• Hannah Phillips

Tony Abbott Cuts to the Chase on Carbon

Tony Abbott delivered the Bob Carter lecture to the Australian Environment Foundation on Tuesday night and didn’t hesitate to cut to the chase: Australia could have cheaper and more reliable electricity but it couldn’t have these if it stuck to its emission reduction targets.

He said that, in the circumstances, Australia should withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Mr Abbott said that his government set the Paris Agreement targets on the basis of advice from the bureaucracy that they could achieved without any new programmes and without any additional cost to the economy.

He said he never believed that emissions reduction should take priority over affordability and reliability.

Beating up on Bureaucrats: The Public Service Review

Two months ago the government announced a review of the public service and appointed David Thodey, the former boss of Telstra, to lead it.

So far the review panel has only held three meetings but the public servants appointed to assist it have been active.

To date they have garnered more than 100 submissions from interested parties.

The focus has been more on the client groups than the agencies themselves with a substantial number of meetings having been held with client organisations.

It would be natural for the panel to focus on service delivery since the Chairman and a majority of the panel have spent their working lives in service organisations however there is a question about whether there will be any time to consider the bureaucracy’s role in policy formulation and, possibly more importantly, the relationship between the public service and ministers and their advisers.

The overriding question that needs to be resolved is whether the public service is fit for the purpose but, before this can be determined, there needs to be a delineation of what the purpose is.

From the Gallery • Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull has been busy traversing the country to visit the electorates of Longman, Braddon and Mayo this week. The PM has visited the electorates in Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia multiple times over the last few weeks and been making local community initiatives to sway voters. The largest announced however was made by Minister Greg Hunt the Minister for Health who has committed $4.8 million in funding for mental health services North West Tasmania in the seat of Braddon.

•The Australian Warm Memorial in a Ceremony unveiled a sculpture of General Sir John Monash to mark 100 years since the battle of Hamel.

• Financial regulator ASIC is planning a crackdown on the $50 billion plus credit card industry in an effort to ensure customers can repay their debt.

• The Minister for International Development and the Pacific Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells travelled to Mongolia this week for the 2018 Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster and Risk Reduction being held in Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbaatar.

• Senator Ian McDonald has lost his Senate preselection battle to be the number 1 Senator on the LNP Senate ticket in Queensland. Australia’s longest serving Senator being elected in 1990 has repeatedly been 1st on the ticket and will now be pushed down the list to the difficult to win 3rd or 4th position.

• After remarks he made to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young on the floor of the Senate last week before doubling down Senator David Leyonhjelm advised the Prime Minister to “stop being such a pussy” when Mr Turnbull became one of a long line of folk calling on the Senator to apologise to Senator Hanson-Young. “It was clearly offensive, it should have been withdrawn and apologised for. It’s not too late for him to do so now,” the Prime Minister said. And there’s a rare moment of bipartisanship here: Bill Shorten observed that “Most people think what he said was seriously offensive. Most people would expect [him] to apologise.” In the meantime ‘The Betoota Advocate’ reported on Wednesday that the Opposition Leader was thinking up “a few good comebacks in case David Leyonhjelm calls him names.”

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