What we learned, Thursday 4 August
And with that, we are going to put this blog to bed. Before we go, let’s recap the big stories:
- Labor’s climate bill passed the lower house of parliament with a vote of 89 to 55.
- The environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, has proposed to refuse approval for the billionaire Clive Palmer’s proposal to build a coalmine 10km from the Great Barrier Reef.
- The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, has warned about the risk of “miscalculation” as the tension between China and Taiwan continues.
- The Greens have established an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and children.
- The Senate agreed to close a tax loophole that exempts Australia’s richest companies.
- Australia has secured 450,000 doses of the third generation of monkeypox vaccine, the first 22,000 of which will be arriving within the next fortnight.
- The chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, has said he is ‘increasingly confident’ the current Covid wave has peaked as the nation recorded 85 deaths from the virus.
Thank you for spending part of your day with us, we will be back tomorrow.
Crossbench supports ending cashless debit card
Nearly all of the crossbench has indicated support for the government’s election commitment, even while flagging concerns about the time available for participants to transition off the card and support for affected communities.
Flood inquiry recommends Resilience NSW be scrapped – report
The New South Wales agency created to lead the response to, and prepare the state for, natural disasters should be dismantled and its chief commissioner made redundant, an independent inquiry has reportedly recommended, AAP reports.
A key recommendation from the inquiry into devastating flooding in NSW is that Shane Fitzsimmons be stood down and Resilience NSW be scrapped, media have reported.
The premier, Dominic Perrottet, has promised to make the report by former police commissioner Mick Fuller and the chief scientist, Mary O’Kane, public, but is yet to do so.
Resilience NSW was established in 2020 following the Black Summer bushfires to lead the state’s preparedness and response to natural disasters.
Fitzsimmons, who was the 2021 NSW Australian of the Year and former NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner, was appointed head of the agency after rising to prominence during the bushfire disaster.
Resilience NSW was criticised during the inquiry’s community hearings for its failure to provide timely support to flood victims.
Police officers in the Torres Strait Islands have avoided applying for domestic violence protection orders even after observing victims’ “swollen faces”, “black eyes” and need for hospitalisation, according to an internal intelligence report that found deaths were “likely”.
Penny Wong warns against 'miscalculation' as China-Taiwan tensions escalate
The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, has warned about the risk of “miscalculation” as the tension between China and Taiwan continues. China has begun live-fire military exercises in areas around Taiwan in the wake of the US politician Nancy Pelosi’s visit.
Wong was speaking from Cambodia, where she attended the Asean foreign ministers’ meeting.
We would encourage all parties to consider how they can contribute to de-escalating the current situation.
I would again publicly indicate that one of the risks that I think the region is concerned about is the risk of miscalculation.
Wong also said sanctions against Myanmar, where the ruling military junta has executed political prisoners and holds Australian professor Sean Turnell captive, are being actively considered.
Union plea to scrap Victoria’s crackdown on logging protests falls on deaf ears
A last-ditch plea from unions to scrap proposed laws that crack down on Victorian logging site protests has fallen on deaf ears.
The Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment (Timber Harvesting Safety Zones) Bill 2022 is set to be debated in Victoria’s upper house, and potentially put to a vote, on Thursday evening.
Under the legislation, the maximum jail sentence and fines for hindering, obstructing or interfering with timber harvesting operations would be upped to 12 months and more than $21,000.
Other existing rules would be strengthened inside timber harvesting safety zones, small and restricted areas where trees are logged.
The Victorian branches of the Maritime Union of Australia, United Workers Union and Australian Services Union wrote to the state government on Tuesday in an 11th-hour bid to withdraw the “undemocratic” bill.
“The bill wrongly locates workplace risk in the democratic right to protest,” reads the letter to the premier, Daniel Andrews, agriculture minister, Gayle Tierney, and workplace safety minister, Ingrid Stitt.
“Any stripping away of the right to protest eventually finds its way to further limiting workplace action. Already Australia has some of the most restrictive laws around industrial action in the world.
“In the context of a climate crisis, the right to protest must be advanced not diminished.”
The happiest capital of Australia
It’s freezing in winter, baking hot in summer and has more roundabouts than just about any city in Australia, but Canberrans seem to like it that way.
New research shows the citizens of the nation’s capital are happier than other city dwellers across Australia.
Greenpeace says government must move to halt new coal and gas projects
The lower house passage of Labor’s climate bill marks an early win for climate action but must be accompanied by a commitment to ruling out any new coal and gas projects, Greenpeace says.
David Ritter, the CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said the strengthening of Labor’s signature policy was a positive first step but the inclusion of a ratchet mechanism means that new fossil fuel projects like Woodside’s proposed Browse mega gas project are incompatible with the legislation and a safe climate for Australians.
It’s great that after the wasted years of the lost decade of inaction and rising emissions Australian parliamentarians have finally been able to come together to help tackle the most important issue of our times. But when it comes to reining in climate change, Australia has a lot of catching up to do.
There is no room for any new coal and gas projects.
Momentum is so much better than doing bugger all, but we have to speed the hell up from here.
Amendments to the bill obtained by the Greens and independents mean that the current emissions reduction target will only strengthen and climate-wrecking projects like Woodside’s Burrup Hub will only become more untenable in the future.
The Albanese government has made a start with this target but to do what the science demands to address global heating, the federal government needs to vastly increase its climate ambition.
Cavoodle named Australia’s most popular dog breed
This should come as no surprise to anyone who hasn’t been living under a complete rock for the last three years – cavoodles are Australia’s most popular pup.
AAP has reported on Petbarn’s new Pet Pulse report, which took a snapshot of 750,000 new puppies to determine which breed was the most loved.
It found cavoodles, a cross between a poodle and a cavalier King Charles spaniel, was the top choice for Australians between 2016 and 2021.
Labradoodles and groodles also made the top 20, with another five poodle crossbreeds listed in the top 100.
“All the data confirms it is a real thing because it’s definitely the impression I’ve had as a practising vet,” Michael Yazbeck of Greencross Vets told AAP.
“The obvious thing is they’re really cute dogs. A lot of people are looking for something with that puppy look and a generally friendly demeanour.”
Greens senator Lidia Thorpe calls out media for lack of reporting on deaths of black women
When a black woman is murdered, you don’t hear about it. When a white woman dies, or a white woman is murdered, it’s the front page. There’s rallies. There’s documentaries.
Climate bill will require doubling the pace of new clean energy capacity, experts say
With the passage of the Albanese government’s climate bill through the House of Reps (on the way to the Senate next month), some attention has turned to the impacts of reaching a 43% cut of Australia’s 2005 emissions level by 2030.
One of them is the modelled share of renewable energy in the electricity grid. As some journalists noted today, the government is banking on renewables reaching 82% (from just over 30% for the national electricity market) by then.
Two months ago, we wrote up what it would mean, and basically doubling the pace of new clean energy capacity that was added during the 2016-21 period.
We’re talking about adding a little over 6% of operating demand per year, according to Bruce Mountain, the head of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre.
Westpac raises interest rates on home loans and savings accounts
And then there were three: Westpac has chimed in with its rate rises in the wake of the RBA’s hike earlier this week.
Westpac will lift its key variable loan rates by 50 basis points – in line with the RBA but also it rivals CBA and ANZ among the big four banks. NAB presumably will follow suit shortly.
RateCity says Westpac has, unlike its competitors (so far), raised rates on all key savings accounts, in some cases by more than half a percentage point. Its eSaver account will increase 55 basis points from 18 August.
“Westpac’s decision will put pressure on CBA and ANZ to hike rates on the popular savings accounts they left out of their official rate announcements,” RateCity’s research director, Sally Tindall, said.
“At 3.25%, Westpac’s Spend&Save account will soon offer the highest ongoing savings rate for young adults, although current market leader, BOQ, could still trump this in what has become an increasingly sought-after customer base,” she said.
Climate Action Tracker welcomes Labor bill but rates Australia’s action ‘insufficient’
The Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis produced by Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute. They had this to say on Twitter earlier:
GPs hail new monkeypox vaccine as ‘breakthrough moment’
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has welcomed the announcement that Australia has secured a new monkeypox vaccine.
The first delivery of approximately 22,000 doses will arrive in Australia later this week with the remainder to arrive later this year and into 2023.
The RACGP vice-president, Dr Bruce Willett, welcomed the news:
This is a breakthrough moment in the fight against the monkeypox virus.
Fortunately, we have not had many cases in Australia and by rolling out this vaccine we can limit community transmission and stop the virus taking hold. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation or Atagi has recommended key groups to be vaccinated.
The states and territories will receive the vaccine and be responsible for managing the rollout within their jurisdictions and that includes prioritising access to the initial doses based on who is at greatest risk of exposure or severe illness and their local context. So, stay tuned for further details about when you can get vaccinated.
Willett urged Australians to remain calm and listen to expert health advice:
Given everything we have been through over the last two-and-a-half years, it’s natural for people to be anxious or concerned about a new virus entering our shores called monkeypox. You can be reassured that this virus is not nearly as easy to contract as Covid-19 and although it is a ‘cousin’ of smallpox it is not anywhere near as deadly.
Hello everyone, this is Cait – I will be with you for the rest of the day. First up, a big thank you to Amy for guiding us through the day so far.
First up, I have this important yarn from Benita Kolovos and Nino Bucci about a push to reform Victoria’s bail laws so children aren’t affected by parental incarceration.
Amy Remeikis signing off until 5 September
On that note, I am going to hand the blog over to Cait Kelly to guide you through the evening, as I pop off to record the video wrap of the week.
The whole Canberra team will have more for you on all the day’s events, so make sure you check back on the site for more on the parliamentary goings on.
A very, very big thank you and all of the love to Mike Bowers who has. not. stopped this entire sitting week and is still out in the hallways (after a visit into the wet) to record this day for you.
The politics live blog is not possible without Katharine Murphy’s guidance and leadership, Paul Karp, Sarah Martin, Josh Butler and Tory Shepherd’s tenacity and patience, and the entire Guardian crew, including those without bylines, who keep it all ticking over and informed.
And of course, to all of you who stay with us throughout the day. You are just brilliant and we adore you.
I’ll be back on the politics live blog when parliament resumes on 5 September. You’ll still have blog action though, with the daily live news blog back tomorrow to keep you up to date with all the news.
Thank you – and please, take care of you.
In case you missed it, here is Bridget Archer being welcomed by the crossbench as she crosses the floor to vote yes to passing the climate legislation, as captured by Mike Bowers.
Morrison skips out before the end of QT, sources say
Friends of the blog in the House tell us that Scott Morrison left the chamber before the end of question time – just as Anthony Albanese got up to answer his last dixer.
I’d love to skip dixers too, but alas, I have a job to do.
More women than men going hungry around the world, report finds
Care Australia has a new report out today about how more women are going hungry than men worldwide, as aid agencies call for $150m from the federal government to be spent on tackling global hunger crises.
Care Australia CEO, Peter Walton, said:
We know food prices are going up at home and abroad, we know there’s a real risk of unprecedented famine, but what’s rarely talked about is how unequally and unfairly this is experienced by women. This is the food security statistic you rarely hear about, and it’s getting worse, fast.”
The Asia region — which includes Australia — is reflective of the global picture. In 2021, around 13% of women and around 10% of men in the region were severely food insecure.
More women than men go hungry for the same reason more women than men live in poverty — they’re denied their fair share of resources and opportunities. The pandemic has exacerbated this, with women bearing the brunt of job losses and income losses because they’re overrepresented in insecure work, amongst other reasons,” Mr Walton said.
‘This is an historic day’: independent Sophie Scamps on climate bill
The independent MP for Mackellar, Dr Sophie Scamps has released a statement on the climate legislation passing through the house:
Today I voted in favour of passing the Government’s Climate Change Bill in the House of Representatives. Australia has wasted two decades in a pointless debate led by vested interests, and we are now taking action.
