Andrew Forrest, in his capacity as the Walk Free Foundation Founder, has welcomed the bipartisan approach to the modern slavery act being passed in the parliament, as Gareth Hutchens wrote about this morning:
“An Australian Modern Slavery Act is essential if Australia is going to play a role in making slavery a thing of the past,” Mr Forrest said.
“This Act will help us ensure the goods we buy are slave free. We cannot continue to allow the often-invisible victims of modern slavery to be stripped of their freedoms.
The products they produce are found in the supply chains of Australian and international companies that provide the food that we eat, the clothes that we wear and the consumer goods we use.
“It is our responsibility to end this criminal abuse of human rights, and this world-class legislation will help us do that.”
Scott Morrison’s office has released the official ‘I have left the country’ statement:
I will travel to Argentina from 30 November to 1 December to participate in the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires.
The G20 has a track record of bringing advanced and emerging economies together to bridge divides and shape the rules that govern our economic interactions.
My priority for this year’s summit will be building on that record with other leaders to find a constructive way forward on global trade.
A strong multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation at its’ centre has helped underwrite regional and global economic stability and prosperity.
This is critically important to Australia as an open, trade-reliant economy – our continued growth and prosperity depends on it.
I am pleased that this year’s summit includes a focus on the future of work and how growth can be shared across populations.
I will take the opportunity to highlight how innovation has been at the centre of growing Australia’s economy and how increasing women’s economic security and participation is essential to raising living standards. That’s why Australia introduced the gender participation goal during our 2014 G20 presidency, of reducing the gap between female and male participation by 25 per cent by 2025.
I look forward to meeting with my fellow leaders at the summit to discuss these important issues and strengthen our engagement at what is a critical time.
Our parliament spies tell us Christopher Pyne is currently meeting with the entire crossbench in his office.
With the curtains open.
Dr Paul Bauert has given his “unconditional” support to the crossbench bill to evacuate those who need medical care off the off-shore detention centres.
He’s a senior paediatrician at the Royal Darwin Hospital and member of the Federal Council of the Australian Medical Association.
There are several key points that I wish to make in unconditional support of the draft bill announced today by Dr Kerryn Phelps, Independent Member for Wentworth, in support of refugee health.
To date, assessments of the health needs of refugees and asylum seekers have been determined by bureaucrats working under the direction of the Minister for Home Affairs.
In response to this, doctors across Australia, supported by the AMA and Doctors4Refugees, along with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre which has funded and run the arduous legal appeals for successful medical transfers, are strongly arguing that medical decisions about refugees and asylum seekers should be made by doctors.
I myself have made many assessments over the last decade of refugees and asylum seekers held on- and offshore.
I am well aware of the degree of professional scrutiny required in making these assessments. I am also well aware of the complex needs of patients further traumatised by their current experiences, powerlessness and utter lack of hope and certainty.
There is now virtually unanimous agreement among Australian doctors that the situation for the refugees and asylum seekers held in offshore detention for more than five years has resulted in a mental and physical health crisis.
This is worsening rapidly as the settlement offers from New Zealand are refused and as the current refugee-averse US administration fights back against a “deal” that would have seen refugees settled in the US (less than 500 to date) and now specifically excludes some refugees on the basis of their nationality, not their eligibility for re-settlement.
There is every evidence that this crisis is escalating for those remaining on both Manus Island (PNG) and Nauru and that the medical facilities available to refugees and asylum seekers cannot and do not meet their complex and very serious medical needs.
The withdrawal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health services on Nauru, as from 30 November 2018, in addition to the recent eviction of MSF doctors and vital support staff from the island, seriously endangers any children remaining on Nauru as well as their families and other adults.
From Manus Island come equally alarming reports of escalating self-harm, suicide attempts and other markers of utter despair, without anything like adequate services to meet these needs which in many cases are life-threatening.”
Senator James McGrath (@JamesMcGrathLNP)
Queensland should be the permanent home of the Australian Space Agency. pic.twitter.com/hgeooMPS67
Larissa Waters (@larissawaters)
The Senate president, Liberal senator Scott Ryan, has issued a serious warning about the telecommunications (assistance and access) bill – commonly known as the encryption bill.
