Modia Minotaur

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Monday, December 05, 2005

The Week Ahead

The fact that a torrent bills are up for consideration in Federal Parliament this week - the last sitting week of the year - has led to speculation that the House of Reps will (as the Senate did last week) be pushed into a fifth sitting day. It's restating the obvious, but many of these bills are so important that they should get a week to themselves. They include the Anti-Terrorism (No.2) Bill 2005, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Welfare to Work and Other Measures) Bill 2005 and Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare to Work) Bill 2005; Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2005 (regarding the possible establishment of a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory), and the Higher Education Support Amendment (Abolition of Compulsory Up-front Student Union Fees) Bill 2005.

The latter is attracting the most attention, after Education Minister Brendan Nelson offered a last minute compromise in the form of a student referendum on the issue. This has failed to placate Coalition dissidents, and in particular Barnaby Joyce, who now has his best chance of proving whether he is worthy of the title of Insiders Political Personality of the Year (which he was bequeathed on yesterday's show) by voting against the legislation rather than merely settling for half-baked amendments. It seems there is a good chance that, at the very least, the VSU bill will be postponed until next year - a small victory perhaps, but a victory nonetheless.

Unfortunately, it looks like the other aforementioned bills, as well as other `non-controversial legislation' (to use the government's own terminology) will rush through faster than the speed of light. Merry Christmas and don't forget - they didn't abuse their Senate majority now, did they?

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