What we learned today, Thursday 28 October

On that note, we’ll wrap up the blog for this evening.

If you’re in Melbourne, stay dry tonight. Here are today’s major news developments:

  • Scott Morrison is jetting off to Europe this evening to sell Australia’s climate “plan”, leaving the nation in the capable hands of Barnaby Joyce for a week. Morrison is expected to meet with the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Rome.
  • Victoria recorded 1,923 Covid cases and, soberingly, 25 deaths – the state’s deadliest toll during the current Delta outbreak. New South Wales recorded 293 local cases and two deaths.
  • The president of the Victorian Bar, Christopher Blanden, has described the state’s new pandemic laws as “appalling”, as criticisms mount over the proposed legislation.
  • Daryl Maguire, the former NSW MP for Wagga Wagga, appeared at the Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings into the conduct of the former premier Gladys Berejiklian. He said he “encouraged” her to take a “close interest” in grants to his electorate.
  • Julie Owens, the federal MP for Parramatta, announced her retirement. After 18 years of service, she says it is time for her to spend more time with her family.
  • Covid booster shots will be available from 8 November after Atagi approval, the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, announced.
  • And the One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, has claimed credit for the Coalition’s voter integrity bill, saying she made voter identification a condition for her support on another electoral bill.


Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, says he will push for high-emitting nations to halve emissions by 2030 at Glasgow, the “only goal” that can keep 1.5C warming alive:

I welcome Australia's net-zero pledge by 2050 and look forward to seeing my friend @ScottMorrisonMP at @COP26. There, Fiji will seek plans from high-emitting nations to halve emissions by 2030 –– the only goal that can keep 1.5 alive and keep low-lying island nations above water.

— Frank Bainimarama (@FijiPM) October 27, 2021


In Senate estimates, Labor’s Murray Watt has been probing a claim by the former industry minister Christian Porter that documents relating to the modern manufacturing initiative were cabinet-in-confidence.

In August the Senate ordered Porter to produce the decision briefs and merit assessment packs prepared by the department with respect to the fund.

Porter refused, claiming public interest immunity and telling the Senate the documents “informed and were the subject of cabinet deliberations”.

But asked on Thursday if the documents went to cabinet, industry department officials told estimates “to [their] knowledge, no”. Rather, they provided the materials to the minister, who was the decision-maker for grants from the program.

Asked if the documents really did inform and were subject to cabinet deliberations, the duty minister, Zed Seselja, took the question on notice.

Asked if Porter had misled the Senate, Seselja said: “That’s your assertion but, no, I don’t accept that.”

He noted that officials had said “to their knowledge” they hadn’t, but he would need to seek more information.

Asked if the department would know if their documents were taken to cabinet, the secretary, David Fredericks, said:

I would say it’s more likely we would. There would be the odd circumstance where we don’t ... The minister is doing the right thing by taking it on notice.

Guardian Australia contacted Porter for response.


Wilde says he still holds hope that what happened to Cleo Smith can be “resolved”:

We’ve got a very motivated team. I’m very hopeful and confident we’ll resolve this and find out what happened to Cleo. If anyone has information ... there’s a million-dollar reward.

Come forward, give us that information, there’s a monetary reward there for you as well.


Over 200 possible sightings of missing girl Cleo Smith

Western Australian police are providing an update on missing four-year-old Cleo Smith. There have been over 200 reported sightings of the girl.

All have proved “unfruitful” but authorities are still urging the public to come forward with information.

Detective Supt Rod Wilde says:

It hasn’t turned out to be Cleo.

We keep a very open mind, we look at what the evidence tells us and we cast the net far and wide.

We’ve had police officer check that information, unfortunately it hasn’t been her. We hold hope.

Cleo Smith disappeared from her family’s tent during the early hours of Saturday 16 October
Cleo Smith disappeared from her family’s tent during the early hours of Saturday 16 October. Photograph: Facebook/Ellie Smith


They look like they’ve got big ‘plans’ for the future.

Hearing from our future leaders is always important, particularly ahead of the G20 and COP26 Summits I'll be attending, starting this weekend.

Thank you for sharing your views, I was impressed by the carefully considered insights and ideas. The future is in good hands. https://t.co/kp0kBtJ8Tp

— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) October 28, 2021

FYI, we are waiting to hear from Detective Supt Rod Wilde at 6pm AEST regarding missing four-year-old Western Australian girl Cleo Smith.


Here’s more on that unreleased net zero emissions modelling from AAP. A consulting firm was paid more than $6m for analysis behind the federal government’s yet-to-be-released modelling for the 2050 target.

McKinsey and Company was awarded two separate contracts with the industry department for analysis underpinning the Coalition’s net zero assumptions relying partly on technology yet to be invented.

One contract was worth $4,864,750 for a technical analysis, while another $1,293,500 was awarded for follow-up work.

McKinsey’s work was used by the government to claim 62,000 mining and heavy industry jobs would be created while emissions fell to net zero.

Australia’s projected 30%-35% emissions cut on 2005 levels this decade assumes global warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels.

The industry department deputy secretary, Jo Evans, told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday modelling looked at what was needed to make priorities identified in the government’s “technology roadmap” cheaper.

These include controversial carbon capture and storage technology, hydrogen, long-duration energy storage and soil carbon:

We’re trying to understand the economic impacts of the global trends in demand for the products that are affected by countries choosing to pursue a 2C pathway.

She also said the modelling yet to be released by Scott Morrison was complete but still being worked into a form suitable for publication. It did not look at the economic impacts of climate change.

Instead, it examined how the global shift away from fossil fuels would affect Australia:

We’re trying to understand the economic impacts of the global trends in demand for the products that are affected by countries choosing to pursue a 2C pathway.

The technology roadmap and emissions cuts to date would get Australia 60% of the way to net zero, the government says.

“Global technology trends” and “further technology breakthroughs” are listed as making up another 30% of emissions cuts, with domestic and international offsets to close the remaining gap.

The industry department secretary, David Fredericks, said the “base case” behind the modelling was cabinet in confidence.

Morrison told parliament the modelling would be released “in the next few weeks”.


On the topic of storms, keep an umbrella handy in Melbourne tonight.

⚠️ Severe Thunderstorm Warning UPDATED. Severe storms are clearing the far west, but extending further east through the #NorthernCountry & #NorthCentral districts.

Storms over #Melbourne & #Geelong are not expected to produce severe weather.https://t.co/rDR1XyXkLv #VicWeather pic.twitter.com/wOP3WjYlk8

— Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic) October 28, 2021

Storms rolling through #Melbourne now. There may be more storms to follow this evening. Coming down from the northwest (ie moving in a SE direction).
Winds will also rapidly strengthen later tonight, with the risk of damaging gusts. @7NewsMelbourne pic.twitter.com/6edjNEyKFq

— Jane Bunn (@JaneBunn) October 28, 2021

Nationals MP Bridget McKenzie and NSW minister for police and emergency services David Elliot have released a joint statement on disaster assistance for the LGA of Oberon following severe snow storms in August.

Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

McKenzie said the severe storm caused widespread damage in the area:

Strong winds and heavy snowfalls generated by the storm caused significant disruption to the Oberon community, with all roads closed due to snow or fallen trees. Numerous schools were closed, which would have brought significant distress to the community.

A range of practical assistance measures are now available through DRFA to help families and individuals to get back on their feet and to support the Oberon Council to repair and restore important public assets.

The funds will go towards costs associated with “operational response” and repairing damaged “essential public assets”, as well as individual grants to replace household contents or repair homes.

Thanks as ever to the unparalleled Amy Remeikis for keeping us informed and entertained on the blog. I’ll be with you for the rest of the night.


The house of representatives has adjourned – it won’t sit again until 22 November, which is the start of the last two weeks of parliament for this year.

Scott Morrison is about to leave the country, Barnaby Joyce will be acting prime minister and the rush to the Canberra airport has begun.

It’s been another strange few weeks in federal politics. The government is very happy to move on from focusing on the pandemic, and whatever it is we are calling ‘normal’ now, with the election campaign well and truly underway. No matter when you think the election will be, the countdown is on – it has to be held by 21 May (unless Morrison decides to do just a half senate election, which is very, very unlikely) and so you are all about to be bombarded with messages.

Morrison is hoping everyone gets reunited at Christmas once the borders are down, and with that memories of much of the last few years – and the federal government response – will be forgotten. So much happens, that it can be hard to keep track – it hasn’t even been a month since Gladys Berejiklian resigned as NSW premier – and the PM will be counting on people being pretty fuzzy on the details once we hit summer.

So that’s ahead of you. We’ll be bringing you all the news in between, as well as following up those issues the government wants ignored – but it is also important that everyone take their own breaks from the information deluge. There is a lot more coming before this year ends, and it is important you don’t burn yourselves out, especially after everything you have been asked to keep track of over the last 20 months.

Thank you to Mike Bowers, Murph (who is part of the travelling journalist pool with the PM, so you won’t miss a thing), Sarah Martin, Daniel Hurst and Paul Karp who are all still at their desks making sense of this day.

And of course, to all of the Guardian Australia staff who don’t all get the bylines, but work just as hard in keeping everyone safe and informed.

It’s back to general political news for me for the next couple of weeks – I’ll be back on the blog when parliament sits again, and of course, the Australia live blog will be back from tomorrow, with its broader focus on all things Australian news – I appreciate you all for sticking with the political deluge I press upon you.

Because as always, you, our readers, are the beating heart of the blog projects, and we couldn’t do this without you. Thanks for joining us for another couple of weeks, and please make sure you are taking all the time you need to adjust to this new normal. The reopening has to happen but it doesn’t have to happen at the same speed for everyone. The pandemic isn’t over – vaccines mean how we respond to it has changed – but it doesn’t mean we have forgotten.

Caitlin Cassidy will take you through what is left of the evening. Have fun – and please – take care of you.


As parliament is winding down, MPs are giving their final speeches. Here is part of one from Andrew Giles:

Today there are 46 people detained at the Park Hotel, refugees and people who’ve sought asylum.

46 more than there should be.

21 of these vulnerable people have covid.

21 more than should have.

This is awful - and it simply should not have happened.

Places like the Park Hotel aren’t safe places for them to be, especially during this pandemic.

This is hardly a secret, and it’s something that I raised with then Minister Tudge in March last year. March last year.

Let’s remember that the human beings in the Park Hotel are there because they were unwell.

At least 14 people in the Park Hotel are immunocompromised and at a heightened risk.

Our duty of care to them was to keep them safe and get them better.

We have failed, profoundly. Failed these men and failed a wider test.

Australians are better than this - I don’t just think this, I know it. Every day during this pandemic we’ve seen demonstrations of our concern and care for those around us.

Informed by a sense of decency, and responsibility - and a recognition that covid hones in on of vulnerability. But not from the Morrison-Joyce government.

Where is the policy rationale for this cruelty? How is it that some have been released from APOD detention, but not others - when we’ve known for so long of the inherent dangers?

How can it be that vaccination rates amongst detainees are so low, given their vulnerabilities?

Only 64% of people in the immigration detention network have received their first dose of the vaccine - almost 30% lower than the general Victorian population.

What’s been done to work with these men, and their trusted advisers, to encourage vaccination?

Keeping people who are in our care safe is - or should be - non-negotiable.

This can’t continue. These men have been through so much, and now they must be so scared.

For no reason - save for a series of unacceptable failures by this government.

Who still, as I stand here now, won’t accept their responsibility.

For what they’ve done, and for what they’ve failed to do - provide decent care to human beings in need.

As a refugee in the Park Hotel said: “we are not just speaking about a visa, we are speaking about our lives”.


An update to an issue we’ve been covering for some time.

Senate estimates has been told there are now 16,303 welfare recipients facing a debt due to an overlap with income from the jobkeeper wage subsidy.

Overall, the government is chasing $50.1m in debts.

That’s up from about 12,000 people and $32m, as we revealed in August.

Critics have contrasted the government’s decision to chase welfare recipients over the debts, with the large sums of jobkeeper claimed by businesses that ended up turning a profit despite forecasting a loss. The government argues that those businesses were following the law at the time, and that the ATO has recouped money from companies that knowingly flouted the rules.

However, the ATO revealed recently it was also waiving $180m in debts because ineligible businesses had made “honest mistakes”.

Meanwhile, a recent Treasury report found $13.8bn was paid to businesses with a turnover increase compared with a year earlier.

While the government claims the debts were caused by people not correctly reporting that jobkeeper income to Centrelink, some welfare recipients have told Guardian Australia their jobkeeper income was back paid to them at the start of the program, causing an unavoidable overpayment.

Due to a debt pause in place, they did not learn of the debt until many months later.


So what does acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce mean?

