Let's have a brief recap of the day before I bid you adieu.
1. Canberra turned 100;
2. The government was very busy governing although it also had some good poll news;
3. Environment Minister Tony Burke announced new laws to stop coal seam gas wells and big coal mines if they pose a threat to the water supply;
4. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy presented his package of media reforms;
5. The Opposition isn't sure about the coal seam gas business but doesn't like the media package.
Thanks as always to Andrew Meares, Alex Ellinghausen and everyone who joined in the conversation.
We'll be back tomorrow morning. Until then, hai hai.
Mr Turnbull was asked about whether MPs should be banned from tweeting during Question Time: "If people want to tweet let them tweet."
But Mr Turnbull, an avid user of twitter, did have this advice: "You can go from a tweet to being a twit."
Shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull at Parliament House. Photo: Andrew Meares
This media reform stuff is pretty murky. The Age's national affairs correspondent Katharine Murphy has written this piece about what the changes might mean.
"This is a goverment that wants to tell you what is good for you," says Mr Turnbull.
Coming soon to a campaign slogan near you.
Oppositition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull suspects an ulterior motive behind the government's proposed media reforms.
"What Stephen Conroy is doing is responding to his outrage that the newspapers, in particular the News Ltd papers, have seen fit to criticise the government," he says.
The boss of Channel 9, David Gyngell, has been spotted around the halls today. He wants a $4 billion merger of the Nine Network with Southern Cross Media but he needs the existing reach rule to be abolished. No doubt Mr Gyngell would be a little concerned that the Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, has referred this to a committee for examination.
Question Time is over but before we leave the chamber. His parents called him Philip Maxwell Ruddock. You may know him as the former minister for immigration. Now he's referred to as the Father of the House (of Representatives) because he is the longest continuously serving MP. He was elected to represent the people of Berowra in 1973 and today is his 70th bithday. That means Philip Ruddock has spent more than half his life as a politician and is younger than Canberra.
Philip Ruddock during Question Time Photo: Andrew Meares
Opposition leader Tony Abbott listens to the kerfuffle in the public gallery.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott reacts as a public gallery member yells "Juliar" during Question Time. Photo: Andrew Meares
Speaker Anna Burke points out she is not able to monitor twitter while she's in the chair. She points out that she is not on twitter for her "sanity" but is interested in looking at the issue of MPs tweeting during QT.
There's a bit of conjecture over this tweet from Labor MP Steve Gibbons:
Looks like @tonyabbottmhr has contracted out his nasty side to interjector's in the public gallery. A new low even for the Libs!— Steve Gibbons (@SteveGibbonsMP) March 12, 2013
The federal director of the Liberal Party, Brian Loughane, has been embracing twitter of late. A little bit more than his ALP counterpart, George Wright. Since QT just discussed the role of one of the PM's staffers here's a tweet from the long time party servant.
Breaking news reporter Jonathan Swan has been deciphering the proposed media reforms.
Oh look, Tony Abbott also has glasses. Note the blue tie.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott during Question Time. Photo: Andrew Meares
"This is Question Time, it is not a football match," Speaker Anna Burke reminds people as a member of the public is removed from the gallery for using the J term. I'm willing to bet it was one of the people who were also wearing t shirts using the term earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, the Opposition feels standards are slipping without the Finance Minister Penny Wong at the helm.
Senator Conroy still reading answers from his computer ...not up to the Senate Q T standard ....!When will Penny take over ?—Senator Eggleston (@pilbaraboy) March 12, 2013
While Question Time considers some fairly routine questions on the economy Lenore Taylor has filed an update on the coal seam gas announcement to bring you up to date.
Oh alright, just one more picture since Andrew Meares insists.
ALP backbencher Kevin Rudd Photo: Andrew Meares
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey is a busy questioner today. He's providing further evidence as to why he is unable to attend parent teacher night (see earlier post).
Speaker Anna Burke reminds people the word "liar" is not to be used anywhere in the chamber. The person who called it out from the public gallery was later removed.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard during Question Time Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Hear no evil.
Labor MP Kevin Rudd during Question Time Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
See no evil (nothing under this desk).
Labor MP Kevin Rudd Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Just quickly back to Senator Conroy's press conference. Here he realising he used what can best be described as unparliamentary language when told he was running late for Question Time. Between you and I he said a four letter word starting with 's'.
Communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy reacts after he uses unparliamentary language. Photo: Andrew Meares
Mr Abbott complemented Ms Gillard on her "fine eulogy" not once but thrice.
