MP hits out at ‘slutshaming’ article
It's the last day of parliament, and the government is facing a humiliating defeat to end the year. Follow all the latest news live.
ASYLUM SEEKER AMENDMENTS PASS
The amendments put forward by Tim Storer and the Greens have finally passed in the Senate by votes of 32-30 and 32-29.
HUSAR LAUNCHES DEFAMATION PROCEEDINGS
Labor MP Emma Husar has announced she is launching defamation proceedings against Buzzfeed over an article it published about her in August.
"Too often, Mr Speaker, during the last six months, I've had to bite my tongue and not defend myself publicly whilst being misrepresented," Ms Husar said in a statement to the House.
"There are two sides in every story. Now it is my time to correct my record, be my own champion."
Ms Husar said the report, published at 9:33am on August 2, claimed it had requested comment from her when it hadn't.
She said one minute after the article was published, she received an email from Buzzfeed requesting comment and posing 48 questions.
"I had no chance to refute, nor respond," Ms Husar said.
"At 9:35am, (the reporter) further tweeted that I had bragged about who I was having sex with, that I had sexually harassed an employee, and intentionally exposed myself like Sharon Stone's character in Basic Instinct in front of a colleague and his infant son.
"As a result of this initial misrepresentation, over 225 articles were republished, each and every single one of them misrepresenting me in so many respects.
"Within 36 hours of this gross misrepresentation, and the slutshaming smears going viral, I was asked to resign as the member for Lindsay."
Ms Husar said Buzzfeed knew she was bound by confidentiality while the misconduct claims against her were being investigated.
"They went ahead and they published their slutshaming story knowing, with full intent, that it would go viral.
"Let me correct the record. They didn't give me any notice in advance. They didn't give me the opportunity to seek release from my confidentiality obligations so that I could respond. They didn't give me the opportunity to use our legal system to preserve the confidential process until it had properly played out.
"I am not a bully. I am not Sharon Stone. I am not a thief. And I did not deliberately misuse my work expenses. I will fight for my integrity, for my family, and for Lindsay, which is full of battlers just like me and fight for every woman who comes after me."
Two government amendments are voted down, and we move on to the part everyone has been waiting for - the amendments proposed by Tim Storer and the Greens.
Again, Cory Bernardi pushes for each one to be voted on separately.
Over in the House, Chris Bowen's motion to suspend standing orders fails and Question Time ends.
We finally get there. The Senate has voted that the migration bill be read a second time, and is now considering amendments.
Cory Bernardi tries to get each amendment voted on separately to stretch things out even more.
"Enough with the time wasting," an exasperated Penny Wong declares.
There's a lot of shouting. Everyone is getting very cranky now.
Ms Wong accuses two government Senators, Eric Abetz and Ian Macdonald, of deliberately moving around the chamber to slow things down.
Mr MacDonald accuses her of "bad manners".
Labor MP Ed Husic entertained himself during Question Time by hjiacking a colleague's Twitter account.
It really is like the last day of school here.
Meanwhile, over in the House, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen moves to suspend standing orders. He launches into a scathing speech on the government's energy policy.
"There has been a lot of intemperate language in the House and in the building today from the Prime Minister. We have heard clear and present danger. He has swallowed one too many Tom Clancy novels," Mr Bowen says.
"A very edifying performance from the current incumbent of the job. What we see here is what happens when the government policy agenda falls apart before our very eyes and nowhere is it more evident than in energy policy."
Mr Bowen runs through a list of the government's various ideas.
"This is a government that has had so many energy policies that the House would be forgiven for forgetting just how hopeless they have been when it comes to stability and certainty in energy.
"The now Treasurer, when he was minister for energy, had an emissions intensity scheme. The house could be forgiven for forgetting that, because it lasted less than 24 hours before the
extreme right wing climate change deniers opposite killed it.
"Then the chief scientist recommended the Clean Energy Target. That lasted a couple of weeks. That had relative longevity as an energy policy for the government before it was destroyed.
"Then the National Energy Guarantee, which was personally designed by the Prime Minister and now the Treasurer, the National Energy Guarantee, designed by them, we had four versions in 14 days.
