Climate change, cost-of-living pressures and a “confronting” budget update are set to dominate the first week of Australia’s new parliament.
Tackling the aged care, labour and domestic violence crises are also high on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s legislative agenda.
The opening of the 47th parliament will begin with the necessary pomp and ceremony on Tuesday, as 151 MPs and 72 senators are sworn in.
A new House Speaker and Senate President will need to be elected to take over from Liberal MPs Andrew Wallace and Slade Brockman, respectively.
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In the upper house, West Australian Labor senator Sue Lines is expected to be elected President. And Queensland Labor MP Milton Dick will have the support of his colleagues to rise to Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Governor-General David Hurley will outline the Labor government’s priorities for the next three years in an address to parliament.
For the first time in nine years, Labor MPs will sit on the right-hand side of the lower house chamber.
Labor’s Tony Burke confirmed on Sunday that the 16-strong crossbench will get three questions each sitting day.
“If you give them two, it’s below the percentage quota there are on the opposition benches … three is a little bit above,” he told the ABC.
“So the way we are balancing it out is they will be a little bit above their technical quota in terms of number of questions.”
In the last parliament, only one question from the six-member crossbench was permitted per sitting day.
Mr Burke also ruled out dumping Dorothy Dixers in Question Time, which allows the government to ask questions of itself.
Mr Albanese said at least 18 pieces of legislation will be introduced in the first week, as the government didn’t want to “waste a day”.
“Australia has had a decade of neglect and drift. We want to make sure we get on with the reforms that are necessary in order to advance Australia’s interests in order to create a better future,” he told Sky News.
The opposition is expected to hammer the government about the foot and mouth disease outbreak in Indonesia and the subsequent biosecurity measures.
There will be 35 new members taking a seat in the House of Representatives and their inaugural speeches are set to continue through to October.
Parliamentary rules say lower house members cannot contribute to debates before they have given their first speech.
The crossbench has urged the government to prioritise the first speeches of independent MPs so that they can speak on other debates.
In the Senate – where 12 newbies will give their first speeches – the same rule does not apply and senators simply need to declare “this is not my first speech” before making remarks in the chamber.
The government’s climate change bill will be the big ticket item in the first weeks of parliament.
Labor intends to enshrine a 43 per cent emissions-reduction target by 2030 into a law that will also require the climate minister to report annually to parliament on Australia’s progress.
A proposal to introduce 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave will also be unveiled in the first week.
Proposed aged care reforms will include putting nurses back into nursing homes, stopping high administration and management fees and improving integrity and accountability for residential facilities.
In the jobs and skills sector, the government will propose to establish a new statutory body to provide independent advice on workforce needs and help tackle Australia’s labour crisis.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers will provide update on Australia’s budget position and economic outlook on Thursday and has already warned it will be “confronting”.