Stuart Robert dismisses accusations over businesses dealings – politics live

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We are approaching the pointy end of the media reform debate, with various players attempting to wedge Nick Xenophon on the One Nation deal.

The Greens are planning an amendment, which they believe they have Labor’s support for, along with a couple of other crossbenchers, which would basically seek to make Pauline Hanson’s proposed ABC plans disallowable.

How that would work in the real world is one thing. How it works politically, is another. It’s basically an opportunity to force Xenophon into acting on One Nation’s deal.

Debate on the reforms has just restarted.

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Stuart Robert says his business dealings are in order

Stuart Robert was on his feet the moment question time ended, to respond to recent stories about his business dealings, after Fairfax Media raised questions over whether companies he was linked with had benefited from the commonwealth when he was first elected.

Fairfax also alleges that my father was not running our family company when the directors changed, that I was, even though the trust wasn’t doing very much. I will seek to table the copies sourced from our chartered accountant of annual trust resolutions signed by the directors, my parents, for multiple years during this period.

My father is a sophisticated investor and even today runs a very successful business. Fairfax names him at 80 years of age of which his age is irrelevant unless Fairfax is trying to make an ageist point about competence. All of this is based on a single call last night by a Fairfax journalist asking opaque questions to my father who is currently caring for mum, who was just discharged from hospital after her second heart attack.

Here, Robert became choked up and almost cried before tabling the trust resolutions which he said “shows the Fairfax articles are a complete load of rubbish as is the member for Fenner’s political motivated letter to ASIC based on the same rubbish.”

Latika Bourke reported today that Robert’s father “was unaware he was a director of a private investment company that held shares in his son’s IT service business which has won tens of millions of dollars worth of government contracts” and when approached for comment, “did not respond to the specific questions and accused Fairfax Media of lying about having spoken to his father. He also said he was ceasing all communications.”

Stuart Robert makes a personal explanation following question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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In Senate question time Labor’s Anthony Chisholm has targeted Senator Barry O’Sullivan, asking if he has inappropriately offered a comment on the Toowoomba second range crossing during a regional and rural affairs transport committee, despite allegations he has a commercial interest in the project.
Attorney general, George Brandis, said:

“That question is so stupid even by your very low standards. Senator O’Sullivan lives in Toowoomba... This government is very proud to have funded the Toowoomba second range crossing.”

O’Sullivan rises to table a transcript of a speech and evidentiary documents that he said “will put this to bed”. Labor refuses to give him leave, suggesting he can say his piece after question time, and then asks if he has a conflict of interest.


“I have seen no evidence senator O’Sullivan has a conflict of interest, I don’t believe he has a conflict of interest. If Labor hadn’t denied him leave, we wouldn’t be having this question. Senator O’Sullivan would’ve had the opportunity to respond to the innuendoes and show them to be utterly false and unworthy.”

After question time, O’Sullivan said a statement by Labor senators in the Senate on 11 September that he has an interest in Newlands Civil Construction Pty Ltd “is materially incorrect,” nor has he ever had “an interest in or control of” that company.


“I’ve not now nor have I ever had a contract or an interest in a contract with the public service of the Commonwealth of Australia, either directly or indirectly. Nor have I had a share in a company that has a share in another company, even through multiple structural relationships, where those others have had a contract with the public service of Australia.

“I’ve never been the managing director of Newlands or its predecessor, Town and Country Interests Pty Ltd. I’ve never been a member of either of their boards. When it is asserted a shareholder or director or managing director – those claims are absolutely false.”

Labor was not satisfied:

enltrSection 44 test: has O'Sullivan got interest in ANY contract with Cth? He does: Cth-Qld road contract. Besides, it's ok he makes $ from Cth?

— Senator Murray Watt (@MurrayWatt)

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Malcom Turnbull ends question time on a dixer about Australian values and the welfare reforms, which he repeats, are an act of love.

Australia is the most successful multicultural society in the world. On Australia Day, which we defend, which we defend, we begin those celebrations with an acknowledgment of country, a welcome to country.

A recognition of the 65,000 years during which our first Australians cared for this country. And we end with a citizenship ceremony, with our newest Australians. A baby perhaps in the arms of her migrant mother. And through all of that, all of that which Labor so derides, listen to them, they deride the values that Australians share. Australians love this country.

They love Australia Day. They love the values it embodies. And at the heart of those values, Mr Speaker, democracy, freedom, the rule of law, mutual respect, mutual respect and mutual obligation.

Now we on our side, Mr Speaker, we believe that welfare money should not be spent on drugs and booze. We believe that welfare money should not be spent on drugs and booze, but those opposite have no problem with it being spent on drugs and booze. They will not support us. How shameful. If they loved those people who on welfare, if they love them, if you love them, what would you do? Would you tell them to get off the drugs, get off the booze? Well, I’d hope so. We’d hope so. But, no, the Labor Party won’t do that. And what about the cashless welfare card? Mr Speaker, I have been with my colleagues, the social services minister, the minister for human services, I’ve been there with the member for O’Connor, I’ve been talking to families whose lives have been wrecked by drugs and alcohol and they call out for us to support and deliver the cashless welfare card.

And I will never forget the mother, the grandmother in Kalgoorlie who said to me those who criticise the cashless welfare card should look into the eyes of a child with foetal alcohol syndrome. They should look at that child.

And I tell you, Mr Speaker, when we do, we do so with love. We do so with love and a compassion and the Australian values of helping our mate, looking after each other, standing up for Australia, standing up for Australians.

Malcolm Turnbull talks Australian values Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian and welfare reform Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian in a passionate speech to conclude question time Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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Kevin Andrews and Tony Abbott break into a wide grins when Bill Shorten asks: “On the second anniversary of the prime minister replacing Tony Abbott as leader what was the point?” Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian Part 2. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian Part 3. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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Bill Shorten’s “what is the point of the coup” question again:

Can the prime minister confirm he promised Australians economic leadership but has delivered flat wages growth, falling living standards and higher power prices? He promised intelligent debate but delivers two-world slogans instead of three-word. He promised a national style of leadership but has sold out the national interest for self-interest. Prime Minister, after two years of failure and disappointment, what’s really changed? How are you any better than the member for Warringah?

Malcolm Turnbull is happy to answer on a day when the unemployment rate has been held steady at 5.6%.

What an extraordinary, what extraordinary, impeccable timing? When you put these things in your diary, when you say, you know, on 14 September remember to ask the prime minister a snarky question, you have to be able to review it and check what’s happened that morning? Check the facts.

