As Gough Whitlam might say: it's time.
But before we head off into the evening to freak out about what to wear to the Midwinter Ball, what did we learn?
- The debt levy has got the Senate stamp of approval
- But the co-payment remains a slippery little sucker
- Bill Heffernan is the gatecrashing champ of the Parliament, and
- Peter Dutton ain't afraid to heckle
Thanks for tuning in today. Alex Ellinghausen, Andrew Meares and I will see you tomorrow.
Labor's Mark Bishop, who was elected to the Senate in 1996 is now giving his valedictory speech.
The WA Senator begins with a humungo thanks to his wife and two daughters.
Time in politics is served by "the entire family," he says.
There is a long line up of senators to congratulate Ron Boswell.
Even Christine Milne is there, despite those digs at environmentalists.
As she shakes Boswell's hand, Milne notes "after all I the help I gave you with bananas and ginger!"
"One of the things that has given me the greatest pleasure is seeing Barnaby Joyce emerge ... as a future leader of the National Party," Boswell adds.
Both Trussy and Barney are in the chamber to hear the valedictory speech.
But it's not awks!
The outgoing senator says that Truss has the "total loyalty" of the Nationals party room.
"I've always been a voice for traditional family values," Boswell says, recalling his opposition to abortion and porn.
He describes his defeat of Pauline Hanson in the 2001 election as his "greatest political achievement".
Boswell notes how he has always opposed environmental activists and their scare campaigns.
He says he is proud to say he has given the environment a "bloody nose" on more than one occasion.
Nationals senator Ron Boswell is giving his valedictory speech in the Senate.
(Yup, he might not be a fan of the paid parental leave scheme, but his term ends on June 30.)
He has been around Parliament for AGES, having been elected in 1983.
(Boswell says he is the sixth longest serving Senator.)
No wonder both Tony Abbott and Warren Truss have journeyed to the red room to hear him speak.
And Audi Clive
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer departs QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Clive with warning
Greens MP Adam Bandt, Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie during question time. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Clive Palmer during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares
The time being 5.01pm, we now present PHOTOS WITHOUT NOTICE*
*The Clive in the House special.
"This is a very fluid situation ... we're following it minute by minute."
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is on Sky News talking about Iraq.
She confirms that Australia's focus is still on protecting the Australians who are there.
She is also adamant that there is no change in government policy towards Israel and Palestine.
While we're talking about the budget, we note an excerpt of the NSW Treasurer's budget speech today:
"There is no point pretending that the broken agreements of the federal budget won’t hurt the people of New South Wales ... The Commonwealth should suspend its cuts until a review of the federation can be completed," Andrew Constance said.
"In the next four years alone, $2 billion will be wiped off our books with National Partnerships and agreements in health, education and pensioner and senior concessions cut off by Canberra."
Joe Hockey, Warren Truss and Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares
The GP co-payment continues to noodle itself.
Health correspondent Dan Harrison reports that Liberal MP Angus Taylor has incorrectly told his constituents that the proposed $7 payment will not apply to those who can't afford to pay it.
After question time, Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie moved to suspend standing orders over Iraq.
He wanted the Parliament to call on the PM to provide a "clear public statement" ruling out Australia sending combat forces to Iraq.
And to initiate a royal commission into the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
"There is an urgent need to understand what Australia's intentions are at this point in time," he said.
Wilkie was seconded by Greens MP Adam Bandt.
Leader of the House Christopher Pyne then complained that the government was not told in advance of the motion.
"Today is not the day for it," he argues.
The motion is put to a vote, with only Wilkie and Bandt voting in support.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie moves to suspend standing orders in the House of Representatives. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Peter Dutton health minister during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares
"Take your medication."
What do you think?
Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert has the final question - a dixer about ADF gap years.
He ends by telling Shorten that it is a shame he didn't go on one.
"Otherwise you would have learned a thing or two about leadership."
At 3.16pm, Tony Abbott calls an end to question time.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares
After letting Labor's Shayne Neumann ask the PM a question on indigenous programs, BS comes back to TA.
This time, the question is allowed.
Yesterday during question time the Prime Minister said: "This is the budget that the Australian people elected us to bring down."
When did the Prime Minister tell the Australian people before the last election that he would cut $80 billion from schools and hospitals, cut pensions, hit families with a GP tax, hit Australians every time they fill up their car with petrol?
"We said we would fix the mess," the PM tells the House.
There is much shoutin'.
Wayne Swan is asked to withdraw a heckle.
And then Tanya Plibersek points out that the Minister for Health said: "take your medication".