Well, we got a taste of it today. Joyce will use the coming week to sell his side of ‘The Plan’ – which has involved playing both sides. He is Schrodinger’s supporter – both for and against it – and it’s going to be a busy week for the Liberals as they try and keep all the rhetoric on track.

The PM is preparing to leave the country – in just hours, Barnaby Joyce will be acting prime minister for a week:

(Scott Morrison’s statement)

I will travel to Rome for the G20 Leaders’ Summit on 30-31 October and to Glasgow for the World Leaders’ Summit at Cop26 on 1-2 November.

I will be accompanied by the Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction.

These important international meetings come as the world has reached a critical point in our health response and economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and our collective effort to address the challenges of climate change.

In Rome, G20 leaders will discuss action to ensure equitable access to safe and effective vaccines and to strengthen global health governance to prevent future pandemics.

We will also discuss how to achieve a sustainable and resilient recovery, including advancing the G20 agenda on debt sustainability, high quality infrastructure investment, gender equality, and women’s workforce participation.

The G20 also has a key role in ensuring we can fully harness the benefits of increased digitalisation during the recovery. I look forward to raising how we can enhance confidence in the digital environment, including by ensuring it is safe and secure for users.

Cop26 will be crucial in the global effort to address the challenges of climate change. I look forward to supporting prime minister Johnson, as host of Cop26, to achieve our Paris Agreement objectives and collaborate to collectively deliver net zero emissions by 2050.

Additionally, I will use this opportunity to meet bilaterally with key partners.

Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce will be acting prime minister during the period of October 28 to November 4.


Patricia Karvelas: Pauline Hanson says the voter identification legislation was a condition of her support for another vote. Is this true?

Simon Birmingham:

I’m not aware of that being the case, I am certainly aware as I said that the Joint Standing Committee on electoral matters recommended this action be taken after the 2015 and 2019 elections.

PK: If she said that, is she not saying the truth?

SB: I’m not aware of...

PK: You wouldn’t be aware because you are the leader of the government in the Senate?


Not necessarily, Pauline has discussions with various member for the government on various bells and issues, this could have been proposed as an amendment to other pieces of legislation, this is something the government was looking at responding to in relation to those Parliamentary committee reports we received.

Simon Birmingham is on Afternoon Briefing, doing his best to sell ‘The Plan’:

Patricia Karvelas: What is the difference between and the 35% pledge [2030]?


The commitment under the Paris Agreement, there is a detailed nationally determined process you go through and Australia will be updating its NDC as part of that.

There are longer-term commitments outlined as part of the structure of that Paris Agreement as countries engage, and Australia will be making a longer term commitment in terms of the net zero commitment by 2050.

PK: Why not make this 35% a nationally determined pledge?

SB: We are as part of our updated NDC outlining indeed that we made a commitment and how we are tracking against that commitment - extraordinarily well to meet and be the commitment.

PK: Is that 35% a pledge?

SB: Well, it is showing what Australia is doing.

PK: Is that a pledge?

SB: That is the reality. The reality is within a pledge.

PK: So it isn’t a pledge?

SB: I think reality - if it is a game of poker, reality trumps a pledge.

PK: And why not make it a pledge as well? I pledge lots of things and then I make them a reality because it is a part of a pledge.

SB: I don’t know why you want to take us into a word game.

PK: I am not being silly, I want to explain for my viewer so that they understand. If you pledge you are saying, I am going to make that happen...I am just saying that it will happen, I hope it happens, you are saying, I commit to it happening.

SB: The pledge we’re making is driving the reality, and the important part of the pledge is the pledge we are investing some public money, driving some further $60bn plus of private money across the years to 2030 into the technologies enabling us to achieve lower emissions, and will enable the rest of the world to achieve lower emissions.


Sounds like things are getting quite estimate-y

The Community Affairs #estimates just had to suspend for five minutes after things got heated between Govt Services Min Linda Reynolds and Senator Kimberley Kitching.

— courtney gould (@heyycourtt) October 28, 2021

From Mike Bowers to you:

The leader of the house Peter Dutton during question time in the house of representatives
The leader of the house Peter Dutton during question time in the house of representatives Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
The Manager of Opposition business Tony Burke sits in a beam of sunlight during question time
The Manager of Opposition business Tony Burke sits in a beam of sunlight during question time Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
The speaker Tony Smith after he signaled his intention to step down at the start of the next sitting period in November
The speaker Tony Smith after he signaled his intention to step down at the start of the next sitting period in November Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
The member for Parramatta Julie Owens announces her intention not to contest the next election
The member for Parramatta Julie Owens announces her intention not to contest the next election Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Victoria’s RSPCA has charged a man for allegedly kicking a dog at a protest on 20 September 2021 following an investigation with Victoria police:

The accused has been charged under Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA) with committing an act of cruelty on an animal. A court that finds a person guilty of this offence can impose a maximum penalty of $45,435 or 12 months’ imprisonment.

After video footage emerged of a dog allegedly being kicked when protests took place in Melbourne last month, RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate received multiple cruelty reports relating to the matter, which assisted with its investigation and has now resulted in a charge being laid.

RSPCA Victoria’s Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said it was pleasing to see so many Victorians provide information to the RSPCA.

Many concerned Victorians reported the incident both to Victoria Police and to RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate, which is authorised to enforce Victoria’s animal cruelty legislation.

Every incident of animal cruelty is serious, and the Victorian public are the RSPCA’s eyes and ears when it comes to these matters. We encourage anyone with information about any animal cruelty matters to provide that information to the RSPCA. All matters reported by the public will be investigated swiftly and we are committed to holding offenders to account.”

As the matter is now before the courts RSPCA Victoria will be making no further comment.


Well this has probably come as a bit of a surprise

#BREAKING: Dr Krispin Hajkowicz will no longer take over as Chief Health Officer due to “personal reasons”. He was due to start on Monday. | @10NewsFirstQLD pic.twitter.com/XyMDkVWPAK

— Johnpaul Gonzo (@JohnpaulGonzo) October 28, 2021

Julie Owens says she wants a “rank and file” decision on who will replace her as the candidate.

That’s a pretty pointed ‘stay out of it head office’ point, after what happened with Tu Le.

Here is Julie Owens’ statement:

I’m announcing today that I won’t be recontesting the next election. It has been an honour to represent this diverse and endlessly fascinating community since 2004. Thank you for choosing me to represent you. It really is the best job in the world. pic.twitter.com/zbJ0V0o3Gf

— Julie Owens (@JulieOwensMP) October 28, 2021


Labor MP Julie Owens announces retirement

The Parramatta MP, Julie Owens, who was first elected in 2004, says she is approaching retirement age, and it is time for her to spend more time with her family, particularly her grandchildren, and after 18 years, she has decided now is the time to go.

The Labor MP for Parramatta, Julie Owens
The Labor MP for Parramatta, Julie Owens, has announced her retirement at the next election. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


More on that discussion in Senate estimates. So, Jo Evans, the deputy secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, is changing her testimony slightly, saying: “The modelling has been complete. It’s been complete for several weeks.”

That doesn’t quite sit with her earlier comments that they were still working on the modelling hours after cabinet sat on Monday evening.

Anyway, perhaps the model that bureaucrats plugged whatever last-minute boondoggle had been thrown to get the Nationals to sign up to the plan?

So what form is that modelling in now?

“Spreadsheets and finance and technical reports that are designed for an audience that is more sophisticated in terms of how it will understand results,” Evans say, adding “it’s absolutely finalised” in case that point about ink drying hasn’t been made clear by this point.

Evans also addresses the issue raised yesterday that Treasury had only a marginal role in contributing to the modelling in the plan. She says two Treasury staffers had assisted (a small contingent, perhaps, given the traditional clout from that department).

We took advice from Treasury on a number of issues, and in particular we took advice from them on how to look at modelling a capital-risk premium as a way of reflecting the potential for retaliatory action on Australia if we didn’t adopt a net zero target.

In other words, the government was worried there would be a backlash from investors who might hold back their funds from a country seen not to be taking necessary steps to reduce its emissions. The question that remains, I suppose, is whether there might yet be a risk premium added to Australia now that the world sees what we’re doing – or more to the point, not doing – when it comes to climate action.


Question time ends.

That’s the last one until 22 November, when the last two weeks of parliament will sit for the year, so you have some time to scream into the abyss.

Madeleine King to Scott Morrison:

My question is to the prime minister. If the prime minister actually cares about integrity and politics, [why wasn’t anonymous donations referred to the privileges] committee and why not establish an anti-corruption commission? Why are they in favour of voter identification but not donor identification?


Those matters were addressed by the leader of the House when they were considered before this place, the issues you have spoken to. The committee is already looking at these matters in broad and I think all members of the House will be very aided by their investigation of those things, so all members of the House can be informed about how they impact on them.

And in relation to the other matter, we have been working steadfastly on our proposals in these areas. Remember one of the first roles I had in this place was as the deputy chair of the joint standing committee on electoral matters and the government has always been advocating responsible measures that support our democracy, whether it is on ensuring that voters should be properly identified and donations are properly disclosed.


Ben Morton keeps referring to the Queensland election which was held in 2015, after the Newman government legislated voter ID as a requirement for elections after one person was referred to police for casting multiple votes in the 2012 election.

Voter ID was later scrapped in Queensland.

Morton says of the last three elections in Queensland, the one with the highest turnout was the one with voter ID (2015).

Which is true.

That was also the election the LNP went from a historical majority to the opposition benches. Queenslanders turned out in droves to vote out the Newman government. The Labor opposition went from nine MPs in a parliament of 89, to forming minority government.

So there was a little more in play there than voter ID.

Morton also says:

What is it that those opposite – what are they scared of? Why are they against it? Why are they committing so much time today to an issue that quite obviously, the more they do, the more I realise, there must be something in it for them to take this position, Mr Speaker, there must be. I tell you what, it says something about those opposite.

Which seems fine – except the counter factual could also be said. Why is the government so intent on putting these laws in, when no problem exists? What is in it for them to take this position? (See? Political theatre is easy.)

Ben Morton speaks during question time
Ben Morton speaks during question time. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


The prime minister’s apprentice, Ben Morton, takes another question on voting ID laws, and once again mistakes raising his voice for gravitas.

‘Bjorn Again’ (because he is the cover band equivalent of a minister) Alan Tudge is trying very, very hard to whir up a culture war over the history curriculum again.

It’s a very boring show, but he apparently only has one horn to toot at the moment and he is going to blow that vuvuzela until he passes out it seems.

(If anyone has actually bothered to read the curriculum draft, you’ll see there are not actually that many changes – it talks, as it previously did, about the Anzac legend (not day) and adds in World War I and contested views around it (which there are, especially about the UK military plans), still has references to Christianity, and doesn’t actually change much at all).


The government is running a dual argument about legislation – it doesn’t want to legislate net zero, like countries such as the UK have done, because DISASTER, but it points to countries like the UK legislating for voter ID laws, because it’s the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, the only people who apparently don’t have to identify themselves, are those donating to legal trusts for sitting parliamentarians.


Over in Senate estimates, the foreign minister, Marise Payne, has described as “entirely inappropriate” the criticism of the British high commissioner to Australia, Vicki Treadell.

Two weeks ago the Telegraph in the UK reported that unnamed “senior political figures in Canberra” had described Treadell as a “sanctimonious bore trying to wedge our government on climate change”. The attack on Treadell came after she publicly observed that the global benchmark for updated 2030 emission reductions targets was 40% to 50%. Treadell had told SBS: “Ideally that is what we would like to see.”

Payne says she did not make the comments reported in the Telegraph and does not know who did make the comments. Payne describes the criticism reported in the Telegraph as not appropriate, professional or helpful.

She says she met with Treadell earlier this week to discuss a range of issues. Payne describes Treadell as “a very robust professional” and the pair are “able to get on with business”.

Marise Payne speaks during Senate estimates in Canberra
Marise Payne speaks at Senate estimates in Canberra. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Peter Dutton continues his one-man show ‘Labor cut the defence budget’, which has been playing on repeat since he became defence minister.

Just a side note – how are those subs going?


If the modelling was only finalised after the cabinet signed off on ‘The Plan’, then Barnaby Joyce did sign off on The Plan without seeing the modelling.


Richard Marles to Barnaby Joyce:

Did the prime minister tell the deputy prime minister the modelling was still being written up when the deputy prime minister signed up to net zero?

The current deputy prime minister:

Mr Speaker, I thank the honorable member for his question, and the prime minister has just handed me the actual quote, which I think is very important, and the part they have left out is the actual modelling had of course been finalised at that point.

“We just need to take a little extra time to ensure that it is written up clearly and able to be presented well to the Australian public.”

