Forget the politics for a moment.
This week started with the number of additional refugees to be helped by Australia at zero. By the end of the week 12,000 refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria will have a new start and a secure future in Australia. That change eclipses everything else.
Here’s the #5and5
Best five parliamentary moments of the week:
1.We helped people affected by the Syrian crisis
The Syrian crisis represents the largest movement of displaced people since World War Two.
On Monday, Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Tanya Plibersek and Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Richard Marles all called for the help for Syrian refugees to be on top of Australia’s existing quota, as well as calling for additional support for the UNHCR.
By the end of the week we had outcomes we could welcome.
2. We stopped Abbott’s ChAFTA stunt dead in its tracks
On Tuesday – wait for it – Prime Minister Tony Abbott pulled a stunt.
The Libs thought the Prime Minister pretending to still be in Opposition and moving a policy motion to wedge the other side of politics was really clever. Well, they thought it was clever before they did it.
Bill Shorten moved an amendment which made it clear Labor supports a free trade agreement with China but we want guarantees of jobs for Australians to be legislated.
Abbott’s anger during the debate really said it all – in fact he stood up and left mid-way through. He only came back in to vote against an amendment calling on him to protect Australian jobs.
3. What’s in a name really?
By Thursday the government was so worried that they’d made a mess of the Free Trade Agreement with China they decided to change its name. All of a sudden it was now known as the “Export Agreement with China.”
Member for Franklin Julie Collins asked a really cutting question when she asked Minister for Trade Andrew Robb: “I wonder if the Minister could tell us if any imports are allowed under the China Export Agreement he has just told the House about?”
4. The Shadow Minister for Communications went viral, go figure
Sometimes a speech just takes off. More than a million and a half Australians have already watched Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare ‘celebrate’ the second birthday of the Abbott Government with a stinging 90 second speech. If you’re one of the few who hasn’t seen it yet, watch it now.
5. This member of parliament had heard one lie too many
On Wednesday night, Member for Griffith Terri Butler had had enough of government members claiming they cared about jobs yet always trying to destroy the organisations which are dedicated to giving people dignity at work. So just before parliament finished for the night, Terri let fly.
Worst five parliamentary moments of the week:
1. Abbott fixed the economy by stopping the boats. Wait, that doesn’t make sense…
You know those movies where robots take over the world? It may have already happened. Here’s an interview Abbott gave from Parliament House on Wednesday night.
In case you missed that, here’s the transcript:
Leigh Sales: “When Labor left office, unemployment was 5.8 per cent; it’s now 6.3 per cent. Growth was 2.5 per cent; it’s now 2 per cent. The Australian dollar was 92c, it’s now around 70c. The budget deficit was $30 billion when you took office and now it’s $48 billion. How do you explain to the Australian people that you were elected promising, in your words, to fix the budget emergency, yet in fact, Australia’s economic position has worsened under your leadership?”
Abbott: “Well I don’t accept that. The boats have stopped.”
Sales: “We’re talking about the economy.”
Abbott: “The boats have stopped…“
2. Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison keeps trying to leave young Australians out in the cold
Even though Tony Abbott’s savage cuts to young jobseekers were defeated in the Senate, Morrison again committed the government to bringing the cuts back to the Parliament. These are the cuts that leave young unemployed Australians with nothing to live on for a month.
3. The government tried to get an Aussie company to sack local workers and hire from overseas
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese has been exposing “WorkChoices on Water.”
When it became clear the government had advised a cruise company on the “benefits” of sacking the Australian crew and bringing it back as a foreign vessel with a foreign crew, both Abbott and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss denied it had ever happened.
Albo and I moved to suspend parliamentary debate on Tuesday to expose both the Abbott and Truss for lying about the impact of their agenda.
4. Does anyone on this planet think this is a good idea?
Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt’s legislation to stop community groups from being able to test whether the decision of an environment minister has been made legally has passed the House of Representatives.
If it makes it through the Senate we’ll end up with a situation where an environment minister could make an unlawful decision and no-one who would have an interest in fixing it will be able to do a thing about it.
5. Our economy got even worse…
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen took Treasurer Joe Hockey on about the fall in consumer and business confidence.
The Westpac data is down 5.6 per cent, ANZ fell by 5.8 per cent and the NAB Monthly index has fallen to one. Remember Hockey claiming his mere election would be an adrenaline charge to the economy? It’s been less adrenaline and more Mogadon.
We’re now one week away from the Canning by-election. Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Western Australia Alannah MacTiernan has been unstoppable taking the government on over the chaos in their approach to WA. Please keep doing what you can to help Matt Keogh. He’s a great candidate.
The #5and5 will be back next week.
P.S. It was the second birthday of the Abbott government and true to form the two-year-old birthday party was filled with tantrums and bad behaviour.
So for the band, the name and the state of the government: here’s LA indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums with Merry-Go-Round.