It's time we hopped onto our high horse and galloped into the night.
But before that, what did we learn today?
- If you're going to write a message about diggers, keep the carbon tax out of it;
- Don't make an enemy of Malcolm Turnbull;
- Or Andrew Bolt;
- But if the PM had to choose, he says he'll back Malc; AKA
- Keep your friends close, but your frenemies closer.
Andrew Meares, Alex Ellinghausen and I will be back tomorrow.
(P.S In an update that could not wait until the morning, Bill Heffernan just gave Stephen Conroy a mini-massage in the Defence estimates hearing. How relaxing is that?!)
In estimates this evening, Health, the Industry Department, Safe Work Australia and Defence Materiel Organisation are on the menu.
If you'd like to watch the scrutiny in action, tune in here.
Do you want to keep the story going?
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull during question time. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
What do you reckon Malcolm?
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull during QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Andrew Bolt has hit TVs this evening, telling Channel 10 that Turnbull's "over the top response shows he just wants to keep the story going".
(Bolt's comments in turn thus ensuring the story keeps going.)
And now, the results of today's poll.
Which is the greater sin?
We have a clear winner: "mentioning the carbon tax in a statement about D-Day" with 64 per cent of the vote.
Next is "suggesting dole recipients should get drug tested" (26 per cent), followed by "having dinner with Clive Palmer" (6 per cent) and "associating Andrew Bolt with the term 'demented'" (3 per cent).
FYI, Stephen Conroy, "having a press conference in an air base hangar" only scored a lowly one per cent of the vote.
Thanks to the 1,327 people who voted.
That's almost a Nielsen poll sample!
Here's an opportunity if you have a spare $1,200 floating around.
Mark Hawthorne and James Massola report that Labor is offering business leaders and lobbyists a day at the AFL with Albo.
That would be the Swans vs the GWS Giants on June 28.
The ALP stands to make up to $16,800 from the event.
Albo has declined to comment.
A last mintue shout out to vote in our poll today.
Ten minutes to go.
Have your say! It's democracy!
The PM will meet SBY on the island of Batam.
(Because Batam is where SBY will be on Wednesday.)
"Further to their very cordial conversation last month, the Prime Minister will spend time with President Yudhoyono and continue the progress that has been made to resolve current issues and to strengthen the bilateral relationship," a spokesman for the PM says.
The Abbott-SBY meeting is a good sign of "normality" happening in Australia-Indonesia relations.
We suppose that there are fingers crossed in government circles that there are no boat turnback operations between now and then.
In other foreign policy news, Tony Abbott will stop off in Indonesia on his way to Europe for D-Day commemorations.
It has been confirmed this afternoon that the PM will meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday.
This comes after Indonesia's Ambassador to Australia arrived back in Canberra late last month.
And after Abbott backed out of a meeting with SBY earlier in May.
In the Foreign Affairs Committee, Labor's Sam Dastyari has asked what would happen to Australia and the ANZUS Treaty in the event that things got serious in the South China Sea and the US backed Japan in a conflict?
Defence secretary Dennis Richardson has decidedly refused to step through the scenario here.
(i.e. no freaking way is he going to say that yep, sure thing Australia would go to war against China.)
When asked what Australia's obligations are, Richardson told Dastyari, "I would suggest that you read the ANZUS Treaty".
Away from the House, estimates has been chatting on this afternoon.
In the Community Affairs committee, Labor's Deb O'Neill has asked if there is any understanding of how the GP co-payment and the government six-month dole wait will impact upon young people.
It has been pointed out by officials that 20 to 29 year-olds are some are among the lowest users of healthcare in Australia.
(But still, what happens if one of them happens to buck the trend and get sick?)
What do you think Malc and Morrison are having a look at here?
Bolt's column today?
The PM's D-Day video?
Peppa Pig on iview?
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison in discussion during QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
There was only one boot out today.
That was Labor's Ed Husic, just after 3pm, during the dixer to Luke Hartsuyker on work for the dole.
(He can come back in an hour if he likes.)
By our calculations that makes it 106 Labor MPs who have now been sent out in this parliament, compared to 2 Coalition MPs.
Amid dixers on small business, work for the dole and children's literacy, we have a final question from BS to TA.
He refers to "mistakes" explaining the budget by the Treasurer, Pyne, Kevin Andrews and the PM himself.
If the PM and his cabinet can't get it right, how will they ever understand how their budget of broken promises is hurting real Australian families?