When you read it in its entirety, it is entirely different to the proposition that the opposition put forward to this House, and it goes to show you how, at times, how sneaky they can be. Very, very sneaky.

And because you see they are sneaky, they will probably be very sneaky with the legislation that they intend to bring forward and the sneaky legislation they intend to bring forward, unless they tell us otherwise, people will be out of a job, legislate the coalminers at Muswellbrook out of a job.

Tony Smith:

The minister is straying from the question.


I have now been informed, and it seems completely logical, of the quote, and the entirety of the quote completely dispenses with with the premise of the question.

Barnaby Joyce speaks during question time
The current deputy prime minister speaks during question time. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


So the modelling now apparently exists, but is being written up “in an accessible language” so the public can understand it.

So the public won’t be getting the actual modelling it seems, but the rewritten modelling.


It’s the turn of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to front Senate estimates.

The session is kicked off by Northern Territory senator Sam McMahon, from the Coalition, who presses Jo Evans, the department’s deputy secretary, about what modelling the department did for the Morrison government’s plan to set the country on course to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

So the modelling, it turns out, was still being worked on when the plan went to cabinet on Monday night, with details finalised only in the hours after that meeting, Evans says.

The modelling, she insists, has been completed but it is still being written up so that it can be released in a way that the public can understand it “in an accessible language”.

For the first time, we were able to include a hydrogen sector into that model and show the benefits that could come from that for Australia.

It will be available in a few weeks,” she says, echoing the PM.

The Queensland senator Murray Watt also presses officials on the fact there have now been eight industry ministers in eight years, including Christian Porter who lasted all of 173 days before he stepped down.


Anthony Albanese now moves to suspend standing orders:

I seek leave to move the following motion. This House condemns the prime minister for misleading the parliament and the Australian people by not telling them that the modelling document for his net zero policy does not exist.

Leave is denied and we go through the division motions.


Anthony Albanese to Scott Morrison:

My question is to the prime minister, and it follows my last question about why it is that modelling for his net zero policy has not been released. Is he aware that a senior official has just told Senate estimates to quote, we are finalising the writing up that work.

How is it that this prime minister released his so-called plan where he said ‘plan’ 94 times between him and the minister, but doesn’t actually have one and doesn’t have modelling that he can ...


Modelling will be released in the next couple of weeks. It will be there for everybody to see.

The plan has been released. I have tabled it in the parliament.

[We have] our national determine contribution at Cop26. It sets out about our 2030 commitment. Our government has a 2030 commitment. The opposition still doesn’t have a 2030 target at all. They don’t have one so they can’t speak about one because it isn’t there. We have one, we took it to the last election, it was supported by the Australian people. The Labor party had one, it was 45% and rejected by the Australian people and they have been sitting there twiddling their thumbs about what it should be ever since.

Tony Smith:

I say to the the prime minister, there wasn’t an opportunity in this question to speak about the opposition policies.


The net zero by 2050 position the government has arrived at has been arrived at based on the modelling that has been done by the government through the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, a highly competent department ... well regarded around the public service.

That document will be released in the next few weeks and it will be there, and they will be able to see it and they will be able to see that what it does through the plan that we are putting in place with technology, not taxes, with respecting people’s choices, not legislate what people should do in their lives and businesses, on their farms, in their minds ...

That is what the Labor party wants to do, not us. We want to let the Australian economy achieve this target and we know it can. We know Australians can achieve this because emissions have already fallen by more than 20%.

Tony Burke:

On direct relevance, the question goes to the prime minister being asked about modelling and never once letting us know the document doesn’t yet exist.


No, the manager of opposition business won’t use the opportunity to try and give a statement or ask a different question. Has the prime minister concluded? Just before you recommence, there is not an opportunity to talk about opposition policies in his answer, but the prime minister ...


They don’t have any! They don’t have any targets, they don’t have any plans for the 2050 so I can’t help them.


Maybe you will wind up that answer.


I am happy to conclude on that note.


Josh Frydenberg continues to address Jim Chalmers, who seems to live rent-free in his head as Chalmers is not in the parliament at the moment (he is still in Queensland) and I don’t see him on any screens, so it doesn’t look like he is even participating in question time.


Anthony Albanese to Scott Morrison:

My question is to the prime minister. The prime minister has refused to release the modelling of his net zero policy showing its full economic impact before he goes to Glasgow tonight. Why?


I said on a number of occasions the government will be releasing the modelling in the next few weeks and it will be there, along with our plans that go quite methodically about how we intend to achieve that target, and I am looking forward to be able to point to the commitment we are making, the target we have set on zero emissions by 2050 and of course the update to our 2030 target, which was 26-28%, which is what we said at the last election and kept faith with that commitment.

We said we would meet that and intend to beat it, and that is exactly what we are going to do because I can inform them that we now expect that we will be able to see a 35% reduction by 2030. That is our expectation, that is what work shows, that is an extraordinary achievement by the Australian people, by Australian industry. I have to say particularly in the agriculture ...

Scott Morrison speaks during question time
Scott Morrison speaks during question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


On relevance, it was a really specific question, there was no rhetoric, just about modelling and why isn’t it being produced now. Why? (Morrison is ruled in order.)


That is what we will be doing when we go to Glasgow. We as a Coalition have worked solidly together to understand fully the implications of these nationally determined contributions that we have made, we have worked through these issues, we have considered what is happening in the global economy and the impact particularly on rural and regional areas and developed a plan which enables us to achieve this, and at the same time see our economy continue to grow and the way of life in rural and regional communities continue to go forward. That is what our plan achieves. Our targets are clear – 26 to 28% by 2030, which we will meet and beat, and by 2050 to achieve a target of net zero emissions. Although we still don’t know what the Labor party’s 2030 target is ... the clock has been ticking on them for a long time.


The current deputy prime minister speaks about a lot of projects that apparently haven’t been started (the Coalition has been in government for eight years) and then tries to move into WILL SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE COWS and how terrible reducing methane in the agricultural industry would be, but he runs out of time.

For the record, the industry has already committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, without culling herds. It seems the Coalition has all the faith in the world in developing technology to get it to its climate target (that is after all ‘the plan’) EXCEPT when it comes to agriculture, despite the industry feeling confident enough to have pledged to a target this decade.


Anthony Albanese to Scott Morrison:

My question is to the prime minister. Can he confirm the government ridiculed renewable energy targets, tried to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and then flipped, railed against electric vehicles and then flipped, and then attacked net zero before adopting it? Why should Australians trust a government with net zero credibility on Australia’s clean energy future?


The leader of the opposition is incapable of telling the truth. That is not the position I have adopted. I have opposed the Labor party policies on their approaches to addressing many of those issues.

As we know right now, the Labor party is voting against hydrogen, Mr Speaker, to be used in infrastructure for vehicles, and they are voting against it in the Senate, voting against carbon capture use and storage, they are voting against renewable technologies that we want to finance through the CFC. They voted against it.

Tony Burke:

On direct relevance. The answer is not relevant, it is not true. It is just weird.

Tony Smith:

I am fairly tolerant with the language in the question, which really could have meant anything, and using words like flipped, so I will keep listening to the prime minister. I was reluctant to rule the question out of order, but the prime minister has the call.


What I was referring to is that we have a bill in the House, in the Senate right now, that is seeking support, and I should say they are seeking to disallow the regulations. That is what the Labor party is seeking to do for our policies, which includes $72m to support electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicle infrastructure, $52m for microgrids in regional Australia, $20m to look at how we can make heavy trucks more fuel-efficient, $47m to reduce energy consumption.

The Labor party has voted against these seven times. I am asked about the issue of trust, Mr Speaker. I saw this quote just yesterday, perhaps today, if I was a coalminer, a power generation worker, a manufacturing worker, and wanted to look at the issues of the ALP about how they deal with a just transition, if you look at what (there are a lot of interjections).


What he was saying up until then was perfectly fine because the question made an accusation about the government’s credibility, but I don’t think – well, I know that on this when he cannot move to talk about the opposition.


I will save it for later. I don’t mind.

When you’re working in those industries, that is what union leaders are saying. Our plan is about achieving net zero by 2050, without taking jobs, without saying you have to mandate what they have to do, without putting taxes on them. The Labor party have attacked our plan, they don’t like it, they don’t like that it only focuses on technology to achieve this. I know this, if you aren’t going to achieve net zero through technology by 2050, there are only two other ways – taxes and heavier regulation*, driving jobs out of industries, that is the Labor party plan.

*This is not true. It is a false binary


The Liberal MP Andrew Laming has withdrawn his apology of 25 March for those who were offended by his communications.

Before question time, Laming told the lower house:

It’s now obvious the accusations against me were fabricated. My apology at the time was to anyone genuinely offended by my electoral communication. None of those televised in March were genuine ...

Serious accusations deserve to be the subject of a formal complaint. And apart from one thrown out minutes after I provided a written statement, no complaint has ever materialised despite my public and repeated requests.

The caper is pretty clear: run to the media but assiduously avoid making a complaint lest it be proved to be baseless.

Laming said that complainants had “formal channels available” and that “deliberately avoiding that for trial by media should never be rewarded”.

He also complained that Labor had attempted to suspend standing orders on “no less than 25 occasions” to sanction him, which he labelled “disappointing political opportunism”.

Laming also took aim at the ABC for trawling his electorate for “mildly annoyed critics”.


Question time begins

Anthony Albanese asks Scott Morrison why there is not more action from his government on climate and “weren’t the bushfires enough”?

Morrison (who doesn’t hold a hose, remember):

Only he would seek to politicise the bushfires. That reflects on him, Mr Speaker. Over the course of this year, the Cop26 data has been said clearly, and methodically, the government has worked to come together to enable us to be able to confirm the policy ,which enables me this evening to head firstly to the G20 and then to Cop26 in Glasgow, and be very clear that Australia’s nationally determined contribution is that we have a target of net zero emissions by 2050.

In addition, we will be able to update our nationally determined contribution to indicate that our target of 26-28% of emissions reduction by 2030 will indeed be exceeded and we will see a 35% reduction in emissions.

This is what Australia is achieving. Already we have seen a 20%-20.8% reduction in emissions, which exceeds the performance of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Japan. Australia is getting this job done.

What our performance has demonstrated ... the highest rate of rooftop solar uptake in the world or the record levels of installation of renewable energy.

In one year there has been more installation of renewable energy in this country than in its six years of the Labor government.

At the same time as achieving these targets, over that same period of time, a 45% increase in the size of our economy. Interestingly, when you look at the time that we have been in government, the CPI figures yesterday showed that electricity prices under our government went up by 3%. Over Labor party government period it went up 101%. (Renewables set up under the Labor government and the states came onto the grid, which lowered electricity prices.)

Under Labor, your electricity prices and emissions were higher, because under our government we have been getting emissions down. We have got electricity prices down. We have been getting the number of jobs up. We now have 1 million people in manufacturing. Under Labor, one in eight manufacturing jobs were gone. Gone, Mr Speaker, because of the economy-destroying policies of the Labor party when they were last in government.

I know that our government can stand up for Australia to protect our interests and have an Australian plan, an Australian plan that is done in Australia’s interest, to deal with the Australian economy. That is what we have been doing. We have the strength to pursue that plan and bring the country together, and pursue the target that we have set. Those opposite don’t have the strength to do that.

Scott Morrison speaks in the House of Representatives
Scott Morrison speaks in the House of Representatives. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Andrew Laming 'withdraws' apology

Andrew Laming says he is formally withdrawing his apology that he made to the parliament on 25 March.

That is when he said this:

Today I was informed of the significant distress experienced by two of my constituents in my electorate as a result of my online commentary with them. They are both highly regarded individuals within our Redland community. I both acknowledge and commend their contribution to my city. I want to unreservedly apologise to both Ms Huelet and Ms Russo. I express my regret and deep apologies for the hurt and distress that that communication may have caused. Today in this House I want to retract those comments and issue an unreserved public apology. There are many lessons for me in this experience – not just about words but about the impact words can have on others. I have made a concerted effort to understand the impact of these responses on others and to demonstrate a clear change in the way I communicate. I want to say to any person who has received correspondence from me which fell short of what they expect from an MP that I intend to own that failure and apologise without hesitation.

Laming said there have been no substantiated allegations against him and tells the parliament he wishes to withdraw the apology.


The last question time of this sitting is about to begin.

It’s going to play out much like it has the entire week – painfully.


I made the mistake of switching over to 90-second statements, where parliamentarians can speak about whatever it is they want for a minute and a half ahead of question time.

The Nationals MP Mark Coulton just made a speech where he said he had been listening to first speeches from school students who had entered a competition and he is very worried about how concerned and upset they seem about the issue of climate change.

