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The Week in Politics

It’s been another bad week for the government.

Any message it was trying to get out on economic management prior to the budget has been swamped by a nebulous debate over housing affordability and the proposal that young first home buyers should be able to access their superannuation accounts to fund the deposit.

This proposition was never likely to pass the Senate and, given the public’s ambivalent response, it was a mistake to raise it.

The way the government’s handled the issue has highlighted the matters raised in the Robb report on the government’s dismal electoral performance.

In that report there was a specific reference to the absence of polling during the run up to the election.

On the issue of housing affordability, it defies common sense that proposals weren’t road tested before they were put into the public arena.

Even worse, the policy has generated a rift in cabinet and the government at large.

We also had the unseemly argument over ‘work for the dole’ with the Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash having to assert that the programme will not be changed in the face of comments made by members of the government that the policy is a “heap of s**t”.

Moreover the Prime Minister’s visit to India has turned out to be difficult.

He’s canned the Abbott initiative for a free trade agreement as being too hard and has nothing else to show for a head of government mission.

The discussion of opportunities in the vocational training area was no more than aspirational.

The government’s thrashing around confirms the opposition’s claims that it’s in trouble and lacks a plan for the country.

It needs to take control of the agenda and to do it quickly but at the moment it seems bereft of ideas.

From the Gallery
• The Sporting Heads of Mission Golf held a reception for their April SAP SHOM Golf competition at the Ambassador of Norway Her Excellency Ms Unni Klovstad’s residence on Mugga Way.
• Former Liberal Member for Dobell on the NSW Cost Karen McNamara is considering running for the seat left vacant by Liberal NSW State MLC Mike Gallacher who has left the NSW Parliament to become the CEO of Ports Australia. Mrs McNamara lost the seat of Dobell to Labor’s Emma McBride at last July’s federal election, she is currently an advisor to Federal Minister for international Development and the Pacific Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
• CEO of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce David McCredie will tomorrow host a delegation for lunch in Adelaide to talk Aus/UK education links. The lunch will include the British High Commissioner H.E Menna Rawlings, the Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham and U.K Minister of Stat for School Standards Nick Gibb MP who is on an official visit to Australia.
• Vacancy at the Embassy of Belgium. The Ambassador of Belgium H.E. Jean-Luc Bodson is looking for a locally hired candidate for the Embassy Diplomatic Section. More information can be found here:
• On Tuesday Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop announced the appointment of Ms Mary Ellen Miller as Australia’s next Ambassador to Denmark with non-resident accreditation to Iceland and Norway. Ms Miller is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently Assistant Secretary, Non-Government Organisations & Volunteers Branch. She has held a range of positions in DFAT, including Assistant Secretary, Scholarships & Alumni Branch. Ms Miller holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Canberra.
• On Wednesday Minister for Foreign Affairs announced the appointment of Mr Chris Cannan as Australia’s next Ambassador to Israel. Mr Cannan is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently Assistant Secretary, Global Development Branch. In Canberra, Mr Cannan has held a range of positions in DFAT, including Chief of Protocol, and Assistant Secretary, Staffing Branch, Environment Branch, and Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe Branch. He served overseas with DFAT in Vienna and Manila, and with the Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group, as well as with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in Geneva. Mr Cannan holds a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from the University of South
Australia, a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Asian Studies from Flinders University and a Master of Arts (Foreign Affairs and Trade) from Monash University.


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