A New Parliament

Thank you to Billie for excellent advice to our new Federal government:

Next thread starter . . . .

With the start of a new Parliament under a Labor government, here is a Wishlist

  1. Change foreign policy to treat China as a major trading partner, not a potential enemy to invade at USA behest
  2. Stop buying USA defence materiel that is unsuitable for Australian conditions and non-operable without US approval
  3. Tax coal miners and gas producers
  4. Implement gas reservation policy on east coast
  5. Stop subsidising miners and gas producers
  6. Abolish stage 3 tax cuts for incomes over $150,000
  7. Abolish tax concessions for self funded retirees
  8. Increase income support payments, abolish INDUE card, abolish Mutual Obligation, Workforce Australia
  9. ⬆️Access to fee-free TAFE for in-demand courses like aged-care, childcare
  10. Reverse drift to casualised workforce
  11. Federal ICAC

and thanks to Tony Burke, for his always insightful 5&5:

Tony Burke tony@tonyburke.com.au via email.actionnetwork.org 12:49 (5 hours ago)
to me
Well, I’ve decided I like this job better. We’re back in Parliament and, as you know, the Prime Minister is Anthony Albanese. I always used to give you an update as Manager of Opposition Business. But I’m a lot happier now giving you an update at the end of the Parliamentary week as Leader of the House. So once again, here’s the 5&5:BEST
Government benchesThe Prime Minister’s first answerUluru Statement from the heartWelcome to countryFirst SpeechesWORST
Having to clean up a decade of messPeter Dutton’s scare campaignPaul Fletcher hit with neuralyzerPauline Hanson walk-outMorrison no-show
1. We didn’t waste a minute. We introduced legislation to take real action on climate change; reform the broken aged care system; abolish the cashless debit card; and set up Jobs and Skills Australia to tackle our skills shortages. I also had the incredible privilege of introducing legislation to give 11 million Australians access to paid family and domestic violence leave. These are all things that should have been done years ago – but it’s taken a Labor Government to start getting it done.

2. “I thank very much the Leader of the Opposition for the question, and I congratulate him on his election as Leader of the Liberal Party. I wish him well as Leader of the Opposition and I hope he stays there for a very, very long time!” That’s how Anthony Albanese began his first answer as Prime Minister to Peter Dutton’s first question as Liberal leader. Generous. Or at least generous-ish.

3. “Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Indigenous Australians: How is the Australian Government delivering the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and in particular, progressing an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution?” With that question Marion Scrymgour became the first ever First Nations backbencher to ask a question of a First Nations minister.

4. “Respect is taking responsibility for the now, the past, the present and the future”. The Welcome to Country before the opening of parliament, introduced by Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and delivered by her son Paul Girrawah House, was incredibly moving. His words outlining the struggle of First Nations people for rights and respect was a reminder of how far we’ve come but how far we still have to go. He ended with a passionate call to implement the Uluru Statement of the Heart and begin the process for a referendum to enshrine a First Peoples Voice to Parliament in the Constitution. We intend to do both!

5. One of the best parts of any new Parliament – particularly when you win government – is hearing from new colleagues for the first time. And what an incredible series of first speeches from Labor members this week! Sally Sitou … Zaneta Mascarenhas … Louise-Miller Frost … Marion Scrymgour … Tracey Roberts … and Tania Lawrence in the House, as well as Jana Stewart in the Senate. I’m so happy to be a part of a government that looks and sounds more like Australia.

1. The Government has been left with a huge mess to clean up after the wilful neglect of the previous decade. The economic challenges are particularly acute – and that was reinforced this week with the inflation figures and an economic statement to Parliament by Treasurer Jim Chalmers. It was a powerful speech that was brutally honest with the Australian people: things are going to get worse before they get better. We didn’t make this mess – but we are taking responsibility for cleaning it up.

2. So surely the economy was Peter Dutton’s focus in his first Question Time as Opposition Leader right? Nope. Instead he fell back on a weak, tired old anti-union scare campaign. Seriously? He’s had two months to prepare for this and that’s all he’s got? This does not bode well for the next three years.

