Terri Butler questions energy minister over meeting with environment department. Plus Labor to back government’s proposed agricultural protection laws targeting vegan activists. All the day’s news, live
Tony Burke to Angus Taylor:
Can the minister confirm that so far he’s told the House he was representing an unknown number of unnamed farmers inside and outside his electorate, who wrote a letter to someone else three years before the meeting, someone who wrote a letter to another someone else six months after the meeting and the mysterious bloke from Yass.
Please sign Melissa McIntosh up for the same microphone lessons Josh Frydenberg needs.
Christian Porter tries to stop the question, but Tony Smith allows it.
Terri Butler to Angus Taylor:
I refer the minister to his previous answer. Can the minister confirm he has been representing himself on the grasslands all along and told ABC radio Illawarra on 26 July that one of the landholders is me and ‘I make absolutely no apologies for standing up for farmers in my region, that includes me.”
A Dan Tehan lickspittle interrupts where we are going with this.
Terri Butler to Angus Taylor:
My question is to the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Does the minister stand by his claim in the House that he intervened in the grasslands matter in the interests of his constituents?
Of course, yes. Yes. Yes, I always act in the interests of my constituents.
Oh, in news that will surprise no one, especially women, Josh Frydenberg has acknowledged that the gender pay gap has not closed, as he asserted on Monday.
He said it is at a record low. That’s about 14%.
We get a bit of back and forth, but the question is allowed.
I’ve been clear that my indirect interest in the delegate farm was declared to the Parliament in accordance with the rules.
Now, I have always been clear that the discussions with the respect were to focus on the technical aspects of the revised listing and they did. And I advised the then minister of the compliance matter and the need to avoid any discussion of the matter.
Terri Butler to Angus Taylor:
I refer to the minister’s previous answer in which he claimed he had declared his junior in Jam Land according to the rules. How does the minister explain on FOI decision by his department on 23 August 2019 and the answer to a question on notice from his department also dated August 2019 which state it has no record of any declaration by the minister.
Has someone told Josh Frydenberg that the Liberals won the election yet?
Could someone get around to that, right after they show him how a microphone works? Perhaps with charades? Or an interpretative dance?
For an example on how these questions should actually work, here is the question from Rebekha Sharkie:
In April this year the government announced funding to equip every men’s shed with a portable defibrillator. There are over 900 men sheds in Australia and more than a dozen are in my electorate, including one eagerly awaiting the rollout. Could the minister please provide the House an accurate time line on when the government will make good on the promise to ensure that every men’s shed has this vital piece of life-saving equipment installed?
...We recently announced $11m for the men’s shed program that included an expansion of men’s sheds. It also includes additional support for existing men’s sheds and $2m for the men’s shed defibrillator program.
My department is currently carrying out a survey of needs around the country. We expect that to be completed over the course of the coming months, and my request of them and my confident prediction to the House is that we will have these defibrillators rolling out early in the New Year. I would like to pass on my thanks to those in the Yankalola men’s shed.
James Stevens, the new Christopher Pyne takes the lead in Lickspittle of the day.
Linda Burney to Scott Morrison:
My question is to the prime minister. Only months ago the government promised that a million pensioners will get an $800 bonus from changes to deeming rates. Can you confirm that only 191 pensioner couples will receive $800. How can the prime minister explain this broken promise?
I thank the member for Barton for her question. I can confirm that under these new deeming rates affected pensioners will receive up to $40.50 extra a fortnight for couples, which is above $1,000.
And up to $31 extra a fortnight for singles, that is $804.
From that brief moment of togetherness, we go back into questions on the economy.
Jim Chalmers to Josh Frydenberg:
I thank the member for Rankin for his question. I can confirm to the House that the wages price index, which is the for wages growth, grew by 2.3 per cent for the year. This was just behind our budget forecast of 2.5 per cent.
But, importantly, the wages bill for the economy, the wages bill for the economy, was 4.5 per cent for 2018-19. Which was above our budget forecast of 4.25 per cent. Now, Mr Speaker, the member for Rankin should be aware that wages growth fell by 1.6 per cent under Labor Party, Mr Speaker.”
Anthony Albanese on that same question:
I associate Labor with all of the comments of the prime minister on this very important day, and I say that we support all of the government’s initiatives in this regard and stand ready to support in a bipartisan way any further initiatives that are needed to rid this scourge from our society.”
Julian Leeser gets the first dixer.
I note that today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Will the Prime Minister please update the House about how the Morrison government is investing in improving the mental health of Australians and suicide prevention?
OK. We are into the questions.
Anthony Albanese to Scott Morrison on.......
