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Australia politics live: Linda Burney accuses Coalition of ‘throwing red herrings at 3.45am’ in voice debate | Australian politics

Australia politics live: Linda Burney accuses Coalition of ‘throwing red herrings at 3.45am’ in voice debate | Australian politics

Coalition ‘throwing red herrings’ in Indigenous voice debate: Linda Burney

Sussan Ley asks Linda Burney:

Minister, what areas of public policy won’t be within the scope of the Voice?

Burney shows a rare flash of anger as she stands up.


Can I thank the member opposite for her question. And say that if she listened more carefully to the debate, she wouldn’t have to ask that question.
In relation to the role of the Voice, we have been extraordinarily clear. And we have listened to the aspirations of First Nations Australians through an engagement group, through a working group, through many discussions on the ground in local communities, as well as the expert legal group.
I have spoken at length with my colleagues, and spoken at length with many people in this house.
The answer to the question is that it is – it is stated time and time again, that the Voice will concern itself with the issues that directly affect First Nations people.
And what I find absolutely appalling by that question – what I find…

Peter Dutton was interjecting ‘what does it exclude?’.



You’re throwing red herrings at 3.45am – there was a question in the Senate, about how the voice will affect the link road in Melbourne? And that came from Senator Cash. I don’t think the Voice will have time to worry about the link Road in Melbourne.

Updated at 00.53 EDT

Key events

Labor senator Pat Dodson is on leave but has tweeted on today’s passage of the referendum legislation:

Paul Karp

The chair of the joint standing committee on electoral matters, Kate Thwaites, has tabled its interim report into the 2022 election.


The main recommendations are:

  • A threshold of $1,000 for disclosure of donations
  • Real time donation disclosure

  • Donation and spending caps

  • Legislation for truth in political advertising, and that the Australian Electoral Commission administer these measures.

Thwaites said that voters had to be “confident that our political system and our politicians are accessible to all and not just to those capable of making very large donations”.

She said:

Across the western world, we see the potential for a drift from democracy when people feel like their political system isn’t working for them and believe that their system has been captured by vested interests.”

We have another answer for reader question time:

Angela wanted to know from Adam Bandt:


Realistically it is impossible to consider an electric car in the inner city because we have no garages and there is no way to charge one – no fast stations, no kerbside power, etc. Are there any steps being considered in this direction in your electorate?

Bandt said:

Thanks for writing and highlighting this important and frustrating issue.
You’re spot on that we urgently need investment in lots of fast charging stations in high density areas, so people without garages can use chargers like we’ve always used petrol stations.
At the federal election, the Greens put forward a plan for $2b of fast charging infrastructure which would roll out publicly-owned fast charging stations across the country that allow drivers to get 80% charge in less than 30 minutes.
In exchange for Greens’ support on the climate legislation, the government agreed to a household electrification package, and this is one of the buckets of money that we will fight to be used on public fast chargers, but this is an ongoing battle that we’re fighting nationally in conjunction with the advocacy of state and territory Greens.
I’d add that for most people the cost of an EV is still too high, and this is largely due to the federal government’s failure to set high emissions standards like the EU and the USA, meaning Australia has become a dumping ground for petrol clunkers because the financial incentives don’t exist for manufacturers to sell EVs here cheaply.
This is something we have been able to get action on – we negotiated on the EVs Bill to limit handouts and tax breaks for petrol and hybrid cars, and ensured the government fleet is fully electric. This will have the impact of bringing more fully electric vehicles into the country and beginning to bring prices down.
There’s more work to do, of course, but the Greens will continue to pull every lever we can to make sure EVs become accessible and affordable, in addition to fighting for expanded cheaper and cleaner public transport, which is a topic for another day!

Updated at 01.36 EDT

Question time, thankfully ends.

We have also had a “fog of speakers” suggested.

So far, an order of speakers and a scold of speakers are taking your fancy (I have some latitude but I can’t publish your NSFW suggestions)


Warren Entsch is now giving his statement in response to Mark Butler’s dixer.

