What we learned: Thursday 1 December

That’s a wrap for the blog. Here are the day’s major developments:

  • Chris Bowen delivered the first annual climate change statement, where he announced that emissions projection shows Australia on track for 40% reduction by 2030.

  • A Senate filibuster slowed the industrial relations bill, which is now set to pass on Thursday evening before returning to the House of Representatives at 8am on Friday

  • Tanya Plibersek said states ‘equally determined’ to relieve cost-of-living woes ahead of coal pricing talks.

  • Services Australia and the NDIA agreed to a joint review into Synergy 360 lobbying scandal.

  • The federal government denounced the release of the stolen Medibank data as “morally reprehensible”.

  • Prof Sean Turnell attended question time after release from Myanmar, getting a standing ovation from parliamentarians.

  • The ACTU released its latest cost of living survey that showed up to a quarter of Australians are already skipping meals because of the cost of living.

  • The Australia Institute released new polling that showed three-quarters of women say their wages have either not risen at all or not kept pace with cost of living.

  • The ACT chief minister, Andrew Barr, said he hopes to have a euthanasia scheme up and running in Canberra by late 2023.

  • The New South Wales government announced it will host a viewing party for the Socceroos historic round of 16 clash with Argentina on Sunday.

  • Western Australia moved to criminalise gay conversion practices after hearing evidence of mistreatment from former residents of the Esther Foundation women’s rehabilitation centre.


Body of missing teenager found in far north Queensland

AAP is reporting that the body of a teenager who had been missing in Queensland’s remote north has been found, with a report to be prepared for the coroner.

Tea Wright-Finger, 19, was last seen in a blue Toyota Prado near Richmond, roughly 500km west of Townsville, on 16 October.

The vehicle was found in bushland on Wednesday, and the teen’s body was found just over 600 metres away on Thursday.

Police do not believe her death is suspicious, and a report will be submitted to the coroner.

  • In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at befrienders.org


The Senate continues debating the territory rights bill, and amendments from Coalition senator Jacinta Price to limit euthanasia in the territories so that disability or mental health cannot be the only factor by which someone accesses voluntary assisted dying.

Coalition Senate leader Simon Birmingham, a supporter of the bill, said the federal government shouldn’t “part-legislate” euthanasia for the territories, declining to support Price’s proposal.

ACT independent David Pocock said the territories would enact similar laws to the states, which already make similar restrictions on age and access - so didn’t see the need for the federal government to leave such restrictions in place for the territories.

Greens senator Jordon Steele-John, who uses a wheelchair, called it a “cynical political move” and not necessary to support people with a disability. His Greens colleague, Sarah Hanson-Young, said it had been a “night of shame” when the original restrictions on euthanasia were passed in 1997.

Jacqui Lambie Network senator Tammy Tyrrell said the federal government shouldn’t deprive anyone of the choice to end their own life, supporting the repeal.

Numerous senators have praised each other, and the Senate itself, for the “respectful” process by which this debate has been conducted. Labor senator Deborah O’Neill and Coalition’s Paul Scarr have spoken about discussions being had “in good faith”, while One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts praised Labor Senate manager Katy Gallagher for allowing amendments from opponents of the change to be tabled and debated.

Territory rights bill debate begins in Senate

The Senate is now debating the territory rights voluntary assisted dying bill, which is expected to pass.

After a long filibuster on industrial relations the government believes it will be able to pass it this evening – in time for the lower house to give it the tick first thing (8am) tomorrow, not on Saturday as scheduled (and threatened).

It seems the Coalition’s lower house leadership and Senate leadership have been on a different page all day, with Labor believing the former wanted to get IR done quickly and the latter showing the opposite intention.

All things liable to change without notice, but for the moment it looks like we’ve got the tradition of a messy end of parliamentary year without the bonus of an unusual Saturday sitting.


The House of Representatives has suspended sitting until 8 AM tomorrow #auspol

— Political Alert (@political_alert) December 1, 2022

Jacinta Price proposes amendments to limit euthanasia in the NT and ACT

The Senate has turned to the territory rights bill, after some serious weirdness toward the end of the industrial relations bill debate (the chamber will return to that debate later on, so enjoy).

As flagged earlier, Northern Territory senator Jacinta Price has proposed amendments to limit euthanasia in the NT and ACT to those 18 and over, and restrictions so that disability or mental illness can’t be the only factors by which a person can access assisted dying.

The amendments have been shot down by Labor Senate manager Katy Gallagher, who said the repeal of the Andrews law was about removing federal restrictions on the territories – and didn’t see the point of still keeping restrictions on the territories.

ACT independent David Pocock said the territories would enact similar laws to the states, which already make similar restrictions on age and access – so didn’t see the need for the federal government to leave such restrictions in place for the territories. He said the repeal was about the democratic rights of territories to make their own laws without federal interference.

The Senate, usually deserted at 6pm on a Thursday, is relatively full. There’s a few dozen people in the public gallery to watch the debate, while House of Representatives members Alicia Payne (from the ACT) , Luke Gosling and Marion Scrymgour (both from the NT) also sitting in to listen.

Supporters think the debate could be done and dusted by 7pm.


And to break things up a bit, here are some cute photos of senator David Pocock hanging out with Queensland Labor senator Nita Green and baby Stevie, during the debate on amendments to the IR legislation in the Senate:

Independent ACT Senator David Pocock and Queensland Labor senator Nita Green with baby Stevie during debate on amendments to the IR legislation in the senate chamber of Parliament House, Canberra this afternoon.
Independent ACT Senator David Pocock and Queensland Labor senator Nita Green with baby Stevie during debate on amendments to the IR legislation in the senate chamber of Parliament House, Canberra this afternoon.

Sticking with the baby theme, here are some shots of the baby gate on the office door of minister for aged care and sport Anika Wells, to keep her twins, Oshy and Dash, from wandering around parliament:

The Ministerial office of the minister for Aged Care and Sport Anika Wells has a baby gate installed to keep her twins Oshy (right) and Dash from wandering in the Ministeriaal Wing of Parliament House, Canberra this afternoon.


Gay conversion practices to be a made criminal offence in WA

AAP is reporting that Western Australia will criminalise gay conversion practices after hearing harrowing evidence of mistreatment from former residents of the Esther Foundation women’s rehabilitation centre.

A parliamentary inquiry heard evidence residents were physically and sexually abused at the Perth facility, administered unprescribed medication and forcibly restrained for “exorcism or deliverance of demons and faith healing”.

A report by the inquiry, tabled in state parliament on Thursday, said LGBTQI residents were told their sexuality was “caused by demons that needed to be removed through prayer”.

The report stated that women who shared attractions were pitted against each other as predators and victims.

The centre, which opened in the early 2000s and had links to Pentecostal churches, entered administration in April after allegations by former residents were made public.

Premier Mark McGowan on Thursday said the government would act on a committee recommendation to outlaw conversion practices.

Accredited health professionals who are regulated through professional bodies and provide “lawful and ethical care”, including for people seeking to affirm gender through medical treatments, will not be included in the ban.

“This government has a strong record in supporting LGBTIQA+ people in WA and is opposed to attempts to forcibly change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” McGowan said in a statement.

Not only are conversion and suppression practices ineffective but they undermine the fundamental value of personal dignity and have long term negative impacts on the health and mental health of LGBTIQA+ people in our community.


The Coalition is signalling its opposition to the Labor government’s bill to update referendum processes, upset that the plan includes a proposal to scrap a written pamphlet distributed to voters.

Updates to the Referendum Machinery Act were introduced this morning, with proposed changes to restrict foreign donations and campaigners, no government funding for the Yes and No campaign, and public money for education and to combat “misinformation”.

Current referendum laws require the government to produce and mail information pamphlets to voters, containing 2,000-word essays from those in favour and those opposed to the referendum change. That provision would be scrapped.

“The next referendum will be the first in the digital age. There is no longer any need for taxpayers to pay for a pamphlet to be sent to every household,” said special minister of state Don Farrell in a joint statement with the Indigenous Australians minister, Linda Burney, the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, and reconciliation envoy Patrick Dodson.

Shadow special minister of state Jane Hume and shadow attorney general Julian Leeser said that last change would be “extraordinary” and would threaten the success of the referendum itself.

“The new laws, if passed, will strip away any formal ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ campaign in the referendum on the Voice, preventing Australians from receiving official information on the referendum question and leaving the field wide open for misinformation and interference,” they said in a statement this afternoon.

The Coalition is calling on the Government to maintain a document that outlines the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ case for the upcoming referendum.”

A successful referendum will only occur if the change is clearly explained, and there is transparency and detail.

Hume said removing the official pamphlet would threaten how people considered the change.

“We have seen misinformation play a role in elections across the world and in Australia. But this is more than just an election, this is changing Australia’s governing document – it could not be more important,” she said.

“Labor should trust the Australian people to get this decision right and the best way to do that is ensure they have official information.”

She also flagged concerns that the Coalition would pursue, about “how ready Labor is to proceed to a referendum without an official ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ campaign”.


The Victorian Greens have conceded in the inner-city Melbourne seat of Northcote after the weekend’s state election.

The Greens – who seized the traditional Labor seat of Richmond – had been confident of winning the seat of Northcote. But postal and early votes favoured incumbent Labor MP Kat Theophanous.

On Twitter, Greens candidate Campbell Gome congratulated Theophanous:

Congratulations to Kat Theophanous for retaining the seat of Northcote. I have called Kat this afternoon to concede, and wish her well as she endeavours to build a better future for all the people living in Northcote #vicvotes

— Campbell Gome - Greens candidate for Northcote (@CampbellGomeGrn) December 1, 2022


NSW government announces viewing site for Socceroos match

And finally, after announcements from various other states, the NSW government has announced it will be showing the Socceroos historic World Cup match in Darling Harbour.

A “large screen” will be set up at Tumbalong Park from 5.30am in Darling Harbour, as part of an alcohol-free public event, with retailers encouraged to open early and free transport from 4am to noon on Sunday.

In a winding statement, premier Dominic Perrottet said the site was a chance for fans to “gather together to celebrate a historic moment”:

The effort the team put in to beat Denmark was truly remarkable – a true testament of the Australian spirit in the way they defended every Danish attack, were tenacious in every tackle, and sealed it with a spectacular goal.

On Sunday morning Sydney football fans can watch the game together and cheer on the team as they push to make history and earn a spot in the quarter-finals.

Socceroos fans watch Australia play Denmark in the FIFA World Cup, at Federation Square in Melbourne.
Socceroos fans watch Australia play Denmark in the FIFA World Cup, at Federation Square in Melbourne. Photograph: Con Chronis/AAP

Minister for cities, Rob Stokes, made a dramatic call that Australia was ready to seek “revenge” after Argentina defeated Australia in a qualifier in 1993. He also said Australia’s “squad of underdogs were ready to herd the GOAT” (I assume this is in reference to Lionel Messi, but assumptions only take you so far):

Diego Maradona’s Argentina famously crushed Australia’s World Cup dreams in 1993 and now we have the chance to seek revenge on Lionel Messi’s Argentina, with our squad of underdogs ready to herd the GOAT.

This is one of those rare moments in time where we can get together in the greatest city in the world to celebrate living in the greatest country in the world, so I encourage everyone to do just that.


Good afternoon, Mostafa Rachwani with you this afternoon, and as always we start with a quick thanks to the amazing Amy Remeikis for her stellar work today and all week. There is still much to get through, so let’s dive in.

