Airport strike planned for next Friday called off – as it happened

Last modified: 07: 48 AM GMT+0

Firefighters at 27 airports have decided not to strike next week. This blog is now closed

What we learned: Friday 2 December

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

  • Prosecutors dropped charges against Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins, saying a retrial would pose an “unnacceptable risk” to her health. Two independent medical experts said ongoing trauma of prosecution presented an unacceptable risk to Higgins, with her friend confirming Higgins is in hospital receiving treatment.

  • Justice Ian Harrison has declared that Chris Dawson, convicted of murdering his wife, Lynette, will be sentenced to 24 years’ jail, with a non-parole period of 18 years.

  • Gas giant Santos lost its bid to restart drilling at a multimillion-dollar gas project off the Tiwi Islands.

  • Accused Islamic State jihadist Neil Prakash landed in Australia to face charges that could see him behind bars for life. He will be extradited to Victoria.

  • The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, released a joint statement with the Finnish prime minister, Sanna Marin, emphasising the need to strengthen ties.

  • New South Wales recorded 32 Covid deaths and have 1,481 people in hospital this week, while Victoria saw 54 deaths with 550 people in hospital. Western Australia recorded 14 Covid deaths with 185 people in hospital. South Australia recorded 12 Covid deaths, with 128 people in hospital.

  • The Victorian Greens urged the state government to ramp up pandemic health messaging to help stem the fourth Covid wave prior to an expected Christmas peak.

  • The government’s industrial relations package passed its last hurdle and passed the parliament, largely intact.

  • Firefighters at 27 airports across Australia have called off a strike that threatened to ground all domestic and international passenger flights for several hours next week.


What to do if you are affected by the Medibank hack

And if you are a Medibank customer, and have some questions about the cyber-attack, or how you can protect yourself, look no further than Josh Taylor’s explainer, linked below:


Teenager saved from drowning in NSW

AAP is reporting that a teenage girl has been saved from drowning after encountering difficulties while swimming in a river in the NSW Upper Hunter region.

The 15-year-old was “pinned underwater” after her foot became stuck in wooden debris, Fire and Rescue NSW said.

“The teen was in imminent danger of drowning, her face was bobbing in and out of the water,” FRNSW captain Amon Burkill said.

If not for the quick actions of those firefighters entering the river, I’m in no doubt it would have ended tragically.

A multi-agency rescue operation was launched just before midday after reports three children, including the 15-year-old, were in difficulty in the Hunter River, at the town of Denman.

Rescuers were able to find and rescue two children who had clambered onto a log.

The 15-year-old was found another 300 metres downstream, with her foot trapped in timber debris.

“She was pinned underwater, struggling to breathe,” FRNSW said in a statement.

After quickly forming a plan to free the girl from the river, a firefighter entered the water and was able to untangle her foot from the debris.

A second FRNSW rescuer fitted her with a flotation harness.

The three children were later taken to safety by an SES team.

The girl has since been taken to hospital for assessment.


New senator David Pocock on lobbying over IR bill

Earlier this afternoon, independent ACT senator David Pocock was on ABC’s afternoon briefing, where he was asked a pretty interesting question about lobbying.

Pocock was asked if he had any “eye opening” moments during the process behind the IR bill, from both major parties, as well as “external players” such as business lobby groups or unions.

Here is what Pocock had to say:

The whole lobbying thing has been eye-opening over the last six months but it reached a whole other level in the IR [bill]. I’m committed to consulting. It is useful having access to experts, people representing workers, unions on the one side and small businesses and big business peaks.

I’ve spoken to them all and kept trying to come back to the policy and then consulted widely here in the ACT with small businesses, with people who live here, workers – and in the end the government was willing to give up a lot more ground than I thought they would. We’ve landed in a place that I believe reflects what people of the ACT would want me to vote on.

I’m loving being able to talk to people from all sides of the political spectrum, working with in the Senate, and then with both sides of politics. I had some really constructive conversations. I made it clear, I’m not here to rubber-stamp government policy.

I’m here to represent people of the ACT on issues and to interrogate whatever is put forward by the government, but I’m not here to stand in the way. I want to be constructive.

Independent senator David Pocock: ‘I’m committed to consulting.’
Independent senator David Pocock: ‘I’m committed to consulting.’ Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


It’s been a busy day today, and what better way to go back over the updates than to take a look at our Afternoon Update, which today looked at the Lehermann trial, Crhis Dawson’s sentencing and viva magenta being crowned colour of the year.

You can read more at the link below:

Nationwide airport strike called off

Firefighters at 27 airports across Australia have called off a strike that threatened to ground all domestic and international passenger flights for several hours next week.

On Friday afternoon, Airservices Australia announced it had struck an in-principle 12-month enterprise agreement with the United Firefighters Union Aviation branch and that the union will now withdraw its proposed protected industrial action it had planned for next Friday.

Earlier this week, the union had announced firefighters planned to stop work at 27 airports across every state and territory, including Sydney, Melbourne and all capital city airports, on Friday 9 December between 6am-10am.

At the time, the union said it was protesting safety concerns arising from low staffing levels, following months of negotiations over a new enterprise deal. The union had mentioned these safety concerns, and demands for minimum staffing level clauses.

However in an Airservices Australia statement released on Friday afternoon, only new pay details from the in-principle deal were mentioned. Workers will receive a 4.9% salary increase, the statement said.

Airservices Australia chief executive, Jason Harfield, said:

“Airservices is pleased to have reached this in-principle agreement with the UFUAV, which puts an end to proposed industrial action next week. This new agreement provides certainty for our ARFFs workforce, airlines and the travelling public. We commend all involved in reaching this new agreement.”

Guardian Australia contacted the United Firefighters Union Aviation branch for comment.


Terrific to welcome Prime Minister of Finland @MarinSanna to Australia.

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) December 2, 2022

Key event

Experts tip another rate rise before end of 2022

AAP is reporting that the Reserve Bank governor has left his options open ahead of the final cash rate decision of the year, with experts leaning towards another rate rise for December.

Speaking on a panel of central bankers on Friday, Philip Lowe said it was possible to execute a soft landing for the economy.

“But it’s going to be pretty easy to be knocked off it, and our priority will be to get inflation back to target over the next couple of years,” he said at the Bank of Thailand and Bank for International Settlements conference.

But Dr Lowe also doubled down on the lagging effect of interest rate rises.

It’s quite possible that the lags will be longer this time, partly because of all the savings that people did in the last couple of years.

The RBA governor also revisited his thinking about longer-term inflationary patterns, arguing that the world was likely passing the era of consistently low inflation.

Thanks to emerging supply-side challenges including deglobalisation and climate change, he expects to see inflation move up and down more dramatically.

For Dr Lowe, the spike in interest rates could be described as the first test in a new economic landscape characterised by fluctuating inflation.

We really want people to believe and understand that when inflation moves away from target ... that it will come back.

“If people don’t believe that, then deviations of inflation from target will be more persistent, and it’ll be harder to get it to come back.

Dr Lowe’s words set the scene for the year’s final cash rate decision on Tuesday.

Many economists and experts tip another 25 basis point hike for December.


Woman hit in the face by thrown Guns N’ Roses microphone

A woman who was hit in the face by a microphone thrown by Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose has spoken out, saying it felt like she was “hit by a truck.”

Rebecca Howe said she “could have lost an eye” when Rose threw the microphone at a concert in Adelaide.

She told Channel 10 he threw it after playing the track Paradise City:

It hit me on the bridge of the nose and it felt like I had been hit by a truck. I instantly put my head down, and my brain was like ‘oh my God, my face has been caved in.’

I saw him throw it but I didn’t see it coming. I was blindsided by all the lights and stuff, and then bang.

If it hit me in the eye, I could’ve lost an eye. I still can’t believe it, out of 20,000 people, it was me.