"That is highly, highly inappropriate."
Dutton too, is asked to withdraw.
Labor MP Wayne Swan during question time. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
A question to Peter Dutton sees the Health Minister return to a favourite Liberal sport of late - Andrew Leigh baiting.
"I want to pay tribute to the member for Fraser, who, as everybody in this place knows, is a political lovechild of Bob Hawke and Jenny Macklin. He is a believer in a co-payment because he wants to make Medicare sustainable," says Dutton.
Leigh interrupts with a point of order:
"The Minister is welcome to say what he likes about my comments at university. If he wants to talk about the present, he might focus on what he said last year while campaigning for election."
(This is a change from Leigh's usual ripostes, which involve him holding up a copies of his recent books.)
BS to TA.
And it is an air swing.
I refer to the Prime Minister's previous answers that this is an honest budget. Prime Minister, how on earth can anyone ever believe anything you ever say again?
Madam Speaker rules it out or order.
"It is not a question of substance."
She asks him to rephrase.
"Happy to," Shorten says.
I refer to the Prime Minister's previous answers ... describing the budget as an honest budget and ... that there are no broken promises. How on earth can anyone ever believe anything that this Prime Minister ever says again?
Unsurprisingly, Madam Speaker knocks this one back, too.
"I'm sorry, that's the same question," she says before moving on to the next dixer.
A dixer to Barney Joyce on the carbon tax yields an answer that sounds a bit like an old VB ad.
(Ostensibly it is about the impacts of the carbon tax on Australian agriculture.)
"If you wake up in the morning as you do in the country, nice and early before the sun rises, you turn on the light and pay the carbon tax.
"When you go to the kitchen, put on the kettle and get yourself a brew, you pay the carbon tax.
"When you turn on the shower and the pump turns on, you pay the carbon tax.
"When you turn out the welder, when you go to work, you pay the carbon tax.
"When you turn on the tractor ... you pay the carbon tax.
"When you go to the pie shop for smoko, you pay the carbon tax. You might get something else as well, maybe an insult from the Leader of the Opposition."
(Matter o' matter of fact, I got it now ...)
Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce. Photo: Andrew Meares
QT skips through a question from health spokeswoman Catherine King to Tony Abbott on health and education cuts (how is this fair?) and a dixer to Small Business Minister Bruce Billson on how scrapping the carbon tax and fixing the budget will help small business.
Then Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen asks the Prime Minister when he will "finally abandon his unfair and unaffordable paid parental leave scheme".
"Well, it is fair and it is affordable," TA says.
"How can members opposite claim to be the friends of the workers of Australia when they don't want female workers to get paid parental leave at their wage?
"How can they? How can they? I mean, really and truly."
A revision on the number of Labor MPs in the House.
We reported earlier that Nick Champion was sent out under 94a during Scott Morrison's dixer.
But Champion, after protesting his innocence, was in fact given a reprieve by Madam Speaker.
He had been accused of interjecting but says that he had simply been sitting there, minding his own business.
"For once, I had been silent!"
Although he concedes: "To be fair, I think I might have been named through habit."
Member for Wakefield Nick Champion (left) is asked to leave chamber under 94a by Madam Speaker but is given a reprieve. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is then asked to talk about the relationship with Canadia.
(The Canadiaian relationship?)
Labor's Jim Chalmers is kicked out around about this point.
There is also some hollering when Bishop calls on Shorten to rebuke Mark Dreyfus for calling Canada a "pariah state" [on climate change] on radio last week.
Member for Rankin Jim Chalmers (right) asked to leave under 94a during QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The house is treated to a Warren Truss dixer on what the government is doing to improve Australia's freight rail network.
The question time beach ball is then bounced back to the Labor side.
Here, Julie Collins asks why it is OK to cut people's family payments in the bush while people in the city get paid $50,000 to have a baby.
(Perhaps some slight generalisation going on here.)
The PM replies that under his government, women will get paid parental leave at their wage.
"That's fair. That's just. That's modern."
Prime Minister Tony Abbott winks during QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Treasurer Joe Hockey arrives for QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
A dixer to the Immigration Minister on "fresh challenges" to "stopping the boats" sees Labor's Nick Champion and Richard Marles booted out for an hour.
Scott Morrison 2, Labor 0.
Shadow Immigration Minister Richard Marles asked to leave under 94a. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Tony Burke asks TA a question about pensions (bringing forth the now familiar prime ministerial riposte: "there are no cuts to pensions!")
And then we are off to crossbench corner, where the Greens' Adam Bandt has the question today.