Where he goes from there is a perfect example of why we have the climate policy and ‘debate’ we do:

A lot of them are quite bleak about the future and it’s largely relating to climate change and the impacts of it. And it made me think that there’s a responsibility in this place, in the political debate, not to steal the hopes and futures of our younger people.

(To make better policy? Read on.)

What’s driven humanity on for millennia is that the hope that tomorrow will be better than today, that that the the belief in mankind to overcome the problems that comes towards it. And to, to have members in here, the member for Melbourne and others, talking about climate emergencies, a future that is indeed bleak with bushfires and the like, is very, very irresponsible.

As a seven-year-old, Mr Deputy Speaker, I can remember my school holidays and weekends being caught up in a very, very severe drought, where my father’s farm is completely depleted, our grain was gone, but we always had a belief that tomorrow was going to be better. And we should remember that when we’ve made many speeches in this place.

Coulton was seven years old in 1965.

Seven-year-olds in Australia today have seen droughts, floods, some of the worst bushfires the nation has experienced, severe storms, and a pandemic. And a government not really reacting to any of it.

So what could fix that? By jove, Coulton has it! POSITIVE SPEECHES.

Dolly wept.


The short answer to this is no. Read on from Graham Readfearn to learn why it’s just a lot of hot air and bluster – not unlike what research and development is working on solving when it comes to livestock emissions.

Will methane cuts cause cattle culls and ruin the gas industry? Or is it just hot air from the Coalition? https://t.co/n8VfWv28rx

— Lenore Taylor (@lenoretaylor) October 28, 2021


The federal government is yet to conduct a cost-benefit analysis into the cashless debit card, three years after it agreed to an audit office recommendation to conduct one.

The program has been running since 2016 and quarantines up to 80% of a person’s welfare payments onto a debit card that can’t be used to withdraw or buy certain items, such as alcohol.

The Department of Social Services agreed in 2018 to an audit office recommendation that a cost-benefit analysis into the controversial scheme was needed, amid a dearth of research into whether the card works.

However, Senate estimates heard on Thursday that the department scrapped the analysis due to a lack of available data. It had signed a $172,000 contract with the Centre for International Economics to conduct the work but it was stopped in March.

“We ran into issues with a lack of data to inform that piece of analysis,” the Department of Social Services deputy secretary, Elizabeth Hefren-Webb, said.

The government has since contracted Deloitte to look at the issue.

The social services minister, Anne Ruston, said much of the data required was held by the states and territories, which she claimed were “reluctant” to provide it.

The Labor senator Nita Green questioned why the government had not done more to collect the data so the program could be properly evaluated.

A separate evaluation by the University of Adelaide did not explicitly address the cost-benefit and it was generally inconclusive about the pros and cons of the scheme.


Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese, Peter Dutton and Tony Burke have all given speeches praising Tony Smith and the job he has done as Speaker.

Burke says there has only be one other Speaker in the parliament who has been nominated three times and never had their nomination challenged. He says he is in the running for “best and fairest” Speaker.

Scott Morrison shakes hands with Tony Smith
Scott Morrison shakes hands with Tony Smith. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Anthony Albanese congratulates the Speaker
Anthony Albanese congratulates the Speaker. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Tony Smith will spend the first Monday of the next sitting in the chair, and will call for a new Speaker to be elected.

Speaker Tony Smith after announcing he will step down at the start of the next sitting period in November
Speaker Tony Smith after announcing he will step down at the start of the next sitting period in November. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Here is part of his statement:

I want to finish on the backbench as a government backbencher, and I want to speak in this House again and focus entirely on my electorate.

It’s not because I’m tired of the job, I doubt I would ever tire of it. It is certainly not because I’m tired of pulling ministers or members into line. I think you know, I would never tire of that. I relish it.

I just want to return to you.

Let me say clearly, if there is anyone within or outside this House that thinks my decision is the result of some disquiet I have with the government, you are completely wrong. That’s why I’m pointing this out so directly now.

If at any point in the last six years and two-and-a-half months, I had felt a decision or action of the House was a direct attack on my speakership, I hope you all know me well enough now to know I would have left the chair immediately.

I have at all times sought to operate fairly, consistently and predictably to be a Speaker for all of you. That’s meant disciplining anyone I need to, even when it’s a close friend, like the prime minister, who I’ve known for 20 years, or the treasurer, who I’ve known for even longer, when he used to draft opinion pieces for other people rather than himself.

But we are dear friends, the treasurer and I, and he’s known about my plans for an extensive period of time as well.

As I’ve said, I thought about this over a long period of time. Indeed had it not been for the responsibility I’ve had to the operation of the House during this Covid time I would have been making this speech some time ago.

Given my role and my approach to speakership over the last six and a bit years, I will conduct myself in a way I believe befitting of a former Speaker still in the House.

So I have no plans to ask questions of ministers unless they’re directly related to my constituents.

Secondly, I have no plans to raise points of order or to point out sound and point out wise rulings. Unless absolutely necessary.

And I have no plans to interject.

I thank you for your support. For the time that I’m here. That’s all of today, the coming weeks and in the chair today and on the Monday when we return I’ll be enforcing the standing orders as I always have – possibly like never before.


Tony Smith steps down as Speaker

This will be Tony Smith’s last sitting as Speaker – he is going to step down at the next sitting, Tuesday 23 November, and sit as a backbencher, to allow the House to elect a new Speaker.

Speaker Tony Smith presides over the House of Representatives
Speaker Tony Smith presides over the House of Representatives. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August, children have been hardest hit, facing displacement, forced marriage and starvation under the extremist regime, the Afghanistan-Australian Advocacy Network has reported.

Of the 665,000 people who have been newly displaced in Afghanistan in 2021, 80% are women and children.

Hundreds have had their homes forcibly taken by the Taliban, leaving them to face the upcoming winter with no shelter, income or access to food.

Asho, a little girl who is betrothed to a 23-year-old man, sits outside a tent at the Shamal Darya camp in Badghis province
Asho, a little girl who is betrothed to a 23-year-old man, sits outside a tent at the Shamal Darya camp in Badghis province.
Photograph: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP/Getty Images

Girls are in hiding, not knowing whether they will ever be allowed to attend secondary school again, fearful they might be taken by the Taliban and forced to marry.

In August this year it was reported that, in a three-day period alone, at least 27 children were killed and 136 injured amid fighting between the Taliban and government forces.

This week, reports have emerged of eight young children starving to death in Kabul after their parents died.

Sydney-based Mahboba Rawi, the ‘mother of a thousand’ who runs orphanages in Afghanistan and the charity Mahboba’s Promise, said in the 20 years she has been working with children and orphans in Afghanistan, she had rarely seen a time of greater need:

Children from Afghanistan are facing displacement, violence and food shortages.

We are seeing newborn babies with nothing to eat or drink. Hospitals are full of children suffering from malnutrition and young girls are cut off from accessing their most basic rights.

There has never been a more important time to support the children of Afghanistan, in whatever way we can.

Mahboba Rawi with children in Afghanistan. The Afghan-Australian has run orphanages in Afghanistan for two decades.
Mahboba Rawi with children in Afghanistan. The Afghan-Australian has run orphanages in Afghanistan for two decades. Photograph: The Guardian

Sharara Attai, a senior solicitor at the Refugee Advice and Casework Service whose parents escaped Afghanistan, said half of the children aged under five in Afghanistan were expected to suffer from acute malnutrition, and one million were at risk of dying from starvation.

“Many young children are forced to work to survive. The children of Afghanistan need the world to pay attention to their plight because it is a humanitarian catastrophe,” she said.

“Children should be playing and learning, not engaged in child labour or forced into marriage. Their lives are meant to be filled with joy and magic and wonder, not sorrow, hardship and horror.”

The human rights lawyer and member of the Afghanistan-Australian Advocacy Network, Mariam Veiszadeh, argued the government could do more to protect the rights of women and girls, and minority groups.

“Australia’s commitment 20 years ago contributed to millions of girls in Afghanistan receiving an education, women being able to work and study. After two decades it cannot walk away,” she said.

The Australian government has not offered an increase in humanitarian places for people from Afghanistan to come to safety in Australia.

Veiszadeh said instead of following the lead of countries like Canada, which is providing 40,000 additional places for Afghan nationals forced to flee the country, the Australian government was only allocating 3,000 places from within its existing – already cut – humanitarian intake.

The government has also not prioritised family reunion, which is keeping Afghan-Australian families separated, the network said.

The prime minister told parliament last week that if Australia could take more than that 3,000 it would.

“If there are more that we can take this year, we will take them. I’m not putting a cap on how many we can take,” Scott Morrison said.

“We have been identifying additional people where they’ve been able to … leave Afghanistan, and we’ve been able to bring them here to Australia as well.

“We’ll continue to do this, and we’ll not be restrained by what the current cap is on the refugee and humanitarian program.”


Probably because she’s an independent MP and doesn’t have the numbers in the House, unless the government supports one of her bills – but that would mean actual action, rather than virtue signalling, and that is apparently not the “Australian way”.

3 weeks ago I started as Assistant Minister for 🏭, ⚡️ & Emissions 📉, and just passed my first Bill through @AboutTheHouse enabling offshore renewable electricity. 3 years ago @ZaliSteggall became MP for Warringah, but hasn’t passed a single Bill to increase renewables.

— Tim Wilson MP (@TimWilsonMP) October 28, 2021


This was just two days ago:

On Tuesday night the Morrison government denied that their racist voter ID law was the result of a deal with the far-Right.

This morning Pauline Hanson claimed credit for them. pic.twitter.com/55NWv7Slqj

— Senator Tim Ayres (@ayrestim) October 28, 2021


The RBA deputy governor, Guy Debelle, meanwhile, dealt with a few other questions at Senate estimates this morning.

He was coy, as you might expect, on inflation after yesterday’s CPI result, that saw the underlying inflation rate jump by 0.7 percentage points to 2.1% (ie by half.)

With the RBA board meeting next Tuesday afternoon (before the Melbourne Cup runs), all he would say is that “we are looking to generate a little higher inflation than we’ve had over the last five or six years”, when CPI failed to climb above the 2% level in the central bank’s 2-3% range.

He said the monetary policy objectives meant “a little more inflation is welcome but a lot more inflation is not welcome”.

Newspaper headlines today made inflation a prominent story, particularly in the financial ones. However, as Greg Jericho noted here, there’s nothing to panic about yet.
One other titbit. By next February the RBA will have bought a cool $360bn in bonds to support the economy, Debelle said.


At Senate estimates the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials have been talking about the government’s plans to update its pledge under the Paris agreement.

It’s called a nationally determined contribution, or NDC. A bit of background first: Late last year Australia resubmitted it with the same 2030 target of a 26% to 28% reduction on 2005 levels, while saying this was a floor not a ceiling.

Kathy Klugman, a deputy secretary at Dfat, says: “Australia recommunicated our NDC in 2020. The prime minister has said we will update and recommunicate the NDC for Cop26 [the conference in Glasgow]. As yet, we have not done so.”

Klugman is asked whether the update will retain the same 2030 target but include a projection of what Australia expects to achieve. She replies:

“Between 30 and 35% as the prime minister announced. Correct.”

Klugman says it is her understanding that the new NDC will also “communicate that Australia has adopted that target of net zero by 2050”.

Jamie Isbister, the ambassador for the environment, gives a procedural answer when asked about Paris agreement requirements: “The target was needed to be submitted as part of countries signing on the Paris agreement and then depending on the date of the target you then need to update your target each five years.”

Penny Wong during Senate estimates in Canberra
Penny Wong at Senate estimates in Canberra. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Labor’s Penny Wong wants to know whether there is provision for projections to be included in an NDC. Isbister says a lot of countries include planned policy measures and commitments they’re taking forward, beyond the simple targets: “The NDC is really up to a country in terms of what it reflects.”

Which leads to this amusing exchange:

Wong: “Has anyone else actually tried to jazz up their actual target by including a projection?

Isbister: “I mean, plenty of countries have projections.”

Wong: “In the NDC?”

Isbister: “Senator, I’d have to take that on notice.”


The aged care industry has criticised a decision by the Victorian government not to require visitors to aged care homes to be fully vaccinated.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), the peak body for not-for-profit providers, described the Victorian government’s stance as “strange” and urged it to reconsider urgently.

ACSA said the Victorian government’s failure to mandate vaccination for aged care visitors was at odds with New South Wales.

The ACSA chief executive, Paul Sadler, said:

Aged care homes are the frontline of the pandemic. This is our most vulnerable group of people. Everyone who visits aged care should bring the protection of a vaccine with them. It’s bizarre that people need to have a vaccine to have a haircut, but not to visit a vulnerable population of older Australians in aged care. The government must rethink this decision as soon as possible.


Meanwhile in the House, the current deputy prime minister was making a very pertinent point about ... something to Angus Taylor.

The Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and Minister for Energy and Emissions reduction Angus Taylor during an attempt by Opposition leader Anthony Albanese to suspend standing orders in the house of representatives, Parliament House in Canberra this morning.
Barnaby Joyce and Angus Taylor in the House of Representatives. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Many pointed fingers, not many points.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and CMO Paul Kelly at a press conference in the PM’s courtyard of Parliament House.
Prime minister Scott Morrison and chief medical officer Paul Kelly at a press conference in the PM’s courtyard of Parliament House. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
And another thing
And another thing. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
And then I said
And then I said. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Full fingered point
Full-fingered point. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


My colleague (and the person at the wheel of this blog) Amy Remeikis reported last month that millions of dollars of promised domestic violence funding to help combat a rise in demand for services was yet to be released.

Asked by the Greens senator Larissa Waters whether the money has now flowed to services, the social services minister, Anne Ruston, confirmed it still has not.
Ruston told Senate estimates:

Last year in the pandemic we provided $130m to the states and territories and we’ve subsequently announced in the budget an additional $260m.

The first amount has been agreed through women’s safety ministers that it will be delivered under the national partnership agreement on a sort of pro rata states formula. I believe that those documents are with the states and territories for the signing to come back for the release of that money.

Ruston could not say when that would occur, but said the commonwealth was working “productively” with the states and territories.


Pauline Hanson claims credit for voter ID laws

The One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, has claimed credit for the Coalition’s voter integrity bill, saying she made voter identification a condition for her support on another electoral bill.

Hanson told Guardian Australia on Thursday she had “had a gutful” of the Morrison government taking credit for her ideas and the voter ID bill “wouldn’t be happening without me”.

Hanson said about a month ago the special minister of state, Ben Morton, sought One Nation support for a bill lowering the threshold for political campaigners to lodge financial statements from $500,000 to $100,000.

Pauline Hanson in the Senate
Pauline Hanson says she pushed for the introduction of voter ID laws because the Morrison government has been ‘bloody lazy’. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Hanson said she made legislation of voter ID a condition of her support and called for technical changes to the auditing of Senate vote counts, also proposed in a bill on Thursday.

“I give the Liberal party a lot of suggestions on their legislation which they then implement – it wouldn’t be happening without me,” Hanson claimed. “I’ve had a gutful … I’m instrumental in this parliament.”

Voter ID laws have been on the Coalition wishlist for the last three terms of parliament, but the government did not introduce a bill to give effect to the recommendation from the joint standing committee on electoral matters (Jscem). Hanson said they had been “bloody lazy”.

Read the full story here:


Victoria Covid update

Victoria has recorded 25 deaths overnight, in what is the state’s deadliest single-day death toll during the state’s current Covid outbreak.

Despite reaching over 77% fully vaccinated, the death toll is still the highest Victoria has seen in 2021, and brings the death toll in the current outbreak to 270.

The deaths included a man in his 40s, a man and a woman in their 50s, two men in their 60s, four men and two women in their 70s, six men and four women in their 80s and four women in their 90s.

“It’s going to be a really difficult time for the family and friends of those 25 Victorians and we pass our deepest condolences to their loved ones in these challenging times,” the acting chief health officer, Ben Cowie, said.

The state’s seven-day daily case number average has fallen to 1,756, from Wednesday’s average of 1,800, with Cowie welcoming some “positive topline trends”, including a drop in Thursday numbers.

“But for the first time in three weeks, our Thursday figure is just under 2,000, which is good to see,” he said.

Cases continue to rise in regional areas, with another 38 new cases in Wodonga, where testing facilities are already under significant strain.


The Reserve Bank of Australia’s deputy governor, Guy Debelle, has been fielding questions in Senate estimates from senator Jenny McAllister this morning, including about whether the central bank has done any modelling on the cost to Australia’s economy of not acting on climate change.

“Not directly, though that’s something we’re thinking about,” was Debelle’s response.

“The RBA is conducting a ‘vulnerability assessment’ with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority ... that envisages a number of scenarios in terms of global outcomes, and some of them involve policy actions at different periods of time.”

The RBA and Apra are looking at the exposure of the Australian financial system to various climate outcomes. As to a look at the potential physical impacts of climate change, the RBA will have more information to release “hopefully, not too far into next year”.

The RBA had a stab earlier this year about what those impacts might be, with 254 suburbs examined for potential mortgage exposure risk as temperatures and sea levels rise, among other changes in a warming world.

As an aside, climate scientists scratched their collective noggins on this assessment because they don’t believe the science is advanced enough to make such pinpoint estimates by region let alone suburbs.

Meanwhile, on things climate, major funds across the ditch in New Zealand handling close to $100bn in funds have signed up to net zero goals by 2050. That means the assets they hold will have to be aligned to lower emissions, and since many of them will have holdings of Australian assets, there are likely to be ripples across to this side of the Tasman.


And despite there being no actual problem this is trying to solve – and the government’s whole bit on climate policy (an actual problem which needs an actual solution) being all ‘there is no need to legislate or make this harder for anyone, or tell them what to do’ – Scott Morrison is all for voter ID laws.


Because ... reasons.

Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra
Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

It’s not an earth-shattering proposal that when you go to vote that you should be able to say you are who you are, and provide some form of identification to support that.

That’s an important protection for our democracy.

In fact, it’s so important that countries like Canada, France, Sweden, Belgium, at least 14 states in the United States, the United Kingdom this year introduced voter identification laws to the House of Commons just this year.

I mean, this is a standard practice ... in liberal democracies. The declaration process provides the safeguard for those who may be vulnerable and for whom this might prove a challenge, but not one vote will be lost, that is a formal vote, and a real vote, from a real person.

Those safeguards are built into the bill. But I think it’s fair enough in a democracy, if I turn up at the ballot box there at Lilli Pilli and say my name is Scott Morrison and give them my address that I should be able to say and here’s a form of identification that we all have these days, to be able to, to be able to substantiate that.

And if I don’t have that, well, you do a declaration vote and that’s sorted out during the normal process.

I think this is an important change and I think it’s good for our democracy. So if the Labor party doesn’t want to support people actually telling people who they are and backing that up, well, you’d have to wonder why.

Australia though, has compulsory voting. And no allegations of voting fraud. And a very strong electoral commission. There is no problem here. Other than in some seats, putting roadblocks in to vote will mean people don’t cast their votes. And you know what those seats tend to have in common? They don’t tend to vote conservatively. So you are making it harder for people who don’t vote for you to vote for others. I wonder why the conservative government would be in favour of that.


Scott Morrison doesn’t have any regrets about his criticism of Icac-like integrity commissions, despite what he is hearing from the current hearings in NSW these last few weeks, and he doesn’t have plans to improve the Coalition’s federal offering for an integrity commission:

No, I don’t have any regrets about that, in terms of the statements I’ve made previously. And on the other matter, we’ve been setting out our model. If that model is not accepted by others in this parliament, well, that’s a matter for them.

But that’s the model that we would seek to proceed with and will seek to finalise that final legislation. We think that’s the best way to go ahead ...

And then we have a lot of other institutions here at federal level that I think are being ignored, but they do have a very important role. I’m not about to let or support a system that takes us down the path where it’s trial outside of proper processes*.

That’s not something that I think is consistent with our values.

*Icac is not a trial outside proper processes. It is a proper process. It is an investigatory body, with compulsion powers for testimony. It doesn’t charge people. It doesn’t decide guilt or innocence. It investigates and then it makes recommendations, and then the director of public prosecutions decides whether to move forward. If the DPP moves forward, there is a trial.


That press conference ended just short of 30 minutes after it began.


Scott Morrison is holding firm on how Australia doesn’t have to do anything because that is the “Australian way” because everything has to have nationalism attached to it now, even climate policy:

We have set out, I think, very responsible targets, and we will meet them and we will beat them but particularly on the issue of 2015 v 2030. This is a very important point.

And that is that the technology that you need, much of which was, some of which at the very least is yet to be realised, that has long lead times.

And you need to put the resources in now for things that could take 10 or even 20 years. And if you divert your resources away from those types of things that has that 2050 payoff, you actually put the 2050 payoff at risk. We want to achieve the 2050 outcome, and we want to achieve it with the technology that delivers it.

Now I know there’s been a lot of feedback on our plan, which doesn’t express the same confidence in technology to achieve this outcome that we have.

And I can tell Australians very clearly that if you don’t think technology can do this, and you’re not confident about that, it seems the Labor party is not – they have two other options. They’ll tax you, and they’ll regulate you and force your decisions. Now that’s not our plan.

That’s not the Australian way that clearly seems to be the path they’re heading down. That’s a matter for them. Other countries will make their decisions, we will make Australian decisions in Australia for Australia’s interests. And that’s what I’ll be saying in Glasgow.

Scott Morrison at a press conference in the PM’s courtyard of Parliament House in Canberra
Scott Morrison at a press conference in the PM’s courtyard of Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Questions have begun at Scott Morrison’s press conference – there is no transcription as the ABC has moved away from the presser, so I will do my best to transcribe on the go.

The first question is on Barnaby Joyce’s claim that the Nationals have carved out agriculture (methane) from Australia’s plans as one of the Nationals’ demands for supporting net zero by 2050.

The problem is Australia was never really into the methane part of the deal, globally. So it is highly unlikely it would have come up. Not just because of the agricultural industry (which has already set a carbon neutral target by 2050) but because of methane produced from the gas. Which is a major industry the Morrison government is hoping to build.

So it is very, very unlikely that the methane discussion would have come up – because it is not something the Morrison government was particularly interested in either.

Here is what Morrison said:

What we’ve said very clearly, though, is also not signing up to the 2030 methane request. And that’s actually a bipartisan position. And we made that very clear. And that’s been reported today.

We’ve also said very clearly that under our plan, we won’t be putting any mandates on farms. We won’t be targeting them in any way as part of our emissions reduction plan, that they’re the clear assurances that we’ve made. We won’t be doing things that will have a net negative impact on our agricultural sector.

What we want is the agricultural sector to be able to participate in this. We don’t want them to be excluded from the the revenue streams and income sources that will flow from their participation in this program.

To exclude them from that would be a great disadvantage to them and I don’t want them to be cut off from that.


Covid booster shots to be available from 8 November after Atagi approval

Greg Hunt is also at this press conference – following the TGA’s approval of third round Pfizer shots, Atagi has put out its advice recommending third doses:

I’m pleased and privileged to be able to announce that Atagi has recommended that we commence the booster program for the whole nation. Other vaccines are likely to put forward applications, Moderna, we are [expecting that].

We are expecting [others] to submit their application for their vaccine to the Australian regulator in the coming weeks, if not earlier.

And that means that commencing on November 8 on the national program, the booster will be available on the basis of six months plus from your vaccination. Early priority will be a focus on aged care and disability but by definition, we have enough vaccines in the country to vaccinate everybody who comes due and, as your six months has passed, then you will be able to be eligible to come forward. Indeed, the first aged care vaccinations are occurring today.


Australia to press social media reforms at G20

Scott Morrison says a key issue he will be raising at the G20 will be the need to “hold social media platforms to account”:

They’re publishers, not just platforms and particularly, when they allow people to anonymously go on their platforms and publish their vile rubbish, whether that be to really a young girl or target people online, or to push statements about people and to do so anonymously with impunity, that is not freedom of speech, that is just cowardice and we cannot have that turn out on our social media platforms to Australians in this country.

It’s not just a problem here in Australia, it’s a problem all around the world.

We led the charge with New Zealand and France after the Christchurch massacre, and I took that to the G20 ... to ensure that the internet and particular social media platforms are not used as a weapon by terrorist but they are still being used as a weapon right now, destroying the mental health of our young people ... and it’s not on this country.

The online privacy draft legislation that we’ve already released and people are aware of that today, that builds on so many things that we’ve already done to take down powers, the e-safety commission, Australia is leading in this area and I’ll be raising that with other G20 leaders because we have to go further than we are now.


Scott Morrison says no one is happier Australia is coming back together again and opening borders more than him.

Which is actually true – once people are reunited, and have had a bit of a break, the calculation is everyone will calm down and the anger at the federal government over its handling of much of the pandemic will dissipate before the election.


Scott Morrison press conference

It starts with a vaccine program victory lap:

Australians are taking their lives back from what Covid took from them. And this is positive news. And as we go into the weeks ahead, we will continue to see positive changes happening all around our country.

We are beating Covid. And we’re taking our lives back. And we’re doing this as we see the vaccination levels in a country rise and rise.

We are beating the models, the models that have instructed us along the way and set out the path of what may occur, whether it’s on the impact of a hospital system, and the way that things are playing out, we are prepared for the worst, we are always planning for the best and we are seeing more of the latter than the former. But that said, that does not mean the difficult days are still not before us.

