After another two weeks of delay, the dates for the five by-elections have been announced. Malcolm Turnbull is clearly attempting to drag the process out in a Parliament where the numbers are tight. Having five less non-Government MPs in the Chamber provides a clear advantage to the flailing fortunes of the Turnbull Government but leaving these seats without representatives for two months is an abuse of the democratic process.
When other Members resigned their seats for citizenship issues, by-elections were called within days.
Both Labor and the Government put their plans for personal income tax before the Parliament, this week. In a move that would surprise nobody, the Government voted against Labor’s plan despite the fact that it provides a better outcome for most middle and working Australians. The personal income tax battle now shifts to the Senate and will dominate debate over the next two weeks. Of course, it won’t be the only tax proposal in the spotlight with the Government’s $80 billion corporate tax cut hitting another hurdle as Pauline Hanson's One Nation reneged on her earlier agreement to back the Government.
Parliament’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was also debated. It centred around a National Redress Scheme that provides compensation and counselling services to survivors of abuse. I spoke in favour of the scheme but pointed out its deficiencies. I also made some pointed observations about steps the Church would have to make to break from the culture of cover up and secrecy which has been central to ongoing abuse within these institutions.
In other news:
Over 400 people attended a meeting in Dapto about the plans of the NSW State Government to build a jail in the middle of the new urban development area of West Dapto. I spoke in support of the residents in Parliament saying it was the wrong plan for the wrong jail in the wrong place.
Compassion Quilts Project
Wonderful to support the Compassion Quilts Project with a $20,000 grant towards the purchase of a new quilting machine. The quilts, this group makes are given away to sufferers of cancer, dementia, mental illness and other long term illnesses. What a great cause.
Nazareth Catholic School in Parliament House
Caught up with Years 5 and 6 from Nazareth Catholic Primary School who visited Parliament, this week.