1. Stunt of the week
Labor took control of the House of Representatives on Thursday evening in an attempt to pass a resolution to set up a banking royal commission. Eventually the Government mustered enough numbers to shut it down after losing three procedural votes.
It was a timely warning to the Government that their control of the House is fragile and Labor is going to play hardball.
An angry Malcolm Turnbull says the Government was “embarrassed, humiliated, excoriated”. He slammed his AWOL ministers Peter Dutton, Michael Keenan and Christian Porter.
I wonder what he said to Barnaby Joyce, who was seen scarpering out of the flight lounge at the airport.
Morrison called it a stunt for a stunt – the real stunt being the royal commission.
He might reflect, though, that the resolution passed the Senate. There was also a report that Kathy McGowan, a fan of the royal commission, driving back to her electorate in Victoria heard the kerfuffle on the radio, turned her car around and only missed the last crucial vote by seconds.
Here’s a pic of the happy government faces, courtesy of The Guardian:
Abbott looks relaxed and comfortable. I believe he said that the LNP was “in office but not in power”!
2. Cyber wars and internet safety
ABC’s Four Corners program Cyber Wars was designed to scare the pants off us, telling us “how hackers are threatening everything from your bank account to the nation’s secrets.”
David Glance at The Conversation looks at whether things are as bad as the story made out.
He points out that there was no actual evidence supplied for Chinese involvement, and the main story linking attacks to China was NewSat, where the former IT manager also stated that their network security was deemed the worst that a government security organisation had ever seen. Moreover:
- NewSat’s main problems were financial, with financial mismanagement and defaulting on payments for the satellite a major cause for the company going into administration. NewSat’s directors are now potentially facing criminal charges around the financial dealings of the company.
He’s not saying that what we were told on the program was wrong, just that companies like Apple and Google are continually building greater safety, that iPhone still remains a generally very secure platform, and that if we personally take the precautions we are told about and don’t get sucked in by phishing, most likely we’ll be OK.
I’m not so sure.
Scott Ceely says our biggest threat is ourselves.
3. Sarah Hanson-Young finds a new cause
Sarah Hanson-Young has been moved from the immigration portfolio to the education, finance, trade, water, arts and youth portfolios in a reshuffle designed to “refresh and reinvigorate the team”, according to Richard Di Natale.
Hanson-Young declared she did not accept Richard Di Natale’s explanation of why she was moved. She told the ABC’s AM that she had to respect the leader’s decision, but did not understand it or agree with it.
Di Natale said Hanson-Young would be a “formidable political advocate” in her new portfolios.
Thing is he signalled before the election that re-opening Australia’s international trade agreements was not on the party’s agenda. Now she vows to ‘blow open’ trade deals, objecting to investor-state relations, how workers are treated here and in source countries, and indeed how trade negotiations are conducted.
- She said she would, in particular, target the TPP, which is yet to be ratified, and investor-state dispute settlement clauses that allow companies to sue governments in existing and future deals. “Corporations need to be put back in their box,” she said.
In this she would find some friends in One Nation and Xenophon, and indeed amongst Labor and the Nats.
It’s a novelty to have a politician with strong ethics involved in trade.
4. Turnbull’s rating slump to a new low
- Turnbull has a satisfied rating of 34% (down 6 since the pre-election Newspoll) and a dissatisfied rating of 52% (up 5), for a net approval of -18, a record low for Turnbull. It is also the first time Turnbull’s net approval has been worse than Shorten’s, with Shorten’s net approval up one point to -14. At the height of Turnbull’s popularity in late November 2015, he was at +38 net approval, and Shorten at -31.
Turnbull holds a 43-32 lead as preferred prime minister, compared with 48-31 last time.
- Voting intentions in this poll were 50-50, from primary votes of Coalition 41% (down 1 since the election), Labor 36% (up 1) and Greens 9% (down 1).
the top priorities for Australians are for the government to deal with the country’s debt as number one.
Coming in equal second is the sorting out of the same-sex marriage plebiscite, and the strong protection of the nation’s borders.
The restoring of the Australian Building Construction Commission — and the justification the PM used to call an double-dissolution — was a “very low priority”, Newspoll found.
- Cory Bernardi was “like an angry prostitute lecturing us about the benefits of celibacy” in his mock outrage over Labor Senator Sam Dastyari’s involvement with generous Chinese donors, Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie said. (Readers, it is probably best not to focus on a mental image of the conservative senator as an irritable and pontificating sex worker because you will never unsee it.)
“Before I receive unfair criticism from the sex workers, I apologise to them profusely for comparing them to Senator Bernardi – I know that is a really terrible low-down thing to do,” Lambie told the Senate.
“Prostitutes are far more honest, sincere, humane, compassionate and better bang for buck than Senator Bernardi will ever be able to deliver.”
Earlier she said a bit more, but I’ll let you read that for yourself!
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.