Parliament censures former Liberal minister Bruce Billson – politics live
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Jenny Macklin went to ask a question about the pension age being increased to 70..but ran out of time to ask the question in the 30 second allotted time.
After that brief show of bipartisanship, it is back to normal QT transmissions.
Chris Bowen: Can the Prime Minister confirmed that under the government policies wealthy retiree couples will get a cash bonus from dividend imputations despite the fact they have $2.5 million in super, $290,000 worth of Australian shares, draw $120,000 a year in super income and received $17,500 a year in dividend income and pay no tax. How is it fair they will get a cash bonus from the government of $7,500?
Malcolm Turnbull: I thank the honorable member for his question, Mr Speaker, and of course the honorable member is the one who is now announcing a pensioner’s guarantee. It is designed, he says, to protect pensioners, but how is he protecting them? ….flinging himself into the breach to protect pensioners from the policy he designed himself He said it was carefully calibrated, well targeted, well-designed…This is economic genius they thought they could get away with it. Mr Speaker, they have gone out there and they have said today that no pensioner will be affected. They have said that, no pensioner will be affected. Completely and utterly untrue, totally untrue, because anyone who becomes a pensioner, not years from now, not five years from now, tomorrow,tomorrow, after the 28 March, anyone who becomes a pensioner after the 28 March will be liable for their cash grab from their self managed superannuation fund. Mr Speaker, really! So they’ve gone out there and they’ve said there protecting pensioners but only pensioners who don’t have self managed super funds and becomes so after the 28 March. It’s another example of the shambolic policy on the run from an economic team that has one bungle after another. Of course, Mr Speaker, there’s no justice there. They say how unfair it is for people to get the benefit, the cash benefit, they franking credit. A big company or a wealthy investor can use that franking credit to reduce their tax liability on other income,that apparently is fair, that’s fair, but people on low incomes are not able to do so. Mr Speaker, this is a combination of avarice, malevolence and incompetence. Classic Labor! Going after people’s savings, people that should be supported and respected, not the least.
Julie Bishop gives the House an update on the Russia situation. It is essentially what we heard in the press conference.
Bill Shorten thanks her:
I acknowledge the communication from both the prime minister and the security agencies this morning to the opposition to brief us on the decision to expel these two Russian diplomats from Australia. I think it is important all Australians know that, when matters such as this arise, it doesn’t matter which party is in government or opposition, leaders work together. Labor supports this position. We think it appropriate, proportionate and right for Australia to stand with our friends in the UK and the international community. Mr Speaker, in conclusion, we have not forgotten 2014, we haven’t forgotten the 38 Australians murdered on flight MH17. I acknowledge the prime minister at the time, Tony Abbott, standing up for Australia then with our support, and we must continue to stand up to thuggery and criminality on the international stage. President Putin and his government must understand there are real consequences for engaging in attacks on foreign soil and not telling the truth about them. The international community is united in this, and so is the parliament of Australia.
Bill Shorten to Malcolm Turnbull with a question on school funding:
(I missed the beginning of the question, but it included the stat from the AEU survey, that 80 per cent of voters wants better spending on public education funding)
How is it fair that the Prime Minister is cutting billions from schools to pay for his $65 billion handout to big business?”
Turnbull: How is it fair to have a school funding policy that Labor had when they were in government which had special deals for one part of Australia compared to another? Which had special deals between students in one system and another without any consistency. The Labor Party have said that they hold up David Gonski’s report as the gold standard, but they never implemented it, and what did David Gonski call for? National consistent needs based funding. That is exactly what the government has delivered. By 2023,every state school, every government school will be receiving from the Commonwealth 20% of the schooling resource standard. Mr Speaker,everyone right across the country, they’ll all be getting that on a fair basis. Now, that’s fairness, that’s consistency, that’s transparency. The total school funding expenditure from the government, the Commonwealth government,under our policy will increase spending by $23 billion over that period over the decade. That’s a substantial increase in spending. And above all, it is needs based.And what did we see during theBatman by-election? Much to the horror…
(The chamber goes a little crazy, because it is VERY rowdy in there today. Everyone is cramming four Canberra days into three, so no one is really sleeping, and let’s face it, the crazy is never far from the surface in this place)
Turnbull: We saw the Leader of the Opposition rushing out with a special deal for the Catholic school system. Oh, yes,he did, he was there. The Leader of the Opposition was there, denounced by parents and teachers of government schools around the country. What he was doing was proving that he’s addicted to special deals he will not engage on a consistent fashion. Mr Speaker, the reality is this, as we know, we are increasing school funding right across the country and I will just remind honorable members that over the 10 years of our plan, funding for Commonwealth government schools will increase by 5.1%, for Catholic schools, 3.7%, for independent, 4.3% per annum, total average of 4.2%. That’s consistent growth in funding and we are bringing be underfunded schools up to the right level of parity so there at that level of 20% of the SRS for government schools, 80% for non-government schools, that is being done over six years, that is a consistent message entirely in line with the Gonski recommendations.”
