Parliament returns: six things to look for - ACTU Australian Unions

Six things to look for as parliament returns

The long awaited return of Parliament is tomorrow, and there are plenty of interesting storylines to look out for as the 45th Parliament begins. 

Will the Government be able to manage their incredibly small majority in the House of Reps? What’s going to happen when Derryn Hinch gets up to make his maiden speech? And most importantly for Australians: what is Malcolm Turnbull going to do to try and improve their lives?

Here are some more things to look for from Canberra this week:

  1. Once the government elects a speaker, they will struggle to maintain a procedural majority. This means they won’t easily be able to shut down debate to ram bills through and they’re much more susceptible to opposition tactics to disrupt their attempts to actually pass legislation.

  2. Usually the Government gives some notice about which bills they intend to bring forward for debate, but so far we have only seen an order of business which lays out only the barest ideas of what to expect. After the ceremonial activity, which will take up most of the first day or so, who knows what’s next?

  3. The best guess at this point is they will start with an omnibus savings bill – a collections of loosely connected measures that would cut roughly $6 billion from the budget deficit. Some of these go back to Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’s horror 2014 budget.

  4. The first Question Time will most likely occur on Wednesday at 2pm. This will a really interesting chance to see how Labor is going to approach the new Parliament and what the Government will do to try and protect their precarious parliamentary position.

  5. The Senate will also be in session, but with the very real possibility that nothing will actually be passed by the lower house, there could be a lot of thumb twiddling. We may see the unusual situation of the Government attempting to first introduce bills in the senate.

  6. At some point, the “union bashing” is sure to commence. Although given the Government’s performance last week on the CFA dispute, there may not be as many new industrial relations bills as we might have expected.