The Government’s Bill could be more ambitious, and it should be more ambitious – but it’s a huge step in the right direction. This is an historic day.
Climate Change was the number one issue for the people of Mackellar at the last election, while the people of Australia voted for strong climate action at the last election. By working in good faith with the Albanese Government I believe I have been able to strengthen and improve this legislation. I want to thank Minister Bowen for his consultative approach and for working with my crossbench colleagues and I in good faith.
I hope this collegiate and consultative approach continues throughout the term.
As part of my discussions with Minister Bowen I, along with my crossbench colleagues, urged him to alter the language used around the government’s 2030 emissions target. Instead of the 43% target being described as a ceiling to Australia’s ambition, we now have, enshrined in law, a minimum 2030 emissions target of 43%.
I will now be working with the government to ensure that the right policies and programs are in place to beat this target so we achieve closer to the 50% reduction in emissions that the science says the world must reach by 2030. I will hold the government to account on this and will continue to push for ambitious economy-wide climate action.
In addition, I urged the government to amend their draft Bill to ensure there is a statutory review of the legislation after five years and then every decade thereafter and that the Bill has clear foundational objectives that anchors the Act to the Paris Accord to hold this and all future governments to account. I am pleased that all of these suggestions have been accepted by the Albanese Government.
Question time ends on a busy day in Canberra
Well, that was quite the afternoon, to follow quite the morning.
The rain has not let up all day in Canberra, which has left some MPs and staffers anxious they might be delayed flying out of the capital – and there is a bit of a hurried vibe to the afternoon proceedings.
The next sitting isn’t until 5 September and everyone seems very keen on waving Canberra goodbye, at least in the short term.
Conservationists welcome Plibersek’s move to block Clive Palmer mine
The Queensland Conservation Council has welcomed the news Murph reported that Tanya Plibersek plans to block Clive Palmer’s application for a new coal mine.
The council’s director Dave Copeman says:
This is a victory for Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.
Building a new thermal coal mine 10km from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area was an extreme, dangerous proposal, even for Clive Palmer.
This is a sensible application of the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act. This mine would have impacted on dugong and turtle habitats, and been another unacceptable risk to the Great Barrier Reef.
This prompt decision is a welcome change from the delayed and questionable decision-making approach of the previous Morrison Government.”
It looks like we now have a Minister that understands the science, is willing to listen to community concerns, and act accordingly.
Abortion provider apologises to First Nations people over forced contraceptions
MSI Australia – formerly known as Marie Stopes – has apologised to First Nations people for colonial violence and reproductive injustice.
The organisation’s managing director Jamal Hakim said:
Forced and coerced sexual and reproductive procedures, including contraception, abortion and sterilisation, have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss.
We apologise for these reproductive injustices.
We apologise especially for forced sexual and reproductive procedures on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and those who are LGBTIQ+.
For the pain, suffering, and hurt experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their families, and communities, we say sorry.
Manager of psychosocial health, Alison Fonseca, explained the name change:
Marie Stopes (1880-1958) was known for her contributions to family planning, but she was also a eugenicist.
The name change is an important gesture to move away from ties to eugenics, colonisation, racism and paternalism for which family planning services were known.
Labor MP Sam Rae is granted parental leave until 24 October.
He’ll be back just when the budget is handed down.
There are speeches on indulgence from Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton on the performances of Australia’s Commonwealth Games athletes, along with a thank you to the parents and supporters who helped get them there.
Is inflation at a 30-year high?
Inflation is rocketing, we all know, but when was the last time it was this high?
In the deluge of numbers from the ABS last week, we reported (as did a few others, such as UBS) that the inflation rate in the June quarter was the highest in almost three decades.
On the CPI “headline” number at 6.1%, under closer inspection, turned out to be the highest in 21 years, and so the article was amended thus.
However, we couldn’t help having flashbacks when RBA governor Philip Lowe in the statement accompanying Tuesday’s rate rise said: “Inflation in Australia is the highest it has been since the early 1990s.”
Which species of inflation did the chief of Martin Place have in mind?
As Westpac’s senior economist Justin Smirk notes in a report, the June quarter’s trimmed mean measure of inflation rose an annual pace of 4.9% (up from 3.7% in the previous quarter), or the fastest pace since September 1991.
Since that gauge (which trims out more volatile price movements) is the one that the RBA eyes most closely, we should probably be talking about 30-year inflation highs.
Also in relation to the RBA, and our earlier post on the record trade surplus in June, it’s worth noting that the tide might be turning - at least if the bank’s index of commodity prices out to July is any guide.
Plibersek flags refusal of Clive Palmer-owned coalmine near Great Barrier Reef
The environment minister Tanya Plibersek has proposed to refuse approval for the billionaire Clive Palmer’s controversial proposal to build an open cut coal mine 10km from the coast of the Great Barrier Reef. This is the new environment minister’s first decision in the portfolio (as opposed to a delegate of the minister making decisions).
In a statement to Guardian Australia, Plibersek said:
Based on the information I have available to me at this stage, I believe that the project would be likely to have unacceptable impacts to the Great Barrier Marine Park and the values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and National Heritage Place. The available evidence also suggests that the project would be likely to have unacceptable impacts on water resources in the area.
The Queensland government last year deemed the Central Queensland coal proposal by a subsidiary company of Palmer’s flagship entity, Mineralogy, “not suitable” and said it posed “a number of unacceptable risks” due to its location, the prospect of polluted water discharge and a lack of effective mitigation measures.
The decision is now subject to a 10-day consultation process.
Senate president makes statement on gas company’s no-show at Beetaloo basin inquiry
The Senate president, Sue Lines, has made a statement about Sarah Hanson-Young’s push for consideration of whether Tambourine Resources Ltd was in contempt of the Senate by refusing to attend the environment and communications committee.
Lines noted that Hanson-Young wanted the company referred to the privileges committee for possible contempt, due to rejecting a request to appear at an inquiry into the oil and gas exploration in the Beetaloo basin.
Hanson-Young had said the committee had been prevented from receiving “key evidence”. Lines said in her view the criteria were met to give precedence for a debate about whether to refer the matter to the privileges committee.
But Lines noted the committee had been reconstituted after the election. She revealed she will write to the new committee asking how it wishes to proceed – to continue to push for an investigation, or to give the company one last chance to attend.
Albanese pays tribute to ABC Canberra bureau chief Louise Yaxley
There is another dixer and then Anthony Albanese speaks on indulgence on the retirement of the ABC bureau chief, Louise Yaxley, who is retiring after almost 30 years.
(She would also be hating this, as Penguin, as she is known by all, is not someone who has ever sought the limelight, but she will be a huge loss to the ABC and the gallery as a whole).
On indulgence, in the gallery this afternoon is Louise Yaxley, the ABC parliamentary bureau chief for a very long time. She spent 28 years covering politics in this house and tomorrow she will end what has been an absolutely sensational career.
Louise Yaxley is professional, courteous and knowledgeable and she has added to the quality of political discourse in this country through her work in the AM program, PM, the world and to through ABC current affairs and ABC News.
She is someone who is much loved across the parliament, she is someone who is respected by all who have had contact with her. She brings to the profession of journalism honour, respect and integrity and I pay tribute to her on her final day, which happens to be as well the 90th anniversary of the ABC, our national broadcaster will be celebrated tomorrow at ABC headquarters in Ultimo. Well done Louise.
The chamber applauds.
On indulgence, I join with the Prime Minister on behalf of the Coalition to wish Louise all the very best in the next phase of her life. She has been here for almost three decades, covered 10 elections, 10 Federal elections, has provided leadership at the bureau and seen incredible changes, particularly in the technology space and the way in which the message is communicated.
It is fair to say that this side of politics hasn’t always agreed with the ABC but I think from Louise, we have always got a fair hearing and I want to thank her for the professionalism and for her approach to dealing with our press queries we have, the engagement has been professional and it has been a credit to you and to your leadership skills. Despite all of the investigative resources at the ABC, none of the journalists up there, including those that sit with her in the gallery today, have been able to uncover the truth as to the origin of her nickname.
It remains a mystery to the day of her retirement. Perhaps there is an opportunity for them to write a story or perhaps in her book there be some mention as to how she came about to achieve that nickname Penguin. From all of us in this place we wish you every good health and success into the next phase of your life.
Question on super funds descends into ‘dismissive gesture’ argument
Stuart Robert to Anthony Albanese:
“Prime Minister, reports in the AFR show a total of $85.5 million in payments by 51 super funds to political parties, namely the Labor Party, and associates, namely unions, over the past five years. Can the Prime Minister confirm the very first act, the first act by his Treasury under his Government was to water down transparency and accountability measures designed to give Australian Super fund members visibility of how their savings are spent?”
The first act of the Government was actually to sit around as a cabinet and to agree ... to put in a submission of the Fair Work Commission to give low wage workers a pay rise.
That was the first act that we did. What we said was that $20.33, people are doing it tough. That was the first act of the government. We have continued to implement our priorities.
We will continue to implement our priorities. We were transparent before the election and just as though opposite are transparent that they have never seen a union they didn’t want to undermine and they have never seen an Industry Super Fund that they didn’t want to have a royal commission into and what they didn’t want to take action against.
Relevance. The question said the first act of Treasurer, the Prime Minister is not addressing the question. The question said the first act of Treasury. Treasury. Treasury.
There is no point of order.
I know it might come as a shock to some of those opposite that Treasury has something to do with wages.
And the submissions to the Fair Work Commission and Treasury, including the very good secretary of the Treasury, Steve Kennedy, someone who served the previous government and someone who continues to serve this Government, a fine public servant.
A fine public servant knows that what we did - that was our first act. Those opposite keep repeating the same acts over and over again, which is to stand here and just give working Australians a reminder that they have never seen a union they didn’t want to undermine and that they have never seen industry super funds that they didn’t want to get rid of and undermine and weaken. That is why when they came to office, they had a royal commission into superannuation and what that found was that industry super funds performed much better than the retail funds.
Industry super funds, which those opposite have played with over and over again, the increases that were there for the super guarantee up to 12%, they have undermined consistently the whole way through. We on this side support the right of workers to have superannuation.
We are pretty proud of it. We are proud that it is part of Labor’s legacy.
Standing order on tedious repetition, standing order 75, all we have heard is the Prime Minister tediously repeat his support for the union movement as opposed to answering the question on the first act of his Treasury.
That is not a point of order.
The Prime Minister made a dismissive gesture towards the deputy leader of the opposition, it was disrespectful to a senior woman parliamentarian and I ask him to withdraw that and apologise. It was very disrespectful.
Order, I was listening closely to the prime minister. I didn’t see anything in his answer that was disrespectful at all. Resume your seat. Order! If the ... prime minister had done something disrespectful, I would ask him to withdraw it but there was nothing said and we will move on with question time.
Tony Burke: ‘I like this parliament better, significantly better’
Brian Mitchell has a strange dixer for Tony Burke:
“My question is to the leader of the house. How is the government’s management of the house in its first sitting fortnight delivering on Labor’s vision for a better future? How does that compare to previous parliaments?”
Paul Fletcher immediately jumps up:
Question time is for ministers to be asked about the activities of the current government, you have given a ruling on this. How can this question possibly be consistent with your ruling?
Milton Dick rules the question on order.
I thank the member for Lyons for asking an excellent question. It is fair to say I like this parliament better, significantly better. One of the things I will say that we have had, particularly the debate that happened this morning...
How long is it in this parliament since we have had a situation where the cross bench move an amendment, the minister listens to the speech and the parliament then makes a decision based on the debate. For nine years, the debate didn’t even occur. For nine years, the amendments weren’t even allowed to be moved and today, what I saw in the parliament was a situation finally where different members of parliament, regardless of where they are in the chamber, brought forward their ideas, the debate mattered for the outcomes and the parliament voted.
