The day that was, Friday 10 June
That’s where we will wrap on the blog for Friday. For my sins, I will be back with you tomorrow morning with all the latest news.
Here’s what made the news today:
- The Nadesalingam family have had an emotional reunion with the Queensland regional town of Biloela, after years in immigration detention and legal uncertainty.
- The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, held meetings for what Ardern said was a reset of the relationship as a result of the election of the new Labor government.
- Ardern reiterated NZ’s longstanding opposition to deporting New Zealand citizens on character grounds when they have lived most of their lives in Australia, but Albanese would not say whether there would be a change in policy.
- There were chaotic scenes at Sydney and Melbourne airports on Friday as Australians embarked on Queen’s birthday long weekend holidays, with airports unable to cope due to ongoing staffing issues.
- Victoria announced a new $500m women and children’s hospital in Geelong.
- Senator Mehreen Faruqi was appointed deputy leader of the Australian Greens, replacing Senator Nick McKim and Senator Larissa Waters.
- The NSW government committed almost $570m to upgrade the state’s Opal transport system and launched a trial of a new all-in-one transport app.
- There were 40 reported Covid-19 deaths.
Until tomorrow, stay warm.
Miles Franklin prize removes novel from longlist after author apologises for plagiarism
Australia’s most prestigious books prize, the Miles Franklin literary award, has pulled The Dogs by John Hughes from its 2022 longlist, a day after Hughes apologised for plagiarising parts of the work of a Nobel laureate “without realising” in his acclaimed novel, Anna Katherine Verney reports.
Warning issued over pink ecstasy tablets containing double the average dose
NSW Health is warning that ecstasy tablets circulating in the community which are pink in colour and marked with an Audi logo are two times the average dose of MDMA per tablet.
Medical director of the NSW Poisons Information Centre, Dr Darren Roberts, said:
It can cause severe agitation and paranoia, raised body temperature, seizures or fits, irregular heart rhythm and death.
While one MDMA tablet alone can cause life-threatening toxicity, the risk is greatly increased if high doses or multiple MDMA tablets are consumed over a short period, or if MDMA is consumed in combination with other stimulants, such as cocaine.
Australian government rejects Myanmar court's Sean Turnell ruling
The foreign minister, Penny Wong, says the Australian government rejects the court ruling in Myanmar this week against Australian professor Sean Turnell, to continue their violating official secrets law trial.
It is more than 16 months since Professor Turnell was detained by the Myanmar military.
He remains imprisoned in Myanmar, and we continue to call for his immediate release.
Professor Turnell has worked for Myanmar’s economic development for many years and is internationally respected for this record.
We will continue to advocate for Professor Turnell’s interests and well-being and will not stop until he is safely back with his family.
Here’s the latest Weekly Beast, for all your media news.
First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria and Daniel Andrews hold ceremony to mark treaty authority agreement
Earlier today, members of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria – the body elected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help develop a treaty framework – and the state premier, Daniel Andrews, held a ceremony on Gadubanud Country of the Eastern Maar people in Lorne to mark the agreement to set up a treaty authority.
It comes after the minister for Aboriginal affairs, Gabrielle Williams, introduced the treaty authority bill to parliament earlier this week.
If passed, it will allow for an independent authority to be established with the legal powers necessary to facilitate treaty negotiations between the government and traditional owners, and resolve any disputes between parties.
It will have a funding stream detached from the standard political cycles.
Authority members – all of which will be First Peoples – will be appointed by a panel independent of government.
Assembly co-chair and Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, said the hard work of the last two years was starting to deliver tangible progress on the journey to treaty.
“Ours is the oldest living culture on the planet. It’s clear that our lore and law has stood the test of time and I’m overjoyed and very proud to see it being embedded into the very core of the new institutions we’re creating to get treaty done,” she said.
Assembly member Aunty Charmaine Clarke presented Andrews with a message stick, giving him permission to address the assembly.
The premier, Daniel Andrews, spoke of how treaty will change the shape of the state’s cultural landscape, and how Victorians view and understand their identity, history, and future.
South Australia reports two Covid deaths, including woman in her 20s
South Australia has reported two Covid-19 deaths on Friday – a woman in her 20s and a man in his 90s.
The state recorded 2,342 new cases. There are 235 people in hospital, with five in intensive care.
National Covid-19 update
Here are the latest coronavirus case numbers from around Australia on Friday, as the country records at least 40 deaths from Covid-19:
- Deaths: 1
- Cases: 824
- In hospital: 83 (with 1 person in ICU)
- Deaths: 11
- Cases: 7,551
- In hospital: 1,250 (with 41 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 0
- Cases: 213
- In hospital: 13 (with no one in ICU)
- Deaths: 1
- Cases: 3,786
- In hospital: 301 (with 9 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 2
- Cases: 2,342
- In hospital: 235 (with 5 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 0
- Cases: 681
- In hospital: 31 (with 1 person in ICU)
- Deaths: 19
- Cases: 8,025
- In hospital: 512 (with 28 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 6
- Cases: 7,174
- In hospital: 279 (with 16 people in ICU)
Incident at surf park in Melbourne’s north leaves man in critical condition
A man is in critical condition after a serious incident at URBNSURF in Melbourne’s north on Friday morning.
Police and paramedics were called to the surf park at Tullamarine at 11.30am.
The surfer, a man believed to be in his 40s, was treated for a medical condition at the park and is now at the Royal Melbourne hospital in a critical condition.
URBNSURF, which opened in 2020, uses technology to create waves for surfers at every level.
The park released a statement saying the it had been immediately closed after the incident.
“There has been a serious incident at URBNSURF Melbourne, our team has provided support and care for the friends on site,” a statement from URBNSURF read.
“Our first priority is the health and safety of our customers.
“As soon as the incident occurred, we immediately closed the park and are continuing to provide our full cooperation to the first responders and police.
“The facility will remain closed until further notice. As a police investigation is under way, we are unable to provide any further comment.”
Tim Watts says 250 passport processing staff to be added over six weeks to address backlog
Watts says the backlog of passport applications is a “big failure” of the former Coalition government, that should have been foreseen given borders opening up after two years.
He says people need to factor in at least six weeks for passport applications. Thirty-five additional staff were put on this week, and 35 will be put on next week.
