“Five” Starts with “F”, So Here’s 5and5 Friday . . .

courtesy of Tony Burke, MP.

At one level the job is pretty simple: we stand up for those who need us most. This week Jenny Macklin and Penny Wong had significant wins for families and workers by doing just that.

Here’s the #5and5.


1. Ever since the 2014 Budget, Jenny Macklin has been leading the fight against cuts that would cost the typical family $6,000 a year. This week the Government backed down and gave up on $5 billion of the harshest cuts. It’s been a huge campaign which started with Bill Shorten’s 2014 Budget reply speech. These cuts were aimed at some of the most vulnerable Australians. There is a new proposal from the Government, but more about that in a minute.

2. The debate on the Free Trade Agreement with China started in the House of Reps on Wednesday with Bill recalling that Labor has a history of engaging with China, supporting trade, and importantly defending workers. The agreement Penny Wong and Bill Shorten reached delivered significantly on all three.

3. It’s rare a single question can change a national debate, but on Wednesday Clare O’Neil did just that. In a question to Malcolm Turnbull, Clare asked whether the outcome of a plebiscite on marriage equality would be binding on coalition MPs. In response, Malcolm Turnbull revealed for the first time he is working on legislation where the change would have already passed the Parliament but would only take effect following a plebiscite.

4. Last week I let you know about the Liberal Senators who spoke in favour of weakening protections against racist hate speech in Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. This week nine Labor members stood up in the House to speak against these changes, and Michelle Rowland pushed Malcolm Turnbull to agree the Bill would not be brought back for debate.

5. Who’s on first? The split over who’s responsible for what in the new Government is pure chaos. Albo and Mark Butler didn’t miss when they pointed out there are four different ministers in charge of cities. Water is just as bad – even though Barnaby Joyce announced he was in charge of environmental water held in rural and regional dams, Malcolm Turnbull thinks Greg Hunt is in charge, and the Senior Public Servants in Senate Estimates said it was the Minister for Cities, Jamie Briggs – who isn’t necessarily in charge of cities.


1. NBN. Remember when Malcolm Turnbull announced he was using the existing copper network to save money? That was before he nearly doubled the cost of the National Broadband Network and slowed it down. This week it got even worse. Jason Clare asked Malcolm Turnbull if reports were true the NBN had now started to purchase new copper wire. Not just a little bit of new copper wire, more than 1,800 kms. That’s nearly enough to reach from Parliament House to Alice Springs!

2. Scott Morrison. My first draft of the #5and5 dedicated all five in the worst to Scott Morrison. Anyone can be caught out not knowing a particular statistic, but the questions Chris Bowen fired at the new Treasurer went to the absolute basics of Morrison’s new job. The Treasurer of Australia couldn’t answer questions as straightforward as: Was growth revised up or down in the last Budget? But the strangest one was when Chris asked when the Budget is projected to return to surplus? Morrison answered: “When expenditure is less than revenue.” So far Morrison is working hard at being the weakest link in this Government.

3. On Thursday, Christian Porter decided to compete with Scott Morrison for weakest link. Jenny Macklin was interrogating the detail of the new proposed changes to family tax benefits, only to find the new Minister for Social Services was musing on the need for grandparent carers to go back to work and for 15 year olds to attend childcare. Even though the Government has retreated from measures on families in the 2014 Budget, Malcolm Turnbull’s new proposals hurt some very vulnerable Australians and the new minister seems to have no idea.

4. The curious case of the marble table. The night Tony Abbott lost his job he held a party in his office which may have got out of hand and a very fancy marble table was smashed. The next day Jamie Briggs showed up to work injured and people started to wonder if the two events were connected.

This week, when Jamie Briggs was asked a question, Christopher Pyne objected and said a different minister should be asked. I took a point of order saying I understood why the Government wouldn’t want to let Jamie anywhere near the House of Reps table. For what it’s worth, he’s adamant he didn’t break the table, and given I don’t have any friends who get invited to Tony Abbott’s parties, I might just take him at his word on this one.

5. The hole. Last week Albo told Warren Truss that the only hole the Government had dug is the one they buried the former Prime Minister in. This isn’t true. On Thursday, Catherine King asked why the Government “paid $56 million to the Northern Territory CLP government to dig a hole in Palmerston, part fill it with concrete, hold a media event and then immediately fill the hole again?” Paul Fletcher who is the new minister in charge of major projects had a moment of animation and tried to claim the hole had to be refilled for occupational health and safety reasons, which doesn’t really explain why they dug it in the first place.

It will be a long fight to the next election and Malcolm Turnbull has only just started to make new policy decisions. But if the treatment of grandparent carers is any guide, the decisions will have one key ingredient in common: the people who are most vulnerable are only defended when Labor defends them.

There was plenty of talk about the Back to the Future movies this week. So in honour of the year 1985 when the films began, here’s a song which brings together a few of the themes in Parliament this week: Jefferson Starship “We built this city”.

Parliament’s back in a fortnight.

198 thoughts on ““Five” Starts with “F”, So Here’s 5and5 Friday . . .

  1. Well..it was the acid test yesterday..took the Bedford out with a full load to the Mt Crawford dressage event…didn’t compete as it has been a fair while since the nags had been there..a bit skittish they can be…best play safe..you know?..

    Took the Bedford, full load..horses in the back myself and the OH. in the front..all the gear stashed away…up Sedan Hill..steep..windey..over the range to Keyneton, turn left to Eden Valley..more ups and downs to Springton, then turn right to Mt Crawford..hilly country would test the gear ratio of the best trucks..but hey!..between you and me…; it could just as well have been the Hay Plains…the Hay Plains…

    The old Bedford , with its “reborn motor” took it in it’s stride…with the heart of a bullock it pulled up those slopes and with all the grace of a down-hill racer in new snow it glided down those slopes…beeeutiful..just like a bought job!…and used about half the fuel !..brilliant..compliments to the mechanic!