I note no amendments from those opposite and as well as there being no amendments, even when they were voting no, like not even any enthusiasm, not even like they wanted to be here.
The procedures that have allowed us to be able to do this have changed what is possible in the parliament. I will pay credit of the 35 new members, we have had 24 first speeches now and from members on this side, that side an the cross bench, it is good to have those first speeches so early in the new parliament.
What we have also achieved, against those opposite saying it would be the end of democracy, are new procedures which have allowed people to debate.
For the last two nights, where previously the process would have been...
Dan Tehan jumps in:
Relevance. How many bills have you guillotined this week, we need that explained to us because you have been doing that...
Dick tells him that was a question, not a point of order.
The point of order might have been out of order but it was really helpful because I was about to refer, in terms of the new procedures, with the speaking times being dropped from 15 minutes to 10 minutes, the member for Flynn said it was an absolute appalling use of the guillotine that he wasn’t allowed to talk for 15 minutes.
He then sat down after eight minutes and four seconds with nothing more to say.
The last two nights, member after member has stood up and opened their speech by saying, it is outrageous that we are being silenced and they have continued to talk for 10 minutes about being silenced.
Then they said the 10:00pm cut off is the same as a gag, that cutting it off at 10:00pm means we don’t get to speak at all, exactly the same as what they used to do moving that the Speaker be no further heard. The first time we used the procedure of the 10:00pm cut off they ran out of speakers at 9.37.
Last night they ran out at 9.27. The parliament is being used as it should be.
PM asked how he will help struggling families in south-west Sydney
Independent MP Dai Le has a question for Anthony Albanese:
“Australia is facing a cost of living and jobs and skills emergency. My electorate of Fowler bears the brunt of the nation’s migrant settlement city. It has one of the highest national unemployment rates over the past decade, almost 10% and more than double the national average. How will the prime minister commit to working with me to lower the unemployment rate and lower the cost of living for struggling families of Fowler.
I thank the member for her question and just last week we had a constructive one on one meeting about how the government can assist people in Fowler electorate around the Liverpool area in south-west Sydney, an area that I am familiar with.
The member is quite right to point to socioeconomic disadvantage that is there in Fowler. It has a higher proportion of new migrants to Australia than the average across the country.
In particular, many newer groups have gone to south-west Sydney to settle to make Australia their home. Over a period of time, what I know is that communities like the Vietnamese community in Fowler, just like the one in Marrickville, where I recall the member for Fowler living in my electorate some years ago where we first met. That community has proven to be a great success.
Newer communities require that additional support such as the people who have fled war-torn Syria in recent times. My government is very conscious of that.
That is one of the reasons why I have encouraged the member to engage in the jobs and skills summit process, to have a local forum and offered the government’s support to provide advice, speakers, to provide the full force of government to have local forums which is on offer to anyone around this chamber as well.
What we need to do is to work with the local business community, to work with Tafe, the three levels of fovernment and I discussed with premier Perrottet today at the National Cabinet and along with other premiers how we can make sure arising out of that we give Australians more opportunities for jobs, through better Tafe funding, better training, making sure that we identify those opportunities which are there.
One of the things we know is that long term unemployment can be a scourge. In particular I am aware that in south-west Sydney there are pockets of housing estates, whereby disadvantage is entrenched. When I asked a question the other day about social housing, I spoke about the need to have a mix of housing as well. I have raised with state premiers as well as with local government how we get better investment as part of this government’s commitment through our housing Australia future fund and other investment vehicles to get increased support for a mix of housing so that you don’t have people growing up in communities where they can’t see people that they can aspire to be one day.
I thank the member for Fowler for her question. I look forward to working constructively with her and I thank her for her engagement with the government up to this point.
Questions on Julian Assange in Senate as family listens in
In the Senate, Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton and brother, Gabriel Shipton, are listening as Greens senator David Shoebridge tries to get answers from the government on what action it is taking to bring Assange home.
Sarah Martin spoke with the Shiptons a little earlier:
Julian Assange’s family have said the Albanese government needs to intervene in the case before he is extradited to the US, saying it would effectively be a “death sentence” for the WikiLeaks founder if there was no intervention.
The plight of Assange, who is being held in UK’s Belmarsh prison pending an appeal against his extradition to the US, has been raised with the new US ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, by Assange’s Australian solicitor, Stephen Kenny.
Attending Parliament House on Wednesday, Assange’s father, John Shipton, and brother, Gabriel Shipton, raised concern that there had been little progress made since the May election, and urged the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to make the issue “non-negotiable” with the US.
Littleproud booted from the chamber
David Littleproud is booted from the chamber under 94A.
There is very big “we get to leave this place” energy in the chamber today. It is parliamentary Friday, yes, but it seems to be that the rain in Canberra has given the chamber cabin fever and everyone is just gagging to get out.
Albanese sticks up for Wayne Swan after question on payments to ALP
Angus Taylor makes Labor’s day with this question to Anthony Albanese:
“Reports in the AFR show the CFMEU run super fund CBus, a fund chaired by the current president of the ALP spent $11.2 million of members’ retirement savings on payments to the Labor party and unions over the last five years. Why is the government, in one of its first acts, moving to hide those payments from hardworking Australians?
I am asked by the shadow treasurer a question about two things. One about things being hidden by the shadow treasurer, about things being hidden, and then a question about integrity from the shadow treasurer.
Sometimes when the tactics committee give you a question, you should say maybe someone else should ask that question. That is one of the times because with regard to hiding information what this political party that won 77 seats in the House of Representatives did before the election...
On relevance. The prime minister was asked about $11.2 million of members’ retirement savings channelled to the ALP. The ALP president is the chair of the CFMEU-run CBus.
The prime minister has conducted this personal attack but completely refuses to talk about these donations.
Milton Dick says it has been 40 seconds.
I reject the assertion that is contained in the question. I reject the assertion completely. A slur against someone who was named indeed the world’s greatest finance minister during the global financial crisis.
The person who was treasurer during the 30 years of consecutive economic growth created by the Hawke Keating economic reforms and saw us through the global financial crisis is eminently qualified to chair a superannuation board that he has done in very recent times. For those opposite to speak about accountability and transparency, the point is very simple here, which is that they ask about transparency.
When it comes to the ABCC, we went to not just one election, we went to three elections saying we would abolish the ABCC and I know that those opposite might find it unusual, the idea that you do what you said you would do during an election campaign and you receive a mandate for it from the Australian people but that is precisely what we will do. We will go through our election commitments and we will tick them off one by one. That is what governments of integrity do. We won’t take lectures of integrity from the Shadow Treasurer. Other bodies will deal with him.
It is a reflection on a member, reflections on the integrity of the shadow treasurer are quite out of order.
I didn’t hear what the prime minister was saying because there was too much noise on my left. If you want me to rule and hear these points of order, I need to hear what the prime minister is saying. I have warned the member for Groom and the members for Barker and other members are close to it. These questions will be heard in silence and there is too much noise in the chamber.
Anika Wells emotional as she acknowledges aged care workers in gallery
There are aged care workers in the gallery today, who make Anika Wells become a little emotional as she acknowledges them in her dixer answer:
We are joined in the gallery today by Tara who works in residential aged care, who cares for Maxine and Sylvia. Conwell joins us from Thursday Island. He works in the only residential aged care facility on Thursday Island. Marina supports older Australians in Perth and she says she wants more transparency and accountability and the actions she saw in the house for the first time this week gave her hope.
Rhiannon is here from South Australia. She gets the older Australians in her care out of bed, and ready for breakfast in eight minutes. Not on our watch. Katherine works in home care as a community worker. She loves her job. To all of you on behalf of this house, we say thank you.
Our aged care workers deserve a lot better and we are not done yet. Aged care employee day is this Sunday and on Monday, we are sending our submission to the Fair Work Commission to give aged care workers a pay rise. We will do what we promised. We are going to do better by you than you ever received under nine years of neglect of the previous Morrison Government. You are our first bill through the house. We are sending our submission on Monday to try and get you a pay rise and we will continue to deliver the election commitments to keep our promise with the Australian people.
Albanese takes aim at construction watchdog
Dr Anne Webster to Anthony Albanese:
“The CFMEU has given over $10m to the Labor party since the last watchdog was abolished. Is the prime minister aware of the case ...” (The transcription drops out, but it is about the woman on a worksite who felt intimidated and threatened on her worksite.)
Anthony Albanese, who has been asked previously about this case, said that behaviour is not acceptable and he believes that construction worksites should be subject to the same laws and regulations as the rest of the country’s employment laws.
It is not a radical proposition that we are putting forward here. Our work place relations system must be based upon fairness, mutual trust, respect and obeying the rule of law. That is our position. Simple as that. What we have from the ABCC is substantial commentary about how it was supposed to have improved the way that the sector might operate. You would expect if, while the period the ABCC was the regulator for there to be improvement in labour productivity in the construction sector.
You would expect that to be the case. If you look at the facts, in 2017/18 productivity was down by 2.4%. In 2018/19 it was down by 2.6%. In 2019/20 it was down by 2.6% also.
The ABCC is supposed to be improving the way that the sector operates and yet we have labour productivity going down year after year after year. You would expect also the issue of construction costs to be there. The construction of the last five years in the heavy and civil engineering sector have risen by up to 20%. During that time, if you look at the total expenditure on the ABCC, their budget since it was established from 2016 town this year, their budget is some $233 million.
This year alone some $34 million. During that period the ABCC ... boss Nigel Hadgekiss had to resign himself in 2017 because he was caught breaching the Fair Work Act himself.
We take a very clear view, which is [that] behaviour is unacceptable full stop of either employees or employers ... All workers should be subject to the same laws and regulations as others.
Jim Chalmers quotes Groucho Marx in response to jobs summit dixer:
In relation to who will be involved in the summit, on some days those opposite say they want to see the summit cancelled, on other days they demand an invitation to the jobs summit. On 11 July they said both. It reminds me of what Groucho said, he didn’t want to be part of an organisation that would have him as a member. The member for Hume doesn’t want to be part of a jobs summit that would have him as an attendee. That seems to be his position.
Treasurer asked if a ‘super-profits’ tax should be introduced
Independent Zali Steggall has one of the crossbench questions:
ATO data shows a combined income of five of the gas industry’s biggest companies paid no income tax despite a combined income of $138 billion over the past seven years. At a time when Australian households and businesses are paying record prices for gas, extracted from our resources and sold back to us by these very companies, do you agree that your government’s election promise of multinational tax reform should include a super-profits tax?
Treasurer Jim Chalmers:
As she alluded to in her question, the government’s priority is to make sure that multinational corporations pay a fairer share of tax where they make their profits. And what I hope to do in the next day or two is to release the discussion paper, which is the consultation that we committed to when it comes to the implementation of the multinational tax policies that we took to the election, and they are our priority. And they will be hopefully implemented ... If that consultation process brings to our attention some issues around the implementation of that promise, then we will take that seriously.
In addition to that, there is, as the member is no doubt aware, a big agenda around multinational taxes from the OECD which the Americans and others have been leading as well.
When I was with the governor of the reserve bank at the G20 meetings in Indonesia, one of the topics of conversation with secretary Janet Yellen and others was about how the world can work together on the two pillars of the OECD agenda, to try and make sure we fix this problem in the global economy and in our economy, where it is too easy for multinational corporations to move their debt or profits around the world in a way that sells countries short and makes it harder for us to fund the things that we really care about – health care and education and all of those federal government programs that we need to fund in the context of all of our other budget constraints.
Once again, like the answer to the question from another colleague in the house earlier this week, if not last week, we don’t intend to go down the path that you are asking us about but we intend to take meaningful action on multinational tax.
