MPs return to Canberra as Batman byelection looms – politics live | Australia news

MPs return to Canberra as Batman byelection looms – politics live | Australia news
MPs return to Canberra as Batman byelection looms – politics live | Australia news

Your federal leaders are back, and so are we.

I hope everyone has managed to have some kind of rest because our federal MPs have sprung into the first sitting week chomping at the bit.

The latest Newspoll has Malcolm Turnbull facing his 26th loss in a row but the Coalition has slightly improved its primary vote and Bill Shorten is still chasing Turnbull as preferred PM. Labor still leads the Coalition in the two-party-preferred measure – 52 to 48.

But Shorten is starting the year with a byelection looming in Batman, which Labor only just won from the Greens in 2016. David Feeney has resigned and Ged Kearney is running. That doesn’t seem to be the end of the citizenship drama though, with Christopher Pyne still calling for Susan Lamb to be referred to the high court. Labor has returned fire with calls for Jason Falinski to front the bench. And so on and so on.

On the policy side of things (I know), Scott Morrison is pushing his tax cut agenda HARD, while Labor is zeroing in on inequality and wage growth. The two things aren’t exactly simpatico, so that should make for some interesting debates.

And Lucy Gichuhi will sit on the government benches for the first time after defecting from the crossbench. Which doesn’t really do a lot for the government’s numbers, because Gichuhi voted with the government anyway, and let’s not forget Cory Bernardi was elected as a Liberal before jumping ship to his own party.

Fraser Anning will formally leave One Nation today as well – keep an eye on where he could eventually end up. (I know Bernardi will be.)

I would also recommend you read this from my colleague Anne Davies – the Murray-Darling basin plan will be one of the sleeper issues this year. Don’t underestimate its impact in the regions.

Parliament resumes at lunchtime. The leaders are at the traditional church services while their lieutenants take potshots at each other. I hope you’ve had your coffee. I’ve had about three and it still doesn’t seem enough.

Mike Bowers has been out and about for hours so follow along with him at @mpbowers and @mikepbowers while you’ll find me at @amyremeikis and @ifyouseeamy. And of course, the comment section is open for your enjoyment. I’ll be making visits when I can, but if it’s urgent, hit me up on Twitter.

Let the games begin!

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