    This could be the re-start of a beautiful friendship !

  2. jaegar

    Perilous learning …

    I just wonder if cockatoos attack humans. I was in my garden when one came along screetching and criss-crossing the garden over my hand. Never saw that before. Quite scary.

  3. It’s catching. On Insiders Kenny now mimics the Wentworth Waffler by holding his folded up glasses between his fingers as he talks. What Labor should do is to encourage everyone to do it so as to mock the waffler.

  4. This journo may be worth following. Seems not to have caught the Truffles Adoration virus .

    Turnbull’s many ‘exclusive’ faces

    The many types of Turnbull who emerged from the wide-ranging interrogations depended on your preferred publication.

    All up, the PM devoted many words to saying very little – offering scant detail of how Australia might fare under his brave new leadership.

    But here’s what we learned of the many faces of Malcolm Turnbull, who promises to be all things to all men.


  5. Fairfax should sack Hartcher and make Peter Monro their lead political journalist. Top stuff.

  6. jaeger

    Thanks. No fear then; they’re buddies.

    I don’t have any macadamia tree but I have two almond trees. Their nuts seem to be a delicacy to the cockatoos.

  7. I think this was in the Herald Sun hard copy yesterday. Doesn’t seem to be online.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/taking-down-tony-abbott-how-malcolm-turnbull-staged-a-coup/story-fn59niix-1227574950588 no paywall, worth a read to see if you missed any details on what happened.




    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-24/janda-the-myth-of-mum-and-dad-negative-gearers/5766724 from 2014



    Reminder, news.com.au articles are NOT paywalled, even if the article also appears in the tabloids. Some tabloid articles are now no longer mirrored on the news.com.au site, they tend to be the premium paywalled articles the papers want to keep for themselves. But if you can find it on the news.com.au site, it will be free. I’ve noticed the tabloids’ paywalls have changed. Its no longer 5 free views, its some articles are paywalled and some are not. Only easy way to read the paywalled articles is to google search your way in, like The Australian, or sometimes via twitter links to the articles (may be a limit to how often you can do that).

  8. Ah feel the love.

    Article gold bricked so for those who can’t get over the pay wall a taste also to save giving Rupes any more hits.

    Peter Costello arrogant and a leaker, says Peter Reith

    In a memoir that draws on contemporary notebooks, Mr Reith slams Mr Costello for “undisciplined arrogance”, suspected leaking to journalists, “positioning” for the leadership, being “missing in action” during key policy debates and describes him as “a dope”

    ………..“When it comes to a stoush Peter is usually hiding in a cupboard,” Mr Reith wrote in 2001, “e.g. when we were losing ministers back in 1997; in the waterfront dispute; in the 1998 election he was missing in action; even in cabinet’s expenditure review committee when I told him I’d not agree to Treasury plans to cut defence and he walked out.

    “Before the 1998 election he mused about the leadership — as if he’d do anything about it!
    On fiscal policy Howard rolls him every time — e.g. homebuyers’ assistance scheme, setting the Age Pension at 25 per cent of average weekly earnings, the GST negotiations with the Democrats.”


  9. That crap by Kelly O’Dwyer about “mun and dad” negative gearing opportunities…is just another trap for risky investment by the wage earner aspirants.

    I know of someone who ventured into this area because of their belief in the ideaology of ” champagne aspiration on beer wages”…now they are in all sorts of financial shit because of a fluctuating housing/rental market here in SA. and their contract job prospects tanking.

    I suspect many of those “mums and dads” will lose their life savings through this dumb-advice temptation.

  10. After years of breeding scientists have moved closer to producing a table bird where everyone gets a drumstick.

    Well either that or it is an African Jacana hiding chicks after a sign of danger.


  11. “Beautiful shot and love the colours. What sort of bird is it ?”

    Erm, Googleus pictus? 😉

    The bright colours made me think of one of the fruit doves, but that drew a blank. I think it might be one of the “green pigeons” – possibly an African species. (The highest resolution version of the image is on a Kenya web site – but not accessible.)

  12. This popular image – often used to promote motherly love –
    is actually a Father Pink-necked Green Pigeon, protecting his babies with his wings.
    (… image …)
    Treron vernans
    ©Rik Seet

  13. Jaeger,

    Sorry, I’ve just arrived home after visiting me mum.

    Well done with your avian research. They are extraordinary creatures.

  14. THESE orphaned baby owls have a real hoot snuggling up to their surrogate mum — a cuddly toy owl.

    The four tawny owl chicks, aged four to eight weeks, were found on the brink of death in the wild after getting separated from their real mothers. Now they burrow under the toy’s wings to keep warm at New Forest Otter, Owl & Wildlife Park in Hampshire.


  15. Jaeger

    Had a few of them on the farm back in the day. As a young’un I wondered how the fat arses could could fly. Only ever saw them sitting Sumo Wrestler like up in the branches,

  16. KK – our digs near Whangarei was sited above a cove, which was obviously a favourite for Kerurū – they’d fly up from the trees on one side and then “parachute” down to the trees on the other side.

  17. Have to agree with Germaine Greer on the transgender thingo…sure, one can respect the individual’s perception, but just desiring or “manufacturing” gender change doesn’t make it a genetic absolute.

  18. jaeger

    Fantastic bird photo’s and great research, well done. Everyone seems to have had a busy weekend, it has been very quiet here.

  19. On the Lifestyle channel they have Britain’s Best Shed competition. There are some beauties!. We wouldn’t get past council if we tried these.

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