Shorten says he won’t support laws that jail journalists ‘for doing their jobs’ – question time live


Powered by article titled “Shorten says he won’t support laws that jail journalists ‘for doing their jobs’ – question time live” was written by Amy Remeikis, for on Tuesday 6th February 2018 09.43 Asia/Kolkata

Tony Burke to Josh Frydenberg:

“Yesterday, the minister said allegations that Adani tampered with scientific evidence in relation to the spill-laden waters are a state matter. Is the minister aware it imposed direct responsibility for the Federal Government concerning the Caley Valley wetlands. Given the minister has responsibility for the wetlands, when will the government minister and report publicly?”


“It must be my lucky day, because as environment minister I waited 566 days for a question and now I’ve had two in 24 hours. Yesterday, the Shadow Minister for the Environment, the member for Watson, was referred to an issue referring to Abbot Point terminal. It was constructed before the EPBC came out. Therefore, the primary regulator for that is the Queensland government. And we know why Adani owns the Abbot Point terminal and that is because the Bligh Labor government sold it to them, Mr Speaker. We know why the Bligh Labor government sold it to them because they support the Adani project, Mr Speaker. They supported the Adani project. Now, the member for Watson knows this is a state matter, that what he is referring to is the primary regulatory authority and responsibility of the Queensland government. But do you know why he is now come to the Despatch Box to ask this question, Mr Speaker? It’s because of the by-election in Batman, Mr Speaker.”

Bill Shorten to Malcolm Turnbull:

“Given the Prime Minister has just said ‘every member of the government has absolutely zero tolerance for racism’, will the Prime Minister direct Senator Molan to take down the racist and bigoted material he’s sharing?”

(Brace yourself. I’m still getting over this answer.)


Major general Jim Molan has just this week joined the Senate. He – he defended Australians’ values in the battle against Islamist terrorism in the Middle East. He is – he has stood up for our values, put his life on the line, led our troops and our allies’ troops in conflict. He has led thousands of troops in the battle for freedom against terrorism. The Leader of the Opposition wants to describe him as a racist. That is deplorable. It is disgusting. Jim Molan is a great Australian soldier. We are lucky to have him in the Senate. He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He has stood up for freedom, stood up against extremism. He and thousands of others like him are the reasons we enjoy.”

We move onto a dixer about Internet Safety Day.

The member for Lyons, Brian Mitchell, is removed under section 94a.

John McVeigh gets the next dixer, which I am actually grateful for, because it gives me a chance to simmer down after the prime minister just walked both sides of the street over one of his senator sharing untrue, racist and just batshit crazy material that even DONALD TRUMP HAS APOLOGISED FOR SHARING.


Mark Dreyfus to Malcolm Turnbull:

My question is to the prime minister. Can the prime minister confirm he said today about multicultural Australia, and I quote, ‘The key foundation of our success is mutual respect’. Does the sharing of bigoted and racist material, including from groups like Britain First, present a threat to the mutual respect the prime minister referred to earlier today?”


The honourable member knows very well that the government and every member of the government and our party has absolutely zero tolerance for racism. That is … That we in this nation enjoy extraordinary friends, and yesterday, we were at the Australian War Memorial at the Last Post ceremony recalling that that place of quiet contemplation and remembrance, which we can see across the lake, remembers and honours the sacrifice, the supreme [sacrifice] of over 102,000 Australians who fought to defend our Australian values. And I want to remind the honourable member that in this parliament, on both sides, there are men and women who have served Australia in our uniform, putting their lives on the line, to defend those values. They haven’t just defended them, they’ve fought for them.


I have a feeling Jim Molan is about to be brought up in the House.


Peter Dutton gets his daily dose of ‘tell us how safe our borders are’ and all is right in his world. #deathtodixers


Jenny Macklin is next with an opposition question:

How many Australian families are currently worse off because of the government’s two-year freeze to family tax benefits? And why is the government putting big business before Australian families with their unfair $65bn company tax cut?

Before Dan Tehan gets up, Labor MPs heckle him that the “answer is a number”.

Unsurprisingly, he does not take up that advice.

