Parliament’s First Week Back

Parliament has resumed for the Winter sittings.

Two events dominated the week.

The first was the decision by the High Court in the Senator Katy Gallagher High Court case which clarified that for the purposes of section 44 of the Constitution the ‘taking all reasonable steps’ to renounce citizenship meant not only completing all the paperwork but that a final decision has been made by the foreign power.

The second was the Budget brought down by the Treasurer.

It seemed to get a fair reception although it disappeared from the agenda once five MPs saw the need to resign after the Gallagher decision.

So who won the week?

 On balance, the Government won the first week of Parliament.

The Opposition losing four MPs was a lousy look.

Moreover, the one thing the Government got out in its budget was its tax plan.

The traditional view is that a ‘lower taxes’ debate is home ground for the Coalition, although the fact that its plan will be rolled out over three and a third parliaments could reduce its impact.

Finally, Agriculture Minister Littleproud was able to come to an agreement with the Opposition to deliver its preferred version of the Murray Darling basin plan, taking both the environmental issue of the level of river flow and the associated politics involved in deciding who can use water for what purpose off the table.

That said, Bill Shorten was able to announce his version of tax relief in his budget response.

So it would appear that a ‘my tax cuts are better than yours’ argument will feature particularly in the upcoming Longman by-election.

A by-election in an electorate with a margin of 0.5% always makes for interesting times.

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