ACT’s Covid death toll passes 100
The Australian Capital Territory hit a grime milestone this morning. The three deaths in the last 24 hours took the ACT’s total Covid death toll to 100 since the pandemic began.
The ACT fared better than most jurisdictions throughout early stages of the pandemic. But it has spent the last month in the grip of a significant Omicron wave. Hospitalisations peaked at 170 in mid-July. Daily new cases reached 1,700 at about the same time.
The good news is that the ACT appears to be past the worst of this current wave. Active cases are dropping, and hospitalisations are down to 147, a drop from the mid-July peak.
More argy-bargy on power prices
Liberal MP Sussan Ley to Labor’s Julie Collins:
“My question is to the minister for small business. Can the minister confirm that small businesses will see a $275 reduction in their energy bills by 2025?”
I thank the member for her question and we all know that small businesses are facing challenges. And one of them is rising electricity prices, because you didn’t have the guts to tell them prior to the election that you were going to put up their electricity prices. The former minister over here actually hid it deliberately, made a deliberate decision not to tell small businesses that the power prices were going to increase because of your government’s inaction over the last decade.
The minister will resume her seat and remind her to direct comments through the chair. I give the call to the deputy leader of the opposition.
“A point of order on relevance. It was a very narrow question. It specifically asked will small business see a $275 reduction in their energy bills?”
Dick says Collins is allowed a preamble but draws her to the question.
Thank you Mr Speaker. I think I have answered the question. Those opposite are the ones that hid increases in electricity prices from small business prior to the election (she sits down)
(The Coalition gets upset)
“I seek leave to table the Labor party’s powering Australia plan mentioned twice already by the prime minister in question time which specifically refers to $275 a year in relief. I seek leave.”
I thank the deputy leader of the opposition. She may resume her seat. Order! Just so all members are clear, particularly new members, if a document is to be tabled, the minister must refer to that document. She didn’t refer to that in her question so that is not a point of order.
The chamber moves on.
Albanese accuses Liberals of letting down business community
The first dixer is on the climate legislation and the “decade of climate denial and inaction” and of course the answer brings forth another point of order from Paul Fletcher.
Remember when the Liberal party used to have a relationship with business? Remember that? What we saw today was just them isolated and alone, stark in the same old trench fighting a fight that has passed them by, by themselves with their arms crossed just saying “No, no, no”. The Coalition of yesterday, the noalition of today. Just saying no to absolutely everything.
Mr Speaker, under the rulings you have made it is not in order for the prime minister to engage ... in unstructured sledging of this side of the House.
There was no point of order.
If he is offended by that he should see what the business community are saying about them in private. He should have a chat to the National Farmers Federation or the Australian Industry Group about manufacturing or the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or the Business Council of Australia about how irrelevant they have become. I haven’t always been close on all issues to those on the crossbenches, but I tell you what, I am prepared to engage constructively and behave with more maturity than those who call themselves the alternative government.
Dutton and Albanese trade barbs over climate and power prices
Peter Dutton to Anthony Albanese:
“I refer to the prime minister’s promise to the families of Longford, in Lyons, that ‘we have looked at measures that make a real permanent difference to cost of living. Our powering plan will reduce household prices by $275’ – a promise repeated at least 15 times. Will the prime minister apologise to Australians he has misled?”
I thank the leader of the opposition for the question. In Longman, in electorates around Australia, people are struggling with higher power bills and they are higher because of the failure of those opposite over 10 long years to implement.
To implement a policy. We stand by our plan to put more renewables into the system which will drive down power prices. And we note those opposite voted against lower power prices today. They voted against it again and again and again. They voted against it consistently.
One of their final acts in government was actually to hide the power price increases that were coming in in July 1.
They didn’t just hide it by not telling people, they hid it by changing through a regulation, going to the governor general in the dying days of a dying government, the dying days of a dying government, they went to the governor general and changed the rules so that Australians would not know when they voted on May 21 that there were already baked in increases in power prices coming on July 1.
Paul Fletcher has a point of order
The point of order is on relevance. The people of Longford don’t care about their excuses. They want to know if they are going to get the promised power cut off.
There is no point of order.
Whether it was in Tasmania or whether it was in Queensland, or whether in South Australia, or whether in Western Australia, in the city or a regional town, we had the same message. That message was backed by this morning an alphabet soup of business leaders. These are the groups that called upon the Coalition to back the legislation that went through the House of Reps earlier today. AICD, ACSI, IGCC, ACF, BCA, AIG, ACCI, ACSI, RIAA, GIA, the Minerals Council of Australia ... calling upon them to vote for certainty. That is what business wants because – I will give you the big tip, if business has certainty, they can invest and it’s investment in cheaper, cleaner energy that will drive down power.
The condolence motion moves to the federation chamber, and the questions begin.
Question time begins
Questions are delayed by a condolence motion for Senator James Webster.
Anthony Albanese has spoken and now David Littleproud is paying tribute.
We are just getting ready for question time – so now is the time to grab that cuppa
APRA releases survey of banks and lenders on climate risks
Perhaps on cue, given the passage in the House of Representatives of the Albanese government’s emissions bill, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has just released the findings of its survey of 64 members on climate change.
Climate risk “remains an emerging discipline compared to other traditional risk areas, with only a small portion of survey respondents indicating that they have fully embedded climate risk across their risk management framework”, APRA said. (Narrator: We’ve been aware of the basic science pointing to a rising threat for decades.)
Other key observations from the self-assessment include:
- four out of five boards oversee climate risk on a regular basis, while just under two-thirds of institutions (63%) have incorporated climate risk into their strategic planning process;
- almost 40%t of institutions said climate-related events could have a material or moderate impact on their direct operations;
- nearly three-quarters of institutions (73%) said they had one or more climate-related targets in place, however 23% of institutions do not have any metrics to measure and monitor climate risks; and
- over two-thirds of institutions (68%) said they have publicly disclosed their approach to measuring and managing climate risks, with 90% of those aligning their disclosure to the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures framework.
APRA deputy chair Helen Rowell said the findings were encouraging but there was more work to do.
Climate change and the global response to it are creating financial risks for banks, insurers and superannuation trustees, whether it be the physical damage from floods or bushfires, or asset price volatility as consumer and investor demands evolve, APRA Deputy Chair Helen Rowell, said.
Question time is in 10 minutes.
Julian Assange’s father John Shipton and brother Gabriel will be present in the Senate gallery.
Nigel Farage to speak at Cpac conference in Sydney
The conservative conference Cpac is back on, with the usual guests, including “the most eloquent of political campaigners” Nigel Farage.
Make sure you rush out and get your tickets before they sell out.
National Covid update
Here are the latest coronavirus case numbers from around Australia on Thursday, as the country records at least 85 deaths from Covid-19:
- Deaths: 3
- Cases: 641
- In hospital: 147 (with 4 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 33
- Cases: 14,387
- In hospital: 2,213 (with 60 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 0
- Cases: 358
- In hospital: 56 (with 1 person in ICU)
- Deaths: 31
- Cases: 5,585
- In hospital: 745 (with 25 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 3
- Cases: 2,933
- In hospital: 356 (with 12 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 4
- Cases: 856
- In hospital: 95 (with 5 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 9
- Cases: 8,785
- In hospital: 723 (with 37 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 2
- Cases: 3,852
- In hospital: 367 (with 17 people in ICU)
Australian Federation of Aids Organisations welcomes monkeypox vaccine announcement
Heath Paynter, acting CEO of AFAO, commended the commonwealth for securing the vaccines:
The swift procurement of these vaccines is a very positive step. While local transmission of Monkeypox has so far been limited, we can’t rely on that to continue. Cities such as London, Montreal, Lisbon and Madrid are all dealing with significant community transmission.
The availability of MPX vaccine for people who need it is a critical forward defence against transmission. It will help people look after their own health as well as that of people they are intimate with.
Gay and bisexual men are already taking Monkeypox very seriously, monitoring for symptoms and regularly seeking medical advice. This is a very welcome additional tool.
‘When it comes to black lives [in Australia], no one cares’: Lidia Thorpe
Lidia Thorpe follows Dorinda Cox’s announcement and gives a damning assessment of the system, the police and the media, when saying why an inquiry is even needed in the first place:
Well, do black lives matter in the lucky country of Australia?
Do black lives matter?
We have an inquiry to look at missing and murdered black women and children in this country.
Why - why do we even have to do that?
Why isn’t black lives in this country respected and reported on, like white people in this country?
When a black woman dies, when a black woman is murdered, you don’t hear about it.
When a white woman dies, or a white woman is murdered, it’s a front page. There’s rallies.
But when is a black woman, you don’t want to know about it. So you all need to put a mirror up to yourselves and ask yourselves why you’re not reporting on black women who have been murdered and missing and children - why aren’t we reporting on these deaths?
On these murders?
We have to have an inquiry to call you all out, including the police, including all the racist systems that keep us oppressed in this country.
Including the media.
We have an inquiry where Aboriginal people will be able to speak in language, use art forms, use poetry, use song, and use dance to tell their story. We have Aboriginal people across this country ready to tell their story.
We have a list of missing and murdered black women and children. You don’t have that list. And that list, since we came out with this inquiry, has grown and it’s growing every day.
So it’s time this country starts looking at the real issues in this country like black lives. Because black lives matter. They do.
And we need you all to commit to reporting on every black death in custody, every murdered black woman, and every missing black child.
In WA, we know they’ve even stopped looking for black children. Because it’s too hard for the police.
Does the country know that?
Because when there’s a white kid that goes missing, the heart - the heart of this country comes out.
But when it comes to a black life, no-one cares.
And that has to stop.
Because black lives matter.
Greens confirm inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and children
Senator Dorinda Cox is speaking on an inquiry the Greens have established, looking at missing and murdered First Nations women and children:
On this day the national First Nations children’s Day and national missing persons weeks I’m really overcome with happiness to announce that the inquiry into missing and murdered First Nations women and children has been re-triggered in the Senate.
This inquiry is from a co-signed motion from Senator Thorpe and I in the 46th Parliament last year in November.
An important inquiry that will look into the nationally harmonised data that is collected by research across the country and law enforcement.
It will look into why we’re not honouring and respecting the lives of First Nations women and children in the country and the role of the media in that. This important motion - I met with the legal and constitutional affairs committee yesterday to make sure they had all of the background information due to the change in government.
I’m happy to be working with the Labor government in order to find resolutions. It’s an important component of being in the Senate to make sure that we use inquiry and debate and to also legislate. So we are looking forward to the outcomes of this inquiry which will end on 31 July 2023.
‘Bring it on’: Bandt challenges Keating to a debate
If he wants a debate, bring it on. I suggest we meet at the National Press Club to have a debate about Labor’s role in cutting public spending and bringing in tax cuts for the very wealthy and big corporations in this country. Because right now, in a cost of living crisis, Labor is proposing to make it even worse. By getting tax cuts to billionaires like Clive Palmer, ripping $220 billion plus out of the budget, leaving less money in there to get dental into Medicare and make child care free.
There’s not one single thing that Paul Keating can say in defence of this current government’s budget because this government is sounding far too much like the old government when their talk of budget cuts when people remain with low wages and incomes below the poverty line. Bring it on, Paul Keating. He’s got a sharp tongue and a short memory.
Adam Bandt says Paul Keating ‘not entitled to rewrite history’
Yesterday at the Press Club I made the point that the Greens are the only social Democratic Party in Australia and Labor, over the last three or four decades, including under Paul Keating, has drifted to the right, and become a neo-liberal party.
Now, Paul Keating’s had a few choice words to say about me, about that. Paul Keating’s got a sharp tongue but a short memory. Paul Keating is Labor’s patron saint of privatisation.
Paul Keating boasted about selling off the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas, our vaccine manufacturer CSL, he’s proud of having kept wages low while giving the very wealthy and big corporations a tax cut.
