The #5and5 - Week ending 5 February 2016

Welcome back! This week was the first sitting week of parliament for the election year. Tony Burke takes you through what happened in parliament this week.

Welcome back to the #5and5 for election year 2016!


1. Bill began the week by calling on the Parliament to affirm Malcolm Turnbull’s own words supporting an effective emissions trading scheme, a free vote on marriage equality and the need for the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader to work together to promote a ‘Yes' vote on an Australian republic. Malcolm Turnbull voted against the motion. The pattern is pretty clear: he says one thing, and does another. 

2. It wasn't within the Parliament, but we had some great reminders of Labor's legacy this week with two former Prime Ministers backing in causes we've been pursuing. Paul Keating used his priceless turn of phrase to say this about increasing the GST: 


and Julia Gillard issued a video backing in our commitments to provide the resources schools need to give every child every opportunity.

3. Parliament finally updated its rules and procedures for MPs with infant children. It’s about time.

4. This run of speeches showing how Malcolm Turnbull says one thing and does another happened just before question time on Tuesday. #9in90

5. Victory was declared this week. Punctuation was defeated and the Government’s semi-annual skirmishes against hyphens and semi-colons came to an end. After two years the Government decided to stop their so-called "red tape repeal days". We can all congratulate the Government on successfully removing from legislation 40 hyphens, one comma and one inverted comma; changing two full stops to semi-colons, one semi-colon to a full stop; and inserting two commas, one full stop, one colon and one hyphen. They also abolished state navies, which hadn't existed since 1913, and decided you no longer need to register your mule or bullock for military purposes. #Victory


1. All week Malcolm Turnbull has been under attack from his own side. From Liberal MPs saying they don’t support increasing the GST, to those who say the government has no conviction unless it increases the GST. From MPs who passionately say we need to have a plebiscite, which they then passionately say they will ignore, to national security leaks from Cabinet. I mentioned when I arrived in Canberra that I had turned up for a political fight with Malcolm Turnbull; about half of his own party turned up for the same reason.

2. On Wednesday night we found out about a secret Government plan to takeover TAFEs. Why’s this bad? Well, the public TAFE system is designed to give all Australian students, including those with disabilities or those living in rural and remote areas, quality access to vocational education. Under the new plan TAFEs would have to compete with private providers, including some offering expensive and shonky courses, resulting in a race to the bottom on vocational education. Students deserve better.

3. During Question Time on Wednesday Bill acknowledged the presence in the House of Representatives of seafarers sacked from the MV Portland. Some Government MPs started to laugh, for reasons known only to themselves, until Tanya Plibersek interjected that they have families and because of this Government’s policies they're now out of work.

4. The Government’s been trying desperately to claim Australia can’t afford to properly fund our schools and that Labor’s Your Child. Out Future. plan is too expensive. Let’s be clear, Labor has outlined more than $70 billion worth of improvements to the Budget bottomline to ensure Australia’s kids get the best possible education. This 30 second video explains.

5. There was a strong sense of deja vu when, like Tony Abbott before him, Malcolm Turnbull insisted there was no $80 billion cut to schools and hospitals. I asked if he would table Tony Abbott’s talking points from which he was reading. The new Speaker didn’t find this funny. Malcolm Turnbull didn't smile at all. Tony Abbott seemed very pleased with himself. But Malcolm Turnbull did make a very good point about his Government, as this video shows. 

Finally, on Wednesday Scott Morrison made the fatal mistake of trying to selectively quote Paul Keating. Bill interjected that he really should’t be verballing the former Labor PM; Chris Bowen added that Morrison really didn’t want to get in a fight with PJK; but over the top of them both, Ed Husic yelled: “He’s doing himself slowly!”

The #5and5 will be back again next week.

PS: This week’s #5and5 Song of the Week is dedicated to the Prime Minister who declared this week in Question Time, "Nothing has changed." Here’s David Bowie with “Changes”.

Tony Burke