He says 250 passport processing staff will be put on in the next six weeks to deal with the backlog, but says “it’s not going to be a quick fix but will take some time to work through, so we ask Australians to please plan ahead and get your passport applications in as soon as possible”.
Peter Dutton 'desperate' to distract from defence failures, says Labor's Tim Watts
Assistant foreign affairs minister, Tim Watts, says on ABC’s Afternoon Briefing that the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, has shown he “never got off the training wheels” during the time he was defence minister, following his recent comments about the plans for a stopgap submarine purchase prior to the election.
The only operation of these six unsuccessful defence ministers of the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison government is announcing things, desperate to ensure no-one looks at the record of failure on delivery, a record of decades of delays, billions of dollars, tens of billions of dollars of cost blowouts and little delivered for the Australian taxpayer.
And today in the newspapers we see that Peter Dutton is continuing to deliver announcements as a political tactic from opposition. It’s fair to say that Peter Dutton would be close to the last person you’d listen to on advice on defence procurement acquisitions, but he has a bit of company on that list with the five other failed defence ministers ...
‘We can come together as one’: friends of Nadesalingam family vow to keep fighting for permanent protection
As Priya Nadesalingam touched down in Biloela for the first time in four years she bent down and kissed the ground.
Supporters and friends of the Nadesalingam family welcomed the family home with hugs, rainbow streamers and signs embellished with cockatoos.
The humble Thangool airport in Central Queensland was overwhelmed this morning, as media and supporters swarmed the airport, awaiting the family’s arrival.
The excitement was such that an airport worker had to ask the crowd to stay to one side so that when the family touched down they would able to get out smoothly.
As Priya, Nades and their children, Kopika and Tharnicaa, exited the plane, the family received a celebrity welcome and applause from the crowd - one of the girls even blew supporters a kiss.
Teary, Priya said she was “very happy” that she was able to return to Biloela. She said she hoped the government would grant her family with permanent protection and provide other refugees with certainty.
She said the family had been treated “inhumanely” in detention.
In May, interim home affairs minister, Jim Chalmers, granted the family bridging visas, allowing them to leave community detention in Perth and return to their home in Biloela.
But they are still fighting for permanent protection – something the government could grant them with the stroke of a pen using the “godlike” powers of ministerial discretion.
Angelica Fredricks, a friend of the family, said the Home to Bilo campaign is going “to keep fighting until this family has permanency”.
“Australians have shown that we can unite.. we can come together as one,” she said.
With the family attending the Flourish festival on Saturday and Tharnicaa’s fifth birthday party on Sunday, it’s looking to be a hectic welcome home for the Tamil refugee family.
Myself and photographer Mike Bowers have flown up to Biloela and will be speaking with the family, locals and their friends over the next few days – so keep an eye out.
Mehreen Faruqi appointed deputy leader of the Greens
Senator Mehreen Faruqi has been appointed deputy leader of the Australian Greens, replacing Senator Nick McKim and Senator Larissa Waters.
The party voted on leadership positions at a party room meeting in Melbourne today.
Adam Bandt was reappointed as leader, Faruqi is in the deputy position. Waters was appointed leader in the Senate, Lidia Thorpe is deputy Senate leader, and Sarah Hanson-Young is manager of Senate business. McKim, whose office issued the statement announcing the leadership change, was appointed senate whip.
Senator Janet Rice is the party room chair. They have also established a new position: house whip, a position they have not needed previously, with Bandt in the lower house on his lonesome. That position will be voted on at a later date.
The statement said all appointments were “supported unanimously and decided by consensus”.
A happy day in Biloela – a rare outcome in Australia’s immigration system
The press conference has wrapped up. That was wonderful to see the Nadesalingam family back in Biloela.
I’d covered their court battle – almost every hearing from the day an emergency injunction was issued preventing their removal from Australia, while they were mid-flight being removed from Australia.
Australia’s immigration law is harsh, and almost all of the thousands and thousands cases do not get the attention that this family’s had.
Sitting in court watching each small progression, and incremental victory, it always seemed like an impossible hill for them to climb – even though the immigration minister always had the power to fix it at any time.
So today is a happy day.
It’s not over for them yet. They still don’t yet have permanent residency, but the immigration minister, Andrew Giles, said this week he is being “briefed on options” and will make a decision as soon as possible.
There are many, many others who won’t get a happy resolution in Australia’s immigration system who should, but that shouldn’t detract people from feeling happy today for this family for finally getting back home to Biloela.
'We were treated very badly': Priya Nadesalingam
Priya Nadesalingam says (through a translator) that the family’s treatment in the detention was inhumane:
We were treated very badly and my children [were] affected mentally and physically and even my youngest one lost teeth. We had a really hard life and I hope that nobody goes through that.
She says she is very thankful the change of government has allowed her to return home to Biloela today.
She says she is hoping the government comes through with permanent residency for the family soon (they are currently on bridging visas).
There is a Facebook live stream of the Nadesalingam family press conference if you want to continue watching it. The sound isn’t great, but we will have a more full report soon.
Nadesalingam family speaks in Biloela
The press conference at Biloela with the Nadesalingam family has started.
Priya says she is very happy to be there.
One of the supporters from the Tamil Refugee Council has noted that although Priya and Nades were treated with “unimaginable cruelty” by the former Coalition government, they were first put into detention by the former Labor government.
He says that it is still not safe for Tamil people to live in Sri Lanka, and calls for the new Labor government to review the policy that Tamil people can return to Sri Lanka.
My colleague Eden Gillespie will have a full report from the press conference soon.
Arden’s statement on ‘successful’ meeting with Albanese
And now the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has issued her own statement about the “first successful bilateral meeting” with Anthony Albanese in Sydney today. Ardern said she was delighted to congratulate the Australian prime minister in person on his election win. She also confirmed that they would meet again in July.
Our time together today cements an already very close relationship between our two nations. To meet so quickly after the Australian election is indicative of the close relationship of our two countries. I look forward to continue working together, and hosting the Prime Minister in New Zealand in the future.Through our single economic market, our people-to-people ties and our shared interests in our region and the world, wherever New Zealand and Australia face challenges and change, we both gain more by facing them together.
