We’re in the final stretches of busting dual citizens in the federal parliament and one thing is for certain – it’s not looking pretty.
Following the publication of the citizenship register, up to 20 MP’s fall into the following categories:
– Some MP’s indicated they had renounced, but the date was after the close on nominations for the 2016 election.
– Some MP’s believed they renounced, but could not find the relevant papers.
– Some MP’s indicated they had connections to another country, but did not provide any documentation that confirmed or denied potential citizenship.
The next step will be for the parliament to refer the MP’s with questionable circumstances to the High Court, who will decide if they need to be booted.
The High Court would likely rule on all the cases in March, meaning that we could be heading to a ‘Super Saturday’ of by-elections in April.
This should be all over by May 2018. We promise.
‘We’re getting the band back together!’ said Malcolm Turnbull, upon hearing the massive victory Barnaby Joyce received in the New England by-election.
And massive it was – a 7.3% swing towards him, and primary vote of 64%.
Historically, by-elections in government held seats since WWII have resulted in the Government feeling swings away from them. This is clearly in the opposite direction and is so for three reasons:
He is a popular member, with a prominent position inside the government
He did not have an opposition candidate that was well known.
It’s recognised that he’s in a difficult situation!
Barnaby will take his seat in the House of Representatives once the vote is formally declared. Next stop – Bennelong on December 16
All Liberal MP’s have been summoned to a ‘special party room meeting’ in Canberra for this Monday at 4pm.
The issue has exploded into a public brawl over the last 36 hours, with strong suggestions that the party room will decide on abandoning the plebiscite in favour of a conscience vote via a secret ballot.
It’s anyone’s guess what the result will be. Whether this satisfies the 4 government MP’s who are threatening to cross the floor is unclear. More to come.
Concessional loans will are again at the centrepiece of the agriculture and water measures for this budget.
For the last few years the government has provided concessional loans to the regions to fund water and agriculture projects. This budget allocates 4 billion dollars to water and farm loans to continue to drive investment.
The agriculture sector in NSW is in celebration mode following the news that a new inland freight link will be constructed. Allowing farmers to get their product faster to the export dock, the rail link will span from Melbourne to Brisbane.
The 8 billion dollar project is expected to begin construction before the end of the year.
The regions of Australia are big winners from this budget with major infrastructure projects and fresh investment.
At the heart of this package is a 472 million dollar program to assist the bush in infrastructure projects, which includes 200 million dollars for the ‘building better regions’ fund.
In addition to this, the government will spend 24 million dollars in rural and regional enterprise scholarships and improve mental health services to the bush with a 9.1 million dollar investment through the telehealth service.
More than 8.4 billion dollars will be provided for a new inland rail project spanning from Melbourne to Brisbane.
As well as these measures, the government has begun the process of investigating the outsourcing of Commonwealth agencies to more rural locations. An example of this is the pesticides authority moving to Barnaby Joyce’s electorate in Armidale – it was previously located in Canberra.