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The Week in Politics

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For a government on a high because of the budget, this week’s polls were a downer.

Although the Coalition had dropped a point on their primary vote in Newspoll, which was roughly in line with the Fairfax/Ipsos poll, this didn’t stop it smothering the country with announcements.

There was the launch of the shipbuilding plan in Adelaide, a visit by the Prime Minister to Queensland for an LNP budget lunch, a major speech by the Treasurer in Melbourne that was preceded by an announcement of the possible construction of 5,000 houses at Maribyrnong in Victoria.

For once the Leader of the Opposition seemed to be eclipsed.

The only opposition moment of note was the Shadow Treasurer’s Press Club address.

The Senate enquiry into journalism took place this week and rapidly turned into vaudeville.

Everybody hates Facebook and Google and Fairfax boss Greg Hywood accused them of killing commercial journalism.

However, when he accused the ABC of conspiring with Google and using taxpayer’s money to take away market share from commercial organisations, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam feigned boredom and tweeted “Looks like we’re done here.”

The Greens reneged on their commitment to support the increased Medicare levy to pay for the NDIS after an internal campaign against Sarah Hanson-Young led by Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Still the levy won’t go to the Senate until after the next election when half the Greens will probably have departed the scene.

From the Gallery

• On Tuesday Communications Minister Senator Mitch Fifield announced the appointment of Mr Russell Howcroft as Chair of the Australian Film Television and Radio School Council. In 2016, Mr Howcroft was the founding Chair of ‘Think TV’, a collaborative initiative between Australian free-to-air and subscription television broadcasters to promote television’s scale and effectiveness for advertisers across all screens. Mr Howcroft’s term will commence on July 1 this year.

• From 16 to 20 May Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is visiting New York where she is launching Australia’s inaugural candidacy for the Human Rights Council for the 2018-20 term. She will meet with senior members of the Trump administration as well as with UN officials. She will also announce a four-year $44 million partnership agreement with the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help meet global humanitarian needs. She will also meet Michael Bloomberg to discuss our collaboration on the Data for Health initiative and announce the innovationXchange’s new partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Australian software company Atlassian.

• Communications Minster Senator Fifield delivered the keynote address at the Australian Communications and Media Authority Conference on the ‘Australian Content Conversation’ on Tuesday.

• Also on Tuesday the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, launched the Australia – Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

• Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Jane Prentice spoke at the Australian Network on Disability’s 9th Annual National Conference in Melbourne on Tuesday to reaffirm the government’s commitment to improving employment outcomes for people with a disability.

•Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced on Wednesday that the final Nulka missile decoy to be produced under contract with BAE Systems Australia has been delivered. He said “Nulka is a state-of-the-art autonomous hovering rocket decoy that uses sophisticated electronic signals to ‘seduce’ anti-ship missiles away from their targets.”

• The Council on Australian Latin America Relations held its ‘Latin America Downunder Conference’ in Perth on Wednesday. The event was officially opened by The Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

• Australian Ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey met with former President George W Bush to discuss his support of veterans and 100 years of mateship with the US on Thursday.

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