Politics wrap: June 26, 2012
Welcome to our live coverage of politics from the national capital. All times in AEST. You can also follow me on Twitter @murpharoo
5.20pm: Thanks as usual to Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen, to humour enablers Jac Maley and Tony Wright, to news enablers, particularly Michelle Grattan, and to the soccer enthusiasts who helped me with my unfortunate brain snap on the Russian oligarch.
Let's gather again on the morrow.
Have a great evening.
5.10pm: Let's do the evening summary.
Today in politics:
- The unproductive and quite soul-destroying impasse over asylum seeker policy dominated federal politics.
- Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government was willing to talk.
- Opposition leader Tony Abbott said he was too, as long as the government adopted the Coalition's policies on border protection.
- Backbenchers from across party lines ignored the Mexican stand-off and continued efforts to find a solution.
- Labor's Steve Georganas declared enough was enough. Leaders must talk and decide. A cross party group will meet again on this issue tomorrow.
- The Greens suggested a productive way through would be a new multi-party committee on asylum policy - like the MPC the government established to establish the carbon price.
- Mr Abbott found himself confronted by a giant chicken at his public event to highlight cost increases under the carbon price.
- Question Time was again dominated by debate over the carbon price.
- On the sidelines Mr Abbott and mining magnate Clive Palmer had a disagreement about lobbyists having offices in the Liberal Party.
4.40pm: Sometimes you need to look through the fireworks to hear the sound of consensus.
Mr Abbott and Mr Palmer might have had shouty over their respective differing view points; but today its been confirmed they believe the same thing when it comes to money and influence.
Mr Palmer says Australian politics shouldn't be for sale to the highest bidder.
Mr Abbott agrees by implication. He's made it clear Mr Palmer will have to make his own way into parliament, and has no more rights than your average rank and filer when it comes to the lobbyist issue in dispute.
Peace in a conflict.
4.34pm: Professor Palmer on his tiff with Mr Abbott about whether lobbyists should achieve high office in the Liberal Party.
There certainly was swearing in that meeting and I was certainly guilty of it as well,
I've got particular views on certain things, he's got particular views and they may be different.
4.20pm: Meanwhile, in a galaxy far away.
Why can't we get along on boat people Julia?
3.40pm: Be gone Professor Palmer.
Life's better with a puppy.
(Who said if you want a friend in politics, get a dog? Harry Truman?)
3.35pm: From the desk of Professor Palmer.
Australian politics shouldn't be for sale to the highest bidder.
3.25pm: Clear your diaries Pulsers.
A statement has just arrived in my inbox from Professor Clive Palmer of Queensland.
I'm going to run it in full.
Professor Clive Palmer today called for all Australian political parties to emulate the LNP’s Queensland branch by banning paid political lobbyists from holding positions on their party executives, including the positions of national president or vice-president.
The LNP life member urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard, federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott, Nationals leader Warren Truss and Greens leader Christine Milne to implement action to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.
You can’t serve two masters and officials need to serve the party they are elected to represent, not corporate entities who may be paying them, Professor Palmer said.
Party officials shouldn’t monetize their positions at the expense of their members and the Australian community.
All political parties should be about strong ethics and transparency. Those on the executive should be a servant of the party and its interests rather than be accepting a fee from paying clients.
Having paid political lobbyists as party officials means the party can be bought and its policies can be bought.
Australian political policies shouldn’t be for sale to the highest bidder.
Professor Palmer said with the federal Opposition well ahead of Labor in the polls, it needed to maintain a level of propriety consistent with a real alternative government.
The Queensland division of the party plans to move a motion at this weekend’s federal Liberal council meeting in Melbourne that takes a tough line against paid lobbyists serving in senior positions in the party organisation. The people of Australia will demand that these issues be dealt with.
In 2011, the Queensland LNP banned lobbyists from sitting on the state executive - a move which has not been followed by the federal Liberal Party.
3.20pm: Excuse me, if required, I could establish that link.
3.12pm: The Prime Minister asks that further Questions be placed on the notice paper.
