Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrived in Jakarta before the PM and quickly scotched rumours about Australia and Indonesia undertaking joint naval exercises in the South China Sea.
The Prime Minister was ostensibly in Jakarta to attend the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) leadership conference but he also met with the Indonesian President where he took the opportunity to praise Indonesia as the “best ally in the fight against terrorism” and “a great example of moderate Islam.”
IORA signed an agreement that endorsed the concept of international law and economic growth in the Pacific region.
Back in Australia, the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, was travelling around the country pushing his argument against the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce weekend penalty rates in four awards.
The campaign appeared to be gaining traction, with the only real support for the FWC coming from the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia which argued that penalty rates put small business at a competitive disadvantage vis à vis big businesses with Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs).
Mr Shorten argued this was a myth because EBAs had to meet the ‘better off overall’ test which meant they paid more than the award.
On Thursday Kate Ellis, the Member for Adelaide, announced that she would retire at the next election.
She told the media that by then she would have been in Parliament for nearly 15 years.
Ms Ellis earned the nickname ‘the silver lining’ because she was the only Labor member to take a seat from the Coalition in the 2004 election when John Howard won a landslide victory over Mark Latham.
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