I must wander off in a moment to join the lovely folks on The Drum on the ABC. It's been lovely to be back with Pulse Live readers again after the summer on our brand new blog template.
Great to see so much engagement so early in the political year.
Let's do the evening summary.
Today in federal politics:
- Mr Abbott's thinking on a northern Australia policy won some early exposure with a leak to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
- An ambitious draft plan for differential taxation, special economic zones, 'borrowed' millions from the aid budget and relocated public servants got a quick haircut, with Mr Abbott ruling out the aid proposal and changes that would be unconstitutional.
- Critics suggested it was a worrying blend of big government and big sop to the mining industry.
- The Gillard Government promptly declared Mr Abbott's blueprint a shocking impost for the good folks of western Sydney, who were already subject to Premier Barry O'Farrell's wicked plan to allow fracking under their homes and streets.
- A report from the Australian Crime Commissioning suggesting widespread drug cheating and match fixing went off like a firecracker in sports-mad Australia, a nation inclined to idolise those blessed with excellent hand-eye coordination.
- Question Time returned to the theme of the week: where is the surplus versus you Liberals don't care about jobs and growth.
We'll be back next week when parliament returns. Stay safe until then.
And as Christopher Pyne might say, later dudes.
MPs are making their way to the airport after this first sitting week.
What do we make of it?
A welcome anti-climax in some respects after the prelude. Quite a calm week actually. Not too many hysterics in the House. Not too much gratuitous muck and nonsense.
Question Time shifted to the economy, in recognition that we are moving into election season proper. Mr Hockey is taking up the attack task in parliament.
Labor is going back to first principles in its messaging, explaining why the over-hang from the global financial crisis is hard to move past; pitching a values narrative around the economy. Jobs and growth. We who watch politics closely will be developing a drinking game around that catch phrase - but we aren't the target.
The old maxim is when political journalists get frustrated with the same old script, it is just starting to filter out.
That sports story is making its way around the world.
For a sense of how the Australian doping is playing globally, it's the lead story on BBC World News.— Nick Bryant (@NickBryantOz) February 7, 2013
Meanwhile, the Senate has voted in favour of a motion from Greens Senator, Richard Di Natale, to conduct an inquiry into the impact of advertising and promotion of gambling on sport.
Photos without Notice.
Swanny. How I love ya.
Photos without Notice.
My question is to the Treasurer.Back to top
Photos without Notice.
Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott: how 'bout that surplus eh?
Photos without Notice.
Sexism? Moi? The Prime Minister after being accused of sexism for remarking on the colour of Tony Abbott's tie.
Now it's time to hand over to chief photographer Andrew Meares for Photos without Notice.
This is Andrew's captain's pick: the best images from the chamber each sitting day.
After that, I'm going to put some shape on this parliamentary week.
A note in my inbox from Port Hedland.
"Just a quick note, Karratha is spelt with two Rs – you've had it with one a few times on The Pulse today. Nice to see some attention for those of us up here though!"
Apologies. I'm very ashamed.
Not quite. The Bandt/O'Dwyer maneuver got a majority in that vote but not the absolute majority required by parliamentary procedure to carry the suspension.
The government will be very relieved by that.
The Gillard Government is very fixated on not losing votes. Call it minority government paranoia.Back to top
A stunt in the House of Representatives.
That's the verdict of Mr Albanese and his Cabinet colleague Chris Bowen, who is helping him out in this scramble.
A stunt in the House of Representatives for no good purpose.
(That's never happened before has it?)
Division bells are ringing. Let's see how this vote goes.
Mr Albanese professes himself opposed to this Liberal-Green alliance motion. He suggests this tie-up between Mr Bandt and Ms O'Dwyer portends an outbreak of procedural anarchy. You can't just waltz in here with no warning and bring on a motion, he suggests. The whole principle of private members business is about considered reflections and orderly process. You are inviting every member of this place to just bring on votes whenever they feel like it.
Mr Albanese says Mr Pyne - his opposite number on House matters - needs to reflect on this precedent before voting yes. If we support this resolution from the Member for Melbourne then anyone will just bring on a vote.
Mr Bandt has a seconder. It's Victorian Liberal Kelly O'Dwyer.
Now that's not something you see every day, a Liberal seconding a Green motion. A unity ticket on science and research funding. Bring it on. I like it.
(Of course high level research is a big political issue in Victoria, where a lot of great work gets done.)
It's theoretically possible this play will work - but I'm conscious Speaker Burke has shown several MPs the door in this session. They might be just short on numbers. We'll see.
The Prime Minister has ended Question Time.
Greens Deputy leader Adam Bandt is now trying to suspend the standing orders.
He's trying to bring on the vote that the government pulled this morning on research funding. (We reported on this issue in the post at 10.50am this morning.)
Mr Bandt thinks he's got the numbers to get this motion up. The Coalition is supportive and he says so are other crossbenchers. He suggests the government just doesn't want to lose a vote.
Mr Albanese says he hasn't got a copy of the resolution. Have you got a seconder, he inquires of Mr Bandt?
Bit of racing about on that one.
Victorian Liberal Alan Tudge wants to know how the Prime Minister can justify cutting funding to Victorian hospitals by the same amount of money as that spent on promoting the clean energy package. Surely hospital beds are more important than promoting the carbon tax?
The Prime Minister says she is grateful for the question. She argues the Victorian Government is the one taking money out of the state hospitals and blaming that on Canberra. Ms Gillard says she shares Mr Tudge's concerns about health funding in her home state.
Mr Tudge would like to table a document: a press release he says confirms the Commonwealth cut.
Manager of government business Anthony Albanese says he doesn't need the document. The government has the Budget papers confirming an increase in health funding.
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What can you do?
Environment Minister Tony Burke takes a question allowing him to be outraged about horizontal fracking in western Sydney. (See my post from 12.15pm for background.)
Just not on, this business of Premier O'Farrell.
Victorian Liberal Tony Smith is persisting on superannuation. You took money away from low income superannuants, why should we believe that there aren't detrimental changes in the pipeline?
"You should be protesting the leader of the Opposition's plan," Ms Gillard says to Mr Smith.
(The Pulse Live: That seems unlikely.)
Nationals leader Warren Truss wants to know if Ms Gillard agrees with Labor whip Joel Fitzgibbon that aspirational Australians are sick and tired of changes to superannuation?
This prompts a long answer from Ms Gillard about Labor being the party of superannuation; of the Coalition's intrinsic hostility to low income working people. Ms Gillard does not reflect directly on the contribution of Mr Fitzgibbon.
The Prime Minister is wondering about Mr Abbott's new positive strategy. She suggests it's not that evident in the chamber. Ms Gillard suggests the only new thing is the colour of Mr Abbott's tie.
Mr Pyne objects. This is sexist and should be withdrawn.
Ms Gillard powers on.
Trade Minister Craig Emerson is now being granted an opportunity to reflect on northern Australia. He says today's uncosted effort from the Coalition contains completely whacko ideas. He suggests someone in the Opposition policy team thought so too obviously, because the proposals were leaked.Back to top