FROM AFTA’s chief executive, Jayson Westbury
Canberra — our nation’s capital, the place where our leaders come together to manage the things that matter and ensure the ongoing prosperity of Australia, creating jobs and looking after our safety, economy and much more. But, I am not sure how that is going to actually happen over the course of the next few sitting weeks and perhaps even the next few months. The dual citizenship debacle has now cascaded into full blown chaos.
Over the weekend the Member for Bennelong (the seat of the former Prime Minister John Howard) resigned as he could not confidently confirm that he is not a dual citizen. While this is honourable action by the member, who by the way is John Alexander, what this has done is put the Turnbull Government into a very difficult space. The Federal Government is now a minority government while all this gets sorted out, which means it is very unlikely that we will see any meaningful legislation put forward as the Government would struggle to get it passed in the House of Representatives.
In Parliamentary terms, the cross benches have indicated that they will provide support for supply — what that means is the function of Government, passing of bills that relate to allocation of money and generally running the machine of Government for the moment is intact, but we’re not sure for how long.
Meanwhile the brand spanking new member of the One Nation Party who replaced the outgoing senator due to dual citizenship resigned from the party 30 minutes in the job and will now sit as an independent in the Senate. In amongst all this craziness, this guy, Senator Fraser Anning, is the newest member of the Upper House, but also now the newest independent even though he got the gig off the back of the One Nation Party vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Malcolm Roberts.
Confused? Well you should be. Most avid political watchers are confused, the nation is confused and the Parliament is looking more like a wake after a divorce. As for what this all means — for once in my life I have absolutely no idea as to what this has to do with the travel and tourism industry, and I think most people who work in the environment that I work in also have no idea. So I guess we put the kettle on and make a cup of tea and wait and see what happens next. Crazy times in Australian politics and unfortunately even more crazy times ahead, I would suggest.