No link has been proven between that act, and Regional Minister Simon Crean attempting to crack jokes about the population of Whyalla.
3.10pm: Now the Labor Party has produced a poster.
The Story of Abbott Little.
You can have a look at it here.
The story begins thus:
Once upon a time there was a little chicken called Abbott who wanted a big job.
Abbott Little hatched a negative plan to scare the people of the land.
Abbott Little decided to travel the land and tell people the sky would fall on July 1.
2.55pm: Anyone got a chicken suit?
2.45pm: Let me divert you from the shoutfest for a moment for today's webisode of PulseTV.
Andrew and I grabbed the Labor backbencher Steve Georganas just before Question Time to quiz him about where the multi-party backbench discussions about asylum seekers policy is up to (and to say good on you, and your colleagues across party-lines, for having a crack. How refreshing; cooperation in good faith.)
Mr Geoganas didn't pull his punches.
Enough is enough, he said.
We need to get these leaders together; start them talking again. The most important thing is to break the deadlock.
Mr Geoganas says a meeting tomorrow will be bigger than the meeting yesterday.
Let's get something done.
PLEASE TURN OFF THE AUTO-REFRESH AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG BEFORE VIEWING
2.36pm: Treasurer Wayne Swan is shouting about Mr Abbott pretending to have a lover's tiff with Clive Palmer.
Mr Pyne inquires what this may have to do with the Dorothy Dixer he was asked: which was something to the effect of isn't it cool that the legislation for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has finally passed the Senate.
Mr Swan leans into the microphone.
Clive Palmer told him (Mr Abbott) to oppose the Clean Energy Finance Corporation!
Mr Pyne is ejected from the House, shortly after Mr Swan observes that Mr Abbott has sold himself to Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer.
2.35pm: Mr Albanese.
Never a backward step.
2.20pm: A Dorothy Dixer now on why it is important for the media to report on things accurately.
Labor's Anthony Albanese is clearly preparing to unleash a broadside about the Federal Court case involving Speaker Peter Slipper.
Here is the relevant background. Take a minute to read that story.
Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne objects strenuously to this matter being pursued.
Acting Speaker Anna Burke has reservations too. She's worried a court proceeding is on foot, and therefore these matters should not be a matter of discussion in parliament.
She lets Mr Albanese proceed, cautioning him not to push his luck.
This is an issue which involves taxpayers directly.
When someone was on the taxpayers payroll, they were meeting in News Limited.
Mayhem is erupting.
Mr Albanese tables the online news story from Fairfax Media. (This is the one I have linked you to.)
Mr Pyne objects.
Acting Speaker Anna Burke sits him down.
She will seek advice on this point after Question Time.
2.15pm: Thanks for nothing Tony.
2.10pm: A Dorothy Dixer to Ms Gillard on why can't we all get along on boat people.
The Prime Minister is outlining everything she has offered in the past to achieve a compromise.
She looks across the dispatch box.
I seek to confirm here in parliament today ... that I am willing to talk and the government is willing to talk.
Mr Abbott seeks indulgence to speak.
I do want to assure the Prime Minister, the parliament and the Australian people that the opposition is prepared to accept the government's legislation if the government is prepared to accept our amendments.
2.03pm: Here's Question Time.
Mr Abbott opens with the carbon price.
Ms Gillard is upset that Mr Abbott has been out scaring homeless animals at the RSPCA.
Telling poor old Fido and Fluffy a fairy tale about how a cobra and python is coming to get them.
Ms Gillard says come July 1, cats will purr, dogs will bark.
Don't fret, animal kingdom.
1.55pm: Events moving at a ridiculous clip today.
Here's Jess Wright with news that Mr Abbott has written to thousands of small business owners warning them about the impact of the carbon tax - and the government's argument that this might expose business to the watchful eyes of the ACCC.
1.50pm: Some days, it would be easier to be a guy in a chicken suit than the Minister for Immigration.
Andrew Meares captures this moment in time perfectly with this portrait of Mr Bowen.