I gotta say to you that the the comments that were made by the health minister, I would have thought, quite frankly, I thought he was a half-decent person.
Nevertheless, he is making accusations in relation to implying some sort of quid pro quo arrangement in relation to a very fine gentleman who happened to have made a donation to… (there are interjections)
Let’s get there.
He also I might add, made a donation of $650,000 to Queensland Health to help them prepare for Covid because the then [Queensland Minister [Miles] had failed to do it.
He made another $80,000 from other recruitment there and even $6,000 for donation to feed the Queensland Health stop.
Now he was approached by a representative from the Torres Strait health to see whether or not he would also be interested in making a donation of an MRI machine to Tara State Hospital, Thursday Island Hospital.
That is the reason why he approached me and wanted to know about protocols in travelling up to the Torres Strait, because he was invited up to actually consider making a donation like $700,000 he’d done at hand.
He made clear to me that he was interested and he was wanting to get the I think it was the Moderna. I rang the hospital. I rang the hospital and asked him if it was available. He said they said yes. and I said what is the protocols? They said if you present we’ve got plenty of it. In fact, we’ve got quite a bit that’s going out of date.

Entsch goes to go on but is told that it is not the place for this sort of more full statement and there are “other avenues” for it.

He finishes with:

No wonder this place is looking as bad as it is.

(And then it seems his microphone is switched off)

Updated at 01.41 EDT

Sussan Ley:

With the greatest respect to the minister articulating the challenge this country faces and closing the gap, with greatest respect, the question was straightforward, millions of Australians would like answer it. Can the minister please answer the question? Can you please bring the minister to order?

Deputy leader of the opposition Sussan Ley
Deputy leader of the opposition Sussan Ley Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Milton Dick asks Linda Burney to be relevant and she answers:

I believe my answer is very relevant. By writing yes we can help change this. The voice is a practical change that will help local and regional committees across Australia.
It will, I’ll be supporting the yes case.
Because it is a safe constitutional change and it will make a meaningful difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians over the months ahead I am looking forward to being part of a movement of Australians from all political backgrounds and playing a part in a campaign.
Thank you Member for Berowra for providing me with your press release. It was very much appreciated.

(That is the Liberal MP, Julian Leeser)

Updated at 01.29 EDT

Coalition ask about scope of voice and public policy

Sussan Ley to Linda Burney:


My question again is for the minister for Indigenous Australians and I refer to her previous response. What areas of public policy will not be within the scope of the voice?


Thank you, Mr Speaker. The question, I think, is repetitious.

Burney reads out something she said was handed to her earlier today:

Today is an historic day with the constitutional alteration of field passing the parliament. Later this year Australians will be able to vote at a referendum and complete our constitution. A successful yes vote will recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the constitution and create a voice to help close the gap.
Despite being one of the most successful nations in the world, on too many measures are Indigenous brothers and sisters are not sharing the same outcomes as other Australians. The life expectancy of an Aboriginal Australians is eight years below that of other Australians.
The unemployment rate for Indigenous Australians is estimated to be about nine times higher than fellow Australians. 1-in-5 initially assessed households are living in accommodation that does not make an acceptable standard.
The suicide rate for Indigenous Australians is almost 2.5 times that of other Australians. Young Indigenous males are more likely to end up in jail and then attending university. By writing yes we can help change this. The Voice is a practical change that will help local, regional communities across Australia.

(Ley interjects on relevance)

Updated at 01.27 EDT

Milton Dick warns against the use of ‘noalition’.


There is a lot of no-alitions going on.

Anthony Albanese continues and gets a bit more personal:

The fact is that those opposite have prioritised protesting, they have prioritised building up a profile, they have prioritised politics rather than prioritising building public housing which is why they voted against in the Senate to block the bill by deferring it.
And I say this:
At least those opposite in the Liberal party don’t pretend.
They would have the guts to vote against public housing. I say to the Greens in deferring this legislation are yet again, they should have had the guts, as I said to the leader of the Greens this morning, at least have the guts to go against it.
To say that you are against 30,000 additional social housing units including housing for women and children escaping domestic violence, including housing for veterans, including housing for those in edginess communities, there are a range of things open to the government to do on policy wise that we don’t need a set which has decided to block everything.
We will take up those options.
We certainly did on Saturday and announcing $2bn of public going forward. In return for that of course the states and territories have agreed on planning, they want new zoning, and I say this, the challenges I bet you that opposites oppose every new zoning because they’ve never seen a medium density development they supported.
In my area of the Inner West council they voted against every affordable housing development has occurred.

