It’s great to be back in 2018!
Here’s a snapshot of what happened over the summer:
- Citizenship: Jacqui Lambie has resigned (she’s Scottish) and the Liberal’s Jim Molan replaced Senator Fiona Nash today.
- Susan Lamb, Josh Wilson, Justine Keay, Rebeka Sharkie and Jason Falinski still have questions to answer
- John Alexander won the Bennelong by-election, following the discovery of his dual citizenship
- Labor’s David Feeney has resigned as the member for Batman, setting up a Labor/Green by-election
- Sam Dastyari resigned as a Senator, following too many unanswered questions about his connections to Chinese businessmen
- His vacancy will be filled by Kristina Keneally, Labor’s unsuccessful candidate for Bennelong
- Tasmania and South Australia are in election mode in state polls in a few weeks
- Independent Senator Lucy Gichuhi has turned blue! She now sits as a Liberal Senator for South Australia
- Lyle Shelton has quit the Australian Christian Lobby and has joined Cory Bernadi’s Australian Conservatives.
Australia’s big four banks have asked the Government for a Royal Commission into themselves. And the Turnbull Government has agreed.
Federal Cabinet met this morning and agreed to establish a Royal Commission that will report by February 1 2019, at a cost of 75 million dollars.
In a letter written to the government, the CEO’s of the four major banks say this is now in the ‘national interest’, despite warning that such a commission may bring reputational damage to the industry.
This comes after years of the Government rejecting such a proposal (including during the election).
The Commission will be into ‘Misconduct into the Financial Services Industry’ and will include cases studies into banks, wealth managers, superanuation companies and the industry. It will then offer recommendations to the Government.
Australians have voted ‘YES’ to changing the law to allow same sex couples to marry.
With response rate of just under 80% ,the survey has more authority than the Brexit vote (72%), the Irish same sex referendum (60%) and the poll that elected Donald Trump (56%).
So where to from here? From today, it’s now a battle for the marriage bills.
The Turnbull government will allow Senator Dean Smith to put up a private members bill for debate. It is expected that it will almost certainly pass. Using a private members bill will by-pass debate in the government party room.
Senator James Patterson has put up his own bill that includes additional protections for business owners to refuse services for same sex marriage celebrations. It is expected that this bill will not pass, but elements of this bill will try to be amended into the Smith bill.
Senator Dean Smith will kick off the debate in the Senate tomorrow.
There’s good news and bad news for Malcolm Turnbull.
The good news is that he has found a way to fix the citizenship crisis.
The bad news is that he may loose his government altogether.
The House of Representatives and the Senate will seek to pass resolutions that will demand MP’s declare if they are dual citizens.
MP’s and senators will be given 21 days to declare if they are dual citizens in a new register similar to the ones they use to disclose financial interests. The register will ask for their place of birth, and that of their parents.
If they declare they are dual citizens they must provide documentation. The only issue now is one of timing:
- Parliament has one sitting week left, meaning that MP’s could declare if they are dual citizens during the summer break
- Parliament then doesn’t sit until February, where they would be referred to the High Court
- The High Court would hand down a verdict in March/April, with by-elections in May.
The crisis would end by June, almost a year since the first MP reveal he had an issue.
Data released this week reveals that Australia has the most expensive energy plans on the planet, and the PM will warn energy companies to reduce their prices, or face further regulations, just as the gas industry faced earlier this year.
Energy companies are expected to argue that prices are so high due to instability within the market, notably caused by the decade long energy and carbon tax debates.
The Liberal Party will meet today at 4pm to discuss their marriage policy. Here are the top three possible outcomes.
It’s suggested that the issue will be resolved by secret ballot. More to come.