Drug-testing for welfare on MPs agenda
A FIGHT for the power to drug test Australians on welfare is back on the books when parliament returns to Canberra for another fortnight.
Senators examining the plan to trial the testing regime and quarantine the welfare payments of those found to be using drugs split along party lines this week, with Labor and the Greens opposed to the move.
The measure reheats legislation that failed to pass the previous parliament.
The government also plans to bring on debate for a bill that would impose mandatory prison terms on pedophiles and create a new serious offence for when someone subjects a child to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or which causes a child to die.
Labor opposes mandatory minimum sentences on principle but has said it will let the bill pass the lower house while senators consider its implications more fully.
The Senate will also debate a government push to introduce more stringent character tests for migrants.
The move, opposed by Labor and the Greens, has been a sore point in Australia's otherwise close relationship with New Zealand as the existing rules have led to Kiwis who moved here as toddlers being deported.
Other bills scheduled for debate include the introduction of new regional visas for skilled migrants, requirements for the ABC to pay more attention to rural issues and have board members for regional areas, establishing a $4 billion emergency fund to respond to future natural disasters, and giving police more powers to check people's identities at airports.
On Monday morning, Greens MP Adam Bandt will ask the lower house to back a bill that makes it a crime to mine, burn or export thermal coal after 2030.
Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie will also introduce legislation to lift the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years to 14.
And in the Senate, Cory Bernardi will speak on his bid to legislate a definition of "Australian freedoms" and make parliament consider these in relation to all bills.
Elsewhere during the week, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission will front up to the House economics committee to explain how it's using new powers to crack down on banks in the wake of the royal commission.
Committee chair Tim Wilson wants to quiz the watchdog on its efforts to restore trust, eliminate conflicts of interest, and raise the standards of professionalism across the financial services industry.