(Australian Associated Press)
WHAT’S ON IN CANBERRA AS PARLIAMENT RETURNS FOR 2019:
* Church service in Canberra on Tuesday morning, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten expected to attend.
* House and Senate sit Tuesday to Thursday. The following week is a House-only four-day sitting, with the Senate in estimates hearings.
* Labor is expected to seek crossbench approval to add two sitting weeks in March, before the April budget and May election.
* Medical approvals for asylum seekers likely to be debated. Independent MP Kerryn Phelps’ bill is not listed for further debate in the House. However a government bill, amended in the Senate along the same lines of the Phelps bill, is due to be ‘reported’ to the House on Tuesday. While a debate is likely, parliamentary rules mean there can’t be a vote on it in the House until 4.10pm that day. Coalition flatly refuses to support it.
* Senate to consider laws arising from the banking royal commission’s recommendations, ensuring superannuation fund trustees can face civil penalties for breaches of their best interests obligations. Labor has offered bipartisan support to fast-track reform.
* House to consider a bill making it compulsory for all federal election candidates to lodge information, such as citizenship and bankruptcy papers, showing they are eligible to run for parliament. Also, laws to ensure foreign investors pay a fairer share of tax, and set up a Future Drought Fund.
* The annual Closing the Gap report will be released on Thursday, with speeches by the PM and Opposition Leader.
* Senate reports due on Wednesday: rehabilitation of mining and resources projects; the practice of dowry and dowry abuse in Australia; support for Australia’s thalidomide survivors; jobactive; Great Barrier Reef 2050 Partnership Program.
* Senate reports due on Thursday: mental health of first responders, emergency workers and volunteers; proposed parliamentary code of conduct; Franchising Code of Conduct and Oil Code of Conduct.
* Retiring senators are due to give valedictory speeches on Wednesday afternoon.