/ 05 July 2024

Problems in parliament

Parliament House in Canberra, Australia.
Parliament House in Canberra, Australia.

The Squiz 

Four people – a woman and 3 men – have been charged after breaching the security of Canberra’s Parliament House to hang flags carrying pro-Palestine messages across the entrance yesterday. If you missed it, the footage of how the major security breach unfolded is quite something… The group has been charged with Commonwealth trespass offences. PM Anthony Albanese condemned their actions – he said “peaceful protest has an important place in our society, but this was not a peaceful protest”. Coalition Leader Peter Dutton called the flags “anti-Semitic” and said the group’s actions were “designed to inflict fear”. 

What prompted it?

As you know, pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protests have been happening across our major cities since the 7 October Hamas attacks and the resulting Gaza war. And this week, the issue’s been in the spotlight after Western Australian Senator Fatima Payman fell out with her Labor Party over Palestinian statehood. She officially quit the party yesterday despite having what she says is support from “rank and file” party members. Ultimately, she says she felt too “pressured to conform to caucus solidarity and toe the party line”. Just on that, Labor members agree to stick together for parliamentary votes, so her action of crossing the floor to vote with the Greens last week broke that rule and made her the first Labor member in 18 years to do so. Payman says she’ll now sit on the crossbench as an independent.

I feel like it’s been a politics-heavy week…

Sure has, so let’s expand that thought to look overseas… Pressure keeps building on President Joe Biden to withdraw from the race and hand over the reins to a younger Democrat. The 81yo’s ability to do another term in the top job has long been discussed, but his much-criticised performance in the first debate against Republican rival Donald Trump last week took things to another level. Reports say Biden has told his Democratic allies he only has days to salvage his candidacy, and he’s pushing hard to do that… In a campaign email, he said “no one is pushing me out … I’m in this race to the end”. Speaking of election races – we’re waiting on UK results to start filtering in today. Then France’s run-off vote is also happening on Sunday – so it’s all systems go…

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