Government to have talks with Jakarta as it considers moving Australia’s embassy to Jerusalem
• Government blames ‘administrative error’ for its support for ‘it’s OK to be white’ vote
• Katharine Murphy: Morrison’s desperate embassy stunt is a silly idea designed for him to cling to power
And we will leave the blog here tonight.
What a week huh? (Insert Liz Lemon joke here)
Back to the Senate, the government “denied formality” to this motion put forward by Pauline Hanson.
That the Senate is of the opinion that anti-Semitism should be defined, as it is by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, as a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as:
Further to Rebehka Sharkie’s question in QT about the crossbenchers’ bill to temporarily remove children on Nauru for medical treatment, Bill Shorten has written to Scott Morrison announcing Labor’s legislation:
Bill Shorten has written to Scott Morrison about the temporary removal of children of asylum seekers off Nauru for treatment pic.twitter.com/TYbLF000lT
Labor has officially responded to the idea put forward (again) by the government – that it wants a lifetime ban on asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island from ever entering Australia, before it would consider New Zealand’s resettlement offer.
The problem there is that New Zealand has freedom of movement with us (and vice versa) so, by creating a lifetime ban, it is essentially creating a second tier of New Zealand citizenship.
The discrimination issue is not going away any time soon, no matter how many times Scott Morrison says the government is taking its time to respond to the Ruddock review to ensure it gets it right.
Janet Rice says voting for the Greens’ discrimination-free schools bill will put the issue to bed. The senator introduced it this afternoon. She said in a statement:
Prime minister Scott Morrison is right: we need to ‘act right now’ to end this unfair discrimination while both parties are feeling the pressure in Wentworth.
Under intense community pressure, both the Labor and Liberal parties have changed their position and are now talking big about removing discrimination against LGBT+ students and teachers from our laws.
The Palestinian foreign minister is more blunt:
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki says Australia’s position re Israel embassy threatens its trade and business with other nations pic.twitter.com/yTqS1sNnkD
From the Indonesian foreign minister’s statement, as reported by the ABC’s David Lipson.
You can take from this Indonesia is critical of the proposal Australia is looking at, but it is not clear whether the trade deal will be pulled because of it.
Indonesian Foreign Minister: We have conveyed to Australia our opposition Re Embassy issue…. Indonesia encourages Aust and other nations to continue to support the peace process and not conduct any action that could undermine the peace process and global security pic.twitter.com/JpiOAYACLH
Katharine Murphy with an update on the ‘backdoor’ closure Scott Morrison wants before looking at accepting New Zealand’s offer:
Morrison put NZ back on the table both yesterday and today in the party room in response to Zimmerman’s question. Govt wants to revive the old no back door legislation. Labor says it won’t support it; if the Coalition wants NZ resettlement, pick up the phone to Ardern #auspol
And the ABC is to be the subject of another inquiry:
Breaking: the Senate has established an inquiry into the independence of the ABC #auspol
And now this:
Indonesia’s trade minister tells Reuters no plans to suspend trade deal with Australia after PM flags moving Australian embassy to Jerusalem. He expects it to be signed later this year.
The motion Penny Wong flagged yesterday:
That the Senate –
A Senate committee will soon decide if federal police can use documents seized in a raid on the home affairs department for its investigation into leaks concerning the visa cases of two foreign au pairs.
The Senate on Tuesday afternoon voted to refer the issue to its privileges committee, which is due to meet on Thursday.
Looks like there are some Eurovision fans in the department of human services:
From Primrose Riordan at the Australian:
Michelle Grattan was reduced to using all caps in a tweet earlier today.
amazing statement from Porter who is ATTORNEY-GENERAL
you know it’s a bad day when … pic.twitter.com/z0xiUQ7l2W
And question time ends.
I assume Scott Morrison has some phone calls to make.
What a treat Joel Fitzgibbon has just given us – more Michael McCormack!
Speaking to Hot Tomato a little earlier, Stuart Robert explained how the $38,000 internet bill happened (which he has agreed to pay back):
“These things are awkward on our – there’s a management report that comes out every month, in these things, and goes through every single expense, but I probably just wasn’t paying enough attention.”