"It is so typical, I regret to say," Abbott says.
The opposition is "no solutions, all complaint".
And with that, he ends QT at 3.10pm.
Is the PM having a Clive moment here?
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Tony Abbott during QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
We'll be using "bestie" before you know it.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares
The upshot of all that?
"Frenemy" is allowed in the House!
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier during QT this afternoon. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Oh and here's Labor's question on the Bolt rant (which was neatly preceded by a dixer to Malcolm Turnbull on the NBN).
Jason Clare asks the PM:
Earlier today the Minister for Communications made remarks about Andrew Bolt as demented, crazy and unhinged.
Andrew Bolt then said "If only Malcolm Turnbull spent half his charm fighting for Tony Abbott's Budget".
PM, who is right? Your friend Andrew Bolt or your frenemy, Malcolm Turnbull?
After a protest from Pyne (who does not think the question should be allowed), Madam Speaker lets it through.
And Abbott says: "in any dispute between a member of my frontbench and a member of the Fourth Estate, I'm firmly on the side of my frontbencher".
And here's Labor's question about the Education Minister's confused moment over HELP repayment rates yesterday.
Kate Ellis asks the PM if Pyne was correct when he said that higher interest rates will not apply to current students.
"From the middle of 2016, people will pay the long-term bond rate capped at six per cent," Abbott replies, leaving things hanging in the air.
Leader of the House Christopher Pyne during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares
A following dixer to Peter Dutton brings a question mark.
During the answer, Tony Burke protests on behalf of Jenny Macklin over Dutton continuing to argue that Macklin backed a GP co-payment in the early 1990s.
This is despite Macklin previously pointing out she did not.
"The Minister for Health is providing information which the member for Jagajaga has previously explained to the House is false," says Burke.
Bronwyn Bishop says she will consider the issue but not rule straight away.
Labor's health spokeswoman Catherine King has a question for the PM on co-payments.
I refer to the PM's comment yesterday that 70 per cent of GP visits at the moment are
bulk-billed. Is the PM aware that the latest figures show the bulk billing rate is in fact 83.6 per cent.
How can the government introduce a GP tax when the PM doesn't even know how many Australians rely on bulk billing for medical treatment?
"Well, Madam Speaker, I stand by my comments," Abbott replies.
"I simply point out ... if it's right and proper for a modest co-payment to be applied to people getting PBS drugs. How can it be wrong and immoral for people to be charged a modest co-payment to visit the GP?"
A dixer to Greg Hunt on repealing the carbon tax "as soon as possible" brings on a challenge to Labor.
"Get out of the way, stand with us and abolish the carbon tax."
Failing that, Hunt says, the carbon tax legislation will be back in time for the upper house to consider it in the first two weeks of the new (Senate) sittings.
We then have BS back to TA on the medical research fund - inspired perhaps by the Health Department's appearance at estimates.
Can the PM confirm that the policy work on the $20 billion medical research fund did not begin until April this year?
Just weeks before the budget was released? And, does this confirm that the PM is just making this budget up as he goes along?
Abbott is unmoved.
"I think the Leader of the Opposition is trying to suggest that somehow a six-week gestation period was inadequate. Well, this from a political party that cooked up the National Broadband Network on the back of a coaster on a VIP flight, really and truly, Madam Speaker," he says.
On the bright side, Clive is not actually asleep.
Clive Palmer yawns during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares
Not everyone is finding today's QT an exhilarating experience.
Clive Palmer yawns during question time. Photo: Andrew Meares
There have been two dixers to Joe Hockey amongst all this.
Both have been about fixing/managing the budget.
This has seen the Treasurer wax like a candle shop about the importance of being "consistent and predictable in relation to public policy".
He goes on to talk about the "hypocrisy" of the Labor Party. And that it has no "core principles".
"There is no light on the hill."
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey during QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Greens MP Adam Bandt has the crossbench conch.
It is to the PM.
Why are you a climate change Chamberlain when we need a Churchill?
"Like the member who asked me the question, I want to protect the environment but unlike the member who asked me the question, I don't want to destroy the economy in the process," Abbott replies.
(No pieces of paper were waved in the process of answering the question.)
Labor is keen to stick with the veterans' payments and support.
Gai Brodtmann and Warren Snowden have both stayed on the topic.
The Labor benches are calling out "loyalty goes both ways!" (something Abbott said in opposition.)