"And now we have, to make up for their lack of policy, they made a policy of divestiture. Poorly designed, poorly implemented policy on the run."
Pauline Hanson joins the party, moving that debate on the migration bill be extended until 5pm. When leave is not granted, she follows Mr Bernardi's example and moves to suspend standing orders.
"This is the last time I will entertain a motion to change the time limitation," President Scott Ryan warns.
But Ms Hanson's motion is ruled in order, and she gets five minutes to speak.
"I feel cheated, and so do the people of Australia," Ms Hanson says.
"They're trying to shut down debate.
"If you allow this to happen, you're going to open up the floodgates."
We're essentially counting down to 4:30pm, when the House will adjourn for the year.
If the government can delay the Senate's verdict on asylum seekers for long enough - with a little help from Cory Bernardi - the House will run out of time to deal with it.
LONG DELAYS IN THE SENATE
Cory Bernardi is being cheeky.
In an attempt to delay the vote on asylum seekers, the former Liberal Senator first moved that the migration bill be delayed until after the next election. That effort failed, so he moved to suspend standing orders.
"This is a bill that has been hijacked to do something that it was never intended to do," Mr Bernardi argued.
"It has now been turned into a weapon of political destruction."
The government is supporting him.
None of Mr Bernardi's motions are likely to pass, but this is about playing for time.
There is an interesting dichotomy developing in Question Time. And yes, that is the second time I've used the word dichotomy today, thank you for noticing.
All of the government's questions are about border protection. All of Labor's questions are about electricity privatisation.
As usual, we appear to be at cross-purposes here.
VOTERS 'DESERVE BETTER"
Attorney-General Christian Porter berates the crossbenchers who refused a government briefing on the asylum seeker issue.
"There is now a bill in the Senate designed to weaken that central pillar of our successful border protection policy. I would like to say two things to all members present," he says.
"The first is that people are already transferred to Australia when that is medically necessary or appropriate. That already happens. The practical effect of the legislation before the Senate is achieving nothing more than weakening our borders and receiving precisely the wrong message to the people smugglers and their potential victims.
"The second thing I would like to say with respect to it is that as Attorney-General and acting Home Affairs Minister, I have offered briefings at the absolute highest level to all members of the crossbench, and I would like to thank those crossbench members who have accepted those briefings, even when their ultimate view might differ from those of the government.
"I must say that those who are ready to commit to a policy that would weaken our borders on an issue as critical as this and not accept those briefings, not hear from the people who understand all of the dimensions. To not hear from the people who can say with authority, because they have been at the coalface of this problem, what the outcome of that bill in the Senate might mean. That they would not hear from those people is unbelievably unwise, and I think their electorates deserve better than that."
ANOTHER PRIVATISATION QUESTION
"Can the Prime Minister please tell the house which clause in his divestments legislation prevents the government from forcing states to privatise the electricity assets?" Bill Shorten asks.
"The legislation makes very clear that when there is a divestment of a government asset,
it will go to another government entity," Mr Frydenberg says.
"The member for Kennedy (Bob Katter) stood up in this parliament less than one hour ago and sought to move an amendment to make that abundantly clear.
"The Leader of the Opposition was not prepared to listen to the member for Kennedy to hear his amendment, to debate his amendment, to vote on his amendment, to support his amendment."
Meanwhile, Chris Bowen and Mark Butler have issued a statement on the subject.
"It's clear the Morrison government's "big stick" bill will be able to force the privatisation of state and commonwealth owned energy assets, like Snowy Hydro," they say.
"This isn't a "big stick" policy, it's the latest version of the Liberals' 'big sell-off' - going after the publicly owned electricity assets that Labor governments have refused to privatise."
The Senate is still voting on amendments to the migration bill. There are 15 of them, and we are still nowhere near the one that matters.
Patience is a virtue.
'SHAMEFUL AND DISGRACEFUL'
Mark Butler is next.
"Isn't the Queensland Premier correct when she says this government has no idea when it comes to national energy policy?"
Josh Frydenberg lashes Labor for "shamefully and disgracefully" using a tactic to shut down debate on the government's energy bill. He's referring to that moment earlier when Labor did not grant leave to consider the bill as a whole.
Bill Shorten brings up comments Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington made yesterday, calling the idea of privatising state-owned electricity assets "out of touch".