#Exclusive: 10 News First speaks with the woman who was hit in the face by a microphone thrown by @gunsnroses frontman Axl Rose at this week's concert at @theadelaideoval.

Rebecca Howe described the blow like being "hit by a truck" and that she "could have lost an eye".

— 10 News First Adelaide (@10NewsFirstAdl) December 2, 2022


Greens urge stronger health messaging as Covid surges

The Victorian Greens are urging the state government to ramp up pandemic health messaging to help stem the fourth Covid wave prior to an expected Christmas peak.

The state recorded 26,971 new cases in the latest weekly reporting period, a 21% increase on the previous week.

An average of 550 people were being admitted to hospital with the virus each day, an increase on 430 hospitalisations the week prior. It was the sixth consecutive week admissions with Covid rose.

Prior to the fourth wave in October, there were roughly 150 patients in Victorian hospitals with the virus.

The Greens are calling for “intensive promotion” of mask-wearing in crowded spaces and improving ventilation via air purifiers, open windows or moving outdoors. They’ve also asked the state government to be “prepared to adopt other measures” like density limits and mask-mandates.

Victorian Greens health spokesperson, Dr Tim Read, said the state “can’t sleepwalk through another health crisis”.

If we’re serious about helping our ambulance and hospital system, we can’t keep watching these numbers increase without doing something.

Victoria went into this pandemic with fewer hospital beds per capita than NSW and after years of coping with thousands of Covid cases and Covid-induced staff shortages, our health workers are exhausted.

Unless we retain some basic public health measures there will be nothing to slow the next increase in Covid which may not be far away. Asking Victorians to mask up in indoor spaces, use an air purifier or have a Covid booster, is preferable to asking them to wait longer for an ambulance or a hospital bed when they need one.


Good afternoon, Mostafa Rachwani with you this afternoon, taking over from the fantastic Emily Wind and Natasha May. There is still much to get through this afternoon, so let’s dive in.

Thanks for following along this afternoon, everyone! I’ll hand over to my colleague Mostafa Rachwani who will keep you updated throughout the rest of the day.

It’s the end of an era for Parliament House’s newspaper room, according to National Radio News reporter Amanda Copp, who tweeted this sad discovery this afternoon.

Absolutely devastated to discover Parliament House's newspaper room has come to an end as of today. It had almost every printed newspaper in the country available @Aust_Parliament

— Amanda Copp (@AmandaCoppNews) December 2, 2022

Saturn’s largest moon revealed in greater detail than ever before

NASA’s James Webb telescope has released new images of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

The moon’s surface has always been hidden because of its dense atmosphere but the Webb telescope’s infrared capacity has captured the dark and bright patches on its surface.

Titan is unique in the solar system. It is the only planetary body other than Earth that has rivers, lakes, and seas. Rather than water, they are made up of “hydrocarbons” — molecules like ethane and methane.

The two clouds seen by Webb validate long-held predictions that clouds form in the northern hemisphere during Titan’s late summer, when the Sun warms its surface. Follow-up observations by the Keck Observatory also revealed clouds, confirming seasonal weather patterns.

Images of Saturn’s moon Titan, captured by NIRCam on November 4, 2022.
Images of Saturn’s moon Titan, captured by NIRCam on November 4, 2022. Photograph: Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach/NASA, ESA, CSA, JWST Titan GTO Team, A. Pagan (STScI)


Increased rainfall sees Christmas tree prices rise

Aussies keen on a real Christmas tree might be left disappointed as prices are set to skyrocket due to 2022’s extreme rainfall across NSW creating supply issues.

Trees shorter than 182 cm are selling for up to $200, an almost 40 per cent increase on previous prices from last year.

Sydney was hit by a third consecutive La Niña in 2022, recording more than 286mm of rain during its wettest October on record.

Merlino’s Christmas Trees in Sydney’s inner-west says the wet weather has wiped out 40 per cent of their crops this year.

Robert Darrigo, from Merlino’s, said:

We had way too much water which caused a lot of root rot.

It wasn’t a very warm year so the trees didn’t grow as much.

- from AAP

For background on this and the supply of other Christmas items:


South Australia records 12 Covid deaths and 128 people in hospital

There were 9,684 new cases in the weekly reporting period, and eight people are in intensive care.

Cases are relatively steady compared to last week’s 9,000 new cases, with hospitalisations down from 140 in the previous reporting period.

Home loan approvals decline in October as higher rates dim demand

If the Reserve Bank is on the lookout for signs that its elevated interest rates are reducing demand in the economy, housing finance figures out today from the ABS will provide some more evidence.

The value of new home loans that were approved in October tallied $25.8bn, down 2.7% for the month, and the lowest level since December 2020, according to RateCity.

The value of new home loan approvals dropped for a ninth month in a row in October as the impact of higher borrowing costs continued to sap demand. The $25.8bn total was the lowest since December 2020, @RateCity said.

— (@p_hannam) December 2, 2022

The drop, smaller than the revised fall of 4.4% in September, means the value of new home loans was 17.1% lower than for October 2021.

The $25.8bn total was neatly divvied up with two-thirds going for owner-occupied homes and one-third for investors.

The number of owner-occupier first home buyer loans dropped again in October, down 3.2% from September and off almost 26% from the same time a year ago, RateCity said.

A sign that there’s still a bit of competition in the market is shown by the size of refinancing, with $17.84bn in loans between switched to new providers in October.

While 1.1% lower than in September, the total remains almost 10% higher than for the same month a year earlier.

Whether new or refinanced, mortgage holders are still shying away from fixed-interest loans. In dollar terms, fixed loans make up just 4% of the total compared with almost 50% in mid-2021, RateCity said.


Prime minister Anthony Albanese has taken to social media to reflect on his visit to Gough Whitlam’s family home in Cabramatta, which was officially dedicated today to mark the 50th anniversary of Whitlam’s election.

This morning I went to Gough Whitlam’s family home to celebrate the anniversary of a famous victory, and the home’s preservation.

Fifty years ago, people all over Australia voted to change the direction of our nation.

At around 11 pm, the street outside this home was filled with cheering supporters and was lit up by the flash of cameras, as Gough returned home and addressed the nation from this lounge room as prime minister-elect.

Thank you to all those who worked to acquire and preserve this home. I was delighted to be there to see it opened so Australians can share this piece of history for years to come. [4/4]

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) December 2, 2022


Tiwi Islanders celebrate ‘historic victory’ over Santos project

Tiwi Islanders say they are celebrating the federal court’s decision to reject Santos’ bid to re-start drilling for its multibillion-dollar Barossa gas project.

The full federal court upheld an earlier ruling that Santos’ drilling approval should be set aside because the oil and gas regulator Nopsema failed to properly assess whether the company had consulted everyone affected by the proposed drilling.

Tiwi senior lawman Dennis Tipakalippa said the court’s decision would have significant implications for the Barossa gas project, with drilling stalled since early October and Santos now required to go back to the drawing board on their plans:

We want the whole world to hear our voice. We want the whole world to see our power.

We have fought to protect our sea country from the beginning to the end and we will never stop fighting. Our sea is like our mother - we are part of the sea and the sea is part of us.

Santos and every other gas company must take note that this is our country and we must be consulted.

Santos has been ordered to pay Tipakalippa’s costs.

Tiwi mayor and senior elder Pirrawayingi said “this decision shows that the spirits of our people are always with us”.

Environmental Defenders Office special counsel, Alina Leikin, called the decision a “historic victory” and said the court had “confirmed unequivocally that Tiwi people have a direct and immediate interest in their sea country and that they must be consulted”.

Tiwi senior lawman Dennis Tipakalippa: ‘Santos and every other gas company must take note that this is our country and we must be consulted’.
Tiwi senior lawman Dennis Tipakalippa: ‘Santos and every other gas company must take note that this is our country and we must be consulted’. Photograph: Rebecca Parker


The two prime ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the swift conclusion of a comprehensive and ambitious EU-Australia Trade Agreement.

