Thu, 14 Sep 2023 - 18:22
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Financial Review - Albanese cancels parliament to coincide with Washington trip

The Albanese government has quietly cancelled a scheduled sitting week of parliament in late October, which is the same week the prime minister will be in Washington for an official visit hosted by US President Joe Biden.

The opposition accused Anthony Albanese of running scared after he missed two sitting days last week because he was overseas.

He left behind chaotic scenes as his ministers struggled under questions over Qantas and the Voice.

No reason was given for scrapping the sitting week that was to begin on Monday, October 23, and the four lost days will be replaced by just one extra sitting day in December.

A Coalition spokesman said the cancellation, which was quietly tabled after parliament rose on Thursday for four weeks, was the height of hypocrisy from Labor.

“They criticised us for cancelling sitting during COVID, and they criticised us every time we did a sitting calendar for not enough weeks,” he said.

“They’re cancelling a sitting week for a trip to Washington. Doesn’t he trust the rest of his ministers?”

Manager of Opposition Business Paul Fletcher said the cancellation of the House of Representatives sitting would also mean no question time in a week when there were scheduled Senate estimates hearings.

“Labor came into office promising greater transparency and accountability, but the exact opposite has happened,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The sitting calendar tabled today confirms a pattern of behaviour by this government – they take every opportunity to shut down debate and avoid questions.”

The government offered no comment.

 

Author: Phillip Coorey

This article appeared in the Financial Review on 14 September 2023