The day that was, Monday 18 October

And that’s where we’ll leave the blog for today. Here’s what we learned:

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the cabinet will make climate decisions at a Liberal party room meeting, as pressure continued to build.
  • It came after deputy PM Barnaby Joyce said he “hopes” climate won’t split the Coalition, as a deal between the parties continues to stall.
  • Meanwhile, Labor attacked the government’s climate indecision, pointing out how long the Coalition had been in power and how little progress had been made.
  • Vaccine passports have been approved and will be available to people from tomorrow, in anticipation of Australia’s international borders reopening.
  • NSW recorded 265 new Covid cases and five deaths; Victoria recorded 1,903 new cases and seven deaths
  • Queensland will allow quarantine-free interstate travel at 80% vaccinated, as the state announced its reopening plan.
  • Victoria Police has stood down 34 police officers and nine protective services officers over the vaccine mandate.
  • The ACT will no longer be considered a commonwealth hotspot from tomorrow.


Need a run down of what happened at Icac today? Look no further than Michael McGowan’s report:

Tasmania’s three day lockdown has officially come to an end as of 6pm tonight.

The state recorded zero new cases today, after being plunged into a tough snap lockdown over one case, with premier Peter Gutwein saying “you can never go too hard or early.”

Masks will remain mandatory for everyone over 12, including outdoors, but the stay-at-home orders have lifted. Restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities and hospitals will remain until the end of the week.

Gutwein had earlier said the easing of restrictions meant the Royal Hobart Show could go ahead, and that scheduled WBBL games can return to their original Covid-safe plans.


Vic Police stand down officers over vaccine mandate

Victoria Police has announced that dozens of officers have been stood down for not complying with the state’s vaccination mandate for authorised workers.

In a statement, Victoria Police confirmed that 34 police officers and nine protective services officers face being fired for not complying with the Chief Health Officer’s direction.

Exemptions from having the mandatory vaccine will only apply if an employee is unable to be vaccinated due to a medical issue, as described in the Mandatory Vaccination Direction.

These officers have currently been stood down and directed to take accrued leave.

The mandate requires all authorised workers to have recieved the first dose by last Friday, or to at least show they have their first dose booked in for on or before 22 October.

A few readers have questioned whether independent MP Craig Kelly’s presence in parliament on Monday means that he has been vaccinated.

Answer: no.

Kelly told Guardian Australia that he quarantined for two-weeks in a rented house in Franklin, and intends to be a “resident of Canberra” for seven weeks so he can attend the October and November sittings without returning to Sydney. Kelly said he hasn’t taken a Covid-19 vaccine.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s managing director, Martin Iles, has claimed that the government has backed down on an intention to remove the Folau clause from the religious discrimination bill and the new draft bill will contain “a Folau clause” protecting statements of religious belief.

The Folau clause sought to prevent employers setting policies such as social media codes of conduct that stop employees’ expressing their religious views in their private lives, and was tipped to be removed from the bill after opposition from moderate Liberals.

On Monday, Iles told Vision Christian Radio that the bill is “extremely close” and in the “final day or two of negotiation” with the attorney general and the prime minister’s office.

He said:

We’re still applying pressure to get the last few concessions out of the government – they have proven to be very very difficult, we have not been able to get all the things we think are important. There is a sense of disappointment [among faith leaders] that the bill is not as good as it should be. At the same time, [we are in a position of] reluctant support because they can see it does make a few key offerings that make a difference in this country.

We’re staunch advocates ... to ensure the Folau clause remains in the bill – that if somebody talks about their faith in their own private time, their employer can’t sack them. We fought tooth and nail – that was really at risk for a long time there. That was one great win: this final draft of the bill will contain a Folau clause. It’s not perfect, but it’s not bad. And it does exist within the bill.


Good afternoon, Mostafa Rachwani with you today to take you through the evening’s news and a quick thanks to Amy Remeikis for another stellar job today.

I am going to hand you over to the lovely Mostafa Rachwani for the evening – thank you to everyone who came along with me for politics live today.

Honestly, it was like no time at all had passed. Which is understandable when you consider we are all wading straight back into a debate this country has been having for more than a decade. And a reminder that this isn’t even the actual debate – the one the rest of the world is working out is what to do in regards to this decade. Australia hasn’t even started that yet. So the election should be fun.

A very big thank you to Mike Bowers, Katharine Murphy, Paul Karp, Sarah Martin and Daniel Hurst for all of their help today keeping me on my feet and more importantly, keeping the blog informed. And of course, to everyone in the Guardian brains trust who ensure that you are as up to date as quickly as we can manage ( as well as all the work behind the scenes cleaning up my typos).

I know you miss having comments on – so do we. Given some of the issues we have to cover, it is not always possible (I’d point you to any number of recent defamation decisions about publishers and comments) so sometimes it is best to keep us all safe, by keeping it all switched off. You can always reach me here, and here, as well as my email – for those who sent messages, I am working my way through answering your questions as best I can.

We have another three days of joint sittings, with the House going it alone next week while estimates plays out in the Senate. So we have a while together.

In the mean time, put up your feet. If you are in the storm area of south-east Queensland stay safe – and let’s all take a moment to process that we made it through another day of 2021.

I’ll be back early tomorrow morning. Take care of you.


ACT no longer a commonwealth hotspot from tomorrow

The commonwealth will not consider the ACT a hotspot, from tomorrow:

The Australian government chief medical officer, Prof Paul Kelly, has confirmed the commonwealth hotspot declaration in the ACT will cease at 11.59pm on 18 October 2021.

This follows confirmation that the double-dose Covid-19 vaccination rate in the ACT has today reached 80% for people aged 16 and over.

Under the national plan agreed to by all first ministers, the commonwealth’s hotspot declaration automatically ceases within a particular state or territory once the 80% fully vaccinated rate has been reached within that jurisdiction, with hotspot-related support to cease two weeks thereafter.

People wait for a haircut after lockdown restrictions ease in Canberra.
People wait for a haircut after lockdown restrictions ease in Canberra. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock


Labor and the Greens’ disallowance motion to prevent the Australian Renewable Energy Agency investing in carbon capture and storage has failed.

Malcolm Roberts and Pauline Hanson voted with the Coalition, and the vote was tied 25 all, therefore the disallowance failed.

But Green Larissa Waters questioned whether the vote should be recommitted – because in June Hanson abstained, and Hanson isn’t present in parliament today but was recorded as a government vote. Waters questions whether Hanson intended to do so, given she’s logged in remotely.

Slade Brockman rules that it is up to the senator themselves to identify if there is any issue with the way their vote is recorded. Since Hanson has not done so, the vote stands.


Liberal NSW senator Hollie Hughes was also on the ABC this morning, making the point that the Liberals represent more rural and regional seats than the Nationals:

The Liberal party represents 24 rural and regional seats in the house of representatives which makes it the largest party representing rural and regional Australians.

It is a misnomer to assume it’s only the National party or anybody else that represents the voice of rural and regional Australians. The Liberal party has a very big focus in this area. We have the majority of members in those rural and regional seats coming from the Liberal party and the Liberal party is very committed to those regions.


Labor and the Greens are moving in the Senate to disallow new rules for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which would allow the fund to invest in hydrogen projects and technologies including carbon capture and storage.

In June this disallowance was successful, with One Nation support, but the energy minister, Angus Taylor simply remade the rules.

One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts is up on his feet railing about the “lack of integrity from Labor and the Greens” and the fact parliament “hasn’t ever debated the climate science”. That’s a bad omen for the disallowance.

Earlier, Labor’s Jenny McAllister said it was “not rocket science that the renewable energy agency is for renewable energy” and not a “slush fund” for Taylor. McAllister cited the delegated legislation committee finding the rules are out of the minister’s power, urging the Senate to follow its recommendation to disallow.

Assistant attorney general, Amanda Stoker, said the disallowance will “stall funding for critical programs” such as carbon storage and low emissions aluminium production, labelling it “bad for jobs and bad for emissions reduction”.

Green Larissa Waters said if One Nation had supported the disallowance last time because gas companies that would benefit are not paying taxes, then they should do so again because the “situation hasn’t changed”.


And in Covid news.

Victoria Police has suspended a number of members over the vaccine mandate. They face possible dismissal within weeks @7NewsMelbourne

— CameronBaud7 (@CameronBaud7) October 18, 2021


Over in the senate, Malcolm Roberts is claiming that the parliament has never debated climate science.

Which is why we are now exiting the senate.

Zali Steggall also spoke to the ABC about her climate bill, where she was asked what not having any movement on a 2030 target will mean for Australia:

It means we will miss out on the huge amount of investment internationally, it also means we are falling further behind and we will be paying the cost because our contribution is significant.

What it says is that Minister Taylor is a climate denier, he ultimately is not prepared to take the action necessary, which is in the next decade.

The developed world has already used up 85% of global carbon budgets, that means in the next 10 years, and we need to substantially reduce because carbon budgets are compounding, they are increasing substantially. So it has to happen in the next 10 years.

I think Minister Taylor simply hasn’t got the commitment and I don’t think really has the dedication to genuinely want to reduce emissions. In the last month the government has approved four more coalmines and that says it all; when at the same time the international energy agency is saying there can be no more coal or gas.

Coal is unloaded onto large piles at the Ulan Coal mines near the central New South Wales rural town of Mudgee, Australia


Malcolm Turnbull also gave a short character assessment on Scott Morrison on Afternoon Briefing:

I wish him all the best, I grappled with the Nationals as he has, and we grappled with them together, it’s not easy.

Just saying Scott is long on tactics and short on strategy, is like saying the Pope is a Catholic.

That’s who he is, who he was as the state director, and as prime minister he is constantly focused on the short-term political tactics of the moment, that is his strength in some context but overall, it is a weakness.


Malcolm Turnbull is next up on the ABC and he is once again, just here to help.

Here is his take on the latest climate war within the Coalition:

It shows you how out of step the federal Coalition is nowadays, even compared to other Coalition governments.

The New South Wales government, again a Liberal National party coalition, but they have a commitment to reducing emissions from the state by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030.

They have really stepped up and you will see similar commitments around the country.

The federal party room, look, I understand this better than most, I lived through it, and it is just caught in this vice, of this, you know really strong group of climate deniers who don’t take global warming seriously, are absolutely wedded to the fossil fuel sector, and don’t want to do anything to really vested interests from whom they get the most support which has historically been fossil fuels and the Murdoch press.


David Littleproud: 'Zealots from both sides need to bugger off. We need to resolve this'

Asked about the seemingly never ending war on climate policy when it comes to the Coalition, and the fatigue people are feeling (it has been eight years since the Coalition was elected to government) David Littleproud says:

I think this is the chance to bury it once and for all. There is fatigue out there and people just really want us to get on with a resolution.