Once concluded, a trade agreement between the European Union and Australia would herald a new era in EU-Australia relations and offer significant economic benefits to both sides.

The leaders also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine as “a clear violation of international law and the United Nations Charter”.

The prime ministers demanded that Russia immediately end its war and withdraw its forces from within Ukraine’s borders. They expressed their commitment to work together with the international community to continue supporting Ukraine.

Albanese and Marin said fighting climate change and protecting biodiversity will require global cooperation.

We need to make rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and act urgently to adapt to climate change in order to reach the goals of the Paris agreement. We affirm our resolve to work with the international community to pursue efforts to keep 1.5 degrees within reach.

For those interested, you can read the full joint statement on the PM’s website.


Australian and Finland strengthen ties

Prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has released a joint statement with Finnish prime minister, Sanna Marin, after their meeting earlier today. It marks the first visit to Australia by a Finnish PM.

The statement says:

Leaders reaffirmed the warm and productive relationship between Australia and Finland, underpinned by a common vision based on equality, trust and shared values.

They underlined the need to work together in strengthening their resilience as open and democratic societies and in fostering sustainable development.

They agreed that managing complex supply chains, energy sources and investing in trustworthy critical and emerging technologies was needed to promote economic, political, social and environmental stability as well as human rights.

Prime minister, Anthony Albanese (with dog Toto) greets the prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, during a visit to Kirribilli House in Sydney today.
Prime minister, Anthony Albanese (with dog Toto) greets the prime minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, during a visit to Kirribilli House in Sydney today. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP


Tesla rolls out its first electric trucks

Vehicle giant Tesla has delivered its first electric semitrailers in the US, with chief executive Elon Musk promising the trucks would “look like an elephant moving like a cheetah” and provide a “step-change” in transport and emissions.

The Tesla Semi, delivered five years after it was first unveiled, promises to travel 800 kilometres on a single charge while fully loaded, and use four independent motors to reach speeds of 96km/h in just 20 seconds.

Musk said producing a semitrailer may not seem to “make sense from a brand standpoint” for Tesla but could make a significant impact on transport emissions.

In the US, there’s 15 million passenger vehicles and 200,000 semi trucks so it seems like a small percentage but it’s actually 20 per cent of US vehicle emissions because you’ve got a huge vehicle and it’s being driven all the time.

When you factor in the number of hours driven and the weight that it’s carrying – although it’s only one per cent of vehicle production it’s 20 per cent of vehicle emissions and it’s over a third of all the particulate emissions.

From a health point, particularly in cities, this is a huge impact so that’s why we’re doing it.

Tesla also revealed it had developed a megawatt charger to recharge the vehicles – technology that would later be used with its Cybertruck – and the truck would feature traction control, regenerative braking, and an automatic clutch.

- from AAP

Tesla chief executive, Elon Musk, during an unveiling of the company’s first electric semitrailers.
Tesla chief executive, Elon Musk, during an unveiling of the company’s first electric semitrailers. Photograph: TESLA/Reuters


Homicide squad commander praises investigators and Lynette Dawson’s family

Homicide squad commander detective superintendent, Danny Doherty, paid tribute to police investigators but gave particular credit to Lynette Dawson’s family for their unstinting efforts to seek justice.

The family and friends of Lynette Dawson never gave up hope, they’ve been the driving force behind this.

Doherty said Lynette Dawson’s case would remain open, and urged anyone with information, particularly about the location of her body, to come forward to police.

Obviously, this is unfinished business, the case is still open because we haven’t found her.


Thanks Natasha! Hello everyone, I’ll be with you all for the next little bit on the blog.

Thanks for following along, it’s been a big day of news. I leave you in the hands of my lovely colleague Emily Wind. Have a great weekend!



You spoke about what Gough’s legacy, obviously, meant for you and your family. What feelings do you have when you walk through these halls?


It’s just a sense of honour that someone who was here celebrating with neighbours and the true believers with the Hills Hoist. It’s a very humble home. The Whitlams were big on vision, but big in size as well. And you look at the size of the bedrooms there, where they were crowded in. And it just shows that it is a great country where people of humble background living here in the suburbs made a difference for all of the neighbours and the communities that have come to make western Sydney their home.

Prime minister, Anthony Albanese (left), and minister for climate change, Chris Bowen, inspect the family home of former prime minister Gough Whitlam in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta during a dedication ceremony on the 50th anniversary of Whitlam’s election.
Prime minister, Anthony Albanese (left), and minister for climate change, Chris Bowen, inspect the family home of former prime minister Gough Whitlam in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta during a dedication ceremony on the 50th anniversary of Whitlam’s election. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP


Whitlam home dedicated on 50th anniversary of election

Today Gough Whitlam’s family home in Cabramatta where he celebrated his 1972 election victory has been officially dedicated on the 50th anniversary of the win.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, was at the ceremony:

It is fantastic to be here 50 years to the day when Gough Whitlam declared himself as the prime minister of Australia. The Whitlam government changed our nation, modernised our nation, laid the foundations for the best healthcare system in the world, opened up educational opportunities, changed the way that investment happened in our suburbs, advanced Indigenous reconciliation, and changed our relationship with the world. It is a very proud moment to be here for this restoration and the preservation, for all time, of a part of Australia’s history. And it is important that we recognise our history, that we preserve it, and that we honour it for all Australians. And the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University will be able to do that into the future.

Prime minister, Anthony Albanese, outside former prime minister Gough Whitlam’s restored home in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, during a dedication ceremony on the 50th anniversary of Whitlam’s election.
Prime minister, Anthony Albanese, outside former prime minister Gough Whitlam’s restored home in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, during a dedication ceremony on the 50th anniversary of Whitlam’s election. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Asked about whether his own family home in Camperdown might be next, Albanese said:

Well, it is public housing already, of course. It is still there. But I do drive past there very regularly. And there’s a lovely person lives there and it is now her home. And I think that it is important that we recognise our history.


WA records 14 Covid deaths and 185 people in hospital

There were 11,762 new cases in the weekly reporting period, and 4 people are in intensive care.

Cases have remained fairly steady since last week’s 10,520 new cases.

As of 4pm yesterday, there were 7,229 active cases in Western Australia.

Wong on Taiwan joining CPTPP trade deal

Both ministers were extremely cautious when asked whether they had a common position on the possibility of Taiwan joining the trade deal known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (a subject of a recent verbal stumble by Anthony Albanese that he later clarified).

Mahuta said:

We have a number of applications to the CPTPP. We’ve got the UK, China, Taiwan, Ecuador, and potentially another fifth country coming online. As a repository of those applications, New Zealand has consistently said we welcome applications into the CPTPP. And it must be a high quality, high standards agreement.

Wong added:

I make the same point that minister Mahuta finished on: that this is a high-quality agreement and any application obviously would be assessed on the basis of parties’ capacity to comply with and observe the fullness of the quality of the agreement. Our focus, at the moment, is obviously the UK and I just make the point that any such application would require the consensus of the parties.

Let me explain quickly what the ministers are alluding to: the focus on high standards can be interpreted as a warning that China may not be able to meet those standards in light of the recent trade disputes with Australia. Meanwhile, Wong’s reference to the need for consensus among all 11 current members is a reminder of the practical difficulties that would accompany either Taiwan or China being accepted unanimously. At this stage it appears the UK has the best chance and is first cab off the rank.


NZ welcomes review on rights for its citizens in Australia

The New Zealand minister for foreign affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, says she is pleased with indications from the Albanese government about its review of policies towards New Zealand nationals living in Australia.

The Australian government has previously said it does not “want people to be temporary residents forever” and plans to announce improved pathways to citizenship by Anzac Day 2023. It has also suggested that it is looking at aligning the policy on voting in Australia with New Zealand’s rules – Australians residing in New Zealand for more than a year can vote in local elections.