The ABC is reporting the Australian ambassador in Jakarta is seeking urgent talks with the Indonesian foreign minister.
Bill Shorten to Scott Morrison:
Is the prime minister aware of the reports that Indonesia is reconsidering its trade deal with Australia as a result of the prime minister’s rushed announcement today? How many jobs could be at risk as a result of the day’s foreign policy on the run announcement about moving the embassy?
And because there is not enough going on, Daisy Turnbull Brown is also letting loose with opinions on the Liberal party (on teachers, which makes sense, given she is one)
As Scott Morrison defends the government’s position on Israel, this comes through
Breaking: Indonesia is considering suspending its imminent trade deal with Australia over PM @ScottMorrisonMP ‘s position on moving Australian embassy to Jerusalem
Bill Shorten to Scott Morrison:
The secretary of DFAT has said that the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem had not been helpful and had made what was already a very, very difficult process even harder.
Peter Dutton gets another chance to tell you how safe you are.
Very. Because Labor is not in government [insert spooky music]
Tanya Plibersek to Scott Morrison:
In June, when asked whether Australia would follow President Trump and move its embassy to Tel Aviv, the now prime minister said, and I quote, no, no, it is not the government’s policy, it has never been under review and we are not doing it.
Christopher Pyne just took a dixer on Israel and turned it into Labor’s problem:
“They keep claiming bipartisanship on national security. What is their position on the decision that we have taken, the announcement that we have made today. [To vote no in the UN vote on Palestine taking up the leadership of the G77]
Tanya Plibersek to Scott Morrison:
“The prime minister is refusing to act on removing discrimination against LGBTI teachers until after the government has released the Ruddock report. Why is the prime minister keeping the Ruddock report a secret until after the Wentworth byelection?
Mark Dreyfus to Scott Morrison:
Yesterday when asked about laws which allowed discrimination against LGBTI teachers, the treasurer said and I quote “I don’t think these laws are right”. Today Liberal senator Dean Smith has said he supports “amendments to remove discrimination against LGBTI teachers”. Will the prime minister join with Labor to ensure that teachers cannot he sacked just because of who they are and who they love?
An emergency meeting of representatives from Middle Eastern and North African countries is currently under way at the office of the Palestinian delegation to Australia in Canberra to discuss Scott Morrison’s comments regarding moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
The Palestinian representative to Australia, Izzat Salah Abudulhadi, was joined by representatives from the embassies of a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Kuwait, Jordan, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Sudan, Qatar, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Iraq.
Michael McCormack gave everyone a chance to have a water break again, and we move on to Chris Bowen with a question to Scott Morrison, which is taken by Josh Frydenberg:
Can the prime minister confirm that when we said the GST floor needed to be legislated, the government ignored it and then agreed to it? And then we called for that legislation to ensure that no state or territory is left worse off, the government rejected it but today it accepted it?
Rebekha Sharkie has today’s crossbench question and it’s on the crossbench bill to support the AMA call to have the children of asylum seekers, and their families, temporarily relocated to Australia for medical treatment:
Will you support the call of the crossbench and some of your backbench and temporarily relocate children from Nauru so that they can receive the medical care that every child deserves?
I note the interjection from the member who was previously only the second most [failed] immigration minister in Australian history. He does hold the record to see more boats turn up in one month than any other immigration minister. [While I sat as] the shadow immigration minister, while they just that there and failed and the bodies piled up, Mr Speaker, is an absolute disgrace.
He can sit there in all of his outrage and all of his squawking, Mr Speaker, but he has delivered the fact that he failed on his watch.
Tanya Plibersek to Scott Morrison:
The government claims its decision to endorse white supremacist slogans in the Senate was an administrative error. Was it an administrative error when the government voted to cut $14bn from public schools? Was it eight administrative errors when it voted to cut penalty rates, was it six administrative errors when the prime minister voted against a banking royal commission? Is the government’s message in Wentworth really, vote for a government that has absolutely no idea what it is doing?
