Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is under pressure to clarify the government’s position on a treaty with Indigenous Australians.
Meanwhile, Labor was keen to emphasise the benefits of its signature housing policy and ramp up the pressure on the Greens or the Coalition to compromise on a deal.
Follow along live for Wednesday’s question time antics.
Treaty or no treaty?
Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney was in the sights of the Coalition early on after she twice declined to answer questions on the Makarrata commission on Tuesday.
Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley has been questioning the minister about her commitment to the Makarrata commission that would oversee the truth and treaty process of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
But instead of answering the question, she responded by explaining the origins of the word.
“The word makarrata is a word from the language of the Yolngu people from Arnhem Land,” she said.
“It means coming together after a struggle, facing the facts of wrongness, living together in peace, and that word was gifted to the Uluru Statement from the Heart from the late Yunupingu, the great leader from northeast Arnhem Land.
“This weekend at Garma we will gather again and remember his legacy and all that he did for his people over so many years.
“And more than anything, he wanted to see constitutional recognition through a voice made a reality.
“Later this year we have the chance to do that; recognition, listening and better results.”
Queensland LNP MP Michelle Landry asked when Australians would know the details about the commission.
Ms Burney said no progress would not occur until after the referendum.
“Our priority is constitutional recognition through a voice. Our priority is recognition, listening and better results,” she said.
“The 2023 referendum is an opportunity to advance reconciliation and move Australia forward to everyone.”
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also fired off a question on the matter to the Prime Minister, referring to Mr Albanese’s at-times fiery radio interview on Wednesday morning.
“He was asked seven times whether he supported treaty and seven times refused to give a direct answer. When will we hear a straight word from this Prime Minister?” Mr Dutton asked.
Mr Albanese responded by inviting Mr Dutton to come with him to Garma this weekend.
“(He) needs to spend less time on his dirt unit and more time in the red dirt of the Top End,” Mr Albanese hit back.
“This is a major Indigenous cultural event in remote Australia and will be on this weekend and I encourage the Leader of the Opposition to travel with me to that, to sit down and engage constructively, constructively instead of this absolute nonsense.”
PM lashes out over housing impasse
A senate showdown over Mr Albanese’s signature housing policy tipped over in the House on Wednesday afternoon.
The Prime Minister vented his frustration at the Coalition and the Greens for refusing to strike a deal over the government’s $10bn Housing Australia Future Fund.
“It’s all about the politics, all about the politics and not the substance. We know the Housing Australia Future Fund was the centrepiece of my second budget reply,” he said.
“The Australian people voted for it.
“Those opposite who are determined to make things as bad as possible by standing in the way of legislation that will make a difference, they think it will give them a political advantage.
“Well, I said to them that we need to deal with the issue of housing supply, we need to build more houses, there is legislation that is before the parliament that will enable just that to happen and it should be passed by the Senate.”
ScoM ‘gaslit’ the nation
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten ripped into Scott Morrison for the second day about the adverse findings against the former prime minister.
Mr Shorten said Mr Morrison had “gaslit” the royal commission in the same manner he “gaslit the nation” while in government during a speech on Monday afternoon.
“The member for Cook used coded and loaded words to discredit the royal commission. He dismissed findings as disproportionate, wrong, unsubstantiated, contradicted clear evidence,” he said.
“He accused the findings as not credible or reasonable, unfair, retroactive. He painted the findings as allegations, unreasonable, untenable, false and speculative.”
Mr Shorten urged Mr Dutton to Mr Morrison loose.
“This is a test of your leadership. Do you back the Member for Cook or do you back the royal commission?” he said.
“You are not in an untenable position. My advice is cut him loose before he drags you down with him.”
Mr Morrison has rejected all the findings against him.
ABC issued please explain
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has asked the ABC to explain why a television crew was present at a climate protest at the Perth home of Woodside chief Meg O’Neill.
“The unacceptable behaviour towards a private citizen in this matter is completely unacceptable,” Ms Rowland said in response to a question from Liberal frontbencher David Coleman.
“I also know that … while it has operational independence as well as editorial independence, that management will offer detailed commentary on this matter.”
She said the public broadcaster had confirmed the crew was present to film the protest for an upcoming report.
“According to the statements by the ABC, they have said they had no knowledge of the nature of the behaviour that would occur,” the minister said.
“I also reiterate that I have sought further information from the ABC on this matter in addition to their public statements.”