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Just away from question time temporarily, Paul Karp filed this from the Coalition party room earlier:

At the Coalition joint party room, Scott Morrison suggested that all options are on the table on the issue of veterans’ mental health. While he didn’t explicitly say the Coalition is considering a royal commission, he said it is “giving active consideration to what further action we can take” over the Christmas period.

Morrison addressed the government’s decision to delay the religious discrimination bill, thanking the attorney general, Christian Porter, for his work to date and acknowledging that “within the party room there are different views – even more so across the community”.

Morrison said the government was “seeking the time to get this right” and credited the fact that “a listening and respect has been shown in the drafting process to date”.

Morrison wants the bill to bring people together on matters of faith and belief, and he “doesn’t want a partisan element to this process” to ensure smooth passage of the bill through parliament – an interesting hint that perhaps the Coalition needs Labor support to legislate it.

Morrison said the government was not backing down on the ensuring integrity bill – which will now be reintroduced to parliament.

Morrison also made some comparisons between his government and that of John Howard:


In the term from 2001 and 2004, the Howard government was able to deliver based on the groundwork they had laid in the previous six years of government – as we seek to do in this term.

One backbencher asked the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, about penalties for banking executives – suggesting that fines hit shareholders so perhaps personal penalties for executives was the way to go.

Frydenberg responded that penalties had been increased but it was important to get the balance right so banks keep lending. The prime minister said there are provisions which allow for removal of individuals from the banking sector.

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Labor kicks off question time with plea for veteran suicide royal commission

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Medevac bill back in discussion in the Senate

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