It’s good to be back
The guns (cannons) are outside parliament ready for the salute.
Protesters are on the lawn.
Police and politicians are everywhere.
Parliament is back, baby!
(Yes, I know there was a typo – apologies, I have been up since 5am. I shall have another coffee.)
Some members seemed to enjoy voting for the new Speaker:
Thanks for your questions, readers
I am just putting together some more answers to the questions you have sent through – stay tuned for those.
I’ll headline them as a key event so you know where they are – and thank you for sending so many in.
Government seeks to ban ‘unfair’ contracts in bid to protect small businesses
There is not a lot of parliamentary legislative business going on as yet, but Julie Collins and Andrew Leigh have announced the government will introduce legislation to ban “unfair” contracts to protect small businesses and consumers:
Small businesses and consumers often lack the resources and bargaining power to effectively review and negotiate terms in standard form contracts. Existing laws haven’t stopped the use of unfair terms, which remain prevalent in standard form contracts.
The government will introduce legislation in the upcoming sitting period to strengthen unfair contract terms protections for small businesses and consumers.
The amendments will introduce civil penalty provisions outlawing the use of, and reliance on, unfair terms in standard form contracts. This will enable a regulator to seek a civil penalty from a court.
Additionally, a larger number of small business contracts will be afforded protection. This will occur by increasing the small business eligibility threshold for the protections from less than 20 employees to less than 100 employees, and introducing an annual turnover threshold of less than $10 million as an alternative threshold for determining eligibility.
For those who missed it, Milton Dick has been elected Speaker. As per tradition, he was dragged to the Speaker’s chair after winning the vote.
Behind the lens at parliament
A little more from Mike Bowers and Blake Sharp-Wiggins
On the new Speaker:
Chris Bowen tight-lipped on climate discussions with Greens
Chris Bowen’s office has released the transcript from his earlier press conference.
Here is how he addressed questions on the climate negotiations with the Greens:
Q: So the Greens want to hold future parliament’s to account with the legislated target … but you say you don’t need legislation to be able to proceed with the target. So are those some powers that you’re willing to give up in the process to hold future governments and future ministers accountable? And during negotiations with the Greens what’s your message to them about the future of gas and coal projects?
Well, in relation to your the first part of your question, no parliament can bind a future parliament is my first point. My second point is no Dutton government will be good for climate. Regardless of what any piece of legislation says, if you want a government that’s good for climate keep re-electing the Albanese government. That’s the message. Mr Dutton has made it crystal clear he’s not got the memo from the Australian people. He’s continuing on like the same old Liberal party, hasn’t learnt a thing …
In relation to discussions with the Greens …, those discussions have occurred and no doubt there’ll be some further discussions, but they have occurred along the basis of our public position and to be fair the Greens’ public position as well. I’m not going to go in the details, but they would reflect the positions we’ve reflected publicly.
Q: With regard to the Greens demand on coal and gas, new coal and gas developments, you suggested last week about the safeguard mechanism being adequate to keep those under control. But would coal and gas developments be exempt under the safeguards mechanism because they are emissions intensive?
The position on safeguards mechanism is crystal clear. We’re not changing the threshold of firms or facilities that get impacted, but any new facility which goes over 100,000 tonnes would be impacted. I’ll be having more to say about the design of the safeguard mechanism in coming weeks, and be consulting about some particular elements about the design of our reforms to the safeguard mechanism, as you’d expect, because it’s a complicated undertaking … it will play an important role in emissions reduction. It currently covers the 215 biggest emitters. That’s why we took to the election a policy to deal with it and reform it and improve it, sort a mandate and received it.
For those who missed it, here is part of Anthony Albanese’s emotional speech from earlier today:
Speaker ballot continues
The secret ballot is continuing in the House of Representatives.
Milton Dick will be the successful candidate.