... But they want us to be honest about how we achieve it. Zealots from both sides need to bugger off. We need to resolve this, get a pathway and look everyone in the eye about how we will do it. That’s the best way to achieve it and I respect the fact there are people that have views that are very passionate. That’s the great thing about a democracy.

Except it won’t be the end of it, because there is no movement on any action for this decade, or changes to the 2030 as part of these negotiations – which is where the majority of the developed world is at.


Does David Littleproud think that anyone who disagrees with the Morrison cabinet’s climate position will have to leave the cabinet (as is the practice, as cabinet solidarity is meant to be absolute)?

He tries to wave the question away by saying it is a hypothetical, but Patricia Karvelas rightly points out that it could actually happen.

So will anyone from the National party have to go to back to the “corridor of the nearly dead” as Barnaby Joyce called the backbench (where people are paid more than $200,000 a year as a base salary)?

There are forums in which you can undertake that and as part of the executive those members get to articulate their position within the cabinet process.

... But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, we are working constructively to try and achieve some sort of resolution as quickly as we can and I’m not talking weeks or months. We are getting to a junction where we’re trying to expedite this understanding.


Also Michael Gunner, the NT chief minister is having a Twitter disagreement with US Republican Texan senator (and owner of Snowflake the poodle) Ted Cruz.

Being 2021, that shouldn’t even raise an eyebrow.

G’day from Down Under @tedcruz. Thanks for your interest in the Territory. I’m the Chief Minister. Below are a few facts about COVID down here.

— Michael Gunner (@fanniebay) October 18, 2021


Just a cheeky tornado for your Monday. Because of course:

We can confirm a tornado occurred at Pittsworth, southwest of Toowoomba, about 10.40am today. We are continuing to investigate its strength.

— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) October 18, 2021

David Littleproud (who has also been very busy with media appearances) is on Afternoon Briefing, where he is talking about what came out of today’s Nationals meeting:

More progress. We are working through this and we’re doing it collaboratively to draw on the vast experience and diversity of our party room.

While there are divergent views and some have staked their claim against it, the majority of the room want to work pragmatically through this.

It’s an issue we have to resolve and we have to resolve it to the benefit of regional Australia and the protection.

We were done over the last time but there is a chance to get this right and we’re being pragmatic through this process and we are committing to do as we can. We understand the urgency [but] we have only just seen the plan in terms of the party room.


Here was the first time Labor tried to suspend standing orders.

The Morrison-Joyce Government has just voted against a net zero by 2050 target.

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) October 18, 2021


Also in the chamber:

Anika Wells talks to Darren Chester before question time
Anika Wells talks to Darren Chester before question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
National Party members Mark Coultan and Keith Pitt before question time
National Party members Mark Coultan and Keith Pitt before question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks to the Leader of the House Peter Dutton during an attempt by the opposition to suspend standing orders
Scott Morrison talks to leader of the House, Peter Dutton, during an attempt by the opposition to suspend standing orders. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Prime Minister Scott Morrison leaves the chamber with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and deputy PM Barnaby Joyce after question time
Scott Morrison leaves the chamber with treasurer Josh Frydenberg and deputy PM Barnaby Joyce after question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Here is how Mike Bowers saw QT:

Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is watched by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison during question time
Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is watched by Scott Morrison during question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
This is fine
This is fine. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Totally fine
Totally fine. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Someone in Penny Wong’s office has Googled:

Four hours? You’ve been in power for 70,844 hours.

— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) October 18, 2021


“The government has given up even trying to lead the country,” Chris Bowen says before he too is cut off.

And we wait for these divisions to come to their inevitable end.

“This is no longer a government, it is a shambles, it is a shambles where we are waiting for the National party ...” is what Anthony Albanese gets out this time, before Peter Dutton gags him. Again.


Question time ends and now Anthony Albanese is trying to suspend standing orders again.

Suspension of standing orders for a motion to legislate Net Zero by 2050 being opposed by all those MPs that say they are committed to Net Zero by 2050!🤨 #racetozero #auspol #Independents #ClimateCrisis

— 🌏 Zali Steggall MP (@zalisteggall) October 18, 2021


Question time resumes with a dixer.


Chris Bowen jumps in “eight years of denial must end” but is cut off.

The divisions move to their inevitable conclusion of Labor losing and the government winning the gag motion on the numbers.


Labor is asking another climate question to Bridget McKenzie – this time quoting Matt Canavan’s views about net zero and how Scott Morrison only has “a prayer” that hydrogen will save jobs.

McKenzie replied: “What senator Canavan, the deputy prime minister, and the entire National party is concerned about is the impact of net zero on regional jobs. We only wish Labor and Greens had similar concern. You have no plan to get to net zero.”

Labor raised a point of order on relevance, and new president Slade Brockman finally sides with the opposition and draws McKenzie back to the question.

McKenzie continued:

No, it’s about Senator Canavan and the deputy prime minister, and do they agree? They agree. They agree on the need to protect regional jobs for not just the next three weeks, not just the next three months, but the next 30 years. They are absolutely agreed on that. As we all are in the National party. The National party has a broad range of views on the substantive issue of climate change. There’s no secret there. But what we are all united on is to ensure that any climate policy that this country agrees to does not disadvantage the regions. And we’re taking our time to assess that and come to a position.”

In a supplementary, Labor’s Murray Watt asks about Canavan saying “the prime minister might believe in miracles but I don’t think we should gamble people’s jobs on a wing and a prayer”.

In reply, McKenzie says she also believes in miracles, like Morrison’s miracle election victory, and goes back to attacking Labor for their climate policy.


Anthony Albanese attempts to suspend standing orders to debate this motion:

That the House of Representatives supports a legislative target of [cutting] emissions by 2050.

That’s the Coalition’s own policy by the way.

Peter Dutton does not give leave.

“For stunts, leave is not granted.”

So Albanese tries again and manages to get in the line:

This government is frozen in time while the world warms around it, the world is going to Glasgow and this side can’t come up with a ...

before he is cut off and a division is called.


Chris Bowen to Scott Morrison:

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said climate change is, and I quote, “absolute crap”. Can the prime minister confirm Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target is the same target set by Mr Abbott?


It is the target that I as prime minister took to the last election and was endorsed by the Australian people. That is what it is, Mr Speaker.

It is a policy that was endorsed by the Australian people at the last election! And when I took that policy to the election, Mr Speaker. When Labor took a policy of 45% and it was rejected by the Australian people, I said that we wouldn’t just meet this target, Mr Speaker, we would beat this target.

And what we’re seeing, Mr Speaker, is emissions reductions have fallen by more than 20% on 2005 levels, and we are making excellent progress towards that goal and indeed we will make that target and we wouldn’t will meet that target and I will be in a position to advise the Cop26 in our success in meeting and beating that target, Mr Speaker, when I am there in a few weeks’ time.

We had heard, Mr Speaker, on our side, the Liberal and Nationals, our way to addressing climate change is to ensure that we do it [with] technology, not taxes. But we heard from the Labor senator on the weekend, Mr Speaker...

Tony Smith:

The prime minister, this is not an opportunity to ... Just answer the question about it, if you can.


We are pursuing a pathway and that pathway has ensured that we have been delivering, not only lowering emissions but we have been ensuring we have been able to put a brake on the electricity price ... and make sure we get more gas into the system to provide the reliability that is necessary ... in the system to ensure that industry and manufacturing in particular.

One in eight jobs lost in manufacturing under Labor Mr Speaker when they were last in power. And our manufacturing initiative is showing that we’re putting Australians back into manufacturing jobs, Mr Speaker, with the figures that I have a ready referred to today in question time, and that is achieved because we are keeping energy prices under control, we are investing in the technology that is needed to reduce emissions, we are investing in the energy sources such as gas is a transition fuel, Mr Speaker, to keep the lights on and keep the prices down. Every time you hear Labor talking about cutting emissions, they are putting up your taxes!

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese and shadow minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen leave a press conference at Parliament House earlier on Monday.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese and shadow minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen leave a press conference at Parliament House earlier on Monday. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Labor has not actually released its climate plan. So no one knows what it is.

Morrison vows to tackle climate change with 'technology not taxes'

Kristy McBain to Scott Morrison:

“Does the prime minister agree that communities in rural and regional Australia bear the brunt of inaction on climate change through droughts, bushfires and floods. Does the prime minister recognise communities in rural and regional Australia want action on climate change and will be the [biggest] beneficiaries of net zero by 2050?”


I thank the member for her question and I do agree. I do agree, Mr Speaker, that it is true that I believe regions can be the biggest beneficiaries of moving into a new global economy where decisions are being taken outside of this country that impact on our regions, and it’s important that we take the opportunities that come with those new energy technologies, which can yield great opportunities for our regions, Mr Speaker.

And as the world continues to take action together, Mr Speaker, that will have a positive impact on Australia’s climate as well that I would also say this. I would also say that it would be foolish to pretend that the economic changes that are occurring as a result of the world’s response to climate change will not have negative consequences for rural and regional areas.

That would also not be true, Mr Speaker. And we are not blind to that and that is why the Liberals and Nationals together will ensure that the policies that we have in place, both seizes those opportunities that come from those technologies in rural and regional areas [and] also enables them to deal with the negative impacts that will inevitably come because of the impacts on more traditional industries. Because we want to keep making steel in this country, Mr Speaker, we want to keep making aluminium in this country, Mr Speaker. We want to keep making ammonia in this country, Mr Speaker.

We want to continue manufacturing jobs in this country and I note, Mr Speaker, there are over 1 million Australians employed in a manufacturing sector as of the 21 August this year.

That is the first time manufacturing employment has been above a million jobs for over a decade so Mr Speaker, we know, we know, Mr Speaker! I will take the interjection, Mr Speaker! Because when those in office ... when those [opposite] Mr Speaker, came to office, there were over 1 million manufacturing jobs and when they left office there was just over 900,000, Mr Speaker! (It was the GFC).

Manufacturing jobs have gone up under the Liberals, Mr Speaker! Rural and regional areas will benefit from our plans for investing in technology and ensuring that we work with the regions, whether it is an infrastructure or water infrastructure, Mr Speaker, or electricity transmission or the big projects that we are pursuing like the inland rail, Mr Speaker, or Snowy hydro.

Power lines connected to the Snowy hydro electric scheme are seen running through Kosciuszko national park.
Power lines connected to the Snowy hydro electric scheme are seen running through Kosciuszko national park. Photograph: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

The member herself will know in her own electorate the Snowy hydro project is a jobs boom for her electorate, written and authorised by the Liberal and Nationals, Mr Speaker.

That is where that project came from and that is the action we are taking. We will do this through technology, Mr Speaker, in dealing with these challenges, not taxes.

And I know, Mr Speaker, I note that [those opposite] Senator Gallagher [was asked] is a carbon price an option for Labor, [and she said] ‘we are looking at everything’, Mr Speaker, that was her answer.