What we’ve seen in term less of economic growth, we have seen GDP growing by 0.8%, in the last quarter, it’s grown by 1.8% through the year. Our economic plan is working. Businesses are investing. New private business investment is growing in the last quarter by 1.1%to be 1.5% higher than a year ago.

We all know we inherited an economy which had seen mining investment scaled down. That’s as it was always going to. And the concern was how could we get the rest of the economy to invest? What did we do? We did what the leader of the opposition said we should when he was in government, cutting business taxes. We did that. We caught business taxes for companies that employ nearly half all the Australian workforce. What does that do? It does exactly what he said it would do before he did his double backflip. It provides more investment and hence more jobs. That’s why we’re seeing more jobs. So as I said, jobs and growth is not a slogan, it’s not a slogan. It is an outcome. Jobs and growth.”

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Jason Clare attempts the Matt Canavan and gas trigger question from earlier in the week again:

Australian businesses are still being offered gas contracts that are double or triple the price of their expiring contracts. The gas trigger must be pulled by 1 November. Given the high court may not decide if Senator Canavan or the deputy prime minister are even qualified to be members of parliament by then, why won’t the prime minister his deputy aside and put someone else in the job that can pull the trigger now?

Malcolm Turnbull gives almost the same answer:

For the assistance of the member for Blaxland, I will just repeat what I said earlier in the week. The domestic gas mechanism would have the effect of restricting exports to the extent necessary to ensure the domestic market is fully supplied, comes in to operation on 1 January.

The minister has a decision to make about that,about the extent of the restriction on exports to be made, which obviously is based on a lot of industry and expert advice, which is being, which is being received, as I described earlier in the week, we’re already seeing substantial amounts of gas coming into the domestic market, so there is, it is, in a sense, a very rapidly changing environment, so as long as decision is is taken before... before 1 January, it doesn’t matter when the decision is taken.

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Just heading back to Peter Dutton’s answer, he takes aim at his shadow counterpart, Shayne Neumann with this:

It is impossible to get an alternative approach from what is known as the shadow minister for border protection. He sits nervously on a glass of water right now. I don’t normally get into question time until 2:00. But I presume that the sedation of the member for Blair takes place just before he comes into parliament or just after. He’s wheeled in on a fridge trolley as I understand. Three or four times in question time they take a pulse from the member for Blair to see whether he is still alive.”

Anthony Albanese asks him to withdraw as a “reflection on members that crossed the line”.

On a side note, the bright yellow R U OK Day badges on most MPs lapels are a lovely touch today.

enltrToday is @ruokday. Four letters, a practical question that says 'I care'. Check in with your mates, a conversation could save a life

— The PMO (@thepmo)

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Looks like most MPs heeded the call to attend Malcolm Turnbull’s pre-question time briefing.

The government arrives for question time in the house of representatives in parliament house, Canberra this afternoon after a special pre-question time meeting. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian Malcolm Turnbull walks in from his usual entrance. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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Ian Goodenough has been handed a dixer for Peter Dutton : will the minister for immigration and border protection update the house on the important of protecting the Australian community from dangerous non-citizens? What action has the government taken and is the minister aware of any other approaches?

Which proves just too tempting for Labor’s Tony Burke:

Mr Speaker, reflections on the deputy prime minister should be a direct motion. There should be a motion on the notice paper.

He is warned.

Dutton decides the best way to handle that joke is remind everyone about leadership coups.

I’m not sure how many days but I congratulate the leader of the opposition on the anniversary of having knived two former Prime Ministers, J ulia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.

There must be some celebration upcoming for the Leader of the Opposition, some sort of anniversary for him. I note particular interest from the member for Grayndler.

As for the question that was asked: “We have had now 219 visas for armed robbers cancelled, 221 for theft, break and enter, 550 for assault, 54 for murder, 21 for manslaughter. 114 rapists and other sexual offenders.”

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It’s the second anniversary of the day Malcolm Turnbull walked out of question time with Tony Abbott and resigned, sparking the spill motion that ended Abbott’s time as prime minister.

Bill Shorten would like that acknowledged.

Today is two years to the day since the current prime minister deposed the former Prime Minister, the member for Warringah. Is the prime minister aware as reported today that the former prime minister has been lobbying to dump funding for renewables? Why two years on is the former prime minister still calling the shots on government policy? Prime minister, what was the point of replacing the member for Warringah?”

Speaker Tony Smith rules it out of order

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A timeless reaction to question time antics

Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and leader of the house Christopher Pyne during question time Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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It’s smiles all round today.

Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and leader of the house Christopher Pyne share a joke. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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When duty calls...

Peter Dutton enters the chamber Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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Malcolm Turnbull appears to be enjoying himself today.

The prime minister Malcolm Turnbull during question time in parliament house. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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Christopher Pyne finishes a dixer on asking for bad examples of union behaviour, a topic he is more than happy to pick up and we are back to Shorten v Turnbull.


Just over three months ago the prime minister said about the clean energy target and I quote, “It has a lot of merit. As I said say, we will look at it very favourably.” His own chief scientist said the clean energy target was urgent and would put downward pressure on power prices. More than three months on from that report, will the government implement the Clean Energy Target, yes or not? -- or no?”


We have already put in place important measures which are bringing down people’s electricity bills in the here and now, because they’re getting big discounts and getting on to the right plan. I’ve talked about that. I know honorable members opposite describe it as a stunt.

But, you know, if you are a single mum and you’re getting $300 cut from your electricity bill, that is big money, that is real money. And honourable members opposite shouldn’t be so sarcastic just because they’re earning big money here in parliament.

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After Treasurer Scott Morrison finished espousing on the amazing job the Coalition have done with the economy since coming to government through a dixer, Bill Shorten targets Malcolm Turnbull with the same question about whether or not Sydney households power prices are dropping.

The Prime Minister picks up the attack line J osh Frydenberg just put down:

Now, as I have said and as the energy minister has said, we know what happened. The Coalition came into government. It abolished it [carbon price] and the electricity prices went down.

Coalition policies resulted in electricity going down. Labor voted against that. Then we have seen in recent times, particularly in the course of the last 12 months, very large increases in electricity prices.

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It’s the independent’s question – and Cathy McGowan has the floor:

My question is to the minister for immigration and border protection. It’s about Manus Island. Can you, minister, provide details of the government’s plan to manage the closure of the regional processing centre on 31st October? This week I’ve had numerous representations from my constituents, rural Australians for Refugees, UNHCR and the Red Cross seeking more information and response from the government that shows we can protect our borders and show compassion, mercy and justice.

