ENERGY DEBATE IS NOT RUNNING OUT OF PUFF, A STALLING ‘OMNIBUS’ SAVINGS MEASURE AND A FOREIGN LEADER VISITS CANBERRA
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
A n international flavour greeted Canberra today with the Prime Minister hosting his Sri Lankan counterpart, Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe MP. The Prime Minister announced people smuggling and tertiary education were prominent matters of discussion between the leaders. Given the love of cricket shared by the two nations, it was fitting the Prime Minister announced a memorandum of understanding had been signed between the two countries focusing on sport, which includes athlete exchange programs and sharing anti-doping technology. We hope that, despite the positive outcomes from today’s discussions, any pleasantries are left in the Manuka Oval change rooms when the PM’s XI take on Sri Lanka tonight.
Today’s Question Time started on a sombre tone as the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader spoke passionately on the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.
1.The Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, was the most active he has been in Question Time this year. Responding to five of the 17 questions asked during Question Time, including three from the Shadow Treasurer, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, the Treasurer bellowed that the Opposition were “the walking dead” of economic policy.
2. In a sign the energy policy debate is only just warming up, Leader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today highlighted personal stories of South Australian businesses who are implementing energy strategies to be self-reliant from any further grid failures. Sighting famous local culinary businesses Villis Pies and Haigh’s Chocolates, it might be difficult for the Minister to avoid visiting those businesses time and time again in the future.
3.In a sign of the impartiality of the Speaker, the Hon Tony Smith MP, he ejected the Minister for Justice, the Hon Michael Keenan MP, from the House under Standing Order 94. Minister Keenan joined four Opposition Members being jettisoned from the House in a rowdy Question Time.
4. Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, made history in today’s Question Time by becoming the first Indigenous Australian to answer a Government question in his Ministerial capacity. In a sign of respect, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development and Shadow Minister for Tourism, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, publicly commended Minister Wyatt in the moments following his first response.
1.Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has urged Sri Lankan refugees, currently in detention on Nauru or Manus Island, to return to their homeland. Speaking at a press conference with Prime Minister Turnbull, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe confirmed while “they left Sri Lanka illegally… they are welcome to return to Sri Lanka and we won’t prosecute them.”
2. Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Hon Kim Carr, has today used Parliament to blast his crossbench colleague Senator Derryn Hinch over what he perceives is a broken promise regarding the ABCC Bill. Carr said “Senator Hinch, in the last election, made commitments… He made commitments to the Victorian Branch of the Labor Party upon which he received a preference arrangement from us.” Continuing his tirade, Senator Carr went further by stating “I put it to you Senator Hinch that I hope this is your last term, because we won’t be doing it again. We won’t be doing it again.”
3.More out of the US on the Trump Administration. The latest casualty has come one month into the term with national security adviser Michael Flynn resigning from his role. Mr Flynn, resigned under pressure after providing conflicting accounts of his conversations with Russia’s Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak were revealed.
4.And in case you didn’t know, it is that time of the year again when the big corporates are announcing their financial results. In what is likely to raise a few eyebrows on the Hill, Commbank announced a very strong half year result. Wesfarmers announced that after commencing a strategic review, it was looking to sell Officeworks through a trade sale or a stock market float. It has been a busy week for Wesfarmers Managing Director and former B20 2014 Chair, Mr Richard Goyder AO, who was today also announced as the new Chairman of the Australian Football League replacing Mike Fitzpatrick after 10 years in the role.
Today’s legislation focus included:
1.Biosecurity Amendment (Ballast Water and Other Measures) Bill 2017
2.Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017
3.Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill 2017
4.Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority Bill 2017
5.National Disability Insurance Scheme Savings Fund Special Account Bill 2016