1.45pm: Just one more chicken suit gag before Question Time.
Perhaps it says something about us, but we laughed most at this one.
(Thanks for the saves on Roman Abramovich too)
1.25pm: Mr Abbott told his party-room at their meeting this was a rotten government lead by a rotten Prime Minister.
His deputy, Julie Bishop, said anything could happen when it came to the Labor leadership question.
Ms Bishop said the Coalition needed to be like the race horse Black Caviar, racing to the front; not relaxing, like the jockey.
1.20pm: Chicken prank, part two.
Watch the teacher's reaction.
1.15pm: Great moments in politicians being chased by chickens.
Bird in pursuit of Boris Johnson.
(Mr Johnson was pursued by the Johns-hen for refusing to debate his policies. Will Mr Abbott have to take to his pushbike?)
Thanks to Tony Wright for tracking this clip down.
1.05pm: Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is out in a freezing courtyard talking about the impasse on boats.
Of the the Opposition, Mr Bowen says:
Their position is untenable.
It's time to walk away from the sound grabs and the politics.
If you want to stop the boats, you've got to stop the games.
1.00pm: Here's a few pars from The Sydney Morning Herald's Phil Coorey on Abbott versus Palmer.
Tony Abbott has dismissed the billionaire and major donor Clive Palmer as just another rank-and-file member of the Liberal Party with no more say in party affairs than anybody else.
Mr Abbott and Mr Palmer are at daggers drawn and had a stand up argument in a Melbourne hotel last week over a rule change Mr Palmer wants to effect at this weekend's Liberal Party federal council in Melbourne.
Mr Palmer believes lobbyists should not hold executive positions in the party. This would disqualify Alexander Downer and Queensland powerbroker Santo Santoro serving as party vice- presidents.
Mr Abbott said today that everyone was entitled to serve in elected positions regardless of their day jobs, so long as they were qualified.
Mr Palmer, who bankrolls the Liberal National Party in Queensland, is seeking preselection to challenge Wayne Swan in his seat of Lilley.
Mr Abbott is not keen on Mr Palmer's bid for Lilley either.
Today Mr Abbott said Mr Palmer was just an ordinary rank and file member of the party; and that he had no more and no less influence than any other member.
12.50pm: Colleagues have just returned from the Labor caucus de-briefing.
The Prime Minister gave an address to the troops this morning harking back to a strategy meeting Labor MPs had in February.
The government had achieved many things identified then.
The ALP national secretary George Wright gave MPs an update on polls and campaigns and the like. Mr Wright told the Labor folks Mr Abbott's negativity was a problem for the Liberals.
Julie Owens provided an update on the marginal seats campaign.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet spoke of the post-July 1 sales offensive on the carbon price.
12.40pm: Oh God, of course, he's the Russian guy!
(You twit Katharine)
Thanks to Pulse commenter Wayne for this enlightenment:
Katherine in answer to your question is: "Roman Abramovich" is the owner of the Chelsea FC.
The Short Twerp is trying to say Clive Palmer owns the Liberal Party.
12.30pm: One Liberal wag interjects this on the subject of poultry:
If the Prime Minister hadn't been chicken, then she would have said before the last election there would be a carbon tax under the government I lead.
12.20pm: Not being a soccer devotee, I have no idea what this even means.
But Workplace Minister Bill Shorten is asserting it on Twitter.
Bouncing off Mr Abbott before on Mr Palmer:
Saying Clive Palmer has no more influence in Libs than any other member is like saying Roman Abramovich has no say in who manages Chelsea FC.
(Pulsers, help? What is Mr Shorten on about?)
12.15pm: I don't accept the premise of this Chicken's question.
12.10pm: Cop my back Chicken Little.
12.05pm: This man will stop at nothing.
Let the record show Mr Abbott patted a rodent.
Noon: Mr Abbott is pressed on a fight he reportedly had with the mining magnate Clive Palmer over whether lobbyists should hold positions in the Liberal Party.
Mr Abbott has some advice for Mr Palmer.