Peter Dutton is as gentle as Peter Dutton knows how to be, but while he says the government wants the centre to close by 31 October, he doesn’t confirm it will be.

I thank the honorable member for her question. I know that it’s a heartfelt question and on a number of occasions the honorable member has made representations to me on behalf of children who are here on visas,people who are here on visas otherwise, that may have illnesses want extended stay in Australia. I acknowledge her compassion and the work she does in this area. It’s important to her. It’s important to her community and I’m very pleased to take a question from her today.

I can inform the member that I have met with P rime Minister O’Neill in Port Moresby on 1 September. We continued our case from the Australian government’s perspective, that is that we want to see the regional processing centre closed by 31 October. There’s obviously a lot of details and logistics to be worked through and some of the compound has already been dismantled. That process will continue.

Prime Minister O’Neill expressed to me that his government was intent on seeing the regional processing centre close as well and we have spoken with Prime Minister O’Neill and my counterpart, the new minister, Petras Thomas, about the way the logistics could operate, which may include those people which total about 200 found not to be refugees to be moved to an alternative detention away from the regional centre, given that they have no lawful claim to be in PNG.

There are in total just under 100 or so who have applied for packages to go back to their country of origin. We’ve had a record number of people that have taken up offers to return back to their country of origin, given that they don’t have legitimate claims to make in PNG. There is the capacity within the centre for about 400 people to be accommodated, and we will work with the PNG Government in helping them provide services to those people. We have to do it in a way going to the compassionate aspect and the spirit in which the member asked this question, we have to it in a way we don’t want to see boats restart.”

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Taxpayers to pick up Hadgkiss legal costs, but not any resulting fines

Labor has targeted former ABCC chief, Nigel Hadgkiss, and employment minister, Michaelia Cash, in Senate question time.
Hadgkiss resigned on Wednesday after he admitted in court that he had recklessly misrepresented the right of entry laws his own agency has responsibility for.

The first line of attack is essentially: why did Cash take no action against him, despite knowing of the conduct in ? Cash responds that she didn’t want to prejudge the outcome of the court case.

The second line of attack is: how much will the government will fork out for his legal bills?

Cash replied that legal assistance is provided in accordance with the Commonwealth legal services direction, which is standard practice when the contravention is committed in a person’s capacity as agency head.

She doesn’t know what the bill will be, as the “matter still before the court”.

Asked to rule out indemnifying Hadgkiss for any penalty, Cash replied:
“Hadgkiss has not sought an indemnity and the government will not be providing one.”

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Politics just keeps getting in the way of the friendship between Josh Frydenberg and Labor’s Ed Husic.

Husic targets his walking buddy with the same question Labor has been asking all afternoon: the government is now in its 5th year in office. Why did the minister tell Sydney householders their power prices have gone down? Why doesn’t this Liberal government understand that people in my electorate are doing it tough? Just how out of touch is this Liberal government?”

Frydenberg can’t help but add in a compliment.

He’s not a bad bloke but has his facts wrong. Again the Labor party is repeating the falsehoods in this place, misleading the Australian people, making facts up on the run, deceiving them about what theAustralian Energy Regulator, what the Australian Energy Market Commission have said.

The reality is that power prices in Sydney have recently gone up, Mr Speaker. They have recently gone up. We’ve seen in July a substantial increase and we’ve also seen in 2016 an increase.

The years prior we saw some decreases. But nothing like the 100%increase we saw under Labor. As the prime minister said, we are cleaning up Labor’s mess. Their failure to heed the warnings.

But what Frydenberg is attempting to deftly avoid is a repeat of his words from yesterday, where he said:

The data published by the Australian Energy Regulator on in the state of the energy markets report shows between the start of the Coalition government in 2013 prices across average Sydney households on standing offers varied from increasing by $1 to falling by $473. I call on the leader of the opposition to come to the House and correct the record.”

Energy minister Josh Frydenberg and Labor’s Ed Husic walk around parliament house on Thursday. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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Labor is seizing on Josh Frydenberg’ s claim in the house on Wednesday that power prices had gone down.

Emma Husar calls Frydenberg to answer whether he “honestly expects households in my electorate to believe that compared to 2013 their power bills had gone down by more than $470 per year?”

Frydenberg returns to his earlier attack that Labor misrepresented the energy regulators and links it to the Mediscare campaign

The leader of the opposition sent out a tweet, Mr Speaker, saying that the Liberals have delivered power bills that have been more than $1,000. Well, we’ve heard from the Australian Energy Market Commission and the Australian Energy Regulator that that is false.

This reminds us of the Mediscare Mr Speaker, the shameful Mediscare lie.

Come to the despatch box. Come clear with the Australian people. Stop the deceit, stop the lies the falsehoods, to correct the record and tell theAustralian people that he has been telling falsehoods and deceiving them.

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Gareth Hutchens was listening into the joint committee questioning ASIC officials and has an update on the revelations over Stuart Rober t’s business dealings, reported by Fairfax Media’s Latika Bourke today.

Here is a transcript of what went down in the committee just a short time ago.

Matt Keogh, Labor: Presently there’s no ID check requirement for someone becoming a company director, is that right?

John Price, ASIC commissioner: That is correct.

MK: And at the moment if you want to update who is a director of a company on the company register that’s done by form 484?

JP: It is, that’s correct.

MK: Do you share the tax commissioner’s concern that it’s possible to appoint a person, in terms of updating the company register, without their knowledge?

JP: Ah so that could only occur through a registered agent. A registered agent is someone that a company nominates on its behalf who can make changes related to that particular company.

MK: So it can happen?

JP: Ah, it can happen.

MK: Okay.

JP: But it would be, I should say, if it is happening it may indicate some misconduct, so it’s an area that we’d...

MK: Yes I’ll get to that. So that can be done through the electronic version of form 484, through the portal?

JP: That’s correct. Through a registered agent.

MK: And to do that, you need to be as you said a registered agent and have their login details?

JP: Correct.

MK: So in theory, if someone else has someone’s, a registered agent’s login details, they can complete that form, appoint somebody as a director without that person’s knowledge.

JP: Yep

MK: And it would appear that that registered agent had submitted the form?

JP: Ah yes, that is possible

MK: And that person’s name would come up as the lodging party.

JP: Yep.

MK: But legally, a director’s consent is required in order to be appointed as a director?

