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The Week in Politics

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There’s no doubt that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has had a very good week on the international stage.

He stood out at the G20 as the only leader prepared to address the Korean problem with any vehemence.

He was also able to get the leaders to agree that the online space needs to be regulated.

He had good meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May and was able to give the UK cabinet a lesson on how to govern with a one seat majority.

He also received promises of free trade agreements from both the European Union and the May government.

The media moment of the week was the PM’s speech to the Policy Exchange think tank which awarded him the Disraeli Prize.

The speech was unexceptional: its theme attempted to place the Turnbull government firmly in the Menzies tradition.

As such it recognised both the liberal and conservative strands of the Party and described the synthesis of the two as the ‘sensible centre’.

However the media chose to interpret it as an attack on Tony Abbott, something that seems to be belied by the absence of a rejoinder from the former Prime Minister.

The media hyperventilated over the fact that Menzies described himself in his ‘forgotten people’ speech as “a progressive”.

This term seemed to be conflated with the modern form of progressive which is a nebulous term applied without restraint to the latest political fad.

A review of Inside Canberra’s 1949 editions shows what the first Menzies Liberal government saw as priorities.

It favoured social welfare measures such as the old age pension but, unlike Labor, it wanted them means tested.

He was also opposed to bank nationalisation and trenchantly opposed to communist domination of the union movement.

The last of these was shared by the Labor Party.

Menzies was also opposed to the introduction of a national health service which he fought off with the support of the Australian Medical Association.

Interestingly the AMA also offered to lend their advice to the American Medical Association as President Truman contemplated introducing an earlier form of Obamacare.

From the Gallery
• The Australian Monarchist League got in on the action this week when it came to the Prime Minister invoking the name of Sir Robert Menzies. The League issued a media release on Tuesday saying “Menzies Was a monarchist. Turnbull Is Not” and that “Robert Menzies and others established the Liberal Party of Australia as a right of centre free enterprise political party”.

•The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence is now steady around its long term average at 113.0 points. The survey showed consumer confidence dropped sharply after the 2014 budget, increased sharply after the 2015 budget and dropped slightly after this years budget before stabilising and now being around its long term average.

• Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop has been in Croatia this week. She met with President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar- Kitarović and Minister for the Interior Davor Bozinovic on Tuesday to mark 25 years of Australia-Croatia Diplomatic relations.

• The Fair Go which is the Liberal Party’s Campaigning site has released an interactive tool which allows users to see if their super annuation fund is being donated to Union advocacy. The tool is available online.

• The new Pop Up ANU space has been officially opened by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr on Tuesday evening. The space is designed to take on the role of Union Court during it’s redevelopment over the coming 2 to 3 years.

• A public hearing was held on Wednesday by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts to inquire into the Australian film and television industry. The Public hearing heard from an economic enterprise panel when it meet at the Blue Mountain’s Cultural Centre in Katoomba.

• On Thursday exercise Talisman Sabre which is the joint exercise between Australian and United States begun. To start the battle phase of the exercise the event hosted the largest Australian beach landing since World World 2.

• The Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack has been along the road to growth at Gundagai on Wednesday. The Minster said “across Australia, Gundagai and its Dog on the Tuckerbox is synonymous with country life, and thanks to recent changes by the Federal Government, Gundagai is also synonymous with small business”. The Minister was meeting with local small business people in Gundagai to talk about lower taxes and the instant asset write-off.

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