Now, it’s funny, when you start off in a new portfolio like this, you decide to do a bit of research. And it’s funny, because when the member for Jagajaga moved 80,000 single parents on to Newstart, she had this to say… and I thought, well, some might see that measure as having been a bit harsh, but this is what she said. ‘Unfortunately, we have far too many people, children, growing up in Australia, in families where nobody is working. The more that people go back to work, the better. It’s better for the family, it’s great for the kids to see mum or dad or both going to work.’ That was the member for Jagajaga. I thought that’s incredibly sound, so I thought that we would see support. I thought that we would see support from the opposition to what we are doing to jobs. Because the best thing – to create jobs. Because the best thing we can do for family, for individuals, is to make sure that they have a job so they can support their kids, to make sure that they can give them a good education. To make sure that they can provide the healthcare they need, and that is what we will continue to do through the good, sound economic management of the treasurer, supported wholeheartedly by the prime minister and everyone here, building on the great work done by the previous member for social services, by the previous member for human services, who both did an outstanding job in making sure that we can deliver for all Australians.

In between a Dixer, where Labor and the Coalition heckle each other over whether the “loony left” is better than the “loony right”, Macklin gets up again and gives a number.

I refer to his previous non-answer as it’s around 1.5 million Australian families who are worse off. Isn’t the it the case that – isn’t it the case that a family with a household income of $60,000 a year, with two primary-school aged children, will be around $440 worse off because of his freeze to family tax benefits?

Tehan gets back up:

I don’t want to go into the tit-for-tat discussions with her but, since she’s come back again, I’m going to have to point out that the paid parental leave threshold was first paused in the 2011-12 budget for two years.

He points out that it was Macklin who was the minister again. He then starts shouting it.

Good times.


Barnaby Joyce gets a Dixer. But while he gets to talk about a possible Longman byelection, it just doesn’t seem like his heart is in it. He barely gets above a flush. He’s spending this question time reading as well. That’s two days in a row now.

Moving on:

Anne Aly asks Malcolm Turnbull:

Medibank Private has a return on equity of 26%. That’s about double the return of even the big banks. At the same time, private health premiums are at record highs. Why is this government giving private health insurers a big tax cut instead of supporting Labor’s plan to cap increases to 2%?

Turnbull repeats what he said yesterday about the warnings of small health funds facing bankruptcy, before ending with:

The leader of the opposition will not fool us or the Australian people. His target is business and its private health, private hospitals and it’s choice. He is determined now, the most leftwing leader of the Labor party we’ve seen in generations, to move his anti-business, anti-investment, anti-jobs agenda. Well, Australians won’t be fooled by that. They know that 403,000 jobs last year is the growth you see with strong economic leadership and they won’t be putting that at risk for his leftwing populism.


Chris Bowen to Scott Morrison:

Last night on Q&A, the former head of the industry group Heather Ridout described the government as cowards on economic reform and said that the $65bn company tax cut was polarising. With profits up 20% last year, and wage growth at 2%, why is the government pitting business against employees by giving the top end of town a tax cut and increasing taxes on ordinary Australians by $300 a year?

Morrison enjoys this topic. You can tell because he is back to “Sharks lost the sudden death semi-final against the Cowboys in golden point” level of delivery.

After admitting that he watched Q&A overnight, and the usual attack, he finishes with this:

What the leader of the opposition seeks to represent is that this was broadly based across every business in the country. What he doesn’t tell you, in the five years before that the average growth in that figure was actually negative. So for five years, hardworking small and medium-sized businesses sweated it out in a tough economy, foregoing income themselves to pay their workers and to keep them in jobs. And the leader of the opposition comes in here and diminishes their sacrifice and he says – it’s worth nothing, absolutely nothing. This is an opposition, a Labor party that sneers at small business and medium businesses.


The Greens raise Jim Molan’s war record

In the Senate:

The Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, is also turning up the heat on the Liberal senator Jim Molan by asking the defence minister, Marise Payne, why the government has adopted a more lax policy to condemning Britain First material than our allies. Donald Trump famously shared Britain First material, earning a rebuke from Theresa May.

The Greens’ follow-up question focuses on the assault on Fallujah, Iraq, where Molan led Australia’s army contingent, and a United Nations report about starvation and lack of water as tools of war. Did Molan’s views on Muslims impact his conduct to the war, Di Natale asks.

Payne replies:

I’ve heard some extraordinarily unedifying things [in my time in the Senate]. But that reflection on the service of a senior Australian army officer takes your lows to depths I did not think you could plumb. You consistently disappoint the Australian people. You do it with the most extraordinary lack of self-awareness … of what it takes to lead your nation in a uniform.