The electors of Wentworth have an important choice to make on Saturday. They can support a government that can support economic growth, that has been the envy of the developed world, they can support a government that has demonstrated working with business and those all around the country, more than one million jobs over the last five years, they can support a government that has ensured that they are able to keep Australians safe, and you know the Labor party likes to talk about bipartisanship on these sorts of issues.
What I know about the Labor party is that they subcontract the hard decisions on national security, and the economy, to the government.
We move back to dixers and looking at the despatch box, Nicole Flint has been moved to directly behind it.
She’s a splash of pink jacket in a sea of [mostly] blue suits, but she is most definitely smack bang behind the despatch box.
Tony Burke to Scott Morrison:
Does the prime minister honestly expect Australia to believe that an administrative error led to the government supporting a white supremacy slogan, when a review of the motion in September… Today the government refused to allow this house to debate and rejected. Is this what the prime minister meant when he called his own government the Muppet show?”
Ross Vasta gets the first dixer. My, my, my Queensland MPs are getting some love in QT lately.
Anyone would think that the LNP was in trouble in Queensland and could decide the election.
Bill Shorten to Scott Morrison on…Malcolm Turnbull:
“The Liberal candidate for Wentworth said yesterday that he was appalled at the treatment that was meted out to Malcolm Turnbull. Does the prime minister agree that the way he and his government treated Malcolm Turnbull was appalling, and when will the prime minister tell the voters in Wentworth, why isn’t Malcolm Turnbull still the prime minister of Australia?”
And we are almost at question time!
Get those bingo predictions ready
I’m not sure this helps the government’s argument today:
The Greens also stand against the accelerated tax cuts for businesses with a turnover of between $10m and $50m.
Richard Di Natale made that position clear last week – here is Adam Bandt on why:
Meanwhile, the small to medium accelerated tax cut debates is also going on: pic.twitter.com/JVsz2HJ91j
Back to the Senate for the wash up.
Mathias Cormann puts the motion again.
Believe it or not, there is still some policy and legislative work being done in this place.
Josh Frydenberg has confirmed the government will legislate to ensure no state or territory is worse off under the GST changes, after originally dismissing it.
So, a compromise, a sensible compromise, has been reached. Which will see the commonwealth legislate that no state or territory will be worse off under the new system to the period 26-27 … and in 26-27, the Productivity Commission will undertake a review to assess whether the new system of the GST distribution is working efficiently and effectively.
Richard Di Natale says the Greens won’t be supporting the motion to allow the government to revote on the motion, as he sees it as allowing the government to say it made a mistake, when he does not believe they did.
He said the Greens would support a new motion, but not this one.
Pauline Hanson said she put the motion forward because she wants to get of racism:
“There is a rise of anti-white racism in this country. The most demonised person in this country is the white male. It has to stop, right from the very beginning. Even 22 years ago, I called for equality for all Australians. I am seeing a division which is happening in our nation because of the colour of your skin or your cultural background.
Mathias Cormann said it may seem implausible but it is true, that the government voting for the motion yesterday was an administrative error.
He is attempting to bring the motion back, so the government can formally reject it.
And Tony Burke continued:
The attorney general’s excuses on this have been completely pathetic. We’re talking about a motion that was put on the Senate notice paper in September, in September. That the attorney general had had since September and issued instructions to support. The debate occurred and the Liberal and National party senators sat there hearing the debate and knowing what they were about to vote on.
And none of them questioned it. None of them thought that maybe we should be opposed to this white supremacist stuff that’s coming from Senator Hanson.
And from Tony Burke:
This resolution does not condemn the government and what they just did [vote against suspending standing orders] does. Because they were given an opportunity, just then, to vote on a motion that says nothing more than that we reject what Pauline Hanson put to the Senate yesterday.
Nothing more than that.
Fraser Anning doesn’t get why those words are racist.
Appears to be a running theme for him.
Cool, cool, cool
The House, for those managing to keep up, has delayed the vote on whether to suspend standing orders to debate Tony Burke’s motion, until after the matter of public importance.