The government has denied that would be a result of its divestment policy.
Josh Frydenberg quotes a more recent statement from Ms Frecklington.
"LNP leader Deb Frecklington has welcomed confirmation that the federal government's legislation to prohibit misconduct in the energy sector will not allow Queensland's electricity assets to be sold.
"We welcome efforts to stamp out misconduct and ensure the lowest possible prices for consumers."
QUESTION TIME BEGINS
Tony Burke gets the first question.
"Can the Prime Minister confirm that since deposing Malcolm Turnbull he has lost Wentworth, lost the member for Chisholm, scheduled 10 sitting days in eight months? Can he also confirm that today he lost control of himself, delivering one of the most hysterical press conferences in Australian political history?" he asks.
Scott Morrison responds with a single sentence.
"When it comes to losing control, the Labor Party lost control of our borders and they should be ashamed of it," he says.
Mr Cormann's attempt to adjourn debate on the migration bill has failed 32-30.
THE FIRST OF MANY MOTIONS
As Mathias Cormann moves a motion to adjourn debate on the migration bill, the Law Council has chimed in again, this time in support of the effort to get sick asylum seekers off Nauru and Manus Island.
"With respect to children, one child on Nauru is one too many. Australia is internationally committed to the principle of acting in the best of the child as a primary consideration," Law Council President Morry Bailes said.
"Removing all remaining asylum seeker children on Nauru to Australia for medical and psychiatric treatment is not just medically necessary, but necessary if Australia is to abide by our international obligations.
"Australia also has obligations to ensure the health and safety of adult asylum seekers in regional processing centres. This includes appropriate access to key health services and acting to address the risks of suicide and self-harm by detained asylum seekers.
"The abundant evidence regarding the health and wellbeing of many adult asylum seekers is grim. It is essential that Australia acts with respect to adult asylum seekers."
The government has proposed its own amendment on the migration bill which would send it off to a committee until March, essentially delaying it.
WHERE WE'RE AT
• The Senate's debate on the migration bill, including the amendment to move asylum seekers off Nauru and Manus Island, finishes at 1:50pm. At that point the Senate will vote on it;
• Question Time is at 2pm;
• When it's done with the asylum seeker stuff, the Senate will vote on the encryption legislation, and presumably approve it. Then it goes back to the House;
• Once all that is dealt with, the House could vote on the migration bill.
KATTER JUMPS IN
Bob Katter has proposed an amendment to the energy bill, designed to prevent it from leading to the sale of government assets.
Meanwhile, Labor has not granted leave to consider the bill as a whole.
So after much debate about parliamentary procedure, the House is dropping the energy bill for now and moving to members' statements.
Question Time is in half an hour.
PARLIAMENT MOVES ON TO ENERGY BILL
The House is now dealing with the government's "big stick" energy policy, which will give it the power to force misbehaving energy companies to divest their assets.
Labor isn't a fan of this bill.
Bill Shorten has responded to Scott Morrison's press conference.
"I've co-operated with three different Liberal Prime Ministers over the last five years to improve, amend and pass 15 sets of national security legislation," Mr Shorten said.
"That important work is continuing in the parliament today.
"Last night, the Liberal chair of the Joint Security and Intelligence Committee praised Labor members for the bipartisan way we have contributed to laws that will help keep Australians safe.
"I'm disappointed by the Prime Minister's behaviour today but I won't be distracted.
"I've always taken the view that when it comes to keeping Australians safe, we are all in this together.
"I urge the Prime Minister to stop playing politics and start showing some leadership."
The Senate has started its debate on the migration bill, which Labor and the crossbench is essentially hoping to use to pass Kerryn Phelps' proposal on asylum seekers.
This debate will be cut off at 1:50pm.
SOME GOOD NEWS
Parliament has passed legislation making family and domestic violence leave a workplace right.
"This change will provide a universal safety net entitlement for workers under the Fair Work Act," Kelly O'Dwyer said.
"Australians who need to take leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence will be able to do so safe in the knowledge their job is protected."
Tony Abbott finally got to speak about his report on school attendance in remote indigenous communities.
The former prime minister said he had brought "fresh eyes to an old problem".