Another Dixer and we break from our #deathtodixers protocol to tell you Christopher Pyne just took a question on how tax cuts will help the defence industry.

“Why are you asking him,” a Labor MP yells.

He refers to the leader of the opposition as “Bill” in the answer, to which he immediately withdraws and says he “accepts the warning”.

The Speaker, Tony Smith, doesn’t care:

The leader of the House will resume his seat for a second. I’m going to remind him again on the use of correct titles and it doesn’t bother me whether he accepts the warning or not, he’s warned.

But Pyne can’t help himself and finishes with:

The reality is that the leader of the opposition wouldn’t know which one he was going to be. He wouldn’t actually recognise himself, Mr Speaker, because he’s changed sides so often, had so many different policy positions and been on so many different sides of the Labor party. He wouldn’t know how to let Shorten be Shorten.

(“Thanks Aaron Sorkin” a Labor wag yells out)

He’s made to withdraw but Tony Burke has a point, which the Speaker backs up.

Last year, there became a pattern of government ministers saying things that they knew were out of order for the purpose of getting a grabber and withdrawing and sitting down as though it was the first time they’d ever heard it was a mistake. I simply ask that this year, it not be allowed to be repeated.

Smith agrees:

I think I know that the point is well made and that the leader of the House knows that he’s right at the edge of the cliff.


Rebekha Sharkie has the crossbench question today, and she asks it of Ken Wyatt:

Approximately half of Indigenous Australians in remote areas live in overcrowded housing with some three-bedroom homes containing 17 occupants. In contrast, only 5% of non-Indigenous Australians live in overcrowded housing. Will the minister please provide the reasons why the federal government has abandoned the national partnership on remote housing, which will mean a shortfall of $24m for South Australia and $483m nationally? Defunding will inevitably lead to more overcrowding and poorer health, social and educational outcomes for remote Indigenous communities. Minister, how can this be closing the gap?


It is a matter of priority for our government, and certainly has been part of a priority that has been the focus of a remote Indigenous housing agreement for the past 10 years.

The negotiations that are occurring between state and territories that are part of this agreement require ministers from the states and territories to equally commit and match commonwealth funding because the funding we’ve provided to South Australia last year was $430m for mainstream housing or general housing. But over the last nine years, in South Australia, they have received $3.3bn. And the point you make about reducing overcrowding has been as a result of that continued partnership. And we’ve seen a reduction of 15% in overcrowding in the four jurisdictions affected, WA, South Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. The funding has not been cut. It has not been reduced.


Labor’s Doug Cameron has noted that new Liberal senator Jim Molan has refused to apologise for “racist bigoted posts” from Britain First and asks in question time: when will the prime minister condemn them?

The Liberal leader in the Senate, Mathias Cormann, describes Molan as “a great Australian who has provided outstanding public service to Australia”. Cormann said Molan had handled the “attack” from Labor “very eloquently” and is “strong enough” to speak for himself. Res ipse loquitur, nothing to see here.

“Bring back George Brandis!” cries one interjector. “No, let’s not do that,” says Penny Wong.


In the red chamber, Mike Bowers tells me that Jim Molan was seen chatting to Cory Bernardi before QT and having a good old laugh.


As promised, Scott Morrison gets his promised Dixer. He has downgraded his delivery to “dad who is disappointed you skipped training to play video games”.

Tanya Plibersek takes the floor:

Wages growth for workers is stuck at record lows. Why is the prime minister asking Australians to believe that his $65bn big business, Trump-style tax cuts, will trickle down to ordinary workers?

Malcolm Turnbull:

The opposition either have the memory of a goldfish, or they think that everybody else does. Go back to 2011, and some remarks in the House of Representatives: ‘Cutting the company income tax rate increases domestic productivity and domestic investment. More capital means higher productivity and economic growth and leads to more jobs and higher wages.’

Who was the economic genius that said that? Who was it?

(The government benches get in on the act, yelling ‘who was it, who was it’ after Turnbull turns to them to prompt them into action.)

It was the member for Maribyrnong, the leader of the opposition. It was. It was. Look, it wasn’t that long ago. It really wasn’t that long ago. And, Mr Speaker, everything that’s said here gets written down, you see. That’s what they’ve overlooked. It sort of just vanished in the breeze. No, more capital means higher productivity and economic growth and leads to more jobs and higher wages. It may be the member for Sydney does not find her leader entirely convincing. It could be that. But, he was, to be fair, only quoting economic orthodoxy and common sense.