Penny Wong then points out the history of the statement ‘it’s okay to be white’:
Then, when this is finally pointed out to them, do they apologise? Do they seek to recommit the vote? No. You doubled down. One after one you line up on Twitter to defend your actions. The Attorney tweets, ‘Government senators’ actions in the Senate confirmed that the government deplores any kind of racism.’ Senator Cormann is so outraged by this, he retweets that, and then adds his own comments in support for good measure.
But you know what actually made them change position? Not principle; not the fact that they were standing behind a white supremacist slogan; and not the fact that they were yet again lining up behind Senator Hanson in some hopeless and vain attempt to protect their right-wing base. No, it was only when the Liberal candidate for Wentworth came out against the motion that it started to dawn on the government that they might have made a mistake— not that it was wrong in principle to support a motion that really can be characterised as akin to something a neo-Nazi would support; not that it was wrong to be led by the noes by Senator Hanson. What they really responded to was that it might cost them votes in Wentworth.”
In closing, my challenge to the government is this: if you’re serious about fixing this up, why don’t you recommit the motion? Why don’t you recommit the motion and not allow this stain in a multicultural nation to remain on the record of this Senate?”
I thank Senator Wong for her contribution and, on behalf of the government, I seek leave to recommit the vote on motion No. 1,092, which was voted on yesterday.”
I move that the Senate take note of the government’s stated position on racism in Australia, and I rise to respond to that somewhat pathetic attempt at a clean-up. And that’s what it was – a pathetic attempt at a clean-up where this minister has to come in and try and take on the chin the fact that they all voted for a motion that included a phrase that everybody knows is used by white supremacists. All of you did so. And now you want to come in and say, ‘Oops, we made a mistake.’ We don’t believe you. No one believes you, and everybody knows this is a just craven and pathetic attempt to try and clean up your mess.
The reality is yesterday’s decision by government senators to vote in favour of a phrase created and disseminated by white supremacist groups around the world is a shameful episode. It is a shameful episode in this chamber. It is a phrase created by white, right-wing extremist groups in the United States with the sole purpose of causing a backlash to help convert people to the cause of the neo-Nazis and extremist groups like the Klu Klux Klan. There is nothing innocent, nothing unknown, nothing hidden about this phrase. Frankly, the claim that somehow the government didn’t understand it or didn’t know about it is not believable.
Pauline Hanson will hold a press conference at 12.45, because the only people enjoying this mess are One Nation.
Just before both chambers erupted into debate, the Senate president, Scott Ryan, made this determination on a privileges issue Brian Burston raised a little earlier after his fallout with One Nation:
Senators, by letter dated 27 September 2018 Senator Burston has raised a matter of privilege, alleging that, by removing him from positions within Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party and pressing him to resign from the Senate, Senator Hanson has sought to improperly interfere with the free performance of his duties as a senator and to penalise him for his conduct as a senator.
Senator Burston suggests that these actions were intended to influence him to change his vote on government legislation in the Senate.
A dispatch from New Zealand has come through:
The New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said she was waiting for official confirmation of the proposed move but Australia’s intentions would not help support peace in the region.
OK, so yup.
It’s not the biggest issue facing the parliament, a motion calling for the parliament to condemn the phrase is a Labor stunt BUT the government will be moving to put the motion again in the Senate, so it can reject it.
Pyne says the government has apologised and eaten its humble pie, and it is time to move on.
Christopher Pyne says this is a “Canberra bubble” issue, it was only an “administrative failure” and is not the most important issue facing the parliament today – small business tax cuts are.
Derryn Hinch said senators who opposed the motion were yelling ‘what are you doing’ at government senators as they moved to vote on Pauline Hanson’s side.
In the House, Christopher Pyne said the government was not going to “fall for Labor stunts” and vote for Tony Burke’s motion, saying the vote was a mistake “which has been corrected”.
And it looks like the government will NOT be supporting that motion from Labor.
Here is the motion Tony Burke wants the House to vote on:
I seek leave to move the following motion —
The feed is super scratchy, but I think Mathias Cormann is trying to have another vote on the motion, so the government can vote against it.