JP: Ah yes, that’s correct.

MK: Okay. And if that is not obtained it’s a criminal offence under Section 201d of the Corporations Act, is that right?

JP: I’m not sure about 201d of the Corporations Act, but I think knowingly lodging a false or misleading document you may find is an offence under Section 1308.2.

MK: 1308.2 of the Corporations Act.

JP: Correct.

MK: Which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

JP: A maximum term of imprisonment.

MK: So if somebody did that, if they lodged a form either as the agent but there was no consent, or they lodged the form using somebody else’s details then they would be breaching that criminal provision.

JP: Yes, if you could prove that the particular person caused the lodgement of the false document. If you could prove that.

MK: Yes. Are you aware of the Fairfax reporting today that the father of Stuart Robert MP was unaware of his appointment as a director of Robert International Pty Ltd?

JP: I did read that newspaper article.

MK: And will ASIC be investigating that?

JP: I think we’ll make some inquiries into that. Yes.

MK: Which may not necessarily constitute a formal investigation under the ASIC Act.

JP: Correct.

MK: Thank you. We look forward to seeing what comes of that maybe in due course.

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Labor has picked up on Latika Bourke’s latest report into Stuart Roberts business affairs and has asked ASIC officials about whether or not someone could be signed up as a company director without their knowledge.

enltrI wrote to the ASIC Commissioner today about my concerns over how easily someone can be signed up as a company director.

Andrew Leigh (@ALeighMP)

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Immediately before Senate question time, Labor’s Sam Dastyari, has gone on a bit of a tear in the chamber about the Coalition’s media deal with the Nick Xenophon Team.

Dastyari describes the concessions won by NXT as a “$60m slush fund for iPads and iPhones”.

He said it sets a bad precedent of horse-trading that Xenophon has decided something as significant as the future of the media landscape by “whether they’re buying you off well enough”.

Dastyari said on the surface concessions may look “fantastic” but “there’s nothing there. It’s a dirty deal done cheap.”

Dastyari also said that communications minister, Mitch Fifield, concedes privately he couldn’t possibly do anything to fund the Guardian or it won’t get past the Coalition backbench.

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The Coalition is so ready to do battle, Ann Sudmalis has been inspired to smack her desk.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’ s first dixer reveals the government’s message for the day:

As we’ve seen from today’s job data, our commitment to jobs and growth is not a slogan, it’s an outcome.

Strong jobs’ growth. But to continue that 325,600 jobs in the last 12 months. But to maintain that strong growth Australians need... Australians need affordable, reliable electricity.

And the only party who can do that, of course, is the Coalition

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It’s time for question time and the government MPs are looking particularly ready to go into battle – Malcolm Turnbull ’s (unusual) pre-question time pep talk must have paid off.

Mark Butler is first on his feet, with a question for Josh Frydenberg on... energy. Just for something different.

Can the minister confirm that yesterday he claimed in the house and I quote, since the start of the coalition government in 2013 prices across average Sydney households on standing offers have varied from increasing by $1 to falling by $473.”

Is this Liberal government so out of touch that they believe power prices have gone down since they were elected? If so, does the minister want to spend the next three minutes claiming that working families in Australia have never been better off?

Frydenberg accuses him of having “some cheek”.

In this house he told a falsehood; he told a falsehood. Let me first deal with his question. We have tabled information in the parliament to indicate that as of 1 July we saw power bills increase in Sydney, AGL increased it by $296, Origin increased it by $310.

Energy Australia by $320. If you look back in the years since we came to government you saw big drops, for example, when we abolished the carbon tax, Mr Speaker. Now, we abolished the carbon tax. Now, the member for Port Adelaide should know that. He put out a news letter, Mr Speaker. He put out his own newsletter which said the decision to terminate the carbon tax will save the average family around $380. Mr Speaker, so that is what he said. We know and the prime minister... knows that the ACCC has confirmed the average Australian household has saved overall about $550 from the abolition of the carbon tax. We have said, we have said that power prices have increase.

We are working to do everything we can to put downward pressure on power prices. The Australian people are rightly concerned about power prices, but not the leader of the opposition.

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Lunchtime politics

Today has the usual ‘last day of the sitting fortnight’ malaise, with not a lot of spring in the step of our MPs.

Still we have learnt somethings:

  • A deal is all but done on the media reforms, but a vote is still to happen
  • The Lionel Murphy papers have been released
  • Anna Burke ’s official Speaker portrait has been unveiled
  • The Liberal and Nationals in favour of the yes vote in the marriage equality campaign have launched their campaign
  • The unemployment minister has remained steady at 5.6%
  • The energy market regulator wants a ‘day ahead’ mechanism
  • The government is picking up the legal tab for former ABCC boss Nigel Hadgkiss

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Question time gee up?

Government whip Nola Marino has sent an email out to all MPs calling for all members - including Ministers – to attend a “pre-question time briefing with the p rime minister ” according to our sources.

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Employment Minister Michaelia Cash looked chuffed to be able to deliver some OK news this afternoon.

The government is pleased the unemployment rate has remained steady at 5.6%.

There is some very, very good news for Australians. Since the Coalition was elected to office in , the economy has now created in excess of 800,000 jobs.

In the last 12 months alone, the economy has created in excess of 325,000 jobs. Compare that to the last 12 months of the former Labor government when the economy created approximately 80,000 jobs.

The economy under the Turnbull government is outstripping Labor in terms of jobs growth four-to-one. But there is further good news for Australians. In terms of full-time employment, we have now seen the strongest eight months in a calendar year in terms of full-time employment ever.

In the last 12months ago, the economy has now created approximately a quarter of a million full-time jobs. Compare that to the last 12 months of the former Labor government where full-times job growth in Australia went backwards by approximately 22,000 jobs.

In terms of the participation rate, we saw it tick up slightly this month.

The good news that means Australians are out there and what they are saying is: ‘I am ready, I am willing, and I am able to work for you’.

As the minister for women, I am delighted the female participation rate has hit an all-time high of 60%. There are now more females participating in the workforce than at any other time inAustralia’s history, in excess of 3 million.

In terms of the youth unemployment rate, I have always stood here and said youth unemployment is unacceptably high. I am pleased there is a slight tick downwards but the government remains very, very focused on implementing policies that will get youth off welfare and into work.”

Employment minister Michaelia Cash at a press conference in the Senate courtyard. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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The corporate regulator has responded to a worrying claim by a UBS banking analyst that there could be $500bn worth of “factually inaccurate” mortgages sitting on the books of Australia’s banks.