Peter Dutton gives his latest how-safe-are-you answer in response to a dixer. The only difference is now he talks more about the military than unions.


Meanwhile in the Senate:

"It is the Labor party’s policy not to institute a carbon tax." - Bridget McKenzie 18 October, 2021.

Labor ad-makers might want to bookmark this, not sure the election campaign will be quite as intellectually honest as this.#auspol

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) October 18, 2021


Stephen Jones to Josh Frydenberg:

The treasurer’s failure to adopt net zero 2050 target will cost jobs and the economy. Treasurer, what has been the cost to the economy of nearly a decade of climate change inaction?

Frydenberg has several goes at answering this, and is stopped at each turn, because he keeps trying to talk about things that are not related to the question.

Like unemployment:

The first thing to state to the record is emissions are down by 20% on 2005 levels, consistent with meeting and beating our 2030 targets we agreed to in Paris. When it comes to the economy and jobs, I point out to the honourable member, when we came to government, under Labor the unemployment rate was at 5.7%. Before this pandemic, before the first recession in nearly three decades, the unemployment rate was 5.1%. And today the unemployment rate is 4.6%. It is under 5% for the first time in a decade. And I tell you what leads to more jobs, it’s lower taxes. And on this side of the House we have legislated through the parliament more than $300 billion of tax cuts for Australian families.

(Unemployment is only so low because the participation rate has dropped – people have literally just left the labour force. If you aren’t looking for a job, then you don’t count as part of the labour force and therefore, aren’t counted in the unemployment statistics.)

Frydenberg then tries to talk about tax:

We have introduced in successive budgets some of the biggest tax incentives for investment, which has led to a 20% increase in machinery, capital and equipment purchases over the last year through the incentives in the immediate expensing provisions we put in place in the budget. Whether it is the patent box, cutting taxes for small business to 25%, whether it is the work...

Josh Frydenberg speaks to Barnaby Joyce during question time on Monday.
Josh Frydenberg speaks to Barnaby Joyce during question time on Monday. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

And then the economy at large:

Mr Speaker, the reality is, that under the economic stewardship of those on the side of the House, we are seeing more jobs created, we have seen the unemployment rate fall to a more than decade low, and we have the plan in place to see a strong economic recovery from the biggest economic shock since the great depression. Those opposite, their only solution...

Tony Smith:

The Treasurer wasn’t asked about those opposite.


On this side of House we are driving the creation of more jobs, we will drive a stronger economic growth into next year, we have seen our triple-A credit rating reaffirmed by the rating agency, we are one of only nine countries in the world to have a triple-A credit rating from the three leading credit rating agencies. We are getting on with the job of lowering emissions, electricity prices and creating more jobs.

So what is the cost of inaction? They can’t tell you.


We have just heard from Angus ‘TECHNOLOGY NOT TAXES’ Taylor, who used his three minutes to also audition for the “Look at me being all statesman like” game the Coalition’s second tierers (the Jenners to the Kardashians, if you will) are currently playing amongst themselves.

The thing is, no one is suggesting taxes. So it’s a slogan without a meaning.


Justine Elliott to Scott Morrison:

Why is the prime minister giving the deputy prime minister and the National party a veto on whether Australia takes action on climate change? And why is the prime minister not in the room [where] Australia’s climate change policy has been decided?


The government decision, on the government’s commitments for Australia in relation to Cop26m will be made by the government in cabinet, in cabinet, that is where it will be made and that’s where these decisions are made. All members for the government understand that, all members for the government do the right thing by consulting far and wide ... when they come together to make decisions in the best interests of Australia.

And the government, a Coalition government, a strong Coalition government working closely together as we have been leading Australia through one of the greatest crises we have seen since the Second World War, working together constructively to find the right solutions, sensibly, responsibly and cautiously.

This government hasn’t gone off and signed a blank cheque commitment, we haven’t gone off and stated a target without a plan, that’s what those opposite have done.

... We are thinking through the plans to protect jobs in this country from the challenges are coming, and to secure opportunities. We are not about shutting anything down but opening up new opportunities. Those opposite would seek to impose choices on Australians, we will let Australians make their own choices.

We will make sure we keep the lights on and prices down.


Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt each get dixers where they both continue their ‘I am the bigger statesman’ competition, as they continue to vie for the leadership heir apparent spot.

Just wait until Angus Taylor gets up though.

Anthony Albanese to Scott Morrison:

My question is to the prime minister. I refer to the prime minister’s comments in the house less than a year ago that net zero target by 2050 would, to quote the prime minister, “would require a 43% emissions reduction target in 2030”. Is that still the case?


Well, Mr Speaker, that was in relation to what was being put at the time, if I recall correctly.

(There is laughter)

There is no such linear trajectory to 2050. That is not what our plan relies on, Mr Speaker. Those opposite might think the linear trajectory might work but not on this side of the house ... we know that you have to invest in the technologies, many of which will have long lead times which will ensure, Mr Speaker, the 2030 targets that we have set out, that we will not only meet, Mr Speaker, but we will beat them as well, were set up well for the future in further reducing emissions.

Now, Mr Speaker, you need to follow the technology part here. You can go down the path of ensuring that technology has become more affordable, providing more choices to consumers, Mr Speaker...

Tony Smith tells him to stick to the question.


I’m simply drawing a parallel, whether it is the Labor party’s path or anybody else.

You can go down the path of a technology roadmap, which is what the government’s policy is, which appreciates, Mr Speaker, that over time the returns on that investment and the acceleration in the emissions reductions that occur, because of that investment, then we are able to achieve greater emissions reductions over the longer term.

If you are seeking to do that by forcing higher emissions reduction targets by 2030, Mr Speaker, you will force the choices that cost jobs!

And that is not what the common public policy is! It has never been our policy! At the last election, we rejected a 43% emissions reduction target followed by those opposite and it wasn’t just us who rejected it, Mr Speaker, the Australian people rejected it. They supported our policy of 26- 28% to meet that target and beat that target. That is what we took to the last election, Mr Speaker, that is what we are delivering on by 20% reduction in emissions, Mr Speaker, from 2005 levels, much greater than New Zealand, much greater than Canada.

Countries that also have a very large proportion of their emissions taken up in the export sector. But here in Australia, at the same time that we have seen one of the largest expansions in our LNG industry, we have been as a country able to reduce our emissions by over 20% on 2005 levels. That is what it is looking like, Mr Speaker.

Scott Morrison smiles at Barnaby Joyce during question time on Monday.
Scott Morrison smiles at Barnaby Joyce during question time on Monday. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


That “number” Helen Haines was talking about came from an AFR report, which had a quote from an unnamed Nationals MP:

“They won’t say ‘no’ because they’ll get no cash, and they won’t say ‘yes’ [straight away] because they’ll get no cash.”


Helen Haines has the independent question and it is to the current deputy prime minister:


The government is pointedly asking for tens of billions of dollars for regional Australia as part of the climate policy deal for the Nationals. It would put solar panels on the roof of every hospital and school to lower their power bills. It would install a community battery in every bushfire town to secure their power next fire season. It would invest in our manufacturing capabilities to grow new export facilities and high-paid jobs in renewables, and it would guarantee that regional people share in the profits of regional renewables. Will the Nationals secure any of this or will you squander this once in a generation opportunity for us?

The current deputy prime minister:

I thank the member for Indi and I thank her passion to ensure that we look after regional areas and that is the same passion shared by my colleagues in the Nationals and I’m certain shared by many colleagues in the regional Liberals. We are always mindful of making sure that we reach National seats, independent seats, Liberal seats and also into regional Labor seats. Because they are part of us.

Whether that is energy projects, medical issues, investment in education, investments in infrastructure that drive those economies forward. You’ve talked about investments to take the standard of living ahead and that’s why the biggest investment project in this nation is the inland rail, which is taking the lives of people ahead. I also know in your question how you talked about a number. There is no number [confirmed] I wanted to [stop] this notion that there is some magical number running around, there is not. And as you know, member for Indi, we have both been here a little while, just because you read it, it doesn’t mean they say it.

By gosh we have all had the experience in this place by reading things that turned out to be complete and utter tripe. We need to be mindful that all issues and not just this issue but in the process of being in government.

The process of being in government is to serve the people of regional Australia, to make sure we make the lives of people in regional Australia better. To create opportunities so that not only themselves but their children and their grandchildren have jobs in regional Australia our job is to make sure that we stand behind the industries and the wealth of regional Australia because, as the member for Indi knows, it is the terms of trade that is generated by regional Australia.

The people who put the product on the boat that gives wealth to our currency and turns to our currency ... And the people who put product on the boat, the iron ore miners, the coal miners, the gas, the cattle, the live cattle, the live sheep, the sheep, the grain, all these products come from regional Australia and if we don’t protect regional Australia, we don’t protect our nation, and if we don’t protect the strength of our currency, that there is a reason for other people to demand our products ... we will become a poorer nation.


In the Senate, Labor’s Tim Ayres has now asked Bridget McKenzie about comments from Liberal moderates about the imperative of signing up to net zero by 2050.

McKenzie said:

I’ve made it very, very clear that we, as a party room, are considering the question of committing to net zero by 2050 and what are the implications for rural and regional Australia. Labor senator after Labor senator is going to quote me. Liberal Party senators. Well, they don’t sit in my party room. They don’t sit in my party room. The people who are actually considering this question are National party senators and MPs who have made it very, very clear, whether it’s Anne Webster, who said, ‘we’re not signing up to a blank cheque’.

So, whilst it may not resonate, it may not resonate to you because you don’t live where we live, you don’t serve the people we serve, and out of sight is out of mind for the major parties in this building. And so it is the National party who, once again, who once again stands before a policy, if not implemented appropriately will severely impact rural and regional Australia, will severely impact mining, agriculture, and manufacturing. And we need to make sure ... we’ve assessed the plan that’s been put to us, to understand the implications, and to proceed in a calm and reasonable manner with the Liberal party on a pathway forward.


Anthony Albanese to Scott Morrison:

Can the prime minister confirm that his record on climate change includes ... claiming electric vehicles will end the weekend.

Saying the world’s biggest battery to store renewable energy is as useful as a big banana. And describing renewable energy targets as ‘nuts’.

Why should Australians trust anything this prime minister says on climate change and emissions reduction?


When I give a commitment to the Australian people about what we’re going to do on emissions reduction we keep it. (The opposition laughs).

We said we would meet our Kyoto targets and we did*.

We said we would meet and beat our reductions targets for Paris and that we would stay in the Paris agreement, Mr Speaker, and we took that to the last election.

Those opposite took a policy to the last election saying that they wanted to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 or so. We said that was the wrong policy, Mr Speaker!