Asked during her visit to Canberra today about Australia’s review, Mahuta said:

We’re certainly pleased with the indications that we’ve had. This is an area where we have an opportunity to work together. But primarily, that’s a matter for Australia to progress. The opportunity for New Zealand is to ensure that we are advocating in the best interests of New Zealanders who make a contribution here in Australia, and we’ll continue to do so.

At the same press conference, the Australian minister for foreign affairs, Penny Wong, said:

The prime minister has made our position very clear. We want to progress issues that affect the lives of those New Zealanders resident in Australia in ways that recognise our deep friendship and that apply common-sense outcomes. That’s what the prime minister said after his meeting with [New Zealand’s] prime minister [Jacinda] Ardern and we will work through those with New Zealand.


New Zealand interested in Aukus cybersecurity projects

New Zealand has expressed an interest in working with Australia and Pacific countries to boost cybersecurity - potentially under the Aukus banner.

The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, and her New Zealand counterpart, Nanaia Mahuta, addressed the media after they met in Canberra today.

Wong said it was an “excellent, productive” meeting covering a range of areas including the Indo-Pacific, the war in Ukraine, and Pacific regionalism. Wong said she appreciated New Zealand’s support for Australia to host a UN climate conference in partnership with Pacific island countries in 2026.

Mahuta said the two countries shared “many common perspectives”.

Asked about Aukus - which includes plans for nuclear-powered submarines, but also other work with the US and the UK on advanced technologies - Wong said:

I think New Zealand is aware of our rationale and our intention in relation to Aukus, which is about being able to ensure regional stability. At a time where there is a lot of competition and contest in the world, Australian comes to those arrangements, just as we come to our regional engagement, with the same perspective and the same objective.

We want a region that is peaceful, that is stable, that is prosperous, and in which sovereignty is respected and all of our work - whether it’s in our defence capability, or our diplomacy, or our engagement in education, on our labour movement position in relation to the Pacific - these are all about working towards that sort of region and ensuring all aspects of Australian power and Australian government engagement are directed to that end.

While the nuclear-powered submarines are clearly a joint project of Australia, the US and the UK, the three Aukus countries have signalled that other aspects of the security partnership could be done together with other close partners.

Mahuta said:

The Aukus arrangements aren’t a set of arrangements that New Zealand are a part of, neither do we seek to be a part of, however we have indicated that where there is a opportunity across the region to cooperate, for example, in areas such as cybersecurity, we remain open to those conversations.

Australian foreign minster, Penny Wong (left), with her New Zealand counterpart, Nanaia Mahuta, in Canberra today.
Australian foreign minster, Penny Wong (left), with her New Zealand counterpart, Nanaia Mahuta, in Canberra today. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


61 bills pass through parliament in Albanese government’s first six months

Canberra is rapidly emptying of politicians but the staff never stop working.

Now that the end of the parliament year is upon us, Anthony Albanese’s office have released this little tidbit – in its first six months, the government has passed 61 bills through the parliament.

That, they tell us, is the most government legislation passed in the first few months since 2013.


‘No sentence is long enough’: Lynette Dawson’s family

Simms has taken some questions outside court, first saying he did not believe that Lynette’s body will ever be found:

I don’t think he’ll ever give it up. His non-parole is 18 years. He’ll be, what, 92, if he lives that long? I don’t think he’ll give up where she is.

Simms was asked if Dawson displayed any emotions today:

No. No emotions whatsoever.

Simm’s wife, Merilyn Simms, said no sentence was going to be long enough:

No sentence is long enough for taking someone else’s life. But it was very interesting to hear the way the judge came about making that decision. So, 24 years – wonderful. He may not live for 24 years, but I hope he lives for quite a long time.


‘At last, we have justice’: Lynette Dawson’s brother speaks after Chris Dawson sentence

Outside the New South Wales supreme court, Lynette Dawson’s brother, Greg Simms, is addressing the media, thanking family, friends, and investigators for their part in securing a conviction for Chris Dawson.

Simms said he and his family would like Lynette to be “remembered as Lynette Joy Simms” and that her family “really never believed this day would come”:

At last, we have justice for Lyn, and that was our main aim. For our family, Lynette will always be remembered as a happy, loving, gentle sister, aunt, niece and friend.

Chris Dawson discarded her. The Dawsons disregarded her. From today on, we would like her to be known and remembered as Lynette Joy Simms. No sentence is long enough for taking someone’s life.

Today is in recognition of the hard work so many people have done to get the resolution we needed. We want to pay special tribute to the family and friends who worked in an unofficial capacity over the last almost 41 years, being Helena, my mother, my sister Pat, my brother Phil, all the aunts and uncles and cousins, and Lyne’s friends.

The system was against us, but we got there in the end. Once again, a huge but inadequate thank you to all the contributing police, Judge Harrison, the incredible barristers and solicitors from the DPP, the media for their support, and especially to Hedley Thomas and his team for from The Australian, and also Ben Fordham.

My hope is that the media and police will work collaboratively in future cases. We really didn’t believe this day would ever come. What we need now is to find Lyne and put her to rest. It’s our time to begin living our lives without having this hanging over our heads. Chris Dawson has had 40 years of freedom. Now, it’s our turn.


Santos loses bid to restart drilling off Tiwi Islands

AAP is reporting that gas giant Santos has lost its bid to restart drilling at a multimillion-dollar gas project off the Tiwi Islands.

The full federal court on Friday dismissed the company’s appeal, upholding an earlier decision that the offshore gas regulator should not have approved drilling in the Barossa gas field, 265km north-west of Darwin.

Tiwi Islander Dennis Tipakalippa in June launched legal action against Santos, claiming he was not consulted over the company’s environmental plan for the Barossa gas field.

The Munupi elder said he feared the project could damage his people’s sea country.

Federal court judge Mordecai Bromberg in September ruled in Tipakalippa’s favour, finding the regulator should not have approved the environmental plan.

He ordered for the approval to be set aside and drilling to be stopped, but Santos appealed the decision.

The $US3.6bn ($A5.5bn) offshore natural gas development was expected to create up to 600 jobs and pipe gas 280km to the Darwin LNG facility when production began in 2025.

The company has previously said the project, which was 43% complete and on schedule before the September court decision, is one of the world’s lowest-cost new LNG supply projects.


Security sweep of Victoria ministerial offices was routine: DPC

The Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) has released a statement saying that a security sweep of all ministerial offices and cars conducted during the past week was routine, and planned several weeks ago.

The statement follows a report in Herald Sun this morning, which claims the Andrews government ordered the “highly unusual” sweep just days after being elected to a third term.

Victorian DPC secretary Jeremi Moule said:

Reports this morning that the security checks have been ordered by the incoming government are incorrect.

The activities were planned several weeks ago and were to be implemented by the department regardless of the outcome of the election.

Office security sweeps were undertaken on Friday and Saturday when they became available and vehicles from Sunday morning, also based on availability.


Chris Dawson’s lawyer says his client ‘maintains his innocence’

Greg Walsh, Chris Dawson’s lawyer, is speaking outside the supreme court following his client’s sentence being handed down:

In respect of the sentence, and of course, ladies and gentlemen, there’s no winners in a tragic case like this. Lynette’s family have lost their daughter, their sister, their mother. And the extended family has also suffered, as has the community. So far as Mr Dawson is concerned, he now of course will spend in all probability the rest of his life in jail. And will not have the relationship that he otherwise would have had with his own children, and Susan, his wife, and extended family. As his honour found, it’s a matter of enormous severity in the sense of seriousness. That’s what I really mean. The murder of a loving and caring mother and wife is clearly an extremely serious crime. And his honour has recognised that. And in particular, not only the loss of her life, but the impact of that loss on the direct relatives and the wider community. As far as Mr Dawson is concerned, he maintains his innocence, I and his lawyer have acted in the accordance with his instructions and he maintains his innocence.


