Energy, tax in focus as parliament returns


Labor’s Susan Lamb, with Bill Shorten, is back as the MP for Longman after winning her by-election.Federal politicians are returning to Canberra after the six-week winter break, with the government’s signature energy policy and proposed corporate tax cuts facing make-or-break decisions in the next fortnight.

The prime minister faces the task of selling the National Energy Guarantee to his own partyroom, after the states and territories offered their in-principle support.

The agreement is aimed at lowering power prices and restoring investment certainty after a decade of policy indecision.

Senators will spend most of this week debating whether to restore the right of territories to legalise voluntary euthanasia.

Company tax cuts will then be up for debate in the upper house next week, with a number of government MPs pushing for the policy to be dropped if it can’t get through.

Mr Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison are committed to cutting corporate tax rates but they have stopped short of promising to take them to the next election.

Despite five by-elections on July 28, the numbers in the lower house will remain as they were before the winter break, meaning Mr Turnbull still has a one-seat majority.

There will only one new face following Super Saturday – Labor’s Parick Gorman who replaces Tim Hammond who retired for family reasons.

Labor’s Susan Lamb, Justine Keay and Josh Wilson, plus Central Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie all winning back their seats after they were forced to quit for being dual citizens.

It will be the first sitting week since Labor MP Emma Husar revealed she will retire at the next election, bowing to pressure over a scandal around bullying and harassment in her office.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham says in the upper house, changes to higher education loans will be the first point of call.

“We’ll start off in the Senate with our plans to ensure that the higher education loans scheme is sustainable and affordable into the future,” he told reporters on Sunday.

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