"It's not lack of money that's to blame. On average spending on remote students is 50 per cent higher than on other students. The key factor is the high turnover of teachers, who are often very inexperienced to start with," Mr Abbott said.
He said there should be "substantially higher pay" and generous retention bonuses for teachers willing to work in remote areas.
He also recommended waiving the HECS debt of teachers who, after two years' experience in other schools, move to a remote school and stay for at least four years.
"I thank the Prime Minister for the oppotunity he's given me," he said of his role as special envoy for indigenous affairs.
The Law Council of Australia has just reminded everyone of it's warning that the encryption legislation is "far too complex to be rammed through parliament in its entirety in just four days".
IT'S ALL ABOUT TIMING
The encryption bill has passed through the House, but not without drama.
Labor has accused the government of manipulating the timing of the legislation in an effort to avoid that looming, embarrassing vote on asylum seekers.
Mark Dreyfus just read from a letter Attorney-General Christian Porter previously sent him committing to "introduce the agreed amendments in the Senate, subject to the passage of the bill through the House of Representatives without amendment".
But today the government decided to try to pass the bill through the House with the amendments.
Mr Dreyfus said Labor was informed of the amendments at 6:30am this morning, and there were 173 of them. He said the opposition was being asked to support the amendments without having had time to examine them properly.
Labor did eventually consent to pass the bill with the amendments, but said it would seek to amend it further in the Senate later.
"There is a plan, potentially, to shut down the House today. I want to advise the parliament that wouldn't be wise," Tony Burke said.
LABOR MP PRAISES PROTESTERS
Some high school students were here yesterday protesting for more action on climate change, defying the Prime Minsiter's opinion that they should stay in school.
Labor MP Andrew Leigh, on the other hand, says students can learn through activism.
To be honest I'm mainly just sharing this because I love the relish with which he says the words "false dichotomy". So nerdy.
Dr Leigh's comments come as New South Wales' Liberal Education Minister Rob Stokes accused his federal colleagues of "wilful ignorance" on climate change.
"A passionate generation of young scholars consistently hear a wilful ignorance of scientific evidence and expert advice from many elected officials," Mr Stokes said.
'ALL MEASURES' ON THE TABLE
Immigration Minister David Coleman was just on the ABC echoing Scott Morrison's comments.
"We'll not be agreeing to those changes and as the PM said, we'll be using all measures to seek to stop them," he said of the asylum seeker legislation.
It is sounding more and more like the government will try to delay for long enough to avoid a vote in the House.
LABOR REJECTS PM'S ACCUSATION
Mr Morrison also accused Labor of a "failure" to cooperate on national security, claiming it was delaying the government's encryption bill.
"The Labor Party is not cooperating to pass important encryption legislation which will ensure that police, ASIO and other agencies, they won't have the powers to access encrypted messages which can help them thwart a terrorist attack," he said.
"They are delaying the passages of those bills to play games in the parliament with national security."
He said the opposition had delayed the tabling of the report from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security last night.
Labor is pushing back on that. It says a series of divisions in the House delayed the committee's meeting to finalise the report. Then the opposition cooperated with Christopher Pyne to delay the adjournment of the House and ensure the report was tabled last night, at 7:50pm.
As it was tabled the committee's chair, Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, commended Labor MPs Anthony Byrne and Mike Kelly for their support, and praised the secretariat for "getting this done in such a short amount of time".
MORRISON: 'I WILL FIGHT THIS'
Scott Morrison will use "whatever tool or tactic" he can to stop the government's looming defeat on asylum seeker policy.
"We've got a clear policy. It's working. It is worked for five years. It has kept Australians safe," Mr Morrison said at a press conference.
"Why would you change something that has demonstrably worked so successfully, so hard won, and at great cost?
"People can have some short memories. It wasn't that long ago that boats crashed on the rocks and children were dragged up from the sea face down. I remember it. I stoppped it. With a suite of measures that were necessary, together, to stop that horror."
The Prime Minister said Labor was "playing games with crossbenchers" for the sake of a "cheap win" in the House.
"We've fixed the problem. In the last three months I've taken 100 children off Nauru. There are 10 children on Nauru today. So don't let them tell you this is about getting children off Nauru. That's a con," he said.