3. I think over the years you’ve worked out that I really like the Parliament. You may also have a sneaking suspicion that the Libs and the Nats wish it wasn’t there. Who needs democracy when you think you’re born to rule? So it was pretty funny watching the antics of the new Manager of Opposition Business Paul Fletcher this week. First he tried to blame us for the fact Parliament isn’t sitting very much this year – conveniently forgetting that’s because his government only scheduled 10 sitting days in the first half of the year. Then when I made changes to Standing Orders to allow more debate on urgent bills he attacked us for shutting down debate. Ummm. I think Agent J from Men in Black has hit Mr Fletcher with his neuralyzer – because he seems to have forgotten the last decade ever happened.

4. Pauline Hanson has sat through dozens of Acknowledgements of Country during her time in the Senate because it’s a routine thing that’s been happening for more than a decade. This week she decided to storm out and make a scene as if it was a new thing. Pointless, divisive culture wars are still a thing then.

5. I bet you wish you’d heard the last of this guy 👆 But I can’t let this through to the keeper without comment. Scott Morrison was a no-show in Parliament this week because he was in Japan getting paid to make a speech. If he’s off being paid to do another job – why does he expect taxpayers to keep paying him to do this one?But let me finish with the first thing that happened after we were sworn in. My friend Milton Dick was dragged to the Speaker’s chair. It was a real highlight in an incredible week. I know that he’ll bring fairness and decency to the role.Parliament’s back again next week and I’ll write to you straight after that.‘til then,Tony.PS. After 20 years Joni Mitchell finally performed again this week and I’ve been wanting to find an excuse to have ‘Both Sides Now’ as song of the week. When there’s a change of government the song means something slightly different to every one of us. But I’m pretty happy with the side of the room where we’ve landed. Here is Dave Le’aupepe – yes I know, lead singer of Gang of Youths – singing Joni’s ‘Both Sides Now’.

Authorised by T. Burke MP, Australian Labor Party, Shop 29, 1 Broadway Punchbowl, NSW 2196Sent via ActionNetwork.org. To update your email address, change your name or address, or to stop receiving emails from Tony Burke, please click here.

107 Years Ago . . .

One of the more of the many appalling – things – incidents – catastrophes of WW1 that happened:


Australia and New Zealand and the UK and – we should NEVER forget – Turkey – were embroiled in this utterly futile and destructive stretched-out battle. So many young men – teenagers, on both sides, were doing their best to kill each other, probably without any idea of the politics behind that war.

So many young lives wasted.
So many parents and siblings mourning.
So many families grieving forever.

Now the wannabe warlord/tsar of the world is wreaking his hubris on Ukraine – a place fought over for centuries. Who’s next? Poland, aka the battleground of Europe?

When I was a child, my family and I often visited the War Memorial in Canberra. For me, it was an important way of learning part of our history, and I learned so much from those visits: respect, sorrow, and – hey – let’s NEVER do that again.

Now I completely and utterly deplore the Australian War Memorial’s morphing into being a celebration of war. I don’t see anything in their glorification of war that supports the amazing efforts of the people of Ukraine. That is so sad.

I want the AWM to return to what it used to be: a memorial.

It’s not a memorial or a museum now. Instead, it’s – under its current leadership – a glorification of endless war.

My father served in the RAAF throughout WW2. He would be appalled by the current state of the “museum”.

Ukraine …

Flag of Ukraine.svg

It seems trite to start with anything like “We are all Ukrainians now”. However, in so many ways, we are. We are all little people, doing our best to get on with our lives, looking after those dear to us.
Then life as we’ve known it explodes, and we are shattered into devastating uncertainties – precisely what’s happening to everyone in Ukraine.

To backtrack 60 years, my parents were remarkably open with me from my earliest days about social issues, e.g., cancer and smoking, sexuality, religion, racism, politics – local and world – and everything in between. I knew about the Holocaust, I knew about Anne Frank and so many other victims, I knew about the nuclear bombing of Japan, Yet I don’t recall ANYTHING about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I do wonder – and now wish I’d asked them – if they’d decided to adopt media silence as far as I was concerned (I was only 6 years old but was already aware of the dangers of cigarettes and often cried myself to sleep thinking about mum’s smoking.

I was well-aware of the Malaysian/Indonesian war. I knew about the Korean war. I most certainly knew about the Vietnam war. And – unbeknownst to them – I had listened to a dramatisation of the Nuremberg Trials. 

The only reason I can imagine is that, for them, it was an existential crisis, and they didn’t want me to know about it until it might have affected Australia.

And I weep for all Ukrainians, all of whom have been children, and for all and every Ukrainian child.