Bill Shorten to Malcolm Turnbull:

The government has legislation in the Senate right now to increase personal income tax for 7 million working Australians. Can the prime minister confirm that the government’s legislation will mean that a worker earning $60,000 a year will pay $300 more in tax every single year – yes or no?

While the opposition benches yell “yes or no” and some wag shouts “how much was your tax cut?” Turnbull takes the floor:

The leader of the opposition wants to know yes or no. What about; did the Labor party fund the national disability insurance scheme? No. Were they fair dinkum to Australian families with disabled children? No. Did they deceive them? Yes. The Labor party claimed the credit for the national disability insurance scheme. They came, led by the member for our side of politics to support the increase in the Medicare levy to go towards funding the NDIS, and we supported it because we knew that Australians wanted a national disability insurance scheme and Australians expected that the government would put in place the measures to fund it. That’s what an honest government does. That is what a government does that is fair and fair dinkum. And there is nothing fair about saying to the parents of disabled children – well, the money won’t be there in the future. The funding isn’t in place. The Labor party, Mr Speaker, failed the Australian people. They failed to put in place the funding that was needed to support the NDIS. And now, in their hypocrisy, they want to oppose that responsible measure which will ensure that Australians get the support with disabilities that they need.

Sidenote: Does anyone actually say “fair dinkum” outside of politics?


Mike Bowers is in the Senate at the moment. I imagine there are quite a few people who have some questions for the government about new senators and their social media habits.

I’ll bring you some of his red chamber pursuits as soon as I can.


La Trobe MP Jason Wood has been blessed with the first dixer. There is nothing here you can’t find on a government media release. #deathtodixers

Tony Abbott has just walked in.

Malcolm Turnbull’s voice appears to be close to failing him. He must be out of practice.

Question time begins

We are straight into it today.

Bill Shorten to Malcolm Turnbull:

Last year, average wages for Australian workers rose by only 2%. But corporate profits rose by 20%. So when ordinary workers are already doing it tough, why is the prime minister slugging millions of workers with a $300 tax increase at the same time as giving away $65bn to big business?


The leader of the opposition, as usual, is seeking to mislead us, talking about the level of company profits. The reality is the figure that he’s using is one massively inflated by the commodities boom – a once in a generation boom. But the treasurer will have more to say about that because what we need to focus on today is the fact that the Labor party, who poses as the alternative government, has not one policy that would create one job or encourage one business to invest one dollar. He wants to impose $165bn of new taxes. He seems to think that, somehow or other, it would be good for employment if business owners are forced to pay more taxes.

He continues but you have heard it all before. Like yesterday.


Everyone else is almost here too. Tony Abbott isn’t as yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

Question time is about to begin and I am in the chamber. The Prime Minister has just entered.

On those new secrecy laws, Bill Shorten has narrowed Labor’s position:

Freedom of the press is paramount in our democracy.

If these laws don’t adequately protect journalists doing their job, the government needs to fix its mistakes.

I won’t support laws that see journalists imprisoned simply for doing their jobs.

The Labor party I lead will always support practical measures that strengthen protections in line with our national security interests but we have to get the balance right. And that includes ensuring we have a strong media.

I’m not sure if this is sloppy drafting or deliberately designed by the government to curtail media freedom.


Murray-Darling basin plan disallowance motion looks to pass

Labor, the Greens and Nick Xenophon Team are set to pass a disallowance motion on the government’s attempt to change the Murray-Darling basin plan.

The Labor and Greens party rooms this morning agreed to the disallowance because they want a review into water theft and the amount of environmental water pumped out of the river. The Greens are confident they have crossbench support.

The Nick Xenophon Team’s Rex Patrick and Rebekha Sharkie have now released a statement calling for the government to “put the brakes on rolling out the next phase of the leaky” plan.

Patrick said:

While NXT supports the Murray-Darling basin plan being implemented in full, confidence in that implementation has been eroded over the past 12 months.

When you combine recent allegations of water theft, a complaint about lack of transparency, concerns about high water buyback prices, a refusal to commit to a federal royal commission and the fact that remedies in other inquiries have not been fully implemented, things need to change before moving forward.

NXT has called for:

  • Full transparency of sustainable diversion limits modelling;
  • Release of all assessments and cost-benefit analyses associated with any taxpayer-funded water measures;
  • Rigorous scientific and economic contestability of any proposed elements of the plan;
  • A robust compliance regime in place.