The PM says, firmly, that no military pensioner will receive a "worse rate of indexation" than a civilian one.
The diggers attack is stopped by a dixer to Warren T.
The Deputy PM is asked about infrastructure projects.
"This government is getting on with the business of building the infrastructure of the 21st century. Labor only talked," Truss says.
And the House exhales.
Shorten follows up with a question about cuts to pensions.
He asks the PM about cuts to indexation of pensions and what this will mean for veterans.
"Where is his loyalty to our veterans?"
(Do you sense a D-Day connection here?)
Abbott insists that there is no cut to veterans' payments.
"We have absolutely delivered on the policy commitments we took to the election."
Prime Minister Tony Abbott during question time. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The primo dixer is from NSW MP Ann Sudmalis.
It is about how all Australians will benefit from a government "prepared to make the decisions our country needs".
"Madam Speaker, I do thank the Member for Gilmore for her question," Abbott says.
And we begin where we so often begin.
BS to TA.
Earlier today when asked about ministers not knowing about policies, Malcolm Turnbull said: "I don't want to comment on my colleagues in that manner but some of these [budget] measures are complex and often they may be difficult to explain."
(This was during the Bolt doorstop.)
Will the Prime Minister endorse the Minister for the Communication's statement that his colleagues are making mistakes trying to explain this budget?
The PM shoots back that Shorten should not "verbal" Turnbull.
"Who said no such thing."
As we do some preparatory lunges before question time, here's a couple of stories to drawn to your attention.
(It is a crossbench special that does not feature Clive Palmer.)
1. Independent senator Nick Xenophon has joined the chorus of peeps calling for a re-count over the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup.
This comes as the Sunday Times revealed just what was behind Qatar's successful bid.
And 2. Incoming Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm reckons that the PUP voting bloc will not last in the Senate.
"We will have a lot of contact with other minor party senators," says the man who has just formed his own mini-bloc with Family First's Bob Day.
For his part, FYI, Leyonhjelm says the budget is not tough enough - he thinks Australia needs to be more aggressive about getting back to surplus.
CSIRO's appearance before the Economics Committee has revealed that the Dish is set to become a lonely observatory.
(Yes, that's the same Dish that starred in its very own movie, AKA the Parkes Observatory.)
The CSIRO is facing a funding cut of $114 million and job losses are projected to reach 420.
Boss Megan Clark told the committee that CSIRO intends to "move towards remote operation of Parkes".
As the estimates committees break for a bite (of food), a word about the Health Department appearance this morning.
Secretary Jane Halton has told the Community Affairs Committee that it is still not clear what types of research will benefit from the new $20 billion medical research fund.
"They've ruled in clinical trials, but ... from black through to white and the grey in between it is very hard to draw a hard line."
Halton may not be around for all those lines to be drawn.
As James Massola and Markus Mannheim reported on the weekend, the long-time Health head is tipped to replace the departing David Tune as head of Finance.
Jane Halton (middle) Department of Health secretary on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Is there a budget advertising campaign underway?
Told @ABCthedrum I believed PM when he told Parliament there'd be no budget advertising.Just got my "economic action strategy" pamphlet 2day— Rob Oakeshott (@RobOakeshott1) June 2, 2014
Indeed we will.
And as we pause to think about the future of Fairfax polling, we encourage you to vote in The Pulse's poll today.
There seems to be much erring going on of late.
What do you think is the biggest political sin here?
Poll: Which is the greater sin?
- Mentioning the carbon tax in a statement about D-Day
- Having dinner with Clive Palmer
- Associating Andrew Bolt with the term "demented"
- Having a press conference in an air base hangar
- Suggesting dole recipients should get drug tested
Total votes: 1401.
You will need Cookies enabled to use our Voting Feature.
Poll closed 2 Jun, 2014
These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.
The Fairfax Nielsen poll will be no longer from next month.
Business Day reports that Nielsen has decided to stop political polling in Australia.
The Nielsen poll first appeared in the SMH and The Age in 1995.
But before the government sighs a sigh of ree-lief (after that 56 to 44 per cent effort to Labor in May), Fairfax managing director of Australian Publishing Media Allen Williams has said the company will continue to poll.
Just in time for your luncheon viewing, here is the video of Turnbull's Bolt rant.
Turnbull: Bolt bordering on 'demented'
Conservative columnist Andrew Bolt receives a spray from Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday over suggestions he is seeking the Prime Minister's job.PT1M15S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-39dkm 620 349 June 2, 2014
But back to Bolt.
