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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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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)

Hansard transcript of Senate Question Time proceedings.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Duniam, a supplementary question.

Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (14:06): What risks are there in a registered organisation donating money to the political campaigns of its own staff?

Senator Hanson having entered the chamber —

Senator DUNIAM: What on earth?

Honourable senators interjecting— [Read more…]


Jacqui Lambie Asks Her First Question As A Senator; Wants Billions And Special Economic Zone For Tasmania

Senator Jacqui Lambie was the first of the new crossbench members to ask a question during Senate Question Time today.

Lambie

Lambie, a Palmer United Party senator from Tasmania, asked the Leader of the Government, Senator Eric Abetz about jobs and the Tasmanian economy. She said she wanted to see $5 billion made available to Tasmania over 4 years and called for a “special economic zone” to be established. [Read more…]


Budget Dominates Question Time; Repair Job Or Massive Deceit?

The Federal Budget was the dominant issue during Question Time in the House of Representatives today.

The government sought to portray the Budget as an economic repair job on the mess left by the previous Labor government, whilst the Opposition maintained it was a massive deceit of the electorate. [Read more…]


Clive Palmer’s First Parliamentary Question: Is My Phone Bugged?

In his first question in the House of Representatives, Clive Palmer has asked whether his phone is bugged.

Revelations of Australian intelligence agencies tapping the phones of the Indonesian president and his wife have resulted in a crisis in Australia’s relations with Indonesia. Debate continues in some quarters around the role played by the ABC in publishing intelligence documents stolen by Edward Snowden.

Palmer asked whether “any crossbench members, including me, are having their phones and emails tapped” by any State or Commonwealth agencies.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott played a dead bat in his response, reiterating his earlier statements that the government does not comment on intelligence matters, although he pointed out that proper authorisation is required for phone tapping.

Palmer delivered his maiden speech earlier this week.

  • Watch Palmer’s questions (3m)

Kevin Rudd’s First Question Time After Returning As Prime Minister

Kevin Rudd was re-elected leader of the ALP on June 26, 2013.

He was sworn in as Prime Minister at 9.51am on June 27. This is a recording of Question Time in the House of Representatives at 2pm that afternoon.

It was Rudd’s one and only Question Time in his second term as prime minister. The House adjourned at the end of the day for the winter break. It never met again and was dissolved ahead of the September 7 election. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott Attempts To Move No-Confidence Motion In Gillard

2.15pm – Ten minutes into Question Time, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott moved a no-confidence motion in Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Denied leave, Abbott moved a motion to suspend Standing Orders to enable the no-confidence motion to be moved. He is now speaking to that motion. [Read more…]


Gillard Calls Leadership Ballot For 4.30pm Today

2.05pm – Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called a leadership ballot for 4.30pm today.

She made the announcement at the start of Question Time in the House of Representatives.

Gillard [Read more…]


Malcolm Turnbull’s Speech On Republican Virtues: Truth, Leadership & Responsibility

Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a speech on truth, leadership and responsibility in which he argues that there is a “deficit of trust” in the Australian political system.

Malcolm TurnbullThe speech is likely to cause a stir in the Liberal Party. By implication, Turnbull takes a swipe at his 1990s monarchists opponents, John Howard and Tony Abbott, over their campaign of “utterly dishonest misinformation” during the Republic referendum campaign.

Turnbull is dismissive of climate change denialists and the shock jocks who promote them. Again by implication, he attacks Alan Jones and others: “Dumbing down complex issues into sound bites, misrepresenting your or your opponent’s policy does not respect ‘Struggle Street’, it treats its residents with contempt.”

Turnbull is critical of Question Time in parliament. He says of the Opposition’s approach: “For the last two years the questions from the Opposition have been almost entirely focussed on people smuggling and the carbon tax. Are they really the only important issues facing Australia? A regular viewer of Question Time would be excused for thinking they were.”

Whilst Turnbull says the problem with Question Time is its focus on the Prime Minister, his comments will most likely be seen as a criticism of Abbott’s parliamentary tactics.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s George Winterton Lecture at the University of Western Australia.

Republican virtues: Truth, leadership and responsibility.

Tonight’s lecture honours the memory of a most virtuous republican, our friend George Winterton, who despite the inestimable love and prayers of his wife, Rosalind, died in 2008 at the far too young age of 61.

My topic for this lecture is “Republican virtues – truth, leadership and responsibility.”

I will weave together a little about the republican debate in which George and I were generally comrades in arms (although at times comrades at arms length) with some reflections on the decline of the news media, the not unrelated coarsening in the dialogue between politicians and those who elect them about choices and challenges we face as a community, and the resulting dismay with which far too many Australians currently view their parliaments.

++++++

The visitor to Washington DC is quickly reminded that the founders of the American Republic were fascinated, intoxicated perhaps, with another republic, Rome.

Jefferson, entranced with a Roman temple in Nimes writes to his friend Madame de Tesse. “Here I am madam gazing whole hours at the maison quaree like a lover at his mistress.”

But it was not just the architecture of Rome that inspired the founders. Rejecting the British monarchy which oppressed them, and apprehensive of unbridled democracy, they appealed to the example of the noble Romans, the republican Romans, Cincinnatus, Fabius, Cato – men who had selflessly served the state and defended the rights of the people against tyranny just as the Pilgrims had opposed the established church.

Although separated by two thousand years, but very much alive in the libraries of New England, Puritans and Romans fused in the American imagination as a republic of virtue.

The American revolutionaries, common lawyers after all, reached back to a lost republic just as they were creating a brave new world of their own.

We will not linger tonight to debate again which virtues were republican or how they could be reflected in a constitution or whether, indeed, Jefferson was right in equating republican virtue with free farmers whose sturdy arcadian independence he contrasted with the wage slaves of the factories and emporiums of the city. [Read more…]


Rudd Government Faces First Question Time

The Rudd Government has faced its first Question Time in the new Parliament.

The Opposition Leader’s first question was about petrol and food prices. It required a Dorothy Dixer from the government’s backbench for the stolen generations apology to be raised.

Julia Gillard delivered the most assured and polished performance, emphasising the government’s mandate on industrial relations when asked about the legislation introduced today to dismantle the Howard government’s WorkChoices. [Read more…]


Question Time: Time To Retire The Rhetoric

An editorial in the Canberra Times has called for a major reform of Question Time in the Federal Parliament.

The newspaper argues that the accountability function of the Parliament is being undermined by government and opposition alike: “Over the years, successive governments have abused their position more and more – but oppositions, and the style of questions they ask, are also responsible.” [Read more…]