There was also a moment of reflection for former speaker Joan Child, a Labor MP who was the first woman to hold the position.
"She was bold, she was defiant, she was cheeky, she was Australia," the PM recalled before recounting a story of Mrs Child climbing in through the bathroom window of a locked house in order to make sure the occupant had an ALP how to vote card.
Mr Abbott noted that during Mrs Child's time in Parliament she was the only female member of the House of Representatives and that, as speaker, she once ruled that MPs and senators were entitled to free food and drinks while parliamentary officers were conducting industrial action.
Both the PM and the leader of the Opposition have paid tribute to the former Whitlam government minister, Bill Morrison.
The PM said Mr Morrison was "an adornment to Parliament" and was "another member of the remarkable band of brothers of the Whitlam government.
Mr Abbott noted the "fine eulogy of the PM" before saying anyone who was born on the northern beaches of Sydney has the best start in life. (Mr Abbott's electorate takes in that area.)
Question Time has begun although it will begin with some notices of condolence.
The Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, is announcing proposed changes to the media.
Legislation will cover:
1. a new press standards model based on "strong self regulation of the print and online news media";
2. a new public interest test to consider diversity is considered for new media mergers or acquisitions;
3. an updated charter for the ABC and the SBS;
4. channel 31 (community tv) stays after the switch to digital TV;
5. a permanent 50 per cent reduction in licence fees paid by commerical tv broadcasters but only if they broadcast extra Australian content.
On these points Senator Conroy is talking tough.
The government "will not barter" on any of these points and wants legislation passed by the end of next week.
Other items will be sent to a parliamentary committee including the reach rule.
The issue of a privacy tort will be referred to the Australian Law Reform Commission.
Communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy announces changes to the media. Photo: Andrew Meares
Before Question Time and before the government announces exactly what's in its media reform package let's take a quick look at another issue - online gambling.
Anti gambling MPs Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie have both described the government's review of online gambling as "a cop out".
Coalition MPs have also finished their regular sitting week meeting.
Tony Abbott told them that this week marked the 20th anniversary of the so called "unloseable election" (that would be the 1993 election in which Paul Keating defeated John Hewson).
"We must conduct ourselves like a worthy alternative government," Mr Abbott told MPs whom he warned against arrogance or public spats.
Craig Thomson also has concerns about the media package as he does with the changes announced in relation to coal seam gas.
He had a word of advice for Labor MPs: "The Labor Party is in a position to win the next election. Divisive navel gazing is something doesn't enhance their position in the community."
Mr Thomson said he understand the ALP has not yet called for nominations for preselection for his Central Coast seat of Dobell. He has not yet decided if he will run again.
The anti carbon tax people are back. Not quite with the same lack of manners as last year but possibly not speaking in terms your grandmother would be happy with. Here's an example.
Anti-ALP protestors gather on the front lawn of Parliament House Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott has been briefed on the media reforms.
He is "disappointed" and thinks "difficult decisions will be parked with a committee".
"Unless it's all in, I'm out," Mr Oakeshott says.
Independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott are happy with the changes on coal seam gas. Mr Windsor has been demanding the changes be made since the Labor government was formed in 2010.
"Some of these things shouldn't be allowed to go ahead where there are massive ground water systems that we don't understand," Mr Windsor says.
The "wallets" of the state government shouldn't be the main concern, he says.
It will be interesting to see how Liberal and National MPs react to the news.
The meeting of the Labor caucus has now finished. The media reform package went through without controversy and will be announced by the Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, later today.
Back to the centenary celebrations for a moment.
At the original festivities alcohol was banned at the naming ceremony. Not so this time around when a special sparkling wine has been made for the occasion.
Here we see the PM, Julia Gillard, and the GG, Quentin Bryce, raise a glass. The PM did not actually take a sip but the GG did.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Governor General Quentin Bryce toast the Centenary of Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares
Tony Burke bats away questions of polls: "There's a leadership ballot going on at the moment. It's in the Sistine Chapel."
The Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, is announcing environmental laws will be amended to match community concerns about coal seal gas projects.
"People, quite properly, expect that I will have taken into account the effect on water resources," Mr Burke says.
"The consistent concern is very much the question of what is the impact on water."
The other big issue of today is media reform.
A formal announcement is expected later today.
The Governor-General, Quention Bryce, is quoting from the speech made by her predecessor, Lord Denman, at the naming of Canberra:
"The making of that destiny lies in your hands and those of your children....Let us hope they will be traditions of freedom, hope, honour and prosperity."