Ged Kearney looks like she is having a GREAT time though.
It’s question time! (well, almost).
Put your predictions in the comments.
Well this is a little awkward:
Alice Workman (@workmanalice)
So… I found Labor’s talking points in a bathroom in Parliament House. https://t.co/zhBVjB8Bi3 pic.twitter.com/X67CwLxNPy
March 27, 2018
Political Alert (@political_alert)
The House of Representatives has censured the former member for Dunkley, Mr Bruce Billson, for failing to discharge his obligations as a Member to the House #auspol pic.twitter.com/3wYsdEUAoL
March 27, 2018
After this report was handed down yesterday , the parliament has taken the unusual step of officially censuring former Liberal minister Bruce Billson for taking, and then failing to declare, paid lobbying work while he was still an MP.
From Paul Karp’s report:
Billson – who was dumped from cabinet in September 2015 – took a job at the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) in March 2016 but did not leave parliament until 9 May.
The committee found Billson failed to disclose to parliament’s register of interests that he had started drawing a $75,000-a-year salary as executive chairman and independent director of the FCA. Billson also revealed to the committee that he had provided services to the FCA through his company Agile Advisory.”
The Coalition-dominated committee found Billson should be censured for his actions, “for failing to discharge his obligations … and for failing to fulfil his responsibilities as a member by failing to declare” his interests.
On Tuesday afternoon, the parliament followed through.
Pat Conroy seconded Ross Vasta in making the motion and said “censuring someone is an incredibly serious course of action” and when MPs leave parliament, their reputation is held in the highest esteem – and to censure someone, is a serious blow to that.
Here is what Malarndirri McCarthy had to say about the event this morning, which featured members of the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group:
The Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group do extraordinary work in their community and that needs to be acknowledged, is making communities safer for everyone.
These women have travelled from Alice Springs and to be heard, their message is simple: ‘Listen to us, stand with us, support us.’ They work every day for their communities because they have the solutions and we need to make sure their voices are heard and listened to, we can learn a lot from these women. They must be adequately funded to continue their work on this important issue.”
Tangentyere council’s Shirleen Campbell from central Australia speaks at parliament house about domestic violence. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian
An emotional Shirleen Campbell. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian
Northern Territory senator Malarndirri McCarthy comforts Shirleen Campbell. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian
But wait – there is more. After turning away, Malcolm Turnbull comes back to the microphone to answer a question on the company tax negotiations:
We do not run a commentary on negotiations with the crossbench. I want to be clear about this. What we are seeking to do is put Australian companies in the position where they can invest and employ. Where they will be able to grow and make more investment, create more jobs and better paid jobs.
Bill Shorten has said that if the company tax reforms are passed, he will repeal them if he becomes prime minister. What he is saying is that he wants to go to the election on the platform of fewer jobs and less well-paid jobs. It shows you cannot trust anything Bill Shorten says.
This is a man who stood up at the dispatch box and the House of Representatives only a few years ago, when Labor was last in government, and said more jobs and higher wages. You know what, he was right. He was right. Now of course, it doesn’t suit him to say that and he has done a backflip. He is trying to do a backflip on pensions, on the pension attacks. Grabbing the franking dividends from pensions. This was a … man saying, ‘They were all millionaires, yes, there were all pensioners that accusing me of using pensioners as a human shield’. He treated those self-funded retirees, pensioners and independent self-funded retirees, and done a backflip.