And that is particularly true for the family and friends of loved ones, particularly in Victoria today, where we’ve had a 25 deaths and two in Sydney. Once again, we send our deepest sympathy ... it is a sobering reminder of the terrible reality of this pandemic.

And the reality is still visited upon us in Australia despite the progress we are making. But our best defence against all that has been the vaccination program and today, three quarters of Australians have now been double dosed vaccinated.


New Zealand announces 89 new Covid cases, including two in Christchurch

New Zealand has announced 89 new cases of Covid-19 today, including two in Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city.

They mark the first cases of Covid in a major South Island centre in more than a year. Covid response minister Chris Hipkins said the city would not be locking down.

The cases bring the total outbreak across the country to 2,921. Across the country, 85% of the eligible population (aged 12+) have had at least one dose of the vaccine, or 72% of the full population. 70% of the eligible population have had both doses, or 60% of the full population.

In Canterbury, the region that Christchurch falls in, vaccination numbers are 89% for first doses, and 69% for second doses.


Daryl Maguire tells Icac he 'encouraged' Berejiklian 'to take a close interest' in grants

Daryl Maguire has told Icac that he and Gladys Berejiklian loved each other, and had discussed getting married and having a child.

In quickfire questioning on Thursday morning, Maguire told the counsel assisting the commission, Scott Robertson, that the two of them holidayed together, often stayed at each other’s homes, and that he had a key to her house, which, he says, she never asked him to return. He also told Robertson the relationship was “physically intimate”.

The questions – which Berejiklian’s lawyer Sophie Callan SC unsuccessfully attempted to have heard in private – go to the extent of the secret relationship between Berejiklian and the former Wagga Wagga MP.

During his questioning this morning, Maguire confirmed he “encouraged” Berejiklian “to take a close interest” in the two multi-million dollar grants which are now at the centre of its corruption investigation, and that “from time to time” she informed him about what she knew about the two funding applications.

The two grants at the centre of the investigation are $5.5m for a shooting range and conference centre, and $30m for a conservatorium of music, both in Maguire’s seat of Wagga Wagga.

Icac is investigating whether Berejiklian breached the public’s trust by “exercising public functions” in a position of conflict because of her relationship with Maguire. She has denied any wrongdoing.

Daryl Maguire
Daryl Maguire is giving evidence at Icac. Photograph: AAP


The foreign minister, Marise Payne, says the Chinese ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, is “about to depart” the country. He has been the ambassador to Australia since 2016.

Payne has not been able to speak directly with China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, “for some time” but she and her office had discussions with the ambassador.

“I spoke to the Chinese ambassador some time ago now – my office spoke to him last week prior to his imminent departure. I know deputy secretary [Justin] Hayhurst has also spoken with him.”

Asked about Taiwan, Hayhurst says conflict “is still something we judge as not likely in the immediate term” and would be a “massively disastrous” for the region.

Australia has publicly raised concerns about recent Chinese incursions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone. Hayhurst confirms Australian officials in Canberra and Beijing have communicated those concerns directly to Chinese counterparts.


Icac rejects bid for Daryl Maguire's evidence to be heard in private

It’s been an explosive morning in the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (Icac) hearings into the conduct of former premier Gladys Berejiklian.

The inquiry is due to hear from former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, who, it was revealed last year, was in a secret relationship with Berejiklian.

Before the evidence began, Berejiklian’s lawyer, Sophie Callan SC, made an application that part of his evidence be heard in private. Callan told the inquiry she believed counsel assisting the commission, Scott Robertson, intended to ask him questions that would involve “exposing intimate private details of the relationship”.

Callan told the inquiry there was no “public purpose served by plumbing the depths” of Berejiklian’s private life, including “hallmarks or indications of the level of commitment or standing that the relationship enjoyed”.

The questions would lead to “irredeemable public scrutiny”, “humiliation” and “harm” to Berejiklian.

But Robertson opposed the application, saying the extent of the relationship was key to establishing part of the inquiry’s focus, namely whether Berejiklian may have breached the ministerial code of conduct by exercising public duties in circumstances where her “private interest” could potentially influence her.

Using the words of Berejiklian’s former chief of staff, Sarah Cruickshank, who on Tuesday told the commission the former premier had revealed the relationship to her in 2018, but described it as “historic”, Robertson said establishing whether or not the relationship had been “a full blown intense one” was a key consideration for the inquiry.

After an adjournment, the commissioner, Ruth McColl AO, sided with Robertson, saying the public benefit of hearing the evidence outweighed the concerns raised by Callan.

Maguire’s evidence has just begun.


The prime minister will hold a press conference at 11.45.


Government pushes ID voting laws

In the House of Representatives, Labor has unsuccessfully attempted to delay debate on the voter ID bill to 2023 and then to suspend standing orders to remove the government bill from the notice paper.

Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, attempted to move a motion stating:

  • Voter fraud is a “vanishingly small” issue in Australia according to the AEC;
  • there were no prosecutions for multiple voting at the last election;
  • on the eve of an election, the Morrison-Joyce government is trying to ram through a bill to stop Australians voting, this is a desperate attempt to undermine our strong democracy and deny Australians their basic democratic rights;
  • the Morrison-Joyce government is trying to bring the politics and tactics of Trump’s America into Australian democracy; and
  • the bill will mean Australians who vote in the next election will spend even more of their weekend waiting in long lines stretching around the block to vote

The vote failed and the government moved Albanese no longer be heard.

This morning the Centre Alliance senator, Stirling Griff, told Guardian Australia he understands the need for the bill, although his party hasn’t finalised its position on it, offering a potential pathway to the Coalition to pass it without Labor support.


People with Google Android devices in Australia could be presented with a mandatory screen asking them to choose which search engine they want to use at the time they set up their new phone, under recommendations from the Australian competition watchdog to the government on Thursday.

The latest digital platforms report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released on Thursday found Google search has a 94% marketshare in Australia, and is the most popular in the two most-used browsers in Australia – Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari.

A survey conducted by the ACCC found most people are unlikely to change their search engine of choice from the default offered through the browser, meaning it entrenches the dominance of Google search.

To improve competition, the ACCC has recommended to government that Australia move to require a choice screen in browsers and on mobile devices.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said:

Choice screens can give consumers the opportunity to make an informed choice about the search engine they use. Choice screens can also help reduce barriers to expansion for competitors to Google, who may offer consumers more options for alternative search engines around issues like privacy and how personal data is collected and used.

The ACCC has said this would initially apply to new and existing Android devices, subject to further consultation with industry and user testing.

The ACCC has also recommended that it be given the power to enhance competition in search options, including limiting what dominant search engines can bundle in with search, such as bundling goods and services, or companies paying for positions in search.


Government cleans up Barnaby mess

So there has been a bit of Barnaby drama in Parliament House this morning, with the deputy prime minister making some claims about what the Nats were able to squeeze out of the Liberal party as part of its agreement to sign up to net zero.

Joyce called a press conference by ringing the bell in the press gallery (which is the antiquated way to go about these things) to declare he had successfully ensured methane emissions would be excluded from Australia’s emission reduction task.

Specifically – according to a report in The Australian this morning – this included Australia not making a pledge under the Global Methane Pledge, which would reduce methane emissions by 2030. (As a side note, Scott Morrison participated in a meeting of major economies last month when the methane pledge was discussed, but Australia’s remarks at that meeting were not publicised.)

Despite the government saying there was no carve-out for the agriculture sector and the emissions reduction task would be a “whole of economy” approach, Joyce claimed otherwise.

Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce
Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Joyce said that “100%” the document signed off by Morrison to secure the Nationals’ support excluded methane cuts.

It was absolutely within our document that methane is to be excluded – absolutely 100%.

It was diligent work that brought about a substantial process that gave us the insurance that protects regional industry, which underpins regional towns.”

When asked if agriculture had been “carved out of net zero”, Joyce said:

The Nats were absolutely implicit that no deal would go forward that we would support unless it was absolutely categorically ruled out and we got that.

He said there were a range of other things promised by Morrison for regional areas, including a fund to support people in regional Australia, ensuring a “ring road” around methane emissions, the expansion of the remit of the regional investment corporation and other regional projects that would be announced in due course.

“We hear the rhetoric at times that it was somehow a week spent doing little but it was actually a week carving out a very precise agreement.”

Shortly after Joyce’s doorstop, the finance minister, Simon Birmingham, made clear that agriculture would not be carved out of Australia’s net zero commitment.

“Methane is a particular impact in our agriculture sector, and we don’t want to impose that short term burden on our farmers,” Birmingham told Sky News.

“But the plan released this week makes very clear and references technological opportunities we see to try to reduce methane emissions in the future and potentially to reduce them by up to 80%.”


Scott Morrison to meet Indonesian president Joko Widodo

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, is expected to meet with the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Rome. We have confirmation that the meeting is planned (it was first reported by The Australian overnight).

Within south-east Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia have been the most vocal in expressing their concerns about Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine plans. Morrison spoke to leaders from the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) yesterday in a virtual summit, and assured them the Aukus plan “does not change Australia’s deep, long-standing commitment to nuclear non-proliferation”.

Morrison also told his counterparts that Asean’s stability was “fundamental to our own”.

Despite the concerns some countries hold about Aukus, Asean leaders yesterday agreed to elevate the regional grouping’s relationship with Australia (they are establishing a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Asean and Australia).


Foreign affairs estimates has turned to the issue of Julian Assange.

Marise Payne says she won’t comment on matters before the court.

The Greens senator Janet Rice asks about a Yahoo News report published in late September that claimed CIA officials during the Trump administration had discussed abducting and even assassinating the Australian citizen.

Payne tells the Senate committee the first she learned of those claims were “in the media”.

Payne says she raised Assange with US secretary of state Antony Blinken “in our last meeting” in September and previously with the then UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

Has Australia signalled its openness for Assange to serve any sentence in Australia rather than the US?

“I’m not going to go into the detail of those discussions.”

Anne Ruston has defended Australia’s welfare system as “comprehensive”, after Guardian Australia revealed how a man battling brain cancer was denied the disability support pension.

The Greens senator Janet Rice raised the case of George Upjohn, 29, at Senate estimates on Thursday.

Upjohn, who is about to start chemotherapy, is struggling to make ends meet on the $45-a-day jobseeker payment, despite being too sick to work.

Rice said rules requiring a disability pension recipient to have a condition that is “fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised” meant people like Upjohn were left to languish in poverty.

Ruston repeatedly refused to address Upjohn’s case, saying she did not have all the details and that it would be “totally inappropriate” to discuss individual circumstances.


But of course if Mr Upjohn believes that the determination of Centrelink is not appropriate, I would encourage him to seek reassessment.


This is across the board, people in the situations like Mr Upjohn, whose condition is not classed as fully diagnosed, fully treated and fully stabilised, are not eligible for the disability support pension. Even though they have health conditions that mean they can’t work, they are left to languish on the totally inadequate job seeker payment.

Ruston said the disability support pension was a “long-term payment for people with often lifetime conditions.


I don’t want to diminish what Mr Upjohn is experiencing so I’m not going to go to the case.

The committee heard there were about 17,000 people on the disability support pension with cancer. However, advocates believe general patients are only likely to obtain the payment once they are terminally ill.

At least 7,000 people with cancer are currently on the jobseeker payment, the committee heard.

“We’ve got over 7,000 people across the country who are struggling with cancer ... who are languishing below the poverty line on jobseeker,” Rice said. “That’s an indictment on our country.”

Ruston replied: “Senator, I do not accept the entire premise of your comment.”

Senator Anne Ruston
Senator Anne Ruston. Photograph: Kelly Barnes/AAP


The government is pushing ahead with its voter ID laws in the house – despite there being no actual reason for them in Australia, a democracy with compulsory voting and no allegations of voter fraud.


Victoria's new pandemic laws under scrutiny

Criticisms of the Victorian government’s new pandemic laws continue to grow, with the president of the Victorian Bar, Christopher Blanden QC describing the legislation as “appalling”.

“The bill confers draconian powers authorising virtually unlimited interference with the liberties of Victorians. It is the greatest challenge to the rule of law that this state has faced in decades.”

The new laws strip the chief health officer of the ability to declare a pandemic, instead handing that power to the premier.

The laws will also allow the premier to enforce public health orders for three months at a time, and expand the powers of the health minister.

In a statement, Blanden said the Victorian Bar was concerned that the new laws give “unlimited power” to the health minister to “rule the state by decree, for an indefinite period, and without effective judicial or parliamentary oversight”.

“The bill also contains many other problematic provisions, including conferring very broad power on authorised officers without effective review or oversight, granting police power to enter premises without a warrant and abrogating privilege against self-incrimination,.”