Communications correspondent Matthew Knott has given the man himself a call.
''It's a great shame and quite telling that Malcolm Turnbull attacks someone he calls the government's media friend with far more vitriol than I can recall him ever attacking one of the government's media enemies," Bolt has told Fairfax Media.
''This fits a pattern. No doubt he [Turnbull] will expand on this in his next Q&A appearance with Tony Jones.''
Labor leader Bill Shorten has been out in Canberra, visiting a local Aboriginal health service in Narrabundah.
He is also exercised by the PM's D-Day video.
"Well, every student of history, everyone who loves freedom knows that D-Day was the most remarkable return to the European continent to defeat Hitler and the Nazis," Shorten said a short time ago.
"It is inappropriate and disrespectful to contaminate the sacrifice of heroes with the domestic political issues of the day."
"I'm offering you the opportunity to respond to scurrilous media."
Labor Defence spokesman Stephen Conroy is again asking questions of Defence Minister David Johnston.
He is referring to a report in Fairfax Media last week about a staff upheaval in his office.
The Defence Minister is not keen to talk about why his former chief-of-staff Simeon Gilding is no longer working for him. And has since turned up in Abbott's office instead.
He will also not be drawn on speculation that Scott Morrison may take his job.
"I'm not going to respond."
But Johnston would rule out speculation he might be the next president of the Senate.
"Well that's good news for me," replies Conroy.
Turnbull is also annoyed by a column that Bolt wrote today for News Corp.
Which includes the lines:
"[The dinner] sent an unmistakable message to Liberal MPs - replace Abbott with Turnbull as prime minister and maybe Palmer will play ball."
"Turnbull has lavished a lot of charm lately on Abbott's natural predators, even last week launching a new parliamentary group of friends of the ABC ..."
It's a sure sign that an MP is revving up for something juicy when they begin with "let me just say this ..."
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Things, has been at a Stay Smart Online Week event in the House of Representatives alcove.
He has just been asked about speculation that there is "some sort of leadership issue within the Coalition".
This comes after Andrew Bolt asked the PM yesterday if Turnbull "had an eye on your job".
(Remember that Wild Duck dinner last week?)
Here comes Turnbull's response:
"Well, let me just say this.
I saw the question that Andrew Bolt asked the Prime Minister on Sunday ... it borders on the demented to string together a dinner with Clive Palmer and my attending as the Communications Minister the launch by a cross-party group of friends of the ABC [last week] and say that that amounts to some kind of threat or challenge to the Prime Minister.
It is quite unhinged.
Now, Mr Bolt is fond of attacking what he regards as the government's enemies in the media, principal amongst whom of course he numbers the ABC ...
I just have to say to Mr Bolt, he proclaims loudly that he is a friend of the government. Well with friends like Bolt, we don't need any enemies."
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull during the launch of the 2014 Stay Smart Online Week. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
"He's. Done. Nothing. Wrong."
Johnston standing firm here on the PM's hanger banner appearance.
It has been pointed out that no military personnel were involved in the making of the doorstop.
Things have since turned more testy, however.
Stephen Conroy is pursuing David Johnston about a press conference the Prime Minister did in a hangar on RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.
Conroy is taking issue with the fact that there was a Liberal Party banner in the background in March.
(Abbott was there with Steven Marshall, the state Liberal leader, ahead of the state election.)
Johnston won't comment about it.
"I don't know! I wasn't there!" he tells Conroy.
"I'm not going to put my head in the noose for you on this spurious stunt!"
In the Defence Committee, a general who is not known for wanting to invade the Soviets has been appearing for the last time.
Defence chief David Hurley will be replaced by Air Marshal Mark "Binny" Binskin in July.
Defence Minister David Johnston has opened Defence's appearance with a farewell recitative for Hurley.
"General Hurley is an exceptional officer, who has earned the greatest respect from all those he has worked with ...," Johnston said.
"As the Minister for Defence, he has guided me through the transition of government, and made the job a lot easier than it would have otherwise been."
Defence Minister Senator David Johnston and Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley appear before a Senate estimates. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
"I think it would be very unwise for people to make assumptions about this case," says Morrison.
There have been several questions now about whether the government should have provided extra support to Seemanpillai.
Scott Morrison on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Morrison says that a case worker had contact with Leo Seemanpillai on the Friday before he died.
There had been no concern at the time of the visit.