"Let's not forget the horror of six-and-a-half thousand children being put into detention.
"Don't kid yourself. You make that change to offshore processing and it will be in the people smuggers' brochures by the afternoon. They'll be selling tickets again.
"I know how the smugglers operate because I've beaten them before."
The change in question would lead to asylum seekers being temporarily transferred off Nauru and Manus Island if two doctors sign off on them needing medical attention.
The minister would retain the power to veto that decision, in which case the doctors would be required to publish their justification, to be reviewed by an independent panel.
How can Mr Morrison the change from passing? There are suggestions he will try to run out the clock, delaying the vote long enough for parliament to end. This is, of course, the last sitting day of the year.
"I will do whatever I can. Whatever I can. I'll fight them using whatever tool or tactic I have available to me to ensure that we do not undermine our border protection laws," he said.
Mr Morrison accused Bill Shorten of wanting to turn Australia's offshore processing system into "a transit lounge".
"They have learned nothing," he said.
"When it comes to national security and border protection, they'll trade it all for politics.
"Bill Shorten does not have the mettle to deal with national security. He does not have the mettle to deal with border security.
"I will fight them on this."
MINISTERS' 'FRANTIC' PHONE CALLS
According to Channel 7's Mark Riley, Cabinet ministers exchanged a "frantic" series of phone calls and texts last night over the asylum seeker legislation.
They reportedly fear a victory for Labor and the crossbench would mean "the government is cooked".
PIPE DOWN, MALCOLM
The Australian reports Malcolm Turnbull's "closest confidant in parliament", Liberal MP Craig Laundy, has urged the former prime minister to stop intervening in party and policy matters, for his own sake.
Mr Laundy told the newspaper his discussions with Mr Turnbull were "private", and refused to confirm or deny the story.
There is a lot of talk about the government facing defeat in the House today, but what are the chances of it actually happening?
Let's assume the asylum seeker legislation passes the Senate. That will happen by 1:50pm. Then it will be sent to the House, to be considered after Question Time.
Bob Katter has already signalled he will vote with the government. If all the other crossbenchers join with Labor, the government should be beaten by one vote.
There is an alternative. The government could simply try to avoid the vote altogether and run out the clock.
In that case, the only way to force a vote would be for someone to successfully suspend standing orders. That would require an absolute majority of 76 votes - a threshold Labor and the crossbench almost certainly can't reach.
Scott Morrison is holding a press conference soon, where we might learn more about the government's intentions.
THE ENCRYPTION SITUATION
The government's encryption bill will be amended in the House this morning, in line with the recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, which were tabled last night.
Then it will need to be approved by the Senate.
Labor is still on board with the policy, despite a fearsome backlash from the technology sector - and the Greens.
"You do not understand what you are doing," Senator Jordon Steele-John warned yesterday.
"You are following along blindly in the wake of public servants who have for years schemed, waiting for a minister and an administration stupid enough to put this legislation through. And they haven't found it in this government.
"The result is legislation which will see Australia an outlier in the world, with one of the weakest, one of the most decrepit systems of internet privacy protection in the world.
"You don't understand what you are doing, you haven't stepped back, and as a result we will all be harmed."
Mr Steele-John warned the legislation was "the best Christmas present" any government could give hackers.
"There will be no one to blame apart from yourselves, your cowardice and your blinding stupidity."
His comments echoed much of the sentiment on social media.
The government argues its legislation is urgent and necessary to help police and intelligence services take on criminals and terrorists, because encryption has made it harder to intercept their messages.
"The absence of these tools results in an escalation of risk and has been hampering agency investigations over several years," the committee's report said.
"As the uptake of encrypted messaging applications increases, it is increasingly putting the community at risk from perpetrators of serious crimes who are able to evade detection."
This is a rather ominous historical factoid from the Australian Financial Review's Phillip Coorey.
So Scott Morrison is facing the first legislative defeat in the House by any government in almost 90 years.
Stanley Bruce called an election immediately afterwards because he interpreted the vote as a loss of confidence in his government. Mr Morrison would be under no obligation to reach the same conclusion.
Sky News reports Tony Abbott will deliver a statement to parliament today revealing his recommendations for boosting school attendance rates in remote indigenous communities.