It is still the wrong policy, Mr Speaker! It is not something we support, Mr Speaker! **

Those opposite ... I’m sure they have a myriad of views. We will beat the target by ensuring that Australia invest right across regional areas of this country, in particular, in the changes in energy technology that is needed to ensure that Australia remains prosperous over the next 30 years, Mr Speaker, over the next 50 years. Because to meet the global challenge of climate change ... to ensure we understand what is occurring as a result of the world’s response to climate change, we have to be honest, to understand that in this country that means there will be impacts.

There will be economic impacts across the regions in particular, in this country, and those challenges need to be confronted and met and ensured that our regions emerge stronger.

To deal with climate change, Mr Speaker, yes, you need an emissions reduction plan, yes, you need an environmental plan, Mr Speaker, but most importantly, to secure the lives of Australians you need an economic plan, Mr Speaker, and the Australian people know that they can trust the Liberals when it comes to the economy!

And if you are going to rely on the Labor party, Mr Speaker, to secure your plan or your economy, Mr Speaker, in this rapidly changing global climate, Mr Speaker, you are relying on the wrong party because Labor ... under the leadership of both this leader and those that came before him, Mr Speaker, in opposition, who did not have an economic plan to deal with the global challenges of climate change, when asked what it would cost at the last election, they couldn’t say.

They have a target at the moment with no plan. They have a target which is a blank cheque.

Well not from the Liberals and the Nationals. The Liberals and the Nationals will always have an economic plan to deal with the big challenges facing our country! That is what we’re doing, Mr Speaker! Those opposite have learned nothing!

*Kyoto let us INCREASE emissions

**The BCA has backed a 50% reduction by 2030


There are a lot of Crosby Textor lines being tested out in this question time (CT being the research and focus group of choice for the Coalition).

See if you can pick them out of Scott Morrison’s answers (yes we are in an election campaign, it just hasn’t been officially called as yet).


Just on Kyoto (thank you to Daniel Hurst for digging this up for me)

Australia bettered its first Kyoto target, which allowed an 8% increase in emissions between 1990 and 2010, and is on target to meet its second Kyoto target, a 5% cut below 2000 levels by 2020. Neither target was consistent with what scientists said the country should be doing to play its part in addressing the problem.


The current deputy prime minister is trying to answer a dixer for which he has a written answer. It is going as well as you can expect.

Chris Bowen to Scott Morrison:

The Coalition has been in office for nearly a decade, with just two weeks to go until the conference in Glasgow. Why can’t the government tell Australians what its climate change policy is? Why is it always too little, too late from this prime minister?


I’m invited by the member opposite to comment on these issues. I can refer him to the comments by the member for Hunter, where he said after 14 years of trying the Labor party is...

Tony Smith:

The prime minister, you must pause for a minute. Your microphone is off ... I’m making a ruling. The question did not refer to anything other than the government’s policy. Just to be very clear, capacity to speak about opposition policy simply doesn’t exist. The prime minister has the call.


Well chastised on that matter. I hadn’t even started yet. We have set out very clearly as a government, our goals and our targets, and we have beaten them.

We have beaten Kyoto one and Kyoto two, and we will meet the Paris emissions targets we took to the last election. At the last election we went to that election and we said we would reduce emissions by 2030 by 26 to 28%, as of right now those emissions are down by more than 20%.

Australia has one of the highest if not the highest rate of rooftop solar take up anywhere in the world. We are seeing a flow, a waterfall of investment into lower emissions technologies and renewable technologies in this country like we have never seen before ... But also taking down electricity prices at the same time and investing in the reliability of our grid as we go forward because we understand on this side of House it’s about getting the balance right.

The balance of affordability and reliability and getting emissions deductions down as we are achieving.

... Our policy is pretty straightforward, technology not taxes to reduce emissions.

Those opposite when they got the chance it was tax, tax, tax.

Just a reminder on Kyoto – Australia was given permission to INCREASE its emissions by 8% under the Kyoto one agreement. Not hard to meet something when you are able to increase your emissions.

To find out more, you can head here:

And here:


There was a slightly delayed start to Senate question time, as Labor sought to ask its first question to National party Senate leader Bridget McKenzie, who wasn’t yet in her place.

Labor’s Jenny McAllister asked about Liberal Alex Antic’s statements that net zero by 2050 is an “absolute folly” and there is no way to achieve it without costing jobs.

McKenzie said the Nationals had been debating the impact of climate policy on people in rural and regional areas for 14 years, spring-boarding off to attack Labor over electricity prices.

Labor objected on the grounds of relevance, because McKenzie didn’t address the quote. The Senate president, Slade Brockman, disagreed, noting there was a “long preamble” to the question.

Labor’s Penny Wong urged Brockman to reconsider, resulting in a very testy exchange in which Brockman spoke over Wong, briefly preventing her from making the submission. Brockman is unmoved, and lets McKenzie continue.

Labor is not happy – there were several interjections including “yet we voted for him – we had options”, so day one, question one – and people are dissenting from Brockman’s ruling.

McKenzie concluded:

Again, I’m not going to reflect on Senator Antic’s commentary. Someone else in this place can. What we are actually focused on as the National party is absolutely ensuring that every single policy that our government prosecutes and puts before the people has rural and regional Australia’s best interests at its very, very centre. And that is absolutely the thing.

We are not ashamed to be standing up and saying, hold the horses. Let’s not gallop off to Glasgow. Let’s make sure that what we are considering as a government has actually gone through the prism of how it will affect the poorest in this country, the most high-energy-intensive industries in this country. And you know what? If it wasn’t for us, no one else would be raising this. You all would have signed up in a heartbeat. And the only one standing up for the regions is the National party.

Nationals senators Matt Canavan, Perin Davey and Bridget McKenzie in the Senate chamber on Monday.
Nationals senators Matt Canavan, Perin Davey and Bridget McKenzie in the Senate chamber on Monday. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Scott Morrison:

This effort by Australians is now paying the dividends. Businesses reopening, families and friends reconnecting, children going back to school, planes getting ready for takeoff, again, all being achieved by following the national plan

Scott Morrison strayed quite far from climate in that answer (and there were notes, so it wasn’t exactly off the cuff)

Looks like someone is trying to stay on script, at least to start with.

Question time begins

It is the first one in six weeks and we are straight into it.

Anthony Albanese to Scott Morrison:

My question is to the prime minister. On bushfires he said he did not hold a hose, on vaccines he said it isn’t a race, now he isn’t even in the room on the government’s climate change [policy] being determined by the National party. Why does the prime minister always go missing when leadership is required and never take responsibility for anything?


I thought this was question time not sledge time, but if that’s how the leader of the opposition wants to kick off the week is up to him.

What I know is that under this government we have been coming through this pandemic, saving lives and livelihoods, and Australia’s reopening now. Australians can see their future as the days get warmer, their future is getting brighter, and their futures not only getting brighter because we are coming through this pandemic, because they know this government has the economic plans to make sure they can look forward to the future, they can plan for their future with confidence. They know they will be paying lower taxes under our government, we are investing in infrastructure needed to boost regions across this country, our agricultural sector is realising the hard fought gains as they have seen an improvement in crops and prosperity returned to the regions in the rural parts of this country.

They know that under this government they can be more secure, they can be more safe, whether it is taking decisions we need to take in the national defence interest, working with partners in the world especially the United States to ensure in a highly unstable region we can provide that stability through the strong leadership on leadership and defence.

When it comes to protecting the borders and making sure we take the right decisions to make sure Australians are protected on a terrorist threat, we are doing the right thing when it comes to the home affairs portfolio.

Under our government we are taking the decisions necessary to make sure Australians can be more prosperous, they can be more secure, and we are bringing Australia together around the big challenges that this country faces.

And we are doing it together because this is the way, listening to all of those across this country, whether in rural or regional areas, as they are dealing with the challenges we are facing in the global economy. And I can assure you this government will stand up for rural and regional Australia every single time ... We will respond to those concerns and make sure we have the plans to ensure they can look forward to future with confidence.

Those opposite have a different set of priorities and plans. Plans that aren’t in the favour of Australia’s prosperity, plans for higher taxes and leaving the rural and regional Australia behind.


It’s 90 second statements in Canberra (the bit before question time) so it is time for who is that MP.

It’s Anthony Albanese.


Queensland to allow quarantine-free interstate travel at 80% vaccinated

Queensland will open its borders to interstate travellers from Covid hotspots for the fully vaccinated from 17 December.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the announcement on Monday as she outlined the state’s reopening plan, which sets out when restrictions on arrivals will ease, based on vaccination modelling.

At 70% fully vaccinated, expected on 19 November, people will be able to enter Queensland from domestic hotspots, provided they are fully vaccinated, arrive by air, have a negative test in the previous 72 hours and undertake 14 days home quarantine.

At 80%, expected on 17 December, the state will reopen fully to arrivals from hotspots without quarantine, and will have no restrictions on arrivals at 90% fully vaccinated.

Palaszczuk said the measures were “good news” for families looking to be reunited for Christmas:

“That’s good news for families to be reunited for Christmas.

“If we keep getting our vaccine we can welcome family and friends from interstate hotspots in a little over a month, who are fully vaccinated, and a month after that in December they can come without having to quarantine. In time for Christmas.

“But they too will need to be fully vaccinated and I think Queenslanders will acknowledge that that is a sensible and cautious approach to ensure that families can be reunited but the people coming into Queensland will have to be fully vaccinated.”

Health workers prepare Covid-19 vaccinations at a pop-up clinic at Bunnings Mt Gravatt in Brisbane on Sunday.
Health workers prepare Covid-19 vaccinations at a pop-up clinic at Bunnings Mt Gravatt in Brisbane on Sunday. Photograph: Albert Perez/AAP


Under the Queensland plan, fully vaccinated travellers can enter the state from 19 November (with some conditions) – which is when the state is scheduled to meet its 70% double-dose target – even if you are from a hotspot.

Annastacia Palaszczuk:

At 70% of Queensland’s eligible population fully vaccinated ... expected on November 19 ... if you come from a declared domestic hotspot, like NSW or Victoria, in the previous 14 days you can travel to Queensland, provided you are fully vaccinated and arrived by air and have a negative Covid test in the previous 72 hours and will have to undertake home quarantine for 14 days.

There are more freedoms at 80%.


[At] 80% of Queensland’s eligible population fully vaccinated, expected on the 17 December, travellers from interstate hotspots can arrive by road or air. They must be fully vaccinated, they must have a negative Covid test in the previous 72 hours and no quarantine will be required.

If Queensland gets to the targets earlier, then the border restrictions will lift earlier.


Queensland announces reopening plan

Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the reopening plan for the greatest nation on earth (it’s Queensland).

The premier says interstate travel without hotel quarantine will be allowed in time for Christmas for people who are fully vaccinated.

People have been telling me how they missed seeing their uncles, their aunts, their mothers, their fathers, their children. This is really important that we unite Queenslanders but we do it in the safest way. We are going to try to minimise the risk and there are key steps along the path.

