Olivia Newton-John waves to starstruck pollies in QT
Aussie icon Olivia Newton-John surprises everyone with a visit to Question Time, and quite frankly we were all starstruck.
Here's five things from Question Time on Wednesday:
1. THE ONE THAT WE WANT
Parliament was abuzz this afternoon after Question Time was graced with the presence of the one, the only Olivia Newton-John.
In Canberra to talk about Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre, the Aussie icon sat in the gallery, giving a hearty wave to the starstruck crowd below.
Sensing an opportunity to craft an off-the-cuff pun blending a famous musical number from Grease, with a post-election bounce in the Australian housing market, Prime Minister Scott Morrison quipped, "we are the ones that the Australian people wanted at the last election."
About 20 minutes later Ms Newton-John departed the room, giving another friendly wave to the squabbling pollies below.
2. HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO DISALLOWING A LINE OF QUESTIONING
After two weeks of Labor's questions about embattled MP Gladys Liu being continually ruled out by Speaker Tony Smith, the Opposition appeared to have finally found a work around.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese started with a question for Mr Morrison implying Assistant Customs Minister Jason Wood had breached ministerial standards by hosting a fundraiser at the address of his taxpayer-funded office.
"Is the Prime Minister confident that all members of the executive are abiding by his ministerial standards, specifically is he aware that the Pinnacle Club associated entity of the Liberal Party, has been operating out of a taxpayer funded office of the Assistant Minister for Customs?
"Is the Prime Minister also aware that the Pinnacle Club is holding a fundraiser hosted by the Assistant Minister for Customs attended by the assistant treasurer and featuring the Member for Chisholm as auctioneer?"
And so it went.
The Coalition who sought to have each question ruled out of order as they related to donations and opinions but Mr Smith did not accept their arguments.
And so the questions continued, though the answers were a little thin on the ground.
It's only the beginning of this issue.
3. (ELECTRICITY FOR THOSE) SUMMER NIGHTS
Energy Minister Angus Taylor was out spruiking the government's power prices credentials again today, reminding everyone he was "absolutely committed" to affordable, reliable electricity.
As summer approaches and authorities warn of potential electricity blackouts, particularly in Victoria, Mr Taylor was keen to emphasise he did not want a repeat of the loss of electricity supply experienced in that state following the closure of the Hazelwood coal fired power plant.
"I am also pleased to say that the government today has introduced legislation to eliminate the market manipulation and dodgy practices we have seen in the past, practices which the ACCC described as unacceptable and unsustainable," he said.
"We know that these reforms are required because of what we saw in Victoria … where on the mere announcement on the closure of Hazelwood, no change in supply or demand, we saw a more than doubling of wholesale prices from the baseload generators.
"We on this side of the house are in favour of free markets, but they must be markets that are free of manipulation."
4. ARE THERE WORSE THINGS THE CFMMEU COULD DO?
Not according to Attorney-General Christian Porter, who used a backbencher's Dixer about the government's proposed registered organisations integrity bill to launch into an exuberant tirade about the militant union's exhaustive rap sheet.
Spare a thought for the Hansard transcribers who must have had to fair fly their hands across the keys to capture his rapid fire rollcall of crimes committed by members of the CFMMEU.
"There is the drug dealing, sure, there is a drug dealing, yes, the multiple possession drug offences, there is this, and the assaults, they go without saying of course, and, yes, the criminal contempt of court, there is that," Mr Porter said.
"And the coercion is, the criminal trespass, the unlawful access, the resist arrest, the theft, the attempted theft by deception, the hindering and the obstruction on worksites.
"But, Mr Speaker, besides the reported drug dealing, the drug possession, the assaults, the coercion, criminal trespass, the unlawful access, the resist arrest, theft, attempted theft by the
position, what have the CFMMEU ever done wrong?"
5. TELEPHONE SERVICE DROPOUT
Not suggestion that any of the deaf individuals Labor were quizzing Communications Minister Paul Fletcher about are currently or previously enrolled in Beauty School - just running out of Grease puns.
For a second day Labor accused Mr Fletcher of leaving hearing and speech impaired Australians in the lurch by "scrapping" the country's national relay service.
Specifically the Opposition is concerned about the scrapping of a Captel handset that can be used to contact triple-0.
Mr Fletcher hit back accusing Labor of misleading the public and creating alarm and distress, but conceded that specific service would not be continued.
"Can I make it clear that all existing relay channels will continue to be available for users with the exception of the one device that the member has mentioned," he said.
"The national relay service is continuing, it is a very important service for Australians who are deaf, who have a hearing or speech impairment, it is delivered through a whole range of devices and there will continue to be $22 million a year being spent on the
provision of this vital service to ensure that Australians who are deaf or speech … impaired can continue to make effective use of our telephone system."