As the Senate continues to divide on amendments for the IR bill, we all wait to find out if we are coming back tomorrow or Saturday.

Either way, it is a fitting way to end the last full sitting day of the year – no one really knowing what is going on and everyone kinda annoyed.


But it would be remiss of me to end my time on the blog this sitting day without giving a very big thank you to the Guardian Canberra team, led by Katharine Murphy, for everything they do every single day to make sure you are as up to date and informed as possible to make your mind up on issues. Murph is an absolute beacon of integrity and wisdom and knows when to call for a cup of tea, or give some much needed context. We are all very lucky in this bureau.

Murph, Sarah Martin, Paul Karp, Josh Butler and Daniel Hurst are absolute champions and I would be lost without them. The entire Guardian operation goes above and beyond to make sure you have the stories you need to. Lenore Taylor leads our small but mighty team as she does all things – with an unblinking eye on what is true and fair. As I said, we are very lucky indeed.

A very big thank you to Mike Bowers, whom I would be lost without. He is the heart and soul of the Politics Live blog and if you could see how hard he works, while still coming in with a smile and a piece of information you could find nowhere else, you would understand why we all wish we could clone him 80 times over. Thank you Mikey.

To all of the people you don’t see who keep this blog running – thank you. From the moderators who do all they can to keep things moving and keep us all safe, to the producers and subs who clean up my numerous typos, to the audio and visual team who work overtime to bring you to the chamber through soundbites, trawling through hours of footage to bring you a snapshot of the day, to the podcast team who make us make sense, to the editors who keep an eye on us all and a gentle hand on the edit button, to the journalists in other bureaus who keep us updated while chasing their own stories – thank you, thank you, thank you.

But as always, thank you to you, our readers, for not only joining us every day, but reminding us why we do it and why all of this matters. The last few years each and everyone of you made sure your voice was heard, and made sure the powers that be were reminded why our democracy matters. Why it is so precious. You inspire us all and push us to find those answers to the questions you ask. Thank you.

Thank you for coming along with us. It means more than you know. Please be gentle with yourself over the summer break and take time for yourselves. Take a moment to reflect on this year. It’s been a massive one. And you have all played a role in making it memorable. Thank you.

With that, I will hand over to Mostafa Rachwani for the rest of the afternoon. I’ll be back on political general news, and the general news blog will pick up all the news you need across the board, so make sure you come back for that.

Until then, please – take care of you. Ax


ACT euthanasia scheme could be running by 2023 if ban is overturned

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr said he hopes to have a euthanasia scheme up and running in Canberra by late 2023, with the federal Senate likely just hours away from overturning a 25-year ban on the territories making their own laws on voluntary assisted dying.

The “territory rights” bill, allowing the ACT and NT to make their own euthanasia legislation, will return for debate at 5.30pm. The Senate is an unpredictable place (particularly on the last day of the year) but supporters hope it’ll pass through quickly and be over by 7pm.

Backers of the change came together at Parliament House this afternoon to mark its likely overhaul. Barr joined Labor colleagues Luke Gosling, Alicia Payne and Andrew Leigh, as well as independent senator David Pocock, and former NT and ACT politicians for a press conference.

Leigh said the change would “right a historic wrong”, claiming the territories had been “held back” by the legislation. Barr promised a long consultation period before euthanasia would be debated or enacted in the ACT, which he said would begin in early 2023. He plans to bring forward legislation in the second half of next year, which will go to a parliamentary committee for about three months, and hoped to have a system in place by late 2023 or early the next year.

Barr said the ACT would be informed by the experiences of other states (every other state has legalised euthanasia) and hoped to have “the best and most effective” laws in the country.

Marshall Perron, the NT chief minister who introduced world-first euthanasia laws in 1995 (which the federal ban was legislated in response to) claimed up to 1,000 people could have used the euthanasia system in the NT in the period it had been disallowed. He called this a “tragedy”.

Pocock said every other state had already moved on euthanasia, and it was time for politicians to catch up to societal changes.


Someone appears to be choking in the Senate chamber.

The coughs are loud enough to be picked up by broadcast.

Hope they are OK.


Over in the Senate, where we have had Mean Girls quoted and about 3m hours of filibustering (or at least felt like it) we are now moving on to David Pocock’s amendments to the IR bill.


Chris Bowen’s social media manager is ON it today

Barnaby Joyce asked me about power plant closures in the Hunter today in Question Time. It didn't go the way he thought it would... pic.twitter.com/mvrveH4JUx

— Chris Bowen (@Bowenchris) December 1, 2022

Michaelia Cash is still talking.

Very loudly.

She has conceded that the bill will pass “and it will pass very soon” but she has then spoken A LOT about why the bill should not pass (but it will).

The question is WHEN the bill will pass.

Peter Dutton has now done the public hurry up – because he does not seem to want the house to come back on Saturday to deal with the Senate amendments. He wants it tied up tomorrow.

Which had been the plan earlier this week, when it looked like everyone was on the same page.

But to be fair, this is kinda the only moment Cash has – once this passes, the IR battle will be done (more or less) for this term. So this is it.

So she wrung out every single bit of blood she could out of that stone.

But none of us can beat the clock. The ticking end to a Senate debate comes to us all.
And it is coming to Cash, now.

Michaelia Cash
Michaelia Cash tries to beat the clock. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


It is in writing now.

Too late to call a national holiday after the @Socceroos huge win against Denmark last night. But if we win the #FIFAWorldCup... that might be a different story.

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) December 1, 2022


‘Morally reprehensible’: government denounces release of stolen Medibank data

The federal government has denounced the release of the stolen Medibank data as “morally reprehensible”.

The home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil, and the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, issued a joint media release a short time ago:

This morning the Australian Government was advised that the cyber criminals who stole from Medibank and AHM customers have released potentially all stolen data onto the dark web.

The Australian Signals Directorate first engaged Medibank on 12 October, and the Australian Government stands with the victims of this cyber incident.

The release of such sensitive and personal data is morally reprehensible.
We anticipated the release of this data, which is why we activated the National Coordination Mechanism to ensure that all possible support is being provided to Medibank and those affected by this incident. The NCM has met today to respond to this latest development.

The ministers said they had previously asked Medibank to develop a one-stop shop to support affected customers. They said any Medibank Private customer concerned about the data released today could call 13 23 31, while any AHM customer could call 13 42 46.

A Medibank sign is seen at a store on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne.

The ministers also directed individuals and businesses to look at advice from the Australian Cyber Security Centre on how to boost their cyber security.

The statement included the following tips:

  • Monitor all your devices and accounts for unusual activity. Report unusual activity to cyber.gov.au, IDCARE (1800 595 160), and your bank.

  • Be alert for scams that make reference to Medibank Private. Do not click on links in suspicious emails or messages that reference Medibank Private. Visit scamwatch.gov.au for help.

  • Ensure your devices and accounts have the latest security updates. This includes ensuring your devices and accounts have multi-factor authentication enabled.

  • Replace your Medicare card if you believe it has been stolen. This can be done at no cost through MyGov.


For those who observe:

December 1, 2009: Tony Abbott replaced Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader after a Liberal Party leadership ballot. pic.twitter.com/AX43VF0bE9

— Canberra Insider (@CanberraInsider) December 1, 2022


It seems as though Michaelia Cash may have picked up what Peter Dutton was putting down (with his very public shhhhhhhh to the Senate team) and the Coalition in the Senate are now motoring through the Senate amendments to the IR bill.

Aka stop talking @SenatorCash pic.twitter.com/TqxqzQyV0D

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) December 1, 2022

Will the house get out of the Saturday sitting?

We shall find out very soon.


The territory rights bill will get through the Senate tonight, allegedly by 7-ish.

And the numbers are looking good for supporters of the private member’s bill – which, if successful, will mean the ACT and the NT will be able to make their own legislation on voluntary assisted dying, if their parliaments so wish.


Services Australia and NDIA agree to joint review into Synergy 360 lobbying scandal

Shortly before Stuart Robert’s personal explanation, the government services minister Bill Shorten said:

I seek to update the house with further informations relating to the matters revealed by the leaked emails into the Synergy 360 lobbying scandal.

The heads of the two agencies for which I’m the responsible minister have taken the initiative of agreeing to a joint review of this matter.

This will involve the appointment of an eminent Australian across Services Australia and the NDIA, this arrangement will ensure there is no real or perceived conflict of interest that might exist were agencies to investigate themselves.

This will provide important independence as we seek to get to the bottom of whether there was any misconduct.

Taxpayers and voters have the right to know if there is any impropriety and equally be assured government contract processes are merit-based and not swayed by special interests or lobbyists. The terms of reference of this review will be finalised in coming days and weeks.”


But wait!

Peter Dutton stands up to say he has been advised by his Senate team that they think they can get through the legislation tonight.

And the house could come back early tomorrow morning to deal with any amendments.

Dutton references the western Sydney event most of Labor is going to tomorrow night, which is commemorating the 50th anniversary of Gough Whitlam’s 1972 election win.

He says it can be done before that.

Dutton wants the house to come back tomorrow morning. It can not be done for *reasons* so the house is back on Saturday morning.


Lower house will return on Saturday morning, Burke says

The House is coming back on Saturday morning, Tony Burke says, as it does not believe that it can get through the amendments today.


Bill Shorten says there will be a joint investigation into the allegations raised against Stuart Robert.

Robert is now making a statement

I reiterate what I told the House last week. I reject their implied imputation in the strongest possible language. I reiterate that all departmental procurements were run with the highest probity and to that end, I wrote to the CEO of Services Australia first thing this morning to request that she provide probity confirmation to me so I can provide to the house as is appropriate.

Robert says he welcomes the findings of the inquiry.

A lot of Christmas cards got signed during this question time. A lot.

Happy holidays.


Milton Dick is thanking all the chamber staff for their work this year (and every year) as well as the parliamentary staff at large.

“To the staff of parliamentary services, we say a very huge thank-you.”

Particularly those who keep us fed and caffeinated. (And we pay for it, before you ask.)


Peter Dutton is now on his feet speaking to the motion.

He is giving a shout-out to the No 1 ticket holder of Australian football in the parliament, which is Dom from Aussie’s (the cafe).


The lols just keep coming.

“Parliament won’t sit for the rest of the World Cup, unless the Senate keeps talking,” Anthony Albanese says.

“And that is a possibility.”


“I do note, the calls are out across Australia for a public holiday to be declared, and I say today, it was a bit late at 4am to call a public holiday, but if we win the World Cup, that may be a different story, so we will see how that goes. It might be a bit hard to resist,” Anthony Albanese says.


Question time ends

And we move to a motion congratulating the Socceroos for their win against Denmark overnight.

Is leave granted, Milton Dick asks.

“Of course it is,” says Peter Dutton.

Anthony Albanese then starts off by saying that there are a few dusty heads in the chamber for people who got up to watch the game.

“It was an extraordinary win against a very high-class team,” says Albanese.


Please enjoy this Mike Bowers series of the two-man show “men in glasses yell at each other”.

Loud noises
Loud noises. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
More loud noises
More loud noises. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Louder noises
Louder noises. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
I love lamp
I love lamp. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Kate Chaney gets the third crossbench question, which is on the climate change authority advice and what the government intends to do to meet our emissions reduction target.

