Federal Politics

Politics live: February 14, 2013

Let's blow this popsicle stand. Thanks for your company throughout the sitting week. Thanks to Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen for lovely visuals.

Go well Pulsers, until we meet again.

Let's do the evening summary.

Today in federal politics:

  • Valentines Day dawned with the Foreign Minister Bob Carr under pressure over the treatment of Australian man Ben Zygier, who died in mysterious circumstances in an Israeli prison.
  • There was a flurry over income taxes after the Treasurer Wayne Swan refused to rule out future increases on morning radio.
  • The Treasurer cleaned up quickly, once the issue kicked into the morning news cycle. Mr Swan's opposite number Joe Hockey, then had to play the rule-in rule out game himself.
  • A Coalition consultation paper on the development of dams up north leaked - prompting a discussion of who was a big dam person and who was not, and whether these dams being proposed were magic dams or just dams that couldn't be delivered because the policy was uncosted.
  • Question Time saw Coalition wags attempting to deliver Valentines Day chocolate to Kevin Rudd, who hadn't gathered quite enough publicity in their humble opinion.
  • Mr Rudd meanwhile did quite well enough on his own getting noticed. Mr Everywhere was, indeed, everywhere.

 

 

More fun to wind down with. Rocco Fazzari has prepared this animation on Tony Abbott and going north. Enjoy!

 

Photos without Notice.

Tim?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard examines a chocolate rose left at the Table
Prime Minister Julia Gillard examines a chocolate rose left at the Table Photo: Andrew Meares

Photos without Notice.

Kelly O' You Shouldn't Have

Kevin Rudd receives a rose from Kelly O'Dwyer
Kevin Rudd receives a rose from Kelly O'Dwyer Photo: Andrew Meares

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A coalition of the heart.

Andrew Hirst media adviser to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott shares his rose with Bronwyn Bishop and John Cobb
Andrew Hirst media adviser to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott shares his rose with Bronwyn Bishop and John Cobb Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Pour moi?

Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne and Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop
Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne and Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Andrew Meares dinkus 30 January 2013

Let's ease toward the evening with chief photographer Andrew Meares and Photos without Notice.

This is Andrew's daily selection of frames from Question Time.

Let's take a few moments to think about the parliamentary week.

It's been a messy week for Labor, with a debate about the mining tax front and centre.

That debate has kept the focus on the Treasurer Wayne Swan. In case the focus was going to move away from Mr Swan, Kevin Rudd ensured it didn't. He made sure that voters and readers linked Mr Swan directly and inexorably with the under performance of the mining tax.

The pressure of all that showed this week - and Mr Swan isn't great at hiding his nerves.

I think this act of provocation by Kevin Rudd is quite deliberate in a strategic sense, as well as confirmation of the complete breakdown in relations between the two lads from Nambour (should further confirmation have been required!) Labor's internal leadership dynamic is as much a contest between Mr Rudd and Mr Swan as it is between Mr Rudd and Julia Gillard. Mr Swan doesn't want Mr Rudd to come back, and has thus far succeeded in holding him out. So it's a test of wills. And there are those newspaper opinion polls coming at the weekend. It explains the step up in profile this week. And you get a sense that things behind the scenes are shifting a little.

And the Coalition?

Tony Abbott's gear shift in presentation is interesting.

I think his speech on the Act of Recognition was really outstanding. It drew a line over the indigenous politics of the Howard era. Indigenous affairs is a policy area Mr Abbott cares deeply about, and the sincerity showed.

As for those magic dams - it gives us all something to chew over; a sense of a policy debate to come.

But the Coalition is going to have to pick it up on the fine print. Vision in politics is all well and good, but detail and precision and coherence is good too.

 

It was something about the combination of the last sitting day, Valentines Day, hearts and magic dams that made me think of this.

quote

From the desk of Bob Katter.

Damn them magic dams.

"It is not the intention of the Liberal National Party to actually deliver these projects. When they build these dams, who is going to use them? The farmers and graziers won't because their industry is one that you can't make a quid out of any more. It costs $400m to build a single dam so 100 dams will cost $40 billion. Where does the LNP suppose they will get the money from? And who will it help because it won't help our dying agriculture industry."

 

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Parliamentary secretary to the Treasurer Bernie Ripoll has taken the MPI debate for Labor.

Mr Ripoll points out that Mr Smith talked for twenty minutes in the debate and only spoke of superannuation for five.

I fear Mr Ripoll has embarked on the same strategy.

Outside the chamber, Mr Hockey wants to make sure nobody missed Mr Swan's slip on the unemployment rate during Question Time.

Victorian Liberal Tony Smith is taking up the issue of superannuation in the matter of public importance debate.

Labor needs to stop playing with people's retirement savings, is the message. Mr Smith says Labor has imposed $8 billion worth of new taxes on super since coming to office.

Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane is backing in the effort on social media.

 

After a couple of last questions, on education funding, the mining tax and what the United States might do on carbon pricing in the wake of President Obama's state of the union address yesterday; the Prime Minister has asked that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Mr Swan gets a question on Mum and Dad - if Mum and Dad ran the house like you run the Budget it would have all gone to pot by now.

The Treasurer uses the opportunity to roll out the case studies of how Mum and Dad are better off. Mum and Dad would have a mortgage. They are paying $5,000 less a year on their home loan.

There was a brief digression about how Mum and Dad would have had to convert the house to a tent if the Coalition was in government during the global financial crisis.

Fortunately, that is now over.

 

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In his answer to Mr Pyne, Mr Swan said Australia's unemployment rate was 5.1 per cent. An outstanding performance.

Mr Hockey whips up to the dispatch box. What is the current employment rate, Mr Hockey inquires of Mr Swan.

5.4 per cent, Mr Swan notes.

"I did make a mistake."

Mr Swan is now being challenged on the government's job creation record.

Manager of Opposition business Christopher Pyne raises job creation in countries like Mexico and Chile.

Mr Swan is letting fly with a fruit smoothie. Mr Pyne is mixing apples and oranges and pears.

It sure is Thursday down there.

Is the Treasurer aware the mining companies have accumulated more than a billion in credits to be offset against their tax liabilities?

This question is from Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop.

The Treasurer says he is aware, because these figures have been published by the companies.

The resources industry also provides a real time fact check to Ms Bishop via social media.

Ben Mitchell is spokesman for the Minerals Council of Australia.

 

Kelly O'Dwyer Liberal backbencher delivers a Valentines Day chocolate rose to ALP backbencher Kevin Rudd.
Kelly O'Dwyer Liberal backbencher delivers a Valentines Day chocolate rose to ALP backbencher Kevin Rudd. Photo: Andrew Meares

Trade Minister Craig Emerson is letting fly with a barrage of dam puns.

Looks like Liberal Kelly O'Dwyer succeeded in her Valentines delivery.

Water Minister Tony Burke gets the predictable dam Dorothy Dixer.

Mr Burke contends the dams envisaged by the Coalition in their consultation paper are magic dams.

"Only the Opposition could up with a policy where dams would be always full, always empty and always flowing."

Mr Burke is continuing on funding. If there is to be private funding of dams, will there be tolls? The increased prices will flow through production to consumers.

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