UBS banking analyst Jonathan Mott warned this week that one third of Australians who took out a mortgage in the past 12 months were not “completely factual” with their financial information.

He warned the level of factually inaccurate mortgage applications has risen significantly since 2015, from 27% to 33%.

But Michael Saadat, from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has just told a parliamentary committee that he thinks Mott’s analysis is incorrect.

Saadat said Mott’s concerns may have been more pertinent a few years ago, but the quality of mortgages had improved in recent years.

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But it wasn’t all fun and games – Labor’s Tanya Plibersek spoke of the amount of time parliamentarians have to spend away from their families, making sure Anna Burke’s children knew how often she thought and spoke of them.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek speaks about the amount of time parliamentarians have to spend away from their families at the unveiling of Anna Burke’s official portrait Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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Ain’t no party like a Speakers’ party...

Two Speakers, one heart. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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A milestone in the halls of parliament - the second female Speaker Anna Burke (after J oan Childs ) became the first woman office holder who’s official portrait was painted by a woman.

Anna Burke at a ceremony for the unveiling of the official portrait of speaker Anna Burke in the members hall of Parliament House Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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Frydenberg said Labor had “concocted” the figure and was “designed to mislead the Australian people”.

Let me tell the House that the leader of the opposition’s $1,000 claim for an electricity price increase for the average Sydney household is false. It’s dishonest and it is designed to deliberately mislead the Australian people.

And it has wrongly asserted data from Australia’s independent Australian Energy Regulator which was designed to deceive the Australian people.”

Labor said the claim came from information published in the Australian earlier year.

Frydenberg said the regulator had confirmed it had “not published any data outlining the price increases claimed in the article”.

The price increases in the article are inconsistent with the data published by the Australian Energy Regulator.

This data suggests the prices have gone down in Sydney by 2.3% from the end of 2013 to .

He said the average Sydney household power bill had varied from increasing from $321 to decreasing by $177 since the Coalition had come to power.

Labor’s Mark Butler was VERY pleased to reply.

They have got to be kidding. They have got to be kidding. The last time they had overreach like this was when John Howard said ‘under Work Choices, workers have never had it better’. Remember that? Billboard after billboard after billboard like that destroyed your government, because of that arrogance, being so out-of-touch that you do not understand what is happening in households across the country.

This minister came into the parliament yesterday afternoon and said this effectively, to the 2.5 million Sydney households, ‘You’ve never had it so good.’ He came into this house and said to 2.5 million Sydney householders that under the Coalition government power prices have decreased by as much as $473. This minister said $473 is the cash that Sydney householders have in their pocket because of the cuts to Sydney power bills.

After gagging the debate, the government won on the numbers.

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The parliamentary group of Liberals and Nationals for yes has just held a press conference, after issuing this joint statement urging a yes vote in the postal survey

Simon Birmingham, Kelly O’Dwyer, Nigel Scullion and Darren Chester all had their say.

They had different emphases but a common theme was commitment and the importance of marriage, with Birmingham saying it “strengthens individuals, families, and society” and O’Dwyer describing it “the expression of strong and committed relationships”.

Scullion had a particularly strong line that “you can’t have two sorts of equal” – a line that both rebutted the idea same-sex partnerships could be equal without marriage and recalling the “separate but equal” fallacy used to defend segregation.

Chester, the only Nationals MP or senator on the statement, said the Australian people were both ready and “looking forward” to making a decision on the issue that had “divided” the parliament.

The attorney general, George Brandis, was grilled about an email the Nationals senator Matt Canavan sent on behalf of the Coalition for Marriage in which he said:

The Liberal National party is proud to stand with the Coalition for Marriage, the organisation running the no campaign. As our president Gary Spence has said, the LNP believes that there should be no change to the definition of the Marriage Act.

Asked if the LNP supported the no case, Brandis responded:

That’s a matter for the organisation. I’m not aware of that. The views of individual Queensland members of the Liberal and National parties are a matter for them... on my side of politics we respect the right of the parliamentary wing to have a different view to the organisational wing... I’m not going to comment on matters for the party organisation in Queensland.

Asked about whether they would respect the outcome if the vote is no, Birmingham replied:

It’s important to respect the Australian people... we’re giving everyone a say, we want to see a high turnout, a big participation and we want to respect that outcome.

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A slightly unexpected move by the government in the Bill Shorten should be condemned motion.

enltrGovt just gagged its own motion condemning Labor! Come on @JoshFrydenberg tell us some more how power prices going down!

Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek)

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Media reforms are back up for debate

The Senate has cleared its morning schedule a little bit faster than expected and has returned to the media reform debate.

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John Howard is keeping up the pressure on the Coalition in regards to religious freedoms in the marriage equality debate.

He has already, as Paul Karp points out, said this before. More than once.

Repeating the demand in a statement, Howard said the case for protections is “compelling”.

This issue must be addressed before the survey is completed; leaving it as something to be taken up only in the event of a Yes vote prevailing is the equivalent of saying that it does not matter. If a Yes vote is recorded there will be overwhelming pressure to “move on”, legislate as quickly as possible and then put the issue behind parliament. There will be scant opportunity for serious consideration of protections in the areas I have cited. Very likely, those raising such matters will be met with a chorus of put-downs and accused of attempting to frustrate the verdict of the people.

Thus far, the government’s response has been to wash its hands of any responsibility, merely stating that it will facilitate a private member’s bill. On the evidence to date, it would seem that the only protections in that bill will not go much beyond stipulations that no minister, priest, rabbi or imam will be compelled to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony.

Those campaigning for a Yes vote call any reference to these issues “red herrings” or distractions. On the contrary, they are legitimate concerns. It is completely disingenuous to assert that a change of this magnitude to a fundamental social institution does not have consequences. It is precisely because parliament should reflect the will of the people that the people are entitled to know what, if anything, the government will do on protections before they vote. Otherwise, people will not be fully informed when they vote.

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The energy market operator wants a “day ahead” mechanism

As Amy has already mentioned, the energy official that the Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones likes to refer to as “that woman” – Audrey Zibelman – has fronted a parliamentary committee in Canberra.
Zibelman’s agency, the Australian Energy Market Operator, has washed up in the centre of Canberra’s energy policy debate courtesy of a recent report that attempts to quantify Australia’s requirements for dispatchable power once the ageing coal plants (we’re looking at you, Liddell) start to leave the system.