It is too late to have any transcription of this, but Chris Bowen says the government intends to reform the safeguards emission (a Tony Abbott-era policy which was designed not to work, but now may be reformed to work).


Question time resumes with another dixer. Anthony Albanese should call time on the session very soon.

I’m not sure if this is his tell yet – I haven’t spent enough time in the chamber. For Malcolm Turnbull it was putting his phone(s) away.

Scott Morrison stacked his papers.

Anthony Albanese has tidied his desk – let’s see if that is it.


During that speech Anthony Albanese made, Daniel Hurst points out he made this point on China:

[It is a] major trading partner that imports more goods from Australia than the US, Japan & Korea combined and yes: I had a meeting with President Xi. Yes I did – with no concessions, not one, no preconditions.”


The vote to suspend standing orders is happening – Labor will win this, as they have the numbers in the house.

The crossbench are abstaining.

Oh no – there is some life in the opposition. I stand corrected.

There are a lot of Coalition MPs who get very exercised when Anthony Albanese said they “lined up to kiss the ring” of Scott Morrison after the censure motion yesterday.

Morrison is not in the chamber.


Anthony Albanese is responding to the motion to suspend standing orders and is having a very good time pointing out how little media Peter Dutton has done, as well as the questions he has faced from friendly media like Paul Murray, who suggested Dutton had two-and-a-half years to make policy around one word “freedom”.

“Mel Gibson’s Braveheart or George Michael version,” Albanese wonders.

Then Albanese goes through what he believes Labor’s achievements are.

“You have deceived the Australian people,” says Dutton.

But Albanese is having too much fun to hear him. And Labor is very good at the hear hears and the rah rah and looking engaged.

The Liberals’ Angie Bell is waving at school kids in the gallery.


Bill Shorten details timeline of ECE contracts

While we wait, we have the house transcript of a question from Joanne Ryan to Bill Shorten

Ryan: Thank you. My question is to the minister for government services. I refer to the minister’s previous answer regarding government contracts, and further media reports this morning. What more information has emerged and what are the circumstances and performance of the relevant ECE contracts in the minister’s portfolio, including any probity issues?

Shorten: The new revelations in today’s media are concerning. Since last week, I have ascertained the following. Four contracts with a total bill of, value of, $274m to upgrade payments and human services called the ECE project.

“It’s still going.

“The timeline for ECE is as follows:

  • 2 October 2018 ECE tender opens – three companies including Infosys shortlisted.

  • 29 May 2019, member for Fadden appointed minister for human services and NDIS.

  • 26 June 2019, leaked emails reveal minister meets Infosys and his good friend David, a paid consultant in Sydney.

  • 2 July 2019, final valuation submitted – negotiation as to value and period of contract continue for another four months.

  • 8 November 2019, Infosys was awarded contract for first of four contracts valued at $18m.

  • 19 November 2010, minister meets Infosys.

  • 30 December 2019, minister meets friend Mil at Gold Coast, triggers email saying “Minister gave insights on progress of Infosys and future opportunities”.

  • 1 February 2020, minister guest speaker at Infosys conference at Melbourne Park on afternoon of the Australian Open finals.

  • 1 July 2020, Infosys awarded a further $142m contract.

“At the same time, wheels start to come off the project. It has to be overhauled and one of the unsuccessful tenderers is called in to resuscitate the project.

“In light of these facts and other materials from the Synergy 360 papers I have asked agencies a range of questions including:

  • Did the former minister ever alert the department he was meeting Synergy 360 and/or Infosys up to and after its successful bid?

  • Were unsuccessful rival ECE bidders IMB and Isentia ever notified of the member for Fadden’s meeting with the Infosys consultant?

  • What, if any, meetings occurred in his personal office and Services Australia about the progress of the ECE contract pre- and post-Infosys being awarded the contract.

  • Were status reports to be provided at least monthly to Minister Robert and any of his personal staff?

  • What, if any contracts, were awarded to Synergy 360 clients with areas of responsibility to Minister Robert? Including, but not limited to Dell, Adobe, Infosys and Salesforce.

“Finally, I remind members of parliament and the member for Fadden after an unfortunate development this morning, police came through my office.

“If you have any request of the relevant agencies do not do what you did this morning and inappropriately task and pressure public servants who are no longer your ministerial responsibility.”


Sussan Ley has seconded the motion and Alex Hawke takes the opportunity to escape his seat mate and have chats to others on the backbench.

Labor MPs are having a lovely chat.

The opposition aren’t exactly chewing at the bit to back in this motion here.


Peter Dutton then gives Anthony Albanese a laugh as a little early Christmas present:

I wish I had more time. I wish the government would allow us to have the debate.

He says, during the debate.


Peter Dutton is running the arguments we have heard about Labor reneging on its power price promise (which was to cut $275 off power bills by 2025, as modelled by RepuTex, before the Ukraine war took hold).

But he wanders into no-go territory when he begins referencing ministerial staff.

Tony Burke pops up to remind the House that there are two conventions – you don’t go after family, and you don’t go after staff.

Dutton backs down.


Labor is allowing debate, so Peter Dutton gets to go off and Labor gets to have a bit of a chat. The Coalition is doing its best to look engaged and energised.


And the motion:

That this House notes that before the election, the prime minister promised on at least 97 occasions that Australians would receive a $275 cut in their power bills. Since the election, the prime minister has abandoned this promise and refused on 27 occasions to stand by this promise when asked about it in this House. Therefore condemn the prime minister for cynically and deliberately misleading the Australian people.


It’s like it is 2021 all over again.

Except this time, it is Tony Burke denying leave, not Peter Dutton denying leave.

And now, because this day is not long enough, Peter Dutton decides now is the perfect time to try and suspend standing orders.


Labor questioned on the recycling of solar panels and lithium batteries

Dr Sophie Scamps has another of the crossbench questions:

My question is for the minister for environment and water. Minister, a renewable in economy must be a circular economy. Solar panels, wind turbines and lithium batteries have an end of life and we cannot afford to trade one environmental problem for another. According to the CSIRO, Australia is only recycling 10% of its lithium batteries. What is the government doing to ensure solar panels and lithium batteries are recycled in Australia?

An aerial view of Royalla Solar Farm, 30km south of Canberra, Wednesday, October 30, 2019.
‘Australia has to be a circular economy and we have a real issue with solar batteries, solar panels and batteries from this whole industry,’ Plibersek says. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Tanya Plibersek:

Thank you so much, Mr Speaker and thank you so much to the member for Mackellar. She is absolutely right on two fronts.

Australia has to be a circular economy and we have a real issue with solar batteries, solar panels and batteries from this whole industry. It is fantastic that more people are putting solar on the roofs. We have about 3m Australian households and businesses that have solar panels on the roof. They are saving money for themselves, saving about $1,000 a year for an average family.

They have reduced emissions by close to 18m tonnes in 2021. A fantastic rate.

But we know that these systems last a couple of decades if they are going well.

And if we don’t change what we are doing now, by 2030, there will be about a quarter of a million tonnes of this material in landfills.

That is because the panels and batteries contain valuable metals, minerals and we should be be using it. It is terrible for the environment because we know that lithium batteries in particular, as they break apart, leach into the soil, not great for the soil or environment.

It is better for jobs to recycle, about three recycling jobs, three jobs for recycling compared for everyone if you are going into landfill. Better for the environment, better for the economy to recycle. The solar industry has been on notice for years.

The minister interjecting, she is an expert in recycling, backbench, frontbench, backbench, frontbench. (It is Sussan Ley)

She put them on notice. Put the solar industry on notice. But they never took any notice of her. I have said I will regulate. We are prepared to invest. We set aside a quarter of a billion for recycling infrastructure, including $60m. Plastics.

I spoke to the supermarket giants just today about soft plastics and fixing the mess of recycling. We are prepared to invest and prepared to regulate. Those opposite were prepared to regulate. We want to help Australians do what they want to do, which is recycle because we know there is very strong support from Australians on recycling. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to do that and that means industry stepping up to do their share. It means being prepared to invest and means being prepared to regulate.


Milton Dick says:

The deputy leader of the opposition is constantly interjecting.

Anne Aly yells from the Labor side:

She is, it’s annoying.

And I flash back to high school.

Major last day of school vibes in the chamber this afternoon. But last day of school for the kids who were excited for summer school.


Andrew Willcox, the member for Dawson, has a question for Chris Bowen now:

My question is to the minister for climate change and energy. In the last three months, power prices for irrigated cane growers in the Burdekin have escalated 126%. That amounts to $105 per hectare per month. Why are the North Queensland cane growers happy to pay for Labor’s broken promise to low electricity prices by $275?

Bowen deliberately mishears:

I thank the honourable gentleman for the question. He refers to events over the last 12 months. A few things have happened over the last 12 months, particularly this year when Russia invaded Ukraine. That did happen and I’m sure...

(It was three months yells a bunch of Coalition MPs.)


Another thing that’s happened is the impact of that, and we see thermal coal today trading at $534 a tonne, compared to $286 a tonne last December.


Point of order. I clearly said three months and straightaway we’re going into 12.

Milton Dick:

That is not a point of order. That is not a point of order. Resume your seat. You do that again you won’t be here much longer. I give the call to the minister for climate change and energy.


The government’s approach is twofold. Firstly in the short-term, senior ministers are working very closely together to ensure that the impacts of the Russian invasion do not flow through to industries and businesses without government response and protection. That’s how this side of the House works it through. Carefully and methodically.

We also continue with hour medium term plans to ensure that the cheapest form of [power] renewable energy, becomes a greater pardon of our grid. Nowhere benefits more from that program than the regions of Australia including North Queensland because the regions will power a renewable Australia. They’ll create hundreds of thousands of jobs and lower power prices across and Australia because we believe in investing in the regions. We know the opposition has a different view. We had a minister, the shadow minister responded to me, and he talked about low cost nuclear energy.

Low-cost nuclear energy was their plan. They had their seminar last week, the uneconomic atomic frolic they had last week promoting nuclear energy.

We know Aemo and the CSIRO say that nuclear energy, small and modular reactors, cost thousands of dollars.

They need $400m for [establishment] Which is 30 times more than government spent last year on transport and communications and over 10 times more than what we spent on defence. But it’s OK.

The opposition has a plan.

Because the member for Fairfax has announced that the CSIRO is wrong. That’s their plan. He’s going to wander down to the CSIRO head office and say, ‘Sorry, scientists and economists. You are incorrect.’

The member for Fairfax is an economics denier when it comes to nuclear energy.


Mike Bowers was in the chamber for when Prof Sean Turnell and Dr Ha Vu were escorted by Anthony Albanese.

Prime minister Anthony Albanese escorts Prof Sean Turnell and Dr Ha Vu onto the floor.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese escorts Prof Sean Turnell and Dr Ha Vu onto the floor. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Standing ovation for Prof Sean Turnell and Dr Ha Vu at the start of question time.
Standing ovation for Prof Sean Turnell and Dr Ha Vu at the start of question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Dan Tehan gets booted from the chamber under 94A.

Shadow Minister for Immigration Dan Tehan is ejected during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, December 1, 2022.


Barnaby ‘I used to be deputy prime minister’ Joyce has a question for Chris Bowen:

I refer to the government report based October data titled estimated impacts of CFPS, which is coal-fired power stations and associated coal mine closures. Do you acknowledge the report has been compiled? And will you release it?


