9min read
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ASX tipped to open down 10 to ... NEXT ARTICLE Aussie shares set to slide in ...

HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE 2019 YEAR IN POLITICS

JANUARY

– Nationals MP Andrew Broad announces he’ll quit politics at the election so as not to remain a “half-laughing stock” after a scandal involving a younger woman.

– Mass fish die-offs in western NSW focus attention on the health of the Murray-Darling Basin and the drought.

– Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack attacks extreme animal activist group Aussie Farms for publishing a map with farmers’ locations.

– Olympics ski champion Zali Steggall announces she will run against Tony Abbott in the seat of Warringah.

FEBRUARY

– Kenneth Hayne delivers his banking royal commission report. The government responds by beefing up regulators and ending conflicted remuneration.

– Speaker Tony Smith and Senate President Scott Ryan reveal hackers have infiltrated the computer systems of Parliament House.

– Parliament passes the medevac bill against the wishes of government.

– United Australia Party senator Brian Burston and Pauline Hanson’s chief of staff James Ashby have a physical altercation in the corridors of Parliament House, after which Burston smears blood on Hanson’s office door. Ashby is banned from the building.

– Former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop announces she will retire at the next election.

– Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveils his next climate policy, adding $2 billion over 10 years to the Emissions Reduction Fund and rebadging it as the Climate Solutions Fund.

– The last four children in immigration detention on Nauru fly to the US.

– Ita Buttrose is appointed as ABC chair.

MARCH

– Ministers Christopher Pyne and Steve Ciobo announce they will retire at the election.

– Morrison visits Christmas Island for a media conference about reopening the detention centre. It remains empty until late August when a Sri Lankan family is sent there from their home in Biloela, Queensland, to await deportation.

– The Disability royal commission is established.

– Fraser Anning slaps a boy who cracked an egg over his head after the independent far-right senator blamed the Christchurch mosque shootings on “Muslim fanatics”.

– The government announces it will cut the annual migration cap by 30,000 to 160,000 a year for the next four years.

– Australia finalises a trade deal with Indonesia.

– Morrison hauls in tech titans including Facebook and YouTube to discuss planned laws banning violent offences from being broadcast online.

– Al Jazeera reports One Nation’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson and Hanson’s chief of staff James Ashby asked the powerful American gun lobby for $US20 million ($A29 million) to help roll back gun control in Australia. The pair defend themselves by saying they were drunk and were set up by a “Middle Eastern spy”.

APRIL

– Treasurer Josh Frydenberg promises further income tax cuts in the federal budget, a surplus in 2019/20 and $100 billion in infrastructure spending.

– The federal government approves the groundwater plan for the controversial Adani Carmichael mine, one of its last steps to being started.

– The federal election campaign kicks off.

– Opposition leader Bill Shorten has a fiery exchange with a reporter over the economic cost of Labor’s emission reduction target.

– Grattan Institute finds public trust in governments is at a 50-year low.

– Morrison allows media into his Pentecostal Horizon Church for the first time to film him celebrating Easter Sunday.

– An anti-Adani mine convoy organised by former Greens leader Bob Brown arrives in the central Queensland town of Clermont where protesters clash with locals.

– Shorten comes out on top in the first election debate.

MAY

– Morrison and Shorten face off in a second debate in Brisbane. Shorten is declared the winner.

– The third leaders’ debate takes place at the National Press Club in Canberra, with no clear winner.

– Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke dies, overshadowing the election campaign.

– Morrison wins in a surprise victory (77 seats), which he describes as a miracle and attributes to “quiet Australians”.

– Shorten steps aside from the Labor leadership.

– Morrison announces a new ministry line-up. Arthur Sinodinos and Mitch Fifield are given diplomatic postings.

– Anthony Albanese and Richard Marles become Labor’s new leadership team after all other contenders drop out.

JUNE

– Morrison visits the Solomon Islands, D-Day commemorations in England, and Singapore on his first overseas trip since winning re-election.

– Albanese announces Labor’s new-look frontbench, which includes fallen leader Shorten.

– Police raid News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s house over a 2018 story detailing an alleged government proposal to spy on Australians. The next day police raid ABC Sydney headquarters.

– The Reserve Bank cuts interest rates to 1.25 per cent.

– Morrison dines with US President Donald Trump in Osaka ahead of the G20 summit.

JULY

– The Reserve Bank cuts interest rates to one per cent.

– Personal income tax cuts are passed.

– Labor and the Greens pursue cabinet minister Angus Taylor over meetings with environment officials in relation to critically endangered grasslands at the centre of an investigation involving companies he part-owns.

AUGUST

– Liberal MP Andrew Hastie warns against underestimating China, comparing it to an aggressive Nazi Germany.

– Morrison attends the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, where he comes under fire for Australia’s low-level action on climate change.

– Morrison announces Australia will join an international military mission to help guard oil tankers from attacks in the Strait of Hormuz, south of Iran.

SEPTEMBER

– Morrison is feted at a White House state dinner.

OCTOBER

– The Reserve Bank cuts interest rates to 0.75 per cent.

– The media launches the Right To Know campaign, calling for reforms to protect public interest journalism.

– The aged care Royal Commission interim report, titled Neglect, seeks action on restraints, young people in care and home care packages.

NOVEMBER

– A debate over early bushfires and the impact of climate change rages.

– Angus Taylor finds himself in trouble again, over a letter to Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore.

– Morrison meets with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

DECEMBER

– The government is blindsided by One Nation voting down the “ensuring integrity” bill, but reintroduces it.

– The controversial Medevac bill is repealed with the backing of Jacqui Lambie.

– Former Liberal senator Cory Bernardi quits parliament.