Ardern’s statement said the pair had “discussed cooperation and engagement in the Pacific region, in particular the importance of working together to support Pacific partners facing a complex and growing array of challenges, including climate change and an increasingly contested strategic environment”.
The talks also covered Australia and New Zealand’s “common goals on the international stage”, the statement said.
Ardern welcomed the new Australian government’s emphasis on First Nations voices and Albanese’s commitment to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The statement said both prime ministers agreed to continue to ensure Indigenous perspectives were at the centre of policy making.
Here is what Ardern’s statement said about Australia’s section 501 visa cancellation policy:
I’ve asked Prime Minister Albanese to see what changes might be possible, in particular to take greater account of potential deportees’ links to New Zealand. In New Zealand for instance, we do not deport individuals who have lived here for 10 years or more.
Victorian vegetable farm fined $60,000 for hiring illegal workers
Australia’s largest grower of broccolini and asparagus has been fined $60,000 for employing illegal workers to pick vegetables.
Workers for M&G Vizzarri Pty Ltd, which is headed by Giuseppe Vizzarri, were paid under the award rate – female employees were paid $14 an hour, while men were given $15 an hour – when they worked at its Gippsland farm in 2016.
Vizzarri pleaded guilty to eight charges of allowing an unlawful non-citizen to work and one charge of allowing a lawful non-citizen to work in breach of their visa requirements.
In the county court this morning, judge Trevor Wraight said no one at M&G Vizzarri ever checked if the workers had visas, even though the company was aware of an online government site that helps businesses check.
Wraight said if the business had not pleaded guilty he would have fined it $100,000, close to the maximum penalty of $108,000.
“It was not an early plea, but still has significant utilitarian value,” Wraight said.
Eden Gillespie is on the ground in Biloela and has footage of the Nadesalingam family’s arrival.
Barnaby Joyce welcomes Nadesalingam family’s return to Biloela
The shadow veterans affairs minister, Barnaby Joyce, has welcomed the fact the Nadesalingam family has been allowed to return to Biloela.
Joyce first called for this while a backbencher, before returning as Nationals leader and deputy prime minister, but it has taken a Labor government to release them from detention.
Joyce told Sky News:
Should’ve happened, job’s done, tick. Those young girls were born in Australia. Send them back to Sri Lanka? Why not send them back to Rwanda? That’s another country they weren’t born in. Or Finland. Or Mozambique. They were born in Australia – they are Australians. Why do I get so worked up about this? Because I was kicked out of the parliament because apparently someone thought I was a New Zealander. That was a small slight. Imagine if I was kicked out of the country.
A shaky understanding of citizenship aside, there’s no denying his passion on the issue.
Nadesalingam family finally home after four years
It’s an emotional time for the family as they leave the plane and arrive back in Biloela for the first time in four years, after they were removed by Border Force and put into immigration detention.
Touch down in Biloela
The Nadesalingam family have touched down in Biloela, so we are expecting a press conference with the family and supporters shortly.
Media and supporters gather at airport for Nadesalingam family
Mike Bowers and I have arrived in Biloela where the Nadesalingam family will be landing today at Thangool airport.
“Airport” is a generous term – there is one runway, a toilet and a small waiting area, with the aerodrome surrounded by farmland.
We’ve arrived over an hour early and there is already one supporter of the family waiting for them to arrive in the car park, with red and yellow flowers secured under the window shield of her car and rainbow paper mache tucked under her mirror.
The media pack is also here early, staking out a spot to welcome the family. Things are pretty quiet for now but stay tuned – it looks like it’ll get crowded soon.
I’ve just spoken with friends of the family, Lorraine and Margot, who have been waiting for hours for the family to touch down in Thangool airport. Both women have been fighting for the family to return home to Biloela.
Margot drove three hours from Bundaberg to be here. She calls herself the girl’s grandma and has known the family for years.
“I’ve known Kopi since she was four years old and Tharnicaa since she was four days old. They’re my little granddaughters,” she said.
“I’ve been crying to myself, I’ve been laughing to myself. I can’t wait to give them a hug.”
Lorraine has picked flowers for the family from her garden and brought streamers and signs to welcome the family home.
Margot says she is happy the family has been granted bridging visas but hopes the family will be granted permanent protection.
“These are our people here … the people here embrace them. I would like to see them get the family out of this town now. They’ll have a fight.”
Albanese says Australia and New Zealand share a ‘uniquely close relationship’
The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has issued a statement about his talks earlier today with New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern.
Albanese said the two countries shared “a uniquely close relationship”:
It is a relationship of whanau—of family. That’s why it’s fitting that Prime Minister Ardern is the first foreign leader I’ve met with as Prime Minister on Australian soil.
We are countries with common culture and values, shared interests and outlooks.
The Prime Minister and I both know that trade and integration mean jobs, growth and opportunities. We are determined to work together to take the trans-Tasman economic relationship to new heights.
Next year, we will celebrate 80 years of diplomatic relations, and 40 years of our ground-breaking Closer Economic Relations trade agreement—one the most comprehensive trade agreements in the world.
The statement also addresses the increasing contest for influence in the Pacific:
Australia and New Zealand are proud Pacific nations and we value our relationships with our Pacific partners very deeply. We will work side-by-side with our Pacific brothers and sisters. We are committed to deepening our partnerships in support of a stable and prosperous region.
There is also a big emphasis on climate in Albanese’s statement:
Together, Australia and New Zealand face the global challenges of a changing climate, economic uncertainty and shifting dynamics in global security. And together, we can work towards solutions to these challenges, including realising a free, open and resilient Indo-Pacific.
Prime Minister Ardern and I discussed climate change and the ambitious action my Government will take. We will reduce Australia’s emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 and ensure we are firmly on track for Net Zero by 2050.
Like New Zealand, we intend to legislate our Net Zero target. We will also submit an updated new Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) soon.
I look forward to working closely with Prime Minister Ardern to ensure the continued success of our Trans-Tasman relationship.
TWU calls for overhaul of airline industry standards amid airport chaos
The Transport Workers’ Union has called on the federal government to lift standards in the airline industry to bring workers back to the sector and fix the issues causing the long lines seen at airports today.
The union has called for a “Safe and Secure Skies” commission.