I thank the honourable member for his question. I think all ministers would expect a question on something that was on the front page of the newspaper, so no surprises there. Congratulations for getting to it when it was on the front page of yesterday’s newspaper. Congratulations for that.

That’s actually the least of the problems with the question. That’s the least of the problems because the document the honourable member refers to does refer to the closure of Liddell power station and Bayswater power station.

Liddell’s closure was announced in 2015. And Bayswater adequacy announced in February this year, two common facts about those closures were that we were in opposition at the time.

Two common facts about those are those opposite were in charge at the time those were announced.

(The answer goes on but that is the gist of it.)


Tony Burke takes a dixer so he can point out the filibuster in the Senate over the IR bill amendments.


In the Senate right now they are continuing to try to delay getting wages moving with the secure jobs better pay bill. There are 19 amendments to be debated in the Senate, 19 amendments that have been put forward. In nine hours because of the behaviour principally of senator Cash, how many amendment do you think the Senate’s got through?


In nine hours.

So you might want to do the maths on how likely they’re trying to delay this, how long they’ll try to keep this going. In nine hours of debate, those opposite are doing everything they can as if 10 years of delay wasn’t enough.

They want to now delay every extra minute, every extra hour they possibly can. Well, this government’s view is 10 years of delay is long enough.


Albanese asked about promise to lower energy bills

The Liberal MP for Lindsay, Melissa McIntosh then has a question for Anthony Albanese:

Before the last election, you promised Australia 97 times you would lower the energy bills by $275. Since then you have been asked 26 times in this place, whether you stand by that commitment and on each occasion, you refused to answer. Why have you broken the solemn promise you made to Australian households and businesses?

(For 2025 says a member of the Labor backbench, which might be one of the only times someone from the government has repeated it.)


I thank the member for her question and for the excitement she is creating on her side of the house. Waking them up over there. A good thing. Can I say this? There are two fundamental issues that the government is dealing with. One of those, and you might be aware of it, that gets a bit of attention from time to time, the Russian invasion of Ukraine. What the Russian invasion of Ukraine...

Peter Dutton has a lot to say at this.


The louder he yells the more frustrated he is. The fact is that the Russian invasion of Ukraine...

Dutton yells again.


I will take the interjection from the opposition leader who just interjected as he does consistently which is that the Russian invasion of Ukraine occurred before we released our energy policy, which was in fact in December of 2021. The war began in 2022. 2022.

Dutton has a point of order:

On relevance the prime minister made a promise on 97 occasions...

There is no point of order. So now everyone is yelling.


As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, you have had global energy prices rise. That is a global phenomenon.

That has impacted on gas and has impacted on coal prices. There are some advantages that Australia has in terms of the revenues that have been increased which are reflected in the budget. That was brought down in October. What that global response has had an impact here and had an impact here because what we had not done is to preserve domestic gas except for in WA where the Carpenter government show vision well in advance, posed by the Liberal party. What we also are suffering from is exposure to international prices as a result of a failure to create an environment which encouraged investment here in our new energy sources. That is why we had four units of energy for every one unit created.


Jim Chalmers then takes a dixer on the Albanese government achievements in the last six months, which is just an excuse for the Labor side to get all rah-rah at each point.

They then begin to pound their desks like they are in a cut-price version of Dead Poets’ Society, except their captain, Speaker Milton Dick, isn’t standing on a desk.

Or happy about the thumping.

Members will cease banging the desks. Highly disorderly. I mean it!

(He may just be upset he doesn’t get to pound the desk any more, but his giant office and getting to be boss of the parliament probably makes up for it.)


Government challenged on plans for more coalmines in Queensland

Greens MP for Ryan Elizabeth Watson-Brown has asked the first of the crossbench questions.

It is on behalf of three young Pacific leaders I met this week. They know, as the science says, we need to phase out coal and gas money to save their homelands from the climate crisis for that user it is up to the market but this week the market says that it is planning for 12 coalmines in Queensland past 2050 with two steel [plants] operating in 2099. Do you still say the future lies in the market?

Anthony Albanese:

It is true that the international market will dictate what coal is sold for, gas, and iron ore. For all the things we export. For commodities themselves, they support this economy and have done for many years. Coal since 1801.

I accept your comments about the people you met with and of course, their concerns are entirely justified and we share their concerns. That is why this government has taken action on climate change.

We have legislated targets in this place and I know you and others here have supported them. Not everyone, there is enough people to make sure that legislation passes for that we are committed to net zero emissions by 2050. The minister for climate change and energy is now working on the very important reform to the safeguards mechanism.

We will make sure that all those high emitting industries reduce their emissions. Other nations have chosen to reach net zero emissions well before this country did. Japan, Korea, all ahead of this country in making that pledge.

These countries continue to purchase coal and gas and also iron ore. Two of those things make the all-important steel which we require for the infrastructure right around the world. Including rebuilding the new capital of Indonesia.

The commodities of Australia will build the future of our region, the Pacific, south-east Asia, nations will also work together to combat climate change so there is a future for all our children and people.


An eagle-eyed colleague in the press gallery has just pointed out that the seating arrangements in the chamber for Labor ministers have changed – cabinet ministers are back in the front row, with assistant ministers behind them. Previously, there was more of a mix, but it is back to the traditional seating arrangements.

Dunno why.


Sussan Ley:

This week the RBA governor offered an unqualified apology to any Australian affected by his advice that interest rates would stay low. Given just months ago, the prime minister went even further than governor Lowe and actually promised cheaper mortgages, why has he failed to offer the same apology to the Australian people?

(The promise was for a shared equity scheme which would lower mortgage repayments for people who met the criteria and were not able to secure a loan, or couldn’t afford a loan given house prices in their area.)

Anthony Albanese:

I thank the member for the repeat of a question. Let me go through the issue very clearly. Which is the help to buy scheme which is a shared equity scheme that I announced at the ALP election campaign in Perth, as a shared equity scheme. If you have a little, like if you have 100% of a mortgage by yourself, then you pay 100% of the interest yourself.

If you have a shared equity scheme, then by definition, a portion of that is not paid by yourself. That’s what a shared equity scheme is. It is completely relevant, it is the way that it works, if you don’t understand it, I suggest you talk to the NSW government that’s implementing a scheme in the Liberal Party or the Victorian government or the WA government, or indeed have a look at what the former prime minister, Scott Morrison had to say about such schemes in the past.


The pair then move to leave the chamber and are stopped by Peter Dutton, who has a chat with them as they head out the door. Labor’s Libby Corker then stops to also have a chat.

And then the pair depart.


There is another round of applause, which the professor and doctor accept with a humble nod of their heads and small smiles.

A line of MPs then get up to speak to the couple, including Dr Andrew Leigh and then, from the Coalition side, Scott Morrison.

Morrison waits at the end of the line and has a very short chat with Prof Sean Turnell and Dr Ha Vu.

Once Morrison departs, and Anthony Albanese finishes answering Sussan Ley’s next question, he too wanders over to speak to the couple. They have a longer chat.


Peter Dutton echoes Albanese’s praise for Prof Sean Turnell

I want to join with the prime minister’s fine words, and welcome our two very special guests to the chamber today and also to their family and friends here to provide support. There was much excitement in the gallery as there was here on the floor of the chamber … the story of Sean and your request for the first meal which was a pub meal you requested, a pretty simple request facilitated by the Royal Australian Air Force and the fine work they undertook. I as well want to congratulate of those officials who have been involved in this fight for a long period of time.

I want to say thank you to the prime minister, thank you to the former prime minister of Morrison, acknowledge the work of foreign affairs Penny Wong and her predecessor Marise Payne, we spent many hours around the National Security Committee table looking at every possible angle of how we could exert pressure, work with neighbours and people in the region across Asean in influence from any part across the world to secure the early release of professor Turnell.

It went on for way too long and we were up against a very significant nursery and in the end your bravery has shone through, the demeanour and grace with which you have carried yourself, Sean, is quite remarkable, given what you’ve gone through and the passion you have for the cause you were fighting for. People less fortunate than yourself or you decided a better future for Myanmar to advance into the world and not to regress, and that is on display in every public appearance that you have as well, and as you point out, for your long-suffering wife as well, we just acknowledge what you as a family have gone through, the pain, the separation and the pressure that puts on individuals and the relationship, the anxiety, now the love you can share which is shared by our nation and we wish you every success in the future.


Prof Sean Turnell attends question time after release from Myanmar

Sally Sitou then asks Anthony Albanese a dixer:

What is the latest information on the case of Prof Sean Turnell who recently returned to Australia after being wrongly imprisoned for two years in Myanmar? It is a great honour to have Prof Sean Turnell here today.

Prof Turnell gives Sitou a thumbs up and squeezes his wife, Dr Ha Vu’s hand.

The chamber stands up in applause of the couple, who are sitting on the side of the chamber.


It is a great honour to have Prof Sean Turnell here in the chamber today with his magnificent wife. And I much enjoyed our discussion prior to question time when I welcome him into my office.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sean when we both touched down in Bangkok a couple of weeks ago, indeed less than a couple of weeks ago, and as we entered the chamber here Sean said to me that two weeks ago he was in prison.

Incarcerated by a regime that has trashed human rights in Myanmar, and that incarcerated Prof Sean Turnell who was in Myanmar giving advice to the democratically elected leader of Myanmar and how their economy can be improved.

What he endured in his 650 days of incarceration is something no human being should have to endure and yet he has done it with grace and even with inhumane conditions with profound humanity, our relief and joy at your release is also tinged with no small amount of awe, awe and respect that your courage, optimism and resilience.

We are so glad as seen in the response across the chamber to have you back. I do want to also pay tribute to Dr Ha Vu, as the professor said on the 7.30 interview – a magnificent interview I would encourage everyone to watch with Sarah Ferguson the other night – this wasn’t in the marriage vows.

There must’ve been times when you felt like you are in a prison of a different nature but your determination and advocacy and the power of your love will prove greater than the hate and everything your beloved husband were up against. What happened to Prof Sean Turnell should never have happened but as said to me in our conversation he was so grateful for the support he received from Dfat and our consular staff and today I want to pay tribute to those who provided those glimmers of hope with their deliveries and advocacy. They gave him hope during dark times.

I want to acknowledge the efforts of foreign minister Penny Wong and her team and securing his release. In particular, on behalf of Australia, a grateful nation, I thank the exceptional assistance we received from our Asean partners and other friends including Japan and securing Prof Turnell’s release.

It was a very good day, Prof Turnell struck me with his humility upon his release. It was quite extraordinary. I am so pleased that he is now looking, it must be said a fair bit healthier. After an awful time. Most of all, I want to thank Prof Turnell for being here today and for displaying the absolute best of the Australian spirit. And I thank all those across the political spectrum and across our community who all campaigned so strongly and so consistently to secure the release. You are a most welcome guest as is your wife.


Albanese defends Labor’s budget and economic record

Anthony Albanese answers that question as you would expect:

I thank the member of the opposition for his question. He speaks about six months in office and indeed we have been in government six months, and six months ago what we inherited was the largest deficit since the second world war and $1tn of debt.

We inherited sluggish economic growth and an economy that wasn’t growing like it used to, we inherited an economy going backwards, we inherited declining business investment and widespread skills shortages holding businesses back.

We inherited flatlining wages, any Australians hadn’t received a decent pay rise for almost a decade, in spite of working longer hours and working harder. More Australians in insecure work than ever before.