According to the official version of the Coalition party room, the PM gave his usual pep talk about jobs and growth, with the government to do more on tax cuts when the budget permits.

He told colleagues there was 15 months to the next election and what was required was “disclipline, unity and a focus on our economic messages”.

Malcolm Turnbull asked colleagues to make the public case for the business tax cuts and acknowledged there were “some exciting moments” last year but the government was starting the year at full strength.

He said the government had momentum and the way to maintain that was to focus on unity. He emphasised the government was building things – like roads.

Scott Morrison gave colleagues an economic briefing.

In questions and discussion, a couple of regional colleagues raised questions about the foreign investment changes to farmland and there was “quite” a discussion about cyber-bullying. MPs raised the importance of this issue in the community and the importance of being visible on the issue. The PM responded by saying the government had an e-safety commissioner and there would be a discussion of bullying at Coag.

Julie Bishop was questioned about whether the modest dress campaign – the one the Oz has been harping on about in Malaysia – was consistent with the values of the nation. She said the government wasn’t dictating dress standards but exploring export opportunities.

George Brandis got a tribute. He expressed gratitude that he had been able to “close out his political career in such a satisfying way”.

He told colleagues they had turned things around in the Howard era (and could do it again). And, of course, would think of them fondly but not constantly.

Darren Chester thanked colleagues who called him after he was dumped from the frontbench and said he intended an “active and vigorous” backbencher.


This is exactly what I would expect him to say:

The prime minister is about to address the “Safer Internet Day” event at Parliament House.

I have a few suggestions. Even a few people who probably deserve a bit of a chat about what they are sharing on said internet.


Sam Dastyari’s next step (or at least one of them) has been officially confirmed:

I missed this earlier this morning (bit going on in the early hours) but Phil Coorey from the Fin has written up Scott Morrison’s comments at his doorstop, where he admitted that he didn’t follow Treasury’s advice on negative gearing – because he didn’t believe it.

I didn’t agree with them. That’s why,” he said when asked why he did not accept the advice. My first job was as a research economist in the property sector.”

The House opens with the debate on the social services legislation amendment bill – the one with the cashless welfare card.

The NXT vote will prove crucial here.


The bells are ringing, which means the day is about to (officially) get under way.



Someone is enjoying themselves….

Attention government staffers – if you haven’t checked your email yet, a secret squirrel has passed along this message from whip Nola Marino:

There will be a Coalition All Staff Meeting in the Government Party Room in the House of Reps wing at 10:30am on Thursday 8 February. All staff are encouraged to attend and passes will be checked at the door.

You’re welcome.


Just from the Labor caucus meeting, it seems there was a conversation overnight at the left caucus meeting about Adani, where a number of views were expressed about the future of the project and Labor’s current positioning – but it wasn’t brought up in the full caucus meeting.

Take from that what you will.

Labor calls out ‘racist, bigoted’ social media sharing

Doug Cameron has had a bit to say about Jim Molan this morning. From his doorstop:

There was a new record set last night, Jim Molan’s seat in the Senate wasn’t even lukewarm and he had to get up and give an adjournment speech last night trying to explain why his Facebook and him were promoting bigoted videos and really pushing this anti-Muslim position on his Facebook.

I have got to say this, I think Jim Molan should apologise and if Jim Molan doesn’t apologise the prime minister should show just a little bit of ticker, just a little bit of backbone and take on these rightwing extremists in his party and stop them making this country more divided, stop making this country more bigoted and stop making this country more dangerous by this sort of nonsense being pushed on rightwing Liberal websites.

I just want to say to you what he had posted was a post that said “Muslim thugs beat girl in Holland”, and then his adviser, his spokesperson said that all he wanted to do was create debate. Well that is not what we want to do in this country, it’s an absolute nonsense.

One of the posts on his Facebook after this went up said that these people were disgusting apes, they were disgusting thugs and they were filth. That is the sort of arguments that are being put up on this senator’s Facebook. He should get rid of it, he should show a bit of commonsense, he should show a little bit of commonsense in relation to what this can produce in this country.

This is a great country. This is a country that welcomes people from all over the world and people like Jim Molan should not be in there pushing this sort of racist, bigoted, divisive approach in this country.