Penny Wong addresses Neil Prakash’s arrival in Australia

The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, spoke to the media in Canberra alongside her New Zealand counterpart, Nanaia Mahuta.

We’ll have more updates about their meeting shortly, but Wong was also asked about Neil Prakash’s arrival in Australia to face terrorism charges. Wong told reporters:

In relation to Mr Prakash, I’d refer you to the AFP statement. I can confirm that Mr Prakash was taken into custody, he obviously faces serious terrorism [charges]. He is scheduled to face a Darwin court today, an application will be made to extradite him to Victoria, and there he will be charged by the AFP-Victorian joint counter-terrorism team.

The AFP has issued a statement that makes clear that there is no threat to the Australian community.

Other than that, it’s a matter before the courts, so that’s as much as I’ll comment now.


Penny Wong salutes 'the grace, the bravery and the dignity' of Brittany Higgins

The minister for foreign affairs, Penny Wong, made some brief remarks at a press conference in Canberra when asked about the decision by prosecutors to drop charges against Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins. In the first trial, Lehrmann pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent, denying that any sexual activity had occurred.

Wong told reporters:

Given the serious health concerns that the DPP referenced today, I obviously am going to be very cautious about what I say, but I want to echo the prosecutor’s comments recognising the grace, the bravery and the dignity that Ms Higgins has displayed.


Chris Dawson sentenced to 24 years in jail

Justice Ian Harrison has declared that Chris Dawson, convicted of murdering his wife Lynette, will be sentenced to 24 years in jail, with a non-parole period of 18 years.

Mr Dawson is not old by contemporary standards, but he will not live to reach the end of his non-parole period.

I recognise the unavoidable prospect is that Mr Dawson will probably die in jail. Mr Dawson, would you please stand? For the murder of Lynette Dawson on or about 8 January 1982, I sentence you to imprisonment for 24 years, commencing on 30 August 2022 and expiring on 29 August 2046, with a non-parole period of 18 years. The first day upon which you will become eligible for release on parole is therefore 30 August 2040.

I note the provisions of the act have potential application to you. Mr Walsh may be expected to provide you with further information about that. Are there any other matters before I adjourn? Mr Dawson, would you please go with the officers now.


Justice Ian Harrison:

His denial of responsibility for that crime has benefited him in obvious ways.

He references the fact that Dawson went on to marry and a have a child with JC.


Inside the courtroom of Chris Dawson sentencing

Chris Dawson is sitting alone in the dock, wearing a green prison-issue tracksuit.

Justice Ian Harrison has told the court Dawson killed his wife Lynette Dawson at their home in Bayview in January 1982 for the “selfish and cynical purpose” of allowing him an unfettered relationship with his babysitter JC.

Lynette Dawson was faultless and undeserving of her fate … she was also completely unsuspecting.

Lynette Dawson was treated by her husband … as completely dispensable.

Justice Harrison described the crime as premeditated and planned, a “self-indulgent brutality”.


Judge to take into account ‘self-indulgent brutality’ in sentence of Chris Dawson

Justice Ian Harrison of the supreme court has begun to speak ahead of delivering the sentence of Chris Dawson, who was convicted of the murder of his wife Lynette Dawson.

Harrison has noted the effect of Dawson’s concussions on his consciousness, the fact he has shown no remorse and had no previous convictions.

Harrison also said he would take into account the ‘self-indulgent brutality’ of the murder.

My colleague Ben Doherty is in the courtroom and will bring you more on the sentencing.


‘Surprise’ finding on lockdown opioid use

The number of Victorians using opioid painkillers plummeted when Covid-19 restrictions first kicked in and picked back up after the state came out of a mammoth lockdown.

The findings have surprised Monash University researchers, who initially expected more people to rely on opioid painkillers during the height of pandemic restrictions.

Lead study author and pharmacist Monica Jung said:

We hypothesised mental health conditions experienced during the pandemic may have coincided with higher rates of people using opioids, particularly because stress can exacerbate pain.

However, those numbers actually fell, perhaps due to fewer face-to-face medical consultations, cancelled elective surgeries, and fewer incidents of physical trauma because most of us were isolating at home.

The drop-off could have also been down to Victorians being unable to get medical appointments and prescriptions during the pandemic, Jung suggested.

The study compared two periods in 2020 – the first, the week starting 23 March, during which stage-two restrictions kicked in and non-essential services were forced to shut their doors.

The researchers looked at all 10 opioids listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, including morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl.

The study has been published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

– from AAP


Magenta named Pantone’s colour of the year for 2023

It exists between blue and red, warm and cool, to be found on a spectrum all its own. It is 150 years old yet still future-facing, at once digital and primordial. It is – to quote its creators – “brave, fearless and pulsating”. It is Viva Magenta, Pantone’s colour of 2023.

If you’ve never heard of this colour, that’s quite deliberate. For almost 25 years, the colour-matching company has tasked itself with choosing a shade that – according to its extensive cross-disciplinary analysis of prominent hues within art, fashion, design and beyond – not simply captures the zeitgeist, but sets the tone for the year to come.

Consumers now safer from dodgy lenders

New laws will help prevent predatory payday lending and protect vulnerable people from falling deeply into debt during a cost of living crisis.

Under the laws, consumers will have stronger protections from payday lenders, which offer consumers fast cash but can commonly charge over 200% in annual interest rates.

The payday lending and consumer lease reforms passed the Senate late last night.

The Consumer Action Law Centre’s Gerard Brody said the measures would stop vulnerable borrowers from repeat lending and falling into debt spirals.

Assistant treasurer Stephen Jones said Australians urgently needed protection from predatory lending over the Christmas period.

The newly enshrined legislation includes a 10% cap on the amount of a person’s income that can be taken up in loan repayments.

The financial regulator will also be empowered to crack down on convoluted contract structures used to skirt responsible lending requirements.

The new rules will also aim to stop the predatory marketing of these kinds of loans and consumer leases.

– from AAP


The IR bill is now set to become law, despite a late filibuster effort from shadow employment Michaelia Cash in the upper house last night. If you missed it, there’s no need to watch the entire nine hours – there’s a sped up version the agriculture minister, Murray Watt, has shared.

Michaelia Cash has been debating our Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill for over 9 hours. 10 years of low wages wasn't enough for these people.

We need to get wages moving – Labor will get it done.

— Senator Murray Watt (@MurrayWatt) December 1, 2022


Greens release statement on criminal justice system after Lehrmann charges dropped

Greens senator Larissa Waters, party spokesperson for women and democracy, has released a joint statement with senator Sarah Hanson-Young about the criminal justice system in the wake of this morning’s announcement.

ACT prosecutors have dropped charges against Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins. He had pleaded not guilty and maintained his innocence throughout.

The statement from Waters and Hanson-Young says:

The Greens support the work being done to identify problems with criminal justice responses to sexual violence and strengthen trauma-informed approaches and wrap-around services.

In particular, we welcome the recent endorsement of the Work Plan to Strengthen Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault by all attorneys general and the commitment of the ACT government to make victim-survivors’ recorded testimony admissible.

In light of the strength and resilience Brittany Higgins has shown and the change she has already driven to reform parliamentary culture, the Greens will push anew for this and other procedural protections to be rolled out nationally as a matter of urgency.

At this time it is important to remember the toll that any sort of criminal proceedings take and the broader impact of intense coverage in deterring people from coming forward.

This week the Senate established an inquiry into the ways that consent laws impact survivor experience of the justice system. We will be working through that inquiry to ensure survivors are supported to seek justice and start their recovery.


Life on sub-poverty jobseeker payment laid bare in new report

Some weeks Michelle Jackson, 59, lives on toast. Other times she will be in the shower and will start to worry after noticing there is no more soap or shampoo.

Jackson said:

You can’t afford them all at once.