It doesn't matter how big your donations are, you don't have anymore influence in the party than anyone else.
He's also asked about that retweet by Mr Jones that we mentioned earlier.
The member in question should be a bit bigger than that kind of thing.
11.50am: Mr Abbott is pressing through the challenge of the rogue giant chicken gate-crashing his event to say the carbon tax will hit charities like the RSPCA.
The man from the RSPCA says electricity prices are going up, largely because of the carbon tax.
Ok (throat clears), thanks Michael.
The RSPCA man is bundled off.
Mr Abbott, will you participate in the solution to the asylum impasse?
Why are you here, patting puppies, not back negotiating an outcome?
If she wants to put good policies in place, we'll give her our support. It's up to the Prime Minister to put in place policies that work.
11.45am: I think Andrew Meares has just confirmed those reports.
Chicken Little has turned up at the RSPCA.
11.30am: There are unconfirmed reports that a large chicken has turned up at the RSPCA.
A climate change chicken.
Not a resident chicken.
11.25am: Let's have a committee.
11.20am: You can read about the new editorial team at The Age here.
11.12am: We had Mr Abbott on the boat people policy impasse earlier.
Now here's the Immigration Minister Chris Bowen from his radio interview this morning.
FRAN KELLY: Scott Morrison there says your problem with asylum seekers goes beyond policy, that the Government can’t deliver and fix this problem. What’s your response?
CHRIS BOWEN: Cheap and cynical.
We’ve made several offers in good faith to negotiate. Let’s just go through this for the sake of context, Fran. Last year, before the tragedy in Indonesia, the Prime Minister wrote to the leader of the Opposition and said this is too important; to get past the politics, let’s sort this out.
We didn’t do that publicly, we didn’t do that in the glare of day to day politics, we did that confidentially in order to try and get a genuine breakthrough.
The Opposition leader said, ‘No, I’m not going to talk to you unless you make me an offer.’
So we convened the Cabinet and we agreed to make a proposal to the Opposition to open Nauru, to have an independent inquiry into Temporary Protection Visas with an agreed terms of reference with the Opposition and somebody, an agreed eminent Australian, to conduct that investigation.
A good faith offer; rejected out of hand by the Opposition without one single centimetre of compromise from them.
All we’re asking from the Opposition is what John Howard asked from Kim Beazley.
John Howard didn’t have the numbers to get his legislation through on offshore processing in 2001. He didn’t, he could not have implemented Nauru without the support of Kim Beazley.
And to Kim Beazley’s great political cost he said, ‘I don’t agree with all your policies, I don’t agree with the way you implement them, but I believe you should have the power to implement your policies.’
Kim Beazley showed he was prepared to do the right thing for Australia, even if it wasn’t in his own political best interests. Tony Abbott has shown the exact opposite.
11.10am: My colleagues Jacqueline Maley and Andrew Meares are out at Weston waiting for Mr Abbott to join them at the RSPCA.
Jac is loitering with intent near a shed full of puppies.
11.05am: My newspaper, The Age, has a new editor: Andrew Holden.
Steve Foley is director of news.
I'm listening right now to Gary Linnell, my boss, praising Mr Holden's editorship in New Zealand, and his journalistic leadership during the Christchurch earthquake.
10.55am: Tony Abbott's folks aren't happy either with a retweet last night by the Labor backbencher Stephen Jones.
They've been in touch over this tweet from a constituent of Mr Jones, @berkleyboy
Tony Abbott: building the foundations of #LNP government... on a growing mountain of asylum seeker bodies. #auspol #shame
Mr Jones retweeted it, and explained to journalist, Latika Bourke he was a constituent of mine. He didn't miss
10.50am: Pulse commenter Johnno's had enough.
How much more time needs to pass before MP's put saving lives over keeping current parliament running when it's become dysfunctional on this issue?
Last night Scott Morrison admitted to Leigh Sales that he wouldn't even agree to a Nauru only solution unless he was the Minister for Immigration and Abbott was Prime Minister.
