The final week of the parliamentary session before the autumn break saw government dysfunction at its most absurd. Coalition Senators spent days filibustering their own bill to buy time to coerce the Xenophon Party to pass corporate tax cuts.
In the end, Xenophon settled for some reviews and empty promises, and helped the government – the same government who’d cut support payments the week before – give their business mates a handout.
As Richard and the team headed off to the Global Greens Conference, our office assumed the responsibilities of acting Parliamentary Leader. In the weeks that followed the international news has been dominated by Donald Trump, and a reckless escalation of violence and tension across the globe.
On the back of the horrific gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s north-western province of Idlib, rather than do as the Chemical Weapons Convention requires – launch an independent investigation and build a case against the aggressor – Donald Trump seized the opportunity to appear ‘Presidential’. Trump’s missile strike destroyed any possibility of a war crimes case being made, but it came with rave reviews from U.S, Australian and International media.
And earlier this week, we saw what I described at the time as a guy who loses his mind at a tweet facing off with a guy who called a movie an act of war, with nuclear weapons. The dangerous rhetoric from the US administration over North Korea has set the world on edge, as neither demagogue wants to back down or seek an approach that isn’t aggressive military posturing.
We’ve repeatedly urged the government to re-evaluate our relationship with the U.S., given the nature of the President’s recklessness and our need to stay better connected in our region. We’ve blindly followed the U.S. into every war of aggression, with disastrous results. Surely it’s about time for just a little space in this relationship.
Closer to home, we were delighted to see the Greens (WA) Party Room double in size after a hard-fought state election campaign, but devastated that Lynn and the team weren’t returned to office. Congratulations to Robin, Alison, Tim and Diane, and warmest wishes to Lynn and her office for whatever comes next.
Big changes in here too: we are farewelling the amazing Chantal Caruso and will probably need to hire five people to fill her shoes. Anyone who enjoyed our WA2.0 work over the last few years will know that you can’t do this kind of thing without a policy genius to ensure that everything adds up and that we’re bringing the very best ideas to the table. That was our Chantal, and things round here won’t be quite the same.