He still boasts about cutting government spending. I am happy to debate Paul Keating anywhere, any time, about Labor’s record in bringing economic rationalism and next year liberalism to this country. Paul Keating has never seen a public asset that he didn’t want to privatise. If he’s not nailed down then sell it off was Paul Keating’s motto.
If Paul Keating - Paul Keating’s entitled to his views but he’s not entitled to rewrite history.
The reason that government spending and government services have been cut in this country, that great public assets like a vaccine manufacturer that would have helped us so well in the time of the pandemic have been sold off to the highest bidder, the reason we have had someone backing the privatisation of our electricity networks and of Telstra, goes right back to the patron saint of privatisation, Paul Keating.
Adam Bandt speaks on stoush with Paul Keating
Adam Bandt is now addressing former Labor prime minister Paul Keating’s criticism of Bandt’s criticism of Keating’s record.
Here is a recap of what Keating told the Sydney Morning Herald:
Keating rejected Bandt’s claim, made in a speech to the National Press Club on Wednesday, that Labor had pursued “neoliberal” policies like privatisation and engaged in “austerity” budget policy.
“This is both a lie and a slur,” Keating said.
“How could any reasonable person describe the universality of Medicare as an exercise in conservative neoliberalism? Or providing the whole Australian community, every working person, with mandated capital savings leading to substantial superannuation assets and retirement incomes.
“How could any reasonable person describe these mammoth changes as ‘neoliberalism’, a word associated with the likes of [former British prime minister] Margaret Thatcher and [former United States president] Ronald Reagan.
“And more than that, the world’s leading system of minimum award rates of pay, a safety net superintended by the Fair Work Commission – a Keating government creation. Again, hardly an exercise in neoliberalism.
“But Bandt is a bounder and a distorter of political truth.”
Adam Bandt holds press conference
We move to the Mural Hall where Adam Bandt and the Greens are talking about the climate legislation which just went through the house:
What we need to do first off is stop making the problem worse. You can’t put the fire out if you’re pouring petrol on it. You can’t fix the problem if you’re making the problem worse. So the fight now turns to not only ensuring the safeguard mechanism that safeguards our future, but we get a climate trigger in our environment laws so new projects don’t go ahead if they’re going to make the climate crisis worse and destroy our environment.
And we’ll also be going through the budget line by line to ensure that no public money is going to support coal and gas projects. And we know there’s a lot of money in the budget that previously Labor has backed that would go to open the Beetaloo. These tax dodging corporations should start paying tax, they shouldn’t get a public handout to make the climate crisis worse.
The press conference pretty much ends there, with the prime minister taking one last question on the upcoming skills summit and then leaving to prepare for question time in 40 minutes.
‘I’m increasingly confident we have reached the peak’ of Covid wave: CMO
Does Prof Paul Kelly think the latest Covid wave is peaking earlier than expected, and what does that mean for the extended health and hospital funding?
So firstly, yes, I’m increasingly confident we have reached the peak and certainly the actual data we’re seeing from hospital admissions decreasing in all states over the last few days and week support that. I like to say - this will be a segue to what the Prime Minister will answer in the second part - this is not the last wave. This is the end of this wave - this is coming towards the end of this wave, or peaking of this wave, there will be a tail in hospitals, many older people with many other diseases other than COVID have been admitted. That’s the word we’re getting from clinicians on the ground. But this will not be the last wave. And we’ll continue to have to plan for that, be ready to know when that’s happening and to respond to it accordingly.
The update that national cabinet received today I’m pleased to say is consistent with what was envisaged when we met on a Saturday three weeks ago after I came back from the PIF. In terms of when the peak looked likely to be, and our funding arrangements and the decisions that question made by the national cabinet then in terms of those dates are consistent with the advice we received.
Albanese says climate bill won’t speed up the end of fossil fuel projects
Does the renewables target hasten the end of fossil fuel projects?
No. If you have a look at what has been happening, with projects in spite of the gap that’s there, in the rhetoric of the former government, remember Liddell - they used to talk about Liddell. The former member for Kooyong used to stand up regularly and speak about keeping Liddell open. It didn’t happen. Markets are operating in a way that is shifting towards cleaner cheaper energy. The problem has been that whilst that has been occurring, there hasn’t been the investment certainty for renewables and there also hasn’t been the work done on transmission to make sure that the grid is up graded for the 21st century. That’s what this legislation will do
Albanese quizzed on promised centre for disease control
How is the centre for disease control Labor promised during the election going and what is the timing on that?
I had discussions with at least a couple of premiers who are very keen to have it located – we’ll provide funding for our commitments like other commitments in the October budget.
The reason why you have budgets is to say you have a few announcements in the budget. Stay tuned.
CMO confident Australia will control monkeypox epidemic
Q: On monkeypox, are you expecting cases to increase and if so, what kind of order of magnitude can we expect?
I may throw to the CMO on that. As I said, case numbers have increased quite quickly around the world in those countries that don’t have the history of monkeypox, essentially all countries outside of Africa. It’s been 13 weeks since the first case was reported in the UK and the CDC reported more than 25,000, 6,000 in the US, 4,000 in Spain, 3,000 in the UK, only 58 cases here in Australia. So we’ve managed to avoid the worst elements you have seen in North America and Europe. I may throw that question to the CMO:
Professor Paul Kelly:
I’m not going to pick a number, but the important thing is all the work done since May in Australia, and the added benefit of the vaccine, will continue to help us to control the epidemic here in Australia and I’m very confident that will happen.
Is the government confident it has David Pocock’s vote?
I have always found it best for people to speak on their own behalf. Mr Pocock is quite capable of speaking on behalf of himself. But he made it very clear, he made it very clear this legislation should pass in his own words and indeed called upon the Greens to vote for this legislation previously.
How does Anthony Albanese see the renewables target rolling out?
I see when I talk to the business community, including the investors group, what they say is they’re - this investment has been in the pipeline, it has been held back, if you’re going to invest in something that produces a return over a period of time, but lasts for decades, not for years, then you need that investment certainty.
I have given the example of Rio Tinto and their operations in Gladstone, the aluminium refinery and other heavy manufacturing that they have there.
They’re looking at powering that with some backup in terms of base load, but powering it through renewables. That’s a major Australian based operation there in Gladstone, they have three different plants, and they’re looking for the future. They’re looking at that as a step and they’re looking at hydrogen as a major step forward as well. I think that business are just waiting for the signal. They’ve got that in terms of the House of Representatives. I hope they receive that from the Senate as well. But today is a good day for business and a good day for workers and a good day for our environment.
Albanese says Coalition ‘not acting like they have the interests of Australia at heart’
On to the questions and Anthony Albanese is asked if he is worried the Coalition may try and undo the climate legislation if it is elected in three years time.
They’re not acting much like an alternative government. They’re acting like a permanent opposition.
They are not acting like they have the interests of Australia at heart, and I believe that the calls by the Business council, by ACCI, by AIG today could not have been clearer.
This so-called party of private enterprise has today thumbed its nose at the business community of Australia who are crying out for certainty going forward.
They wanted people to legislate across the Parliament and it could - it could have sailed through.
We have been constructive, we’ve made it very clear across the Parliament what our position was, that the powering Australia plan was not up for negotiation, but if people had constructive suggestions on amendments we were happy to consider them and some of them were supported, ones that weren’t consistent with the objectives were not supported.
And it’s extraordinary that they chose to do that. I believe going forward, though, when this is in place, what people - the coalition will have to consider its own position, and they bear the political responsibility for that. But by the time we get to the next election, in my view, it would be very brave indeed for an alternative political party like that - that seeks to govern, as opposed to a minor party - to say we’re going to tear down the structures that have been put in place that were supported overwhelmingly by the business community and by the mainstream of the conservation movement, but most importantly as well, by the Australian people.
The Australian people want action on climate change. Today we took some important steps forward.
First delivery of new monkeypox vaccines to arrive this week, Butler says
Mark Butler has released a statement on the monkeypox vaccines – here is part of it:
The Albanese Government has secured 450,000 doses of the new third-generation monkeypox virus (MPX) vaccine by Bavarian Nordic.
The first delivery of around 22,000 doses will arrive in Australia later this week. The remainder will arrive later this year and in 2023.
Australia is one of a limited number of countries to secure supplies of this vaccine in 2022 and in doing so, is ensuring the increased safety of those at higher risk of exposure to MPX.
In preparation for the arrival of the vaccine, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended key groups to be vaccinated.
The states and territories will immediately receive MPX vaccine from the first delivery and will manage the vaccine rollout within their jurisdictions. This includes prioritising access to the initial doses to manage the immediate outbreak, based on who is at greatest risk of exposure or severe illness and their local context.
Monkeypox presenting differently in current outbreak, CMO says
The chief medical officer says there are differences with how monkeypox is presenting:
This disease in Africa, it is very easy to spot. There’s a lot of rash on the whole body as well as flu and flu-like symptoms. In this current outbreak, though, it is - it can be quite specific and often affects the genital areas, it can cause a very painful condition as well as other ways it presents.
So it’s a - there’s been a difference in the way it’s presenting. It’s generally does not cause severe disease but there’s some deaths in Spain recently. This week. And it can affect other people who are immunocompromised, children, pregnant women, if it gets into that - those populations, it can be quite severe. So that’s why we’re taking the steps we’re taking. And the vaccines will really help with that.
Chief medical officer says monkeypox can affect anyone
Professor Paul Kelly gives a run down on what monkeypox is:
Firstly, what is it? It’s a viral disease, as has been mentioned by the minister, it is spread by very intimate contact and at the moment the international, as well as the local epidemiology demonstrates it’s mainly in the international sphere and exclusively in the Australian sphere found among gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with other men.
But this can affect anyone.
That’s why we’ve got the guidance nationally to prepare and respond to this outbreak. The vaccine announcement today is absolutely important but it’s only one part of the many things we’ve been working on as the minister said since May.
I was in Geneva that first week when the WHO had their very first briefing about monkeypox and so we’ve been following that and the international situation in particular throughout that period.
The official statement on the national cabinet meeting:
The Commonwealth, State and Territory leaders discussed the continuing impact of COVID-19 on health system capacity and that they would work together to plan and prepare for likely future waves of COVID-19.
First Ministers agreed to continue to work together to manage the response to Monkeypox, following an update from Professor Kelly on the emerging situation.
The Chief Medical Officer declared MPX a Communicable Disease of National Significance on 28 July following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (23 July).
Internationally, there have been ten MPX deaths reported this year.
First Ministers also discussed the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in Indonesia and work to ensure FMD preparedness in Australia.
The Commonwealth is providing a $14 million biosecurity package to bolster Australia’s frontline defence and provide more technical support for countries currently battling FMD and Lumpy Skin Disease.
Through this package, the Commonwealth continues to increase its biosecurity measures, including additional biosecurity officers, detector dogs, sanitation foot mats and increased messaging at airports.
First Ministers agreed to continue to work collaboratively on FMD preparedness to protect Australian livestock and businesses from the devastating impacts of this disease.
The Prime Minister also provided an update on the upcoming Jobs and Skills Summit and National Cabinet discussed how states and territories would work together on priorities issues for consideration at the Summit.
Australia has 58 monkeypox cases and 450,000 doses of new vaccine, Butler says
Mark Butler steps up and says there are now 58 cases of monkeypox in Australia, and he says that Australia has secured 450,000 doses of the third generation of monkeypox vaccine (which can be used as a vaccine and a treatment) and the first 22,000 will be arriving in within the next fortnight.
We will be rolling out the vaccine through state and territory largely central health clinics and we have been in discussions with state and territory governments for some weeks about those arrangements and we are confident that they will start to be putting in place very quickly at ATAGI has clearly spelt out the cohorts, the at-risk cohorts will be the priority group for those vaccines. I am very pleased we have been able to secure supplies, one of the few countries in the world that have been able to do that.
