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The day in federal parliament

AAP logoAAP 17/10/2016

TODAY IN FEDERAL PARLIAMENT

* The House of Representatives only is sitting this week.

* The Senate is conducting budget estimates hearings all week.

* Malcolm Turnbull goes on the attack over the construction union and the need for an industry watchdog.

WHAT'S MAKING NEWS

* The PM has used video of a union official's threatening behaviour on a Gold Coast construction site to bolster the case for a building watchdog.

* Turnbull flatly rejects as "absolutely false" Amnesty International's claims the treatment of refugees on Nauru amounts to deliberate and systematic torture.

* The PM is being pressured to relax the nation's gun laws to secure two key industrial reforms.

* A government MP fears the coalition's $5 rise to the international departure tax could be the first of many increases.

* Tony Abbott has flagged support for a private bill to repeal a contentious section of the Racial Discrimination Act as the government ruled out any changes.

WHAT'S ON THE AGENDA

* House of Reps: MPs debate the government's planned overhaul of the vocational education and training loans scheme; restoring the building and construction industry watchdog; same-sex plebiscite.

* Senate: Not sitting. Senate committees are conducting budget estimates hearing. Today they'll cover the portfolios of communications, including the national broadband network; finance; attorney-general, including national security agencies; agriculture and water resources.

WHAT BOTH SIDES WANT TO SPIN

* Coalition: Making trade unions and their officials more accountable and restoring the construction and building industry watchdog are an important, critical part of our economic plan.

* Labor: Does the prime minister stand by his absolute guarantee that Australians will not pay more to see the doctor as a result of his Medicare rebate freeze?

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

"This is not anti-union, this is not union-busting."

- Turnbull on the government's plan for tougher governance rules on trade unions and their officials.

TWEETED

@mattkeogh: "After his attempt at explaining metadata, it's probably for the best Brandis doesn't opine on whether something is or is not a chat group."

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