Pauline Hanson’s Senate Burqa Stunt; Labor And Greens Give Brandis A Standing Ovation

Pauline Hanson today staged an anti-burqa stunt during Question Time in the Senate.

The One Nation leader appeared in a burqa at 2.06pm. The Senate President, Senator Stephen Parry, said that her identity had been verified by parliamentary staff.

At 2.09pm, as online and social media began reporting on Hanson’s behaviour, Senator Derryn Hinch raised a point of order regarding dress requirements in the chamber.

At 2.25pm, Hanson rose to ask the Government Leader and Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, whether the government would legislate to ban the burqa. Brandis delivered a stinging rebuke to Hanson and received a standing ovation from ALP and Greens senators.

Hanson used a supplementary question to ask whether the government would ban the burqa in the houses of parliament. Senate President Parry took the question, pointing out that such decisions are the province of the presiding officers.

The ALP leader, Senator Penny Wong, said she would like to have moved a motion of congratulations for Senator Brandis,

After her question, Hanson left the chamber.

  • 2.06pm: Watch Senate President Stephen Parry make the first reference to Hanson’s appearance in a burqa (1m)
  • 2.09pm: Watch Senator Derryn Hinch’s point of order (1m)
  • 2.25pm: Watch Hanson’s question to Brandis (7m)

Barnaby Joyce May Have New Zealand Dual Citizenship; Deputy PM Refers Himself To High Court

The Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has announced that he may have dual citizenship with New Zealand and therefore be in breach of Section 44(i) of the Constitution.

Joyce has agreed that the government will refer his case to the High Court. He will not resign from his NSW seat of New England and will remain in the Cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

The announcement was made in a brief statement by Joyce to the House of Representatives this morning. The Nationals leader entered the Senate in 2005 and transferred to the House of Representatives in 2013.

Joyce is the fifth MP to be ensnared by Section 44 in recent weeks. Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters have both resigned from the Senate, whilst Senators Matt Canavan (LNP) and Malcolm Roberts (One Nation) have been referred to the High Court. The Nationals member for Lyne, David Gillespie, faces a challenge on the office of profit provision of Section 44.

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has written to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, asking him to nominate Labor members who should also be referred to the High Court.

  • Listen to Joyce (2m)
  • Watch Joyce (2m)

Letter from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

Hansard transcript of statement to the House of Representatives by Barnaby Joyce.

…posted when available…


Scott Ludlam Resigns From The Senate; Victim Of Section 44 Dual Citizenship Rule

Scott Ludlam, an Australian Greens senator from Western Australia, resigned today, after announcing he had dual citizenship with New Zealand and was therefore in breach of Section 44(i) of the Constitution.

Ludlam

Section 44(i) of the Constitution says that a person is “incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator” if they are “under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject of a citizen or entitled to the rights and privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power”.

In a statement, Ludlam said he was born in New Zealand. His family left when he was three years old and settled in Australia when he was nine. “I was naturalised when I was in my mid-teens and assumed that was the end of the New Zealand citizenship.”

Media reports today say that the citizenship question has been previously raised with Ludlam.

Ludlam, 47, was first elected to the Senate in 2007. He took up his seat on July 1, 2008. He was re-elected in 2013 and in the 2014 re-run election. He was re-elected to a six-year term in the 2016 double dissolution election. The Greens polled 10.53% in WA.

Ludlam has been Joint Deputy Leader of the Greens, with Larissa Waters, since May 2015.

It now appears that the Senate will refer the matter to the High Court. Twice this year, the court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, has ordered countbacks following rulings that Rodney Culleton and Bob Day were not entitled to nominate at the election. Assuming this takes place again, the seat will go to the number three candidate on the Greens WA Senate ticket, 22-year-old disability advocate Jordon Steele-John.

Media reports today quote Steele-John as not committing himself to taking the seat. Were he to resign, a casual vacancy would be created and the Greens would nominate a replacement. It would be possible for Ludlam to be appointed in these circumstances, provided he rectifies the citizenship issue. However, Ludlam’s statement and press conference suggested he has chosen to move on to other things.

The practical political implication of today’s resignation by Ludlam is that the Greens will be without one of their number for some months in the Senate. This will not make a significant difference but until the vacancy is filled the Turnbull government will only need eight of the eleven crossbench votes to secure passage of legislation opposed by the ALP and Greens. It currently needs nine extra votes. A pairing arrangement to cover the absence could also be put in place.

Ludlam is the third senator to fall victim to Section 44 since the 2016 election, an unprecedented situation.