Albanese: Coalition can make themselves 'relevant' to the climate debate
Anthony Albanese then moves on to the climate legislation passage through the house of representatives:
Can I also say I am very pleased that the climate legislation has passed the House of Representatives.
This is a fulfilment of a core promise that we met at the election of 43% reduction in emissions by 2030, a renewable sector that will grow to 82% of our national energy market by 2030.
A program that will see some some 600,000 job created [especially in the regions].
Even though the crossbench did not get the demands met that were not consistent with the program that we were to the election, added passed the Parliament and the Parliament functioned effectively to support the mandate that we received at the election.
With the exception of the Coalition, who continue to be stuck in time while the world warms around it.
The truth is that the Business Council, Australian Industry Group and Australian Chamber of Commerce and industry were all asking the Coalition to vote for our legislation
They have an opportunity when the legislation gets to the Senate to change their mind and to bring themselves into the 21st century and make themselves relevant to the debate, which Australians have been impacted by droughts, floods and bushfires, know the impact of climate change is real, we need a response which is real and the Government is offering up. I’m pleased it received the support of the House of Representatives.
Anthony Albanese holds press conference
The prime minister opens with the national cabinet meeting, which included discussion about the Covid pandemic, monkeypox and foot and mouth disease.
It is important that people get their booster shots if they are eligible. We know that last summer there was another spike and another wave, and we should not be complacent about this. Even though it would appear that we are hopeful that we have reached a peak and hospital numbers are down and we should not be complacent about this.
Albanese has also invited all the first ministers to the jobs and skills summit with the next national cabinet to be held the day before the summit is held in Canberra.
Adam Bandt will hold a press conference at 1.15pm to talk all things climate
Australia hits record trade surplus in June as exports surge
Australia is a resource-rich nation in the midst of a commodity boom, so you would expect the trade picture to be rosy (even it’s not doing a lot for power and gas bills, and so forth).
Anyway, June trade numbers are out from the ABS, with the seasonally adjusted balances on goods and services turning a record surplus of $17.67bn, up about 18% for the month.
Exports were up 5.1% to $61.53bn, while imports were up just 0.7% to $43.9bn.The numbers exceeded the market expectation for a $14bn surplus, driven by larger volumes and higher prices. Westpac notes gold played a part, with exports up almost two-thirds to $3.6bn in June alone.
So, we’re rolling in it, apparently.
Mark Butler and the chief medical officer professor Paul Kelly will also be at that press conference, where I think we will also hear more about the third-generation monkeypox vaccine acquisition.
Anthony Albanese will hold a press conference in about 10 minutes
Climate bill to head to Senate in September, with the support of the Greens
There is still some time before the climate bills will come to the Senate (there is already an inquiry in place). It will move to the upper house during the next parliamentary sitting fortnight in September. But given the Greens support, it will pass, giving some of the certainty which has been missing in Australian politics when it comes to climate, for the last decade.
Ryan and Chester both voted in wrong place on amendments
The member for Kooyong Monique Ryan and Darren Chester both admit they voted in the wrong place at different times during those divisions, apologise and state their intentions to the House.
Chester tells the parliament that Ryan at least has only been in the chamber 14 days, not 14 years like he was, and that he was distracted by the member for Lyons, who he congratulates on his “excellent” conversation skills.
Climate bill passes the House of Representatives
The votes are in:
“The bills as amended have been agreed to,” the Speaker Milton Dick says.
There are cheers in the chamber. The bill has passed the lower house.
There is energy on one side of the chamber, and a bit of a vacuum on the other it seems.
It’s almost through the house
Climate bill set to pass the House of Representatives
The question that the bill, as amended, be agreed to is given to the house – so the vote on the bill is next.
There is another division, this time, to pass the climate bill.
Bridget Archer is voting with the government.
Chester admits accidentally voting yes on Spender amendment
Darren Chester has admitted he was in the wrong place for one of the amendment votes, voting yes on Allegra Spender’s amendment with the government.
He tells us he was distracted by a conversation with Labor MP Brian Mitchell and didn’t move in time.
Mystery (such as it was) solved.
That is the last amendment – after this, we are done!
Chris Bowen takes the opportunity to thank everyone who was involved in the negotiations on the bill and those who agree that it is “a good day” for the nation.
Watson-Brown’s climate bill amendment on Paris agreement passes
The last amendment is from Greens MP Elizabeth Watson-Brown. It makes sure the legislation includes how the emissions reduction targets meet the Paris agreement goals of keeping warming well below 2C (at the most basic reading of the amendment).
Chris Bowen says the government supports the amendment, so it will pass.
The person handling Monique Ryan’s social media is doing a bang up job
Chester may have accidentally voted ‘yes’ on Spender amendment
There is some suggestion that Nationals MP Darren Chester may have accidentally voted “yes” on Allegra Spender’s amendment.
It doesn’t change anything – the amendments the government are supporting have more than the numbers needed to pass and the ones it doesn’t won’t pass.
We have gone to the honourable member for comment. If so, seems like perhaps someone may have zoned out for a moment
Independent MP Zali Steggall wants to see Climate Change Authority advice on greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets included in the legislation.
The government also supports this amendment.
A list of changes to climate bill
So we have seen some small changes to the legislation, which have not materially changed anything. The main points are:
- 43% is a floor to start from, not a target to hit and stop.
- Ministers will need to table the advice they receive.
- Regional experts will be included as part of the Climate Change Authority.
- And the legislation acknowledges climate action is urgent and should be based on science.
- They are the ones the government has supported so far.
- The Coalition has voted against everything.
- The government has voted against raising the target in the legislation, and not opening any more fossil fuel projects.
Kylea Tink’s amendments to the climate bill are now up for division
(1) Clause 14, page 9 (lines 4 and 5), omit “must publish a copy of that advice on its website.”, substitute:
(a) publish a copy of that advice on its website; and
(b) cause a copy of that advice to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after giving the advice to the Minister.
Chris Bowen says the government is in support, and he would always table advice – with a pointed look across the chamber.
The opposition is also opposing this amendment.
Greens hail ‘massive step forward for tax transparency’ after tax loophole closure
Greens senator Nick McKim has responded to the tax loophole closure Paul Karp just reported on:
This is a massive step forward for tax transparency in Australia.
We already know that big corporations are paying too little tax – today’s changes mean we can have a much clearer picture for many more companies.
The Australian public has a right to know this information.
Corporate tax transparency is critical for applying political pressure to make sure the big corporations pay their fair share of tax.
This shows what the Greens can achieve in balance of power, and what Labor and the Greens can do when we work together.
Government’s climate bill just ‘exacerbating’ the climate wars, says Liberal MP
Earlier this morning, Karen Andrews argued the government legislation to do something (very modest) on climate action was just “exacerbating” the climate wars.
So far, Andrews and her party have voted no to everything. The Coalition has not put up any amendments. It has offered no alternatives.
I think that the climate wars need to be over. They needed to be over a couple of years ago. I think that what’s happening in parliament is just exacerbating a situation. The target has already been set at 43%. Let’s all behave as adults. Let’s all go after that target and make sure that we do reach it.
Helen Haines is watching on from Covid isolation
Senate agrees to close tax loophole that exempts Australia’s richest companies
The Senate has just agreed to an amendment that will close a loophole that exempts private companies (often owned and controlled by some of the richest Australians) to avoid tax transparency rules.
When last in office Labor legislated to require the publication of basic tax information of corporate entities with at least $100m in annual turnover.
But the Abbott government exempted about 1,000 Australian-owned private companies from the tax transparency measures after claims wealthy owners could face kidnapping threats.
Amendments moved by the Greens to a government Treasury bill would close that loophole, and passed the Senate this morning 37 votes to 27, with the support of Labor and David Pocock.
The Treasury bill will go back to the house where it will likely pass.
Here is what the chamber looks like at the moment, as captured by Mike Bowers:
Working on new ways to say ‘no’
Allegra Spender moves amendment to government’s climate bill
Back in the chamber, and Allegra Spender is moving her amendment.
(1) Clause 12, page 7 (line 16) to page 7 (line 18), omit paragraph (1)(d), substitute:
(d) the effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s policies in contributing to the achievement of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and reducing emissions in the sectors covered by those policies.
[sectoral impact of policies]
The government is in support of this one, so it will pass.
Risk to Australia of foot and mouth disease ‘well below 50%’, minister says
How big is the risk foot and mouth disease will make it to Australia?
I wouldn’t say that the risk is likely. It is well below 50% that risk but we have had experts assessing the risk and this is the conclusion that they have reached, that there is a risk. When there is a risk good governments prepare for that.
New exotic animal disease taskforce announced in reaction to foot and mouth disease
Murray Watt is announcing a new exotic animal disease preparedness taskforce as part of Australia’s response to the foot and mouth outbreak in Indonesia.
Watt says this adds to what is already in place (strengthened biosecurity procedures and mail screening)
Today we are adding a third prong to our response to this outbreak that is on our doorstep.
That is because while the risk of foot-and-mouth disease or lumpy skin disease entering Australia is low, it is not zero. We cannot assume that it will stay that way. We need to be fully prepared.
Experts have assessed the risk of a foot-and-mouth incursion in Australia in the next five year as 11.6% and 28% for lumpy skin disease. It is prudent to make sure that we are prepared now.
That is because good governments plan for the best and prepare for the worst.
That is exactly what we are doing. That is what we have done on natural disaster management, ever since we came to office and that is what we are doing with biosecurity threats such as these diseases.
Now, while the federal, state and territory governments all have thorough well-developed biosecurity response plans in place, we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that we are ready, should an outbreak occur here.
That is why I have directed the establishment of a new commonwealth taskforce to thoroughly assess our current level of national preparedness for these diseases and advise of any improvements that might be needed.
There is a baby crying in the chamber.
There is also an infant who seems more than a little upset. Sam Rae leapt out of his seat which upset Lisa Chester’s baby and the whole chamber erupted and told him to sit down.
Greens’ climate bill amendments not passed
As expected, the government says no.
The government won’t be supporting these amendments in line with the reasons I outlined earlier in relation to the honourable member for Clarke, the government’s position 43% emissions reduction is the modelled impact of our policy, it is what we regard as necessary to get to that zero by 2050 and it is the policy we will continue to implement.
Those reasons were that the government went to the election with the target of 43% so that is what it is sticking to.
Greens leader: Labor’s targets mean overshooting 2C of global heating
Adam Bandt is moving his amendment now, making the point that Labor’s targets mean “overshooting 2C”.
“If you think what we are seeing now is bad with the fires and the floods, Labor’s targets mean twice as bad.”
When someone has made the problem worse you need to act quicker to fix it, not slow down.
The Climate Council, the climate targets authority, our Pacific Island neighbours, the world’s scientists have all said very clearly if you want to stop global warming exceeding 2C you need to have at least 50% cut, but if you want to limit it to 1.5C – to give us a chance of the reef surviving and the 60,000 jobs that depend on it, to give the Pacific Islands what they are asking for and what, indeed, I think this government just signed up to a couple of weeks ago when it signed up to a communique that said it was committed to limiting global heating to 1.5C – ... you need pollution cuts of 75%.
That is crystal clear, that is the science, that is why we are doing that. Anything less and you are giving up on 1.5C.
As the member for Ryan eloquently put it yesterday, you have to understand what Labor’s targets mean. Labor’s targets mean, according to the Climate Council, the climate target panel, overshooting 2C.
That is what it means. If you think what we are seeing now is bad with the fires and the floods, Labor’s targets mean twice as bad.
It means quite as much heating in our planet which will mean an exponential lift in the risk to human life and the risk to our environment. We are not doing this just to cut pollution by a little bit, we are doing this to try and stop climate change becoming a runaway train reaction.
