Volume 73 – number 17 – political news

Published 12 June 2020

Below is a summary version of edition no. 17 for 2020. To access the full version you need to subscribe.

The Week in Parliament

During Question Time Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “Every death in custody, particularly Indigenous deaths in custody, is an absolute national shame and tragedy.” (Photo by Rob Keating)

Parliament was back this week, sitting from Wednesday until today. A big issue off the bat was the attendance of four Labor Party politicians and one Greens Senator at the Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend.

“They’ve gone off and got tested out of an abundance of caution,” Labor leader Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday.
With Question Time back on the agenda the bipartisan support shown over recent times had evaporated.
Anthony Albanese opened by saying “My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that, in just the three weeks since parliament last sat, the government admitted it overestimated coverage of the JobKeeper scheme by three million workers, resulting in a $60 billion blunder; the government announced $720 million will be repaid to victims of the Prime Minister’s illegal robodebt scheme; and Australia entered its first recession in three decades?”
This was a return to the old ways as is expected as life moves to a more normal footing.


Some of the bills before parliament this week were the The National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Strengthening Banning Orders) Bill strengthens the existing powers of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commissioner to ban a worker or provider from delivering services in the NDIS market.
Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 3) Bill 2020. This included a measure extending the $150,000 instant asset write-off for six months through to 31 December 2020.
Health Insurance Amendment (Continuing the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner) Bill 2020.
This bill amends the Health Insurance Act 1973 for the purpose of continuing the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner (the office) and strengthening its functions.
Broadcasting Services Amendment (Regional Commercial Radio and Other Measures) Bill 2020.
This bill includes a range of deregulatory measures that will allow regional commercial radio broadcasting licensees to satisfy their local content obligations in a more flexible manner.
The Education Legislation Amendment (2020 Measures No. 1) Bill 2020 demonstrates the government’s commitment to the higher education and vocational education and training (VET) sectors, and ensures that higher education remains accessible and affordable to students, even during these difficult times.
The National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 specifies the need and location for a storage facility for radioactive waste. It is a fact of contemporary life and our modern healthcare system that nuclear medicine is used, often crucially, to help many, many of our fellow Australians. Australians depend upon nuclear technology for their medicines. It is used in the diagnosis of heart disease, skeletal injuries and a range of cancers. On average, two in three Australians will benefit from nuclear medicine in their lifetime. In fact, ANSTO, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, can deliver over 10,000 patient doses of nuclear medicines each an every week.
Payment Times Reporting Bill and the Payment Times Reporting (Consequential Amendments) Bill.
Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Flexibility Measures) Bill 2020
Amends the: Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 to implement changes to the paid parental leave scheme to enable eligible claimants to claim up to 30 days of parental leave pay (PLP) within 24 months of the birth or adoption of a child, in addition to 12 weeks of PLP within 12 months of the child’s birth or adoption; and A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 and A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 to make consequential amendments.

Ideology Could Hamper Economic Recovery

The OECD issued a report Wednesday that forecast that the global economy will contract by 6% this year. The report also predicted that Australia’s contraction would be less than other countries at around 5%.
However the report makes the point that if Australia experiences a second wave of infections then the contraction in GDP could blow out to 6.3%. This partly explains why the Government is so concerned by the current wave of protests. In 1918 there was a second wave of Spanish flu which wiped out thousands of Australians that was caused by a rally in Western Australia…
By John McDonnell

