This was a week of some pretty stark contrasts. A lot of attention has been given to issues we pursued late in Question Time on Wednesday and Thursday concerning Malcolm Turnbull’s investments in the Cayman Islands. At a time when Australia is meant to be taking a lead role with the G20 nations on tax avoidance and dealing with tax havens, this was a legitimate line of enquiry. There’s plenty that’s already been written about that, but you might not know about some of the other things that happened this week. So, here’s the #5and5.
1. This week began in the long shadow cast by the terrible shooting earlier this month of police worker, Mr Curtis Cheng. On Monday Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull began Question Time with speeches in the House of Representatives reflecting on this unthinkable act of violence. Both Malcolm and Bill offered their condolences to Mr Cheng’s family and friends, and paid tribute to the special police constables who made a very tough decision to protect the lives of their colleagues. Bill also recognised the heartache and grief that must be felt by the parents of the young man who committed this crime: “As a father, I cannot imagine the grief and guilt, the horror of your child, the one you love, choosing to end their own life by murdering an innocent man he didn’t even know.” Watch Bill’s full speech here.
2. On Tuesday, Bill announced the Shadow Ministerial team Labor will take to the next election. Joining the Shadow Cabinet are two hugely accomplished politicians, former ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, who has been promoted to Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness, and Labor’s new Shadow Minister for Small Business, Michelle Rowland. Many others have taken on new responsibilities including Jim Chalmers, Ed Husic, Terri Butler, Sam Dastyari and Julie Owens. There’s more coverage of this over at the Labor Herald.
3. Also on Tuesday, Parliamentarians came together to celebrate National Unity Day, a multi-faith event celebrating the rich multicultural heritage that has been woven into the fabric of Australian society. It’s important to step back and reflect on the significant contribution made by people of different faiths, cultures and background who have made Australia their home – not only in recently times, but throughout the entire modern history of Australia.
4. On Monday, Labor’s Shadow Immigration Minister, Richard Marles, introduced a Private Member’s Bill requiring staff at Australian immigration centres to report child abuse or suspected abuse to authorities within 24 hours, and make it an offence if a worker fails to report an assault. Richard said in his speech introducing the Bill: “Immigration detention is absolutely no place for a child. The reports of the abuse suffered by some of the children in Australia’s care, under Australia’s obligations, have been horrifying. The provisions in this Bill are a necessary step to ensuring we stamp out any and all abuse in the immigration detention network.”
5. On Thursday afternoon the Government again tried to take credit for Labor’s infrastructure projects. Albo jumped to his feet and noted: “the only hole they’ve dug is the one they buried the former Prime Minister in.”
1. On Thursday the Parliament passed Liberal Government legislation to ensure the amount of taxation paid by private corporations with a turnover of more than $100 million a year will remain secret. Why is the Liberal Government so committed to keeping the tax affairs of large private corporations a secret from Australians?
2. The Government’s attack on penalty rates continued this week. Every member of the Caucus took up the fight watch this great compilation of nine Labor speakers in 90 seconds.
3. On Thursday, Government senators teamed up with independent Senators Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm to again try and water down protections against racist hate speech in Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. 18C protects against offence, insult and humiliation based on race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. Malcolm Turnbull refuses to pull the extreme right of his party into line. The only consequence of removing protections in 18C is for racist hate speech, not currently allowed, to be allowed. Working together we’ve beaten this before, and working together we can beat it again. Learn more at www.againsthate.com.au.
4. Scott Morrison floundered. Chris Bowen repeatedly questioned Morrison on the collapse in revenue which has occurred even though Morrison keeps trying to claim there isn’t a revenue problem. It didn’t take long before Labor backbenchers were calling out ‘even Joe was better than this.’
5. If you wanted to undo Labor’s Murray Darling plan, the first thing you’d do is put Barnaby Joyce in charge of water. This week that happened. It was another example of Malcolm Turnbull doing the exact opposite of what he’d previously claimed to believe.
Finally, I want to share a speech I gave in Parliament on Monday about modern multicultural Australia. It only goes for 90-seconds, I’d be grateful if you had a quick look.
The #5and5 will be back next week.
PS: This week’s #5and5 song of the week is a reminder to Malcolm Turnbull that weekend penalty rates are not outdated. Loverboy’s ‘Working For The Weekend‘ is as true now as it was in 1981 when it was released.