Updated at 01.17 EDT

Greens ‘irrelevant’ to housing debate: PM

Anthony Albanese:

It is a pity that the Greens political party have chosen to make themselves irrelevant to the debate.
Because by refusing to participate just like the Coalition do on these issues, they can take no responsibility for anything that this government does.
Because we will not be held back by a no-alition of the Coalition and the Greens say no to public housing. What if it is like with states and territories on the issue of housing supply because yes, I understand that renters are doing it tough.
Yes, I want to do things about that. Yes, that’s why we have a renters rights agreement, we working with states and territories through.
What we are not doing is destroying supply while we do it.
Because the key to fixing housing is supply. If we did what those opposite want us to do, there will be less supply of housing going forward. And that is what they don’t seem to comprehend.

Updated at 01.18 EDT

Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather asks Anthony Albanese:

Millions of renters are in crisis and many are one rent increase away from eviction.
The Greens have asked for months to make immediate investment from the budget in public housing and work with the states and territories to impose national limits on rent increases and until this weekend you have refused.
Now that you have caved in and put $2bn on the table to get the Labor premiers to shift on housing, or you now show leadership and work with national cabinet and make unlimited rent increases illegal?

Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather in Parliament House in Canberra on Monday.
Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather in Parliament House in Canberra on Monday. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Labor goes OFF at this question and there are a lot of interjections from when Chandler-Mather said “caved” and Milton Dick has to call for order a few times.

MCM has to ask the question again, with Dick warning any further interjections will lead to people being booted from the chamber.

Bronwyn Bishop, who is one of the former speakers in the parliament, today is probably ITCHING to throw some people out. You can feel the vibes from the press gallery.

MCM gets up to reask his question, but not before he quips “if only you showed that much passion for renters” but Dick tells him to zip it and ask the question (in speaker speak)

Updated at 01.31 EDT

Coalition attacks on Gallagher continue in Senate

Over in Senate question time, the Coalition has continued its week-long attacks on Katy Gallagher over her knowledge of Brittany Higgins’s allegations – where the finance minister is patiently explaining yet again that she told the Coalition two years ago that she knew about the claims a few days before they were made public.

Gallagher is now pushing back on the claims.

Nearly every Coalition question in Senate QT last week was on this topic, even after Gallagher gave a detailed explanation and timeline to the chamber first-thing last week. The trend continued on Monday, with the LNP senator Susan McDonald asking Gallagher if she had misled the Senate.

Gallagher again denied this, saying she’d been “upfront and clear” about her knowledge. She pointed back to that now-infamous Senate estimates committee hearing in 2021, when she responded “noone had any knowledge” – which she has since said, many times, was a reference to claims Labor knew about Higgins’ allegations weeks earlier (Gallagher says she was told 4 days before the stories broke).


Gallagher said she had a private meeting at that time with the Liberal senators Linda Reynolds and Anne Ruston, when the meeting took a short break to chat offline, where she claims she told the senators that she did know about the allegations earlier:

I did tell Senator Reynolds at the time, in that private meeting, and perhaps all this could have been avoided if that meeting wasn’t private. But it was private.
It was held outside the Senate estimates room, but I did say to Senator Reynolds and Senator Ruston at the time that I had been aware of the allegations in the days leading up to them becoming public.

Updated at 01.22 EDT

Members told to stop interjecting during voice questions

Paul Fletcher:

I think all fair-minded Australians agreed with the point about the work we collectively have to do on the closing the gap targets. The question goes to the voice, which policies do not directly affect First Nations people?

Tony Burke:


On two points of order. One on the relevance rule, what matters is whether or not it is relevant to the terms of the question, that is what standing orders say and I put that it is. Secondly, and I didn’t want to interrupt while the minister was speaking, but I get that when a minister and some of us do it on deliberately inflaming the place, people interject back.
The constant interjections from the member from New England in particular (there are more interjections)
… They are always disorderly but it is also the case ….(more interjections)
It is what you are doing now.
I know you get angry a lot but it is what you are doing now.
When a minister, when an answer is being given in the tone and which the minister for Indigenous affairs is giving the answer, the interjections that are coming from those opposite simply should not be there.

Linda Burney continues but the main part of the answer is:

This country does not want to see further disadvantage and the voice is about practical outcomes, it is about recognition and those two things is what you need to understand.

Updated at 01.32 EDT


Amy Remeikis

Published: 2023-06-19 06:34:58


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