Michael Kaine, national secretary of the TWU, said this weekend is a repeat of the chaos at Easter:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different outcome. Little action has been taken since Easter to address the serious skills shortages we’ve seen in aviation caused by low wages, poor working conditions and collapsing safety standards.
The workers that remain in the industry are under enormous pressure from airports and airlines to plug gaps and keep the gears moving. While the workers that remain are over-worked and stressed out, there’s hundreds of experienced workers forced to sit at home because their jobs were illegally stolen from them by Qantas through its shameful outsourcing.
We are an island nation dependent on a viable aviation industry. It’s critical we fix this crisis.
Nine long years of inaction has allowed this insecure work rot to set in. The newly minted Albanese Government must move quickly to fix it. Workers need an independent Commission with the power to lift standards and correct power imbalances within the industry. Lifting wages and reversing the skills exodus in aviation must be top of the agenda if we are to sustainably rebuild the industry.
Albanese vows to reconsider deportations rules in olive branch to NZ
The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has vowed to consider changing how the Australian government handles visa cancellations in an olive branch to ease longstanding tensions with New Zealand.
The pledge to look at tweaking the scheme prompted the visiting New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, to declare the talks in Sydney on Friday allowed for “a reset” in the trans-Tasman relationship.
NSW to upgrade Opal travel card system and trial all-in-one app
The NSW government has committed almost $570m to upgrade the state’s Opal transport system and launching a trial of a new all-in-one transport app, AAP reports.
Treasurer Matt Kean made the commitment on Friday ahead of the state budget, to be handed down on 21 June.
The $567.9m Opal Next Gen upgrades will make it faster and easier to travel around the state as the government upgrades the Opal system.
Commuters will be able to add their Opal cards to their digital wallets, modernising the transport network, Kean said.
“Since 2012 more than four billion trips have been taken using Opal, which has transformed the way we travel and it is now time to invest in keeping this system in line with our evolving needs and expectations,” he said.
“This gives us a window into the future, setting up the Opal network to keep pace with our changing needs whether that be a train, bus, e-bike, e-scooter, rideshare or even electric vehicle charging.”
The government will also trial a new all-in-one mobility app, Opal Plus, which allows users to bundle together their use of public transport, rideshares, rental e-bikes, taxis and parking.
The minister for infrastructure, cities and active transport, Rob Stokes, said the app would revolutionise how people travel as it took into account “last mile journeys” and made it easier to leave the car at home.
“Opal Plus will free up people to choose their own adventure when it comes to transport, laying the ground work for an even more intelligent transport system that puts the citizen at its heart,” he said.
The app will initially be rolled out to 10,000 people.
Dutton and Labor duel over submarines plan
Opposition leader Peter Dutton has defended revealing how far along the former government had gone in discussions for securing stop-gap submarines by 2030, stating that what he wrote in an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper was already known, AAP reports.
“Richard Marles’ opening comments as defence minister said loud and clear that Labor is thinking about ditching the nuclear submarine plan and it would be a disaster for our country,” he told Nine on Friday.
“If Labor is going to butcher that, and they don’t have the money to pay for it, they should be upfront and say it.
“Because that’s the path they’re taking us down at the moment and ... that is not in our national interest.”
Labor minister Tony Burke dismissed Dutton’s claims, saying the government was supportive of the partnership.
“We’re signed up to Aukus,” he said.
“The prime minister was straight across to the Quad meeting (in Japan after the election) and the relationship with our key ally in the United States was affirmed immediately.”
Eighth monkeypox case in Australia confirmed
A returned overseas traveller has been confirmed as the eighth case of monkeypox detected in Australia, AAP reports.
The man, aged in his 40s, returned from Europe before testing positive for the rare viral infection in Victoria.
He is isolating as the Victorian health department contacts a small number of his close contacts.
The case was confirmed in an alert to the public and health professionals on Friday, issued by Victoria’s deputy chief health officer, associate professor Deborah Friedman.
“Anyone developing symptoms that may be consistent with monkeypox should seek medical care, (be) wearing a mask and calling ahead to make sure they can be isolated away from others,” the memo reads.
“Clinicians should consider testing for monkeypox in returned travellers with compatible symptoms.”
The disease can be transmitted from person to person through air droplets, close bodily contact or sharing contaminated linens or objects. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion.
Monkeypox is endemic in some parts of Africa but a number of cases have been reported in several countries over the past month.
Eight cases have been confirmed in Australia so far, including five in NSW and three in Victoria.
Biloela residents prepare Nadesalingam family’s new home
SBS has snapped this picture of Angela Fredericks who has been setting up the Nadeslingam family’s new home. Looks like she was picking up some essentials before the family’s arrival back to Biloela.
With that I am going to leave you in the capable hands of Josh Taylor, who’ll guide you through this afternoon.
Queensland police culture in spotlight at domestic violence inquiry
Queensland police officers spend nearly half their time responding to and investigating domestic and family violence, but it is not clear their training has led to necessary cultural and structural changes, a judge says.
Judge Deborah Richards is heading an independent commission tasked with examining whether “cultural issues” within the Queensland Police Service negatively affect how they respond to domestic and family violence.
Speaking at the inquiry’s first sitting in Brisbane on Friday, Judge Richards said statistics from last year found Queensland police spent about 40 per cent of their time responding to and investigating domestic and family violence.
“This must mean that frontline police and those manning the counters and phones at police stations around Queensland make up the public face of the police services that deal with the victim survivors who are the subject of this insidious form of violence,” she said.
Officers have been trained, but Judge Richards said it is not clear initiatives are resulting in cultural and structural changes necessary to enhance public confidence in the police response to domestic and family violence.
Nadesalingam family due to arrive home in Biloela this afternoon
Priya, Nades and their two daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa are almost home! They will be holding a press conference later this afternoon so I will bring you that when it happens.
Greenpeace accuses AGL of ‘disastrous mismanagement’
Greenpeace Australia Pacific has responded to the news that AGL’s Loy Yang A coal-burning power station will be offline until September, on top of additional outages at its Bayswater and Liddell stations.
Senior campaigner Glenn Walker says it shows the need for AGL to rapidly embrace renewable energy.
