It’s been another tough week for Labor with the Government throwing as much mud as possible to distract from its attack on pensions, schools and hospitals. Does that sound familiar? “No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to pensions” that’s the lie Tony Abbott gave before the last election and he’s been desperately trying to talk about anything else. This week Tony Abbott plunged to new lows, but also set a new high in the number of flags needed for a press conference. Here’s some other things that happened this week.
1. The final line from this speech by Bill on the current state of politics in Australia really sums up the last week: "You can play your cheap political games all you like. You can take the low road, you can do your very worst. But we will see you off. We will not only endure; we will most certainly prevail.”
2. The final 30 seconds of this speech by Tanya Plibersek really sums up the last 18 months.Try to watch the whole thing, but definitely watch the last 30 seconds.
3. On Wednesday Bill and Shadow Minister for Vocational Education, Sharon Bird, announced a plan to back TAFE and guarantee funding for TAFE into the future. Tony Abbott has already cut $2 billion from skills and training and on Thursday we learned about a proposal from the Liberals that would see all Commonwealth funding cut from TAFE. You can add your voice against the cuts here.
4. I know this issue is controversial and many people who receive this email have sincerely held and often differing views, but on Wednesday Bill gave a speech bringing together Labor's expectations on the treatment of refugees and calling Tony Abbott out for using some of the most desperate people in the world as political pawns. Often I just provide excerpts of speeches, but this is one where, if you can, please try and find the time to watch the whole thing. Even if personally you reach a different conclusion, I want you to know why we made these decisions.
5. Tony Abbott continued to deny the $80 billion cut to schools and hospitals in the Budget. So on Tuesday Nick Champion asked this question: "Prime Minister, some government somewhere printed a document that refers to health and education cuts and says that they 'will achieve cumulative savings of over $80 billion by 2024-25'. I will give the Prime Minister a clue: the document has got a kangaroo and an emu on the front of it. Does the Prime Minister know whose government printed such a document?” Speaker Bronwyn Bishop said the Prime Minister didn’t have to answer and ruled the question out of order.
1. On Monday the Government teamed up with the Greens to ram its pension cuts through the Parliament, despite Tony Abbott promising before the last election “no change to pensions”. Now 330,000 pensioners will lose up to $8,000 for single pensioners and $14,000 for couple pensioners each year. These are not “millionaire pensioners” - this change will hurt middle and low income pensioners the hardest.
4. On Wednesday Julie Bishop said she didn’t know she had mislead the Parliament about a letter sent from Sydney siege gunman, Man Monis, to George Brandis not being provided to the Commonwealth-NSW review into the tragedy. But there’s plenty of evidence to suggest this was wrong and the Foreign Minister was again misleading the Parliament. A statement from George Brandis says Julie Bishop knew before Question Time about the mislead. Labor moved a censure motion against the Foreign Minister. Debate was promptly shut down.
5. On Thursday Speaker Bronwyn Bishop became the Brian Lara of the Parliament, batting out MPs a record 400 times from the Chamber so far in the 44th Parliament - 393 Labor to 7 Coalition.
Nick Champion was number 400; there has never been a parliament like this one.
Parliament and the #5and5 should be back for the Spring parliamentary session in August.
This week’s #5and5 song of the week is a classic. Here’s Bob Marley with Get Up, Stand Up