#5and5 Another sitting week, another PM

Monday seems such a long time ago. The politics of this week has been covered everywhere and I’ll still go through much of it. But I also want to touch on some of the policy, and some of the moments which didn’t make it through. Here’s the #5and5:

At a glance:

BEST

  1. Bill and Tanya’s motion on Monday

  2. “Why isn’t Malcolm Turnbull the Prime Minister of Australia”

  3. Steps in the right direction because of Labor campaigning

  4. Patrick Gorman’s first speech

  5. Paul Fletcher doesn’t realise he’s asked a question

WORST

  1. Serious allegations of bullying

  2. Peter Dutton

  3. Live Export Vote

  4. Scott Morrison’s social media… on drought

  5. Banking Royal Commission

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BEST

 Photo by Bill Shorten

Photo by Bill Shorten

1. Before we even reached the first Question Time, Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek were in the House moving the following motion:

That the House:

(1) notes:

(a) the last time this parliament sat, the Government shut down this House because this Government was unable and unwilling to govern itself;

(b) the next day the Government deposed the elected Prime Minister but nobody is able to explain why;

(c) the Government continues to be wracked by infighting, with Government Members leaking against each other on an almost daily basis;

(d) the current Prime Minister claims he remained loyal to Malcolm Turnbull, but his own Liberal Party colleagues have been briefing that he was plotting to depose the former Prime Minister for some time;

(e) the current Prime Minister has described his own Government as a "Muppet Show" and his own colleagues as Muppets;

(f) Government members don't trust each other, are only focused on fighting themselves, and cannot possibly be trusted to look out for the interests of the Australian people; and

(2) therefore, condemns this Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government for only being focused on itself and not helping Australians.

It was the debate that framed the week. And it wasn’t only the speeches from Bill and Tanya that set the standard. Christopher Pyne’s speech was pretty special. At different points he couldn’t keep a straight face while he tried to defend the Government. Eventually it reached peak slapstick when he explained why the leadership spill and Liberal-National instability were all Labor’s fault.

2. Every day, Question Time began with Bill asking the same question that every Australian has been asking: “Why isn’t Malcolm Turnbull still Prime Minister of Australia?” Scott Morrison (1.) refused to answer. He would say how it happened but refused to say why. By Wednesday, Scott Morrison responded angrily across the Chamber saying “Get over it”. I don’t think he realises it’s the question everyone is asking.

3. Labor pressure and campaigns have resulted in small steps in the right direction on three issues that reached the Parliament this week - addressing modern slavery, family and domestic violence leave and the treatment of survivors of family and domestic abuse in court are all improving as a result of campaigns which you have helped with. In each case the legislation or the Government policies before us fall short of what we would be able to achieve if a Shorten Labor Government is elected. But that doesn’t change the fact that our campaigns are delivering positive results already.

 Photo by Auspic

Photo by Auspic

4. Patrick Gorman gave his first speech as the Member for Perth. It was friendly, generous, funny and filled with principle. But it’s his second speech I wanted to mention. Late on Thursday there was a debate about the Government having voted against the Banking Royal Commission 26 times. Patrick noted he had forgotten to thank one of his campaign volunteers. He corrected it immediately and explained he had made a mistake but had made it once. Voting 26 times against something is not an error. It shows where priorities lie. He then drew on the Government describing itself as The Muppet Show and pointed out that season one ran for exactly 26 episodes. There you go.

5. Albo sits directly opposite Peter Dutton and Paul Fletcher. During Question Time Albo is almost constantly interjecting to them which means half the time they aren’t paying attention to the rest of Parliament. On Thursday this meant that Paul Fletcher was asked a question from his own side but had no idea he had been asked a question. He was then called by the Speaker and had no idea he had been called. Eventually he realised it was his turn and he stood up, without having heard the question, read word for word from his notes, and in a minor miracle was completely relevant for his full three minutes. It was almost as though he’d known what was going to be asked…

worst.png

WORST

1. I don’t know the details of this but the allegations are serious. A number of MPs on the Liberal side have referred to bullying and intimidation by other Liberal MPs during the week of the Liberal leadership votes. Julie Bishop went as far as to say some of the behaviour may have been illegal.

2. There are three different issues around Peter Dutton at the moment which resulted in questions every day. The first goes to the interventions within a matter of hours for au pairs on tourist visas. The second is whether or not he participated in Cabinet discussions about child care when he had an interest in child care centres. The final is whether or not he is even eligible to be a Member of Parliament. Don’t expect these issues to go away.

3. Remember when Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson said they wanted to do something about phasing out live sheep exports? The opportunity finally came up on Monday. They have both recently been promoted. After all the fanfare and self-promotion, they both voted against a motion to act on live sheep exports. That means now, the only realistic chance of acting will be to elect a Shorten Labor Government.

4. I know there’s been a lot of attention about a really weird video that Scott Morrison (2.) tweeted out after Parliament finished on Thursday. He took it down because of the lyrics to the song but the whole thing was already ridiculous even if the lyrics had been ok. His videos were already under scrutiny - Joel Fitzgibbon revealed a video Scott Morrison had tweeted promoted a view that the drought was a necessary evil to help clear out the 10% of farmers who shouldn’t be there anyway!

5. The latest revelations from the Banking Royal Commission have been horrific. Bill asked this on Wednesday:

“Yesterday the banking Royal Commission heard shocking evidence that Grant Stewart’s son, who has down syndrome, was bullied into signing up for insurance that he didn’t want, need or even understand. At the time this occurred, the Prime Minister had already voted against a Royal Commission and ridiculed people for calling for this Royal Commission. Will the Prime Minister at least apologise to Mr Stewart and his son for voting against the Royal Commission 26 times and calling it a populist whinge?”

So we are back next week. The chaos in the place is worse than ever. Their attacks on each other are unrelenting. Meanwhile there’s a lot of policy work going on within the Labor Caucus and Shadow Cabinet to make sure we are ready whenever the next election is called. I’ll write again next week.

‘til then,

Tony.

P.S. song of the week is irresistible. Even if you normally don’t click through, this one is worth a look. I was searching for songs about sequels to build on the theme that the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison years are all sequels to the same horror show. And which artist came up next to the song title “We’re doing a sequel”? None other than The Muppets. Have a look.

  1. Currently Prime Minister of Australia

  2. At the time of pressing send, still Prime Minister of Australia


Tony Burke