• Hannah Phillips

The Week in Politics

Despite some handwringing from Turnbull supporters who believed the former leader was hard-done by, the Morrison/McCormack government did its best to hit the ground running.

The Prime Minister and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham have headed off to Indonesia to sign a strategic relations agreement and finalise a trade agreement with our biggest neighbour.

This will open up a substantial market for agriculture and education exports and provide opportunities for investors and exporters of services.

On Thursday new Energy Minister Angus Taylor made a speech that set out the elements of Australia’s new energy policy.

He foreshadowed a tough approach towards big power companies which, he said, had lost the trust of the Australian people: “The loss of trust and the failure to deliver acceptable outcomes has reached the point where the government has no choice but to wield a big stick, which we will use if we have to,” Mr Taylor told a business group in Sydney.

“The electricity sector, like the banks, needs to re-establish its credibility or social licence with the community.”

The Minister defended claims he is a climate change sceptic while also arguing against renewable energy subsidies.

He said concerns about the climate did not justify the hardearned wages of Australians being funnelled into expensive programmes which did nothing to cut energy costs.

“I am and have been for many years deeply sceptical of the economics of so many of the emissions reduction programmes dreamed up by politicians, vested interests and technocrats around the world,” he said.

He outlined a new energy policy that has three planks: introducing a price safety net, increasing competition in the sector and stamping out price-gouging.

The opposition has yet to work out its responses to the new Morrison government agenda.

When she was asked about Mr Taylor’s approach to energy policy, Senator Penny Wong claimed he was a climate sceptic like other hard right Liberals.

“I don’t think there’s been a climate minister, energy minister who’s been more anti-renewable than Angus Taylor,” Senator Wong told media.

“You can dress up his language all he likes, but we know he’s actually just Peter Dutton, Tony Abbott with a fresher face.”

John McDonnell

From the Gallery

•Julie Bishop made her final speech as the Minister for Foreign Affairs at a doorstop in Parliament House on Tuesday. She is sill unhappy about not being successful for the Leadership of the Liberal Party in last weeks vote achieving 11 votes of a possible 84.

•The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten was in Perth on Wednesday and held a town hall meeting with Labor Senator for Western Australia Sue Lines and Labor candidate for Pearce Kim Travers.

•UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid was in Sydney on Thursday and took the opportunity to meet with our new PM Scott Morrison.

•PM Morrison dropped 4 out of the 5 nations of Malcolm Turnbull’s 5 Asian Nation Tour. He’s going to Indonesia to secure a critical FTA agreement.

•Former PM Malcolm Turnbull will head to his New York Apartment for six weeks with his wife Lucy for a holiday and to avoid the by-election for his seat of Wentworth.

•Scott Morrison is travelling to Jakarta for meetings with His Excellency Mr Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia. He said “By making my first overseas visit as Prime Minister to Indonesia, I want to make a clear statement about the importance of our relationship, and the commitment of my government to deepening our economic and security cooperation”.

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