Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne has left us in no doubt what he thinks of Pauline Hanson’s prime ministerial ambitions.
The One Nation leader outlined her blueprint for Australia on Sunday, including a flat two per cent tax rate for all – even welfare recipients – if she ran the country.
Mr Pyne burst into laughter when asked during a media conference in Adelaide what he thought about Senator Hanson’s outline for Australia if she were to be the country’s leader.
“Leader of what?” Mr Pyne grinned.
“I think it is unlikely that One Nation’s going to form a government in Australia.”
Senator Hanson’s plans include forcing newlyweds to have pre-nuptial agreements and changes to the tax system.
“Family law is high on my agenda. It needs court-approved premarital agreements on finance and parental issues,” she told News Corp.
She’d also cut the number of politicians, limit migration, introduce an Australian identity card, and axe the GST.
Senator Hanson’s proclamations come as the Turnbull government faces bigger problems with the resumption of Parliament this week.
Along with scrutiny over the Centrelink debt recovery program and pensions, will be a focus on politicians’ expenses, trade and Donald Trump.
The government, meanwhile, will be hoping to keep the focus on electricity bills and its plans to overhaul childcare subsidies.
There’s been little time off from politics over the summer break, with Malcolm Turnbull losing health minister Sussan Ley to an expenses scandal, Labor querying Centrelink’s debt-chasing approach and new US President Donald Trump throwing US-Australia relations into chaos.
The Senate has not been without its dramas, with Senate President Stephen Parry to kick off Tuesday’s sitting with a statement on Rod Culleton, who the High Court declared ineligible to have run for Parliament.
The court ruling paves the way for his brother-in-law Peter Georgiou to take over the West Australian seat for One Nation.
Arriving in Canberra on Sunday, Senator Hanson insisted One Nation could form government one day.
“I haven’t started a political party to sit on the backbenches for ever and a day,” she told the Seven Network.
“I think there is a place, in the future, for One Nation on government benches.”
Asked about government MPs who laughed at that prospects, Senator Hanson replied: “The last laugh will be on them.”
Labor will seek an inquiry into the Centrelink debt debacle when Parliament reopens, exploring how new automated data matching software has led to clients being ordered to pay debts they don’t believe they owe.
The Coalition is making a fresh pitch to pass childcare reforms, with the education minister’s office confirming a bill combining $3 billion in extra fee subsidies and the family tax benefit cuts to pay for them will be put to Parliament this week.
The government has also flagged the introduction of a raft of bills including a new body to oversee politicians’ expenses, tougher penalties to deal with underpayment of workers, and a crackdown on multinationals diverting profits overseas.
Treasurer Scott Morrison spoke with key crossbench senator Nick Xenophon in Adelaide on Friday about passing corporate tax cuts, starting with businesses under $10 million turnover.
Question time is likely to be dominated by opposition questions over Mr Turnbull’s “chaotic” management of the government, while the Coalition will hit back over the way in which Labor policies will push up the cost of living, especially in terms of power prices and housing.
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg started the pushback on Sunday, taking aim at Labor’s “diabolical quadrella” of climate and energy policies.
But opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler said the government’s new policy to support high-efficiency, low-emissions, coal-fired power stations was unrealistic since no one in the electricity industry wanted to build them.
The Parliamentary Budget Office over the week will release two reports dealing with budget matters, including a list of the so-called zombie measures that are yet to pass parliament.