Today I’m releasing our Queensland Covid vaccine plan, a measured and cautious plan that will do what we want to do to reunite families and protect Queenslanders from Delta.

It sets dates when we expect to achieve 70 and 80% eligible Queenslanders who are fully vaccinated. If we keep getting our vaccine we can welcome family and friends from interstate hot spots in a little over a month who are fully vaccinated and a month after that in December they can come without having to quarantine, in time for Christmas.

But they too will need to be fully vaccinated and I think Queenslanders will acknowledge that that is a sensible and cautious approach to ensure that families can be reunited but the people coming into Queensland will have to be fully vaccinated. The faster we are vaccinated, the faster these deadlines will be achieved.


Earlier, at his doorstop, Anthony Albanese revealed that he has written to the finance department about Anthony Byrne’s evidence to Ibac about hiring a staffer in his electorate office who didn’t show up for work in its branch-stacking probe.

He said:

These processes will play out. Anthony Byrne has been referred to the department of finance to examine his evidence just like Kevin Andrews and Michael Sukkar were ... The department of finance will examine in a similar way ... I’ve asked them to do that, written to the secretary of the department.

In October 2020 the department of finance cleared assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar and MP Kevin Andrews of misusing commonwealth funds.

The Victorian federal MPs asked for an investigation after a Channel Nine report alleged they had misused taxpayers money to try to recruit Liberal party members.


Angus Taylor had a very quick doorstop on the Nationals a little earlier today:

The National party’s interest is very similar to our interest. It is as aligned as the Liberal party. It is aligned with making sure we have a strong Australia, strong regions, strong job creation, across the regional areas, we protect and strengthen our traditional industries.

That is what I want to see, that is what all Liberals want to see and that is what the National party wants to see pulled up I am confident, very confident that not only does our plan do that, it will continue to do that.


Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is previewing a BIG announcement at 1.30pm AEDT.

Spoiler: Christmas in Queensland is a go (I imagine).

The state is on track to meet its vaccination targets before Christmas, so with that in mind, I would say this is a border announcement.

Also known as Amy can go home.

Tune in at 12.30pm for an important announcement. Streamed on my Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Thanks, Queensland 👏

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) October 18, 2021


We are now into the downhill slide into question time.



PM told Liberals that Australia would offer net zero as a 'nationally determined contribution'

Murph has a bit more for you on the climate negotiations. A nationally determined contribution (NDC) is a statement of intent, with a bit of weight behind it. So the prime minister told his party room he wants to offer up net zero by 2050 as a NDC to the international community, which is basically a way of saying we will do this – without needing to go to the parliament.

Sorry, reporting these events is always piecemeal. The PM told the Liberals this morning: cabinet was the decider on net zero; and Australia would offer the commitment up as an NDC (a nationally determined contribution). It makes the commitment more concrete.

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) October 18, 2021

Morrison volunteering net zero would be offered as an NDC followed a question from Liberal Celia Hammond, who wanted clarity about whether the net zero target was rhetorical or actual. PM said it will be an NDC #auspol

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) October 18, 2021


Labor attacks Coalition's climate indecision

Anthony Albanese and Labor’s climate spokesman, Chris Bowen, have held a press conference to criticise the Coalition for having 21 climate policies in eight years, but leaving the government position still undecided just weeks out from the Glasgow summit.

Albanese criticised the fact that after “eight years and four hours” the government could not even get the Nationals’ agreement for a “decision made in cabinet last week” – comments clearly designed to fuel the Nationals’ and Liberals’ climate stoush.

Albanese said that unless the climate target is legislated you “can’t take it seriously”, and this will be an issue of trust for voters at the next election. He derided the Coalition’s plan to have a mid-term trajectory (but not target) as “a vibe” rather than a concrete policy, and “absurd”.

Bowen accused Barnaby Joyce of playing “identity politics” by playing rural areas off against the bush, but said net zero by 2050 will be better for all.

The opposition leader Anthony Albanese speaks to the media in Canberra on Monday.
The opposition leader Anthony Albanese speaks to the media in Canberra on Monday. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

In questions and answers, Albanese refused to be drawn on how ambitious Labor’s mid-term target will be, or to rule in or out particular measures if they are proposed by the government, such as soil carbon capture. He said no carbon price was needed now because renewables are the cheapest form of electricity, but did not rule out strengthening the safeguards mechanism, which he observed is already part of the government’s scheme.

Albanese then faced a barrage of questions about Anthony Byrne and whether he will be Labor’s candidate for Holt at the next election. Albanese noted the Ibac hearings are still underway and Byrne had relinquished his other parliamentary roles (as deputy chair of the intelligence and security committee).

Albanese distinguished Byrne’s evidence to Ibac with revelations on 60 Minutes about Adem Somyurek’s ambition to take over the Victorian branch – based on the fact the hearings are ongoing.

Albanese noted Gladys Berejiklian had remained premier for a whole year after she first gave evidence to the NSW Icac.


Remember when Barnaby Joyce referred to the backbench as the “corridor of the nearly dead”?

If cabinet ministers do not agree with the decisions of cabinet, practice dictates that they resign (or learn to live with the decision).

It’s all about cabinet solidarity. There can be splits in the party, but not the executive government.


Cabinet will make climate decision, Scott Morrison tells Liberals

Just a bit more on this morning’s Liberal party room meeting: Scott Morrison addressed the room as well as Angus Taylor.

Some main take-outs from the presentations:

  • The prime minister told Liberals that Australia’s allies had already committed to net zero, and if we fell out of lockstep with partners important to Australia, then there would be a price to be paid.
  • Taylor acknowledged the threat of Australia being hit with carbon border adjustments was becoming more and more real.
  • According to people present, Morrison was also very clear about who would make the decision about whether or not to sign up to net zero. This would be a cabinet decision. This is a statement of the obvious, but it carries a very specific set of consequences. If the cabinet decides Australia will adopt a net zero target, then people who don’t support that decision will need to consider their options.
  • As I said in my post a bit earlier, Taylor explained elements of the government’s roadmap, which is said to set out the transition between now and 2050. According to some people at the Liberal party room meeting, the roadmap suggests gas will continue to be in demand until 2040, but coal will begin to tap the mat from 2025 onwards.
The prime minister Scott Morrison (right) and the emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor addressed the Liberal party room this morning.
The prime minister Scott Morrison (right) and the emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor addressed the Liberal party room this morning. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Paul Karp is at Anthony Albanese’s doorstop, so he’ll bring you an update on that very soon.

The Australian national audit office has ruled that it was OK for the ABC to pay the court costs for its employee, Louise Milligan, after Liberal senator Eric Abetz raised it in estimates (and then wrote to the ANAO).

You can find the ruling here.


What a room, huh?

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce addresses the Nationals party room meeting called to discuss coalition climate targets
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce addresses the Nationals party room meeting called to discuss coalition climate targets Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Mike Bowers spent some time in the Senate this morning (never recommended, but he’s a trooper).

Bridget McKenzie talks to Matt Canavan
Bridget McKenzie with Matt Canavan, as the Nationals’ resistance to a climate change target is in the spotlight Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Dorinda Cox in the Senate after being sworn in
Yamatji-Noongar woman Dorinda Cox was sworn in as a Greens senator from Western Australia, replacing Rachel Siewert Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Dorinda Cox talks with One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts
Cox and One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Penny Wong has her back turned away from Simon Birmingham in the Senate
Simon Birmingham and Penny Wong before Slade Brockman was elected new Senate president, replacing Scott Ryan Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Chris Bowen and Anthony Albanese have announced a doorstop.

They’ll be up very soon

While all focus is on the Nationals, there are also net zero naysayers in the Liberal partyroom.

Gerard Rennick is against it, as Katharine Murphy has reported. But so is SA Liberal senator Alex Antic.

Here is what he had to say on Sky News overnight:

My view on net zero is that it’s a folly. It’s an absolute folly. It is nothing more than a catch cry and a slogan for the ruling-class political elites.*

Here in Australia we can’t lose track of the fact that we make up nothing but 1% of the world’s emissions. China, as an example, does in 16 days what we do in emissions in a year. Now, look, the reality here is there is no way, and we’ve seen much commentary on this in the last few days, but there is no way to achieve net zero without costing us jobs, without winding back our economy, it is very, very difficult.

So, from a personal point of view, I certainly don’t have any appetite for net zero. We have to remember we’ve got the lowest emissions and we’ve got lower emissions than we had in 1990 in this country, we are going to absolutely smash our Paris target, and to extend and go beyond that, in my view, is very, very dangerous.

*Antic is a senator who was chosen by his party to take up the position, and earns more than $200,000 a year for a six-year term. If that doesn’t make him automatically part of the ‘ruling-class political elites’ I am not sure what does.


The Australian religious community is responding to climate change with protests at MPs’ electorate offices today.

From the release:

Faith communities across Australia are holding vigils this morning outside the offices of Members of Parliament, including that of the Prime Minister. They are demanding that Australia take stronger climate policies to the United Nations climate Summit in Glasgow, especially a stronger target for the year 2030.

Those targeted are mostly Government MPs and include Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce and Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Warren Entsch.

Part of a global multi-faith day of action, similar protests are being held in hundreds of locations around the world, from New York to Nairobi, Lilongwe in Malawi to London, some with corporate targets such as BlackRock and others challenging deforestation.

Over 120 diverse faith communities across Australia were involved yesterday and hung banners on their places of worship or held events, calling on Scott Morrison to set much bolder climate targets for 2030. As the Government considers a target of net zero emissions by 2050, faith communities say that only an ambitious near-term goal would make that goal meaningful.


Bob Katter has entered the chat – with a letter to the editor.

The do-no-gooders and the Lilly-pad Lefties are running around screaming for the closure of the coal industry.

Do they seriously think we are going to tell India, China and the rest of Asia that they can’t buy any of our coal?

There is no way that India can afford $90 a megawatt hour for solar. They’ve got no space, unlike Australia. And they have respect for their bird life, so they aren’t going to put four million wind turbines up.

Coal company, Whitehaven, have rightly stated that Asia will continue to buy coal for decades.

A truism of history is that “if goods don’t cross borders, guns will.”

If you take away coal and iron ore, you take away all of Australia’s export earnings and then our country will be bankrupt.

If we listen to the people calling for the closure of coal, then not only will we have an economic crisis, but a national security crisis as well.

Bob Katter, Kennedy MP.

New Zealand has announced 60 new cases of Covid-19 today, with the total number of cases in its outbreak surpassing 2,000.

Twenty-four of today’s 60 cases have not yet been linked to existing infections, and 140 cases are unlinked from the past 14 days, suggesting there could be wider spread in the community. Fifty-seven cases were in Auckland and three in Waikato. Thirty people are hospitalised with Covid-19.