So the next time there are fires, the next time there are floods, when we see the Great Barrier Reef bleaching next, know that that is what Labor’s targets are all about. That is what they are designed to achieve, 2C or more of heating. Climate analytics and Climate Council all says that. We need to do better. We need to support these amendments.
Adam Bandt’s amendment is up next:
(1) Clause 10, page 5 (line 10), omit “43%”, substitute “at least 75%”.
(2) Clause 10, page 5 (line 16), omit “2050”, substitute “2035 and working towards negative emissions thereafter”.
[net zero target]
But given the Andrew Wilkie amendment failed to get government support, this one will too.
The government won’t be supporting this amendment. Chris Bowen says the government took its 43% target to the election and that is what the mandate is for.
So this one won’t pass.
Andrew Wilkie is now moving his amendments:
(1) Clause 10, page 5 (line 10), omit “43%”, substitute “75%”.
[2030 emissions reduction target]
(2) Clause 10, page 5 (line 16), omit “2050”, substitute “2035, at the latest”.
[net zero emissions reduction target]
(3) Clause 12, page 7 (line 18), at the end of subclause (1), add:
; and (e) Australia’s scope 3 emissions of greenhouse gas.
[annual climate change statement]
NSW records 33 more Covid deaths and Victoria nine
NSW is reporting 33 more lives lost to Covid in the last day, with 2,213 people being treated for the virus in hospital. Victoria is reporting nine new deaths and 723 people in hospital.
Helen Haines has responded to Ted O’Brien’s assertions about Haines’ amendments.
Haines points out, rightly, that the Coalition is complaining and opposing, but has not actually put forward any amendments itself. It’s almost like they just want to be able to complain and oppose and not have to do anything (much like the last 10 years on this subject):
From the chamber:
Independent Helen Haines’ amendments ‘very sensible’, Chris Bowen says
Rebekha Sharkie has moved Helen Haine’s amendments adding in more regional voices and influence to the legislation (Haines has Covid).
Chris Bowen says they are “very sensible” amendments and challenges the Nationals to support them.
David Littleproud says the Nationals will not be supporting the amendments because “this would be like the climate change authority [assessing] its own homework”.
He says it would be better to have independent people assess the impacts, so it is not going to support the bill.
The Nationals have not moved their own amendments, it has to be said. They are joining the Liberals in opposing everything.
NSW transport minister David Elliott to contest state Liberal deputy job
For those watching NSW politics, AAP has an update:
In NSW, transport and veterans minister, David Elliott, is the first to throw his hat in the ring to take on the vacant deputy Liberal leader’s job, after the resignation of Stuart Ayres yesterday.
Ayres was forced out after revelations a draft review into the appointment of former deputy premier, John Barilaro, to a New York trade role revealed Ayres may have been more involved in the process than he had claimed.
“I don’t put my name forward out of excitement or enthusiasm [but] the premier is under the pump,” Elliott told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.
“The easiest thing for people to do at the moment is to walk away or keep your head down ... but that’s just not my style.
“My job is to really just say to the party room, and to the party, I’m available if you think that my skill set is going to work.”
Matt Kean, who was deputy leader under ex-premier Gladys Berejiklian and is considered likely to have the numbers, has yet to put his hand up for the job.
As well as his deputy position, Ayres lost his ministerial portfolios for western Sydney, tourism and sport, and enterprise, investment and trade.
Those responsibilities have been allocated to other ministers by Perrottet, with Elliott taking over for Western Sydney.
There are so many amendments, and resulting divisions, the federation chamber can’t get going – every time it starts, there is a division.
So the federation chamber is suspended until this bill is dealt with.
The Coalition are voting against ... everything.
Commonwealth Bank first of the big four to lift interest rates
The CBA has become the first of the big four banks to lift its interest rates in the wake of the Reserve Bank’s rate rise on Tuesday.
Not surprisingly, Australia’s biggest bank has passed on the 50 basis point increase in full.
The standard owner-occupier rate loan with principal and interest will rise to 5.8%, while investor home loans will rise by the same half-percentage point to 6.38%.
Savers, too, will get the 50bp bump up, although the annual rate of 1.25% for the GoalSaver and 1.45% for YouthSaver deposits seem modest when you think about headline inflation running at 6.1%. Still, it’s better than what it was before today.
Those willing to fix for 15 months can earn 2.5%. Deposit holders, though, might want to consider that the CBA expects the RBA to raise its cash rate another 75bp to 2.6% before it halts its hikes (and starts cutting later).
Meanwhile, investors still reckon the RBA has a ways further to go, with another percentage point-plus in rate rises to come.
Zoe Daniel is now moving the amendment to make clear in the legislation that 43% is a floor, not a ceiling.
She says she sees this bill as “a start, not a finish”.
Chris Bowen says the government will support this amendment as well.
Here is some of what Mike Bowers covered this morning:
Karen Andrews says Labor climate target legislation ‘largely symbolic’
Karen Andrews told Sky News why she would not support the climate legislation:
I’ve also been listening to the people in my electorate and the people in Australia.
I think that legislating the target is largely symbolic. I don’t support that. I support absolute action being taken to lower our emissions. I’ve been saying that now for a couple of years, let’s get on and start delivering it.
Andrews appears to forget that for those “couple of years” she has been saying that, she was a member of the party which held government and had the power to actually act, not just “say” things.
Monique Ryan moves amendments for fellow independent Kate Chaney
Monique Ryan is moving Kate Chaney’s amendments as Chaney is in Covid isolation.
Chaney wants the legislation to reflect it will be a good, symbolic start to climate action, and include the urgency:
(1) Clause 3, page 2 (before line 15), before paragraph (a), insert:
(aa) to advance an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change drawing on the best available scientific knowledge; and
[climate change action]
(2) Clause 3, page 2 (line 21), after “accountability”, insert “and ambition”.
[climate change ambition]
Murph is watching from the gallery
I am not sure if Warren Entsch has ever actually followed through on crossing the floor, at least when it comes to climate legislation.
Teal independents praise government’s cross-party collaboration process
Back on the community independents’ press conference on the climate bill, a second interesting thread was their thoughts on how the government will (or may not) collaborate with them in future.
Labor doesn’t necessarily need the votes of the new wave of so-called “teal independents” to pass legislation in the House, but the group - Zali Steggall, Kylea Tink, Allegra Spender, Monique Ryan, Zoe Daniel and Sophie Scamps - said their contributions had improved the climate bill. They all praised the openness of the government’s senior ministers, particularly the climate minister, Chris Bowen, to work with them.
Tink, from North Sydney, said she wanted to see the collaboration with government continue over the rest of the parliamentary term. It’s likely the community independents will seek further close negotiations on reforms like a national integrity commission.
I would hope that the precedent, while it is unusual at this point in time, actually is the way we move forward.
Ryan claimed the process had “set a new standard” around cross-party collaboration.
Steggall said some tactics in question time, from the government and opposition, were not what she wanted to see, claiming it “doesn’t impress the Australian public”.
Tink admitted the government didn’t necessarily need her vote in the final count, but implored Labor to consider ways to bring politicians together from across the political divide.
Any government that seeks to lead a nation needs to take its people with it ... what we’ve seen here is the government recognises that just because you don’t sit on a seat on the government side, doesn’t mean your community’s voice doesn’t matter.
Daniel added that the collaboration should not be considered unusual.
OK, the government doesn’t need our votes, but the government needs our brains and our will.
They clearly see that 30% of Australia did not vote for the two major parties, and this government right now is hearing that and listening to those communities through us. It’s really positive, long may it continue.
Bridget Archer is voting with the government on the question of a second reading (Archer is the only Coalition MP to confirm she will cross the floor and support the legislation).
‘The climate wars are almost over,’ says Zali Steggall
Six of the “community independents” have welcomed the impending passage of the government’s climate bill through the House of Representatives, saying they still want bigger action on emissions reduction but praising Labor for being open to “collaboration”.
Warringah MP Zali Steggall was joined by new entrants Kylea Tink, Allegra Spender, Monique Ryan, Zoe Daniel and Sophie Scamps for a bumper joint press conference just before the bill passed. The group are all independents but have worked closely together in recent weeks, proposing and moving amendments to the climate bill and negotiating with the government.
While the government didn’t necessarily need their votes to pass the legislation (with Labor already holding a House majority on their own), the independents said their amendments had improved the bill and they were claiming it as a win.
The climate wars are almost over,” Steggall said.
Steggall said the parliament should be “more ambitious” than a 43% emissions cut, and flagged moving more amendments to see Australia’s nationally determined contributions be based on Climate Change Authority advice.
Daniel said some in her Goldstein electorate would be “disappointed” at the 43% target (having campaigned on a 60% cut). However she too praised the collaboration with Labor, calling it an “unusual” situation for the government to give them such an honest hearing.
Minister Bowen has been very willing to hear the positions of the various members of the crossbench, and several of our amendments will make it into the legislation that will pass,” Daniel said.
Steggall said she would push for further phase-out of coal and gas, and no new approvals, as flagged by Greens leader Adam Bandt yesterday.
We know there is already enough in the system,” she said.
We’re finally moving on mitigating the problem, but we need to stop exacerbating it.”
Steggall repeated that the climate wars were “nearly over”, noting fossil fuels as another fight to come.
Adam Bandt moves amendment on stopping new fossil fuel projects
The divisions on amendments are occurring in the house.
Adam Bandt just moved an amendment:
... whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the house acknowledges that for the government to reach their target of net zero by 2050, not one new coal, oil or gas project can commence.
You won’t be shocked to learn that the government did not support that one, although Zali Steggall, Zoe Daniel, Andrew Wilkie, Sophie Scamps and Kylea Tink voted with the Greens.
Climate bill debate resumes
The house is making its way through the amendments.
There are quite a few of them:
Stephen Jones is moving the public service superannuation bill for a third time.
He is responding to the Greens concerns about the “urgency” of the bill and says “no sane government” could do anything else, given it has the potential to cost the commonwealth $11bn if the loophole is not closed – enough, he says, to cover the cost of adding dental to Medicare, or more than is spent on the PBS.
Jones also thanks Zoe Daniel and Sophie Scamps for their “honourable” declarations of a conflict of interest. He says there was no legal requirement for them to do so, but it is welcome.
The bill heads off to the senate.
Public service superannuation bill passes
The public service superannuation bill overwhelmingly passes the house – just five noes for the second reading.
Just thinking on it – certainly in my time covering federal politics (since 2016) – I don’t think I have ever seen MPs stand up and declare a conflict of interest on a piece of legislation before.
They may have abstained because of a conflict, but I don’t think I have ever seen anyone stand up and say “I can’t be a part of this vote because of these reasons”.
It’s heartening to see and I hope more MPs follow suit. It is important, at the barest level, to improve trust in our democracy.
Simon Birmingham: Coalition will take greater climate ambitions to next election
Here is, from the transcript, Simon Birmingham saying if there was a need to legislate the climate target, he would support it “in a heartbeat” but because there isn’t the need to legislate (it can be done through regulations) he is not going to support the bill.
Just finally on the climate change bill, Bridget Archer will cross the floor and support Labor’s bill. She says this isn’t a left-right issue. What’s your response to that? Do you support it?
Look, I have nothing but respect for Bridget and I can understand how she has come to that conclusion. From my perspective, if the 43% target required legislation, then I would have wanted to vote for it in a heartbeat. However, it doesn’t require legislation. You’ve had Chris Bowen explain that to your listeners many times over now and indeed Anthony Albanese himself has said the government could have lived with the legislation or lived without the legislation. So in that sense I have come to the conclusion [that] what is important there is the target itself.
Let me pick you up on – you would have voted on it in a heartbeat? So it means that you think that that’s the reasonable reduction that Labor’s come to?