It’s pretty obvious from her outing that Aemo would like the government to develop a new market mechanism that ensures there are sufficient quantities of dispatchable power available in the market at all times.

In her evidence this morning, Zibelman floated the creation of a day ahead market – where the market operator identifies the energy demand for the next day, hour by hour, then generators bid in to supply the market. She thinks that would create more certainty in the market. She wants, in essence, a market around reliability. A day ahead market would also allow the market operator to deploy tools like demand management if there wasn’t availability in the system.

She also, in the politest possible way, would like the government to get cracking on resolving the energy policy quagmire. In order to have her desired system up and running by 2018, Zibelman said she needed a decision out of government in the next eight or nine months. She notes (with admirable understatement) that the market is current “quite anxious”, given all the uncertainty.

Zibelman in her evidence described an energy market in the middle of a profound transition.

She says people in the electricity market used to think in decades but now whole revolutions happen within a period of 18 months. This dynamic environment makes it hard for companies to make investments in assets that take eight or ten years to build, like base load power plants. She says the future is building assets like gas peaking plants, where capacity can switch on and off as required.

She also notes that investors need policy certainty. This, she says, is a “given”. Investors need the certainty of a clean energy target, she says, but the market operator needs something beyond this: it needs to be sure that power generators and retailers can meet daily and future demand. She said that, at the moment, the market is providing incentives for renewables, and that’s fine, but right now the market also needs to signal for reliability and dispatchability.

She said a portfolio solution was required – policies to reduce emissions, policies to ensure that there is enough dispatchable capacity in the market at any given time.

Zibelman says a bit of “mindfulness” is required.

Never a truer word.

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The energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, is moving a motion condemning the opposition leader, Bill Shorten, for a claim Labor has made all week – that Sydney power bill prices have increased by $1,000.

He is quite energised about it.

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The Liberals/Nationals in support of the ‘yes’ vote in the marriage equality campaign have gathered in parliament but the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who is in support of changing the marriage legislation, couldn’t make it.

enltrBig Libs Nats Yes presser happening at Parliament - lots of ministers (no PM)

Lane Sainty (@lanesainty)

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Former Speaker Harry Jenkins has just discovered his portrait has been moved on...

(Don’t worry it will be back)

enltrFormer speaker Harry Jenkins discovers his portrait has been moved for the unveiling of Anna Burke's

— Mikearoo (@mpbowers)

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Labor has ramped up its attack on both Nick Xenophon and the government over the media reforms deal.

Michelle Rowland said the Senate “exposed Nick Xenophon as the great pretender he is” after the key crossbencher agreed to support the government’s changes in return for a $60m investment fund and ACCC investigation into Google and Facebook.

Public policy questions of media ownership, media diversity and the future of public interest journalism are fundamental to our democracy, yet the Turnbull government has conducted this debate behind closed doors.

The Turnbull government’s chaos and ineptitude is completely contrary to the public interest.

This government has seriously miscalculated the impact of these dirty deals and how Australians will respond.

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Unemployment figures are out

The ABS has just released the August Labour Force figures and unemployment has stayed steady at 5.6%.

Here are the key points from the latest ABS results :


  • Employment increased 27,100 to 12,249,500.
  • Unemployment decreased 2,200 to 723,200.
  • Unemployment rate remained steady at 5.6%.
  • Participation rate increased by 0.1 pts to 65.2%.
  • Monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 3.9 million hours (0.2%) to 1,708.6 million hours.


  • Employment increased 54,200 to 12,269,000. Full-time employment increased 40,100 to 8,392,300 and part-time employment increased 14,100 to 3,876,700.
  • Unemployment decreased 1,100 to 727,500. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work increased 6,400 to 501,600 and the number of unemployed persons only looking for part-time work decreased 7,500 to 225,900.
  • Unemployment rate remained steady at 5.6%
  • Participation rate increased by 0.2 pts to 65.3%.
  • Monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 6.1 million hours (0.4%) to 1,705.4 million hours.

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The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive, Paul Murphy, says it is a poor day for media diversity because the media legislation will mean fewer owners and fewer journalists after the job losses that follow mergers

“Any initiative to support new investment in journalism is welcome but it should not come at the price of existing safeguards being removed,” Murphy said. “The last important protection – the two-out-of-three rule – has been abandoned and there is nothing in its place.

“Australia, which already has one of the highest concentrations of media ownership in the world, is now saying that a plurality of media voices doesn’t matter. And history shows that, once diversity is lost, you cannot get it back.

“The structural challenges faced by the Australian media sector will only be slightly stalled by these reforms. As companies amalgamate, more media jobs will be lost and with their loss, public scrutiny will be further reduced.

“Meanwhile the government’s grubby deal with One Nation is beneath contempt. Facilitating baseless attacks on our public broadcasters is disgraceful and we will be lobbying senators to reject any legislation when it is presented.”

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Energy market chief talks Liddell

Audrey Zibelman, the chief of the Australian Energy Market Operator, is fronting the house environment and energy committee, talking about how to modernise Australia’s electricity grid.

But, of course, the MPs are taking advantage of the opportunity to question Zibelman about the Liddell power station.

The government says it is acting on Liddell, by asking AGL to keep it open beyond 2022, or sell it to someone who will, because the regulator is worried about the amount of dispatch power that will be taken from the supply.

Liddell was the earliest example of our concern that we might have a generator retire and we may not have new generation come in that is dispatchable. And one of the things we have identified is we have roughly 21,000 megawatts of pending requests for connection into the NEM and all of them are solar and wind.

What we are saying, just like other markets, because we are not signalling precisely that we need resources that are controllable – we may need to do a market change, in order to make sure that reliability is priced well in the market.

Aemo’s initial analysis indicated the NEM will need as much as 1000 megawatts to of additional new flexible and dispatchable new resources to replace what Liddell supplies.

The CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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Pauline Hanson has spoken on her private members’ bill to ban the burqa and asks “are we that pathetic as a nation that we are giving up our values and who we truly are because we are worried about hurting someone’s feelings?”

Hanson says she has the support of the broader Australian community, including those who have practised the Islamic faith, such as a taxi driver who has since left the faith but said Hanson was “absolutely right”.

Legislation already exists to ensure people must show facial identification in areas where it is deemed a security risk but Hanson wants to take it further and ban facial coverings all together.