Pensioners will still be caught. After 28 March, they will be caught again by his proposal. He hasn’t even done his homework properly. He has done a backflip that hasn’t landed on his feet. He has landed once again with his hand in the pockets of hard-working Australians who have saved all their lives and [are] entitled to support and respect.
Bill Shorten cannot be trusted with your money. He cannot be trusted with your savings. Pensioners, self-funded retirees, Australians looking to work, Australians looking for a job, they cannot trust Bill Shorten because he says one thing one day and another thing the next. All of the backflips demonstrate just one thing. He cannot be trusted to put Australians, Australian jobs, Australian business, Australian savings first.
(Just a reminder that a backflip ends with you standing in the same position and, to quote the great *Inigo Montoya, “you keep using that word – I do not think it means what you think it means”.)
*Thank you to my resident Princess Bride expert, who very quickly alerted me to my slipped finger typo. INCONCEIVABLE!
Annnnnnd … from a potential new cold war to the cricket (because this is still Australia)
They [Cricket Australia] now have to make sure that this great, national game, this great international game that is synonymous with fair play, is once again a game that is played by champions, that everybody can look up to. I mean, this has been a shocking affront to Australia. It is, you know.
How many of us, as children, how many of us as fathers and mothers, have had children who have looked up to the Australian team, have looked up to their idols, to their role models?
This cheating is, it is a disgrace. We all know that, it is a terrible disgrace. And we … Cricket Australia is dealing with it, they have to investigate it and they have to act, continue to act decisively and emphatically, and we have to … Where do we want to get to? We want to get to the point where we can all say once again, not rhetorically but heartfelt and with sincerity, that cricket is a fair game, cricket is a game that is synonymous with a fair go and fair play.
That is what has to happen and I want to add one other point. I think, and I said this to [Cricket Australia chairman] David Peever, I will not go on to say everything I have to him and I will say this: I think there has to be the strongest action taken against this practice of sledging. It has got right out of control, it should have no place in – I want to be very clear about this – this, the game of cricket is, it should be that once again is held up as a role model, and I think that is the, some of the sledging as some of the shocking conduct that we have seen is also part of the process of review and reflection that is going to be undertaken.
As to whether the world is watching the dawn of a new cold war, Malcolm Turnbull urged caution:
Look, this is a very different environment to the cold war. There are obviously some, there are some similarities, but without getting into a discussion which I would love to engage in at some point with you all. But it would take too long to talk about the history of the cold war and such good developments, I think it is just as important, rather than getting sentimental about Le Carré novels and bygone eras, let’s just focus on the facts here.
We have a government which has used a chemical weapon on the soil of another nation in an attempt to assassinate individuals in that other country … This is a shocking crime, it is a shocking crime. Now, this is a shocking crime. It is a shocking breach of the rule of law and the use of chemical weapons illegally, contrary to international law, and for the first time, as we have both said, in Europe since the second world war.
This cried out for a concerted response, so I think we should, I don’t dispute the interesting history and background and historical analogues, but let’s just focus on what happened in Salisbury on 4 March. A shocking crime called out for a concerted global response and Australia is playing its part in that strong response today.
The foreign minister said Australia may consider holding the Socceroos back from the upcoming World Cup, as part of further sanctions:
In relation to sanctions, Australia already has a range of autonomous sanctions against Russia, in particular those that were imposed in the aftermath of the illegal annexation of Crimea, and those sanctions have been reviewed and updated over time, so we have sanctions against a number of individuals and a number of Russian entities.
The impact of sanctions, of course, is strongest when it is done collectively, and so we will continue to liaise with the [UK] Foreign Office and other allies and partners on this issue as to whether further action will be taken in response to the deployment of a chemical nerve agent in Salisbury.
There are a whole range of further options of action that could be taken. The boycott of the World Cup is one of the further actions that could be taken in relation to this matter.
Under the Vienna Convention, Russia can expel any Australian diplomats in what is generally known as the tit-for-tat response, without giving a reason.
Julie Bishop said Australia expects this to happen and is preparing for it.