Federal parliament resumes in six weeks

STEPPING OFF: Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott arrives in Canberra yesterday. Picture: Alex EllinghausenPRIME Minister-elect Tony Abbott will wait at least six weeks to resume federal Parliament, giving him time to set up his new Coalition government and attend two summits.

Mr Abbott yesterday held a series of meetings in Canberra with Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop and Nationals leader Warren Truss and senior government officials.

His mind is also turning to how to get legislation to repeal the carbon and mining taxes and toughen Australia’s approach to asylum seekers through a minority-influenced Senate in the coming months.

“My job is to be respectful and courteous of every member of parliament – that includes independent and minor party MPs,” Mr Abbott said yesterday.

“But in the end they all need to respect the government of our nation has a mandate and the Parliament should work with the government to implement its mandate.”

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen, who yesterday nominated himself as shadow treasurer in the ALP opposition, criticised Mr Abbott’s decision not to bring Parliament back until late October or early November.

“I thought we had an emergency on our borders and a crisis in our budget,” Mr Bowen said.

“Apparently everything is not all that urgent now.”

Mr Abbott is expected to attend both the APEC summit in Bali and the East Asia Summit in Brunei in early October.

The incoming 28th prime minister said he was being “purposeful, methodical, calm and conscientious”.

“The last thing I want to do is to rush the Parliament back for a photo opportunity,” he said.

The Coalition’s asylum-seeker plan won’t start until after the new ministry is sworn in early next week.

Mr Abbott said he wouldn’t be surprised if people smugglers tried to test his government’s resolve.

Mr Truss, who will take on the transport and infrastructure portfolio, said the Nationals would have at least 20 members in the 44th Parliament.

“Under the Coalition arrangements, the positions are divided according to the number of seats we have in the Coalition room from each party,” Mr Truss told Sky News.

As vote counting continued, the Coalition was ahead in 87 lower house seats, to Labor’s 57.

The Australian Greens’ Adam Bandt, and independents Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie were on track to hold their seats, and the seats of Fisher, Fairfax and Mallee were not yet determined.

The Senate count continues, but the crossbench could include senators from the Palmer United Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, Family First and the Australian Sports Party.

Incoming minister Christopher Pyne said he believed it would be easier to deal with centre-right micro parties in the Senate after July 2014 than Labor and the Greens.


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