Volume 73 – number 13 – political news

Published 15 May 2020

 The Week in Politics

Canberra, Australia – 14 May 2020: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg with Prime Minister Scott Morrison as they listen to a question from the media after the Prime Minister was talking about the April job figures that saw close to 600,000 people become unemployed in April due to the COVID-19 shutdowns. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

 This week we saw the return of Parliament for a three-day sitting from Tuesday to Thursday. 

Both chambers were held with reduced numbers however the Members and Senators would rotate through unlike the previous COVID-19 sessions that saw less politicians actually sit in the Parliament.

On Monday the Prime Minister and Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud announced a new $650 million package of support as part of the Regional Bushfire Recovery and Development Program.

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From the Gallery

 Joint Party Room Briefing

In a first for the coalition, they held their joint party room meeting in the Great Hall. 

The members and Senators were well spaced out to meet the COVID-19 safety requirements.

The Prime Minister welcomed back his colleagues and outlined what the government had been doing in these unprecedented times.

He opened by saying, “We’re back at work – we’ve never not been at work over these many months – we have been hard at work, but here we are, back today and in Canberra for the sittings today. Getting people back into their workplace and back into jobs, getting our economy moving again. That’s our task.”

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China Trade War?

Canberra, Australia – 12 May 2020: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham talking about how the government responds to China over trade matters. “Our approach is to respond thoughtfully, carefully, methodically to the representations that we get from any other country in relation to trade matters”, he said. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au


One of the big issues of the week involves China in what some are calling a trade war. This comes after China announced it was considering introducing an 80% tariff on barley imports …

Backbenchers Push Back Over China

By John McDonnell

Photo of Senator Penny Wong in the Senate
Canberra, Australia – 14 May 2020: Senator Penny Wong interjects during question time in the Senate. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

This week has seen an escalation in the trade disputes with China. Following notice by the Chinese authorities of the prospective imposition of a 70% anti-dumping duty on Australian barley on Monday, the Chinese border authorities have banned beef imports from four Australian abattoirs, including one with Chinese owners.

The chief executive of the National Farmers Federation, Tony Maher was firmly of the view that these disputes were merely technical and that the Government was working through the problem.

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Strengthening telecommunications emergency resilience

Canberra, Australia – 12 May 2020: From left – Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Hon Mark Coulton MP, Rural Fire Service Group Captain, David Loft and Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP with Minister Fletcher talking about Strengthening Telecommunications Emergency Resilience during a press conference outside of Parliament House. (Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au)

With a Sky Muster truck on hand out the front of Parliament House, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Hon Mark Coulton MP announced that the government is investing $37.1 million to strengthen telecommunications resilience in bushfire and disaster prone areas so that communities can stay connected during emergencies. The announcement came on Tuesday.

Boost for Bushfire Recovery

Photo of Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison with Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud and Andrew Colvin the National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator
Canberra, Australia – 11 May 2020: On a brisk Canberra morning Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks about a boost for bushfire recovery alongside Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud and Andrew Colvin the National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

On Monday the Prime Minister announced a new $650 million package of support to help local economic recovery plans to help towns and regions hit by bushfires.

As part of the Regional Bushfire Recovery and Development Program, bushfire affected communities will share in $448.5 million from the Morrison Government to support the delivery of local recovery plans with priority given to the most severely impacted regions, drawing on local voices and local governments in close partnership and as part of cost-sharing arrangements with states.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA) would lead work to drive a strong economic recovery so the more than 18,600 families and businesses in bushfire-affected areas could get back on their feet.

Parliament will sit again on Wednesday June 10

Photos from around the house and the NPC

Canberra, Australia – 12 May 2020: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud talking about the four meat processors being suspended by China. He said, “But it’s also a real lesson to all exporters, whether it be to China or anywhere else around the world.” Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au
14 May – The water of choice in Parliament House. Beloka water from the Australian alps.
Canberra, Australia – 14 May 2020: Senator Claire Chandler and Senator Matt O’Sullivan. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au
14 May – Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Senator Michaelia Cash during a press conference in the Senate Courtyard talking about the job losses.

More photos can be viewed or purchased at https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

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