Weekly Wrap Up
- Latest Newspoll data shows Labor remains in the lead on a two-party preferred basis, 54-46.
- The Government launched its ‘National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse (2021-2030)’ which provides a 10-year national framework for preventing and responding to child sexual abuse.
- Speaker of the House of Representatives Tony Smith announced his plans to leave his role ahead of his planned retirement to spend his remaining time in Parliament as a backbencher. Mr Smith will resign as Speaker when Parliament resumes sitting on 22 November.
- Federal Labor MP for Paramatta Julie Owens announced she won’t be re-contesting at the next Federal Election. Ms Owens has represented the Paramatta electorate since 2004.
- The Therapeutic Goods Administration has provisionally approved a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged 18 years and older.
- Hearings for the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (ICAC) Operation Keppel, investigating former NSW MP Daryl Maguire continued this week.
The House of Representatives resumed sitting this week with a raft of legislation introduced in the chamber. The financial services sector took centre stage with the Government introducing legislation to establish the Financial Accountability Regime and Compensation Scheme of Last Resort to address a further six recommendations from the Hayne Royal Commission. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also introduced superannuation reform legislation which makes a series of changes relating to the First Home Super Saver Scheme. Such changes include reducing the downsizer contribution from 65 to 60 and repealing the work test for non-concessional and salary sacrificed contributions.
Electoral reform was also in focus with the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Voter Integrity) Bill 2021 introduced to Parliament. If passed, the Bill would require voters to present acceptable identification documentation prior to receiving a ballot paper to reduce the risk of electoral fraud in the form of voter impersonation. The Opposition has been critical of the Bill suggesting that electoral fraud hasn’t been a big issue in Australia to date and the proposed legislation would largely affect the homeless, elderly and those in remote communities.
Climate Change and the COP26 Conference
Earlier this week the National Party provided its in-principle agreement to support a target of net zero emissions by 2050. While details of the National’s negotiations have been sparse, rumours of an additional Cabinet position came to fruition with Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirming the addition of Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt back into Cabinet. Following news of the National’s support, the Prime Minister and Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor released ‘Australia’s Long-Term Emissions Reduction Plan: A whole-of-economy Plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050’ (the Plan[PDF]).
The Prime Minister has since left with Minister Taylor to attend the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Rome from 30-31 October, where discussions are expected to centre around economic and health recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Following that, the Prime Minister and Minister Taylor will go to Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), where they will present the Plan and affirm Australia’s net zero emissions by 2050 target.
In the meantime, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will serve as the acting Prime Minister.
Parliament is now on a three-week break and will resume its final sitting period of the year on 22 November.
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