Strange scenes in the lower house. Members are unable to stand to speak, so are signalling they want the call by placing a book or paper on their head.
Government returns union-busting bill, attempts to gag debate
Drama down in the house. The government is returning its union-busting “ensuring integrity” bill, which was defeated on Friday after a shock last-minute switch by One Nation. The bill is currently before the lower house again.
But the Coalition is trying to gag debate. It prompts uproar in the chamber.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese says the government is attempting to use gag orders that were never intended to limit debate for partisan or party political reasons.
It is my view that the government is using this provision to shut down democratic debate in this parliament and it is an abuse of our democratic processes.
Tony Burke says the government’s actions are unprecedented.
What is happening right now is a change in the role of this house… as to whether it is a parliamentary debating chamber or whether it is only here for the voice of the prime minister and his chosen ministers.
Albanese says Labor is being asked to vote on legislation it hasn’t seen.
We are being asked now to vote on legislation which I don’t have, there are no copies anywhere. how can we possibly do that. is it within standing orders for us to be voting on legislation, I don’t know what it is.
It is appropriate for us to be voting on this without having copies of it?
Reports in the Channel Nine newspapers this morning confirmed the government is pressing ahead with plans to privatise Australia’s visa processing services. The shadow assistant immigration minister, Andrew Giles, was out on the hustings this morning, saying the position leaves 2,000 workers going into Christmas in fear of losing their jobs.
This is isn’t good enough we know that this is a terrible idea. We know this because everyone has been saying so. This is an absolutely friendless proposal. Former secretaries of the immigration department have referred to the risks to the integrity of our system, risks also to national security. The Community and Public Sector Union has warned that this could be the new robodebt implemented. And we know what will happen in Australia, because we’ve seen what has happened in the UK with their visa system that has been privatised. We’ve seen massive cuts to services and the creation of a two-tier system, where people who can afford to pay get a fast track system. In Australia we’re not hearing enough about why the government is doing this.
Firefighters demand phase-out of coal
The United Firefighters Union was at Parliament House this morning speaking out about the effects of climate change and the extending and intensifying the fire season. From their statement:
The United Firefighters Union of Australia passed a unanimous resolution at its national council in Canberra demanding a national approach that would allow firefighting to operate seamlessly across borders, improving the compatibility and capacity of different state and territory services, and boosting the number of professional firefighters.
The national council of the UFU passed the resolution calling for an “urgent phase-out of coal, oil, and gas” because they are “driving more dangerous and intense fires”. The UFU national president, Greg McConville, said:
Now is absolutely the time to talk about climate change and the ever more intense fires being fought by our members.
We are stretched to breaking point. The fire season is longer and more intense than ever. We need to begin work now to boost the nation’s firefighting capacity and make it truly interoperable.
Interesting point on the machinery of government changes from Markus Mannheim.
Stephen Jones, the shadow assistant treasurer, is on Sky News saying Morrison should accept the New Zealand deal to get children off Manus Island and Nauru. He rejects the government’s insistence that there are no more kids there.
Jones urged Morrison to be “pragmatic” and take the NZ deal.
The politics of it are toxic and the humanity of it gets left out when the politics gets injected into it.
The PM announcing an overhaul of the public service, courtesy of Mike Bowers.
The PM’s office has just released a more detailed list of those changes. They will take effect from February. Here’s the full list:
The creation of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, which will consolidate
- the current Department of Education; and
- the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
The creation of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, which will consolidate:
- the current Department of Agriculture; and
- environment functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy.
The creation of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, which will consolidate:
- the current Department of Industry, Innovation and Science;
- energy functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy; and
- small business functions from the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
The creation of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, which will consolidate:
- the current Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development; and
- the current Department of Communications and the Arts.
The Department known as Services Australia (formerly known as the Department of Human Services) will be established as a new Executive Agency, within the Social Services Department.
Just to recap on those machinery of government changes:
- the education and employment departments are being merged
- the agriculture department is combining with the environment department
- energy will be merged with the industry, innovation and science department
- The communications and arts portfolio is being merged with infrastructure and transport department
A few interesting tidbits there. Energy is being decoupled from environment.
But emissions reduction stays with energy.
Just to reiterate, the PM is proposing no costs savings and no job losses, aside from the five departmental secretaries.
Australia always ‘very aware’ of NZ resettlement offer
Morrison is asked whether the government will consider New Zealand’s offer to take refugees from Manus and Nauru.
We’ve always been very aware of the New Zealand government’s offer.
The government will continue to implement its policies as we’ve set them out.
Scott Morrison says he has full confidence in Angus Taylor.
What Angus has done in the past six months to get the big stick legislation through, to ensure the dodgy late payment fees that are charged by energy companies, they’re all gone.
The policy performance of Angus Taylor is not under question.
Morrison says this is not a “savings measure”.
So department secretaries and others will undertake the normal things that they do in managing their budgets.
This isn’t about any cost saving measures. I expect frankly all departmental secretaries to be maximising efficiencies.
Morrison says there will be no change to ministerial portfolios.
I’m very pleased, very pleased, with the performance of all my ministers.