Crazy that your first day in parliament you have got to get up and try to defend yourself against this nonsense. Even Donald Trump actually apologised for running this Britain First fascist material. He apologised and if it’s good enough for the president of the United States to apologise surely it’s good enough for this Liberal backbencher to apologise and stop making this country even more unsafe.

Stop making this country bigoted, stop making this country divided, this is a nonsense and this man should get out this morning, apologise, and if he won’t do it the prime minister should make him do it.


Right after the Greens, the Labor caucus is also meeting.

Parliament starts at midday.

You can find the day’s proceedings for the reps here and the Senate here.


The Greens party room is up next. We’ll bring you the headline tidbits as soon as we can

Malcolm Turnbull chats to Theresa May

Malcolm Turnbull may be chatting with Donald Trump later this month, but he had a chat with British prime minister Theresa May overnight:


Cory Bernardi (I must have accidentally summoned him in the last post) is on Sky, talking about women in the defence force being uncomfortable if one of their male colleagues has to relieve themselves on the front line. Or something. I missed the beginning, but that seemed to be the general gist.

Also, he has concerns men may feel the need to protect women in battle.

Moving right along.


PM rallies the troops

Malcolm Turnbull, with a smile which would give the Cheshire Cat an existential crisis, has welcomed Lucy Gichuhi to the party room.

Just a reminder, although I am sure you don’t need it, but Gichuhi’s move to the government benches doesn’t actually change anything. She voted with the government on most things already, and her number replaces the one they lost when Cory Bernardi decided to set up his own party.

On that, Nine News had an interesting story last night about Fraser Anning, David Leyonhjelm and Bernardi vowing to vote as a bloc.

Back to Turnbull’s speech rousing the troops – the PM delivered much the same lines he gave last week while at a fundraiser in Toowoomba. But he received a much more hearty response this time round.

He finished by reminding his party to do, you know, it’s job.

We have got a lot to do this year. We have got to do to continue delivering that economic growth, the jobs that Australians need, and our children and grandchildren are counting on. This is going to be a year of delivery. Welcome back to Canberra. Let’s get on with the leadership that Australia needs and is delivering the opportunities Australians deserve.


The joint party room is under way for the Liberals and Nationals. They invited the cameras in for a happy family snap before the meeting got started. We’ll have that for you soon.


For those asking, you can find the Hansard text of Jim Molan’s speech here (page 112).


A breakfast was held in parliament this morning to raise awareness for ovarian cancer. Overnight, Labor pledged $12m for research, if it was elected. The government is expected to make a funding announcement some time today.

Health minister Greg Hunt and opposition leader Bill Shorten at an ovarian cancer breakfast in Parliament House on Tuesday morning.
The health minister, Greg Hunt, and opposition leader, Bill Shorten, at an ovarian cancer breakfast in Parliament House on Tuesday morning. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian


Before we delve too deeply into the muck of the day, Mike Bowers went to yesterday’s Last Post ceremony, which both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten attended.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull with Opposition leader Bill Shorten at a last post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull with opposition leader Bill Shorten at a Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian
A moment of reflection
A moment of reflection. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian


And of course, tax cuts and Jim Molan also get raised.

As to whether he thinks tax cuts will bring wage growth:

“Oh, pigs might fly. Sorry. The idea that when you see a large company getting tax windfalls from their friends in the Turnbull government that they’re miraculously going to share this largesse with the workers of Australia… I’m sorry but that fairytale…doesn’t have a happy ending. The government wants to say that I’m anti-business. I’m not anti-business. But I am pro-worker.”

And on senator Molan:

“I think senator Molan needs to clearly repudiate the views which were shared. I think it was probably unwise to share these videos. They are repugnant. I think it’s up to senator Molan to repudiate the views which he shared and I think to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

That sound you hear is Tony Abbott preparing to defend his new party room colleague.

And in three…two….one

Bill Shorten is holding a press conference. He opens with more strong words against the Adani coal mine project in Queensland:

When it comes to the Adani coalmine, the government needs to investigate the allegations raised that samples were falsified. More generally, I think there is increasing scepticism as to whether or not the mine will go ahead. It would appear that Adani hasn’t managed to convince a single Australian bank to help finance this operation. There’s also been reports from people who operate in coalmining elsewhere that they are concerned that this mine would jeopardise the job security of existing coalminers. I also believe that we need to make sure that all scientific approvals have been diligently researched. This is our position and I think it’s a sensible position.