Since the budget, I've heard from many job seekers under 30 worried about how they'll survive when your government takes away their income for months at a time.
These people are desperate for meaningful work and they have already studied, retrained and even got post-graduate qualifications.
Prime Minister, when your budget takes away all their income, what should young job seekers do first? Stop paying for rent? Stop buying food? Or is your view simply let them eat cake?
Madam Speaker rules the last (cake) bit of the question out of order.
The PM replies that no-one should start their adult life on social security.
Treasurer Joe Hockey is then called via the dixer pixie to outline how repealing the carbon tax will boost growth and help state governments around the country.
He answers by telling Labor to "get out of the way" and support the repeal of the carbon tax.
The dixers begin with a high kick.
Will the Prime Minister explain how fixing the budget will strengthen the economy?
And we move on to question from Joel Fitzgibbon to the PM.
Australians in rural and regional areas will pay your new petrol and GP taxes while having their pensions and FTBs cut ... Prime Minister, please tell the House how this is fair?
Abbott replies: "Well, Madam Speaker, yet again more falsehoods from members opposite."
But now. Question time.
And we are off and pacing with BS to TA.
Before the election, the Prime Minister promised no cuts to health, no cuts to education and no change to the pension.
But after the election the Prime Minister has cut $80 billion from schools and hospitals and cut pension indexation.
How can the Prime Minister possibly claim that this is the budget that the Australian people elected his government to bring down?
"The Leader of the Opposition is just a farrago of falsehoods," replies the PM, riffing on a classic Bronwyn Bishop line.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrives for QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Meanwhile, Sarah Hanson Young is giving a doorstop in the Senate courtyard.
Bill Heffernan is doing that thing where he drops by other people's press conferences and just stands there listening.
Liberal senator Sue Boyce is retiring from the Senate at the end of the month.
A passionate advocate for people with disability, Boyce is perhaps best known for crossing the floor to support the emissions trading scheme in 2009 and in 2013 to recognise overseas same-sex marriages.
Boyce has also wanted to promoted women in parliament.
On this issue, she has just told ABC 24 that she gives herself "a bit of a fail".
She says that a "lack of focus on the subject" has stopped the preselection of women in Queensland for the Senate.
"We keep hearing about preselecting 'women of merit'. I don't hear people talking about preselecting 'men of merit.'"
The debt levy passed on the voices, meaning there was no actual vote.
This is routine, given there was a clear majority to pass it.
Handily, it also means that Macdonald and Bernardi's dissent was not recorded in the vote.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, Ian Macdonald thanks Mathias Cormann for his answers, but says "you haven't convinced me".
This heralds some questions from Labor's Sam Dastyari about how the government can't even get its own team on side with the budget. Cormann points out that Labor is, in fact, on side with this one (as it is voting for the debt levy).
The committee stage questions dealt with, the Senate brings on the debt levy vote.
And lo and behold, it passes.
Senator Ian Macdonald during the debate on the debt levy on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The Iraqi ambassador is also asked what Baghdad will do if it doesn't get the support it is looking for from Washington DC.
Will it look to Tehran?
"I don't want to specifically say Tehran, there are other countries that expressed interest and willingness to help Iraq. If the United States doesn't have it or cannot provide it, we'll go somewhere else," he says.
And back in Canberra at the Iraqi embassy, the ambassador to Australia, Mouayed Saleh, is talking to reporters.
He says that Iraq has "communication" with DFAT but there is no "specific request to the Australian government to help Iraq today".
"Today, Iraq is trying to rely on itself to face terrorism in Iraq."
Would the Iraqi government welcome intervention from countries like the United States and maybe Australia?
"Not to the intervention ... where we have troops on the ground. So far, we do not need that."
"That could be possible."
Do you believe that the US and its allies should accept some responsibility for the state of Iraq today?
"No, we cannot blame that."
More than $1 billion will be spent on child protection, homelessness and disability services in NSW in 2014/15 as the state government seeks to deliver on its "obligation to help those in need" in its last budget before next year's election.
Western Sydney has also emerged as a potential big winner with infrastructure promises including $400 million for the first stage of a new Parramatta light rail network.
In his first budget as Treasurer, Andrew Constance has announced an additional $500 million will be spent over the next four years on child protection.
Macdonald continues to quiz Cormann in the Senate.
This really is not your average day.
We have a government senator asking a government minister about the budget.
In a non-dixer fashion.
"Why aren't [companies] being asked to pay off Labor's debt?"
Following on from CCTV-gate, we get to the deficit levy.
It is now being considered "in committee".
This happens when the Senate wants to look at a matter in detail, with unlimited opportunities for senators to speak and move amendments.
