The Inside Word

Happy Easter!

Alleluia, Federal Parliament will rise for Easter.

MPs and senators will welcome the well-earned break, spending the recess in their constituencies or, if you’re the Treasurer, finalising the budget due on the 14th of May. 

For the religious, Good Friday and Easter Sunday hold special significance.

For Prime Minister Albanese and the ALP Government, they will be hoping the April recess provides a political resurrection.

Immigration, vehicle-efficiency schemes, contentious climate-related policies and cost-of-living challenges are bedeviling the government.

From an insider’s perspective, what’s noticeable is the Prime Minister’s direct intervention to take political control of prickly policy issues from overzealous or underperforming ministers. 

However, it’s never straightforward. 

The revised new vehicle efficiency scheme (NVES) is a classic example. Under pressure after increasing the cost of buying cars during a cost-of-living crisis, Minister Bowen and Minster King have ‘walked back’ contentious emission-reduction standards. 

The PM’s direct intervention to be more economically pragmatic than pure on vehicle emissions is telling. However, the bill must still pass through the Senate at a time when the Greens are holding out on an unrelated offshore gas bill and setting up another showdown on climate policy.

Likewise, the government’s intervention  to circumvent another High Court ruling limiting immigration detention seemed a good idea. Rapid legislation was introduced to Parliament to make it easier to deport non–citizens … in contrast to 150 dubious detainees released into the community last year. 

But, like many things in politics, it did not go to plan. As of writing, the legislation has been blocked in the Senate by the unholy alliance of the Greens and the Coalition.

While domestic issues like the Senate Select Committee on Supermarket Prices will always dominate the political narrative, the government’s more nuanced approach on foreign affairs continues to pay dividends.  

In the same week Australia welcomed Wang Yi, China’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, it simultaneously signed off on a major AUKUS agreement to send A$4.6 billion to the UK to build a nuclear reactor facility for our next-generation submarines. 

This is rather ironic considering our greatest threat comes from one of our largest trading partners in the South China Sea and domestic nuclear energy is banned in Australia.

As the Easter break approaches – and despite all our political inconsistences – perhaps we should all be grateful we live in a democracy where the power of the ballot box rules.

Now that’s Alleluia!  Happy Easter 

Sign Up

Subscribe to our newsletter