This would be the motion that was already defeated.
Richard Di Natale says the government “doesn’t have the guts” to stand by what it supported yesterday.
“…The racists and bigots on your team won,” he says.
Both Tony Burke and Penny Wong are pointing out the government’s hypocrisy in retweeting and tweeting support for the government’s position yesterday.
Burke is also mentioning how government senators also shook Fraser Anning’s hand after his final solution speech.
The parliament feed is having a lot of trouble today, but I will bring you as much of the speeches as I can, as soon as I can.
In the Senate, Penny Wong is also making a statement against the motion.
Tony Burke has opened parliament with a motion calling on the House to reject Pauline Hanson’s motion that it is ‘okay to be white’.
And from the caucus meeting:
Labor caucus signed off on the new procedures for medical transfers from Nauru I reported early this morning: but there was a substantial debate. Labor left MPs said this needed to be the first step. At least 9 Labor MPs spoke @AmyRemeikis #auspol
Parliament is about to start, which means it is midday, which means I have no idea where this day has gone.
I guess he had some experience after the jump his own must have received at seeing the backlash to the ‘it’s ok to be white’ support.
The PM in position to plug Restart a Heart Day pic.twitter.com/grMJjC8ayV
Scott Morrison and Marise Payne have released a joint statement, as the thought bubble from this morning looking at moving the Israel embassy continues to make pretty big waves:
The Australian Government has today made a number of important announcements in support of Australia’s interests in the Middle East and our continuing support for a durable and resilient two-state solution. As a package, these announcements reinforce our commitment to efforts towards resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, further strengthen our valuable relationship with Israel, and will review Australia’s policy in relation to Iran’s nuclear program.
In making these announcements, the Government underlines its enduring commitment to the Middle East Peace Process, and to a two-state solution that allows Israel and a future Palestinian state to exist side-by-side, in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders. We will continue to encourage both sides to continue dialogue and negotiations towards a peaceful settlement. The Government reaffirms its commitment to constructive engagement with Iran.
Mark Dreyfus does not buy Christian Porter’s explanation. From his statement:
As Attorney-General, Christian Porter is in charge of the Racial Discrimination Act and interpreting other complex legislation. Does he seriously expect Australians to believe that he couldn’t interpret what Senator Hanson’s motion meant?
More from the joint party room meeting:
In this morning’s party room meeting, @SenPaterson and @JimMolan congratulated the PM on Jerusalem and the Iran deal; Trent Zimmerman raised kids on Nauru; Amanda Stoker and @GChristensenMP raised sex discrimination changes #auspol @AmyRemeikis
On kids on Nauru: Zimmerman wanted to know about whether the NZ deal could be activated. PM said words the the effect of perhaps, if we can shut the back door. Morrison referred to this in parliament yesterday #auspol @AmyRemeikis
On discrimination, Christensen/Stoker said religious freedom protections needed to be delivered & the debate needed to be steered away from kids. Christensen said it was a free speech issue. Stoker said it was ok for teachers to be gay if they upheld school values @AmyRemeikis
MEDIA STATEMENT | @OneNationAus Senator Pauline Hanson responds to the Government withdrawing support for her motion calling on the Senate to acknowledge:
I don’t know – maybe that the phrase ‘it’s okay to be white’ is often used by white supremacists, including the former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke, is pretty offensive? Just for starters.
The party room meetings are on and the agreements are starting to drift out – the Coalition has agreed to support the GST changes ensuring that no state will be worse off – during the transition period for the new formula.
Labor had pushed the government to legislate that no state would be worse off, while Scott Morrison’s original position was that the government didn’t need to legislate it, but would just commit to it as policy.
Just back to that explanation from Christian Porter:
It appears that, of the very large number of motions on which my office’s views are routinely sought, this one was not escalated to me because it was interpreted in my office as a motion opposing racism. The associations of the language were not picked up. Had it been raised directly with me those issues would have been identified.”
This “discussion” Scott Morrison wants to start about the Australian embassy position in Israel is most definitely not being greeted ‘warmly’ by all sectors.
