Federal Politics

Politics Live: June 24, 2014

Of budgets and broken promises

Labor pursues some new angles during Tuesday's question time as it attempts to make Tony Abbott take full responsibility for the pain in the budget.

It's homeing pigeon o'clock. 

But before we flap away, what did we learn?

 

Many thanks for Alex Ellinghausen and I here in Canberra. We look forward to freely reporting for you tomorrow.

 

Speaker Bronwyn Bishop in the House of Representatives at the conclusion of question time. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Speaker Bronwyn Bishop in the House of Representatives at the conclusion of question time. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen 

We also have valedictories from three other Labor senators this afternoon.

Lin Thorp (Tasmania), Ursula Stephens (NSW) and Mehmet Tillem (Victoria).

Tillem was only sworn in in November. He filled a casual vacancy left by David Feeney when he went to the lower house.

 

Senator Ursula Stephens delivers her valedictory. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Senator Ursula Stephens delivers her valedictory. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen 

Pratt says that if the Parliament truly reflected the views of those who elected them, "marriage equality would be a reality".

She also talks of her support for women to be able to choose if they do or do not have a baby.

Pratt is expecting her first child with her transgendered partner Aram Hosie in October.

Pratt, who is openly gay, conceived the baby through IVF.

She talks of efforts during her career to ensure that women, regardless of their marital status, partner's gender or whether they have a partner at all, have the same access to fertility treatment.

"I am profoundly grateful that I have been able to choose motherhood," she says.

 

Pratt says that she would have liked the opportunity to serve longer in the Senate, but "it was not to be".

Along with the pre-selection issue, Pratt was also swept up in the lost WA Senate ballots and the election re-run there.

Albo, Gary Gray, Chris Bowen, Anna Burke, Julie Collins and Stephen Jones have come across to the Senate to hear the outgoing Senator's valedictory.

In the Senate, Labor's Louise Pratt is giving her valedictory.

Pratt leaves the Senate at the end of the week after joining in 2008.

She was not preselected in the top spot on Labor's Senate ticket. Joe Bullock was instead.

In between a long list of thank yous, she talks of the need for egalitarian union values in Australia.

 

Senator Louise Pratt delivers her valedictory statement to the Senate on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Senator Louise Pratt delivers her valedictory statement to the Senate on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen 
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The Sydney Morning Herald's economics correspondent Peter Martin has written about the Greens' decision today to block the petrol tax:

"Now I've seen everything. The Greens used to be numerate and they used to be smart about the use of price signals.

They are now neither. They are no longer numerate, because they've fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the book. They are no longer smart, because they are prepared to let petrol excise shrink ..."

Read on here.

 

Just back on Ricky Muir for a moment.

Muir's senior adviser - not Muir himself - has just appeared on Sky News.

Glenn Druery has told David Speers that re: the carbon tax repeal, "Ricky does not have his head around it".

However, he is likely to support the repeal.

What is less likely is his support for the abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Muir apparently has a "keen interest" in keeping the CEFC.

 

 

Alex Ellinghausen has combined today's seven naughty Labor MPs AND the unimpressed Madam Speaker into one amazing tweet.

 

FYI.

Ricky Muir has just released a statement to "reaffirm" his "unity" with Palmer United.

"Whilst we are prepared to talk with everyone in the government for a best-possible outcome for the motoring community, this shouldn’t be construed as a lack of solidarity with the PUP."

I'm sure Clive Palmer will welcome this note. Particularly with the news today that he has lost a billion bucks.

This of course comes as the Prime Minister furiously ups his own letter production.

As James Massola reported today, about 40 staff in the PM's department worked last Saturday to try and clear a backlog of letters from the public.

 

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At the weekend, Sunday correspondent Jonathan Swan did an exit interview with outgoing Senator Sue Boyce.

In it, he reported that Boyce said Tony Abbott was a subtle "sexist".

The Coalition Senator has since tweeted that the story misrepresents her views, written a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, released a media release about the gross misrepresentation of her views and told the Coalition party room that she was misrepresented.

Jonathan disagrees. And thinks you should judge for yourself.

He has written this piece about the interview and its aftermath.

This includes both the audio of the interview and a transcript of their lengthy discussion.

 

 

 

Are you feeling peppy about that QT hit out?

Well here's something to increase your pep either way.

In an exclusive report, Heath Aston writes that the government's Senate leader Eric Abetz has written to the new crossbenchers flagging that the fortnight of sitting days from July 7 could be expanded to deal with the carbon and mining taxes.

"The government may move to sit on additional days."

(A horrible threat if ever we heard one ...)

At 3.12pm and after 21 questions, Tony Abbott calls an end to question time.

 

Chris Bowen asks the PM about why the government is hurting families and Labor loses another MP.

Lisa Chesters, the member for Bendigo, and Pat Conroy, the member for Charleton, are sent out under 94a.

A dixer to Justice Minister Michael Keenan on community safety sees Michelle Rowland also kicked out.

As is Brendan O'Connor.

So Labor is up to the seven MPs that were kicked out yesterday.

 

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It is difficult to read a broadsheet on those little chamber desks.

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer during question time. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer during question time. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen 

Clive Palmer is using QT to support newspapers.

 

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer during QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer during QT. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen 

Labor's Jim Chalmers asks the PM:

Why is the Prime Minister trying to hide his unfair budget that will hurt Australian families?

Abbott points out that Chalmers used to work for Wayne Swan (when Swan was Treasurer).

"Why were members opposite incapable of delivering on the four years of surpluses they claimed to deliver in the 2012 budget?"

...

"The member for Rankin obviously wasn't much good at advising the member for Lilley."

Scott Morrison is answering a question that was actually asked of him (instead of taking one for the PM).

He is asked by Coalition MP Luke Howarth about the actions the government is taking to protect our borders.

Morrison says Australia's border agencies are on "high alert" to address the threat of "returning jihadists".

Richard Marles gets up on a point of order (relevance).

"Oh you're kidding," says Morrison as he clocks Marles across the table.

Labor's immigration spokesman is kicked out for an hour for abusing the standing orders.

 

Shadow Immigration Minister Richard Marles leaves under 94a. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Shadow Immigration Minister Richard Marles leaves under 94a. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen 

We have a dixer to Julie Bishop on counter-terrorism (i.e. stop the jihadists) before BS comes back to TA with a question about the "new tax on petrol".

Why is the Prime Minister forcing Australians to pay more to fill out their cars?

The PM says that there is "no painless way to fix Labor's debt and deficit disaster".

Perhaps what he should say is that Australians won't be paying more because the Greens and almost everyone else have decided to block the fuel tax in the Senate.

 

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