So whether it’s the Setka sit in, in Victoria, the walkout of WA factions in Western Australia, the corruption we’re seeing in the New South Wales Labor Party, the Leader of the Opposition is presiding over a party that is chaos and confusion and even corruption, Mr Speaker.
There was a baby Tasmanian Devil in parliament and no one told me.
Over in the Senate and it looks like the government have adopted some Greens amendments, but forward by Mehreen Faruqi, on a live export bill.
The amendments insert a much needed focus on animal welfare into the bill, which had previously not been mentioned at all,” Faruqi said.
The amendments change the objects of the Act to introduce a requirement to consider animal welfare and amend clause 10 of the bill to specifically provide that the Inspector-General must consider the welfare of animals as part of their reviews.
Before they got on board with my changes, the bill didn’t have a single reference to animal welfare. Under this Government, any improvement to animal welfare is a hard-fought step forward.
But first we start with a condolence motion for Jim Forbes – the last surviving minister from the Menzies government.
It is the downhill stretch to question time. Will the Lickspittles (dixer questions) be as terrible as we have come to expect?
Time will tell.
For the people up the back, who missed the post a few weeks (months, who can say) ago – James Ashby’s ban on entering parliament has expired and he has been back in the building for some time.
Here is what Anne Rushton had to say on how many people the government estimates would need the $65,000 rehabilitation support it is putting forward as part of its push to have its drug testing welfare recipient bill passed:
In estimating how we put that package together we estimate between two and 3% of the 5,000 people tested are likely to fail the second test, or test positive for the second test.
We hope it is lower than that, that is what we have estimated. And estimating that number, we decided to set aside an amount of money that we thought was more than adequate, probably generous, to be able to provide the services for those two or 3%.
Provide the individualised service to the individual who tested positive the second time so we can case manage them individually. As we know everybody presents in a different way and will require a different set of services. Some require a small amount of intervention, others may take quite a long time.
The second area is to make sure we have the resources to be able to provide to the providers within these regions, so if they need to beef up their facilities and resources to meet an increase in demand, they will be able to do that.
I probably should have put this up earlier, but following on from Labor’s attack this week, that the government needs to stop looking at ways to wedge Labor and run the country, Graham Perrett came up with a new term last night during one of the debates:
I rise to speak on the fair work laws amendment (proper use of worker benefits) bill 2019. It is yet another Orwellian nomenclature from the ministry of truth opposite – unbelievable! This isn’t legislation; this is “wedgislation”.
I mean, fair dinkum, we’ve dealt with this before, yet here it is back again. What do we have? We have a government focused on union bashing – that’s their favourite pastime – rather than actually looking after the national economy and the best interests of the nation. Those opposite don’t care about the terrible conditions that employees have to put up with. No, they’re trying to wrap the representatives of working Australians in red tape so that they can’t actually do their job.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston says she expects around 500 recipients to test positive initially for illicit substances as part of the 5000-strong trial. She expects only 1 - 2% of the total number will test positive a second time and be referred for treatment. #auspol
Equality Australia and Democracy in Colour have presented a petition to shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus and Greens senator Janet Rice calling for a fair and balanced religious discrimination law, after backlash against the Coalition’s exposure draft bill.
The Greens are clear they can’t support the current bill but Dreyfus avoided expressing a personal opinion:
This is an exposure draft ... It’s far too early to adopt a definitive position in respect of any of this bill simply because it’s not clear that the government will be proceeding with what’s in the exposure draft. In fact if you listen carefully to things the attorney general has said publicly about this, I think it seems highly likely the government is contemplating a change ... we will wait and see what the government finally presents to parliament, when that occurs.”
Labor MPs have decided to back the government’s new agricultural protection bill - known as the “vegan terrorists” bill – despite three MPs speaking against it.
Kim Carr was the most vocal opponent, raising concerns about the party “capitulating” to the government.
The Intelligence and Security Committee have determined what is a terrorist organisation for this point in 2019. From its statement:
The Intelligence and Security Committee today tabled its report supporting regulations listing and re-listing groups, such as Islamic State-Somalia, as terrorist organisations under the criminal code.
The committee reviewed the process for listing terrorist organisations and the information provided to the minister for home affairs in support of regulations affecting the listings, which must demonstrate that, each group:
The committee’s report, review of the listing of Islamic State-Somalia and the re-listing of Abu Sayyaf Group, al-Qa’ida, al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and Jemaah Islamiyah as terrorist organisations under the criminal code, asserts that appropriate processes had been followed in the listing of these groups and that each group meets the definition of a terrorist organisation under the criminal code.
