Tony Burke’s portfolios reflect his lifelong commitments; to modern multicultural Australia, to the environment, and to the arts.
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Presenting you the best and worst of the Parliamentary sitting week
As everyone heads home at the end of the parliamentary session the changes that are going to be hitting Australians are real. This was the final week to stop the cuts to penalty rates and the last chance to stop the tax cuts to millionaires. Here is the 5 and 5.
You don’t need inside information from me to know how this week was marked by division within the Government over how to respond to climate change. Remember they used to argue we couldn’t act on climate change because prices would go up and energy would be less secure? Well the Finkel report, which the Government asked the Chief Scientist to write, came back recommending a Clean Energy Target saying it will put downward pressure on prices and increase energy security.
But the hard right of the Liberal and National Parties weren’t going to let evidence get in the way of an internal brawl. Here’s the #5and5:
It was tax, health and education this week. Well all that, plus infrastructure, climate, One Nation and finally a strange tale involving a giraffe. Let me have a go at explaining the five best and worst things of this week in Parliament.
The Government’s plan was clear. The Budget was intended to reset the entire political debate. Like the final scene in a Men In Black movie the entire Australian population was meant to erase every memory Australians had since the 2014 Budget.
We’ve been winning the argument but last night we also won the vote in the Senate on whether there should be permission for more racist hate speech in Australia. I’m still astonished that we even had an official Government proposal to weaken our laws protecting people from this form of racism.
We had Tony Abbott going after Malcolm Turnbull in the media, George Christensen resigning as the Nationals Whip (which I wish he’d done before that photo with the whip was ever taken - still trying to erase that memory), and we had leadership speculation about Peter Dutton. Sorry that wasn’t a typo - we had leadership speculation about Peter Dutton.
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Walk for Respect
WALK FOR RESPECT DRAWS CROWDS FROM ALL CULTURES
Almost 3,000 Australians from all cultural backgrounds walked together in Lakemba on March 31 for the ‘Walk for Respect’.
Changes to 18C failed in the Senate within the preceding 24 hours, and multicultural Australia celebrated the triumph of respect over racist hate speech.
We’ve responded to racist hate speech with a celebration of modern multicultural Australia.
It’s the second time we’ve held the Walk for Respect, and it’s the second time we’ve won the battle against weakening section 18C of Racial Discrimination Act.
The people who are wanting to give permission for more racist hate speech need to understand that it is not what modern Australia is about.