I have seen a lot of people getting their feelings hurt in this country, and yet we stand up more for them. And I am getting fed up that we stand up for these people, these Muslims who stand up and protest. And we have got the Greens and others who are standing up and say: ‘Good on you, you’ve got your rights,’ but we forget about the rights of Australians, ordinary citizens, because we are howled down. If you were opposed to the whole situation, if you speak up and have an opinion, you are shut down because the left-leaning want to shut you down completely.

Hanson created an uproar when she wore a burqa into the Senate chamber, which prompted the attorney general, George Brandis, to deliver an emotional speech chastising her for the action. Labor and the Greens gave Brandis a standing ovation in response to the speech but Hanson has remained unrepentant.

The One Nation senator Pauline Hanson taking off a burqa during Senate question time at Parliament House in Canberra last month. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

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There are thousands of papers to go through in regards to the Lionel Murphy investigation. If you have an interest in the raw documents, you will find them here.

The Lionel Murphy papers are tabled at the start of the days proceedings in the House of Representatives chamber of Parliament House. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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The “Class A papers” released today after 31 years reveal 14 allegations were put to Justice Lionel Murphy for his response back in 1986 by the parliamentary commission of inquiry. However, the inquiry was suspended due to Murphy’s ill health.

Among them were allegations that in 1975, while a judge, Murphy had agreed with his friend, solicitor Morgan Ryan, that they should ask Abe Saffron to approach Danny Sankey, who was taking a private prosecution against him. The judge was asked to address the specific allegation that he knew this would result in Sankey being intimidated.

He was also asked to address whether he had sought to find out whether particular federal police were bribable or subject to influence and, in the case of Senior Detective Don Thomas, had sought to influence an investigation, offered to secure him a senior position in the federal police and sought to groom him as an information source.

There were also several allegations relating to Murphy’s interactions with chief magistrate Clarrie Breise that led to Murphy being tried and convicted but acquitted on appeal. These included that he had deliberately given sworn false evidence.

The documents reveal in total 33 allegations that were investigated by the commission of three judges.

The documents have emerged after the presiding officers of the federal parliament decided to release the papers assembled 31 years ago in 1986, as part of a commission of inquiry by three retired judges. The inquiry was formed to inquiry into whether Murphy had committed misconduct while a high court judge, in breach of the constitution.

The inquiry was halted by the Hawke government after it was revealed that Murphy had inoperable cancer. He controversially returned to the high court to hear cases and later died.

The inquiry followed a turbulent few years in which Murphy was tried on two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice in order to influence the trial of his friend the Sydney solicitor Morgan Ryan. Murphy was accused of approaching NSW district court judge Paul Flannery and the NSW chief magistrate Clarrie Briese to try and influence the trial.

Murphy was initially found guilty over one of the incidents and cleared of the other but on appeal was acquitted of both.

However, the stain of the allegations remained and further allegations about the judge emerged as result of reporting by the Age, of illegal police phone taps known as the Age Tapes in 1984 and the subsequent Stewart royal commission.

While the commission of inquiry was limited by its terms of reference in revisiting the incidents that had led to the criminal charges, it was believed back in 1986 to have been investigating numerous other incidents involving Murphy.

Murphy was the former attorney general in the Whitlam government, before he was appointed to the high court by Labor in 1975. Regarded as a leading light of the Left, the judicial scandal which tarnished his later career deeply divided his supporters and critics. His untimely death at 64 left many unanswered questions.

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Paul Karp reports opponents of marriage equality have so far outspent the yes campaign by about five-to-one on television ads.

Advertising analyst firm Ebiquity found the no campaign’s $312,000 and yes campaign’s $64,000 of TV ad spending is dwarfed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which has spent $1.7m on the campaign so far.

Both the Coalition for Marriage and Equality campaigns claim their opponent has more cash but the new figures draw into question the claim that the no side faces a “David and Goliath battle”, as the Australian Christian Lobby director, Lyle Shelton, put it at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

You will find more on that story, here

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The parliamentary joint committee on corporations and financial services has handed down its report into whistleblower protections.

The committee was looking at ways to make it easier for people to speak out when they have concerns in the corporate, public and not-for-profit sectors, and have unanimously agreed on a rewards system, comparable with what is found in the US, UK and Canada.

The Labor members of the committee said to ensure “unethical incentives are not introduced” the reward system would:

  • have a limit, or a cap, on the reward being paid to a whistleblower
  • be reflective of the information disclosed; and
  • be determined against a number of criteria.

It’s an issue close to Nick Xenophon’s heart and he is convinced it will become law.

For too long whistleblowers have been treated appallingly in this country, whether they are public-sector whistleblowers or corporate whistleblowers and these recommendations will make a difference.

The government will legislate based on this committee’s recommendation to protect whistleblowers. They will do so by the middle of next year and it will be put to a vote and if we change these laws, as I expect we will, then we will see a change in the culture in organisations, in the public sector, in the corporate sector and I wonder whether whistleblowers could have come forward years earlier.

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Marriage equality surveys have begun popping up in people’s mailboxes and the campaign has begun in earnest.

Some are attempting to make light of it, with one wag, @dannolan repeating his joke from last month that he works for Australia Post and will destroy any ‘no’ ballots.

Despite Australia Post confirming he is not an employee, not everyone has got the joke, with the Nationals MP George Christensen weighing in this morning.

enltrI work at the australia post in chatswood and I'm using a torch to check all ballots and throw out ALL no votes

— dan (@dannolan)

enltrdoes not work for Australia Post. Please remember tampering with mail is a federal offence.

Australia Post (@auspost)

enltrI suspect you may get a visit from the Aust Federal Police. We know the yes side will stoop to any low tactic to win but this is illegal!

George Christensen (@GChristensenMP)

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The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, won’t be able to relax until well into this afternoon, with the media reforms not due to return to the Senate until just before .

In the meantime, it is committees and private senators’ business, with Jacqui Lambie introducing another attempt to ban the burqa.

If Fifield can’t wrap up the debate before when question time starts, then the government will work to get the media reforms back on the afternoon agenda and stay until it is done and dusted.

If you are so inclined, or just feel like injecting a little wild into your Thursday morning, you can find the order of business here.

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The bells have just rung, signalling the start of the day, and the Speaker, Tony Smith, has just given the go-ahead to table the Lionel Murphy documents.

Speaker Smith has jus handed thousands of pages to the clerk, which means it is done.

That sound you hear is dozens of journalists headed en masse to the tabling office.

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The Coalition MP and former minister Stuart Robert is still refusing to answer questions over whether his businesses benefited from government contracts after he was elected.