From the Archives

The following content is from Inside Canberra Volume 63, No 690 published
on June 11th, 2010
Labor plans to make Abbott the election issue
Despite this week’s awful Nielsen poll for the Rudd Government, we still believe it’s unlikely a majority of electors will support Tony Abbott for Prime Minister. With an election looming, the Government is taking exactly the right approach in concentrating its attack on Abbott. Rudd, and other ministers, will continue to ask the question of voters: Do you really want Tony Abbott as Prime Minister? A glance at Abbott’s record shows his vulnerability: a supporter of ‘WorkChoices’; a climate change sceptic; and perhaps, above all, his inability as Health Minister to separate his belief in Catholic social values from his duty to the whole of the electorate.
Women’s vote to be cultivated by ALP
The Government has to avoid upsetting practising Catholics which, like other Chris- tian religions, is a diminishing band. A very public churchgoer himself, Kevin Rudd has to be particularly careful to avoid opening himself to the charge of hypocrisy if he attempts to play politics with Abbott’s Catholicism. The PM will go flat out on a scare campaign that Abbott would reintroduce ‘WorkChoices’ in another name. The attack on Abbott – from a women’s point of view – can be left to the impressive band of Labor women, led by Julia Gillard. Women’s organisations from the left will join in on issues such as Abbott’s comments on abortion, the glory of virginity and his opposition to embryonic stem cell research.
Nielsen reports crash in Labor support
Nielsen (taken 3-5 June), has the Labor primary vote crashing 4% (to 33%), with the Coalition picking up only one of Labor’s lost points – now on 43%. The Greens hit a record 15% (up 2% in a month), meaning the total vote of the left of the political spectrum – the Greens and the ALP – is 48%, with the Libs-Nats on 43%. Yet in two-party preferred (2PP) terms, Labor is on 47% (down 3%), and the Coalition has an election winning 52%. The 2PP looks doubtful, and was based not on preferences recorded in the 2007 election, but on a telephone poll. Nielsen itself says there is a margin of error of approximately 2.6%, and this may explain the sudden drop in Labor support.”
Palmer goes for the Commos
Four Corners this week did not help the miners’ cause. Billionaire Clive Palmer (described by Rudd as “proprietor of the Coalition”) lived up to this description on the program, crowing: “Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd are going to go out of office at the next election, Tony Abbott, the last sentry at the gate, will be our new Prime Minister.” He showed himself to be a weirdo with his next comment, “I think it comes from Das Kapital in 1868. The super tax comes about by Marx and Engels and their famous work which inspired the Russian Revolution. But it’s just extraordinary to think in 2010 after the failure of the Eastern bloc, the failure of communist China, the failure of communist Russia, you’ve got two apparatchiks of the party sitting up here trying to embark Australia on a socialist revolution”. It must come as a surprise to miners that Palmer thinks China, run by the Chinese Communist Party, failed at the time the USSR collapsed. Back in May, Palmer said he would cancel two projects in WA, which would employ 5,000 in total with one employing 3,000. [They must be huge. As we have pointed out, Rio Tinto is the largest producer in the Pilbara with 12 mines, and employs a total of 2,000].”
Cabinet system ditched
The Cabinet system is observed to be in the breach in the Rudd Government. The latest example is the statement by Peter Garrett, Environmental Protection Minister (and a member of Cabinet), admitting he was kept in the dark over the scrapping of the Federal Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme. He told Sky News that he found out the scheme had been dropped when he read about it in a newspaper. Recruitment by the ALP of Garrett, Australia’s best known environmentalist, was regarded as a major coup and boosted Labor’s green credentials. Rudd now treats him with contempt. The Prime Minister, who – as Opposition Leader – presented himself as an activist on climate change, is a flop. Tim Flannery, a noted authority on global warming, says it’s too early to judge whether the UN Copenhagen conference was a success or failure. He is heartened by developments since, particularly China’s efforts. Under the Copenhagen Accord, China has committed to reduce the intensity of its greenhouse gas emissions (emissions per unit of production) by 40%, to 45%, by 2020.”
From the Gallery
Relations between Australia and Japan – until recently, Australia’s most important trading partner until overtaken by China – are at rock bottom, with no sign of an immediate improvement. The problem is the freezing out by the Rudd Government of Japanese Ambassador, Taka-aki Kojima, 63.
Kojima, a senior figure in the Japanese bureaucracy which runs Japan (the politicians are mere figureheads), came to Australia in 2007. In the Rudd office, he is blamed for feeding the Opposition the line that soon after his election, Rudd ignored Japan. The Ambassador is known to be of- fended that the Rudd government gives great attention to China, while ignoring the feeling of the Japanese…

Photos from around the House

Canberra, Australia – 10 June 2020: Bob Katter MP said, “$540 million was given to the National Party to build dams in Australia.
Every cent of that $540 million is gone, and we have not even got an engineering plan. ” during the Statements by Members. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

Canberra, Australia – 10 June 2020: An attendant cleaning the lectern during the Statements by Members. Photo by Rob Keating – https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

More photos can be viewed or purchased at

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