#5and5 The Second week of Morrison Government
I’ve skipped the attacks the Libs made on the Libs and the Nats made on other Nats. If I included their division this email would go forever. So here’s the rest of the week we just had in Parliament. Here’s the #5and5:
1. Labor’s plan to boost women’s super
2. Why isn’t Malcolm Turnbull the PM
3. Jo Ryan on women’s sport
4. Morrison’s description of his colleagues as muppets
5. The covers band
1. Scott Morrison’s cuts to aged care
2. Strawberries and food tampering
3. The Government’s school cuts
4. Peter Dutton
5. Great Barrier Reef Senate inquiry
1. While the Libs and Nats have been tearing themselves apart we’ve continued the policy work. On Wednesday, Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and Chris Bowen announced a major policy to help reduce the gap between men and women on super. The gap is huge: on average 40% or about $113,000. If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will start paying superannuation on Government paid parental leave. We’ll also get rid of the rule over time which says you get no super at all if you earn less than $450 a month.
2. I wasn’t sure whether we should keep asking Scott Morrison why he was PM instead of Malcolm Turnbull. Not that it isn’t a valid question that everyone is asking. I just thought that by now he might have come up with a really good answer. Wrong. He’s been asked more than 20 times and his answers keep getting worse. I think he peaked at “Get over it.”
3. Given the year my Bulldogs have had in the NRL I’m not one of those jumping up in the Parliament talking sport at the moment. The best of the speeches came from Jo Ryan who spoke about the Australian Diamonds - Australia’s national netball team - reminding us all “To get behind women's sport. Start playing, keep playing, start watching and keep watching.”
4. Sometimes MPs put themselves on the line to make sure a point is made. When Scott Morrison described his own Government as the Muppet Show we had to make sure the description would stick. So every day as well as asking why he’s there at all we’ve been reminding Scott Morrison of the way he described his own team. So to deliver the final point of emphasis Jim Chalmers asked “Why did the Prime Minister describe his own Government as the Muppet Show?” As the Prime Minister stood up Luke Gosling and Milton Dick could be seen at their desks innocently working away while Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie and Animal sat before them waiting for the answer. When the Speaker asked them to leave they looked terribly chastened, gathered their muppets and walked to the exit. To make sure they observed protocols, all seven of them - two Members of Parliament and five muppets - bowed in time and left the room. Given the PM had previously turned up with a lump of coal he couldn’t really complain. Albo then pointed at the Government MPs sitting opposite and interjected “They’ve left a few of the Muppets behind.”
5. So this was a small event after hours to support Labor’s candidate for Petrie, Corinne Mulholland. Jim Chalmers and Chris Ketter organised the fundraiser and a few of us formed a covers band. It was Matt Keogh on vocals, Clare O’Neil on keys, Jesse from Clare’s Office on drums and Chris Ketter, Deb O’Neill and myself switching between guitar and bass. I thought I’d mention it, in case we never get a second gig.
1. The week started with the announcement of the Royal Commission into aged care. When Bill Shorten had earlier raised the crisis in aged care the Government had claimed he was “fear mongering”. Julie Collins led the attack for Labor, making clear a series of the problems in aged care link back to cuts put into the Budget by Scott Morrison. Julie’s relentless pursuit of this forced the Government to acknowledge cuts by the end of the week.
2. The debate into food tampering dominated the headlines but the debate in the Parliament had an extra layer which was missed by many reports. Bill Shorten expressed the anger we all feel over food tampering as well as the need to still support our farmers. Labor MPs Susan Lamb, Justine Keay, Madeleine King, Lisa Chesters talked about the impact on local growers. But Mark Dreyfus also pointed out we needed to review this legislation in 12 months as it had been rushed and some of it was very unusual. The legislation increased penalties on offences where no one had ever been convicted. It also redefined public infrastructure to include food. No one knows whether there are unforeseen implications of this change. Eventually, in the final speech of the debate the government agreed to the 12 month review.
3. About a year ago, the Government cut about $17 billion from school funding. This funding cut hit all schools: public, Catholic and independent. Since then Tanya Plibersek has been promising a Labor Government would restore the funding in full. And the Government claimed there was no cut - it was all imagined. This week the Government decided to restore the cut it had claimed didn’t exist, but only for Catholic and independent schools.
4. There was a motion to have a vote of no confidence in Peter Dutton. Labor supported the motion arguing it is clear he misled Parliament. The motion was defeated 67-68. Peter Dutton’s own vote gave him a majority.
5. The Senate inquiry continued into the almost half a billion dollar donation to a small private foundation allegedly to help the Great Barrier Reef. This time the people who run the foundation had to deal with questions from Kristina Keneally. The committee has now sent a letter to Malcolm Turnbull asking him to appear so there’s plenty more to come.
Parliament is in recess for three weeks and then we are back. I’ll write again then.
PS it’s not on a theme but the song that received the best reception at the event for Corinne Mulholland was Hunters and Collectors Holy Grail. So here is the non cover proper version.