Oh, God. It’s horrible. Or a light blows. Sometimes I could have four light globes out. And you’re swapping them from room to room.

Jackson, who lives in social housing in Hobart, is among about 800,000 people in Australia living on a jobseeker payment that has been set well below the poverty line.

Her experience mirrors those explored in a new report, to be released by the Australian Council of Social Services and the University of New South Wales today, which investigates the lives of people in poverty in Australia.

Read the full story here:


December RBA rate rise becoming an even-money bet

The next big economic news for Australia will land next Tuesday when the Reserve Bank board meets on interest rates.

Quite a bit of Christmas shopping probably hinges on the outcome. A pause by the RBA would mean the cash rate sits at 2.85% until at least February when the board is next scheduled to gather.

For now economists are now mostly tipping the RBA will still lift its rate by 25 basis points to make it a record eight increases in as many months. If so, the 300bp increase since May would also make it a more aggressive spell of hikes since the second half of 1994 when the rate went up 2.75 percentage points.

As of yesterday, investors were betting on about a 50-50 chance of a 25bp rise on Tuesday. The recent weakish economic numbers, such as a dip in inflation in October, has also encouraged some pullback in expectations of how high the RBA will go it before stops raising rates.

Investors continue to pare expectations about how high the RBA's cash rate will go, with a peak of 3.7% now in view. For next Tuesday's board meeting,investors now rate the odds of a 25bp rise to 3.1% as a 54% chance.

— (@p_hannam) December 1, 2022

We’ll also get September quarter GDP on Wednesday, making for the last big week of economic data for 2022.

The New Zealand foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta is in Canberra today where she has just participated in a welcome to Country, ahead of talks with Penny Wong.

An honour to be welcomed to Country with the New Zealand Foreign Minister @NanaiaMahuta this morning.

— Linda Burney MP (@LindaBurneyMP) December 1, 2022

Accused jihadist Neil Prakash in Australia

Accused Islamic State jihadist Neil Prakash – once considered the country’s most wanted terrorist – has landed in Australia to face charges that could see him behind bars for life.

The Melbourne-born former rapper was flown from Turkey to Darwin on a chartered flight on Friday morning ahead of a scheduled court appearance for extradition to Victoria.

Prakash was arrested and jailed in Turkey after allegedly flying to Syria to fight with Islamic State.

The 31-year-old is expected to face court in Darwin, where Australian Federal Police officers will apply to have him transferred to Victoria and charged with terrorism offences.

Prakash could face a life sentence if found guilty.

In 2016, he was wrongly thought to have been killed in a US military strike in the Iraqi city of Mosul, however later the same year Australian officials confirmed he was still alive and had been arrested in Turkey.

Former home affairs minister Peter Dutton revoked Prakash’s citizenship in 2018 over his alleged IS participation and on the grounds he was Fijian.

Fijian immigration officials insisted Prakash, born to a Fijian father, had never held nor sought citizenship and refused to take him into the country.

Prakash rose to prominence over his alleged links to several terror plots in Australia and use of social media to lure potential recruits to IS.

In a statement, the AFP said its officers maintained a thorough framework to manage Australians facing terrorism offences and there was no threat to the community.

– from AAP


Brittany Higgins in hospital

Brittany Higgins is in hospital and receiving treatment and support, her close friend Emma Webster said.

In a statement, Webster described the last two years as “difficult and unrelenting”.

She said:

Brittany is in hospital getting the treatment and support she needs.

The last couple of years have been difficult and unrelenting.

While it’s disappointing the trial has ended this way, Brittany’s health and safety must always come first.

Brittany is extremely grateful for all the support she has received, particularly from our mental health care workers.

Prosecutors have just announced they will not proceed with a retrial, saying it is not in the public interest because of the significant danger it would pose to Higgins’ life.


Two independent medical experts say ongoing trauma of prosecution presents unacceptable risk to Higgins: Drumgold

Prosecutors have dropped charges against Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins.

This is what the ACT director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold had to say speaking from Canberra:

I closely considered the reasonable prospect to conviction test when I first examined the brief of evidence in the week of 21 June 2021 and I formed a clear view that there was a reasonable prospect of conviction and this is a view that I still hold today.

The non-exhaustive list of public interest tests, include section 2.9 paragraph being the actual or potential harm occasioned to any person as a result of the alleged offence which in this context includes the actual or potential harm occasioned by the ongoing prosecution of an alleged offence.

In short, I need to consider the harm that could be occasioned to a party, particularly a complainant from an ongoing prosecution. I have recently received compelling evidence from two independent medical experts that the ongoing trauma associated with this prosecution presents a significant and unacceptable risk to the life of the complainant.

The evidence makes it clear that this is not limited to the harm of giving evidence in a witness box, rather applies whether or not the complainant is required to enter a witness box during a retrial. Whilst the pursuit of justice is essential for both my office and for the community in general, the safety of a complainant in a sexual assault matter must be paramount.

In light of the compelling independent medical opinion and balancing all factors, I have made the difficult decision that it is no longer in the public interest to pursue a prosecution at the risk of the complainant’s life. This has left me no option but to file a notice declining to proceed with the retrial of this matter which I have done this morning. This brings the prosecution to an end. Before concluding, during the investigation and trial as a sexual assault complainant, Ms Higgins has faced a level of personal attack that I have not seen in over 20 years of doing this work. She has done so with bravery, grace and dignity and it is my hope that this will now stop and Ms Higgins will be allowed to heal.


ACT DPP drops case against Bruce Lehrmann

Prosecutors have dropped charges against Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins.

Director of public prosecutions Shane Drumgold has announced the shock move exercising his discretion to discontinue proceedings.

The decision means the retrial of Lehrmann, expected in February, will not proceed.

Lehrmann had maintained his innocence to allegations that he raped Higgins, a colleague and fellow political staffer, in the office of the then defence industry minister, Linda Reynolds, in March 2019. He pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent, denying that any sexual activity had occurred at all.


Thumbs up from Albanese as parliament wraps up

Here are some more images from Mike Bowers as the politicians exit the lower house for the last time this year. This morning marked the last sitting before parliament returns in February 2023.

Anthony Albanese talks to the teal crossbench after the passing of the IR bill, Parliament House in Canberra.
Anthony Albanese talks to the teal crossbench after the passing of the IR bill, Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Bowers caught the prime minister Anthony Albanese in talks with the teal crossbench and it looks as though all signs were positive.

Anthony Albanese talks gives a thumbs up to the teal crossbench, Parliament House in Canberra.
Anthony Albanese talks gives a thumbs up to the teal crossbench, Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Anthony Albanese talks to the teal crossbench as hey leaves the chamber after the passing of the IR bill, Parliament House in Canberra.
Anthony Albanese talks to the teal crossbench as hey leaves the chamber after the passing of the IR bill, Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Wong in NZ talks on climate, security

The foreign minister Penny Wong will meet with her New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta in Canberra today with climate and regional security on the agenda.

It follows the first ministerial consultation between the pair in Wellington earlier this year.

AAP reports, Mahuta said:

We are closely aligned in our responses to regional and global challenges, and we share aspirations in common with fellow members of the Pacific Islands Forum closer to home.

I anticipate discussion on cooperation in the Pacific, including support for Pacific nations for mitigation and adaption to the impacts of climate change, and on the geo-strategic situation in the wider Indo-Pacific.

They will also discuss Russian president Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and Iran’s human rights violations in the wake of the deadly protests against its authoritarian regime.


Victoria records 54 Covid deaths and 550 people in hospital

There were 26,971 new cases in the weekly reporting period, and 21 people are in intensive care.

Victoria’s case numbers are also continuing to see November’s steady incline into December with the latest cases over 4,000 up from the previous week and more than double the 10,226 cases recorded at the beginning of November.

The 54 deaths this week are down from the 68 recorded last week.

This week we reported 26,971 new cases with an average hospital occupancy of 550 and 21 daily ICU admissions.