The committee’s chair, Mr Andrew Hastie MP, said the PJCIS had an important role in the oversight of terrorist organisation listings, as individuals whom engage with listed organisations may be charged with serious offences including: being a member of a terrorist organisation, recruiting on behalf of a terrorist organisation, or getting funds to or from a terrorist organisation.
Andrew Leigh has responded to Ken Henry’s comments (unsurprisingly, since they go to Labor’s current attack on the government in regards to the economy).
Ken Henry’s excoriating views on the state of public policy today reflect the Morrison government’s rudderless drift. The Morrison government is the dog that caught the car, and doesn’t know what to do next. Australia faces massive challenges – from inequality to productivity, climate change to wage stagnation – and yet the fresh thinking that used to characterise policymaking is sadly lacking from the Coalition.”
Former Treasury boss Ken Henry has had a few things to say, according to this report from the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age’s Shane Wright:
Australian politicians are failing the nation by ignoring the advice of experts, former Treasury secretary Ken Henry has claimed, warning large numbers of people could miss out on a job because of their deliberate ignorance.
In excoriating comments to a small gathering of MPs and social scientists in Canberra on Tuesday, Dr Henry said governments were claiming success for policies that had not fixed the problem they were developed to confront.
Jacqui Lambie has responded to Pauline Hanson’s comments from a little earlier today (Hanson questioned why Lambie would reject the government’s welfare drug-testing proposal, given her family’s personal experience with drug addiction).
My son is an example of what happens when you have access to the support & rehab services you need. 500K Aussies don't have access to those services. My son has moved on from the past, he can thank his 18 mths @teenchallenge in Toowoomba & the people of QLD for that.#auspol
The parliamentary bells are ringing, meaning the official proceedings are about to get under way.
The parties have met for their regular meetings and have all emerged.
We’ll let you know what went on when we hear more. Doesn’t seem to have been too much drama in the joint party room, beyond “how good is [insert noun here]”.
Going back through the Pauline Hanson interview with Sky News and the One Nation leader seems to get a bit personal here, with her critique of Jacqui Lambie’s rejection of the drug-testing policy.
Lambie has been open about her son’s battles with drug addiction and what that did to their family. That’s also given her a first-hand experience with drug rehabilitation services, and said that has guided her – that she knows, for instance, that people needing rehabilitation in Tasmania are sent out of state, because the services are just not there.
Senator @PaulineHansonOz wants a 'Please Explain' from @JacquiLambie as to why she's opposing the drug testing welfare recipients bill: "her child has been on drugs why you would knock back something that could possibly help... who’s got in her ear?" #7NEWS #auspol
Ask and you shall receive – George Brandis is in town, because all the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade heads of mission are in town, for the annual “how is the world going” meeting.
George Brandis has been spotted in the building.
We are not sure why our man in London is here, but no doubt it is all very terribly important.
Pauline Hanson is speaking to Sky News about a speech she is giving on family law reform, where she is calling for 50/50 joint custody of children, from the moment of separation.
Anthony Albanese on the drug-testing proposal, while talking to Sky this morning:
Well of course funding for rehabilitation is a good thing in its own right and on its own merits. The question here is does what the government propose have merit? When we look at the examples that have been given, both the audit office examination of what has occurred here, the examples in New Zealand where the figures show less than 1% of people who have been tested, it’s been pretty ineffective at a high cost.
And the real question here is how is it that the government – prime minister Morrison gave a speech on the weekend where he spoke about this fortnight’s parliament being all about a test for Labor – how about the government govern? How about they come up with an economic plan rather than just political tactics from day to day?
Samantha Maiden at the New Daily has an interesting story this morning:
It was billed as an $800 aged bonus, with a million pensioners promised a cash splash under prime minister Scott Morrison’s deeming rate change.
But documents released under freedom of information laws to the New Daily have revealed that seniors will secure just $5 a week on average for singles.
Labor’s Linda Burney is demanding the federal government take steps to sort out what she has described as a “secret agreement” that controls the use of the Aboriginal flag in public, because it is now unclear whether her own tattoo of the flag is a breach of copyright.
“This situation is untenable,” Burney said. “It’s unthinkable that the use of the Aboriginal flag is now governed by a secret agreement at the discretion of a for-profit company.
Labor has ridden to the defence of the Coalition’s $1.2bn Catholic and independent school package it formerly labelled a “slush fund” after the Greens revealed a plan to shut it down.
Guardian Australia understands Labor will not support the Greens’ move to disallow the “choice and affordability” fund, with the shadow education minister, Tanya Plibersek, instead welcoming the fact the Morrison government has restored funding for Catholic and independent schools.