BREAKING: the Palestinian delegation to Australia says 15 Middle Eastern embassies are likely to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss PM Morrison’s comments on Jerusalem. Story soon @australian
Queensland is attempting to remove abortion from its criminal code this week.
Ben Smee wrote about just how long it has taken to get to this point, here.
Of all the issues at the heart of failed past peace efforts, none have been as sensitive as the status of Jerusalem and so many states have sought not to show favour to one side or the other. Israel captured the eastern side of the city in 1967, and later annexed those neighbourhoods where thousands of Palestinians live.
If Scott Morrison goes ahead with the embassy move, it will put him at odds with close allies in Europe on the issue. While the prime minister said it was a “sensible” idea that Australia could move its embassy and also work towards a two-state solution, that thinking goes against international consensus.
Christian Porter has issued this statement – it all happened without his knowledge.
So apparently administrative error is now code for rogue staffer?
An early email advising an approach on the motion went out from my office on this matter without my knowledge.
It appears that, of the very large number of motions on which my office’s views are routinely sought, this one was not escalated to me because it was interpreted in my office as a motion opposing racism. The associations of the language were not picked up. Had it been raised directly with me those issues would have been identified.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry is also very happy today. From its statement:
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community, warmly welcomes the announcements by Prime Minister Morrison regarding the status of Jerusalem, the Iran Deal and the Palestinian bid to chair a United Nations group, the G77.
But Pauline Hanson is happy:
Looks like Scott Morrison is suffering from a bad case of it’s okay to be white guilt. -PHhttps://t.co/TSxTWmFYnh
Anne Aly is also sure of why Scott Morrison has chosen now to raise the proposal of moving the embassy:
It’s very evident, today’s announcement, that the government is even considering a major foreign policy decision on the basis of the Wentworth byelection, in order to win a byelection – this is unprecedented, unheard of that a foreign policy decision that could affect a peace process in one of the most fragile regions in the world would be considered just so that this government can win the Wentworth byelection. Just goes to show how desperate they are and how out of touch they are.”
Penny Wong says Labor is against moving Australia’s embassy in Israel, and here’s why:
I’d refer you to what Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop and the secretary of DFAT have said prior to this time, which is this; it is unhelpful to the peace process.
The reality is Jerusalem is contested territory. Its status has to be resolved as part of any peace process discussion, as part of any discussion about a two-state solution. The fact that this has been a bipartisan position I think demonstrates the lack of wisdom in Mr Morrison floating this.
So what happened in the chamber?
Well, you can watch the vote here. You may notice government senators looking over their voting sheets. And checking it twice.
Lucy Gichuhi has just deleted her tweet. (More accurately, deleted it 16 minutes ago, according to this.)
For the record, it said this:
I say no to white supremacy I say no to black supremacy But I say yes to HUMAN supremacy Today, the Government condemned all forms of Racism #auspol”
There are so many first drafts of history these days.
Anne Ruston was absolutely right to make absolutely clear that the government condemns all forms of racism and of course @cporterwa was right to support Anne’s statement on behalf of Government senators, as did I. https://t.co/rANFf12tse
A despatch from Israel, on Australia considering the relocation of its embassy:
News of the potential embassy move came in late on Monday evening in Jerusalem and is sure to make waves here this week.
Just to recap, we don’t know who was responsible for the “administrative error” which saw the government vote yes, when it meant to vote no, we don’t know why it happened, and we don’t know why government senators tweeted their reasons for voting in support when apparently they did not support it.
Mathias Cormann doesn’t explain what the administrative process failure was.
He also doesn’t explain why a bunch of government senators tweeted about why they supported the motion, given it was apparently a complete and utter cock-up.
Odd the government voted for the anti-white racism motion as the result of an “administrative error” when numerous senators then tweeted to explain their support for it #auspol pic.twitter.com/7QV5ZkY1AP
I guess this is the problem with scheduled tweets?
The Government Senators’ actions in the Senate this afternoon confirm that the Government deplores racism of any kind.