Across the country, 82% of the eligible population (those aged 12 and older) have had at least one vaccination, or 70% of the total population. Sixty-four per cent of the eligible population, or 55% of the full population, have had both shots.

In Auckland, the centre of the current outbreak, 89% of the population had now had at least one dose, and 70% were fully vaccinated.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern is due to announce at 4pm whether Auckland and Waikato will remain in level 3 lockdown restrictions.


The New South Wales anti-corruption watchdog has opened its public hearings into allegations that the former premier, Gladys Berejiklian, breached the public trust by failing to disclose her secret relationship with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating Berejiklian’s conduct between 2012 and 2018, and whether she was involved in “exercising public functions in circumstances where she was in a position of conflict between her public duties and her private interest as a person” because of her relationship with Maguire.

At the heart of the probe are two grants: the $5.5m given to the Australian Clay Target Association’s clubhouse and convention centre in 2017, and $30m for the Riverina conservatorium of music in Wagga Wagga in 2018.

Counsel assisting the commissioner, barrister Scott Robertson, has spent this morning outlining the Icac’s case against Berejiklian.

He says the evidence will show that Maguire was “a strong supporter” of the two projects, and “vociferously advocated for government support” for them, including directly to Berejiklian.

“We also expect the evidence to demonstrate that Ms Berejiklian made or participated in the making of decisions [that] advanced the building projects advocated for by Mr Maguire without disclosing to anyone within government she was in a close personal relationship with Mr Maguire at the time that she took those steps,” Robertson said.

Robertson told the inquiry evidence would be heard from other public officials who were influenced by what they believed to be the then premier’s personal support for the two grants.

Robertson said “a number of public officials would have acted differently” if they had known about the secret relationship.

Berejiklian has consistently said she did not reveal her relationship with Maguire because she did not believe it was of a sufficient level to warrant a disclosure, but in his opening address Robertson noted Berejiklian had previously made a number of disclosures including, on one occasion, that two of her cousins were employed by a government department.

Berejiklian has consistently denied any wrongdoing, framing her mistake as a “personal one”, and insisting “I haven’t done anything wrong”.


Liberals hear climate plan

If you’ve been following the climate change news, you’ll know the Nationals met for four hours on Sunday to consider net zero.

They are meeting again this morning.

The Liberal party was also briefed by the energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor this morning on the contents of the roadmap. MPs were told a transition to net zero by 2050 was certainly possible, with significant opportunities for agriculture and a transition in the mining sector.

Taylor acknowledged jobs would be lost and jobs created. A number of MPs spoke up in the subsequent discussion.

LNP senator Gerard Rennick signalled opposition to the target. (No surprise there).

South Australian Liberal Tony Pasin suggested he wasn’t happy with net zero, but he said if the government intended to make the shift, there needed to be safeguards. Liberal senator Andrew Bragg asked Taylor whether or not there was any plan to increase the 2030 target.

Taylor said there was a plan to release new projections. (We expect those projections will show Australia will achieve a higher emissions reduction cut than the promised 26-28%. Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce essentially vetoed a higher 2030 target yesterday. Morrison had wanted to increase the 2030 target but if the Nationals aren’t on board, that looks difficult).

Liberal Warren Entsch was positive. South Australian Rohan Ramsey raised some points of implementation.

Western Sydney MP Melissa McIntosh asked Taylor how the proposed transition would affect manufacturers in her electorate. Taylor said it would impact them positively.


The NSW Land and Environment court has dismissed a legal challenge to the NSW Independent Planning Commission’s approval of the controversial $3.6bn Narrabri gas project.

Farmers from community group the Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord had argued that the commission did not properly assess the effects the gasfield would have on climate change before approving the plan to drill up to 850 wells in grazing land and forest in the state’s north.

The farmers’ legal representative, the Environmental Defenders Office, argued the commission should also have considered the impacts of a pipeline to transport the gas.

The court this morning dismissed the application to have the approval overturned.

“This was a very disappointing outcome and we will consider the judgment,” said Margaret Fleck, a Mullaley beef farmer and spokesperson for the MGPA.

Brendan Dobbie , the EDO’s managing mawyer of safe climate, said it was a disappointing day for his clients and “everyone in the Narrabri community and beyond, who are concerned about the impacts of this project’’.

“If the project goes ahead, the impacts of its greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate, and the people and environment of NSW, will be substantial,” he said.

“At a time when the world is preparing to meet in Glasgow to discuss action to reduce emissions to avoid further catastrophic climate change, it is disheartening that those impacts are now one step closer to fruition.”


Barnaby Joyce gave the Nationals a rah-rah speech at the opening of the Nationals partyroom meeting this morning, repeating what he has said publicly, that the Nationals represent regional people and they’re taking this climate decision very seriously. That’s a continuation of his media lines earlier today. Here was Joyce on the Seven Network this morning:

What we’ll do is we’ll gather the information, make sure we’re looking after regional people, making sure that whatever decision we make, we are focused on their jobs, on the cost of living in their towns, on their future, because that is the responsibility we have, we know about the the impetus towards international obligations, but the reality is Australia’s actions by itself have no effect.

But if we get it wrong, they can have a major effect on the regional economy. So our responsibility is to look after the people, like the ones I saw when I walked into the [inaudible] hotel the other night and they were pretty firm and their views and we’ve, we’ve got to make sure that we don’t take them for fools because they’ll, they’ll deal with us.

Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon was on the same segment. He suggested if Scott Morrison was serious, he take it to the floor of parliament through a motion, which the Labor party would support – thereby giving him the authority to go to Glasgow and say this is what the parliament intends to do:

I think what Scott Morrison needs to do now, ahead of Glasgow is consider putting a motion into the people’s house, the House of Representatives, committing to net zero emissions, a motion, which would of course, pass easily with the support of the Labor party, and he could go to Glasgow, with the imprimatur of the people’s house.

Joyce was against that. Because of course he was.

Fitzgibbon stuck to the motion idea and said the only other option for Scott Morrison was to take a drive to Government House:

A motion is a statement of intent. That is what it is, it would allow Scott Morrison to go to Glasgow with the backing of the house which represents the people here in Australia. But this is getting very serious – the only other option for him is to go take the long drive to Government House and to inform the Governor General he no longer commands a majority in the House of Representatives because he himself has made this a centrepiece of his policy, this is becoming akin to blocking budget supply, it’s getting really serious.

(It is not that serious. There is nothing going to the parliament, so there is nothing being blocked. The government doesn’t have to legislate this – it’s an argument over policy with its coalition partner, not a supply block.)


Tasmania is lifting its snap lockdown at 6 o’clock tonight, as planned.


Member for Warringah Zali Steggall has introduced her climate bill, with fellow independent and member for Indi Helen Haines seconding its introduction.

It could pass, with the support of Labor - and some Liberals crossing the floor.


Michael McGowan is following along with the NSW Icac hearings:

In her opening statement of the NSW Icac hearings into conduct of Gladys Berejiklian, the commissioner, Ruth McColl SC, said the now-former deputy premier John Barilaro will appear as a witness next week.

— Michael McGowan (@mmcgowan) October 17, 2021

Labor’s manager of opposition business, Tony Burke, has begun Monday’s sitting by asking to refer Christian Porter to the privileges committee to investigate whether he is in contempt of the House of Representatives resolutions relating to disclosure of members’ interests.

Burke cited Porter’s declaration that the Legal Services Trust had part-paid his legal fees arising from the private defamation case against the ABC. In the declaration, Porter claimed that as he was a potential beneficiary he had “no access to information about the conduct and funding of the trust”.

Porter has always maintained that he has properly disclosed his interests in accordance with the requirements of the register and the ministerial standards, but resigned as a minister in September on the basis the issue had become an “unhelpful distraction” for the government.

Burke told the house if this precedent is allowed to stand we “might as well not have a register of interests at all”. He argued that in other instances where MPs had declared a blind trust on the register of interests it was “clear whose money was being managed” but on “this occasion we have no idea”.

Burke said the precedent would “render the register completely worthless” because it “would mean that any member can set up a trust, instruct the trustee to accept donations on a confidential basis only – then receive cash from any source then claim they couldn’t say where it came from because it was given on the basis of confidentiality”.

Burke said it “beggars belief” that Porter has no idea who donated to the trust, because it would mean there is a “strange new breed of philanthropist” who would choose to invest in an “otherwise secret trust” to fund a private defamation case and then have “no interest” in ensuring Porter found out they had done so.

He noted that Porter had provided assurances that no prohibited donors had donated to the trust, which meant he had been able to discover some information about donors.

On the day he resigned from the ministry, Porter said in a statement:

I am not willing to put pressure on the trust to provide me with any further information, I respectfully informed the prime minister that I would not place pressure on the trust to provide me with information to which I am not entitled. I explained my reason for this was that I could not assist any process that would ultimately allow people who have done nothing wrong to become targets of the social media mob and I would continue to respect their position. Ultimately, I decided that if I have to make a choice between seeking to pressure the trust to break individuals’ confidentiality in order to remain in cabinet, or alternatively forego my cabinet position, there is only one choice I could, in all conscience, make. Consequently, I provided the prime minister with my resignation earlier today. It is effective immediately.”

Burke noted that and concluded that Porter “either does know who donated and is refusing to say; or he’s chosen not to take steps to determine their identity”, either of which he claimed could constitute a breach of the rules on disclosure and raises a question of whether there is a serious contempt of the house.

Burke asked the Speaker, Tony Smith, to grant precedence to a motion to consider whether Porter had breached the rules and whether MPs receiving anonymous gifts constitutes a contempt. Smith said he would consider the referral and report back to the house this week.

Christian Porter, pictured here in June.
Christian Porter, pictured here in June. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


There is quite a lot of heckling going on in the Senate as the president ballot votes are counted.

The Greens are heckling the process – that another (white) man is about to take the Senate’s chair. As Mehreen Faruqi pointed out, there has only been one woman Senate president – Margaret Reid.

The results are in – Slade Brockman - 45 votes. Mehreen Faruqi – seven votes. Gavin Marshall – one vote. (You write them in, so given that Marshall left the Senate in 2016, someone is having a bit of a laugh.) One senator returned a blank vote.

Senator Slade Brockman.
Senator Slade Brockman. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Meanwhile, the Liberal party has been briefed on the Morrison climate plan this morning.

The two parties which form the governing Coalition won’t be coming together to discuss it until tomorrow though.


Back in the Senate, and the Greens have nominated Mehreen Faruqi to take over the Senate presidency (the government has nominated Liberal MP Slade Brockman).

Technically, the Senate presidency is up to the Senate, but it is usually decided by the governing party – it is very rare for the opposition to vote against the choice.

Faruqi says if the Labor party wants to be a credible opposition it should “act like one” and not participate in a “stitch-up” over the position.