Prime Minister Julia Gillard attended the Centenary of Canberra Foundation Stone ceremony with the Minister for Regional Affairs, Simon Crean, ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, Governor General Quentin Bryce and Michael Bryce Photo: Andrew Meares
We turn our attention away from the centenary celebrations for a moment to bring you this piece by The Sydney Morning Herald's Lenore Taylor who has the news that federal approval powers over coal seam gas wells and big coal mines will be extended under new laws expected to be announced by the government later today.
You could wait for the press conference by the Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, in about a quarter of an hour or you could read about it here.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, waits to speak.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard during the Centenary of Canberra Foundation Stone Ceremony. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Goodness gracious, the centenary ceremony comes with free hats. It's sunny out there, sure, but maybe not the most dignified look (see the hats sported 100 years ago in our earlier posts for some comparisons).
Centenary hats Photo: Andrew Meares
Here's former governor-general Sir William Deane sitting with Tony Abbott, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Anna Burke, and one of Canberra's two MPs, Andrew Leigh. Leigh likes to refer to his northern suburbs electorate as the "Right Bank of Canberra". Bless.
Former governor-general William Deane sits with Tony Abbott, Anna Burke and Andrew Leigh. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
And here is the minister for home affairs, King O'Malley, a man who surely deserves a mini series made about him such was the colour and drama of his life. Reportedly O'Malley had an ivory-handled trowel made of Australian gold commissioned to make his stone laying duties especially stylish.
Minister for Home Affairs King O'Malley prepares to lay the foundation stone. Photo: Michael Howard
A ceremony to recreate the laying of Canberra's foundation stone is about to begin.
Here's what the scene looked like 100 years ago when the governor-general's wife, Lady Denman, officially announced the name of the national capital as Canberra.
Lady Denman opens the gold case, preparing to announce Canberra as the name for the nation's capital. Photo: Courtesy of John and Judy Steven
National Party MP Darren Chester is defending the PM. Mr Chester has criticised the "vicious and personal attacks" on Ms Gillard.
Meanwhile, Labor MPs want the focus to shift from politics to policy as Newspoll shows Labor's primary vote has lifted to 34 per cent while the Coalition's has dropped to 44 per cent.
The PM has regained her lead over Mr Abbott as preferred PM, 42 per cent to 38 per cent.
The two party preferred gap has also narrowed with the Coalition leading Labor 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
Politics, it's a tough life.
My daughter told her teacher that I couldn't attend parent/ teacher because I was "busy fighting Night and Day."— Joe Hockey (@JoeHockey) March 11, 2013
Has the Opposition leader Tony Abbott been refused a speaking role in today's centenary celebrations?
According to the Canberra Times' Ross Peake, Mr Abbott was invited to attend but not to speak.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's chair for the Centenary of Canberra Foundation Stone Ceremony. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The Pulse understands Cabinet has finished and a meeting of the Labor caucus is underway.
Media reform was on the agenda.
Look how pretty.
We might adopt a balloon theme this morning.
Hot air balloons drift past Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares
It's fair to say Labor MPs may have been returning to Canberra with some trepidation. It's the final sitting fortnight before Parliament rises for a seven week pre budget break. There are then only another five sitting weeks before the election campaign begins.
The weekend's West Australian election only made those leadership rumours swirl. Again.
My co pilots, Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen, have informed me that - sadly - the Darth Vader balloon failed to take off this morning. It inflated but remained on the ground.
No, this is not a metaphor for anything.
Andrew and Alex will remain on the balloon trail this week because the balloon is a sight to behold and we want to bring you a fresh perspective on it when we can.
Before I turn my attention to the polls let's pause for a moment of quiet reflection on manners.
The newly appointed head of Victoria's Commission for Children and Young People has scolded MPs for behaving like "wild animals".
"I was watching the way our parliamentarians were screaming at each other," Brian Geary told The Age's, Shane Green.
"How the heck can our kids learn to be respectful to each other when at the very top of the tree in Canberra, people treat each other like wild animals?"
Let's begin the day with sunny thoughts and clear skies. It's Canberra's birthday, 100 today. Hip, hip hooray. How can you bag a city that celebrates its connection to politics each year by having an array of hot air balloons take off from the lawns of (Old) Parliament House?
Hot air balloons take off from the front lawn of Old Parliament House for the Balloon Spectacular festival. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen