GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up: PM at G20 and Parliament set to resume

28 June 2019

  • The Prime Minister has delivered a speech to the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, outlining the Government’s domestic agenda.
  • The Government’s income tax package looks set to pass, as negotiations with the crossbench continue and Labor considers its position.
  • The PM is in Japan for the G20 summit where he will meet with world leaders including US President Donald Trump and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.
  • Mr Morrison gave a speech to the Asia Society in Sydney ahead of the G20 where he outlined his priorities for the summit.
  • Both the ABC and News Corp are taking legal action over AFP raids earlier in the month.
Ahead of the resumption of Parliament next week, the Prime Minister outlined his post-election priorities in a speech to the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday. Leveraging the ongoing John Setka controversy, the PM confirmed that the Government will once again seek to pass its Ensuring Integrity Bill when Parliament returns, in a bid to crack down on “militant unions”. The proposed legislation – which previously didn’t have enough support in the Senate – is designed to make it easier to deregister “unlawful” unions and ban officials for misconduct. Mr Morrison has also asked incoming Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter to take a “fresh look” at workplace relations laws. The PM also reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to creating 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years, while also speaking about the Government’s “strong political mandate” to deliver income tax cuts.

On that score, the Government is reportedly very close to securing the votes it needs to pass its $158 billion income tax cuts package. Centre Alliance senators Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff have formed a loose voting bloc with Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie and are expected to back the Government’s tax plan in exchange for measures to bring down energy prices and cap gas exports. With Senator Cory Bernardi already on board, this would guarantee passage of the legislation, regardless of Labor’s position. Following a Shadow Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Opposition called on the Government to split the package and bring forward the second stage of the plan by three years, while also refusing to back stage three of the package. The Government swiftly rejected Labor’s proposal, opting instead to continue negotiations with the crossbench.

The PM delivered a significant foreign policy speech in Sydney on Wednesday, ahead of his trip to Japan for the G20 summit. The tension surrounding trade negotiations between the US and China is expected to dominate the summit and Mr Morrison used his address earlier in the week to confirm Australia will not be a “passive bystander” in the dispute. The PM met with US President Donald Trump at a working dinner in Osaka last night, where the President congratulated Mr Morrison on his unexpected election win, saying “he didn’t surprise me, but he surprised a lot of other people”. The leaders were also expected to discuss a global agreement to clamp down on social media platforms allowing users to promote violence – an issue that rose to prominence following the recent Christchurch terrorist attack.

On the issue of press freedom, the ABC has asked the Federal Court to invalidate the search warrant that was used to execute a raid of the national broadcaster’s Sydney offices three weeks ago. The ABC is also seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the Australian Federal Police from accessing the confiscated electronic files. Meanwhile, News Corp is heading straight to the High Court to argue that the raids on the home of reporter Annika Smethurst breached the implied freedom of political communication in the Australian Constitution. In a rare display of unity, ABC, Nine and News Corp bosses joined together at the National Press Club on Wednesday to discuss press freedom.

The 46th Parliament will be opened by the Governor General on Tuesday and the South Australian Parliament will also sit.


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