Australian Greens senator for NSW Mehreen Faruqi.
Australian Greens senator for NSW Mehreen Faruqi. Photograph: Bree Bain


Over in the House, Tony Burke is asking for Christian Porter to be referred to the privileges committee over the anonymous donors who contributed to his legal fees.

Porter is on the backbench now but Labor is arguing he is still privy to the disclosure rules which bound MPs. Paul Karp will have more for you on that referral attempt very soon.

The parliament is sitting and there are some ceremonial procedures in the Senate. There are two new senators to swear in – Dorinda Cox for the Greens and Karen Grogan for the Labor party.

There is also a new Senate president – Scott Ryan retired early, so Slade Brockman will be sitting in the big chair for however long this parliament has left.


Chris Bowen was also on ABC radio RN this morning, where he was asked when Labor would outline its climate policy:

We are going to outline not only the policies, not only the emissions reduction target, but also the policies, we’ll be implementing in government to achieve that should we win a mandate to do so. That’s what we’ll be doing Fran we’ve started to do that, we’ve announced more climate change over the course of this year that we have any other policy topic.

That’s how important we regard it and we have a lot more to do. But ultimately after eight years in office, we’ve got a government, I mean Barnaby Joyce says well Chris Bowen this Chris Bowen that, he’s the deputy prime minister of the country Fran, and they do not have a policy on the most important pressing policy area facing our country.

They are not acting in the national interest, Australians have every right to wake up this morning disgusted to read the headlines, that after eight years in office, the country doesn’t have a climate change policy.

Labor’s Chris Bowen.
Labor’s Chris Bowen. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


The bells are ringing for the first time in six weeks – parliament is about to sit.

Meanwhile, Labor’s Susan Templeman, who is thought to be able to hold the seat of Macquarie because of her actions during the natural disasters her electorate has experienced (fires and floods) was sent out to doors this morning to deliver a message on the government’s climate action:

They’ve had eight years, I’ve had eight years, too. We know that climate action is so urgently needed. My community’s already paying the price, not just in homes burning down. But in the price we pay for insurance, whether it’s fires, or storms, or floods, we’re already paying a price in what it costs us to build our homes.

Because we know these natural disasters are going to happen more frequently. And we’re paying the price in mental health. At the weekend, Doctors for the Environment said that a six-year-old today will have lived through three times as many natural disasters already as their grandparents. They’re the costs of not acting on climate change.

And to see the Nationals say, “oh, we need more time”, the penny has to drop for them, that they are hurting people. They’re hurting my community every day that they delay action.

For the prime minister to say that he’s doing his best is an absolute joke. He is the one who has stirred up this whole idea when he brought a lump of coal into parliament all those years ago. He has responsibility to bring his junior partner in line and make sure that Australia goes to Glasgow with serious action on climate change.

Labor MP Susan Templeman.
Labor MP Susan Templeman. Photograph: Marion Rae/AAP


Labor is pretty happy to let the government take centre stage this week and let the Liberals v Nationals issue play out in full view of the public.

Here is where Labor is going this week:

By letting Barnaby Joyce write his climate policy, Scott Morrison is blowing the chance to make Australia a renewable energy superpower.

— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) October 17, 2021

So does David Littleproud think Scott Morrison is in danger of going to Glasgow with nothing to say?



We’re not working away from this. We’re going to work through it. And that’s what we’re doing now. We’re going to come back together again today, and there’s a lot of questions. And you’ve got to understand when something like this is presented, obviously, for the first time, you need to sleep on it. You need to understand it and work through it. And that’s what we did last night. We’re going to come back again today, and we’ll just continue to work the issue and get to a juncture whereby you can get comfort with it – and what would give us comfort. And that’s really where we are at the moment. There’s a lot of pragmatic feeling within the room that we understand this is a global problem that’s not going to go away. It’s going to keep hitting us, and it’s going to impact not only our commodity prices, potentially, but also our mortgage prices. And you know, if you’re going to ask Australians to pay extra on their mortgages, whether they be just for residential or even businesses, we’ve got to be able to say why, and we’ve got to try and find a solution.

I think that’s what Angus has tried to do, is find a technology solution that’ll give [us] our cake and eat it too.

Again though, the Nationals are only considering a 2050 target. Anything this decade – like 2030 – is all but of the table.

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, deptuy David Littleproud and Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie make their way to a Nationals party room meeting to discuss Coalition climate targets yesterday.
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, deptuy David Littleproud and Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie make their way to a Nationals party room meeting to discuss Coalition climate targets yesterday. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Really not sure what David Littleproud is referring to when he says “we footed the bill last time” (he means regional Australia) but it’s the rhetoric the Nationals are using to excuse their delays on acting on climate. There is never any mention from the Nationals on what not acting on climate will cost. Or that many of the sectors they say they are representing are already acting themselves, because the market, and the environment, demands it.

Here is the deputy Nationals leader speaking to Sydney radio 2GB this morning:

No deal yet. We’re going to take our time. We’re going to work through this. This will have serious ramifications for regional and rural Australia. We footed the bill last time, and we’re not going to do it again, but we’re being pragmatic, we’re being mature. We’re going to make sure we work through these issues. And I think what Angus has tried to present to us yesterday is a technology roadmap that continues to protect industries here, even coal and gas. And you’ve got to understand, I think if you take the emotion out of this, we’re still going to be digging coal out of this country for another 30, 40 years. The world’s still going to need it. Any transition away from coal-fired power stations is going to take time. But we’re trying to also say, let’s embrace new technology like carbon capture storage, that not only reduces potential emissions here in Australia, but also, if it’s adopted by other countries that we’re exporting to, will keep exports of coal, ammonia, but – and also our gas.

So we’re pragmatically working through this. But obviously, it’s very complex. And to think that, you know, after just seeing it and this complex plan, and to make a decision in four hours is reckless. We’re not going to do that. Our people need to have a good look at this, overlay it across their communities, and make sure that we get this right.


NSW reports 265 new Covid cases and five deaths; Victoria reports 1,903 new cases and seven deaths

Both NSW and Victoria have posted their daily Covid numbers:

NSW COVID-19 update – Monday 18 October 2021
In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:
- 92% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- 80.3% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
- 60,273 tests

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) October 17, 2021

Reported yesterday: 1,903 new local cases and 0 cases acquired overseas.
- 32,405 vaccines administered
- 69,825 test results received
- Sadly, 7 people with COVID-19 have died

More later: #COVID19VicData

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) October 17, 2021


Mike Bowers was out the front to capture the latest Extinction Rebellion protest, where the Pikachus were restrained by police, after moving towards the vehicle carrying the prime minister.

The Prime Minister’s convoy runs the gauntlet past extinction rebellion protestors dressed as Pikachu this morning oin his way to Parliament House, a few protestors rushed the vehicle and were restrained.
The prime minister’s convoy runs the gauntlet past Extinction Rebellion protestors dressed as Pikachu on his way to Parliament House this morning. A few protestors rushed the vehicle and were restrained. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
An Extinction rebellion protestor dressed as Pikachu is detained
An Extinction Rebellion protestor dressed as Pikachu is detained. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


There have been some climate protests outside parliament this morning, which is not unusual. Except this morning had a bit of a Pikachu theme, which is in reference to Scott Morrison praising Frances, a protester often found standing outside parliament in a Pikachu onesie, waving to cars as they arrive.

In August Morrison said he was “listening” to Frances, who holds a sign calling for climate action, while he was criticising Extinction Rebellion protesters who set a pram on fire outside the parliament building, and spray-painted a call to arms on the outside wall (as well as the Lodge).

An Extinction Rebellion protestor dressed as Pikachu is detained after rushing the prime minister’s car as he drove into Parliament House in Canberra on Monday.
An Extinction Rebellion protestor dressed as Pikachu is detained after rushing the prime minister’s car as he drove into Parliament House in Canberra on Monday. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Frances though, told Daniel Hurst she sympathised with the Extinction Rebellion protesters:

“When a child misbehaves, you have to look at why they’re misbehaving – a child hasn’t got a voice, and so it will kick and scream and misbehave to get what it feels it needs.

They’re not violent, but the people who protest more demonstratively – they’re terrified, they’re absolutely terrified. They love their families, they love the world, and they’re just terrified at what climate change is going to do to it. And no one has listened to them.


For those looking for more information on the loosening of restrictions, you can find NSW info here:

and Victoria here:

Also very much worth your time this morning:

Icac hearings begin into Berejiklian

Icac hearings in NSW are beginning today. As AAP reports:

The corruption inquiry that prompted former premier Gladys Berejiklian’s shock resignation is set to begin testing the allegations against her, with another former premier and a current government minister among the first to give evidence.

Berejiklian announced her resignation after the state’s corruption watchdog disclosed the 51-year-old – premier from early 2017 – was under investigation for potential breaches of public trust.

Berejiklian denied wrongdoing but said she had no choice but to resign. She is also leaving state parliament.

Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/EPA


'This is not about you, Josh,' says Daniel Andrews

The federal treasurer and Victorian Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg has once again ramped up his attacks on the Victorian Labor government over lockdowns (you may remember some of his speeches on the Victorian lockdown last year) a theme he continued yesterday, even as the state government announced an earlier than expected loosening of restrictions.

Some progress today, but a long way to go before Victorians, who have given up so much, get the same freedoms as NSW.

In Sydney at 70%, no masks outdoors, indoor retail, cinemas, gyms & pools are open, & hospitality has a 4sqm rule.

None of which can happen in Melbourne.

— Josh Frydenberg (@JoshFrydenberg) October 17, 2021

Daniel Andrews responded to that on ABC News Breakfast this morning:

Well, look, I would just say to Josh, this is not about you and your breathless political rants don’t work against this virus. This day and this week, and the weeks to come, are all about Victorians who have done an amazing thing.

They’ve got vaccinated in record numbers and in record time. And this is their moment. It’s not for Josh. And his endless criticism and negativity, I just don’t think it goes down very well in Victoria because it doesn’t work against this virus. So, I will say no more about him.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images


Labor MP Tim Watts has posted part of Barnaby Joyce’s book on Twitter, where the Nationals leader waxed lyrical about his role in sinking the Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme.

He details his strategy in the “particularly bitter fight” where he boasted of “freewheeling at the morning media doorstop” “as well as every media outlet that would listen to me”.

From the book:

I told the Australian populace that Kevin Rudd’s ETS which Malcolm [Turnbull] supported, stood for the extra tax system; that every time your light goes on in your fridge when you open the door, it was to remind you that you were being taxed; that when you turn on your electric blanket, Kevin’s tax is in bed with you; and that when you cook dinner, Kevin’s at the table with you – God forbid!

In a period of great excitement, I said it was possible that the cost of a roast could go up to $100, which was a dramatic overreach for the time – but no more than environment minister Peter Garrett telling us Coogee Beach would be drowned out in the next 100 years due to rising sea levels.”

