A New Senate
It has been another busy (and frustrating) week in parliament with Labor and the Greens voting against the repeal of the mining tax.
Only the Labor/Greens alliance could allocate $18 billion worth of expenditure to be paid for by a tax that raises a tiny fraction of that amount!
As far as I can recall it is the first tax that, when abolished, would actually leave the government’s budget bottom line better off.
Notwithstanding the illogical position adopted by Labor and the Greens, the first five sitting weeks of this year have been very challenging.
The current makeup of the Senate has meant that few (if any) of the Coalition’s signature election commitments have been able to be fulfilled.
This frustration is tempered by my natural optimism that things will improve when the new Senate takes its place in July.
That’s not to say that the passage of legislation will necessarily then be easy.
After all, there will be a number of new senators with diverse interests that will all contemplate the merits of what will be proffered by the government.
However, I am optimistic that the new crop of senators will be free from the tribal bondage and intransigence that has been repeatedly demonstrated by those on the opposition benches.
With parliament entering into an autumn recess, the weeks ahead are an opportunity for the Australian people to have their say on the plans to reform section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
As it currently stands, this section of the Act can essentially allow someone to be prosecuted for ‘hurting the feelings’ of someone else. For the record, that’s my chosen phraseology and not part of the actual Act!
It is the government’s belief that the nature of these provisions inhibits free speech and acts as an impediment to the contest of ideas. I agree with them and believe it needs substantial reform.
The Attorney-General has put forward a series of changes for consultation that seems to have got a few people hot under the collar.
Finally, I continue to receive many questions from readers about what is happening with my website. After lots of consideration, I am now on the cusp of initiating some changes which will see it refreshed and hopefully re-operational in the next few weeks.
I’m looking forward to it and hope you find the wait worth it!