PANTS ON FIRE!
Tony Burke’s 5 and 5.
The 5 Best and 5 Worst of the week in Australian politics, written by Hon Tony Burke MP. Member for Watson NSW, Manager of Opposition Business for the Australian Labor Party in the Federal House of Representatives.
We need to talk about Scott.
Usually when someone makes a terrible mistake you can see the embarrassment on their face. But Scott seemed happy. He felt invincible, like a genius. After one of the worst weeks I’ve ever seen a government have.
So as you read this week’s #5and5 just remember this: Scott thought he did really well.
- The Muppet Show Sequel
- Morrison’s character
- Cost of living
- Same job, same pay
- Tony Smith’s farewell
- Hawaii lie
- Civil disobedience
- “Made up issue”
- Christian Porter
1. Chaos. Everywhere. And Anthony Albanese summed it up beautifully in a speech at the end of the week. He recalled when Mr Morrison described his own side as a Muppet show: “Well he is now the Muppet-In-Chief. And the theme song to The Muppet Show goes like this: it’s like a kind of torture to have to watch the show.”
2. Every day this week we zeroed in on Mr Morrison’s character. The challenge when we were organising question time each day was choosing among the long list of Morrison lies.
Why did he and his office repeatedly lie about going to Hawaii while the country burned?
Why did he lie about electric vehicles?
Why did he lie about battery power?
Why did he lie about vaccine mandates?
Why did he lie about inviting his friend Brian Houston to the White House?
In response Mr Morrison just ducked and dissembled – and even bowled up some brand new lies. As Richard Marles asked on Thursday: “If the Prime Minister has no regard for what he said in the past why should Australians have regard for what he’s saying now?”
3. While the government was focused on itself we focused on the economy and the cost of living – things that matter to everyday Australians. Anthony, Amanda Rishworth, Kristy McBain and Susan Templeman asked why under this government petrol prices were surging by $900 a year for an average family – but real wages have fallen by $700. Josh Frydenberg tried to pivot to the government’s economic record, so Jim Chalmers asked: “Can the current Treasurer name any other Treasurer in the last 100 years that has a worse record than him on waste, rorts, debt, deficits, annual growth and real wages?” Frydenberg could not.
4. On Monday Anthony and Labor’s Meryl Swanson introduced a “same job, same pay” Private Members’ Bill to crack down on dodgy labour hire firms that are undercutting wages and conditions in mining and across the economy. Throughout the week we presented real life examples of labour hire workers getting ripped off to the tune of hundreds of dollars a week. We need to stop permanent jobs being replaced with lower paid casual jobs.
5. Monday was Tony Smith’s last day as Speaker. He’s from the other side of politics of course but few would dispute that Smith brought order, fairness, dignity and integrity back to the chair after the Bronwyn Bishop days. He belongs in the “best” column even though we’re sorry to see him go.
1. Mr Morrison’s character was on full display on Monday. Labor’s Fiona Phillips asked: “When my electorate was burning the Prime Minister’s office told journalists he was not on holiday in Hawaii. Why did the Prime Minister’s office say that when it wasn’t true?” Mr Morrison responded by trying to blame Labor – claiming he’d told Anthony Albanese ahead of time where he was going. If that was true it would be irrelevant. But it wasn’t true at all. Mr Morrison was trying to wriggle out of his lies by telling more lies. He had to have two goes at correcting the record because he’s pathologically incapable of admitting fault or taking responsibility.
2. The LNP’s George Christensen stood up in the House on Wednesday and likened state premiers to “Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Pol Pot” – and then openly encouraged “civil disobedience” against their pandemic health orders. A few minutes later we asked Mr Morrison about these inflammatory and dangerous comments and he refused to even condemn Mr Christensen by name. Watch here.
3. On Thursday things went from bad to worse for the government. Supported by Labor, independent MP Helen Haines moved a motion to suspend standing orders to debate her bill for a federal anti-corruption body. In a totally unprecedented move a Liberal MP, Bridget Archer, seconded the motion and crossed the floor to support it. That means we had the numbers on the floor. After the vote the new Speaker Andrew Wallace declared that we’d won – but then saying we needed to vote again. That led to complete chaos on the floor as the government tried to get its act together and figure out what to do next. There was around ten minutes where we all sat in the chamber and nothing happened. No one spoke. Just. Nothing. Eventually the vote happened again and this time the requirement to have an absolute majority of 76 votes was invoked which mean even though we had more votes, we didn’t win. There’s one simple take out from all this, the only way to have an anti-corruption commission is to change the government.
4. We asked the government about the Same Job Same Pay legislation that Anthony Albanese had introduced on Monday. What was the government’s response? Paul Fletcher – who represents the Invisible Industrial Relations Minister Michaelia Cash in the lower house – just arrogantly dismissed the labour hire rorts as a “made up issue”. I bet it doesn’t feel “made up” to the workers getting paid less every day or the families struggling to pay the bills. It only feels “made up” to a Government that is completely out of touch with the concerns of workers.
5. A few weeks ago the government took the completely unprecedented step of voting against a parliamentary inquiry into Christian Porter’s anonymous donations even though Tony Smith supported a referral. With a new Speaker in the chair I gave it another go. Mr Wallace rejected our request. So we are left with a situation where MPs can take large anonymous cash donations to pay for private bills. It’s beyond belief.
We’re back next week for the final sitting week of the year.
PS Song of the week goes to one of the early punk albums. It includes the perfect line “broke a confidence just to please your ego”. The song is called Liar. And while I never thought I’d say this: in honour of Scott Morrison, here’s the Sex Pistols
From Tony Burke’s Weekly Email., thank you Mr Burke.
Courtesy CK Watt who found this. In this political week
CK Watt, Tony Burke’s ‘5 and 5’ is too good to leave buried in the comments!