We framed a budget through the treasurer of Australia doing hard work through the ERC process to make sure we framed a budget that did not put further pressure on inflation. In the course of what was happening globally we were responsible and that is why we put 90% over two years of the revenue gains that had been made and partly because of the inflated prices of our resources, we put straight into the bottom line. Straight into the bottom line.

But we made room as well to assist with cost of living pressures. We made room to deliver on our childcare commitments, the largest on budget commitment we have made, that will help more than a million Australian families.

We made room to have the first decrease in the cost of medicines since the former Labor government introduced the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, from $42.50 down to $30.

We made room to create 180,000 Tafe places as well, to provide that support for people wanting to get better education and training.

We took action in the first six months to increase wages, something that those opposite had a deliberate strategy of keeping wages low over the decade in office.

We put forward as one of our first acts a proposition for people on the minimum wage to not go backwards, and indeed the Fair Work Commission listened, that 5.2% increase … that I held up day after day during the election campaign, that was going to wreck the economy, that was reckless according to those opposite, it wasn’t reckless, it was responsible.


Peter Dutton challenges Labor’s pledge to alleviate cost of living pressures


Prime minister, in the budget the government had an opportunity to outline a plan to provide relief for families from the cost of living crisis. The government also had an opportunity to implement your promise to Australians to reduce power prices by $275, and yet the government did nothing. If the government does have a plan to help Australians why hasn’t anything been announced by now? Why after six months has this prime minister left Australian families and businesses waiting?

Again, the commitment was for 2025, but the government is also not repeating it, so we are stuck in this endless loop.


Question time begins

After the surprise appearance of Prof Sean Turnell, the house turns to question time and the matters the chamber has been arguing about all week.

Except this time, there are a few Socceroo scarves in the chamber.


Prof Sean Turnell and wife Ha Vu in chamber for question time

Prof Sean Turnell, the Australian economist released from detention in Myanmar last month, and his wife Dr Ha Vu, are walking in to the House of Representatives alongside the prime minister, Anthony Albanese. They will be in the chamber for the start of question time.

Turnell – a former adviser to the democratically elected civilian government led by ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi – was detained shortly after the military coup in early 2021. He was detained for 650 days until his release was secured last month with the help of other countries in the region.


Territory rights bill on euthanasia still to be debated in Senate

The opposition is valiantly doing its darnedest to hold up the industrial relations bill from passing in the Senate, but later in the day, the upper house will eventually get to the long-awaited territory rights bill on euthanasia access in the NT and ACT.

The parliament’s sitting schedule is shifting seemingly by the minute in the last few days, but on current timetables, the bill (to overturn Howard-era bans on the territories making their own assisted dying laws) will come up for debate again at 5.30pm. It’ll be debated until the Senate makes a decision, with no limit on how long that could take.

The bill is almost certain to pass, with a preliminary vote passing 41-25. It’s expected the margin might even be higher than that in a final vote, with Guardian Australia understanding that a handful of Coalition senators (who voted against the initial vote) potentially planning to abstain in a final vote.

Coalition senators have amendments to the bill, which will be moved by NT senator Jacinta Price. The amendments include clarifying that someone accessing euthanasia in the NT or ACT can’t be under 18 years of age, and that euthanasia can’t be accessed solely because a person has a disability or “mental impairment”.

It’s not clear whether the government will back these amendments. Last week, finance minister and ACT senator Katy Gallagher said she was confused why the Coalition wanted to move amendments, considering that the proposal was simply a repeal of existing legislation.

We’ll bring you more after 5.30pm today.


I just need to know how many takes this took.


— Chris Bowen (@Bowenchris) December 1, 2022

Bridget McKenzie defends Michaelia Cash’s questioning of the IR bill

Bridget McKenzie on the ABC:

There is no hold up, this will take industrial relations back decades and it is our role and responsibility as opposition to actually prosecute the technicality contained within the bill, that is exactly what our shadow minister for industrials relations Michaelia Cash is doing in the Senate, painstakingly going through the technical implications of these amendments.

150 of their own amendments to their own bill because they haven’t quite got it right when they got it into the House, they put another tranche of amendments on the table at 6.30 last night, so we want to get to those today. We have amendments we are moving ourselves, it seems the Fair Work commissioner will have an incredible amount of discretion under this new arrangement so Michaelia Cash is wanting to get detail, I guess, it’s not forthcoming.

“More than some means more than one,” says Cash in the chamber.

It’s going great.


In the Senate, Michaelia Cash is asking questions about what Labor means when it says “red tape” as she winds down the clock on the IR debate.

We are only a few questions away from Labor being asked what shade of red the tape is, whether it is more of an orange red, or a blue red or how closely it resembles Taylor Swift’s favourite shade of Dragon Girl.


For those wondering, the territory rights bill debate should resume in the Senate after 5pm.

Long night for the Senate ahead. Again, which is what they deserve, for choosing the Senate life.


On a lighter note, my spies tell me Barnaby Joyce has given a very recent history lesson to a group of school children on a visit to Parliament House.

Joyce informed the group, gathered in the marble foyer, that Richard Marles was currently the deputy prime minister, and then posed and answered the following question:

Who used to be the deputy prime minister of Australia? Me!


We are in the downhill slide towards the last question time of the year.

We have almost made it Politics Livers. I am proud of each and every one of you.

Grab what you need for QT. We are in the trenches now, but the flag is in sight.

The House is mostly just waiting on the Senate at the moment, where Michaelia Cash is holding up progress of the IR bill with a filibuster over the amendments, which will likely see the House recalled for Saturday.

Good times.

Minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen makes the inaugural annual climate change statement 2022 in the House of Representatives.
Minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen makes the inaugural annual climate change statement 2022 in the House of Representatives. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Trade minister cites ‘very positive vibe’ in meeting with Chinese ambassador

The trade minister, Don Farrell, says there was “a very positive vibe” in his meeting with China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian.

It is understood Xiao approached Farrell seeking the meeting, and it was held at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra last night.

As part of the “stabilisation” of the relationship with China, the Australian government has been seeking the removal of Beijing’s trade actions against a range of export sectors. These include China’s tariffs on Australian wine and barley, which are subject to a running challenge through the World Trade Organization.

The other two “really serious trade blockages” cited by Farrell are meat and crayfish. Farrell told Sky News the issues were different with different products, but the Australian government wanted to find a resolution on all of them:

We need to find a way through ... to make sure that we can get our produce into China but the Chinese people can get the benefit of the wonderful produce that we produce.

Farrell repeated his view that Anthony Albanese‘s meeting with China’s president, Xi Jinping, in Bali two weeks ago was a “triumph of diplomacy”.

Farrell added:

The relationship is thawing … we want a stabilised relationship with China and we are determined to do it. Last night I had a chat with the Chinese ambassador at Dfat. There was a very positive vibe with the ambassador. I’m hopeful that as time goes by, one by one we can resolve all of those outstanding blockages.

Asked whether Xiao had given any indication that those trade blockages would be removed, Farrell said:

No, we didn’t get into details but it was a warm and friendly discussion … where I made it clear that I’m prepared to meet at any time, anywhere, to resolve these outstanding issues.


WA to ban dangerous restraint practice used in youth detention

The WA government will ban a potentially deadly restraint practice in its sole youth detention facility, Banksia Hill.

The WA government has faced increasing criticism over conditions in the state’s only youth justice centre, Banksia Hill Detention Centre, amid ongoing reports of self-harm, suicide attempts and the transfer of children as young as 14 to a separate wing within Casuarina men’s prison, a maximum security facility.

Shocking footage of children being forcibly restrained and “folded up” by youth justice officers was published by the ABC and the West Australian.

The justice department said in a statement to Guardian Australia that the restraint will be phased out before Christmas, with guards to be trained in other methods.

Following evaluations, the department of justice has endorsed an alternative method of restraint for youth detainees to replace the figure four technique.

Training for Youth Custodial Officers in the alternative technique will begin on 5 December. Use of the figure four technique will be phased out from that date and will cease by 14 December.


Mike Bowers is in the chamber for the first of these annual climate change statements.

Here is who showed up to hear it.

A view of the house of representatives where Chris Bowen is standing and speaking and behind him are Labor and crossbench MPs. Opposite him on the other side of the chamber there are only a couple of MPs present
The minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen makes the inaugural Annual climate change statement in parliament. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


O’Brien says Labor has not delivered on climate policy

Ted O’Brien, who was elected to parliament in 2016 during the Turnbull Coalition era, said while Labor is good at “the vision” it has not delivered the policy, in the six months it has held government.

He says this is despite “nine years of naysaying”.

So Labor has not solved the energy issue in the six months since it was elected.



Opposition responds to Labor’s climate statement

Ted O’Brien is now giving the opposition side of the climate change statement.

Everyone wants to see a better world, he says.

Just have your coffee ready for when he says “nuclear”.


Emissions projection shows Australia on track for 40% reduction by 2030, Bowen says

As Chris Bowen delivers the first of the climate change statements, which highlight the progress (or lack of) on meeting Australia’s climate targets, he has also released a statement on what the statement means.

Climate change is a major threat to global economic prosperity, security and livelihoods and the window is closing on limiting global warming to 1.5C.

But the Statement also highlights that Australia has abundant renewable energy and mineral resources, and as the world decarbonises, there is great potential for growth in Australian industries and jobs.

The IEA’s world energy outlook (2022b) highlights that clean energy jobs already exceeding those in fossil fuels worldwide.

Yet for the last decade, climate has been used as a political football as the former government stumbled from one chaotic policy to the next. It was a decade of wasted opportunity.

And it left Australia unprepared for the current energy crisis, fuelled by high prices on global oil and gas markets.

Projections of emissions reductions by 2030 under the previous Government were at only 30%.

The 2022 emissions projection report, released today alongside the annual statement shows the actions and policies of this government so far place Australia on track for 40% emissions reduction by 2030.

That is, we’ve lifted the outlook by a third in just our first six months.

These projections do not yet include powering australia measures such as some elements of the powering the regions fund and the national electric vehicle strategy, nor additional commitments such as the national energy performance strategy.

Policies we received a mandate for, and are working on implementing including, will lift our result to at least 43%.

This is cause for optimism about the momentum shift that has occurred over just six months.


Treasury amendments give tax-free status to constitutional recognition group

In case you missed it yesterday, the parliament passed a few bread and butter bills, including Treasury amendments, which give tax-free status to a few organisations.

You can find it here.

The list of organisations to receive deductible gift recipient status (DGR), meaning financial gifts are tax free, include Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition Ltd, with the caveat the gifts must be made “after 30 June 2022 and before 1 July 2025”.

As we highlighted during budget coverage, it means the yes side will have the benefit of tax free donations/financial gifts.

Now it has been passed by the parliament – in the same week it was confirmed there would be no public funds for either the yes or no campaign for the voice referendum.


Climate statement: ‘we’ve lifted the outlook by a third in our first six months’

What are the main points from Chris Bowen’s statement?

We are behind on what we need to do to meet the bare minimum. Well behind.

The projections are we will only hit 40% emissions reduction by 2030, but Chris Bowen says that doesn’t take into account Labor’s new policies, so the nation should meet 43%.

All going well, of course.

Australia’s increased target is to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030.

There are some who call for more. I understand the sentiment and of course as we have said repeatedly, we see 43% as a floor, not a ceiling.