It comes as fallout from AGL’s demerger continues, with the energy company today revealing the resignation of Christine Corbett.
Today’s news shows AGL’s disastrous mismanagement has gone from the company’s boardroom to the living rooms of their customers ... Coal is the dirty rat eating away at household wallets, and if AGL had their way, we’d have a plague.
Rather than act in line with the energy transition, AGL instead wasted years and millions of dollars on a dodgy demerger which was never going to work. The results are now plain to see - crumbling assets which cannot deliver the energy Australia needs, and a delay in embracing cleaner, cheaper renewable alternatives.
AGL has a clear mandate to seize the urgent and enormous opportunity of the energy transition. The company must appoint new board members that will bring clarity and action, helping to steer AGL into a brighter and greener future.
Outage at AGL’s Latrobe Valley power plant to last until September
Not a lot seems to be breaking in the new federal government’s favour when it comes to energy.
This morning we learned from AGL Energy that one of its four units at its 2,210 megawatt Loy Yang A power plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley will be offline until the second half of September.
“The outage extension is driven by global supply chain issues and the availability of specialised materials,” the company said in a statement.
Unit 2 has been offline since an electrical fault was detected on 15 April. It turned out to more complex and so a predicted 1 August restart date of the 550MW unit turned out to be optimistic.
It’s notable, too, that the company won’t be able to claim insurance back from the breakdown.
As it happens, AGL is having problems with its two other coal-fired power plants, both in NSW’s Hunter Valley.
Liddell, already down to three units ahead of its planned closure next April, has one of those three offline for repairs. What was a 1680Mw plant is not at half that capacity.
Up the valley, partner plant 2,640MW Bayswater plant is also struggling. One of its four units was offline for maintenance, and now we hear that two of the remaining units are down in an unscheduled outage.
That makes five of AGL’s 11 units offline today. No wonder, then, that wholesale prices are high and supply remains tight across much of the national electricity market. Those talking up coal as “reliable baseload” might also reconsider whether those words still work together well.
Hello everyone, this is Cait Kelly – I will be with you for lunch. If you see anything, ping me on Twitter at @cait__kelly. Let’s get going!
With that, I will pass you into the capable hands of Cait Kelly. Have a lovely weekend, see you next week.
WA casino authority signs off on Blackstone’s takeover of Crown
Private equity group Blackstone has received approval for its takeover of Crown Resorts from WA’s casino authority, completing the trifecta of regulatory approvals it needed to go ahead with the deal.
In a statement to the ASX, Crown said it “has been advised by the Western Australian Minister for Racing and Gaming, and the Gaming and Wagering Commission of Western Australia (GWC), that Blackstone’s proposed acquisition of Crown by way of the scheme has been approved”.
This follows approval this week from the Victorian and NSW authorities.
All that’s left now is approval of the takeover scheme by the federal court, which will hear Blackstone’s application next Wednesday.
Shareholders, including Crown’s biggest, James Packer, approved the takeover last month.
‘We’re done! Excellent!’
Jacinda Ardern points to another New Zealander to ask a question, asking:
Is that correct or have I miscounted? I would get in a lot of trouble if we didn’t have even numbers from each side.
Anthony Albanese replies he thinks there have been three questions from each.
Forgive me. We’re done! Excellent!
I’ve just been through an election, so I can count!
And the press conference ends.
NZ can have input to the Quad, Albanese says
Anthony Albanese provides his view:
You can have separate agreements, which we do ... there’s no proposals to expand beyond the Quad. But that doesn’t mean that our friends and allies can’t have input through that process. And the relationship between New Zealand and Australia is so strong.
He says something that struck him during yesterday evening’s discussion was that across a range of issues, the pair were talking about solutions:
How do we have open dialogue about what the challenges are? How do we talk about a common interest?
Together, I think Australia and New Zealand, acting as one, produces an outcome that’s greater than the sum of the two. And it’s that perspective that I certainly take forward. And I really appreciate the prime minister’s openness and preparedness to have this dialogue.
Pacific leaders need more chances to speak for themselves, NZ PM says
Both leaders are asked about their positions on security challenges in the Pacific. Is there greater urgency for New Zealand to join groupings like the Quad or Aukus?
Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand’s perspective is simple:
We have seen over time new arrangements that have emerged ... as long as these arrangements follow the values which we hold dear, are transparent, and have at their core peace and stability, then we see those as welcome.
From New Zealand’s perspective, we have strong bilateral relationships in the region, we have obviously our strongest relationship being with that of Australia, but we want to see an increasing elevation of the Pacific Island voice within our region. That’s where the forum becomes so important. And our approach in raising that voice will be collaborative and one of partnership. We’ve heard a lot of dialogue about the Pacific, not much of a chance for the Pacific to speak for themselves on these issues.
Ardern stresses deportation policy needs amending, not scrapping
Jacinda Ardern returns to the issue of deportations of New Zealand citizens. She reiterates that New Zealand is not asking for Australia to remove its deportation policy, just to amend it:
I frequently see New Zealand’s ask mischaracterised – often, I imagine, for domestic political reasons. What we have simply asked is that there’s greater reciprocity. New Zealand, of course, deports individuals who have been in New Zealand for a short time and who have acted outside our expectations for anyone who chooses or wishes to stay as a resident.
But there are who are being deported from Australia who, for all intents and purposes, are Australian. Often zero connection to New Zealand. Sometimes not even having stepped foot there. That’s the place that we’re asking for that consideration to be given. So, anyone who claims that is somehow going to make Australia less safe, that is not true and it is not fair.
Australian election signals ‘reset’ for relations, Ardern says
Jacinda Ardern says she believes the election of Anthony Albanese signals a “reset” for relations:
I do see this as an opportunity for a reset because there were obviously some points of friction.
There’s obviously still issues to be worked through. But the ability that we have to have those conversations in an open manner, to be able to talk frankly about, of course, the mindfulness that we need to play to domestic issues as well, but just demonstrating that understanding of where that tension has come from and the fact that there are areas where we can find some resolution. Obviously, there’s some work to do. But in my mind, yes, this does represent a reset.