Basically, what you and Morrison are saying is that it is more important to change the Government than to protect asylum seekers from dying revolting deaths.
The truth is what we have all been saying - it is not about Nauru, Malaysia or even whether we have onshore or offshore processing. It is about Abbott getting power and if some people who are not even eligible enough to vote get killed in the process, it is justifiable collateral damage.
SteveH isn't happy with Tony Windsor.
Just another stunt from Waddles' favourite lap dog MP, Windsor will have to perform better party tricks than this one to keep his seat.
10.40am: Greens leader Christine Milne is addressing reporters, and suggesting the impasse on asylum seeker policy be broken with a new multi-party committee.
They had an MPC to develop the carbon price.
Why not another one to address boat people?
Call experts. Hear their views. Bust through the politics.
10.30am: It's a running around morning, this morning.
I've neglected to bring you up to date on the latest concerning Fairfax Media and mining magnate Gina Rinehart.
Mrs Rinehart is disappointed she has not been made more welcome.
She's threatening to sell her stake in the company.
The Age will learn who our next editor is in just a little while.
10.05am: Here's the Opposition leader Tony Abbott on morning television.
Negotiate on asylum seeker policy? Moi?
She won't call, she won't write.
DAVID KOCH: Would any amount of negotiation change your mind from your stance? Julia Gillard is saying let's put this above politics. I think most Australians would agree on that. Will you put yourself above politics? Will you negotiate?
TONY ABBOTT: I think the Prime Minister is playing politics with the best of them right now. She hasn't picked up the phone. She hasn't dropped me a line. There hasn't been an email.
DAVID KOCH: If she does, will you negotiate?
TONY ABBOTT: Kochie, I think what the public want here is not more talk. There has been plenty of talk. They want effective policies. That’s what they want. They want effective policies.
DAVID KOCH: That's, sort of, I only need a yes or no from you on that. Will you negotiate?
TONY ABBOTT: Well, what is there to negotiate? The Prime Minister just wants us to accept a dud deal. Now, she hasn’t moved on at all.
9.55am: Here's Tim Lester with Breaking Politics to take you through the newspapers, and preview today.
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9.40am: I do love the Twitter feedback this morning.
This from @WogBlogger
Yesterday I learned Fairfax journo @murpharoo is an open borders lunatic. I learned it on SMH website in her parly coverage.
This from @lindykt
Just turned off @qanda #lightweights for @murpharoo and #thepulse #fairfax to catch-up on videos
9.30am: Parliament has kicked off this morning with a moment of unity.
The House of Representatives unanimously passed a motion calling upon the International Olympic Committee to observe a minute of silence at the 2012 London Olympics for the 11 Israelis killed at Munich, 40 years ago.
The motion was moved by the Member for Bradfield and seconded by Josh Frydenberg.
Here's a grab from Mr Frydenberg's speech:
In 32 days time we celebrate the Games of the 30th Olympiad in London.
Two weeks of intense competition and interstate rivalry is sure to provide a lifetime of memories and, in many cases, a lifetime of friendships.
But unless the International Olympic Committee has a change of heart, there is likely to be in London something significantly amiss.
Some 40 years ago, at the 20th Olympiad in Munich, West Germany, the world was shocked when 11 Israelis, six coaches and five athletes, were murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group, Black September.
But since that time the international Olympic movement has refused calls to devote one minute of silence before the start of every Olympics to remember the tragic events of 1972.
This Olympics in London is the perfect opportunity to right the wrongs of the past.
Indeed, the slogan for the 2012 Olympics is 'Inspire a Generation'. Now it is time to live up to these words. Plaques and memorials only go so far.
What is now needed is a minute of silence.
9.20am: Good morning Pulsers.
Cold and grey in Canberra today, no sign yet of sunlight.
The party rooms are meeting.
Let's kick off today with Independent Tony Windsor, in case you missed yesterday's webisode of PulseTV.
Mr Windsor is trying to work out a backbench solution to the asylum seeker impasse. Break through the current high level political deadlock.
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