Canberra Report: PM's cancellation extraordinary

I'm writing from Parliament House in Canberra where Parliament is supposed to be sitting. The decision to cancel the House of Representatives sittings was extraordinary.

Indeed it is without precedent to do so in the absence of the likes of a natural disaster, a terrorism event or war. 

The reason? The government would have been two votes short this week and was at risk of losing votes on issues like penalty rates and our attempts to establish a Royal Commission into the banks.

I'm an Canberra for part of this week regardless because like all Members and Senators, when here we have numerous commitments beyond what happens in the Parliamentary channel; shadow cabinet and various meetings with business, not-for-profits other interest groups.

The Parliament will resume next week and then another week will be added to the program to make up for the loss of this week. That in turn will cause all MPs to miss a large number of important commitments in our electorates. Among the end-of-year school presentations and community group Christmas functions. It's a great shame we will miss the opportunity to acknowledge local school achievers and to thank all those who spend much of their year helping others.


Thank you to all those who attended my most recent NDIS forum. The information seasons have been valuable for me and I hope, valuable to those with disability and their carers.

The NDIS has been a disappointment for too many and I'll continue to do all I can to make it the scheme we had all hoped for.


All the pundits said Saturday's Queensland election would be tight and they were right. While they had a bad night, One Nation's high primary vote in a number of regional electorates highlights an ongoing level of discontent amongst a large number of voters.

The smart response for the major parties is to acknowledge that not everyone who votes One Nation is a crazy racist or something similar.

Rather, it is to acknowledge that many people are feeling economically worse off than they were five years ago.

Having acknowledged that point, the policy emphasis has to be on what is now termed "inclusive growth".

That is, a growing economy in which the maximum amount of people participate without stressing about job security and are able to secure decent reward for their efforts.

Politicians who try to tell struggling families they've never had it so good do so at their peril.

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