In the meantime, here are a few stories you may have missed. From Paul Karp:
Australians rorting a scheme designed to allow travellers to claim back the goods and services tax have cost the budget up to $557m over 20 years, according to the audit office.
In a scathing audit report released on Monday, the home affairs department and tax office were blamed for failing to undertake risk assessments and implementing only “limited systems” to prevent revenue leakage.
It’s the usual party room/caucus quiet before the storm this morning.
Reading through the Hansard from last night, and Liberal MP Ian Goodenough made a very Ian Goodenough speech about religious freedom, which seemed to actually speak about Indigenous recognition, and for some reason, the flag:
Looking to the future, I believe that all Australians should become more united through reconciliation and multiculturalism. Australians should all be united as one people under one flag, regardless of origins and history.
I strongly belief in the principle of flying one national flag of national unity, under the banner of the Australian flag. Indigenous Australians, new migrants and people from different ethnic backgrounds, and persons born in Australia should all be treated equally, with access to opportunity and advancement based on merit.
The drought is about to bite even harder for people who live outside of drought-impacted zones – food prices are about to increase, if you read between the lines of the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science statement into crop production:
“Winter crop production is forecast to rise by 11 percent in 2019–20 to 33.9 million tonnes but falls short of the 10-year average to 2018-19 by 16 percent,” Abares acting Executive Director Peter Gooday said.
Jim Chalmers stopped by doors this morning (which meant he had been tapped to deliver this morning’s missives).
He responded to Scott Morrison’s calls for Labor to support the drug testing trial policy:
The prime minister last night on 7.30 said that he couldn’t understand why people were resisting these drug testing trials. I mean, how out of touch can this guy be? It might be a 60-year-old trying to get back in the workforce for a long time, maybe having lost your job as a 50-year-old. The prime minister now wants you to pee in a cup in a demeaning way as a part of his picking fights with the Labor party. I mean this is – what he’s proposing here hasn’t worked overseas. It won’t work here. It is indiscriminate. It’s ineffective. It unnecessarily demeans people when they’re trying to get back in the workforce and the health experts, the law and order experts, experts right across the board, have criticised this approach.
That’s why I question the government’s motives here, its motivations. This, for the government, is not about getting people off drugs, or off welfare into work; it’s about chasing headlines, it’s about picking fights with the Labor party and I think people who are unemployed in this country deserve a government which actually cares about getting them into work, and prioritises that over these kind of political games.
This always makes for some great shots (insert puns about parliamentarians and endangered animals here).
Australia’s political leaders will come face to face with some of Australia’s most endangered native animals at Parliament House in Canberra today, to mark National Threatened Species Day.
Jacqui Lambie all but quashed the government’s hopes of passing its revived drug testing policy yesterday when she said she would not support it until she saw proper rehabilitation services put in place. Scott Morrison says his government will be talking to all the senators about the bill, including Lambie, but he says: “The question is, why won’t Labor support, a fair dinkum trial to try to actually try and deal with one of the biggest challenges we have which is to try and help people break addictions, and find themselves in employment and actually change their lives for the better.”
Scott Morrison, who just attended to suicide prevention breakfast, has stopped by for a doorstop.
Asked about criticisms that extending the cashless debit card program to more welfare recipients further stigmatises those on welfare, Morrison says “I don’t accept that” and moves on to the next question.
Not news, but for those of you who like to be in the know about this sort of stuff, Mathias Cormann and Peter Dutton, who famously walk together most parliamentary mornings, have switched from walking along Red Hill to walking along the lake.
It’s been noted no less than three times to me this morning. No idea why the location change, but there you go.
Anthony Albanese is chatting to Laura Jayes on Sky this morning.
It looks as though Labor will be continuing the attack we saw yesterday – that the government concentrates on “wedging” Labor instead of actually coming up with a plan.
We’ve woken this morning to more bad news on the fire front in Queensland and NSW, with more homes lost.
Meanwhile, the annual Climate of the Nation report is out, and people are more concerned with the impacts of climate change than ever before. From Katharine Murphy’s report:
The annual Climate of the Nation survey, which has been tracking Australian attitudes to climate change for more than a decade, finds concern about droughts and flooding has risen from 74% of the survey in 2017 to 81% in 2019.
Concern about climate-related extinctions – an issue highlighted dramatically in May when a major scientific report warned that a million species across the world faced extinction – has risen from 71% in 2017 to 78% in the 2019 survey, while concern about water shortages, an issue front of mind as a consequence of Australia’s prolonged drought, has increased from 67% to 78%.Continue reading...