But the documents I am tabling today, including the advice from the Climate Change Authority, underlines just what a substantial effort this 43% target requires.

The previous government left their projected emissions reductions by 2030 at only 30%. The projections I am releasing today show the actions and policies of this government so far have increased this to a projected 40%. That is, we’ve lifted the outlook by a third in just our first six months.

Policies we received a mandate for, and are working on implementing, will lift our result to at least 43%.

To get on a credible path to net zero – you need to achieve 43% reduction by 2030. This being the first day of the month, 2030 is now just 84 months away.

As the Climate Change Authority advice makes clear, to achieve this target we will need to achieve the same emissions reduction in the next eight years that has been achieved in the last 18.


Chris Bowen delivers annual climate change statement

Chris Bowen:

The truth is that no Australian is spared from the impact of climate change – from the regions to the cities.

Not the farmer, working harder and harder amid more and more destructive disasters.

Not the tourism worker in Queensland, whose livelihood comes from sharing the joys of the world’s greatest coral reef.

Not the communities subjected to a seemingly never ending cavalcade of bushfires followed by flood, followed by flood again, all too dispiritingly soon.

Our beautiful land has always been subject to devastating natural disasters.

But those disasters are becoming: increasingly devastating, increasingly frequent, increasingly unnatural.

But as difficult as our current predicament is, it is still incumbent on us to be truthful and frank about how much worse it will be if we, and the world, don’t act now.


Chris Bowen is on his feet in the house delivering the annual climate change statement.

Sky News’ Paul Murray says censure motion was ‘all politics’ and ‘games’

We then heard this from Paul Murray, which really, is a work of art in itself:

But also, for the normal people that are watching us right now, parliament did nothing today to improve normal people’s lives. Yes, the integrity commission is something that people want and it’s good for the way the system works.

But if you’re not there to improve people’s lives, then what is the point? But instead, it’s all politics. It’s all games. Nothing happened today to improve anyone’s life, and that is the test of what a government is truly about, and on that test, they failed today.

(Bold to suggest anyone normal would be watching political interviews so late on a Wednesday night.)

Peter Dutton had thoughts:

Paul, I think you’re right. They don’t have a plan. I mean, they went to the election promising to reduce power prices by $275. The prime minister promised that on 97 occasions. He’s never mentioned that figure once since.

We ask him every day about the $275 promise, he talks about everything but that – and if they had a plan, like they led people to believe before the election, a plan to reduce power prices, they should have implemented it in the budget. But they haven’t done that, they haven’t done it this week.

(The power commitment, which the government won’t repeat, was for 2025.)


Dutton says censure was ‘overreach’ and Scott Morrison ‘made a mistake’ with secret ministries

Meanwhile, overnight, Peter Dutton appeared on Paul Murray’s Sky show, where the Scott Morrison censure motion was the topic of hot debate.

Murray, who declared on election night that the “resistance begins now”, conceded last night that Australians had made their choice and wanted change and were getting that change, but the censure motion was an “attempt to break the spirit of you and your members before you went home”.

(Ten points for the dra-mah, gotta love an emotional man.)

Dutton wholeheartedly agreed with this entirely rational and calm premise:

That’s exactly what it was about. It was about trying to eke out some political advantage. At a time when you’ve got families who are really struggling under the cost of living pressures, and they want to try and pull these political stunts, but, in the end, we want to honour Scott’s career and the contribution that he made to our country.

He made a mistake in relation to the extra ministries. He’s pointed that out. But there was no illegality to it and the overreach today from the prime minister and from Tony Burke, frankly, I think they were embarrassed by the end of the day and we stood strong, we support our own, and we stand up for what we believe in.

Scott Morrison “made a mistake in relation to extra ministries”.

A break-up hair change is a “mistake”. Taking on five extra ministries without telling anyone, for no reason, seems a little bit bigger than a fringe, but that’s where we’re at with the Coalition at the moment.


Lengthy question and answer session anticipated in Senate debate of IR bill

The Senate is debating Labor’s secure jobs, better pay bill, which is set to pass today courtesy of the Greens and independent David Pocock signing up over the weekend.

Last night the government won a division at the second reading stage 32 to 30, indicating that deal is holding.

The bill is currently in committee stage, which is like a question and answer session where any senator can quiz the minister representing the IR minister (Murray Watt) about the proposed amendments.

The shadow workplace relations minister, Michaelia Cash, has been really doing her due diligence on the bill – some would say filibustering – by keeping the debate going as long as possible with detailed questions.

There’s also a long list of Coalition amendments in her name, proposing to raise the threshold for small businesses exempted from the single-interest multi-employer bargaining stream: to 25, 50, 75. She’s got all her bases covered, providing ample opportunity to keep the debate going.

The Senate is sitting until adjournment. The government’s plan is to pass this, allow a vote on territory rights, and other bills – and have these come back to the lower house briefly tomorrow.

The hope is Cash tires out or Coalition MPs tell her to ease off to allow them to get back to their electorates for Christmas events, school presentation ceremonies etc.


Censure of Scott Morrison showed ‘we will uphold our system of government’: Dreyfus

What message does Mark Dreyfus believe the censure motion of Scott Morrison sends politicians?

The attorney general told Sky News:

It’s a huge message to the whole community that the parliament has marked by censuring a former prime minister for the first time ever, that we will uphold our system of government.

When you’ve got a prime minister who’s appointed himself secretly to five ministries, that’s an extraordinary attack on the principles of accountability and responsible government. The solicitor general said that in formal legal advice to the government.

We got retired high court justice Virginia Bell to do a short inquiry and a report. Her report was made public by the prime minister last Friday. It’s absolutely right that the parliament mark its disapproval of this, that we had a public debate about this in the parliament. We need to make sure this never happens again.

We’ve got to have accountability, and you can’t have accountability if a prime minister’s going to do what Scott Morrison did, which is to appoint himself secretly to five ministries and pretend that he’s able secretly to exercise the powers of ministers.


Tanya Plibersek says states ‘equally determined’ to relieve cost-of-living woes ahead of coal pricing talks

National cabinet is not until next week, but the usual chess game is being played ahead of agreements being finalised, as the federal government tries to come up with a solution to the energy price crisis.

Queensland and NSW are the sticking points when it comes to coal prices. There are reports those states are looking at their own coal price caps, which would mean someone (the commonwealth) stepping in to pay compensation to the producers (ain’t capitalism grand?!), which could blow up the whole deal before it is even agreed to.

On Sky News, Tanya Plibersek said she was confident of a solution:

I don’t expect that at all. We’ve had very cooperative relations with the states on the energy crisis, and I know that my colleagues will be speaking to state leaders, the prime minister will be speaking to state leaders, and I have no doubt the energy minister is speaking to his counterparts as well.

Look, we’ve got a real problem in Australia with energy prices; we’ve had 10 years of inaction under the previous government, and of course the war in Ukraine has driven up energy costs around the world. We need to do something for families and businesses here in Australia, and I know that the state governments are equally determined to deal with the rising cost of living too. It’s having an impact on their economies too.


The government has moved forward with the next step in its referendum planning. Linda Burney and Mark Dreyfus say it’s a necessary step to clean up some existing legislation:

Today the Government introduced the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022, to advance the Prime Minister’s commitment to hold a referendum to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in the Australian Constitution.

The Referendum Act is out of step with today’s electoral laws and does not reflect modern delivery and communications methods.

The legislation will make amendments to replicate current electoral machinery provisions into the referendum context. This will ensure the voting process and experience is similar to that of a federal election.

The legislation will also ensure that the integrity and transparency measures that currently apply to federal elections will also apply to referendums.


Victorian Liberal leadership ballot narrows to two contenders

Victorian Liberal MP Richard Riordan has confirmed he is dropping out of the party’s leadership contest.

The battle to lead the Victorian Liberal Party is now between Berwick MP Brad Battin and John Pesutto, who has won back the seat of Hawthorn after it fell to Labor at the 2018 election.

Riordan told Sky News on Thursday he would not contest the leadership ballot next week.

On Wednesday, Warrandyte MP, Ryan Smith, withdrew his candidacy and threw his support behind Battin, who he described as sharing a similar vision for the future direction of the party.

Riordan said he would throw his support behind Battan, describing his colleague as an “experienced growth area campaigner.”


Mark Dreyfus says appointment of integrity commissioner to be made in the new year

Now that the integrity commission legislation has passed the parliament, the next step is setting up the integrity commission itself.

Which means finding someone to lead it.

Mark Dreyfus told the ABC it would be a “merit” based process:

We’ve got a transparent and merit-based appointments process, as we should, and we’re now in the active search for the commissioner.

It’s a very important appointment, obviously, because that first commissioner is someone that is going to put their stamp on the character of this commission and we’ve seen that with the way in which the state commissions have unfolded. So, I’m thinking hard about who’s the right person.

We’ve got a search going on at the moment and sometime in the new year we’ll be making the announcement about the appointment. And of course, the bill provides for that appointment to go to the parliamentary oversight committee. We’ve got layers of oversight in this bill.

There was a bit of argy-bargy over the approval of the commission at the 11th hour of debate for the bill – the Liberal party wanted the oversight committee to have a 3/4 majority for approval, which the Greens were going to support if the oversight committee didn’t have a non-government MP as chair. In the end, the government got its way – the approval of the commission will be done with a simple majority (and the Greens backed down on their amendment).


Melbourne leading domestic destinations for travel spending

Seems the reports of Melbourne’s death have been greatly exaggerated – new figures from the Tourism and Transport Forum show Melbourne leading the domestic tourism travel list, as AAP reports (but international travel is still lagging).

Monthly figures from the Tourism and Transport Forum show the southern capital was the country’s top location for travel spending in October, ahead of Sydney and Brisbane.

The report, released on Thursday, also revealed Australian tourists are spending more domestically than before Covid-19 restrictions shut down the travel market.

Spending in the local industry was worth $10.1bn in October, up 9% on the same month in 2019.

The largest share of the spending was from Australians travelling within their own state.

Tourism forum chief executive, Margy Osmond, said Victoria had done a great job in attracting tourists with events, but the numbers might also have been boosted by people visiting friends and family after Melbourne’s long lockdowns.

The domestic holiday trend is expected to continue into the peak summer holiday period.

But despite the domestic travel boom, foreign visitors are still staying away from Australia’s shores amid soaring prices for international air fares.

Spending by international travellers was 16% below pre-Covid levels in October at $2.3bn.


As the speaker considers the request to refer Scott Morrison to the privileges committee, it is worth reviewing the censure motion, as seen through the eyes of Murph:


Foodbank Victoria to hold ‘no questions asked’ drive through as CEO says current situation is worst he has seen in 15 years

We have heard a lot about the impact of the rising cost of living already this morning – it is biting harder than it has in years (although of course, with the rate of social security payments, for a lot of people it has always been a harder struggle than it needs to be).

It has reached the point, though, where Foodbank Victoria CEO, Dave McNamara, says it’s the worst situation he has seen in 15 years.

Not only are some of our largest charities reporting that they’ve moved from feeding 1,000 people a week to 1,400 people a week, but our distribution has also gone up 21% – which is unheard of in the context of those fifteen years.

Foodbank Victoria is holding a “no questions asked” drive through this weekend in Melbourne, where people will be able to turn up and receive a free hamper of produce and pantry essentials.

