#5and5 Return of the safari suit.

We were told this would be the week when the Government put its full $80 billion handout to big business to a vote in the Senate. But I won’t tell you how the vote went because like most predictions from the Government, it never happened. Here’s what did happen though:

At a glance

Best

1. Domestic violence changes
2. Stopped the big business company tax cuts
3. Stephen Jones
4. Hanson flip flop speech followed by Channel Nine next morning
5. Nick Champion on Spence

Worst

1. Secret deal with One Nation
2. Coal forever
3. Morrison and snakes
4. Turnbull turns up to an ‘independent’ business
5. Live exports

And now the #5and5.
 

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BEST
1
. In 2016, Bill Shorten announced that Labor would change the law so that domestic violence victims could no longer be cross-examined by their abusers. This has gone on for too long, giving abusers the opportunity through the courts to re-traumatise their victims. That’s why this week we welcomed the Government introducing legislation to stop this terrible practice. Labor has committed $43 million for this important reform. We’re still calling on the Government to match it.

2. The fact that the Government wasn’t even willing to put its $80 billion handout to big business and the banks to the vote is thanks to the campaign and conversations everyone has been involved with over the past couple of years. And huge credit goes to Labor’s Senators who have been on the front line of this issue every day. How soon will the Government try again? I’ll get to that in a moment.

3. The next hit on penalty rates comes into force this Sunday, 1 July 2018, when retail, hospitality, fast food and pharmacy workers have their penalty rates cut again. Malcolm Turnbull started the week with a media event at a coffee shop. 

Tanya Plibersek asked “When the Prime Minister visited a cafe this morning, did he apologise to the workers who served him his coffee for supporting cuts to their penalty rates at the same time as he's giving an $80 billion handout to big business, or is it one rule for the businesses the Prime Minister invests in and another for the workers who serve him?” 

Labor MP Gai Brodtmann followed up with this: “ Is the Prime Minister telling hardworking Australians, including those who made his coffee this morning, to just get a better job too?” 

And then Stephen Jones topped off the jibes in a short speech just before Question Time saying: “He was probably telling the staff to get a better job. You can just imagine the conversation—let me get this right—'I was a barrister, and you're just a barista.’”

4. Pauline Hanson is destroying the jobs of hardworking comedians everywhere. There’s no room for satire when the following quotes are real. I promise - real. Like these statements really happened. Really. 

In the Senate on Tuesday:
HANSON: One Nation will not be supporting company tax cuts. So I haven't flip-flopped. I said no originally, then I said yes. Then I have said no, and I've stuck to it.

And then the following morning on Channel Nine: 
HANSON: I can imagine down in the Chamber again [they are saying] she is flip-flopping – that is my prerogative and I will change my mind as many times as I want to to ensure that I come up with the right decision.
HOST: Exactly. If Pauline Hanson wants to flip-flop, she can flip-flop.
HANSON: I will.

5. Last time I mentioned the win for Ged Kearney with the renaming of her seat to Cooper, something Tim Watts had been campaigning for as well. This week Nick Champion’s seat of Wakefield was renamed Spence. Here’s what Nick had to say:

Renaming Wakefield after Catherine Helen Spence is a great tribute to someone who gave so much to our society and in the reforming of Australian politics. Spence fought for female suffrage initially in South Australia and, after succeeding in 1894, continued to campaign in New South Wales and Victoria. Of her many achievements, Spence is recognised as Australia’s first female political candidate, Australia’s first professional female journalist and also the author of the first legal studies textbooks produced in Australia.”
 
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WORST

 Photo: Nick Haggarty

Photo: Nick Haggarty

1. There’s a rule for lawyers in court that you should never ask questions unless you already know what the answer will be. Sometimes in Question Time we’re not sure what the Government is up to on an issue and we just have to see how they respond. On Thursday, after the Government had announced its big business tax handout wouldn’t go ahead this week, Chris Bowen asked whether there was a deal with One Nation to pass the legislation as soon as the upcoming by-elections were over. Turnbull refused to say anything at all. We then put another question to the PM asking him to deny a secret deal. By the third try it was clear the Government has plenty to hide on this.

2. One of the ways the government has been making life harder for vulnerable Australians has been by not properly resourcing the public service and causing routine applications to take forever. Emma Husar asked the PM about a pension application which still hasn’t been processed after five months and Julian Hill delivered a great speech yesterday exposing the delays to citizenship applications which are turning people’s lives upside down. Click here to watch Julian’s speech.

3. I’m in trouble. Those who sit around me in the Chamber have started blaming me for Scott Morrison. For years he’s just been angry. Last week I delivered a speech ridiculing him for always being so angry and now he’s stopped. Apparently it’s my fault. What’s worse is in place of anger he now has a new snake analogy every day. It started with an obsession with a snake eating its tail, then he referenced snakes and ladders and now he’s started working his way through individual species. An odd obsession. I think I miss angry Scott.

4. On Wednesday Malcolm Turnbull turned up to an ‘independent’ business to spruke his company tax cuts. Given the business was owned by the President of the Canberra Liberal Party it might not have been quite as independent as people were expecting. Next time we can expect the PM turning up to the similarly independent Turnbull & Partners Pty Limited to seek advice on tax cuts.

5. Remember the Government saying how urgent its legislation was to increase the penalties on live exports? Once again they refused to bring it on for debate in the Reps. Joel Fitzgibbon has made clear Labor will move amendments to the Bill that would phase out live sheep exports. The Government is afraid some of its Members will cross the floor to support Labor’s amendments. This week, the Senate put further pressure on the Government by passing a motion calling for the Government to “provide certainty for the future of Australian sheep producers by legislating for an orderly phase-out of the sheep live export trade.” It passed 33 to 30. The Government should act.
 

 Photo: Mike Bowers

Photo: Mike Bowers

This belongs in the list but I can't decide if it was good or bad. Labor Member for Solomon (NT) Luke Gosling made a speech in Parliament this week recognising Territory Day, singing Meatloaf’s song “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”, in a pale blue safari suit. Yes, a safari suit. You be the judge. 

Parliament isn’t scheduled to return until August after the by-elections on 28 July 2018. Thanks for the help you are giving our candidates. 

‘Til then,

Tony

PS I’ll admit it. This week’s song is a complete indulgence. I’ve chosen the only song so far, and probably ever, where I am one of the musicians (one of thousands) and where I also feature in the video (for less than a second). Here’s EveryOneBand with “Stand By You”. All proceeds go to the organisation Support Act that helps people in the music industry after injury. Did I mention I’m in the video?

Song of the week: Stand By You, EveryOneBand

Tony Burke