  • Watch Ludlam’s media conference in Perth (15m)
  • Listen to the media conference (15m)

Statement from Senator Scott Ludlam. Click to enlarge

Ludlam


Sen. Lucy Gichuhi (SA-Ind) – Maiden Speech

This is Senator Lucy Gichuhi’s first speech to the Senate.

Gichuhi

Gichuhi, 54, was declared elected as a South Australian senator on April 19, 2017. She replaced Senator Bob Day, who resigned in 2016 but whose election was also declared invalid under Section 44 of the Constitution. Gichuhi had been the number two candidate on the Family First ticket at the 2017 election. She was elected following a court-ordered countback of votes. She has chosen to sit as an independent.

  • Listen to Gichuhi’s speech (37m)
  • Watch Gichuhi (42m)

Hansard transcript of Senator Lucy Gichuhi’s maiden speech.

The PRESIDENT (17:15): Pursuant to order, I now call Senator Gichuhi to make her first speech and ask that honourable senators extend the usual courtesies for a first speech. Senator, can I apologise for the delay in commencement, but at least we have everyone in the chamber for you.

Senator GICHUHI (South Australia) (17:16): Today, I, Lucy Muringo Gichuhi, happily stand before you as the first black African-born senator in the history of Australia. I am deeply honoured to be given the privilege of serving the people of Australia as a senator. To all Australians, I say thank you. It is with this sentiment that I honour those who came before me, faithfully leading Australia to build the outstanding nation we see today. [Read more…]


Treasurer Scott Morrison Delivers 2017 Federal Budget

The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, has delivered the Turnbull government’s second Budget, forecasting a return to surplus in four years, abandoning stalled budget cuts, guaranteeing Medicare and the PBS, incresing the Medicare levy and imposing a new levy on the commercial banks.

The Budget also includes provisions for first home buyers to salary sacrifice into their superannuation. It includes a crackdown on welfare recipients.

The Budget marks a break with the Abbott years. It abandons the “zombie” cuts stalled in the Senate whilst increasing spending in traditional Labor areas. Morrison said it was a “reset”.

  • Listen to Scott Morrison deliver the Budget (32m)
  • Watch Morrison (32m)

Budget Documents – PDF downloads

17-05-09_budget-speech


President Donald Trump Addresses A Joint Session Of Congress: “A New Chapter Of American Greatness Is Now Beginning”

President Donald Trump has addressed a joint session of the United States Congress, undertaking to deliver on his campaign promises. The soaring speech has been described by some commentators as marking the moment Trump assumed the mantle of the presidency.

Trump

Trump maintained his commitment to repealing the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – and reiterated many of his election campaign themes to “drain the swamp” in Washington DC.

Trump said “ninety-four million Americans are out of the labour force”. He outlined a one trillion dollar infrastructure program he will submit to Congress. He said: “I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be FAIR TRADE.” He said his motto would be to “buy American and hire American”.

The president reiterated his commitment to building a “great wall” along the border with Mexico. He lauded the process of “extreme vetting” of immigrants.

Trump committed himself to America’s allies, “but our partners must meet their financial obligations”.

The speech offered no proposals on spending or taxation, or on deficit reduction. Trump said his economic team was working on “historic reform” to taxation and he pledged a big reduction in company tax.

Trump honoured the widow of a Navy Seal, William “Ryan” Owens, killed in a raid in Yemen. He said, “Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero –- battling against terrorism and securing our Nation.” The tribute led to an unprecedentedly lengthy standing ovation for Carryn Owens.

  • Listen to Trump’s speech (62m)
  • Watch Trump (60m)

Prepared text of President Donald Trump’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress.

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and Citizens of America:

Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains. Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms. [Read more…]


Senate President’s Statement On Culleton Disqualification

The President of the Senate, Senator Stephen Parry, has made a statement about the disqualification of former Senator Rodney Culleton.

Parry outlined the process that resulted in Culleton’s disqualification as a result of bankruptcy proceedings that placed him in breach of Section 44 of the Constitution.

He also noted the decision of the High Court that Culleton had also not been eligible to nominate for election because of his breach of another part of Section 44.

A countback of votes will determine who replaces Culleton in the Senate.

Hansard transcript of statement by Senator Stephen Parry, President of the Senate.

The PRESIDENT (12:32): I wish to inform you that on the 7 November 2016 the Senate referred to the Court of Disputed Returns questions about the eligibility of Rodney Norman Culleton to sit as a senator. The court delivered its judgment in the matter on Friday, 3 February 2017. Today, I have tabled a copy of the order made by the Court and a copy of its reasons for judgment. To quote the judgment summary published by the Court: [Read more…]