Australia politics LIVE: Pauline Hanson to make ‘major announcement’ tomorrow


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Pauline Hanson to make ‘major announcement’ tomorrow

Pauline Hanson will make ‘major announcement’ regarding 2024 Queensland state election tomorrow morning, she has revealed.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson speaks on the Family Law Amendments Bill in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, October 17, 2023. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

Mr Shorten asked to guarantee nobody will be left behind as a result of the transition

He offers a short and sharp reply: ‘That hasn’t been my track record in the 15 years I’ve been in politics.’

‘The NDIS doesn’t exist to serve a particular service provider’: Shorten says new model will focus on persons over profit

Mr Shorten was asked about how significant the pushback has been from plan managers and service providers whose business models are likely to be impacted by the new policies recommended in the review.

‘The NDIS doesn’t exist to serve a particular service provider. It exists to serve the best interests of people with disabilities and the families of the people who love them.

‘The Australian taxpayer has done a really decent thing about funding the NDIS and if you scratch the surface, they probably think that’s one of the better uses for taxes as opposed to, perhaps, politicians’ wages.

‘But they do expect it to go to the person for whom the scheme was designed.’

Bill Shorten is speaking now about the NDIS review

Mr Shorten has described the NDIS as a ‘lottery’ system which is failing some participants.

‘It works for some people, but there are serious issues with accessibility, equity, outcomes, quality, safety, fraud,” he told the National Press Club.

‘I mean, there is a world of difference between living in Sydney or Melbourne or living in northern Tasmania or Longreach.

‘One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to accessing services.

‘So we must, in the interests of participants, put an end to the simple acceptance that a laissez-faire approach to service delivery cures all. We cannot have a five-star scheme for the wealthy, professional class, and nothing for the poor.’

Unions hail workplace laws rushed through parliament before Christmas – as Coalition slams ‘dirty deal’

Unions have heralded an 11th-hour deal that was struck to pass the government’s signature industrial relations laws before parliament rises for the year.

Employment Minister Tony Burke has confirmed the Closing Loopholes Bill would be split in two to allow the more uncontroversial measures to be passed on Thursday following negotiations with Jacqui Lambie and David Pocock.

That includes the criminalisation of industrial manslaughter and wage theft and protections for people experiencing family and domestic violence from being discriminated against at work.

New protections for emergency service workers who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder will also be legislated and the national work health and safety compensation authority, Comcare, will be reformed.

After a swift debate the laws passed the Senate shortly after midday, ahead of a rubber stamping in the lower house on Thursday afternoon.

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said Thursday’s announcement was ‘a welcome Christmas present for working people’.

‘The Australian public understand that this legislation delivers better rights for workers which deliver better wages during the cost-of-living crisis. These changes will make work a safer place to be as well as give workers a pay boost at a time where they really need it,’ she said.

‘The rest of the Bill must pass in the new year. We won’t leave truckies, casual workers and gig workers behind. The job is unfinished until that happens.’

The Coalition’s employment spokeswoman Michaelia Cash, meanwhile, lashed the ‘dirty’ deal.

‘At its simplest, this is a government seeking to deliver a union agenda,’ she said.

Independent Member for Goldstein Zoe Daniel, Minister for Employment Tony Burke and Independent member for Wentworth Allegra Spender during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, November 15, 2023. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

NDIS is ‘being used as a cash cow’, says Bill Shorten as he bans ‘crystal therapies’

Government services minister Bill Shorten is outlining the revamp of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra.

The NDIS review has handed down 26 recommendations and 139 actions to be implemented over the next five years.

Mr Shorten says the review found the scheme needed an overhaul after some unscrupulous service providers took advantage of a flawed system.

‘The review found that the costs of the NDIS were growing much faster than anticipated, partly because it’s being used as a cash cow by some service providers,’ he said.

‘Reasonable necessary support will remain at the heart of the scheme and evidence-based supports that deliver real beneficial outcomes are in.

‘Or in short, crystal therapies, overseas cruises and dolphins, they’re out.’

He added: ‘This scheme hasn’t properly consistently supported people – and demand has not slowed as as expected.

‘Another key finding concerns the NDIS services marketplace. In short, the market is a lottery. It’s failing.

‘Not enough support has been given to families and we know that children thrive when families are well supported.

‘We strive for a more human and less bureaucratic NDIS, that is why we want to evict those who are lining their own pockets at the expense of participants.’

Health Minister Mark Butler announces urgent care clinic for Broome

Kimberley Medical Group will become the Broome Medicare urgent care clinic, and be available to see patients this month.

The clinic will be open seven days a week, bulk-billed and offer walk-in care.

Minister Butler said: “The Broome Medicare UCC is going to make a big difference to patients in the greater Broome area.

“This clinic will ease pressure on the Broome Hospital, allowing them to concentrate on higher priority emergencies.

