- The Senate passed a motion calling for the Deputy PM to step down.
- It’s hard to prove that Barnaby Joyce has broken any ministerial rules (except the new ones that the PM introduced just yesterday). However, it’s been revealed that during a personally turbulent six months last year, he lived rent-free at a mate’s place in Armidale. There are questions about whether Barnaby asked for this. If so, he breached ministerial rules because it would be a gift. Barnaby insists he didn’t. Questions remain.
- There was clearly a number of meetings held within the Nationals Party this week, and ultimately, they’ve decided not to de-throne Barnaby as leader. Barnaby Joyce is, historically, a remarkably successful politician, and holds strong favour with many voters who would otherwise drift towards One Nation.
- There will be a strengthening of laws around preventing image-based abuse, or revenge porn. The law means that the ‘eSafety Commissioner’ now has the power to issue removal notices to abusers, asking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat to take down images or video or the corporations will face big-time fines.
- The government will provide $18 million over three years to the United National Development Programme to support stabilisation efforts in Iraq.
- Parliament paused to pay tribute to the ten year anniversary of the apology to the stolen generation. Malcolm Turnbull responded to the Closing the Gap report, which has improved somewhat from last year, but is still woefully behind, meeting only three of its seven targets.
- The ‘cashless debit card’ bill passed Parliament, allowing for the expansion of trial sites into the WA Goldfields. The card is for welfare recipients, and doesn’t work if you try to spend money on booze or gambling.
- Immigration Minister Peter Dutton called for greater cuts to migration to stop over-crowding in cities. Particularly, he wanted the ability to pick and choose migrants who “make a good contribution”, and not those who were “going to be a burden”.
- Bill Shorten, leader of the opposition, has said Labor would pursue an “Indigenous voice to parliament” without the support of the government, in favour of the Uluru Statement which Malcolm Turnbull has rejected. The voice to Parliament is a key recommendation of the statement, and ties into the heart of Indigenous affairs, which we’ve covered previously.
- Labor has also declared a plan to pledge $280 million to building a research institute for the education sector, to keep teachers up to date with the most current research.
I am reminded of the shooting at Virginia Technical University – astonishingly ten years ago now – and the memorial poem by Nikki Giovanni. This poem, although spectacular, didn’t stop another ten years of shootings. Just like the apology to the Stolen Generation has not done all that we have hoped for for the Indigenous people of Australia. I love this poem, because it represents all of it – we are proud, we are ashamed, and there is work to be done. We will prevail.
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