One will be in Dandenong, starting at 11am on Sunday at the Chobani warehouse car park, 18-20 Quality Drive, Dandenong South VIC 3175.

Another will be in Epping, starting at 11am on Sunday at the Melbourne Market car park, 55 Produce Drive, Epping VIC 3076.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (or at least that everyone is about to get out of this place until February):

The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese shakes hands with Opposition leader Peter Dutton after they both delivered end of year valedictory speeches
The prime minister Anthony Albanese shakes hands with opposition leader Peter Dutton after they both delivered end of year valedictory speeches. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, has moved to refer Scott Morrison to the privileges committee.

Bandt noted the conclusions of the Bell inquiry including that Morrison’s actions “fundamentally undermined responsible government” – which he said the house had endorsed in Wednesday’s censure.

He noted Morrison’s explanation that:

  • “The ministry list referenced, as it does, that ministers may be sworn in to administer additional departments …”

  • And Morrison’s own conclusion that some appointments “were unnecessary and that insufficient consideration was given to these decisions at the time, including non-disclosure”.

Bandt said that the ministry lists did not alert the house that Morrison had taken additional portfolios.

He asked the speaker to consider whether these facts “constitute a deliberate misleading of the House” and to refer the matter to the privileges committee.


Tony Burke is dealing with the house hours – it is all going to depend on how the Senate is going, he says.

So if the Senate gets through its list, then the house can be done and dusted, and if it is not, then the house may still return tomorrow or Saturday.


The speaker, Milton Dick, says he will examine the referral and make a decision.


Adam Bandt asks speaker to allow motion to refer Scott Morrison to privileges committee

Adam Bandt:

The member for Cook also yesterday referenced the ministry list he tabled in parliament making the statement that the ministry list tabled in parliament referenced, as it does, that ministers may be sworn to administer additional departments.

The member also said: ‘I now consider these decisions in hindsight were unnecessary and that insufficient consideration was given to these decisions at the time including non disclosure.’

Mr Speaker, the relevant ministry lists did not note that the member had been appointed to additional portfolios and so, Mr Speaker, I ask that you consider whether the report of the Bell inquiry endorsed yesterday and the statement yesterday from the member for Cook raise any matters …[which] constituted deliberate misleading of the house, and I ask you to grant precedence for a motion to be moved referring this matter to the committee of privileges and members interests.


David Littleproud gives his Christmas speech and then we move on to Adam Bandt, who is moving a matter of privilege – he wants Scott Morrison referred to the privileges committee (as Paul Karp reported a little earlier).


Dutton acknowledges work of charitable organisations over holiday period

The opposition leader finishes with:

I want to close by acknowledging those who are much less fortunate than us, who will do it tough this Christmas.

I was at a function yesterday, as the prime minister pointed out, recognising the work of the Salvos. I have had a great deal of pleasure and honour almost for 20 years to be the Red Shield Appeal chairman in my local area.

The work that they do, the lives that they save, that they influence, is just quite remarkable.

And the Salvos is, of course, one of many organisations that will be hard at work when we’re … enjoying ourselves with family and friends on Christmas lunch and over the break.


Peter Dutton thanks the parliamentary staff, his own staff and the AFP protection officers:

The work that they do, and it’s hard to describe to a lot of people, but the respect, again, that they have for us and for our life, our privacy.

… I’ve been blessed with three beautiful children and an amazingly supportive wife. They copped the death threats and all the rest of it as well. And they’re stoic and they put up with it, but in part it’s because of that atmosphere that the AFP are able to create both on the road and at home in protecting my family when I am not there.


Both Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton have criticised the protesters who stand outside their electorate office, with both saying their electorate staff “put up with a lot” and that they are stopping “vulnerable” people from accessing help.


Dutton: ‘There are good and bad people on both sides of politics, but the vast majority are good’

Peter Dutton:

This institution has survived many circumstances and many periods in our history where people would seek to undo our past or to disregard the traditions that we have, but they weren’t standing up … fighting for the sacrifice that colleagues on both sides of the parliament have made over the course of the last 12 months, [and] the price that our families pay as well.

We were down here for 20 weeks of the year and on the road for most of the rest of the year. It’s worth the sacrifice because this country deserves a very bright future.

And … as I say to kids when I go to schools in my electorate, there are good and bad people on both sides of politics.

But the vast majority are good and have only the best interests of our country at heart. And if we’re embarking on that destination on occasions we take different paths to get there as parties. But ultimately we have the same good intent for our country.


Peter Dutton is now up and thanking all of the people as well.

He starts off with “we live in the greatest country on earth” and moves on to the Socceroos goal, and then moves on to thanking the defence force.

His colleagues and the Nationals get a shout out as well.


PM: ‘We will ensure, as a government, that there is no hubris’

Anthony Albanese then finishes with this:

There’s more to do next year and I look forward to returning here next year with a renewed sense of vigour and excitement to those people on this side of the chamber. I say this, don’t take it for granted.

Don’t take it for granted. We will ensure, as a government, that there is no hubris, no taking it for granted, that we work methodically.

And I say to the opposition and the crossbench as well, that I remain someone whose door is open.

I attended the actual prime minister’s office in 2019 on the day that parliament began. That was the last time I was in that office until I went in as prime minister.

The leader of the opposition has been in there many, many times as have crossbench members of parliament, as has the leader of the National party.

My door is open and I see and take my responsibility to lead the country and to engage with each and every member in a serious way.

That doesn’t mean I’m not a Labor prime minister. I was born Labor and will die Labor. It is who I am.

But it doesn’t mean that I agree or I think that I have all the answers because none of us do and we’re much better off when we’re working in a collaborative way.

So we will stick to our values.

But we’re certainly up for collaboration and working in a better way so that politics functions better because that is what the Australian people expect of us.

Merry Christmas.


PM thanks his team, parliamentary staff, security and defence

The prime minister then moves on to his team, singling out his deputy, Richard Marles (who is not in the chamber, and from what Anthony Albanese doesn’t say, appears to be in a National Security Committee meeting)for his loyalty and his steadiness, Penny Wong for her longtime counsel and his finance team of Katy Gallagher and Jim Chalmers, as well as the “show” at large.

(Labor has always referred to itself as “the show”.)

Albanese also thanked the parliamentary staff, from the clerks to the cleaners, naming Anna and Maria “who see to it that my office is a lovely place to be every morning”.

“I do want to acknowledge as well some special people who I won’t name for obvious reasons – my security, it is the most challenging change in my life, which is full of positives.”

He said they have taken his “spontaneity” in stride, accepting that when he says “we are off to the Oils at the Pavilion” he won’t be staying in his seat and will arrange to make sure he is secure, but free to rock.

The defence force and veterans get a thank you, and then his personal staff.

All of this speech is off the cuff.


The prime minister also thanked his partner, Jodie Haydon, for coming with him on “this journey”.

Someone who didn’t have a political life is suddenly in camera shots with Brigitte Macron, and engaging in a range of activities which a few years ago, a woman – a Coastie, as she calls herself proudly, from the Central Coast of New South Wales – would not have anticipated; but she has, I think, represented Australia at appropriate times with dignity and honour.


PM gives end of year speech with nod to his ‘best mate’, son Nathan

We’re doing it in reverse!

The end of year valedictory speeches and Christmas wishes are being held now.

Anthony Albanese is delivering his speech; as we come to the end of his speech (I will report more in a moment) he thanks his “best mate – who also happens to be my son, Nathan”.

He is a great young man. He will turn 22 next week, and it goes quick. So for those with little ones in this chamber, cherish every moment because before you know it, they will be six foot four and informing you about the latest musical trends.

… It’s been terrific as well to have him by my side each and every day, whether physically or not. He is by my side and we talk every single day on the phone.

Albanese then mentions a birthday surprise he has for him next week and to the worried glances in the chamber he says:

It is OK! He is 22, he is not watching parliament. And neither are any of his friends.


The final full sitting day is under way.

It is going to be PACKED.

There will also be the final question time, which as the week (and months) have gone on, has become increasingly nasty. And after that will come the Christmas messages, where everyone wishes everyone goodwill and holiday cheer.

The parliament remains one of the weirdest places in this land.


Three-quarters of women say their wages have either not risen at all or not kept pace with cost of living

Ahead of some of the final debate on the IR legislation, the Australia Institute has released new polling on how Australians feel about their wages.

Guardian columnist and labor market and fiscal policy director at the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, Greg Jericho (you might know him as Grogs), reports “this research shows most Australians feel like they are falling behind and almost everyone believes it’s the Government job to do what it can to ensure wages keep up with the cost of living.

This belief was consistent across all voting intentions, including 81% of Coalition voters.

Unsurprisingly, given the pay differences, women are feeling the pinch more than men.

From the polling:

  • Nine in 10 Australians (87%) agree with the statement “it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that real wages grow to keep up with the cost of living”, irrespective of voting intention.

  • Agreement that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that real wages grow to keep up with the cost of living is highest among Labor (92%) and Greens voters (92%).

  • Four in five Coalition (81%) and One Nation voters (84%) agree that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that real wages grow to keep up with the cost of living.

  • For two in three Australians (68%), their wages have either not grown at all or grown slower than the cost of living.

  • This is higher among women, with 42% saying their wages have not grown at all and 34% saying their wages have grown slower than the cost of living.

  • Two in three Australians (67%) think changing laws to make it easier for workers to bargain collectively would be an effective way to get wages increasing faster.

  • Fewer than one in two Australians (46%) think that working harder personally at one’s job would be an effective way to get wages to increase faster.


ACTU secretary says Sussan Ley’s letter to Cosboa was ‘pretty disgraceful’

Sally McManus was asked on ABC News Breakfast if Sussan Ley’s letter to the small business council could be considered bullying.

The ACTU secretary said:

Imagine if a minister in the Labor government said that the ACTU should be sacked. It’s a pretty serious thing to do. You know, I don’t want to really comment too much on other organisations and what’s going on there, but I have to say that even though we have disagreements, a lot of those people are good people. They’re human beings, they’re good people, they’re doing a good job for their members.

I think that just advising your board of something, it’s up to the board what they do, and [it’s] all got to do with whether or not they’re going to support, you know, minerals, like minerals companies, and this is small business.

Anyway, I don’t want to get too much into that but it was a pretty disgraceful thing for Sussan Ley to do.


Cosboa CEO on leave after Sussan Ley’s accusations of being too close to Labor

The CEO of the Council of Small Business of Australia, Alexi Boyd, is on leave after the deputy opposition leader, Sussan Ley, wrote to the Cosboa board questioning Boyd’s leadership of the council.

Boyd had come under fire for signing a MOU with the ACTU during the jobs and skills summit. Ley had criticised Boyd for being too close to Labor and not doing enough to fight the IR legislation.

Here is the Cosboa’s response:

COSBOA respectfully acknowledges Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley’s letter to the Board dated 29 November 2022, that cites media reports of our work and leadership.

COSBOA is focused on delivering for small businesses. We prioritise the needs of small businesses – the backbone of this country, in all we do; they are the sole reason we exist.

We have never swayed from that point of focus and have consulted widely – both publicly and privately – with many stakeholders regarding the new bill.

We have rigorously discussed with all sides of politics what all small businesses need – an IR system that is simple to understand and use, one that is fair and works for the modern small business.