So apparently government senators don’t listen to the motions and just vote through direction. Even when they don’t support the motion. Even after they have decided not to support a motion. They’ll do what the direction says.
Look, I don’t support the form of words that’s in that motion and the government made a decision not to support that motion. We deplore racism of any kind. There is no question in my mind that the decision that we made in September to oppose this motion is the decision that should have been implemented yesterday. As a result of an administrative process failure that didn’t happen and I regret that.”
There is an administrative process involved in determining the government’s position in relation to each of the 50 or 60 motions that are dealt with in the Senate every week.
As I’ve indicated, when this issue was first raised, when this motion was first raised in September, the government made a clear decision to oppose this motion and to make a statement that as a government we deplore racism in any kind, that is a decision that should have been maintained yesterday and as a result of an administrative process failure it wasn’t. That is regrettable and I take responsibility.”
Mathias Cormann said it was an “administrative failure” which led to government senators voting for the Pauline Hanson motion that it is “okay to be white” and has taken responsibility for it.
He says the government had determined to vote no when the motion first came up in September, but somehow ended up voting yes through some sort of “administrative” error.
Mathias Cormann and Penny Wong are often paired for Senate motion votes – as leaders of their respective parties in the Senate, they are often too busy to vote on every single motion, so there is often a standing pair.
I didn’t see Cormann in the chamber for the motion, but it has been pointed out to me that he could have been there. We will soon find out.
It looks like the assistant treasurer, Stuart Robert, he of the $38,000 internet bill, is looking for a new electorate officer.
You’ll need these skills to apply:
The only thing a government senator said in relation to the motion yesterday was this short statement from Anne Ruston:
The government condemns all forms of racism.”
The Herald Sun is reporting a group of government MPs are advocating for children of asylum seekers and their families to be removed from Nauru.
Rob Harris reports Russell Broadbent, Craig Laundy and Julia Banks are calling on the government to bring them to Australia for immediate medical treatment, following the AMA’s intervention.
Labor is not in support of moving Australia’s Israel embassy to disputed territory. Penny Wong has issued this statement:
Foreign policy, and Australia’s national interest are far too important to be played with in this fashion.
Instead of playing dangerous and deceitful word games with Australian foreign policy in a desperate attempt to win votes Scott Morrison should try governing in a way that reflects the values of the people of Wentworth by committing to serious action on climate change, and legislating to protect teachers and students from discrimination.
Mathias Cormann isn’t even waiting for the Senate to meet to make his statement – he has just issued an alert for a doorstop at 9.10 in the Mural Hall.
Scott Morrison on the support for that motion:
What about the directive from the attorney general Christian Porter’s office that the government should support this “It’s OK to be white” motion.
Well, I’m sure all Australians stand against racism in whatever form it takes, but the leader of the government in the Senate will be making a statement about that later today.
“The leader of the government in the Senate will be making comments on that later today.
Well, I found it regrettable but the leader of the government in the Senate will be making a statement on that shortly.”
Government senators were in damage control after the vote last night.
Voting to say that “it’s OK to be white” is taking a stand against racism, apparently.
The Government indeed deplores racism of any kind. https://t.co/ABqqMj08XE
I say no to white supremacy
I say no to black supremacy
But I say yes to HUMAN supremacy
Today, the Government condemned all forms of Racism #auspol
The Government Senators’ actions in the Senate this afternoon confirm that the Government deplores racism of any kind.
Breaking: I’m told AG Christian Porter’s office gave the instruction to support the ‘it’s OK to be White’ motion yesterday AFTER the Government had previously decided to oppose it when this was first raised in September. @SkyNewsAust
Scott Morrison could not get out of that press conference fast enough when questions about the government’s support for Pauline Hanson’s “it’s OK to be white” motion came up, only saying Senate leader, Mathias Cormann, would be making a statement on it.
As he is leaving, Morrison says he found it “regrettable” the government voted in support for a motion which used a phase popularised by racists, the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi’s.
So, it has nothing to do with Wentworth, nothing to do with the position of the United States and nothing to do with Scott Morrison’s faith.
