It’s first day at school for the Abbott government and day one promises to be interesting. Although initially ceremonial – not till tomorrow will the real fireworks start.
The new PM is promising a quieter, more restrained, less turbulent Parliament.
Australia’s 44th Parliament will see fewer women in Government ranks than previously. Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop is the only woman in the cabinet, and one of five in the ministry.
Not since Paul Keating’s first ministry has there been only one woman in cabinet.
Day one of Parliament is a day of many firsts. The first time we see Tony Abbott as PM and the first time Bill Shorten, the Governor-General’s son-in-law is on the Opposition benches.
It’s also the first time we will have a billionaire (Clive Palmer , the member for Fairfax) sitting in the back seats. And the first time we will speculate whether he will use his private jet to fly home for dinner.
This morning will see a welcome on the forecourt of Parliament.
The formalities will then move inside as MPs are sworn in by the Chief Justice of the High Court, Robert French. The Governor-General will opening Parliament in the early afternoon, and we will hear the prepared speech setting the Abbott three -year agenda.
After weeks of not fronting the media unless there was something to say the Prime Minister will be firmly in the spotlight. Denis Shanahan in The Australian writes that Tony Abbott “will be legitimately front and centre in the public eye in parliament without some confected or empty reason for being in front of television cameras.”
First order of business
The legislation to scrap Labor’s unpopular carbon tax will be the top order of business. The eight-bill carbon repeal package will be put to the House of Representatives tomorrow.
Passage of the legislation is not guaranteed with Labor and the Greens set to use their combined majority to defeat it in the Senate. Most likely it will be sent to Select Committee – and the new PM will wait till a more friendly Senate takes its place next July to usher through the changes. Assuming Mr Palmer and the Senate members of his Palmer United Party ( PUP) agree.