Mike Bowers has just received a phone call saying there are camels being led across the Kings Avenue bridge looking as though they are on their way to parliament.
There’s three of them. No word on wise men, or any spotting of gold, frankincense or myrrh.
Just another week in parliament.
Peter Dutton has an update on the industry advisory group which will “help guide the development of Australia’s 2020 cyber security strategy”. Its first meeting was today:
The panel is chaired by Andrew Penn, CEO of Telstra; with Robert Mansfield, Chair of Vocus Group; Robyn Denholm, Chair of Tesla; Chris Deeble, Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman Australia and Darren Kane, Chief Security Officer NBN Co as members.
Just a few quick notes on the Trump call, via officials. Apparently the conversation was initiated by Scott Morrison, and the Australian PM conveyed his deep appreciation for the efforts of the administration in securing the release of Timothy Weeks, the professor held hostage by the Taliban.
The two leaders spoke about the bushfires, with Morrison thanking the US for sending firefighters.
Morrison also expressed support for Trump trying to end the trade dispute with China, and there was a discussion about Australian and US economies.
The Parliament House Christmas tree will be officially lit up in the marble foyer in about 15 minutes.
The beneficiaries of this year’s giving tree will be announced shortly afterwards.
Katharine Murphy tells me that Scott Morrison has just got off the phone to Donald Trump.
She’ll have some more on that for you in just a moment.
The ACTU and other unions are in town “imploring” crossbenchers to oppose the ensuring integrity bill.
As reported last week, Pauline Hanson is being coy about her vote – she is not locked in. Nor is Jacqui Lambie. The government needs at least one of those two to come over the line to pass it.
Jim Molan won the preselection battle to replace Arthur Sinodinos, after telling the committee he would vacate the spot at the next election.
Rex Patrick says the bill he wanted on security checks wouldn’t stop someone from being a MP but would mean the prime minister received security advice on the MPs in parliament, and could make decisions (on committees, ministries, access) from there.
The thing is, we don’t know if that already happens or not.
Here was James Paterson this morning, again talking to Sky (it’s been a busy morning) about why he doesn’t agree with the bill:
JP: I don’t agree with Rex’s proposed solution, although I agree with him we have a serious problem here. The problem with that solution is it would put our security agencies in a position of power over the federal parliament and over the ministry, and fundamentally undermine one of the core tenets of the Westminster system. The only criteria to being appointed to the cabinet is to be first elected to the parliament and second to be chosen by a prime minister. The idea that you would need a tick-off from a security agency is going down the J Edgar Hoover path and that’s not something that any Australian would be comfortable with.
Question: Can we be sure, can we be sure that there isn’t an agent of a foreign government in this place?
JP: Unless there’s evidence to suggest there is I think we can be confident that there isn’t. It would be, I don’t think we should make leaps to assume that there might be just because there’s been an attempt in this case.
Question: It’s not like you don’t have to comply with other checks on being in the executive or parliament. You have to declare about your citizenship and that can exclude you. Why isn’t this something that we should be able to investigate?
JP: That’s a constitutional requirement, which has been put there for a purpose many years ago. This would be introducing a new requirement that would be very unusual in our political system.
Question: You can’t be bankrupt either. And that’s something where you can be declared bankrupt by the ATO. That’s a non-government –
JP: Again, a constitutional requirement inserted for good reasons 100 years ago. This would be a brand new requirement for an arm of the executive government to have a say over the parliamentary wing of our democracy. I think that would be a retrograde step.
Barnaby Joyce was on Sunrise this morning, talking about the Chinese story, and, well, he went places:
Well, obviously, we are seeing a very active China and, unfortunately I think, we are seeing a transition of the whole world from a Liberal rules-based place that we’ve had the benefit of for 100 or 200 or so years into one that an autocratic form of government presides and the strong will survive and the weak and naive will be crushed, and I think what we are seeing is – I don’t doubt it – that I know that the Chinese have in one way or another been trying to infiltrate our parliament, whether it be online and whether it’s by direct inducements to politicians – Sam Dastyari being noted as one.
And this is something that we’ve just got to accept and we’ve got to be strong, and we’ve got to be resolute, and we cannot be naive, and we’ve got to realise that this is the new world order we are living in. I believe Mr Zhao’s death should be investigated.
Pauline Hanson has “no concerns” about any current member of parliament, in terms of their Chinese links. She told Sky News:
I thought we had been through all of that with Gladys Liu – you know, you can’t put a light on everyone just because of their ethnic background. Let her prove [herself] through her actions … I am not going to ridicule her, I don’t know the truth. Let’s hope that we have the authorities that will further investigate that, if it needs further investigation, that we do know the truth, that we have not been infiltrated in our parliament.
Comments should be opening again very soon.
Pauline Hanson, whose “heart is with this country” is continuing to attack Bridget McKenzie over the dairy industry code of conduct.
Hanson is living her best life at the moment.