It apparently has come up, at this particular point in time, four days out from the Wentworth vote, where the Jewish population sits at 12.5%, because of the timing of a UN vote:
There is a vote tomorrow morning, on Wednesday, Australia will be voting no. Now, that is a significant decision and in my view as a new prime minister of only seven weeks, that would raise questions about where do I stand on a range of other issues? I thought it was important that that context … I’m being upfront with leaders and others around the world.
This is our thinking on this issue. We think after three years after the Iran nuclear deal, it is timely to have a good look and see whether it is meeting our objectives. Is it adding to greater stability or is it not? I think they are fair questions and I think if we’re going to say internally that we’re going to look at this question again that we should say publicly that we’re doing that.
And, it also has nothing to do with the United States, says Scott Morrison. And that includes the question of whether or not we remain a part of the Iran nuclear deal which Barrack Obama oversaw while president, and Donald Trump pulled the States out of.
The Australian government has not made a decision to actually recognise Jerusalem as the capital or to shift our embassy.
We have not made a decision to change our policy when it comes to it the Iran nuclear deal. All we have said that is that consistent with our commitment to a two state solution, we are reviewing, without prejudice, the Iran nuclear deal and we are open to the arguments that have been made by our former ambassador to Israel about how we could progress that issue in the context of the two state solution.
Wentworth has nothing to do with it, says Scott Morrison, and he is just listening to Dave Sharma as a former ambassador to Israel. He also denies it has anything to do with keeping the conservative section of his party room happy:
It is not motivated by either. In June I articulated the government’s policy. I was the treasurer. The treasurer is not responsible for matters of foreign affairs. It is my job to articulate and speak to government policy as it existed at the time.”
My faith and religion has nothing to do with this decision.
But Scott Morrison also says no decision has been made:
What I’ll do in the months ahead is confer with cabinet colleagues. I will obviously take the opportunity up during the coming summit season to confer with other leaders around the world and gauge their perception about this and to make the case that Dave himself has made about whether this can actually provide an alternative way forward and aid the cause that I believe all of us are interested in pursuing.
So, no decision has been made in regarding the recognition of a capital or the movement of an embassy and I should be clear they are the two issues. You can recognise a capital, the issue the real estate and your embassy is a separate one and as Dave argues in his article, these things can be dealt with sequentially, but at the same time, what we are simply doing is being open to that suggestion as a potential way forward and I’m not going to close my mind off to things that can actually be done better and differently to aid the great cause of Australian foreign policy and that’s all we have said today.
The prime minister says he is “open minded” to the “sensible” proposal to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to [west] Jerusalem:
Now, in relation to our diplomatic presence in Israel. What I have simply said is this – we’re committed to a two-state solution.
Australia’s position on this issue has to date assumed that it is not possible to consider the question of the recognition of Israel’s capital in Jerusalem and that be consistent with pursuing a two state solution.
Scott Morrison is in the Blue Room for a two flag press conference, speaking on why we are now considering moving the embassy:
I wanted to make a number of statements with the foreign minister in relation to our government’s position on Israel and issues in the Middle East. Now, the first thing I want to stress very strongly is the government’s commitment to a two-state solution in the Middle East, remains, has always been and I believe always will be Australia’s policy in relation to the resolution of Israel and Palestine.
We are committed to a two-state solution and nothing has changed when it comes to the government’s position on this matter. In dealing with the matters though that are coming up this week in the United Nations general assembly though and particular in relation to the vote that will be held on Wednesday morning, regarding concessions and conference of official status on the Palestinian Authority, to chair the G77, this is a significant vote.
Can you tell we are in the final days of a crucial byelection?
Scott Morrison is discussing overturning decades of Australian foreign policy and moving our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following in the footsteps of the USA.
None of these things should be seen in isolation and we need to see what effort the Americans will put into a Middle East peace process, but I think from all sides it made what was already a very, very difficult process even harder.”
I spoke today with Australian PM @ScottMorrisonMP. He informed me that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel & moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem. I’m very thankful to him for this. We will continue to strengthen ties between & !