The man had been "receiving community mental health support" every two weeks.
The Immigration Minister is in the Blue Room at Parliament House.
He is addressing reporters about the Tamil man who died over the weekend.
He says the Leo Seemanpillai died of self-inflicted injuries.
His family have asked for a Roman Catholic funeral in Geelong.
"This is just a very sad and very terrible incident," Morrison says.
Scott Morrison Immigration minister on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Can you hear the drums Fernando?
The Refugee Council of Australia may have had its funding cut by Scott Morrison, but as Sarah Whyte tells us, there is musical help ahead.
On top of other donations since the news of the funding loss was reported last week, singer Sarah Blasko (whose music The Pulse *THINKS IS AWESOME* just quietly) has announced she is donating all the money from a gig she is doing on June 20 in Sydney.
This coincides with World Refugee Day.
"The Refugee Council need financial support now more than ever to continue their positive work for refugee communities in Australia," Blasko has said in a statement.
While were still in Awkwardtown, we note a message from our Victorian friends.
The Age's state political reporter Josh Gordon writes that Victorian government MPs have warned the PM to steer clear of the November state election.
In something that reminds one of the last WA state election and Julia Gillard, there are claims Abbott is "toxic" for the Coalition brand in Victoria.
There has also been some wobbling over reports in the News Corp papers on Sunday that the government is considering drug testing for those on the dole.
(New Zealand has a drug test rule.)
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews is quoted as saying: "We won't rule this in or out".
Yesterday, Tony Abbott said the report was "highly speculative" and not that drug tests were not likely.
This morning, Andrews didn't seem as keen on ABC Radio to rule it out.
However, he did note that the weekend's reporting was "premature speculation".
(Which sounds like an issue that may also come up in those relationship counselling sessions the Minister is spruiking.)
On a side note, last weekend, I happened to watch the epic war movie Patton.
Tony Abbott has nothing on the US World War II general when it comes to controversial statements.
It's not like he's talked about starting a war with the Soviets in his D-Day statement.
The link to the transcript of the PM's video message yesterday is currently broken on his website.
The PM's office say the link should be working and the transcript has not been taken down.
Labor's Andrew Leigh has been out this morning to say that "playing politics with D-Day" is "something you would have hoped the Prime Minister is above".
To be fair, the message is in two chunks.
The first bit talked about the D-Day landings changing the course of history.
The PM then goes on to say he will be travelling to Canada and the US after the commemorations.
And it is here that he says the government's message will be about welcoming investment by scraping the carbon and mining taxes.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott meeting with D-Day diggers at Kirribilli House on Saturday. Photo: James Brickwood.
Further hopping on this Monday are a few government wobbles:
Like Education Minister Christopher Pyne contradicting the government's own website over who will be affected to changes the indexation of HELP debt;
(AKA do I need to get cracking and pay off my lingering HECS debt now or not?)
And Prime Minister Tony Abbott has raised brows by including the government's desire to get rid of the carbon and mining taxes in his message to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Final scene from Saving Private Enterprise: Pops, what did you do in the war? I cut red tape. Oh, I thought the Russians were on our side.— George Megalogenis (@GMegalogenis) June 1, 2014
A spokesman for the Tamil Refugee Council has said that Leo Seemanpillai feared being sent back to Sri Lanka.
It is understood he doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire in Geelong on Saturday.
This comes as asylum seekers on Christmas Island have stitched their lips together in a hunger stike.
The strike is a cry for freedom and sign of solidarity for Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati, who was killed in the Manus Island riots in February.
There is plenty hopping this morning.
Health correspondent Dan Harrison has an exclusive with the new federal president of the Australian Medical Association.
Brian Owler has warned that doctors could be forced to churn through patients more quickly in order to absorb cuts to their income linked with the co-payment.
And yes, Owler is the same guy who is the stern and sombre face of the "Don't Rush" road campaigns.
Something tells me he will not have any issues telling the government what he thinks about things.
Bonjour from Canberra as we begin this sitting week.
It is quite drizzly and grey here at the moment.
I think it's what the French called Les Miserables.
Parliament sits and estimates quizzes.
The Department of Health, CSIRO, Fair Work Ombudsman and Defence are all before Senate committees today.
Meanwhile, debate rumbles about drug tests for welfare and what the Prime Minister said in his D-Day video.
It's just another manic Monday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott meeting with D-Day diggers at Kirribilli House on Saturday. Photo: James Brickwood.