54 deaths were reported in the past 7 days.

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

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) December 1, 2022


NSW records 32 Covid deaths and 1,481 people in hospital

There were 37,796 new cases in the weekly reporting period, and 38 people are in intensive care.

Cases continue to rise in NSW with over 6,000 more cases recorded this week than last weekly reporting’s 31,531 cases, as part of the steady incline from cases which were at 12,450 at the beginning of November.

The number of deaths have risen on 25 recorded last week, but remain lower than the 39 deaths recorded the week of 17 November.

COVID-19 weekly update – Friday 2 December 2022

In the 7 days to 4pm Thursday 1 December:
-37,796 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded: 14,902 rapid antigen tests (RATs) and 22,894 PCR tests
-32 lives lost

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 1, 2022


PM flags more workplace relations reforms next year

Albanese and Burke’s joint statement also had these words of thanks and approbation for their parliamentary colleagues:

We thank the minor parties and crossbenchers who supported this important legislation.

But every single Liberal and National MP voted against this bill.

The opposition voted against better wages, against secure jobs and against closing the gender pay gap.

They spent ten years keeping wages low as a deliberate design feature of their economic policies – and they’re still at it.

Our government is taking the opposite approach. Higher wages are a deliberate design feature of this government’s policies.

One of the first things we did as a government was help secure a pay rise for Australia’s lowest paid workers. We have also supported aged care workers to secure a wage rise.

They also flagged further reform in the workplace relations space when the house sits again next year:

The Secure Jobs Better Pay bill is the next step in that commitment – but it won’t be the last.

The government will deliver a second tranche of workplace relations reforms next year to close the loopholes that are undermining job security and wage growth.


Albanese and minister for employment issue statement after passing of IR bill

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and minister for employment and workplace relations, Tony Burke, have issued a joint statement following the Secure Jobs, Better Pay bill passing federal parliament just now:

By modernising the bargaining system we will see more workplace agreements, delivering better productivity and flexibility for employers and better pay and conditions for workers.

We’re bringing our workplace relations system up to date with a government that wants to get wages moving again.

They said the new laws also:

  • Reform the Better Off Overall Test so it’s simple, flexible and fair.

  • Put gender pay equity at the heart of the Fair Work Act.

  • Ban pay secrecy clauses that hold back women’s wages.

  • Expand access to flexible rostering arrangements.

  • Limit the use of fixed term contracts.

  • Ban job ads that advertise below minimum rates of pay.

  • Terminate WorkChoices “zombie” agreements.

  • Give the Fair Work Commission more powers to arbitrate industrial disputes.

  • Abolish politicised anti-worker organisations.


House adjourns until next year

The house is adjourned until Monday 6 February at 10am.

There is applause at that too.

The MPs get out of their seats and farewell each other, with quite a few “merry Christmases” being shared, and that’s it.

Congratulations one and all – you have officially made it through the parliament year. Proud of you. Go have a coffee and a little something-something to celebrate.


IR bill to become law

And the ayes have it.

The amendments have been agreed to with the final vote 78 to 42.

And the government’s industrial relations package has passed its last hurdle and passed the parliament, pretty much intact. There is a short burst of applause from the government side and a couple of hugs. Tony Burke gets a lot of handshakes and pats on the back.

It is off to the governor general for assent and the government finishes the year having passed each of its landmark reforms.

The parliament now won’t sit again until February, when new fights begin.


The House is dividing.

The IR bill is about to pass.


Zali Steggall will vote in support as her community has asked.

Allegra Spender will not be voting for the bill (she will be abstaining) as she says she has concerns over the bill still, but will be holding the government to account if there are any unintended consequences.

Dai Le said she wished there was longer for consultation, and that many small businesses in her electorate of Fowler were unaware of the bill.

She says she will also be holding the government to account.

Guardian Australia’s photographer at large Mike Bowers is in the lower house capturing its last sitting for the year as the IR bill receives final approval.

The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the house of representatives chamber of Parliament House, Canberra this morning as the Fair Work Legislatrion Amendment (secure jobs, better pay) Bill 2022 returns from the senate.
The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the house of representatives chamber of Parliament House, Canberra this morning as the Fair Work Legislatrion Amendment (secure jobs, better pay) Bill 2022 returns from the senate. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

As business wraps up, it looks like the nation’s leaders are getting into the silly season.

The Minister for Resources Madeleine King gets into the christmas spirit in the house of representatives chamber of Parliament House, Canberra this morning as the Fair Work Legislatrion Amendment (secure jobs, better pay) Bill 2022 returns from the senate.
The Minister for Resources Madeleine King gets into the christmas spirit in the house of representatives chamber of Parliament House, Canberra this morning as the Fair Work Legislatrion Amendment (secure jobs, better pay) Bill 2022 returns from the senate. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Adam Bandt and Zali Steggall speak

Adam Bandt is highlighting the role of the Greens in the negotiations, thanking Tony Burke and his staff for their conduct during those negotiations. He then took issue with Peter Dutton’s complaints that the bill will end the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) which Bandt is wholeheartedly in support of abolishing the commission, which he said gave people less rights than those in other industries, just because of where they worked. So he’s happy to see the end of it. The Coalition manage a few guffaws in response, but Bandt gets some rah-rah from the Labor side of the chamber and balance is restored.

The speeches move on to Zali Steggall who said she still has some reservations for small businesses, but she spoke to her constituents who said they wanted the ideology stripped from the debate. Steggall has some questions for the small business minister about the impact small business, which she is about to get to.


Eight emergency flood warnings across NSW

Major flooding is of concern in New South Wales today along the Lachlan River at Condobolin, Euabalong and Hillston, the Murrumbidgee River at Hay and Balranald, as well as the Edwards River at Moulamien.

🚨 60 current warnings across NSW:
8 Emergency Warnings
44 Watch & Act
8 Advice

View all current flood warnings at

📞 For emergency help in floods and storms, call NSW SES on 132 500. In life-threatening situations, call 000.

Current 8am 2 Dec

— NSW SES (@NSWSES) December 1, 2022


Anthony Albanese is echoing Tony Burke’s speech about what the bill will do and references A Christmas Tale and the Ghost of Christmas Past in response to Peter Dutton’s “ideological” speech.

Albanese is asking the Opposition to “name one” small business which closed because of the increase in the minimum wage (the last time the Coalition said the world would end and businesses would close).

Albanese says he is proud to pass this legislation on the 50th anniversary of Gough Whitlam’s election win.

Labor gives a very rowdy “hear, hear” in response and the call goes to the Greens leader, Adam Bandt.


Also, environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, is being treated to cake and the IR bill passing on her birthday morning.

Happy birthday to my friend, protector of the environment and expert flower photographer @tanya_plibersek.

May your day be as great as your sneaker collection.

— Anika Wells MP (@AnikaWells) December 1, 2022

Tony Burke gave a short speech in celebration of the bill passing and Peter Dutton is now responding.

Shorter Burke: Things will be better now! We love workers. Wages should go up!

Shorter Dutton: This is the most terrible bill in the world. We love workers. Labor loves unions.

So, the usual.

Dutton is now arguing that the IR bill is an “imposition” because of the inflationary circumstances. I’m not sure if he remembers that workers spend money at the businesses he is saying will close.

Anthony Albanese is now speaking, accusing Dutton of an “ideological rant”.

Senate amendments to IR bill about to pass House

Tony Burke is on his feet and moving that the amendments be agreed to.

The House is doing all the amendments together.

Burke thanks David Pocock and the Greens for their negotiations and those who participated in negotiations, even when they didn’t agree.

The amendments are about to pass the House – then it’s off to the governor general for royal assent.


