Hong Kong Chamber: A Letter from Canberra
January is normally a quiet month in politics as Australians and their elected representatives head to the beach, tune into the cricket and tennis, gather around friends and family and fire up the barbeque.
But just weeks into the new year and Australia has been abuzz with political activity.
In the last month there has been a Ministerial reshuffle, a State election in Queensland, multiple backflips on changes to Medicare and an advertising campaign launched for the Abbott Government’s higher education reforms.
Days before Christmas the Prime Minister announced he would be taking a new team with him into 2015 in an effort to reset, refocus and scrape some of the barnacles from the ship of state.
Kevin Andrews was named the new Defence Minister. Scott Morrison was appointed Minister for Social Services and will oversee the government’s proposed paid parental leave scheme. Josh Frydenberg was named Assistant Treasurer. Peter Dutton was moved to Immigration and Border Protection and his former portfolio of Health was given to Sussan Ley. The reshuffle saw an additional woman in Cabinet, taking the total to two.
2015 will be a challenging year for the Abbott Government as public disenchantment and disengagement grows. Despite the Prime Minister's best laid plans to reset and refocus, if my conversations over summer are anything to go by, it would appear even Coalition loyalists have got their fingers in their ears, their eyes tightly closed and they're humming loudly.