Asylum seekers and hospital handouts topped the government’s agenda, in an eventful debut for the 43rd Parliament.
But tensions over the unusual state of federal politics continue.
Rebecca Forsyth reports.
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MP’s breathed an almost audible sigh of relief as they headed home from a long week in the new-look Parliament.
MP 1: “Exhausting.”
Some are optimistic.
MP 2: “It’s exactly as I expected. Very dynamic.”
MP 3: “I think any day in skinny government, is better than a day in fat opposition.”
Others distinctly less so.
Kevin Andrews, Liberal Frontbencher: “We’ve got a very fragile government that’s very shaky.”
Bob Katter, Independent MP: “I wouldn’t say enjoyable, but interesting. Fireworks are going to start very shortly.”
The government was again forced to defend its stability in a hostile Parliament.
Kelvin Thomson, Labor MP: “This is not Australia’s Next Top Model. The Independents are not going to suddenly turn around and say ‘We made a mistake’.”
And the Opposition heralded their first win, albeit a procedural one.
Ian Macfarlane, Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources: “Obviously the winning of the division was a highlight for us.”
Labor’s repeal of its OWN six month suspension, on processing Afghan asylum seekers was widely approved although the Coalition did qualify its support.
Scott Morrison, Shadow Immigration Minister: “It was failed policy when it was introduced. It was an election fix.”
But Julia Gillard’s announcement on funding for regional hospitals was tainted by accusations of a media sham.
Patient: “It’s PR. It’s a stunt.”
One thing’s for sure, the party politics and well-publicised bickering of Parliament’s premiere are unlikely to magically resolve by week two.
Joe Hockey, Shadow Treasurer: “We’re getting there. See you later.”
Rebecca Forsyth, QUT News.