At a press conference earlier today, premier Daniel Andrews dismissed the concerns, saying it was important that a government is able to make “difficult decisions” in “urgent circumstances”:

“I think there are some people in this debate and some people in our parliament who find themselves singularly incapable of ever making a difficult decision,” he said.

“They are always wanting to play games and they’re always wanting to do what’s popular, and popularity, that’s not the goal here. Keeping people safe in a pandemic is what’s important.”


Anne Ruston says she contacted Pru Goward to express her disagreement over a column the former NSW Liberal minister wrote portraying lower socio-economic Australians as dysfunctional and lazy “proles”.

Under questioning by the Labor senator Jenny McAllister at Senate estimates, Ruston, the social services minister, said the article did “not reflect my views or the views of this government.

The government this year appointed Goward among others to an advisory council for the national plan to end family, domestic and sexual violence.

Ruston said she had written and phoned Goward to disassociate the government from the column, published in the Australian Financial Review.

Asked if the pair discussed Goward’s position on the advisory body, Ruston said they had not. But she said she had requested a response from Goward about the column.

Ruston said she would reserve any decision on Goward’s position on the advisory body until after Goward had responded.


There is some good news in Victoria today as well:

Congratulations, Victoria! We’re well on our way to reaching our 80% fully vaccinated milestone.

This momentous achievement means a further easing of restrictions to get back to doing the things we love.

Get vaccinated as soon as you can. pic.twitter.com/L6dTp404oa

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) October 27, 2021


The foreign minister, Marise Payne, has been asked about a media article that said that “Biden and his aides have acknowledged they were mistaken to leave it to the Australians to tell the French they were killing their submarine deal”.

Axios reported on 6 October: “The Australians told the Americans in June that they had all but told France that they were pulling the plug, both in writing and in direct conversations between Macron and Australia prime minister Scott Morrison, according to two sources familiar with the assurances.”

Payne: “That piece of reporting is just another piece of reporting, senator.”

Labor’s Penny Wong persists, asking if there is any basis to assertion that we told the Americans we had it in hand.


I don’t comment on multiple random media articles, because otherwise people in our jobs would do nothing else. But as I’ve said in my previous responses, Australia had been in discussions for an extended period of time across multiple avenues with the French, as I said previously, particularly in relation to the issues with the capability of conventional submarines going forward in the strategic environment, [and] with the United States and with the United Kingdom on the development of the partnership and the prospect of the acquisition of nuclear powered submarines, but I’m not going to go into the details of those.

Wong says it’s notable Payne has not denied making such assurances to the US. Payne says she’s not agreeing with Wong’s assertion.


Senator, I cannot account for every single conversation, but in my case, I was not involved in any of the conversations that you have referred to by referencing that article.

But was the US relying on Australia to handle the submarine contract element?

“Yes, senator.”


At estimates, Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong is reading quotes from the French foreign minister about how France felt stabbed in the back and its trust betrayed.

Wong acknowledges the submarine decision was “always going to be sensitive to manage”. Australia’s foreign minster, Marise Payne, replies: “That is correct.”


I think that the thing that potentially is risky for the relationship is not just that we’ve done this, it’s how they feel ... we’ve done it. They feel deceived, it’s quite clear from public statements.


And as I said, we will work through all of these issues and all of these steps.

Asked why France wasn’t given a heads up earlier, Payne says:

When you are talking about the most sensitive issues at the heart of our sovereign defence strategy – a decision to announce the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines and also the development of the Aukus partnership – it was the judgment of the government that that sensitivity precluded broader information sharing substantially in advance of the announcement.

Payne and the defence minister, Peter Dutton, had a 2+2 meeting with their French counterparts two weeks before the Aukus announcement. The joint statement stressed the importance of the future submarine program. Wong asks whether they gave any indication we had concerns about continuing with the program. Payne says Dutton “did raise the deteriorating strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific” and Australia’s review of its capability needs including the question of the capability of conventional submarines in this region into the future.

Payne:But at that time, there had been no final decision taken on on these matters.”


Wow. So we go ahead with a 2+2 on 30 August and you come back from a 2+2, you don’t tell them, you don’t even give them an indication … 15 days later we tell them we’re dumping the subs. I think it’s probably understandable that they’re pretty angry.

The exchange continues. Payne complains that Wong is engaging in a “monologue”. Wong says the minister ought to listen to what the French government is saying. Payne says she has “heard very acutely what the French government is saying in two languages”.


Laura Jayes tried getting Simon Birmingham to admit it’s a bit ridiculous we’re not allowed to know what the Nationals were promised, given Barnaby Joyce keeps running his mouth off:

Laura Jayes:

The prime minister is going to Glasgow with a target, we should know what deal’s been done to get there.


Let me give you this commitment, Laura. Everything is laid transparent and bare when it comes to all of the budget updates we have. Ultimately, one of the laws in Australia is that there is a budget update independently given by the Treasury and the finance departments during the election campaign so that there are no secrets about decisions that government have made.

So we will absolutely make sure that where we have policy commitments in relation to investment in regional Australia, we make those clear pre-election. Where the government is getting on and delivering the inland rail that has been talked about for decades and it’s now under construction, being built, part of a key investment in regional Australia.

We have seen significant investment in growth in terms of a number of regional ports and centres around the country. And of course, we want to make sure that our manufacturing strategy, our Ag 2030 strategy, our digital economy strategy all reach into regional Australia. And it should be of no surprise to anyone that there’s broad agreement across the Liberal and National parties for continued investment and support for regional Australia.


Here was Simon Birmingham explaining that no, the Nationals aren’t holding the Liberal party hostage on climate action on Sky News:

We look at climate change gases as a collective. That’s the way that they are accounted for in the end, it’s about the impact they have in the atmosphere that matters. And so getting towards net zero is about accounting for all of those, be they Co2 methane or otherwise, but doing it according to the technical principles and standards in the Paris Agreement.

That’s what we work towards in achieving net zero. And what the plan says is that livestock feed technologies could reduce methane emissions by over 80%. That’s there. It’s an area for us to continue to pursue investment in. It’s an area of technology that we want to pursue, but we’re not going to put in place short term impacts that could have a devastating impact on Australia’s dairy industry, on our cattle farmers. These are sectors that we have particular importance in making sure technology find solutions for, and that’s what the trajectory to 2050 is all about.


Foreign minister Marise Payne during Senate estimates at Parliament House in Canberra
Foreign minister Marise Payne during Senate estimates at Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The foreign minister, Marise Payne, says she will speak to the French ambassador on Monday in the next step in addressing the diplomatic rift over cancelling the French submarine contract.

Payne tells estimates she spoke to the French foreign minister personally on 15 September (the exact time is unclear; Aukus was announced early on 16 September Australian time but stories appeared in the media in the lead-up to the announcement).

Payne: “Senator, as you know, it’s not my habit to go into the discussions I have with with counterparts but it is a matter of public record, and one which I absolutely understand, that the minister conveyed the very deep disappointment of France at the decision.”

Payne says there “had been discussions over a period of time [with France] of our concerns about the capability that a conventional submarine, even a conventional submarine of a standard of the prospective Attack class, was not going to be able to meet our strategic needs in the future”.

However, 15 September was the first time the specific decision had been conveyed to France.

Penny Wong:

The problem is here that the version you just gave is awfully inconsistent with a version the French have given.


I’m only able to speak for Australia, senator.

She says the French ambassador – who was recalled to Paris at the height of the fallout – has since returned to Canberra and will be out of quarantine this weekend. “I’m meeting him myself on Monday – that is part of the process of addressing these concerns.”

(The ambassador is also due to address the National Press Club later this week.)


But hey, the current deputy prime minister who freely admits he is not an expert, said some stuff, so let’s all go off.

And what does the meat and livestock lobby group have to say about how it plans on getting there?

Oh, just that it believes you can do it without culling herds:

What will this mean for Australia’s national livestock numbers?

Carbon neutrality doesn’t need to come at the cost of livestock numbers.

CSIRO analysis shows it’s possible to achieve CN30 without reducing herd and flock numbers below the rolling 10 year average (25 million cattle, 70 million sheep and 0.5 million goats).

By 2030, producers will be even more attuned to the influence of genetic, environmental, technological and market factors on red meat production, and will be able to:

  • access the best information, enabling selection of livestock with multiple attributes to increase productivity and reduce methane emissions per kilogram produced
  • select supplements, pastures, legumes and trees with multiple attributes, enabling livestock to thrive in more extreme weather and climate conditions
  • access more established markets for low and zero carbon red meat and co-products.

For what it is worth, Meat and Livestock Australia have ALREADY pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030.

From its own policy

The Australian red meat and livestock industry has set the ambitious target to be Carbon Neutral by 2030 (CN30).

What does CN30 mean?

This target means that by 2030, Australian beef, lamb and goat production, including lot feeding and meat processing, will make no net release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere.

With a commitment from all of industry, the right policy settings and ongoing research investment, the Australian red meat industry can be at the forefront of carbon neutrality.

The CN30 target sends a clear signal to government and consumers that the red meat and livestock industry is proactively addressing emissions and taking action to improve long-term productivity while striving to deliver zero net emissions.

And it continues: Labor’s Matt Thistlethwaite was sent out to doors this morning and was asked these questions:

Q: Can you understand the government’s concerns about a pledge for a 30% cut in methane emissions considering the need for the culling of herds and the impact on agriculture?


Well, look when Labor was in government we had policies that would have ensured that you had an overarching approach to this without having to target particular industries, like methane. Now we don’t have any plans to target particular industries. But we certainly had policies that over time when we’re in government would have dealt with those issues. Unfortunately, the Abbott government got rid of them and that’s why emissions started to increase in Australia once again. I think that’s why the international community is so disappointed with Australia. We’re a wealthy, modern nation and we had in place policies that are actually reducing emissions, had us on a path to increasing renewables and we blew it because the Abbott government got rid of all of those policies. And that’s why the international community is fed up with Australia.

Q: So do you back the government’s decision to reject that pledge for a 30% cut in methane emissions?


We don’t have any plans to target that particular industry as I said. We do back that decision. We don’t have any plans to target particular industries. We’ve got policies that ensure that we will see reductions in emissions, and we will be able to achieve those by rewiring our electricity grid, by ensuring that electric vehicles are much cheaper to buy here in Australia, by ensuring that we’re investing in community batteries, all of these policies that Labor’s released already and they’ll be more to come will demonstrate a reduction in emissions and that’s what’s lacking from this government.


The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is up at estimates and a big focus so far is the Aukus partnership – and whether the diplomacy around it was bungled.

Labor’s Penny Wong wants to know why the foreign minister of Indonesia was only advised after these matters became public (the night before the official announcement on the morning of 16 September, but after stories started to appear in the media).

The foreign minister, Marise Payne, says the government had a strategy to brief a number of key partners before the official announcement.

Payne says it was “regrettable that the matter became the subject of media briefing”. Payne says: “I am absolutely committed to Australia’s relationship with Indonesia … It is unhelpful, absolutely that matters were briefed – were ventilated in the media after briefings were given. I don’t support that.”

She says she “took every step” to speak to Indonesia’s foreign minister as soon as she could.

Dfat officials say it was planned to contact the following partners before the public announcement: Indonesia, New Zealand, South Korea, India, France, Canada and Japan. It was also planned to contact the International Atomic Energy Agency director-general.


We have reached the point in the climate ‘debate’ where the current deputy prime minister says something like “we carved out methane emissions from the climate plan” because it would mean devastation for the agricultural industry (which is already working to lower methane emissions).

The current deputy prime minister then makes the leap that Labor will make farmers kill cows.

Which then leads to journalists asking questions like this to Labor MPs:

Q: But would you be comfortable with farmers having to cull cattle?

Here is how Katy Gallagher answered that one on Sky this morning:

That isn’t Labor’s policy at all. And again, part of what we’ve been saying in terms of taking a serious and credible climate policy to the next election is to see what happens at Glasgow, what the parameters are and then we will work through in consultation with a range of stakeholders, including those that work in the agriculture sector.

Farmers, of course, they are important. As to what happens and what to Australia’s position is as we work towards net zero by 2050, we need to it sensibly.

We need to work together and we need to understand what the full implications of any proposed arrangement are.


In completely normal news, the three upper house Victorian MPs who refuse to disclose their vaccination status (part of the rules for getting into parliament at the moment, as ‘essential workers’) have announced they are working from ... a nightclub:

Three upper house MPs, David Limbrick, Tim Quilty and Catherine Cumming are working out of a nightclub in the Melbourne CBD.

Parliament is sitting and their free time will be limited, but media are invited to have a look.