Before the IR bill gets its final approval in the lower house this morning, Rishworth was asked how quickly those feminised industries can expect to see a pay rise:

Putting gender equity in the objectives of the Fair Work Act is a critical component to actually ensure those in feminised industries can fight for pay rises. By this legislation passing, it starts the process of enabling particularly low-paid feminised areas to actually use the Fair Work Commission to actually get a pay increase – of course that’s what the multi-employer bargaining is about as well.


Good morning from Canberra.

After a long night for the Senate, which Murph, Paul Karp and Mike Bowers stayed in for, to the bitter end, the House is back bright and early this morning to pass the Senate amendments.

It was Labor’s Christmas party last night, although we hear it was a fairly tame affair given everyone knew they had an early start.

There is another big shindig tonight for Labor – it is the 50th anniversary of Gough Whitlam’s election and the Whitlam family home will be officially dedicated.

But first, there is the business of passing the Senate’s amendments to the IR bill.

The House is up and it is straight into it.


Rishworth defends superannuation stance

There are still calls on the government to add superannuation payments to paid parental leave. Rishworth is asked if it’s something the government is committed to looking at in this term of parliament:

We’ve set up the women’s economic equality taskforce to look at a range of issues. Along with our childcare changes and our paid parental leave, we have really put women’s economic participation front and centre of this government, as a priority.


Rishworth calls for Dutton to ‘be a leader’ on Indigenous voice

The Liberals have yet to state how they will be campaigning on the voice but the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, has criticised a “bewildering” lack of detail.

Rishworth has labelled Dutton’s position “disingenuous” – merely trying to create uncertainty about something that is essentially a “simple proposition.”

I think this is disingenuous by the opposition leader, there is plenty of detail of what a model would look like.

His party is clearly divided. He needs to be a leader when it comes to this.


The social services minister, Amanda Rishworth, is now speaking with RN Breakfast. She is today announcing funding for young children with a newly diagnosed disability or emerging developmental concerns.

Rishworth says it will be a “complement” to the NDIS.

We’ll be actually providing social and emotional support for children with a disability and their families things like playgroups … and other activities to ensure kids are best prepared for school.

It is money that should be seen as a complement to the NDIS.

We know there are a lot of children and adults living with a disability that don’t qualify for the NDIS and we need to make sure there are supports and services in place for those people as well.

Patricia Karvelas:

There’s been concern that some participants on the NDIS, particularly children, should be receiving care through the education system – will this funding help that?


This funding is for 0 to eight-year olds, so it is about preparing them for school.

This is not the sole responsibility of the NDIS, we need to get all our service system meeting the needs of children living with a disability. So, this money is part of that, but there is a lot more that needs to be done.


Fifteen minutes left in Costa Rica v Germany at World Cup

It’s all going off at the Qatar World Cup in the final round of Group E fixtures.

Costa Rica have a live chance of upsetting Germany, but with 15 minutes to go anything is possible.

You can follow that much as well as Japan v Spain on our dedicated live blogs:


‘It would be damaging’ if Liberal party don’t support the voice, Spender says

The Liberal party have not yet said how they will campaign on the voice, even though their junior Coalition partner, the Nationals, have come out in opposition to it.

The teal independents have all unseated Liberals in blue-ribbon seats and Spender believes if the Liberals go the way of the Nationals they will continue to turn away their base in these seats.

This is absolutely a crucial issue in my communities in every single politics in the pub or public event I had, people asked me about my support of the Uluru Statement of the Heart and the voice, and I was unequivocal. And I think absolutely it would be damaging to the Coalition – the Liberal party – if they rejected this. My community is really passionate about listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about what they want and ensuring they support that.


Spender does not believe model for voice needs to be legislated before vote

The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, says there is a building bewilderment at the lack of detail on the voice, but Spender has told the program she does not believe more detail is needed because any change in the constitution should be about principles.

Spender confirmed she does not believe there needs to be a model in legislation before a vote takes place.

I support the government in where it is going and I support that the parliament of the day will determine what that looks like. I think the constitution is about principles. And this is a question of changes to the constitution. This is not a question of changes of legislation.

I don’t agree actually with where Peters Dutton’s coming forward. And I also think that there have been a number of reports including to the parliament, about the principles of the voice, which I think are very clear.

Spender is asked about David Littleproud’s concerns about differentiations in representation of communities as diverse as Redfern and Cape York:

Look, I think, countries change and communities change and if we were trying to enshrine something today that was going to be perfect, it wouldn’t be right for 50 years time necessarily if you’re trying to get that detail of how the Cape York versus the Redfern communities are represented.

I think the principle of this that the Australian people will be voting on, which is that should the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a voice to the parliament on on the policies and legislation that specifically affect them? And the answer to that is yes.


Labor briefs independents on voice to parliament

Hello! Natasha May on deck with you now.

The government has briefed a group of independent MPs providing more details about the referendum and the Indigenous voice to parliament. The member for Wentworth, Allegra Spender, was part of that briefing and has spoken to RN Breakfast this morning, saying it was given because “a lot of us are passionate about support this”.

This is something that will be there to support to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a voice on the services that affected them. That is the fundamental reason why I’m supporting this is because we, you know, we spent decades with policies and laws that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but they do not have the voice in terms of making sure that this is actually what the community’s want.


Matt Kean attacks Morrison over secret ministries

The New South Wales treasurer, Matt Kean, has given Scott Morrison a spray on Q&A over his secret ministries, the ABC reports, and called for Australians to judge the former prime minister at the ballot box.

He told viewers:

I strongly disagree with [Morrison] on what he did, with regard to assuming powers without telling the electors. Transparency and integrity is at the heart of our democracy.

For people to have confidence in our system of government, our politicians and our political class need to be transparent with what we’re doing and that’s not what happened with Scott Morrison.

The best way to deal with these issues is letting the public decide.


Don Farrell flies to Europe for free trade talks

The trade minister, Don Farrell, is flying to Europe to seek progress on a free-trade agreement with the EU.

Farrell will visit Paris, Brussels and Berlin in a trip that also includes Bern in Switzerland and London.

In a statement, he said he would use meetings in the first three cities “to advocate for the conclusion of important negotiations for an ambitious and comprehensive Australia-European Union (EU) trade agreement”, describing it as “one of our highest trade policy priorities”.

The discussions would also include how Australia could support Europe’s energy transition, including through the development of critical minerals and green hydrogen supply chains.

My visit will also signal the Australian government’s support to our friends and partners in Europe as they face challenges associated with Russia’s illegal, immoral and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

Farrell said he would open the new Australian embassy to Switzerland in Bern.

He said he would use his stop in London to “advance the Australia-UK free trade agreement, highlighting that Australia has completed all domestic requirements to implement the agreement, and encourage the UK to finalise remaining steps to ensure it enters into force early next year”.



Good morning and welcome to the live blog. My colleague Natasha May will be along shortly but first the stories making news overnight.

The top story from the end of the parliamentary session was success for Labor in passing the industrial relations bill to overhaul workplace bargaining. The reforms – the biggest for decades – passed the Senate last night with support from the Greens and David Pocock, defying a late Coalition filibuster attempt led by former employment minister Michaelia Cash. The trade minister, Don Farrell, said: “It gives us the opportunity to really, really get wages moving again.” It will get final approval in the lower house this morning.

There was also late-night Senate success for territory governments who finally regained the right to make their own laws about assisted dying after senators voted to overturn a 25-year-long ban. Senators cheered and hugged as the territory rights bill passed and finance minister and ACT senator Katy Gallagher branded it “a really significant and historic moment”. The ACT’s second senator David Pocock said the bill came off the back of years of advocacy and stoic people coming forward and telling their stories.

Our medical editor, Melissa Davey, has exposed the way in which vaping has led to spiralling levels of nicotine addiction among young people. She has more terrific reporting this morning after listening to the tragic stories of parents and doctors grappling to help children deal with the crisis. We also have an explainer about how bad the problem has become and how teenagers have become addicted in the first place.



Mostafa Rachwani, Emily Wind and Natasha May

The GuardianTramp

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