No point denying it, this week’s been a tough week for Labor. The Government has been determined to throw mud non-stop in order to distract from it’s own unfairness and chaos. In the midst of all that, we stood firm, defending pensioners and showing we weren’t afraid to stand up to the government on issues it arrogantly believes are its natural strengths.
That’s why this week’s #5and5 is probably more serious than usual. Here’s some information I think it’s important for you to have.
- On Tuesday, Bill made clear Labor will stand up for pensioners and fight against Tony Abbott's cuts to the pensions of hundreds of thousands of Australians. Watch Bill’s speech here.
Tony Abbott has tried to pretend his changes are aimed at millionaires, but here’s the real impact: a single aged pensioner who receives as little as $25,000 from superannuation income would lose $8,200 of their part pension.
- On Monday, Parliament House cleaners went on a 24 hour strike to protest against Tony Abbott's pay cuts to some of Australia’s lowest paid workers. Last year, Tony Abbott changed the rules determining the minimum wage for Commonwealth cleaners. At the time, he promised no cleaner’s pay would be reduced.
- The Budget hasn’t been in the media much this week, but every Labor MP is still fighting against it in the Parliament. On Thursday Bill gave a great speech about the Government’s attack on families: "This Coalition Government are out there claiming the budget is good news for families. If they think this is good news, I would hate to see what they think bad news is. NATSEM analysis shows that nearly one in two Australian families will be worse off.” You can watch Bill's whole speech here.
- This week, Labor Senators along with every member of the Senate cross bench voted to establish an inquiry into the handling of the letter sent to Attorney General, George Brandis, by Sydney siege gunman Man Monis, which was never handed over to the Commonwealth-NSW review into the tragedy.
- I know this one’s not very serious, but on Thursday Tony Abbott yelled in Parliament: “They’ve never done a single Turnbull”. It seems the Prime Minister has Turnbull on the mind. Someone yelled “Stop the Malcolms”, while I couldn’t help pointing out that Tony Abbott’s the only one who’s done a Turnbull. He did Turnbull in 2009.
- There is an important difference between paying people to breakup people smuggling syndicates, and paying people smugglers to turn their unsafe boats around. In Australia, police pay informants to breakup drug rings, they certainly don’t pay them to shift to the next suburb. Last week, both Julie Bishop and Peter Dutton ruled out the Australian Government paying people smugglers keep people on unsafe boats and smuggle them to Indonesia. This week, Tony Abbott refused to do the same, and as a result we now have a situation where people smugglers are hearing in the international media all they have to do is sail their boats to the closest Australian Customs vessel and they’ll be turned around with $5,000 in their pockets.
- The pension cuts are set to make it through the Senate after the Greens cut a deal with Tony Abbott. What did the Greens get in return? An inquiry into retirement incomes will take submissions for an extra six weeks.
- Last week, Joe Hockey said the starting point for first home buyers is to "get a good job that pays good money”. According to The Australian Financial Review, to afford an average home in Sydney a first home buyer needs to earn $152,000. This week we asked Joe Hockey to name what these good jobs that pay good money are -- he had three minutes to answer and decided to not name a single one. You can apply for a good job that pays good money in Joe Hockey's office here.
- On Monday, Shadow Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, moved a censure motion against Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and George Brandis for misleading the Parliament and taking more than a week to correct the record over the Man Monis letter. What’s worse than the misleading of the Australian people and the Parliament, is the Government wouldn’t even allow the debate to occur. Instead they used their numbers in the House of Reps to gag Labor from speaking. That’s right the motion was about information being kept from the parliament and they responded by silencing the speakers.
- On Thursday, four Government MPs were counted as voting in the House of Representatives despite the fact that they weren't actually in the House of Representatives during the vote. I raised the fact there were only 74 Government members in the room voting yet the Coalition tellers had signed a sheet that said there were 78. Anthony Albanese asked the Deputy Speaker how this would appear in the official voting record. Would the last four names simply say 'Tory 1, Tory 2, Tory 3 and Tory 4?’ You can watch Albo here.
Finally, I have no way of adding to this. On Monday, Bronwyn Bishop gave advice to Gillian Triggs on when someone should resign from office for being too political. No, really she did.
PS: This week’s #5and5 song of the week will receive many complaints. I received praise when I offered up Pearl Jam. I’m not sure what reaction I’ll get for shifting to musical theatre. But when they count people as voting in a room when they aren’t even there, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Miserables seems perfect.