Nino Bucci tells me they are calling it “rebel parliament” cos nothing says ‘rebel’ like three privileged middle aged people being told they must conform to rules for the first time in their life throwing a tantrum and trying to set up their own reality.


Part four of the five part climate podcast series ‘Australia v the Climate’ led by the environment and audio visual team is out:

Just how much power does the fossil fuel industry have in this nation? More than you could even imagine.


We did know a lot of this, but not officially – because the government is yet to reveal what it handed over in exchange for the Nationals not blowing up the government over a target commitment three decades into the future.

Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce has revealed what else was in the secret net zero deal:
-carve-out for agriculture (methane emissions)
-not responsible for export emissions
-regional fund ($$ undisclosed) pic.twitter.com/QIseKOZPpN

— Trudy McIntosh (@TrudyMcIntosh) October 27, 2021

Sarah Martin has looked into corruption complaints made against the nation’s law enforcement agencies:

Corruption complaints within Australia’s law enforcement agencies have surged to their highest level in 15 years, with almost 500 matters referred for investigation last year.

An annual report by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (Aclei) found that most of the referrals came from the home affairs department, with a ‘bulk referral’ coming from the agency after an internal audit found ‘hundreds of instances of unauthorised access that could have otherwise gone undetected’.

Aclei undertakes corruption investigations into conduct within nine government agencies.


The 25 deaths being reported in Victoria is a very sobering reminder that the pandemic is not over.

Our thoughts and condolences to their loved ones.


Victoria and NSW new Covid cases

Victoria health has posted its latest update:

We thank everyone who got vaccinated and tested yesterday.

Our thoughts are with those in hospital, and the families of people who have lost their lives.

More data soon: https://t.co/OCCFTAtS1P#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/pNO6aQfhVR

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) October 27, 2021

As has NSW health:

NSW COVID-19 update – Thursday 28 October 2021
In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:
- 93.3% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- 86% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
- 89,678 tests pic.twitter.com/JtUX5buhtc

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) October 27, 2021


Australia Post executive Gary Starr spoke to the ABC this morning and said the postal delivery service was doing its best to work through its delivery backlogs, given the border closures and lockdowns.

But then that turned to Christmas, which is just 58 days away and how early people need to get their parcels in by to guarantee delivery:

We actually are just announcing the last posting dates this morning.

So, for parcel post for most destinations around the country, it’s 13 December.

For Express Post, it’s 20 December. Locations like Perth and Darwin and outside metro areas is a little earlier, so I’d ask everyone to check the Australia Post website. And certainly for international sending, some of the dates are even earlier.

So, getting letters and parcels, gifts to loved ones around the world, please check the dates on our website. As always, use the Australia Post app to check your parcel delivery – it’s the best way to stay in touch with the timing of your parcel.


Deputy chief medical officer Dr Michael Kidd was asked on ABC News Breakfast when children under 12 may be eligible for Covid vaccines in Australia:

So the preliminary advice has been received from Pfizer by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and there’s further information which is needed from the company by the TGA in order to make an assessment about whether to recommend vaccination of those aged between five and 11. So that information will be coming over the days and weeks ahead.


McKinsey, a consulting company paid to advise on the vaccine rollout before receiving another contract to advise on the government’s net zero 2050 commitment, is now being paid to advise on how to cut down on waiting times for veterans waiting for their benefits.

From estimates overnight:

The Morrison government paid McKinsey millions to advise their botched vaccine rollout and to model their net zero 'plan'.

Now they will report on the record waiting times for veterans benefits. pic.twitter.com/AtEfSZMFJE

— Senator Tim Ayres (@ayrestim) October 27, 2021


We have a new Asean commitment (from Scott Morrison and Marise Payne):

To mark this new chapter, Australia will invest $154 million into our cooperation with Asean through:

· a new Australia for ASEAN Futures Initiative, which will provide $124 million to support projects that address complex challenges including health security, terrorism and transnational crime, energy security, promoting the circular economy and healthy oceans, and support implementation of the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP);

· one hundred Australia for Asean Scholarships to support emerging Asean leaders to study in Australia in fields that advance the AOIP under its priority areas of cooperation – maritime, connectivity, economic, and sustainable development cooperation; and

· an Australia for ASEAN Digital Transformation and Futures Skills initiative to support long-term economic recovery through 350 Vocational Education and Training (VET) scholarships, technical assistance partnerships between Australian and Asean training institutions, and new skills policy dialogue.

These investments represent the largest ever increase in Australia’s development cooperation program with Asean. It builds on the $500 million package previously announced, consistent with the four key areas of the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, and our ongoing bilateral development partnerships with Asean Members.


And now it is social media official:

Next month, 🇦🇺's international borders will progressively reopen. To help Australians prepare for safe overseas travel, @Smartraveller’s global ‘Do not travel’ advisory has been removed & travel advice levels updated for 177 destinations. For more, visit https://t.co/FO7wz5OCQb. pic.twitter.com/iC0hj5LtCi

— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) October 27, 2021


A new report is released today by Energy Consumers Australia looking into our use of energy during the pandemic.

There has been a sharp uptake in energy usage, with almost a third of Australians buying large appliances and white goods in the past year as we embrace home cooking.

According to a new study, commissioned by Energy Consumers Australia, at a time when governments are seeking to shift or reduce household energy use as part of the transition to a clean energy future, Australian households have been using more due to lockdowns.

The energy consumer behaviour survey revealed the use and purchase of appliances have increased during the pandemic, with 30% of households having bought a large appliance during the past year and a third of respondents now owning more than two fridges or freezers.

But the survey found 41% of respondents said their household had become more interested in reducing energy use since the onset of the pandemic.

Energy Consumers Australia chief executive Lynne Gallagher said:

We can see just how much Covid has changed our energy behaviour as a nation, from the food we eat and how we store it to our use of heating and cooling and the appliances we are buying and intending to buy.

They survey also showed that 59% of Australians say they are cooking at home more and 40% say their house uses more heating and cooling.


The international border closure will be lifted on Monday. We have finally (after about 20 months) removed the “do not travel” advisory from the SmartTraveller website, as AAP reports.

The federal government’s global “do not travel” advice has been finally been removed after Australia closed its borders against Covid-19 19 months ago.

The update to the SmartTraveller website comes before the progressive lifting of international travel restrictions in four days’ time.

The government is also reinstating country-specific travel advice levels for 177 destinations so Australians looking to go overseas can understand the risks and access travel insurance more readily.

Australia is set to reach an 80%double vaccination rate in a matter of days, before the border reopening on 1 November.


Luke Henriques-Gomes has been looking at the (many, many, many) flaws in the social security system, including the hoops we make people jump through to get the disability support pension:

George Upjohn is constantly tired, his muscles ache, and he will start chemotherapy in two weeks. A pilot by trade, he’ll never work in the field again.

At 29, he’s at the start of a fight for his life.

Yet despite his doctors saying Upjohn cannot work and should minimise all stress, Centrelink has denied his application for the disability support pension, saying his condition does not meet the stringent requirements.

“When the claim was denied, I was just amazed,” says Upjohn, who was diagnosed with a grade three brain tumour in June. His condition carries a 50% survivability rate over five years, he said.

“People in this situation with serious illness and long-term illness must be getting turned away left, right and centre,” Upjohn says.

This still looks better than the last Jurassic Park movie:

We can no longer ignore the climate crisis.

It's time to stop making excuses and start making changes!

Let's take #ClimateAction before it’s too late: https://t.co/UaBpA8VLbn
via @UNDP #DontChooseExtinction pic.twitter.com/y2zZsSc0lB

— United Nations (@UN) October 27, 2021


The Morrison government is facing renewed calls to increase funding for low-income countries to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

With days until Cop26 in Glasgow, the aid organisation Care Australia says Australia “should immediately double its climate finance commitment to AU$3bn over 2020-2025” as a first step.

In a report out today, the group argues any such funding should be in addition to – not instead of – existing aid projects. It could be spent on projects such as infrastructure to withstand disasters and rising sea levels, strengthen early-warning systems, and train people in adaptive farming and fishing techniques.

Care Australia has also released the findings of polling it commissioned showing 61% of respondents agree with the statement “Australia’s Government should do more to help poorer countries in the face of climate change”. That results compares with 26% who disagree and 13% who don’t know. (Between 24 and 27 September, YouGov surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,025 Australian residents aged 18 and over.)

Care’s chief executive, Peter Walton, said in a statement:

“As we head into COP26, we need to be talking about the fundamental injustice of climate change … Our Pacific Island neighbours, for instance, have contributed minimally to climate change yet they are paying the price via rising sea-levels, increasingly severe cyclones, and threatened reefs. This poll is a clear indication that the Australian public sees this injustice and wants our Government to do more to make it right.

Scott Morrison dumped support for the UN-backed green climate fund shortly after he became prime minister, instead preferring bilateral agreements with governments. In recent days the government has hinted it may soon unveil more climate finance for the Pacific.

The minister for international development and the Pacific, Zed Seselja, told the Senate last week:

Going forward we have committed $1.5bn to climate finance around the world, with at least $500m of that to go to the Pacific, and we intend to make further announcements in that space.

This government’s long-term emission plan, released earlier this week, signals Australia’s focus on “helping regional neighbours to adopt technologies and build resilience to climate impact”.


Good morning

We have made it to the last day of the parliament sitting (just one more to go this year) and, at the end of the day, Scott Morrison will fly to Europe, leaving Barnaby Joyce in charge of the country for a week.

Lucky time no longer has any meaning.

Morrison will be attempting to sell Australia’s “plan” as actual action to nations that are already side-eyeing Australia – mostly because they look at action, not spin, and it doesn’t take more than a two-second prod of the claims we have “meet and beat” previous targets to find the flaws. Along with that, most of that conference will be focused on 2030, while we are not budging on that.

The PM will be looking to sign new “technological partnerships” with nations as he tries to convince Australians that we don’t need to change anything or do anything other than rely on developing technologies as a climate policy. Do not be confused – Australia under the Morrison government has only committed to the absolute bare minimum and scientists have already told the world the bare minimum is not enough.

2050 is so far into the future though – Morrison will be in his 80s – that there is no political risk. But action this decade? That’s a different story. And wedged by his own past rhetoric, as well as the prehistoric leadership of the Nationals, there isn’t a lot of wriggle room for Morrison within the “base”.

Which is a problem in inner-city Liberal-held electorates, where climate is a big issue. And independent candidates are beginning to look like a very attractive option.

So climate will once again lead today, although we will also be bringing you what happens in estimates – if anyone answers an actual question.

You have Mike Bowers with you, as well as Murph, Sarah Martin, Daniel Hurst and Paul Karp. Amy Remeikis will be with you on the blog until this evening. Ready?



Caitlin Cassidy (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Coalition faces net zero ‘plan’ fallout; vaccine booster shots approved – as it happened
International travel exemption scrapped for vaccinated Australians; 16 Covid deaths in Victoria and NSW; national child abuse prevention strategy announced. This blog is now closed

Caitlin Cassidy and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

27, Oct, 2021 @7:47 AM

Article image
Scott Morrison says ‘can do capitalism’ will lead climate action – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Mostafa Rachwani (now) and Josh Taylor and Matilda Boseley (earlier)

10, Nov, 2021 @7:54 AM

Article image
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

Article image
Qld announces reopening plan; ACT hotspot status ends tonight – as it happened
All today’s news as it happened

Mostafa Rachwani and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

18, Oct, 2021 @8:26 AM

Article image
Nationals MP Keith Pitt rejoins cabinet after climate deal – as it happened
Follow the day’s developments live

Caitlin Cassidy (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

25, Oct, 2021 @8:06 AM

Article image
Coalition and Labor test new Speaker’s limits in question time – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor and Amy Remeikis

24, Nov, 2021 @8:06 AM

Article image
Australian politics live: WA to change border quarantine rules on 8 December - as it happened
Chinese Embassy official dismisses ‘rage and roar’ over controversial tweet; Paul Fletcher complains to ABC chair about Four Corners program. This blog is now closed

Naaman Zhou (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

01, Dec, 2020 @8:24 AM

Article image
Emergency warning issued for Perth blaze as city and WA's south-west enter lockdown – as it happened
Authorities warn of imminent threat to lives and homes in fire; PM gives first major speech of 2021. This blog is now closed

Mostafa Rachwani and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

01, Feb, 2021 @8:06 AM

Article image
Net zero debate dominates question time; nine confirmed Covid cases in Melbourne detention hotel – as it happened
Follow all today’s news

Elias Visontay (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

19, Oct, 2021 @8:20 AM

Article image
Victoria restrictions to ease in September; QLD and SA on alert after NSW truck drivers test positive – as it happened
Follow the latest updates

Nino Bucci and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

01, Sep, 2021 @9:09 AM