Two nations in ‘lockstep’ over China’s influence in Pacific, Albanese says
Anthony Albanese says New Zealand and Australia are in “lockstep” on China’s growing influence in the Pacific, and on climate change:
At the Pacific Island Forum, I very much look forward to working not just with New Zealand but our other Pacific partners on making sure that we defend national sovereignty ... that we look at ways in which we can increase development. We had a very comprehensive plan we took to the election that includes over half a billion dollars of foreign aid, it includes planning to train for defence, it includes our climate and infrastructure partnership, including funding.
But, importantly as well, the position on climate change ... we are taking seriously now. You can’t have circumstance whereby you have the former defence minister, now leader of the opposition, standing around and people making jokes about people drowning. Our Pacific neighbours and partners don’t think that’s funny. What they do is see that Australia wasn’t stepping up in a way that’s appropriate and treating them with respect that they deserve.
We’re ‘out of the naughty corner’ on climate, new PM says
Anthony Albanese says Australia has been in the “naughty corner” on the international stage for nine years:
When I have met with international leaders, including prime minister Ardern, it’s like Australia has gone out of the naughty corner. We’ve been in the naughty corner for nine years. And the consequences of that, we are feeling right now with the energy crisis that is here in this country. With the failure to invest in renewables, with the failure to actually deliver on the change that is required.
And the result of that is pressure on cost of living, less jobs, less economic activity as a result of the failure to invest, which is a direct result of the fact there’s been no policy certainty when it comes to climate change and what is necessary.
NZ 'heartened' by Labor's climate stance
Jacinda Ardern is asked if she supports Labor’s commitment to deliver 43% emissions reductions by 2030. Should it be higher?
From our perspective, we have always been very careful of the fact that we have to make sure that we have our own house in order, so when it comes to the domestic policies of another nation as in regards to climate change, whilst that is a matter for them, of course, New Zealand is heartened and welcomes the position expressed by the new government here in Australia because it is good for our region and good for the world when we work collaboratively on this extraordinary challenge. The Pacific region has listed climate change as its No 1 threat.
Policy won’t change without due process, Albanese says
The prime minister is asked to confirm that he’s considering tweaking the ministerial direction to take into account the time a person has been in Australia. And can he rule out reintroducing the strengthening the character test legislation that the Morrison government tried to pass before the election?
I can do no such thing. Because what we won’t do is deal with policy without going through proper processes. I intend to run an orderly government. And I’ve made that point very clear.
Prime minister Ardern has put forward in a strong way, as she has before – we have discussed these issues previously, when I had a different title. Prime minister Ardern’s concerns are very clear. We’ll work them through in an orderly way. I’ve said that section 501 would be maintained. But if you look at the comments that I made as opposition leader, I stand by them – that section 501 should be maintained but that there is also concerns have been raised that need to be taken into consideration, as friends.
We deal with each other in a mature way, which deals as well with common sense. And what’s clear is that, if people look at some of the cases that have been held, it’s not surprising that the prime minister would make the strong representations that she had. Because I would be, if I was in the same position.
Ardern 'forceful' on views about deportations, Albanese says
Jacinda Ardern says she has “no doubt” Australia and New Zealand will discuss the deportation of NZ citizens over criminal charges in the future, acknowledging it is a new government and they need time to work through the issues:
We’ve really appreciated this opportunity, the chance to catch up ... I’ve never seen a time where it’s more important to have friends than it is now.
Anthony Albanese says Ardern has been “very forceful” in her views and they will “work through” those issues with departments to implement the way section 501 has been dealt with:
We will work through some of those issues between now, and we’ll have a ministerial meeting, a leaders’ meeting, coming next month. And we’ll work through with our department, work through the implementation of the way that section 501 has been dealt with. But we’ve listened to the concerns and there’s more work to do.
‘We are family,’ Ardern says
Jacinda Ardern is up, beginning her address in Māori. She thanks Anthony Albanese for his hospitality and congratulates him on his election success:
I want to, again, in this environment take the opportunity to congratulate you on your election success which, of course, was really only very recent, but much, of course, has happened even in that short intervening period. It is both humbling but also very fitting to be the first foreign head of government to be here in Australia meeting with you in your new role and I think it is indicative of the relationship that New Zealand and Australia share. There are no two countries that I can think of that have a closer relationship than ours and when I say that we are family, I mean it very sincerely.
‘Ambitious’ climate action
Anthony Albanese says Australia and New Zealand will submit an updated nationally determined contribution to the UN convention on climate change:
Australia and New Zealand are also very proud Pacific nations and we value the relations that we have with our Pacific partners very deeply. Our approach is based upon respect, transparency, and engagement with Pacific institutions and we will gather, of course, at the Pacific Island Forum in Fiji in July together.
Prime minister Ardern and I discussed climate change and the ambitious action that my government will take. We will submit, I can confirm today, that we’ll submit an updated nationally determined contribution to the UN framework convention on climate change soon.
‘We agree on our worldview’
Anthony Albanese says the pair “agree on our worldview” and are determined to take the NZ and Australian relationship to a “new level” of cooperation in mutual interests of both nations:
What that means is new jobs, new growth, new opportunities to cooperate both in terms of our economy and we had substantial discussions last night, but also this morning about that, but also in the way that we act on the international stage because essentially we agree on our worldview and we can take that position going forward.
Together we face global challenges of a changing climate, economic headwinds, a more insecure regional circumstance that we have to deal with, with strategic competition in the region. And we’re determined to work together on global security, but also on the economic security that people need and also recognising that the challenge of climate change is, of course, also a national security challenge as well as being a challenge for our actual environment, but also an opportunity for us to grow jobs, increase economic activity.
Albanese and Ardern press conference beings
Anthony Albanese is up now. He says he is “delighted” to be fronting up with Jacinda Ardern – and the pair were able to see the Vivid festival across Sydney Harbour while eating dinner together last night:
I can’t think of anything better than the first foreign leader to welcome to Australia’s shores being our friend from New Zealand and my personal friend from New Zealand as well.
I thank the prime minister once again for calling me even before I had been declared on the Saturday night on the way to the Canterbury Park hotel.
It says something about the relationship, the fact that Jacinda could ring my mobile on the way to that event. It is, of course, a relationship between our two countries as family.
