Thursday, 15 September 2016

Australia's 45th Parliament in action

“But before talking about what happened during the election campaign, I want to touch on something that is very close to my heart, and that is the national flag of Australia—our flag.” [Senator McGrath (Queensland) Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister]

“—particularly to you, Senator Cameron, who share my love of chocolates” [Senator Fierravanti-Wells (NSW)]

The New Daily, 12 September 2016:

The government began the second week of the new Parliament the same way it ended the first – amid high farce.

Little more than a week after being the first majority government in 50 years to lose a vote in the House of Representatives (it lost three) because Coalition MPs decided to go home early, it was the Senate’s turn to show the level of disorganisation within government ranks.

Soon after the Senate opened for business on Monday, the Coalition had no business to discuss.

And after another embarrassing session of Parliament ended, ABC’s Lateline revealed that Federal Cabinet had confidentially signed off on the mechanics of the same-sex marriage plebiscite, only for the details to leak almost immediately.

In the morning session of the Senate, a filibuster of Monty Python proportions ensued, leaving no one with any doubt the government was desperately trying to mark time until lunch.

With no legislation to debate, Coalition senators rose to talk for hours about their love of chocolates, love of the Australian flag, respect for roads, respect for a defeated candidate whose name they got wrong and other inane conversation.

It all led to Opposition Senate leader Penny Wong to chime in that the government had “no plans and no ideas”.

“They’ve got literally nothing to talk about,” Senator Wong said.

Meanwhile, manager of government business in the Senate Mitch Fifield put the word out that Labor was delaying passage of non-controversial bills in the House, therefore leaving the Senate with nothing to debate.

But the Senate scenes exposed further signs of chaos and weakness from the government, leaving Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appearing besieged from all sides…..

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