In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry, Ryan warns that because the bill would “expand the circumstances where computer access warrants may be executed covertly” it “sits in tension” with the protocols for parliamentarians to claim privilege over material relating to their work.
The bill would expand the number of agencies who can covertly access computers, beyond Asio, to include other law enforcement agencies.
While nothing in the bill itself abrogates parliamentary privilege, Ryan warns that covert computer access warrants prevent parliamentarians an opportunity to raise a claim that police cannot read documents because of parliamentary privilege.
He said: “In that case, parliament has to rely on the agency seeking the warrant, and the authority approving it, to have proper regard to privilege.”
Ryan suggests that “procedural and legislative action” is needed to fix this issue, such as an amendment that it is not lawful to access documents that are part of the proceedings of parliament.
If time doesn’t allow, then Ryan suggests the committee agree to fix this problem after the bill is passed.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre have welcomed Kerryn Phelps’ coming bill:
The Kids Off Nauru campaign coalition welcomes the Urgent Medical Treatment Bill being introduced into Parliament by Independent MP for Wentworth Dr Kerryn Phelps.
Dr Phelps announced in a press conference today that the bill will be introduced into the Lower House next week.
The bill is backed by a ‘coalition of conscience’ made up of cross-party MPs Dr Kerryn Phelps, Derryn Hinch, Andrew Wilkie, Adam Bandt, Nick McKim, Rebekha Sharkie and Tim Storer.
The Urgent Medical Treatment Bill will change the Migration Act to provide for urgent medical transfers to Australia for critically ill men, women and children remaining in offshore detention to save their lives.
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre advocacy and campaigns director Jana Favero said nobody wants to see critically ill people, particularly children, deteriorate because they don’t have proper medical treatment, no matter what their views are on offshore processing.
“Clinical recommendations by doctors, not politics, should determine access to medical care.”
“It is vital that the Australian Parliament backs this bill to solve the medical crisis in offshore processing centres, before another life is lost due to medical neglect.
“We applaud the coalition of MPs behind this bill for their courage of conviction.”
“Momentum for the Urgent Medical Treatment bill is increasing and we urge LNP and ALP politicians to back the bill when it comes before the House on Monday.”
Matthew Canavan (@mattjcan)
It has been a tough couple of days in CQ with the bushfires. Great news today though with Adani announcing they plan to start work before Christmas! Adani has been a little Aussie battler. So many have written it off but they just keep chugging along!
The Australian Council of Social Services wants the Senate to reject the Newstart wait for new migrants:
ACOSS, along with the community sector, calls on the Senate to do the right thing and vote against the bill to make migrants wait up to four years to access social security. There is no justification for cutting off support for people, including children, who are in financial need.
The government’s original bill to impose a four-year wait to access social security was cruel, and void of good policy. Migrants make huge contributions to our society. We should be supporting them when they need it, not making it harder for them to build a life in Australia.
The amended bill before the Senate, however, will still impose a four-year wait to access Newstart, hurting people most in need. It will also, for the first time, impose a one-year wait to access Family Tax Benefit Part A, which is a crucial payment for low-income families, including families without paid work and families on the minimum wage trying to give their children the best start in life.
ACOSS urges Labor to join the Greens, Centre Alliance and Tim Storer in opposing the bill in the Senate, and protect people from falling further into poverty.
Pat Dodson has tabled the joint parliamentary committee on constitutional recognition’s report in the Senate.
The four recommendations are:
- The Australian government should “co-design” the Voice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, within the term of the next parliament
- The government should then consider “legislative, executive and constitutional options” to establish the Voice
- That the government support the process of truth-telling
- The establishment in Canberra of a national resting place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remains which could be a place of commemoration, healing and reflection.
Dodson, the co-chair of the committee, told the Senate that he and Liberal co-chair Julian Leeser had to do “quite a bit of political shoe shuffling” to achieve common ground, but still he notes “two members had different views of the way forward”.
In a minority report, the Greens’ Rachel Siewert said the Voice “must be enshrined in Australia’s constitution” with a referendum “as soon as first nations peoples are ready” to do so. The Greens want a referendum first and detail to be determined “after the referendum”.
