Parliament returns for spring session

·3-min read

Costs of living and the changing climate are back in focus as federal parliament meets for its spring session.

The two-week sitting period kicked off in Canberra on Monday and will be the last time parliament meets before the Labor government delivers its first budget on October 25.

First speeches from five new members and two senators featured on Monday with each outlining the plans for their time in office.

Lower house independent MP Dai Le shared her family's journey to Australia as refugees after fleeing war-torn Vietnam.

Wearing a traditional Vietnamese dress emblazoned with the Australian flag, Ms Le demonstrated her commitment to the nation, while pledging to ensure her southwest Sydney community was not forgotten by federal parliament.

"I'm a proud Australian with Vietnamese heritage and I want to celebrate that and for me it is about celebrating being an Australian and the multiple cultures we have become as a nation," she told ABC News.

In the upper house, the first Afghan-Muslim female parliamentarian called on the Australian government to keep pressure on the Taliban to uphold human rights and freedoms a year on from the fall of Kabul.

West Australian Labor senator Fatima Payman, who was born in Afghanistan before seeking refuge in Australia, outlined the perils faced by those in the country.

The Senate reaffirmed Australia's commitment to helping those who assisted with operations during the war to find safe harbour.

The upper house also began debating legislation to set a 43 per cent emissions reduction target, with Labor needing the support of all 12 Greens senators and one crossbencher to get the bill through parliament.

The coalition will not support the bill.

The Greens introduced trigger laws to stop the environment minister from approving fossil fuel projects without considering the impact on climate change.

The Senate also began a debate on laws to restore territory rights enabling the ACT and NT to legislate for voluntary euthanasia in line with states.

Labor senators are allowed a conscience vote on the matter and the bill is expected to pass.

Meanwhile, the lower house cross bench successfully amended the standing orders - the rules governing the house - to ensure they will have three questions during Question Time.

Independent MP Zoe Daniel raised the issue, saying the cross bench has previously been denied an opportunity to question the government because of opposition interjections.

"It's important that we begin as we plan to continue in this new parliament, rather than allowing poor habits to evolve or simply turning a blind eye to deliberate, mischievous points of order," she said.

"This is denying crossbenchers the full opportunity to represent our communities in parliament."

The government supported the change allowing a crossbencher to ask the fifth, 13th and 17th question during Question Time.

The opposition sought to extend Question Time by 20 minutes but was unsuccessful.

Following last week's jobs and skills summit the government will seek to take action on key outcomes reached by attendees.

Changes to fair work laws have been flagged to allow all workers and businesses to negotiate in good faith for agreements that benefit them.

This includes small businesses, women, care and community services sectors, and First Nations people.

Laws will also be amended to remove unnecessary limitations on access to single and multi-employer agreements.

These changes will require the approval of both houses of parliament.

Action is expected to be taken this year on the 36 outcomes identified from the summit.