I think the important element there is support for higher ambition in reducing emissions and critically, I support that.
Peter Dutton has been clear following the deliberations the Coalition’s had this week that we will be taking a greater level of ambition to the next election and the test will now be in terms of that policy, making sure that it is a genuine policy for higher levels of emissions reduction backed by credible policies attached to that. And that’s the work that I look forward to us undertaking over the next couple of years.
Zoe Daniel, who worked as a foreign correspondent for the ABC and received rent-free housing as part of the job, and Sophie Scamps, who has a family member who has received the same as part of their job, have both declared conflicts of interests and will abstain from the vote on the public sector bill.
Transparency! You love to see it.
ACT government will cover all out-of-pocket costs for abortions
The ACT government has announced it will cover the out-of-pocket costs for people who need to access abortion health care.
From its release:
The ACT Government will ensure Canberrans have access to safe, accessible and affordable abortion services with funding for free medical and surgical abortions up to 16 weeks.
From early next year, all ACT residents will be eligible for this service, including those without a Medicare card.
The Government is investing more than $4.6 million over four years to remove out-of-pocket costs.
This investment is the latest action by the ACT Government to protect the rights of women and people who can become pregnant. The funding enables them to make decisions about their health care based on what is best for them and their bodies.
Government labels bill on public sector super ‘urgent’
The government is trying to declare the public sector superannuation legislation amendment bill 2022 “urgent”.
Adam Bandt says the Greens don’t know enough about it yet and the house needs more time to deliver.
This bill is about the loophole Paul Karp has been reporting on and the government is trying to retrospectively close the loophole that a court case has revealed because:
- some commonwealth employees could receive significant windfall increases in superannuation benefits that are well beyond community standards (in some cases in the millions of dollars) only because they have received rent-free housing.
- a small cohort of commonwealth employees could incur large, unexpected debts for unpaid member contributions in return for little or no increase in their superannuation benefits.
- the commonwealth could incur significant additional costs to meet increased superannuation benefits and additional employer contributions.
Mark Butler has given an update on monkeypox:
Case numbers are certainly growing in countries that haven’t traditionally experienced monkeypox – countries outside of Africa. There are more than 25,000 cases I saw last night on the US CDC site, most of them in North America, the UK and Europe.
There are, at last count, about 55 cases having been recorded here in Australia. We’re certainly running well behind the level of case reporting you see in the US, Canada, Europe and UK. But we’ve been working very hard on this response for the last several weeks, and I’ll be able to announce it later today.
The last parliament session of the sitting has officially begun.
More than 12,000 Australians have died of Covid since the pandemic began (“post- pandemic” is a little like saying postcolonialism or postpartum – the “post” means forever changed, never to return to what was).
So it may be cold comfort to learn we are past the peak of this winter for many. We are thinking of you and how the pandemic has changed life for so many.
Health minister ‘quietly hoping’ Covid wave has reached its peak
Have we passed the winter peak of Covid?
Mark Butler tells the Nine network:
That is what I’m hearing. We’re not calling it yet. There is what we’ve seen through the pandemic, something of a school holiday effect where transmission seems to dip off because of the different types of activity and school holidays.
But it does seem clear cases are starting to peak and maybe drop off in some states. And very pleasingly hospital numbers have dropped off over the last couple of weeks.
They’re still very large. There’s still about 5,000 Australians in hospital with Covid. That’s placing enormous pressure on our hard working doctors and nurses and other hospital staff.
But we are quietly hoping that we have reached the peak earlier than we than we expected to. What is clear is that we’re certainly past the peak of influenza, and that’s relieving some pressure on our hospital system.
The parliament will sit at 9am – once the morning proceedings are done, it will be into the climate bill – people are getting ready to head to the galleries to watch it pass the house.
It has been a very, very long decade. There are a lot of people who need to see this, even if there is still a very, very long way for us to go to actually start acting.
More detail on independents’ amendments to Labor climate bill
There are two main amendments from the independents which the government seem to be in support of.
One, from Curtin MP Kate Chaney (who is isolating with Covid) will be moved by Monique Ryan on her behalf is an amendment to the Objects clause of the Bill so that it clearly states that its intention is to actually drive climate action, and that the action is linked to the science.
That will be relevant in future reviews of the bill’s efficient and in any interpretation of the bill.
The inclusion of an Objects clause that addresses targets, accountability, expert advice and the need for climate action in line with the science makes it clear that this is the beginning of a new era in Australia,” Chaney said in a statement.
North Sydney MP Kylea Tink has an amendment which acknowledges the impact of climate change. That is not so much about the function of the legislation, but it does add in why it is so important.
Helen Haines, who is also in Covid isolation, has an amendment she flagged earlier in the week which adds in regional perspectives to the climate change authority functions, and includes appointing regional experts to the authority, as well as adding in a regional focus to the minister’s statement. The government seems to be in support to that one as well.
The independents also won a “floor not a ceiling” concession that was negotiated as part of the bill already.
Everyone seems pleasantly surprised at how the legislation negotiations were carried out, which hopefully bodes well for future sticking points.
MPs and senators weigh in on climate bill debate
As Amy flagged earlier, today is still all about climate. Roaming the halls of the press gallery this morning between media spots, Chris Bowen, Simon Birmingham and David Pocock all weighed into the debate from their respective sides in a series of doorstop interviews.
Bowen, the climate and energy minister, praised the “courage” of Liberal MP Bridget Archer who pledged to cross the floor and vote for the government’s 43% emissions reduction cut.
What is a point worth noting though, is she is one of a Liberal National caucus of more than 60. All they can find is one person who gets it. That’s a lament on the modern Liberal party.
They’ve got to decide whether they want to be a credible alternative opposition or an irrelevant rump on the side.
Pausing for emphasis between each word, Bowen claimed the opposition “Just. Don’t. Get. It.”
Birmingham, one of the few Liberal moderates left in the caucus, said he backed higher climate ambition but said Labor’s legislation was “close to window dressing”.
He said he had “nothing but respect” for Archer’s decision, and that he “understands the decision she’s come to”.
The shadow foreign affairs minister flagged the opposition would set its own climate targets, which he said he wanted to be higher than the Abbott-era 26-28% by 2030, closer to the next election.
Pocock, the independent senator from the ACT, now emerges as a crucial linchpin in the Senate vote – with his support alone enough to tip the vote over the edge into majority. He welcomed the legislation but said the target was not high enough, and was still making up his mind.
Pocock told the ABC he was “not here to rubber-stamp government bills”, signalling he would keep examining the bill through a Senate committee and was negotiating with Bowen on more amendments.
Working with the crossbench to put forward things that are sensible will actually strengthen what we’re trying to do,” Pocock said.
A number of the lower house “community independents” (referred to colloquially by some as “the teals”) will hold their own press conference shortly.
UN secretary general António Guterres accuses fossil fuel companies of ‘grotesque greed’
The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has described the record profits of oil and gas companies as immoral and urged governments to introduce a windfall tax, using the money to help those in the most need.
Speaking in New York on Wednesday, Guterres said the “grotesque greed” of the fossil fuel companies and their financial backers had led to the combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year hitting almost $100bn (£82bn).
“It is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the backs of the poorest people and communities, at a massive cost to the climate,” he said.
“I urge all governments to tax these excessive profits, and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people through these difficult times.”
Read more here:
Independents to put amendments to Labor’s climate bill
We’ll be hearing from the independents who were elected at the last election on a platform of more climate action in about 15 minutes.
They are putting through amendments to the government’s climate bill today. They are modest amendments, but have been part of the negotiations with Labor.
The independents work together on issues they have common ground on, but there is no formal voting arrangement among them. Each has said they will look at each piece of legislation on its merits.
Global heating could quickly reverse Great Barrier Reef coral recovery
In less cheery Queensland news, Graham Readfearn has a depressing update on the Great Barrier Reef:
Marine scientists monitoring the Great Barrier Reef say they have recorded the highest levels of coral cover in 36 years in the north and central areas, but warned any recovery could be quickly overturned by global heating.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science’s annual long-term monitoring report says the fast-growing corals that have driven coral cover upwards are also those most at risk from marine heatwaves, storms and the voracious crown-of-thorns starfish.
Global heating is accepted by scientists as the reef’s biggest long-term threat.
The capital of the Greatest Nation on Earth looked a lot like Canberra this morning (which is particularly dreary with a half-hearted attempt at a thunderstorm this morning).
Brisbane was looking a bit Gotham-esque:
Emissions reduction target ‘doesn’t require legislation’: Simon Birmingham
Simon Birmingham, one of the remaining moderates in the Liberal party room, was asked by Patricia Karvelas about his colleague Bridget Archer confirming she will cross the floor to support the government’s climate bill.
Will Birmingham – the man who, the day after the Liberals’ huge loss, said it was time for the party to get real on climate – act on the bill?
Well no. But not because he doesn’t care, but because he doesn’t have to:
We’ve got I have nothing but respect for Bridget and I can understand how she has come to that conclusion. From my perspective if the 43% target required legislation, then I would have wanted to vote for it in a heartbeat.
However, it doesn’t require legislation. You’ve had Chris Bowen explain that to your listeners many times over now. And indeed, Anthony Albanese himself has said the government could have lived with the legislation or live without the legislation.
There were some *special* speeches as part of the climate debate last night.
Bridget Archer confirmed she would cross the floor.
And Barnaby Joyce confirmed he is still fighting battles from a time when some thought he was “Australia’s best retail politician”.
He told the house last night the climate bill would do nothing. But that it would also destroy the economy. (This when people are receiving power bills that have them considering whether they can afford to eat every day while they pay it off.)
I’ve always wondered why perfectly sane, well-educated individuals fall for this form of absolutism. I believe that the attraction is primarily aesthetic and that the experience is fun, because the world of a sort of quasi-conspiracy theory is very like the world of a game.
The rage and fear and conviction that conspiracy theorists display are aestheticised versions of the real things. This perennial focus on the weather is a peculiar tension between philosophical monism and an alternative view.
Tonight we’ve even heard of that quasi-religion—and it is a quasi-religion. They extol the virtue of believers. They talk about deniers. They have an absolute belief, without any version of thermodynamics or atmospheric science. It is a form and extension of a paranoia.
We’ve heard tonight about disease, temperature, floods, fires – a great catastrophe, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – which are somehow to be avoided by the passage of a piece of legislation through this house.
It is a fact that there is nothing of this legislation that will affect the climate – nothing at all. It is a form of virtue signalling. It is a form of – at its best – being a part of a global movement, but a global movement that the vast majority of the globe is not part of.
We have made it to the last day of the first sitting.
What a month.
It’s still all about climate, but now it’s about climate with a sense of optimism. The independents elected on climate action platforms will put through their amendments and the bill will pass the house, with the knowledge it will also pass the senate.
For the first time in a decade, Australia will have a climate policy. The Coalition dealt itself out at the first opportunity (standard when it comes to the Coalition and climate action) and the Greens stepped into the role of a constructive opposition.
Adam Bandt managed to have his party room all facing the same way. Now the Greens and the crossbench are focused on pushing Labor to do more. But it says something about the 47th parliament that this legislation, as ‘symbolic’ as it is, will be passed, because it’s what needs to happen.
Murph puts all that much more eloquently (as she always does):
But there is still much to do.
Mike Bowers is up and about already because of course he is – the man is a machine. I’m borrowing from his life force to get this blog out today.
Katharine Murphy is also already at her desk, despite burning the midnight oils again last night. I am also borrowing from her lifeforce (you can hear her on ABC radio RN just before 8am).
Paul Karp, Sarah Martin, Josh Butler and Tory Shepherd round out your Canberra team.
We’ll cover the day, along with the rest of the Guardian brains trust filling the blanks.
It’s an apple and my second black coffee today – turns out biscuits for breakfast does not make for a healthy day. Who knew?!