Latika Bourke of Fairfax Media has spoken to the Gold Coast MP’s father, who says he was unaware “was a director of a private investment company that held shares in his son’s IT service business, which has won tens of millions of dollars worth of government contracts”.

Alan Robert, 80, has also told Fairfax Media that the private investment company, Robert International, was run by his son during the six-year period he and his wife, Dorothy, were the company’s only directors. It is a revelation that would link the Queensland MP with the IT services business, GMT Group, at a time when Stuart Robert claims to have “ceased involvement” in GMT.

Section 44, which has seen seven MPs recently referred to the high court for dual citizenship, also prohibits MPs from either directly, or indirectly benefiting from the commonwealth. That clause saw Family First’s Bob Day lose his Senate spot and the high court is also examining whether David Gillespie has fallen foul of the section.

Robert, who resigned as human services minister early last year after a review found he had breached ministerial standards, accused Bourke of “lying” about speaking to his father and refused to answer questions.

Each election essentially resets section 44 so, even if a MP was found to have been in breach of the constitution when first elected, if the situation has been remedied before the last election, they are considered not to be in breach.

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The leaders of the nation’s two major political parties are occasionally able to put the name-calling aside. Last night Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten managed a civil conversation at an event promoting the Northern Territory.

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten at ‘Facing North’, a Northern Territory business forum in the mural hall of Parliament House. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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The Senate had a late night talking media reforms, with many speakers on the list.

But it was One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts who appeared to capture imaginations of those following along at home, with his speech detailing where he had been wronged by the media and how that was to their peril.

For those interested, here is Roberts’s views on why Australian media is in trouble.

So is Murdoch the problem? No, he’s not, despite what some on the left say. What we see today is a swirl of coalescing media across platforms such as newspaper, radio, TV, internet and subscription channels.

That change is underway no matter what we want and whether we like it or not, and it’s due to external factors, the internet and government. The weakness in media right now is due to three factors.

The first is the internet – specifically Google and Facebook. The second is government regulation– and that regulation, as in all regulation, reduces the quantity of the service or product, reduces the quality of media and raises the cost of media. These regulations weaken institutions.

These regulations have created a monster. The third one is that monster: the ABC. Let’s go to Google and Facebook. They’re revolutionising media and communication, and the internet is placing the market power of choice in the hands of all people.

I listened to a commonwealth car driver a few months ago who worked in the Kimberley in the 1980s when, he told me, they had one ABC channel and one ABC radio channel. Now, he says happily, they have a huge range of media and entertainment from around the world.

These choices are destroying conventional newspaper companies, especially the biased ones such as Fairfax and the Guardian, who are both collapsing as customers wake up to their poor service that reflects the papers’ bias and dishonesty.

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Richard Di Natale is not happy with the media reform deal and says it will only lead to a “further concentration of the Australian media market”.

The Greens came back to the negotiating table with the government, out of concern for the future of the ABC’s funding and public interest journalism, but, in the end, Di Natale said it couldn’t support the package the government put forward.

There is a huge concern here that as a result of the deal that has been done with One Nation and this is all part of the deal... The deal has two components. One is inserting ‘fair and balanced’ into the ABC, for example – I mean, do we want the ABC to become Fox News ? That is their slogan. This is really to indulge One Nation and the only way this was going to get across the line with One Nation, and with Senator Xenophon’s support, was with that attack on the ABC. The real concern here is One Nation wants to take the axe to the ABC, they don’t support having a strong and independent broadcaster and we have great concerns about that.

Nick Xenophon has said he will not support any cuts to the ABC and the government has decoupled most of One Nation’s demands into separate legislation. That legislation does not appear to have the numbers.

But remember Cory Bernardi is planning on amending the legislation to include One Nation’s demands as part of the media reform package, which puts the government into the awkward position of voting against what they have agreed to put forward in order to get Pauline Hanson’s support.

Richard Di Natale emerges from the ABC studios in Parliament House, after expressing his displeasure at the government’s media reform deal. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

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The social services minister, Christian Porter, has been out spruiking the government’s planned changes to its ‘no jab, no pay’ policy, which sees family benefit supplements withheld if a child’s vaccination schedule is not kept up to date.

Speaking to ABC TV this morning, Porter said the government had seen “very good success” with the measure, in terms of increasing immunisation rates, but wanted to tweak it slightly.

What we’re doing is moving to a system where the no pay component is brought forward so that a family that doesn’t do the right thing and fails to have a child vaccinated could stand to lose $28 a fortnight rather than this withholding of a supplement right at the end of the year. We think that that immediacy provides a fortnightly incentive and reminder which will even further lift up vaccination rates. We had a great success so far.

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Good morning and welcome to Politics Live

We have almost made it through the week, which has been one of the scrappiest we have seen in some time.

The government is chalking up an (almost) victory, with the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, able to secure a deal on the media reforms the Coalition has been working on since it took office in 2013.

Katharine Murphy reports the core of the government’s proposal involves scrapping the two-out-of-three media ownership rule, which will most likely set off a flurry of mergers in the Australian media scene, and removing the 75% reach rule, allowing TV networks access to regional markets.

In exchange the government has agreed to provide a new $60m innovation fund for independent and regional publishers, providing they are Australian operations, without foreign media company connections, and funding for regional journalists.

The government has also agreed to ask the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to conduct an inquiry into the internet giants Google and Facebook.

You’ll find more background on how the deal was struck here.

Energy is once again a buzzword for the day, with the Australian Energy Market Operator to appear at a public hearing with the house environment and energy committee later this morning. We’ll bring you updates on that as it happens.

The Lionel Murphy documents, after a slight delay, are also about to be made public. Those papers, which involve an inquiry the Hawke government launched, and then closed, two weeks before the former high court judge’s death, should be tabled just after .

For a backgrounder – and explanation on why so many people are interested – head here.

And the employment minister, Michaelia Cash, can expect more questions over former ABCC boss Nigel Hadgkiss, who resigned on Wednesday after admitting he had breached the Fair Work Act.

Cash admitted during Senate question time she had been aware of the allegations against Hadgkiss since . Overnight, Guardian Australia r evealed the government will be picking up the tab for Hadgkiss’s legal fees. So expect to hear more on that.

Mike Bowers is already out and about prowling the hallways - you can reach him at @mpbowers or Instagram to see what he’s up to- and you can reach me in the comments (I am reading them, I promise) or more directly on Twitter @amyremeikis

Let’s get going.

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