The opening day of the new parliament has been a busy one in Canberra.
Dick defeated the opposition’s pick for speaker, Andrew Wallace, who held the position from November 2021 until the election.
The Oxley MP will have the unenviable task of keeping order in the House of Representatives, where debates became noticeably more heated following the departure of Wallace’s predecessor, the well-respected Tony Smith.
Ahead of parliament being sworn in, Government Services Minister Bill Shorten called for MPs to embrace a new tone.
“It’s very exciting. Parliament starts. We will have a Welcome to Country,” he told Today.
“We will see the members sworn in for the 47th parliament and Anthony Albanese will take the questions from Opposition Leader Dutton… and hopefully there will be a better tone in parliament.”
That message was echoed by the prime minister during his address to all MPs and Senators in the Great Hall.
“I say to everyone here, all of my parliamentary colleagues, don’t miss the chance, because you’re not here for that long, none of us will be,” Albanese said with tears in his eyes.
“And when you’re sitting on the porch, thinking about what you did, you can either have a source of pride, or a source of regret.
“There’s no middle path, no middle path. Make it a source of pride.”
Earlier, Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen acknowledged the government will rewrite parts of its climate legislation following negotiations with the Greens.
“Those discussions have occurred and no doubt there’ll be some further discussions, but they have occurred along the basis of our public position and, to be fair, the Greens’ public position as well,” Bowen said.
“I’m not going to go into the details, but they would reflect the positions we’ve reflected publicly.”
The changes to the legislation will make clear that a 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 is a minimum commitment that could be increased, as well as enshrining that the Climate Change Authority will provide public advice on progress towards that milestone.
However, it stops short of the Greens’ demands to ban all future coal- and gas-fired power plants.
While Labor has a majority in the lower house, it requires support from the Greens and one other member of the crossbench to pass any legislation in the Senate.
Independent ACT Senator David Pocock said he will support Labor’s bill even before the amendments were flagged.
The legislation is expected to be introduced to the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
However, there’ll be a notable face missing from debate then: Scott Morrison.
The former prime minister, who is still the member for Cook, announced on Monday he’ll be skipping this week’s sitting due to travel commitments.
“Prior to the new government advising the sitting schedule for the remainder of 2022, I had already accepted an invitation to join other former prime ministers from Canada, the UK and New Zealand to address an international event to be held in Tokyo this week,” Morrison said in a statement.
“As a consequence, I will be unable to attend the first three sitting days of the new Parliament this week.”
Since his announcement, it has emerged the summit Morrison is speaking at doesn’t actually begin until Thursday evening.
The Coalition has not requested a pair to cover Morrison’s absence, and Labor’s Leader of the House, Tony Burke, called for the former prime minister to say whether he is being paid for his appearance at the summit.
Liberal and Labor HQs tell two different stories