Our goals were recently articulated in our Statement of Intent which describes our commitment to advocating for an IR system that is simple, clear and flexible for small businesses. Our message throughout all our consultations has consistently delivered this message.


IR bill is a ‘big incentive for employers to negotiate agreements’: Sally McManus

Does Sally McManus believe the IR legislation passing will mean wages will start moving?

I really think that employers who have stopped bargaining – and there’s a lot of them, there’s thousands and thousands of agreements that have not been renegotiated since the pandemic – they will start bargaining, I think, if these laws pass pretty soon because they’ll want to negotiate those arrangements with their workers. Because if they do that, they’re not caught by multi-employer bargaining.

There’s also some extra tools there for workers.

If an agreement goes on for too long, the independent umpire will have a role to help resolve it. I think those things together are a big incentive for employers to negotiate agreements. So really what this law does is give workers better tools in negotiations for wages. What happens in terms of the outcomes of that in the end is up to both workers and employers.


One in four Australians skipping meals due to cost-of-living pressure, survey shows

The ACTU has released its latest cost of living survey showing up to a quarter of Australians are already skipping meals because of the cost of living.

Sally McManus told the ABC it is only going to get worse if something doesn’t happen to increase wages:

When you start to run out of money because of inflation and the cost of things going up and your wage is not, you obviously got to lock at your budget and work out what you can cut out and for some people, there’s nothing left to cut out other than their meals.

We know that people are spending less on all the essentials and this is, you know, obviously really bad situation for families, but also bad for the economy when people don’t have that extra money to spend, they stop spending and, you know, in local businesses. We have got to address this issue and get wages moves again.


Attorney general says more whistleblower protection reform to come

Mark Dreyfus also spoke to the ABC about the whistleblower protection legislation he is bringing before the parliament:

When I was last attorney general in 2013, I brought the first national whistleblower protection scheme to the parliament. It’s called the Public Interest Disclosure Act. And what I introduced yesterday was the first stage of reforms to that scheme.

We’re going to have a larger reform next year. But this first stage tightens up protections and, of course, that’s where we need to get to. We need to make sure that people who see wrongdoing, people who see mal-administration or corruption can report it to their superiors, and if they don’t get action, that they should be able to go public with their concerns and that they be protected against reprisal.

That’s the important thing about whistleblower protection. We need to get these laws right because we all know that it’s an important part of integrity. It’s an important part of good administration that people be able to make complaints.


Helen Haines says she will speak to the Greens on referring Morrison to privileges committee

Will Helen Haines support the Greens motion to refer Scott Morrison to the privileges committee? Maybe. She wants to find out the reason why first.

The independent MP told the ABC:

Well, firstly, I would say it was quite extraordinary to be censuring a former prime minister in the House of Representatives yesterday on the very same day we were introducing such a massive integrity reform. That was a grave motion. I took no joy in seeing that happen. I supported that censure motion because it was important to do so.

Unfortunately, the former prime minister made no explanation that could account for his actions in the previous parliament and that lack of transparency was really just beyond the pale so I had no hesitation in supporting the censure motion.

In regards to a referral to the privileges committee, I will speak with the leader of the Greens today to understand where he – where he wishes this to land and his rationale in doing that. But these are the measures that the parliament has.

They’re very powerful measures, they’re important because we need to signal to the Australian people that democracy is precious, we must protect it. We absolutely must. It’s our job as parliamentarians to do that.


Liberal Andrew Bragg suggests further detail on Indigenous voice could spur Coalition support

Liberal senator Andrew Bragg also spoke to Patricia Karvelas this morning.

He is a long time supporter of an Indigenous voice to parliament and was addressing the Nationals decision to oppose the voice.

Bragg appears to be saying that there might be a deal which can be made, which would lay out what the representative body would look like, which would solve the political problem (of whether or not the Liberals would also support it) and also give something people can point to when they ask Australians to vote on it:

The most important thing is that the government bring together the whole game on the voice, which would be what are the options for the amendment to the constitution? What are the questions, but also what is the scope of the body? And I think that could be encased in an exposure draft.

And I think those are the component parts that we need to see.

… This is a judgment for the Australian people. And what matters most is how people vote at the ballot box when they’re given a chance at the referendum. So I’m not so interested in what politicians have to say, I think the most important point here is it’s a people’s vote.


The government services minister Bill Shorten was on ABC radio RN Breakfast when he learned the Medibank hackers had released all the customer information on the dark web.

Josh Taylor has reported on that here.

Shorten appeared slightly taken aback – but urged anyone worried about their identity documents to contact the relevant government service to have it replaced.

some breaking news - it seems the entire tranche of medibank data has now been released online by hackers?

"It is shocking, and the people who've hacked Medibank are absolute criminal low lives"

- @billshortenmp PT 1

— RN Breakfast (@RNBreakfast) November 30, 2022


Helen Haines says she is mostly happy with Nacc model

Indi MP Helen Haines, who had tried to get a national integrity commission through the last parliament, said she is mostly happy with the model this government has carried through the parliament, although she would have liked public hearings to have been part of it.

Haines did try to amend the bill to have more public hearings, but was unsuccessful.

However she told the ABC that it was an important moment for the parliament to pass the bill:

Our democracy is precious, our federal government is crucial to the success of the nation, and I know, as you do, that trust in our parliament, in our commonwealth, in politicians, has been falling dramatically. That’s a real problem and I really hope this begins to restore the trust.


Mark Dreyfus says federal anti-corruption body ‘a really, really important step’ in restoring trust

The attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has been up early and doing all the media rounds this morning.

He has done the commercial networks and the ABC talking about the passage of the integrity commission legislation.

He told the ABC:

It passed through both houses of parliament with overwhelming support, and I think, of course, there was a debate about some aspects of the bill. You always do get some debate … There was a constructive and cooperative approach in the parliament, and I think that that gives confidence to the people of Australia that with this powerful and independent and transparent national anti-corruption commission, that we’re going to set up around the middle of next year, that it’s something that the parliament, as a whole, agrees with. And it’s a really, really important step in the tasks that we’ve got of restoring trust and integrity in our politics.


Rate of property price decline eases amid record interest rate rises

Australia’s home values retreated for a seven consecutive month in November as rising interest rates over the period dimmed the appeal of property buying.

CoreLogic’s Home Value Index fell 1% in November, extending the average falls to 7%, or $53,400, since the gauge’s peak in April. The Reserve Bank started lifting its cash rate in May and has raised it every month since.

The drop in average home values, though, remains less than a third of the advance of $170,700 during the upswing from the nadir during the Covid pandemic to its peak.

The decline has eased since a 1.6% pace in August, thanks mostly to Sydney and Melbourne’s slide levelling out. CoreLogic’s research director, Tim Lawless, said:

Three months ago, Sydney housing values were falling at the monthly rate of 2.3%. That has now reduced by a full percentage point to a decline of 1.3% in November.

For Melbourne, the values were sinking at a rate of 1.5% in July and that drop has almost halved to 0.8% last month. Brisbane’s decline has also stopped accelerating.

Of capitals, only Sydney’s prices have fallen more than 10%, at 11.4%, chipping away at the 27.7% recent run-up. Melbourne, though, had a smaller peak to retreat from, and house prices are now only 2.8% above their pre-Covid levels, CoreLogic said.

Hopes that the RBA might almost be done in their record run of rate rises were stoked on Wednesday after the ABS reported surprisingly low inflation numbers, as we reported here:

Investors responded to inflation data by trimming their expectations of a December rate rise by the RBA – an eighth in eight months – so it’s almost a 50:50 bet.

After those soft October inflation numbers, investors pared their bets of an RBA rate rise on Dec 6th (now a 59% chance). Further out, they also lower their peak rate to about 3.75% (lowest for a while). pic.twitter.com/wCPTTROFJt

— @phannam@mastodon.green (@p_hannam) November 30, 2022

Should the RBA pause or signal they are almost done in lifting interest rates after their board meeting next Tuesday, we can probably anticipate property price declines to ease further. (Subject to other shocks, of course.)


Josh Taylor has an update on the Medibank hack:


Adam Bandt to attempt to refer Scott Morrison to privileges committee

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, will today attempt to refer Scott Morrison to the privileges committee over the multiple ministries scandal.

On Wednesday the House of Representatives censured Morrison, but Bandt hinted earlier in the week that the Greens might go for a tougher option, calling for “real, meaningful action” against the former PM.

If successful, a privileges committee referral could result in a further investigation of whether Morrison misled parliament, and whether that constituted a contempt.

But the Greens have tried this before without success. In August, the speaker, Milton Dick refused to give a motion to refer Morrison precedence on the basis that, although the non-disclosure of the ministries was “extremely serious”, there wasn’t enough evidence Morrison deliberately misled the house.

The Greens are hoping that Dick will have a change of heart after the conclusions of the Virginia Bell inquiry and Morrison’s statement to the house on Wednesday.

If the speaker doesn’t change his mind, a majority of the house can refer Morrison anyway, but that will require the government to sign up.


Good morning!

Welcome to the last full sitting day of the year. We. have. almost. made. it.

A very big thank you to Martin Farrer for kicking us off today.

We are straight off the blocks with only a few hours for agendas to be set, met and upset.

The Greens’ Lidia Thorpe and David Shoebridge have given notice of a bill to shut down the NT’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, in line with a 2016 royal commission recommendation.

The Greens are also moving to attempt a privileges referral of Scott Morrison. Paul Karp will have more on that for you very soon.

The government is hoping to get through today with its IR bill intact and the territory rights private member’s bill through. The senate is going to sit as late as it needs to, to get through the last of the legislation, with the house returning tomorrow to deal with any amendments.

But today is the big day.


You have Katharine Murphy to lead you through it, along with Paul Karp, Josh Butler and Daniel Hurst. Mike Bowers is already up and about and I, Amy Remeikis, will be with you on the blog for most of the day. There is, I regret to inform you, not enough coffee in the world for today.


I will hand over to Amy Remeikis now to take you through the parliamentary day. Good luck!

RBA must tread carefully on rates: Greg Jericho

After his unusual apology for raising rates when he said they would remain low, the Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, may find himself having to do a mea culpa for keeping rates too high for too long.

That’s the verdict of our resident economics expert, Greg Jericho, who sees signs that inflation may have peaked and that borrowing costs might start coming down.

He writes:

The signs are around that the rate rises have already had a big impact and inflation may have peaked. The RBA needs to watch that it does not overdo the rate rises and go from delivering a good economy that leaves us satisfied to one that has us feeling very sick.

You can read his full analysis here:


Good morning and welcome to our live politics blog from Canberra. Amy Remeikis will be here shortly but before then, let’s have a look at the other stories making the news overnight.

Anthony Albanese told business leaders last night that he is “confident” of reaching an agreement on a plan to ease energy costs. Speaking at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry gala in Canberra, Albanese said energy policy inaction under the former government was magnifying the shocks caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “I fully appreciate that rising energy costs are putting significant pressure on your businesses, as well as family budgets around Australia,” Albanese said. “I’m confident we will be able to reach agreement on a plan that delivers for every part of Australia.”

More than 900 people placed on work orders for Covid fines now known to be entirely invalid could be compensated by the New South Wales government for their unpaid labour or training. The state is withdrawing 33,000 fines for two specific Covid offences, after conceding that they were too vague. Guardian analysis suggests hundreds of people have already been working off the invalid fines, either through unpaid labour, training, or counselling.


Mostafa Rachwani and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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