In additional comments, Liberal Amanda Stoker agreed with the majority recommendations but backed the establishment of regional entities rather than a national Voice, according to Dodson.
Dodson said that Labor will be guided by the report and “remains committed to all elements arising from the [Uluru] statement of the heart” – including Voice, constitutional entrenchment, and truth-telling. “These are all high order issues for Labor.”
Dodson said the order of whether to legislate or have a referendum first was a matter of “political judgment”.
He said Labor is also keen to have a conversation on the republic and a plebiscite – but it has “committed to a constitutional recognition for an Indigenous Voice as a clear focus”.
The committee looking into an indigenous voice in parliament has tabled its report.
It wants a roadmap to develop one.
While Labor was moving its motion in the House to condemn the government, Penny Wong was in the Senate moving this:
“That the Senate take note of the answer given by the leader of the government in the Senate (Senator Cormann) to the question without notice asked by Senator Wong today relating to the treasurer’s cancellation of his planned trip to the G20.”
Part of her speech is below:
This is a government now so divided, so chaotic, so riven by hatred and personal interest it is actually no longer able to govern.
A government that is unable to act on climate change, unable to agree on an energy policy, unable to put the interests of the nation ahead of its own self-interest.
The Liberal National party, trashing good government, trashing good government, that’s what it is doing.
A government that can barely go 24 hours without someone resigning, or threatening to bring down the government.
So lacking in confidence and purpose it is not even prepared to let this parliament sit for fear its divisions will be exposed on the floor of the House.
A government where a prime minister cannot even announce something as simple as the date of the Budget without having the announcement wrecked by yet another member abandoning his team.
It is now increasingly apparent that this chaos and division that we see played out in this place and in the House of Representatives, is damaging Australia’s standing overseas, and is damaging Australia’s national interest.
We saw during the Wentworth byelection a prime minister so desperate to cling to power he was prepared to trash decades of considered bipartisan foreign policy on the location of our embassy in Israel.
We know this was a decision that wasn’t taken to Cabinet, that was contrary to advice, the foreign minister Senator Payne was given less than 48 hours’ notice, and the media was briefed before the head of the Australian Defence Force.
This is a decision that is now risking the free trade agreement with Indonesia, risking our economy, and damaging one of Australia’s most important relationships.
Now we learn that the government is so divided and so chaotic it cannot even risk sending the treasurer out of the country for a few days for fear the government will fall.
There are few more important events on the international calendar than the G20.
This was a forum Australia helped create.
In fact Mr Costello was instrumental in establishing it as a meeting of treasurers and finance ministers in the 90s before what the Obama Administration’s most senior US official on Asian policy, Kurt Campbell, describes as Kevin Rudd’s “decisive” role in developing the G20 into a leaders’ summit in the wake of the global financial crisis.
In that process Australia got a seat at one of the biggest tables in the world.
That first leaders’ summit, in Washington in 2008, and the follow-up in London five months later, was crucial to rebuilding confidence in the global financial system.
And now the treasurer can’t go because the absence of a single MP for even a day might cause the government to fall and has to send the finance minister in his place.
Now, as people know, I have great respect for Senator Cormann and I am sure he will do his best, but the explanation he gave for why the treasurer withdrew says it all: “he’s got some work to do domestically.”
He certainly does!
You know what that is code for? It is code for dealing with the mess. It’s code for dealing with the division. It’s code for dealing with minority government. It’s code for managing the fallout from the disastrous result in Victoria. It’s code for trying to deal with the consequences of trashing good government, which is what this government is doing.
The treasurer who should be representing Australia at the G20 in Argentina is instead on an immigration watch list to prevent him leaving the country.
Meanwhile, the prime minister is heading off, but we’re advised he doesn’t have any meetings with the president of the United States or the president of China.
I very much hope that the absence of these meetings does not signal that the chaos that has engulfed this government is now further risking our national interest.
I genuinely hope this changes before the weekend is out, and that Mr Morrison is able to secure these meetings with the leaders of these two nations which are so important to Australia – the US, our ally, and China, which is of course our biggest trading partner.
Autralia economy news