on us every day.

• EU Commissioner Elzbeta Bienkowska was visiting Australia. During her visit she med in Sydney on Monday with Assistant Minister for Job and Innovation Craig Laundy MP.

• President Donald Trump’s nominee for Ambassador of the United States to Australia Admiral Harry Harris was in Canberra on Tuesday. The Admiral attended a Ceremonial Honour Guard in Canberra, in advance of his meetings with Australian officials and others through the course of the week, culminating with MILREPS – a strategic forum to improve cooperation between the U.S and Australian Defence forces.

• The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten was in Adelaide on Tuesday on the election campaign trail with SA Premier Jay Weatherill at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

• Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud MP had a meeting with EU Ambassador H.E Dr Michael Pulch and EU International Agriculture Director at the European Commission John Clarke on Tuesday.

• Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud MP addressed Australian farm production and exports at the ABARES 2018 Outlook conference at the National Convention Centre on Tuesday. He pointed to “a sunny five-year forecast and last year being a record breaking season exceeding $60 billion in production.