Engineering skills crisis due to visa processing delays
Australia is in the grip of a skills crisis, including in the engineering sector, where the job vacancy rate has increased 97% in 12 months. But one of the short-term fixes to the problem, skilled migration, is, well, not working.
The processing times for 476 visas – designed for new graduates who want to live, work or study in Australia for up to 18 months – has blown out from a few short months to a staggering 41 months since 2018.
That has trapped many engineering graduates out of the country, arguably at a time when they are needed most. Gurpreet Kaur, an engineer based in India’s Punjab state, told Guardian Australia she’s been stuck waiting for almost four years:
I personally applied for this visa back in September 2018 and am still waiting for my visa grant. Despite meeting all the criteria, paying the application fee, medical assessment fees, there are still a lot of applicants like me from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh and many more countries … about 6,000 applicants are waiting for their grant. Waiting for three to four years, it’s a really frustrating situation, and I think it’s a moral duty of any government, because this is unfair to us. We have planned all our career plans, we are suffering, not only professionally but it is a mental depression also.
India’s high commissioner to Australia, Manpreet Vohra, has also described visa processing delays as a problem.
I believe it’s a problem, but only because of staff shortages and backlog built up because of the pandemic.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese described the visa backlog as “extraordinary”, saying it had also been raised during his trip to Indonesia this week:
This is an issue that, upon coming to government without going into other issues, we have found it isn’t just in this area, we have a problem processing visas. There is just an extraordinary backlog.
Darcy, take a bow
A day before the election, Guardian Australia invited readers to tell us who they thought would win – asking you to forecast the final number of seats for both major parties, as well as select the winner in 10 marginal electorates.
We had 812 entries and no one managed to pick the exact result, although Darcy, a 24-year-old legal and compliance analyst from Melbourne came oh so close.
He was one of 77 readers to correctly pick Labor’s 77 seats (spooky!), and tipped the Coalition to win 59 seats. They won 58, which only four readers accurately forecast.
Reflecting on his success, Darcy said he would “take it as a justification for my over-consumption of the news”:
Living in a now-teal seat, I was reminded daily of the threat to the Coalition – in the form of human billboards – so maybe that crept into my thinking.
Despite his eerily accurate overall forecast, Darcy only managed to correctly pick five of the 10 electorates provided, proving how difficult an election it was to predict, with so many seats in play.
Only seven of the 812 readers managed to pick the winners of all 10 seats correctly.
The ACT records one death, 824 new Covid cases
ACT Health has released today’s Covid update.
There have been 824 new cases detected and one death – a woman in her 70s.
There are 83 people being treated in hospital with the virus, including one person in ICU.
Update: it’s sounding as though it will be more like 15 minutes or so before we hear from the two leaders, we’ve been informed.
The PM and Jacinda Ardern are due to hold a press conference in Sydney shortly. We’ll bring you the updates here.
Stay safe out there if you’re hitting the roads in NSW for the long weekend.
‘No one wants to be in a queue but it’s better than being locked up at home’
Dominic Perrottet has thanked travellers for their patience at Sydney airport, where people experienced major delays this morning.
He said labour shortages that were contributing to the issues would be top of the list when he travelled to Canberra to speak with the new prime minister next week:
I thank everyone for their patience this morning. I know that there were long queues at the airport this morning. But on the flip side, isn’t it great that everyone is back ... I accept that no one wants to be in a queue but it’s better than being locked up at home. Labour shortages need to be addressed and they can’t be addressed necessarily at a state level. It needs to be nationally led.
NSW announces it will give $28m to multicultural groups
The New South Wales government will invest $28m over the next two years into multicultural communities across the state, including more money for events and translation services.
Speaking in Eastwood on Friday morning, premier Dominic Perrottet also announced the establishment of a religious communities advisory council:
We should not have any environment where people of faith do not feel comfortable. This advisory council will provide insights to the government about ways in which we can improve ways in which our faith-based communities across NSW feel safe and secure in the practice of religion.
Multiculturalism minister Mark Coure said its “first order” of businesswould be to make sure people of faith felt comfortable practising their religion. Of the $28m for multicultural groups, $10m will go to boosting cultural events and $16m will go to increasing translation services – a need he said had been highlighted during the pandemic.
Our community here in NSW is incredibly rich and diverse, and multicultural communities play an important role in enabling our great society here in our state to flourish.
Queensland records one death, 3,786 new Covid cases
Queensland Health has released today’s Covid update.
There have been 3,786 new cases detected and one further death.
There are 301 people being treated in hospital with the virus, including nine people in ICU.
Warning of floods in northern NSW
From the BoM:
Moderate to heavy local rainfall in mid May, combined with floodwaters from Queensland, have caused renewed and prolonged flooding along the Culgoa, Birrie, Bokhara and Narran Rivers.
Along the Culgoa River, moderate flooding is occurring at Brenda, where river levels peaked at the major flood level on Sunday. Small, renewed rises are possible this weekend from a second peak past Woolerbilla.
Minor flooding is occurring at Weilmoringle, where major flooding is likely from Sunday. These floodwaters may also cause major flooding downstream at Kenebree around the end of next week.
At Hebel, river levels peaked on Saturday and are contributing to renewed moderate flooding along the Birrie and Bokhara Rivers at Goodooga, where a moderate flood peak is occurring.
Major flooding continues at Angeldool.
The Shangri-La Dialogue line-up has been released.
Richard Marles, Australia’s defence minister, will appear in the third plenary session with Malaysia and Qatar on developing new forms of security cooperation.
A prime minister and New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern shake hands and share a chuckle.
Queensland commission into police responses to domestic violence to sit
Queensland’s commission of inquiry into police responses to domestic and family violence is set to hold its first sitting in Brisbane today, AAP reports.
The independent commission, announced by premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in response to the women’s safety and justice taskforce recommendations, started work on 30 May.
It will examine whether “cultural issues” within the Queensland police service negatively affect investigations of domestic and family violence.
The commission will look at the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system and the police’s capability, capacity and structure to respond to domestic and family violence.
The way complaints against police are handled will also be examined. The deadline for submissions to the independent inquiry has been extended to 24 June.
The commission of inquiry, expected to take four months, is due to report by 4 October and has a budget of $3.4m.
- The national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732
Anthony Albanese and Jacinda Ardern are making their opening remarks before a press conference scheduled for 11.20am.