“The Albanese Government is committed to strengthening Medicare and making it easier and cheaper to get quality healthcare, by tripling the bulk billing incentive and making medicines cheaper.”

Albo pledges new support for neighbours with a crackdown on crime in Papua New Guinea

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has pledged Australia’s support for Papua New Guinea with a new security agreement in a bid to firm up links between the two countries in the face of increasing Chinese influence.

Australia has promised a package of police infrastructure and training for the Royal PNG Constabulary as well as new support for their courts and prison services.

Australia will also establish a police recruitment and investigation training centre ‘to help PNG create a larger, more capable police force’.

It will also be used to provide training for other police forces in the Pacific area, said the PM after a meeting with Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape (pictured).

‘This security agreement is a natural progression in our security partnership,’ he said.

Mr Albanese said Mr Marape will be invited to address Parliament on February 8 and will be the first since Indonesian President Joko Widodo four years ago.

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape (R) shakes hands with Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Parliament House in Canberra on December 7, 2023. Australia signed a security deal with Papua New Guinea on December 7, bolstering ties to a key Pacific neighbour that has been courted persistently by China. (Photo by HILARY WARDHAUGH / AFP) (Photo by HILARY WARDHAUGH/AFP via Getty Images)

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten celebrates ‘significant moment’ in history

‘This is a significant moment in Australian history,’ he said.

‘Our nation will reap the rewards of the review’s work.’

Mr Shorten will address the media and the public at the National Press Club on Thursday.

It is expected he will outline further details on the expected reforms.

The government’s full response will not be publicly available until 2024.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese struck an initial deal with state and territory leaders at a national cabinet meeting on Wednesday to respond to the review.

They agreed to work on new laws which he said would ‘improve the experience of participants and restore the original intent of the scheme, to support people with permanent and significant disability, with a broader ecosystem of support”.’

Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, November 13, 2023. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

Government strikes IR deal in the Senate

Tony Burke has struck a deal with David Pocock, Lidia Thorpe and the Greens to pass his labour hire bill through the Senate.

This entails splitting the bill into two and criminalising superannuation theft. The secondary bill will be comprised of details the cross bench required more time to examine.

Mining and Energy Union General Secretary Grahame Kelly said this should be celebrated.

‘Labour hire exploitation is out of control in the mining industry and workers have been raising this issue for many years,’ he said.

“After years of campaigning for Same Job Same Pay, the MEU will now focus on making sure these new laws deliver for workers across the mining and energy industries.”

Under the new legislation, companies will not be able to pay labour hire workers less than permanent staff for doing the same job, if an Enterprise Agreement is in place.

“It’s a fantastic Christmas present for Australian workers.”

The bill will also criminalise intentional wage theft, introduct criminal offences for industrial manslaughter and better support first responders with PTSD – a clause that was hard fought for by Senator Pocock.

Minister for Employment Tony Burke during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, November 13, 2023. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

Landmark NDIS report released today

Australians with disabilities have limited choice or control in services because the support ecosystem is too reliant on the government’s disability scheme, a landmark report says.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme supports about 631,000 Australians.

Though it was once world-leading, its effectiveness has come into question as its cost continues surging at an unsustainable 14 per cent each year.

To prevent the NDIS from eating into other parts of the federal budget, the government is aiming to contain its growth to eight per cent while improving support by implementing structural and other changes.

On Thursday the government released an independent review of the scheme which made 26 recommendations.

‘It is an unbalanced disability support system that relies too heavily on the NDIS at the expense of an inclusive, accessible and thriving broader disability support ecosystem.”

It found the NDIS’s efforts to cater previously generic disability supports to diverse needs had made the scheme overly complex and confusing, and had ultimately failed to change the system.

Many scheme applicants were also forced to put forward the worst versions of themselves if they wanted to receive support.

“For many, poor availability of services, complexity of navigating what is available and difficulty in moving between poviders means, in practice, there is little to no choice and control,” the report read.

Anthony Albanese says the NDIS needs reform so it can provide support to people with a disability.

Andrew Forrest wants ‘heads on spikes’ over fossil fuels

Australian mining boss Andrew Forrest has called for ‘heads on spikes’ of fossil fuel bosses.

In the extraordinary spray on the sidelines of the 2023 United Nations COP28 climate talks in Dubai, Dr Forrest said the continued use of fossil fuels could be ‘lethal’.

He took particular aim as bosses in the oil and gas industries who are risking the lives of people in poor countries by exposing them to ‘lethal humidity’, the ABC reported.

‘If you can’t cool yourself you’re actually an oven burning around 100 watts all the time. If you can get rid of that heat energy, you cook.

‘And when these deaths occur — and they’re occurring now, but when they occur at much larger-scale — I want these so-called people who are very smart to be held to account.

‘It’s their heads which should be put up on spikes because they wilfully ignored and they didn’t care.’