Multiple federal government ministers have offered their resignations after voting against prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in an unsuccessful Liberal party room challenge. Health minister Greg Hunt, trade minister Steve Ciobo, law enforcement minister Angus Taylor, international development minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and assistant ministers Zed Seselja, Michael Sukkar and James McGrath offered their resignations after voting for frontbencher Peter Dutton in a surprise leadership spill on Tuesday morning. Liberal parliamentarians voted 48-35 to retain Turnbull as head of the party, prompting Dutton to resign as home affairs minister and move to the backbench. Veterans’ affairs minister Darren Chester warned that he and at least three other Nationals MPs may move to the crossbench if Dutton became prime minister, leaving the government without a parliamentary majority in the House of Representatives, while crossbenchers Rebekha Sharkie and Cathy McGowan have refused to guarantee confidence and supply should the Liberals change leader.
A 12-year-old refugee child on Nauru suffering from resignation syndrome has been flown to Australia for medical treatment with members of his family. The child, who cannot be named, was flown by air ambulance to Australia on Tuesday afternoon, along with his mother, stepfather and sister. The boy had been on a hunger strike for 20 days, only weighs 36 kilograms, and cannot stand or sit up. Doctors on Nauru refused to sedate the boy to forcibly feed and hydrate him, as a previous attempt resulted in his refusal of further treatment. Speaking to Guardian Australia, a medical official on the island said needless delays in the boy’s treatment “added to the family’s distress by making them choose between each other, being told they have to leave someone behind, to perhaps never see them again”.
Newly sworn-in Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi has taken aim at racism and the use of “dog-whistling and race-baiting as an electoral tactic” in her first parliamentary speech. Speaking on Monday, Faruqi said “my presence in the Senate is an affront for some”, and that many people “are offended that people of colour, and Muslims, have the audacity to not only exist, but to open our mouths and join the public debate”. Faruqi took aim at both major parties’ response to United Australia Party senator Fraser Anning’s first speech last week, noting that “you can’t condemn racism and then, in a warm glow of self-congratulation, allow deep-rooted structures of discrimination to remain in access to healthcare and public services, in our prisons and justice system, and in our immigration system”. A former academic and engineer, Faruqi served in the New South Wales upper house before becoming the first Muslim woman in the Senate.
And the federal government’s bill to cut company tax has passed a second reading in the Senate after One Nation leader Pauline Hanson failed to turn up for a crucial vote. While One Nation senator Peter Georgiou voted against a government motion to have the tax cut bill read a second time on Tuesday, the absence of his party leader meant the motion passed 35-34, rather than being defeated in a 35-35 tie. The government attempted to secure One Nation’s support on Monday by announcing that the “big four” banks would be exempt from the lower tax rate, but the party reiterated its opposition to the proposal.