Ian Macdonald has spoken first, repeating his support for a debt levy on individuals and agreeing that there is a "debt crisis".
"Desperate measures are needed," he says.
"The government has been creditable in tightening their belts."
"What I cannot understand ... [is] why individuals are being requested to make the contribution but not companies."
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann speaks next, saying that everyone has to chip in with the ol' budget.
Senator Ian Macdonald during the debate on the debt levy. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The Senate is now sitting.
It begins with a statement from President John Hogg.
He is speaking about the use of CCTV footage at Parliament House.
Both Faulkner and Cory Bernardi (who was the committee chair) wrote to Hogg about the matter.
Has the free performance of a senator's duty been compromised here?
Hogg says it must be regarded as a "very serious" matter. He suggests that they jointly refer it to the Senate's powerful privileges committee.
A less forceful motion moved by immigration spokesman Richard Marles - calling for processing to be done in a timely manner and in appropriate accommodation - was passed on the voices (easily).
Bill Shorten told his troops that "every day" Joe Hockey and the PM told a "new lie" about the budget.
In the Liberal Party meeting (before the joint one), Izzat Salah Abdulhadi might be interested to know that one MP congratulated George Brandis and Bishop for their "unambiguous and accurate statement" about East Jerusalem.
MPs have emerged from their meetings and the House is now sitting.
The Senate is due to sit from 12.30pm.
Lisa Cox tells us that in the Coalition's meeting, Tony Abbott called on MPs to keep a united front.
(This comes after Ian Macdonald and Cory Bernadi did their thing yesterday).
He described Labor as the "most pathetic" opposition for some time. Their attacks on government policy are a "long despairing screech".
Julie Bishop also called the opposition "pathetic" for their critiques of Abbott's overseas travels.
She said she bit her tongue lots of times when Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard made mistakes overseas.
In NSW state parliament, Treasurer Andrew Constance is handing down his first budget.
You can tune in to the live speech here.
G20! Come! It'll be great!
Prime Minister Tony Abbott meets with the President of Singapore Tony Tan Keng Yam, at Parliament House. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The President is here all week (arrived Sunday, leaves Friday).
He has already been officially greeted by the Governor-General and planted a tree at the National Arboretum (a must on any foreign dignitary's to-do list).
Australia has already asked Singapore to attend the G20 in November as a guest, "underscoring Singapore's role as a key member of the global financial system".
Tony Abbott meets the President of Singapore in his Parliament House office. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Over in the prime ministerial bit of Parliament House, Tony Abbott has been meeting and greeting Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott awaits the arrival of the President of Singapore Tony Tan Keng Yam at Parliament House. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Reminds us here at The Pulse of that really sad Dido song.
DLP senator John Madigan and independent senator Nick Xenophon depart their press conference on the forecourt of Parliament House. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Nick Xenophon and John Madigan have been out the front of Parliament, flagging an issue with the flag.
The two are most displeased about the fact that Australian flags on government buildings (including Parliament) don't need to be made in Australia.
A Senate committee (chaired by Cory Bernardi) has just found that it is not commercially viable to manufacture Australia flags with Australian-made materials. It also found all Aussie flags might be inconsistent with Australia's free trade obligations with the US.
"The committee has raised the white flag," Xenophon said.
DLP Senator John Madigan and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon comment on the Flags Amendment Bill 2014 during a doorstop interview on the forecourt of Parliament House. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Among the items at the Midwinter Ball, you can buy various dinners with Tony Abbott, Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek, Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull, Clive Palmer and the Greens.
The PM is leading the bidding ... just ... at $5,300.
People have so far put in $3,950 to dine with Bill and Tanya, $4,550 to have Malcolm Turnbull cook them dinner at his Canberra home, $3,650 to hang with Clive at a "fine" Canberra restaurant and $3,000 to eat with the Christine Milne, Adam Bandt and Scott Ludlam.
Tomorrow evening, the Great Hall of Parliament House will pack out with the largest, sparkliest networking event known to federal politics.
But, kids, it's also for charity. Not just the chance to drink too much chardonnay and dance with an MP.
And the auction items are up on ebay.
As we continue to think about that budget (one month old and counting!), the man who restarted the debate about a GP co-payment has said that pensioners should get a pay rise to compensate for the $7 fee.
Terry Barnes - who proposed a $6 fee to see the doctor in a submission to the Commission of Audit - has told Fairfax Media that the government should consider boosting the payments of carers and pensioners as a buffer against the GP fee.
We're not sure this will win the necessary votes in the Senate, however.
