Terror comes to Jakarta again as Question Time concludes for the week

Thursday, 25 May 2017

By Stefanee Lovett

Summary

The final sitting day of the week saw a boisterous Question Time period, the probing of government Ministers at Senate Estimates continue and a visit from the President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, to Canberra. With the terrible news of another terrorist bombing in Jakarta overnight, that killed three police officers, the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, confirmed he had spoken with the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, later tweeting, “Australia stands with Indonesia & condemns the murderous terrorist attack on civilians & police in Jakarta last night”. The Opposition Leader, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, used an address to school principals, who had gathered in Canberra, to continue to pressure the Government regarding their funding announcements contained in the budget. The Opposition Leader said, “I, for one, think we ask too much of our teachers already. We don’t pay them properly.” He also had frank advice for politicians when he said they are “so up themselves” regarding education funding.

The complete funding of the NDIS and Gonski 2.0, the Coalition’s policy of needs-based education funding, were again the prominent talking points of the final Question Time of the week.

1. Question Time this week has been a contest of the Government and the Opposition regarding education funding. The Government’s claim that the 2017/2018 budget has injected $18.6b in education through Gonski 2.0 was met with incredulous dissent from the Opposition who countered that there was in fact a $22b cut. Eight of the period’s 21 questions centred on education funding while an additional four questions centred on NDIS funding.

2.The Speaker, the Hon Tony Smith MP, provided a rare light-hearted moment when he reprimanded the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Minister for Education, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, who had raised to her feet attempting to skip the orderly queue in Question Time. Addressing the Shadow Minister, the Speaker said, “I don’t know what the confusion is? We go side-to-side. We’ve been doing it for 116 years”.

3.Animals were a strong topic of conversation for Members in Question Time. The Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, cheekily referred to the Shadow Treasurer, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, as a ‘parrot’ of the big banks in reference to the new bank levy. The Deputy’s front bench colleague and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, referred to the Opposition as ‘pussycats’ in a response to a Dorothy Dixer about employment. Both Nationals Ministers would have been happy to be supported by shouts of ‘galah’ from the Government front bench whilst the Prime Minister was attempting to answer a question from the Shadow Treasurer.

4. Four members of the Opposition received an early mark from the Speaker, the Hon Tony Smith MP, after being ejected at various stages during Question Time. The Members for Newcastle, Melbourne Ports, Whitlam and Shortland were all asked to leave under section 94a.


1.Suspected suicide bombers killed three police officers on duty at a Jakarta bus terminal on Wednesday evening. Ten people, including five police officers and five civilians, were also wounded in the twin blasts that were detonated five minutes apart by the two suspected attackers.

2.Speaking to high rating 2GB Radio broadcaster Ray Hadley, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, has called for a purge of other personalities in the wake of the ABC’s decision to axe Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s program, which he welcomed as “a good start”. Speaking more broadly, the Minister said, “it’s a cultural problem at the ABC and the board needs to deal with it”.

3.
 Addressing the University of New South Wales Business School last night, retiring Managing Director of Australia Post, Mr Ahmed Fahour AO, defended his $5.6m salary, arguing he “never held a gun to the head of the government or the Australia Post Board’’ to demand the sizeable wage.

4.The annual Australian Financial Review ‘Rich List’ has been published with Visy Industries Chairman Mr Anthony Pratt topping the list with an estimated wealth of over $12b. Joining Pratt are household names such as Mr Harry Triguboff and Ms Gina Rinehart, both worth in excess of $10b. Westfield boss Mr Frank Lowy, Glencore Chief Executive Mr Ivan Glasenberg and Fortescue Metals Group Chairman Mr Andrew Forrest are also included in the top 10. Perennial victor of the list and Director of Crown Resorts, Mr James Packer, has slid to tenth, valued at over $4.75b.

Today’s legislation focus included:

1.Treasury Laws Amendment (2017 Measures №2) Bill 2017

2.International Monetary Agreements Amendment Bill 2017

3.Australian Education Amendment Bill 2017

4.Treasury Laws Amendment (Accelerated Depreciation For Small Business Entities) Bill 2017

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