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Tony Burke via 

5:24 PM (18 minutes ago)

to me

Neville, Last week Tony Abbott wanted to scrape a few barnacles off the ship of state. This week he wanted to try and turn the whole ship around – things didn’t quite go as planned.


  1. What a year for the Government. Broken promises as far as the eye can see, no Assistant Treasurer for nine months, a Defence Minister on the chopping block and no clear answer to who will be Prime Minister at the next election. None of these things are good, but Bill’s speech summing up the year is definitely the best moment of the week.
  2. The week began with Christopher Pyne and the Government telling anyone who would listen, the big victory in the final sitting week of Parliament for the year would be passing its unfair Higher Education changes and $100,000 degrees. Well, they tried and they failed.
  3. Joe Hockey’s mini-Budget comes out soon. On Thursday the Treasurer, for now, tried to claw back some of his lost economic credibility in a speech to Parliament. Chris Bowen fired back saying Labor will never accept the false premise that Governments can choose either growth or fairness.
  4. On Thursday, just as we were all walking in to Question Time, Terri Butler stood up and tore the government apart for its cuts to education. It’s only 90 seconds to watch, but will be felt by the Government for a very long time.
  5. After the Senate Crossbench complained that Christopher Pyne wouldn’t stop texting and begging for their vote on Higher Education, Labor decided to give people the chance to text back. We set up a text only line where all messages get passed on to Christopher Pyne. Well, nearly all, we have had to censor a couple. More than 6,000 people have already texted him on 0477 333 555.


  1. Last week was the worst week in the Abbott Government’s history, so far. On Monday Tony Abbott tried to hit refresh by holding a 45-minute press conference. So what’s he changing? Nothing.
  2. In the same press conference on Monday, in his first answers talking about the change of Government in Victoria, Tony Abbott made an appeal to Labor Premier Daniel Andrews – what was the appeal? For Premier Andrews to break an election promise.
  3. We’d be a better country if books like this weren’t required. The “Little Book of Lies” goes through, policy by policy, Tony Abbott’s year of broken promises. There are a lot.
  4. The cuts to Australia’s foreign aid budget continue, with Julie Bishop claiming ‘if the Government keeps cutting, it won’t be the Government’s fault’. It seems like Ministers are starting to wish they were no longer in charge. Click here to add your name to the campaign against foreign aid cuts.
  5. The Liberal MP for Gilmore discovered it’s sometimes best to say nothing this week, when Tanya Plibersek referred to 97% of scientists agreeing on the connection between human activity and climate change, Ann Sudmalis interjected “but that’s only climate scientists.” Well she’s right. It’s only 97% of the people who are experts in the field.

Finally, in my part of Sydney people have always been very generous in wishing me the best for each cultural or religious festival they are celebrating. In the same spirit, I wish you all the very best for Christmas and a happy and safe new year.

Finally, finally, thanks for the reaction to and support of these emails. It started as a one off, but has become an effective way of keeping you up to date on what happens when Parliament’s on. There’s also a BuzzFeed version of the #5and5, check out this week’s here. Parliament will be back in February next year and I’ll be in touch then.


Lastly, finally, finally, in honour of Tony Abbott who describes the disastrous year of broken promises as a year of achievement, who describes his ministers who are at each other’s throats as being part of a team, the #5and5 song is from the Lego movie: Everything is Awesome!

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