I think the question of deadlines should really go back to Adani. Did you know, that they, time after time, keep saying that they’re going to have this project up and running and they miss a deadline? I’m beginning to wonder if the people of North Queensland are being led on with this promise of fake jobs and they’re never going to materialise. What we need from the government of Australia are plans to help create jobs in regional Queensland which are sustainable and real. Not just a project which constantly keeps moving along and deadlines which keep getting missed.”


The 2017 parliament is still keeping the high court busy.

The court will hear the challenge to the eligibility of Jacqui Lambie’s proposed Senate replacement, Steve Martin. The court will decide whether or not being a local councillor (he is mayor) contradicts section 44 (and whether it is an office of profit under the crown).

The court will also hear a matter related to Stephen Parry’s replacement.

And of course, it will soon begin proceedings regarding Labor senator Katy Gallagher’s matter.

And any others which pop up.


Just on that massive drop in the Dow, Scott Morrison has urged investors to take a long-term view:

What we’re seeing with the market, we had that in particular the wage data that came out of the US late last week and that follows a more bullish sentiment about what’s happening with inflation in the United States and we’ve seen that impact on bond markets. So markets are volatile. When they recalibrate in relation to events like this, you do see a bit of this happening. But people who have watched the markets more and participate in them more closely than I do, I think they’ll see it for what it is and see the forces behind it.

Good morning and welcome to day two

As the world reacts to the Dow Jones share index closing 1,175 points lower – the biggest drop since the global financial crisis – the government’s keystone 2018 policy, at least for the first half of the year, faces an uphill battle.

Its shaping up to be one of the biggest policy battles in some time. Labor is shaping its platform around the issues of wage growth and inequality, all but declaring war on the trickle-down economic theory.

Tanya Plibersek began the day chatting to the ABC about it:

People understand that the bulk of these tax cuts flow to overseas shareholders. And at the same time as the government’s cutting tax for big business, at the same time as they’re saying that people earning more than $180,000 a year get a tax cut, they’re actually increasing taxes on ordinary working people who are also facing these flatlining wages. So if you’re earning say $60,000 a year, the government wants you to pay $300 a year more tax. They’ve already put that in their budget last year.”

Expect to hear a lot more on that today.

Meanwhile, the former general Jim Molan, who “ran the war in Iraq” for Australia, and was sworn into the Senate yesterday, has refused to apologise for sharing inflammatory videos from the UK far-right group, Britain First. At least one of the videos has been debunked by online fact checkers. Molan was accused of being anti-Muslim, but in a late-night speech to the Senate, he said he had made “a greater contribution to the human rights of many people” than most.

He also questioned whether they had been faked.

I couldn’t remember the videos themselves, but, when I saw them, I was reminded of the nature of them, and the nature of them is about violence and antisocial behaviour. I did not see them and I believe they are not anti-Islam or about racism. I say that because I am not a racist and I am not anti-Islamic as I am accused in this article. Gratuitous violence, antisocial behaviour and rioting are what I am against – not race, not Islam. Supposedly these videos were false, I’m told, because someone in the trail of activities after the videos said that they were false. To me they look to this day very real. I would invite all senators who are interested to look at these videos and judge for themselves whether in fact they have been staged, whether in fact they are faked.”

He went on:

President Trump brought Britain First to our attention well after I shared those two antisocial, violent videos. Supposedly, according to this article, I commented somewhere that this situation is unbelievable. I find violence such as this, even though I’m a soldier and I have lived and worked in a violent world, totally unbelievable. Supposedly I’m asked to apologise for being anti-violent? Bizarre.

I’ve spent all my life working cross-culturally across races and across religions. I’ve had many Muslim friends during periods of incredibly intense conflict, periods of incredibly intense tension for me and my Muslim friends over many years in many places, and I have been effective. I and others have done more for the most basic human right that exists, and that is the right to be alive – a right which was not granted, in particular, to 1,200 refugees who drowned at sea. As I said before, many people were alive in Iraq when I left because of my actions, and I suspect that I have made a greater contribution to the human rights of many people—particularly the basic human right of being alive –than many of those that criticise me.”

All in all, probably not the greatest first day in the office.

Now you’re up to date, remember to follow Mike Bowers as he prowls the hallways (he’s been out there since just after daybreak). You can find some of his day on his instagram and his twitter. You’ll find me lurking in the comments, and more immediately on @amyremeikis and @ifyouseeamy

Got your coffee? Let, as they say, the games begin

Updated © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).