Hear Ye, Hear Ye. A Message From Court. Five Best And Worst Moments In Parliament This Week.

Sometimes the Government makes the arguments for you. For anyone who questions if the Government is out of touch, I have three words: knights, dames and bigots. Here’s Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke’s five best and worst moments from this week in Parliament.
1. On Wednesday Bill gave a great speech about his values and Labor’s priorities at the National Press Club.

You can watch Bill’s full speech here.

2. I mentioned last week the Government was cutting payments to 1,200 children of war veterans, including orphans. Labor introduced disallowance votes in the House and Senate to stop the Government from cutting these payments.

We won the vote in the Senate, which means those payments are protected, for now. Shamefully the Coalition voted against our motions, and for cutting payments to orphans. Full story here.

3. Sir Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of her Majesty’s Loyal Executive Council for the Colony of Australia decreed the return of knights & dames to Australia’s honour system. Senator Sam Dastyari of South Wales New gave a speech that will outlast the empire.

4. After stepping aside as Assistant Treasurer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos’ plans to repeal important superannuation protections put in place by Labor have been shelved by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

When even Alan Jones is left supporting Labor’s position, the Liberals and Nationals have very few friends left.

5. Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek reaffirmed Labor’s support for the Gonski school reforms by introducing a bill which would force the Government to keep its election promise that no school would be worse off under a Liberal Government.

The Liberals and Nationals voted to stop the bill being debated. Labor will keep standing up for our teachers and students, even if Tony Abbott won’t.


1. I wish this wasn’t true. In answer to a question from Senator Nova Peris, Attorney General George Brandis said: “People do have a right to be bigots you know”.

Someone showed me the quote during Question Time only moments after he’d said it. My reaction was to ask if we’d checked the tape because it seemed too extreme to be true. Watch it the video here, it’s extraordinary. If the Federal Government won’t protect our citizens from hate speech, who will?

If the Federal Government won’t protect our citizens from hate speech, who will?

2. I was forced to introduce a motion of no confidence in the Speaker yesterday. Not since 1949 has the House moved a motion in this particular form.

It’s not a decision I took lightly, but when parliament looks like a protection racket to protect Tony Abbott from answering any questions, something has to be done.

3. Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen showed that Joe Hockey has been cooking the books, adding $68 billion to the deficit in his first few months as Treasurer. We know what he’s up to. He’s trying to blow the deficit to justify his budget cuts.


Labor’s onto his trick, and the Australian people will be too.

4. If ever there was an example of something falling short of the hype, this is it. Tony Abbott proclaimed Wednesday was to be “red tape repeal day” complete with a bonfire of regulation.

My favourite was the one about a mule or bullock being used for defence purposes. I’d love to know how repealing these laws makes a scrap of difference to any Australian business, but I am told there is precedent for cows with guns - check it out here.

5. Have a look at what Christopher Pyne had to say within minutes of Tony Abbott claiming how grown up his government was.

On a final note, Speaker Bronwyn Bishop established some new precedents in the Parliament this week.


Mark Dreyfus is the first person in the history of Federation to be thrown out for saying “Madam Speaker” and Julie Collins became the first person since Federation to be thrown out for “infectious laughter”. In defence of Julie, Tony Abbott was talking about knights and dames, it was pretty funny. Photo by@mearesy.

Tony Burke