This week in politics Nick Xenophon thwarted Discrimination Act change prospects, WA welcomed GST commitments, the Government revealed an initiative to stop veteran suicides, the good old census debacle happened and the referendum on indigenous constitutional recognition was delayed

Nick Xenophon stands in the way of Racial Discrimination Act reform

Senator and Party Leader Nick Xenophon announced that any attempt to remove section 18C from the Racial Discrimination Act will not receive his support.

Just last week Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm announced plans to introduce a bill to parliament that will remove section 18C from the Racial Discrimination Act, but despite receiving crossbench support from Derryn Hinch, Bob Day and One Nation politicians it is unlikely the bill will succeed without the approval of the Nick Xenophon Team.

Section 18C makes it illegal to commit an act that is reasonably likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” someone because of their race or ethnicity.


Prime Minister commits to GST change

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has committed to raising the share of revenue Western Australia receives as well as creating a new floor price for all states that will protect them from potential revenue drops in the future.

Due in part to the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s complicated, delayed formula for calculating GST distribution and the boom and bust nature of Western Australia’s mining economy, the state is currently receiving only 30 cents for every dollar its raises in taxes.

Western Australia’s Liberal Premier welcomed the announcement but the state’s opposition has called for caution, describing the move as a “dodgy plan by a dodgy Prime Minister to try and save a dodgy premier”.


Government to act on veteran suicides

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed that the Government would be reviewing suicide prevention services for veterans and trialing a suicide prevention initiative for the Australian Defense Force in Townsville.

The review will be carried out by the National Mental Health Commission with help from an expert panel which will include a younger veteran, an older veteran and a female veteran.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that Labor will cooperate with the government on the initiative, with Mental Health being a bi-partisan issue .


Prime Minister warns that “heads will roll” over census disaster

After a disastrous census week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has warned that heads at the Australian Bureau of Statistics will roll as a result of the several day census delay.

However, the PM also said that just who will be on the receiving side of the axing won’t be known until a full review into the matter is completed.

The census website was shut down by yet to be traced hackers who employed  Denial of Service attacks to overwhelm the ABS servers.


Indigenous constitutional recognition referendum delayed

The council in charge of the referendum for Indigenous constitutional recognition has announced that it will be extending the time frame for consultations, which it has so far used to discuss the topic with Indigenous groups, which in turn means a delay for the referendum itself.

The extension has been made in order to better understand the context the referendum will be held in, with council-member Mark Leibler raising issues that could potentially impact it, such as talks on a treaty, the same-sex marriage plebiscite and the royal commission into the NT justice system.

Photo: AAP/Mick Tsikas

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