Speaker Sets July 28 As Date For Five By-Elections; Opposition Outraged

The Speaker, Tony Smith, advised the House of Representatives this afternoon that he had set July 28 as the date for the five by-elections caused by recent resignations relating to dual citizenship.

Smith

Smith told the House that because of new regulations to refine the nomination process and because of imminent schools holidays, July 28 was the “optimal” date for the by-elections in Longman, Braddon, Mayo, Fremantle and Perth.

The ALP opposition accused the Speaker of inordinate delay and said the by-elections coincided with the ALP National Conference in Adelaide.

  • Listen to Speaker’s statement to the House (21m)
  • Watch the House proceedings (21m)

Hansard transcript of House of Representatives proceedings relating to the calling of five by-elections on July 28.

The SPEAKER (15:12): If members could cease interjecting, could I please have the attention of the House on this important matter: I’d like to read a fairly lengthy statement, and then I’ll be tabling some documents. Earlier in the week, I advised the House I would provide an update on possible dates for by-elections in the seats of Braddon, Fremantle, Longman, Mayo and Perth. This update follows further consultation with the Australian Electoral Commissioner and party leaders. Under the Constitution, it is my responsibility alone to issue a writ for a by-election when a vacancy occurs, and generally it has not been the practice to provide an explanation for the exercise of this responsibility. I have varied from the usual practice because of the quite unusual—quite unique—circumstances surrounding these by-elections. [Read more…]


How The Turnbull Government Lost Control Of The House

The absence of nine members of the Coalition caused the Turnbull government to lose control of the House of Representatives for nearly two hours last night.

House

When a procedural motion to adjourn the House was put at 5.00pm, the ALP surprisingly voted No and called for a division, which it won by 69 votes to 67. The ALP then took control of the proceedings of the House and initiated a debate on a Senate resolution calling for a royal commission into the banking system.

Over the next 45 minutes, the government lost two more divisions and did not regain control of the House until 6.50pm, after coalition MPs were brought back into the chamber.

It was the first time since 1962 that a majority government has lost votes in the House of Representatives. Like the Turnbull government, the then Menzies government also governed with a one-seat majority. [Read more…]


Turnbull Announces New Ministry

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced his new ministry, following the 2016 federal election.

The Second Turnbull Government will be sworn in at Government House tomorrow morning at 9.00am.

There are 42 members of the executive. The Cabinet has been increased to 23 members, the largest number since the Whitlam governments (1972-75), when all ministers were in the Cabinet and there was no outer ministry. The Outer Ministry has shrunk to 7 members and there are 12 Assistant Ministers, previously known as Parliamentary Secretaries.

Most major portfolios in the Cabinet are unchanged. Scott Morrisonremains Treasurer, whilst Julie Bishop continues in Foreign Affairs and Peter Dutton stays in Immigration and Border Protection.

Christopher Pyne has been moved from Education into a newly-created portfolio of Defence Industry, in which he will oversee the South Australian submarine building program. Senator Simon Birmingham becomes Minister for Education and Training.

Kelly O’Dwyer’s position as Assistant Treasurer has been re-named Revenue and Financial Services. Her previous responsibility for Small Business has gone to Michael McCormack.

Greg Hunt becomes Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, whilst Josh Frydenberg takes over Environment and Energy. [Read more…]


Senate Voting Reforms Passed By Both Houses

The House of Representatives has given its approval to the final version of the bill to reform the Senate’s voting system.

After an all-night debate that finally concluded at 2.30pm on Friday afternoon, the Senate voted to approve the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016. The bill abolishes group voting tickets and introduces optional preferential voting above and below the line.

The House of Representatives remained on stand-by to confirm amendments passed by the Senate. It met at 3.07pm.

  • Watch the House proceedings (26m)

Hansard transcript of House of Representatives proceedings.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (15:07): I move:

That the amendments be agreed to. [Read more…]


Joe Hockey (Lib – North Sydney) – Valedictory Speech

The former Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has delivered his valedictory speech to the House of Representatives.

Hockey

Hockey will resign this week and is expected to be appointed Australian Ambassador to the United States, replacing former ALP leader Kim Beazley. [Read more…]


Pyne Releases Review Of National Curriculum

The Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, has released the Review of the Australian Curriculum.

Pyne

The review was conducted by Dr. Kevin Donnelly and Dr. Ken Wiltshire.

The report says that there is too much content in the curriculum, especially in primary school years. It says some aspects of the curriculum make teaching it complicated. It says there are content gaps in the curriculum and calls for parents to be more closely involved in what their children learn. It says there needs to be improved accessibility for all students, including those with disabilities and special needs. [Read more…]


Christopher Pyne Addresses National Press Club On Higher Education Changes

The Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, has delivered an Address to the National Press Club on his higher education reforms.

  • Listen to Pyne’s speech (29m)
  • Listen to Pyne take questions (26m)
  • Watch Pyne (56m)

Transcript of Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s Address to the National Press Club.

Introduction

In the Federal Budget in May, the Government announced a package of changes to Australia’s higher education system. These changes will spread opportunity for students and ensure Australia will not be left behind by cut-throat international competition and disruptive technologies in higher education. [Read more…]