Labor has said it will not support the fee in any circumstances. The Greens have called on the government to dump the co-payment.
As for PUP?
"It's over. There'll be no co-payment," Clive Palmer has said.
Dan Harrison has the story here.
What else is jumping on this Tuesday morn?
In a separate story, Peter also reports on the Reserve Bank saying it is cheaper to make things in Australia than it was two years ago.
How does this sit with claims by employer groups that low-income workers are at risk of being "priced out of existence" by wage increases?
You say "disputed", I say "occupied".
Over the weekend, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that policy had not been made on the run regarding East Jerusalem.
"There's been no change in policy ... there's been a terminological clarification," he told reporters while still in the US.
As Mark Kenny reported, Muslim countries have been protesting against the change in Australia's language and threatening cessation of Australian farm exports.
Today, the head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, Izzat Salah Abdulhadi, has been at Parliament House.
Here, he told reporters that he wants to see to see a "formal statement" from Australia on its position on Israel and Palestine.
"We need a written statement," he said, so he could report back to his government.
"It's not about language."
The head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, addresses the media during a doorstop interview at Parliament House on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
SPOTTED: One Rolls Royce in front of Parliament House.
Rolls Royce spotted in front of Parliament House on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Tuesday has also brought the news that there is a lawsuit being brought against the federal government over the Christmas Island disaster in 2010, where 50 people died.
Human rights lawyer George Newhouse - who represented survivors at the 2012 inquest - is arguing that government policies put lives at risk.
As Lisa Cox reports, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is hopping mad about it.
He says the claim "beggars belief".
And that it is "shameful" and "offensive".
"This is like someone who was saved from a fire suing the firemen. It's like someone who has been saved by an ambulance officer at the scene of an accident being sued for saving the person's life," he told reporters on his way into Parliament this morning.
All this happens as a fresh baked Newspoll is put on the window sill to cool.
Labor is still clearly in front at 53 to 47 per cent two-party-preferred.
But the gap has closed slightly from the last poll, two weeks ago, which had Labor in front 54 to 46.
Both leaders have also taken a hit in terms of their personal ratings.
Those satisfied with Tony Abbott have dropped from 33 to 30 per cent.
Those satisfied with Bill Shorten have dropped from 38 to 34 per cent.
Dissatisfaction is the feeling du jour.
The Coalition meets as dissent bubbles over the debt levy (which is expected to pass the Senate this afternoon) and the paid parental leave scheme.
(Hi there, Ian Macdonald and Cory Bernardi.)
The Oz writes that a group of up to 18 Coalition MPs met last night to endorse a call for aluminium production to be totally exempted from the scheme from July next year.
The RET would see 20 per cent of electricity generated by renewable sources by 2020.
There is currently a review of the RET which has induced speculation the Abbott government will reduce or scrap the target.
Both Labor and Coalition MPs will meet this morning at Parliament.
We are expecting the Labor meeting to feature a bid from MPs Melissa Parke and Anna Burke to have the party drop its support for asylum seeker processing on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
They will move a motion citing the death of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati, the "inhumane, unsafe and completely unsatisfactory conditions" for asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island, a lack of independent oversight of the centres and the lack of processing of asylum claims in both countries as justification for the move.
It also points out that the policy is inconsistent with the ALP's national platform and argues the system violates Australia's obligations under the UN refugee convention.
The motion calls for Labor to "no longer support the transfer of asylum seekers by Australia to Manus Island or Nauru" and "detention centres in those places to be closed forthwith".
As Sarah Whyte and James Massola write, the motion was due to be debated about a month ago but it is understood it was delayed so that it wouldn't clash with Richard Marles' appearance at the press club.
There is a press conference due at the Iraqi embassy in Canberra at 1pm.
Earlier this morning, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop played down the idea of SAS soldiers being deployed if the situation in Iraq deteriorates further.
She told Channel Nine that evacuation plans are already in place and that the SAS is a "last resort".
Ruth Pollard and David Wroe report that Australia could also fly surveillance plane missions as part of a broader US-led effort to beat back the jihadist forces that have established bases in Mosul and north-eastern Syria.
We begin the day with the breaking news that US President Barack Obama has told Congress that about 275 troops will be deployed to Iraq.
They will provide security to US personnel in the Baghdad embassy.
If necessary, the troops are also "equipped for combat".
Party rooms meet, a fresh poll flings more numbers at politics and a court case looms over the Christmas Island disaster.
It's Tuesday in Canberra.
Where the debt levy is also due for a vote in the Senate and Hillary Clinton is up in arms about sexism.
Then, there's Iraq.