And of course, Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff, turned political talking head, Peta Credlin admitted in 2017 that the “carbon tax” was never actually a tax:

It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know. It was many other things in nomenclature terms but we made it a carbon tax. We made it a fight about the hip pocket and not about the environment. That was brutal retail politics and it took Abbott about six months to cut through and when he cut through, Gillard was gone.

And lo and behold, we have seen internal polling results presented to cabinet “leaked” already that shows while the majority of Australians want something done on climate change, the number of Australians who want something done drops if reaching that target was to cost them $500 a year. (Which is a $1.30 a day.)

Meanwhile, the Nationals are hoping they can secure billions of dollars in exchange for their net zero by 2050 support.


Barnaby Joyce also told ABC radio RN this morning that “you guys” (meaning people in the cities) “don’t really get affected by this decision”.

Except obviously, they do. Sydney and Canberra were under a smoke haze just a few short years ago because of one of the worst bushfire seasons in recent memory. Climate change impacts the whole world – even those who live in cities.

Barnaby Joyce talks to the media outside the House of Representatives doors before his party room meeting in Canberra on Sunday afternoon.
Barnaby Joyce talks to the media outside the House of Representatives doors before his party room meeting in Canberra on Sunday afternoon. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


The current deputy prime minister was also a little tetchy this morning.

He took offence at the Nationals being referred to as “your mob” on ABC News Breakfast this morning:

Q: OK, so how can the New South Wales Nationals enthusiastically embrace a 50% cut by 2030 when your mob can’t?

Barnaby Joyce:

Well, hang on, I don’t like the pejorative “mob”. It’s not your “mob” at the ABC and what your mob are doing down there at Ultimo.

We’ll call it a party, and yours a broadcaster.

That is a question to direct to the New South Wales Nats. They also ... see, we’re a party which we affiliate at state levels. We affiliate at a federal level.

We don’t have a federal party that binds all the states. So, the states can make their decision.

And the LNP in Queensland, which also is a large part of the National party, have passed unanimous resolutions not supporting 2030.

So, there you have a dilemma. You have two decidedly different positions for which people will come into the room with decidedly different outcomes.

And Victoria have another view of their outcomes. So, that’s politics and that’s the cryptic art of trying to come to a consensus position. And you don’t do that in four hours on a Sunday night*.

*Your regular reminder that the Coalition have been in power for eight years and Joyce has been a member of cabinet/the deputy prime minister for the majority of those years.


Zali Steggall to push for 60% emissions reduction target by 2030

Independent MP Zali Steggall is going to introduce her own climate bill to parliament, pushing for a 60% emissions reduction target by 2030:

The objects and guiding principles of the bill now include a target of 60% emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 and strong regional consideration.

Steggall says it’s time for an open conscious vote on the Climate Change Bills to take Australia’s climate policy out of the National Party’s hands.

“It’s time we had a climate policy that will create jobs and investment overseas.”

Independent member for Warringah Zali Steggall.
Independent member for Warringah Zali Steggall. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Barnaby Joyce has spoken to ABC News Breakfast about the inconclusive Nationals party room deliberationson a net zero by 2050 emissions target.

Joyce confirmed the Nationals “don’t agree” with having a more ambitious 2030 target but said on the 2050 target there is “further to go” in discussions.

Joyce argued the Australian economy is different to the UK, Europe and US due to its reliance on resource exports, including fossil fuels, and agriculture, warning that regional constituents want “stringent oversight” on what would be the “biggest decision for the future of the Australian economy” ever made.

Although Scott Morrison is off to climate talks in Glasgow, Joyce emphasised this did not mean the Nationals would fall into line:

We’re not chained to a script. We have our own party and our own party room for a distinct purpose – that at times we have variance of views, we have divergent views and we have different views. And that is our right. And we’ve absolutely, absolutely, we’re fervent about the exercise of that right. And if we ever believed that we were being sort of threatened or pushed or stood over, I know what the outcome of that position is – the people just say, ‘No.’”

Asked if Nationals opposed to net zero would have to leave cabinet if that were the ultimate decision, Joyce said that was a “statement of the bleeding obvious” before warning of “ripple effects through the Coalition”.


The single desk debate was about the deregulation of the Australian Wheat Board. The Liberals wanted to do it, the Nationals did not. Barnaby Joyce was new to the Senate then, and it was one of the first issues he made his name on, agitating very strongly against any changes. It eventually happened, but not when the Liberals wanted it to. The fight went on for years, with the Howard government forced to delay any changes and so it was the Rudd government in 2008 which oversaw the deregulation.


Barnaby Joyce 'hopes' climate won't split the Coalition

The current deputy prime minister has been a busy man this morning with multiple media appearances.

It’s all about climate (of course) and what the National party will do. It’s not the first time the Nationals and the Liberals have been at loggerheads over government policy – that’s been going on since the Coalition was formed. Neither party can govern without the other (most particularly the Nationals) so most times they just have to work it out, as they did with Telstra, guns and the AWB single desk. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of posturing in the mean time.

Joyce told ABC Breakfast he didn’t believe this latest disagreement would split the Coalition:

I hope not. We don’t suggest that. A lot of times – I have been through them all – the single desk debate, the ETS debate, the Telstra debate – well, I wasn’t there for the guns debate, but we all remember that.

And, you know, these are trying times and we think, for what my view is, the single desk debate would be pretty close, there would be a lot of people with strong ideas about regional Australia from people who didn’t live there.

And I think a reflection on that is probably the closest to what is happening now.

And because the Labor party say they’re all in, no questions asked. Well, hello, regional Australia, they’ve just said it, they really don’t give a toss what happens to you, they’re just going to go forward completely blind, legislate it, “Good luck and goodnight, Irene.” We’ll make sure that we don’t do that.

Barnaby Joyce: ‘These are trying times.’
Barnaby Joyce: ‘These are trying times.’ Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


International vaccination proofs all set

There are a lot of names on this press release from the government (pretty much everyone who has anything to do with planes or technology within the cabinet) but the point of it all is that the vaccine travel pass will be go from tomorrow:

From tomorrow, 19 October 2021, Australians and Australian visa holders who have a valid passport and their Covid-19 vaccination recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) can obtain an international Covid-19 proof of vaccination.

The international proof of vaccine will enable fully vaccinated Australians to depart Australia and to travel internationally consistent with the national plan to transition Australia’s Covid-19 Response.

It can be downloaded digitally or printed and is compatible with Covid-19 travel apps such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) travel pass.

The international proof of vaccination features a secure QR code to prove Covid-19 vaccination status to border authorities around the world and increases a person’s ability to travel safely and with confidence.

You should be able to get it through (where else) the MyGov website.


Good morning

Welcome to Politics Live! It’s been a long six weeks between parliament sittings – if you have been in lockdown (or still are) it’s been longer than most. When every day is basically the same, time tends to lose all meaning. A massive well done to everyone who has done it – particularly those in Melbourne, who have now hopefully spent their last weekend in a citywide lockdown in this pandemic.

Lockdowns will no doubt be part of the conversation in parliament this week (Josh Frydenberg has certainly had a bit to say – again) but the big issue is climate and what the Morrison government is doing about it. At the moment, it’s all down to the Nationals, and what they want to do about it. Which is nothing on 2030. The junior Coalition partner does not want to see any change on the interim target, despite international pressure. Scott Morrison wanted to be able to take an improved target to Glasgow (Australia has agreed to a 26% to 28% emissions reduction target by 2030) but the Nationals don’t want any changes set down. So the fight is over 2050 – a target 30 or so years away, when none of these people will be in parliament.

Barnaby Joyce is enjoying his moment back in the spotlight. He’s been everywhere this morning talking about how it is a decision for the party room, not him – but we all know his views. It’s how he returned to the leadership.

I’ll bring you more of what Joyce has been saying, as well as everything else which will happen in parliament (and it’s halls) as the day plays out. Cabinet is meeting today, where the climate plan will be discussed – but as one of the last sitting weeks before the end of the year (and possibly, the election, if the March rumours prove true) so there is a bit to get through. Just don’t expect too much movement on a federal Icac.

Mike Bowers is already out and about, and you have the Canberra team of Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Daniel Hurst and Paul Karp with you – and we are all in the same office for the first time in almost three months (ACT lockdown) which is exciting. You’ve got me, Amy Remeikis, with you for the majority of the day. I’m a bit out of practice – so I am on coffee number three so far, but no doubt the muscle memory will kick in.

Let’s hope.


Let’s get into it.


Mostafa Rachwani and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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Net zero debate dominates question time; nine confirmed Covid cases in Melbourne detention hotel – as it happened
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Elias Visontay (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

19, Oct, 2021 @8:20 AM

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Australia Covid live news update: Walgett and seven other LGAs in regional NSW follow Dubbo into snap seven-day lockdown
This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

11, Aug, 2021 @10:01 AM

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Over 50% of Australians over 16 are fully vaccinated; Berejiklian reopening plans coming ‘next week’ – as it happened
All the day’s news, as it happened

Tory Shepherd and Justine Landis-Hanley

26, Sep, 2021 @7:57 AM

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TGA grants provisional determination of Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11 – as it happened
Man who breached quarantine in Hobart tests positive; Royal Children’s hospital in Melbourne on high alert. This blog is now closed

Caitlin Cassidy and Matilda Boseley (earlier)

13, Oct, 2021 @7:46 AM

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ACT lockdown to lift Friday; Victoria records 1,466 new cases and NSW 360 – as it happened
Follow alQueensland records full week of Covid-zero; not everyone named in Ibac hearings must resign, Victorian premier says. This blog is now closed

Caitlin Cassidy and Matilda Boseley (earlier)

12, Oct, 2021 @7:51 AM

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New South Wales records 753 infections as woman in 30s dies at home; Victoria extends Pfizer to under 40s – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Elias Visontay (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

24, Aug, 2021 @9:16 AM

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Victoria reports nine new infections as NSW records 10th straight day with zero local cases – as it happened
Victoria to return to staged face-to-face teaching next week; treasurer Josh Frydenberg promises a jobs-focused budget. This blog is now closed

Michael McGowan, Josh Taylor and Amy Remeikis

05, Oct, 2020 @8:14 AM

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Morrison announces 2050 net zero plan; SA to reopen border to vaccinated visitors – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Caitlin Cassidy and Amy Remeikis

26, Oct, 2021 @7:45 AM

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New South Wales records 10 new cases; Joyce sworn in as deputy PM – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

22, Jun, 2021 @8:25 AM

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Regional Victoria restrictions to ease as state records 42 cases and NSW seven – as it happened
This blog is now closed. Victoria reports no deaths; South Australia to open borders to flights from the ACT.

Luke Henriques-Gomes (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

15, Sep, 2020 @9:08 AM