Parliament live: Beef exports lifted, immigration minister under fire

Peter Dutton has accused Anthony Albanese of engaging in a “close and sleazy relationship” with former New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern after the visa cancellation debate went into question time.

Labor is revising a ministerial directive that allowed an independent tribunal to keep dozens of foreign criminals in Australia.

Amid reports that Direction 99 was set up to assuage New Zealand’s concerns about the removal of its own citizens, the Opposition Leader demanded Mr Albanese justify meeting his former Kiwi colleague in 2022.

“Why has this weak and incompetent Prime Minister put his close and sycophantic relationship with Jacinda Ardern before the safety of Australians?” he asked.

Mr Albanese criticized the opposition for voting against legislation to reform the visa decision-making body, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, before calling the claim “absurd”.

“We set our own policy according to our own interests and that’s what we’ve done, and it’s actually been a public demand from New Zealand that we remove section 501,” he said.

“We didn’t do that. We’ve created a pathway to better citizenship for New Zealanders who were here to get that pathway to citizenship, and I’m delighted that indeed over 20,000 Kiwis now call themselves an Australian citizen too.”

After confirming that Directive 99 was indeed his own initiative, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said New Zealand had no interest in the matter.

“What I can say is this: in introducing ministerial guidance, I considered our national interest and common sense, including the protection of the Australian community, and that was the advice I was given,” he said.

eSafety bar pops out on trans speech

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said she would not be “drawn” into the transgender debate after Liberal Senator Claire Chandler asked her if women were potentially putting themselves at legal risk if they mislabeled a transgender person.

The eSafety website states that refusing to use the preferred pronouns of a trans person online or posting a video that “names” them or calls them by a name they no longer use is a form of gender-based hate and may be subject to an eSafety investigation.

At a Senate hearing on Thursday, Ms Chandler asked Ms Grant whether a woman who mentions a biologically male criminal who identifies as female rather than male on an online forum is guilty of gender-based hate, according to the panel.

“I think I’ll point that out,” replied Mrs. Grant.

“I don’t need to give a personal opinion, nor would I in such a case. I also wouldn’t make an on-the-spot judgment about a particular live investigation without proper investigation being done.

“So I won’t be attracted to this senator, thank you.

Commissioner Toby Dagg said the commission’s position on gender-based hatred had been developed in consultation with the LGBT community.

“The resources reflect this kind of advice,” he said.

Ms Grant said political commentary was protected under the Online Safety Act.

“You want to engage me in a political debate…no, I will not censor any political commentary on trans or anti-trans material, that is not my role.”

Ms Grant said most social media platforms banned misgendering and dead names as part of their hate speech policies.

“Nine out of 10 trans Australians have experienced serious online hate or violence online,” she said.

Mr Dagg said it was difficult to give “definitive” answers about whether material could become subject to an eSafety investigation or takedown notice without considering specific facts or circumstances.

“It’s very difficult to work hypothetically on Senate estimates,” he said.

“It’s hard for me to be definitive in any case.”

China lifts ban on beef exports

China has lifted punitive restrictions on five Australian beef exporters.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said details were “still emerging” but confirmed on Thursday that trade tariffs would be lifted “with immediate effect” for the five cattle producers hit by the swift ban four years ago.

“This is fantastic news for Australian cattle farmers, for the meat industry, for workers in those industries and of course for Australian exports,” Senator Watt told the ABC.

“We found that even with the export bans lifted by China, that meant $3 billion in additional exports for Australia.”

China has banned beef imports from a total of eight Australian abattoirs amid diplomatic fallout between 2020 and 2021, halting an estimated 35 percent of the country’s beef exports to China.

The Chinese government also imposed an immediate ban on Australian lobster, which remains in place.

Trade barriers to other Australian products, including barley, cotton and wine, have been phased out from 2022.

Free billing

The Greens plan to introduce an amendment to prevent major Australian sporting events from being blocked by paywalls.

Australia’s anti-siphoning laws give free-to-air broadcasters the rights to broadcast major events such as the AFL and NRL, but do not cover online streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Binge.

The federal government, however, has drafted a new law that would no longer guarantee free sports on digital devices.

Amid the key Senate vote, Greens spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said she planned to “drill” Labor on the changes during a Senate hearing on Thursday.

“I’m going to shake them up with how unfair it is that half of Australians are going to be denied free-to-play sport,” she said.

“If you have a smart TV, if you’re watching sport on your TV, phone, tablet or computer, you’re not going to be able to get free access to sport, which is frankly un-Australian.”

‘Don’t roll your eyes’: Anger at frontline demand

Women’s Minister Katy Gallagher agreed that domestic violence programs needed more funding, but disagreed with claims by women’s safety campaigners that Labor had not invested enough to address critical deficits in the sector.

Greens senator Larissa Waters asked the Minister for Women why Labor was not allocated during the “national crisis”. new money in the budget for the first programs.

Senator Gallagher said significant funding had been allocated to housing and income support, citing previous investments in the National Plan to End Violence Against Women in the first two budgets.

“I accept your point that you don’t think there is enough funding for frontline services, but I would respond with new money in this budget to support women’s safety,” she said.

Senator Gallagher added that “some” funding would go to frontline services.

“I would also stress that traditionally the funding of women’s safety first services has been the responsibility of states and territories,” she said.

That response made Senator Waters, who appeared via remote video link, roll his eyes.

“Don’t roll your eyes – we live under a federation model … and all governments have signed up to the national plan,” Senator Gallagher replied.

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