Mr Abbott, who was made special envoy for indigenous affairs shortly after Scott Morrison became Prime Minister, will recommend that HECS debts be abolished for teachers who stay at remote indigenous schools for at least four years.
He will also push for teachers' salary supplements and retention bonuses to be raised.
SENATOR'S EXPLOSIVE SLEDGE
Greens Senator Nick McKim has spoken in support of the crossbench's push on asylum seekers, as you would expect. And his comments, reported by SBS, started out exactly as you would expect as well.
"There's a real opportunity for the parliament today to take a significant step forward and improve the medical treatment for people in offshore detention that we've harmed so grievously for so long," Mr McKim said.
Then things took a surprisingly harsh turn, as he was asked about his Senate colleague Ian Macdonald's claim that Kerryn Phelps' policy would "open up Australia's borders again".
"Well, Ian Macdonald is full of s***. I mean, he's just, I don't take any notice of anything he says. He doesn't know what he's talking about," Mr McKim said.
That escalated quickly.
'THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED'
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has addressed Labor's claims the government could use its "big stick" energy policy to privatise energy assets in Queensland.
"Absolutely not. Again, this is a Labor scare campaign, a la Mediscare," Mr Frydenberg said.
"We saw last night them putting out little photos claiming there's going to be a privatisation of assets here.
"It's absolute rubbish. And this is the Labor Party way. To manipulate, to lie, to run scare campaigns. They should be ashamed of themselves."
'PATHETIC': MORRISON HITS BACK
Scott Morrison was interviewed by Alan Jones this morning. The 2GB radio host gave him some free political advice.
"There's talk of a humiliating defeat for you, and a vote is going to take place in the parliament on what I might loosely call the Phelps bill - the woman's been there for five minutes," Jones said.
"To put this simply, Labor and the Greens are now voting to say if you're on Nauru or Manus Island, you can come to Australia on the advice of two doctors. Is this starting up the people smuggling trade? Here is Labor opening the door. There's a powerful political point for you."
"Yes it is. It's exactly what it is," Mr Morrison said.
"They already said they're not going to do temporary protection visas and, in this bill today, they will be abandoning offshore processing as we know it.
"It is a green light, coming from Labor teaming up with the Greens, to basically completely crumble offshore processing in this country. And they're doing it for one pathetic reason. To try to play some games in the House of Representatives."
The Prime Minister said the move was "absolutely destructive and irresponsible and reckless".
"Isn't it offensive to the people of Nauru, to the Nauruans, to start telling the world that everyone who's living there is unsafe, unhealthy and uncared for?" Jones said.
"Yes, it is terribly offensive. And it's actually potentially racist," Mr Morrison replied.
"And this is why I've never understood why Australians would be so disrespectful to Nauruans. We're not talking about kids here. What we're talking about is single adult males, some of which won't even be refugees, sitting over in Manus Island, you know, and we're not talking about, you know, people you'd happily have just come and live next door."
TEN CHILDREN LEFT
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has spoken about the asylum seeker issue on Sky News.
"There's 10 children left on Nauru. Four of them, as I understand, don't want to come to Australia. And that's fair enough, that's their decision.
"The others, as I understand, are in families where the adults are people who perhaps, probably shouldn't be in Australia at any rate. We don't want to break up families.
"We need to have strong border protection. We have that."
GOVERNMENT FACES 'HUMILIATING' DEFEAT
It's the last day of parliament, and there is plenty happening.
The government will try to get its so-called "big stick" energy policy and encryption legislation passed.
But it is also facing the prospect of a humiliating defeat, as Labor, the Greens and other crossbenchers team up on asylum seekers.
Senators Nick MicKim and Tim Storer are essentially trying to attach Kerryn Phelps' bill, which would see asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island transferred to Australia on the advice of two doctors, to one of the government's migration bills.
The Senate is going to consider that legislation at 12:45pm, and will vote on it by 1:50pm.
Should it pass, it could be sent back to the House in time for a vote before parliament rises for the year.
The government has already lost procedural votes in the House since it was reduced to a minority, but this would be a far bigger deal - parliament would be legislating something against the Prime Minister's will.