New hospital to be built in Geelong
Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews is in Geelong today, where he is announcing a new women’s and children’s hospital to cost $500m.
The new Barwon Women’s and Children’s hospital will provide maternity and paediatric services, with work to begin later this year.
It will be built alongside the existing University hospital in Geelong.
The crowds are big at Sydney airport, but they’re moving.
Covid vaccinations rates
A little more than half of senior Australians eligible for their fourth Covid-19 vaccination have received it, AAP reports.
Federal government figures released yesterday show just 52.2% of the eligible population aged 65 and over have received their fourth jab for the virus, equating to more than 1.6 million people. That was up 1.6% on the same time last week.
In total and accounting for those aged under 65, more than 1.8 million Australians have received at least four doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Snowy Hydro delay
While not the biggest surprise, a report in the AFR this morning that Snowy Hydro’s giant pumped hydro plans might be delayed until “around 2028” is nonetheless stirring the energy debate anew.
Analysts including Melbourne University’s Dylan McConnell and Bruce Mountain of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre have long queried the insistence by the Australian Energy Market Operator in its detailed plans that Snowy 2.0 would be ready when the grid needs it.
For instance, Aemo’s latest Electricity Statement of Opportunities report has a “Developments needed to address forecast reliability gaps” section.
It states the case for work on the Humelink connection to the project as:
Development of transmission projects that increase the ability to transfer power from regions into the Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong area. Such upgrades are particularly relevant to access the reliability benefits of the expected commissioning of the Snowy 2.0 development in 2025-26.
“It will make for an interesting update to the ESoO – due in August,” McConnell says, adding that news of Snowy’s delay should be considered a significant enough “material change” to trigger a rerun of the whole process.
We’ve asked Aemo this morning about what they think of the delay of Snowy by “about 19 months”, although you have to wonder at the precision, given the engineering challenges of building a power station almost a kilometres below the surface, 27km-long tunnels and a range of other massive works – all within a national park!
One other nugget: as interesting as this delay is to the energy market – not least because of last week’s crisis when Victoria almost ran short of gas – a possible delay for Snowy 2.0 was not discussed at Wednesday’s energy ministers’ meeting. Given that most of the meeting was taken up by regulators talking about the state of the energy markets, that’s another eyebrow raiser.
As it happens, electricity markets were again pricey this morning, especially in Queensland.
They’ve settled down a bit since … but one factor was a bunch of alerts (now cancelled) for a lack of reserve power in NSW.
Conditions on another chilly morning were tight ... and it looks as though the chill has another week to go (at least if you’re camping in Sydney).
OK, if you’re flying from Melbourne or Sydney to warmer Queensland, you may receive a surprise.
In the form of a fogbow:
From the BoM:
Fogs can ... produce a type of rainbow known as a fogbow. They form in the same way as rainbows, with the sun’s rays being refracted and reflected by the water droplets in the fog.
However, fog droplets are typically much smaller than the rain drops that form rainbows. This leads to smaller amounts of refraction and reflection so the colours in a fogbow are less distinct and often appear to be white.
She’s frosty out there this morning in New South Wales! No wonder Sydney airport is jammed.
Ukraine seeks free trade deal with Australia
Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia is seeking to meet with ministers to discuss trade and aid opportunities after returning from the war-torn country, AAP reports.
Vasyl Myroshnychenko has returned to Australia after an eight-day trip to Ukraine where he met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s top advisers, the prime minister, the defence minister and military officials.
Myroshnychenko has called for a free trade agreement between Australia and Ukraine, and says while it is likely to play a largely symbolic role, it will be important to encourage private and public investment in his country to help with its recovery.
The ambassador is seeking to brief Australian ministers on the situation with Ukraine and ask for more lethal aid and economic assistance.
He told AAP:
Co-operation with Australia to help rebuild Ukraine is crucial. We are like-minded countries. We hope there will be mechanisms that allow investors from countries like Australia to come in and help rebuild the country.
The bilateral trade deal could be modelled on the UK free trade agreement and be completed within a year, Myroshnychenko says.
Such a deal was raised with the previous government but talks stalled as Australia headed into the federal election and caretaker conventions took over.
The ambassador will bring three pillars to any meetings with Australian ministers, calling for more lethal aid, free trade and investment, and further sanctions on Russia and Russian individuals.
Myroshnychenko has also returned with a personal letter for Anthony Albanese from President Zelenskiy, congratulating the new prime minister and inviting him to visit Ukraine.
Foreign affairs minister Penny Wong spoke with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba at the start of the month, when he requested additional heavy weapons and proposed the inclusion of Ukraine in Australia’s “generalised system of preferences” to bolster the economy.
Littleproud backs current NZ deportation rules
David Littleproud pushing the “if you don’t like it, leave” argument on the deportation of New Zealand citizens who have committed criminal offences, regardless of the length of time they have lived in Australia.
Leave plenty of time before your flight if you’re jetting off today, folks.
Victoria records 19 deaths, 8,025 new Covid cases
Victoria’s Department of Health has released today’s Covid update.
There have been 8,025 new cases reported and 19 further deaths.
There are 512 people being treated in hospital with the virus, including 28 people in ICU.
NSW records 11 deaths, 7,551 new Covid cases
NSW Health has released today’s Covid update.
There have been 7,551 new Covid cases reported and 11 further deaths.
There are 1,250 people being treated in hospital with the virus, including 41 people in ICU.
‘Triple La Niña’ warning
Australia’s east coast could be hit by a rare “triple La Niña” that brings flooding rains and cooler weather for the third summer in a row, a senior US government scientist says.
Experts say the prospect is real but there is disagreement between different computer models and Australia could yet avoid a return of summer floods.
Scientists and weather forecasters are watching temperatures in an area in the tropical Pacific Ocean that has been unusually cool – one signal that the current La Niña could either remain in place until summer or fade and then return.
Victorian Liberal MP Matthew Guy has tested positive to Covid.
Helen Haines says she will work with government on integrity commission
Independent MP Helen Haines is appearing on Radio National now, discussing a federal integrity commission.
Haines introduced a federal integrity commission bill to parliament in 2020, and is expected to be a key player in the Labor government’s establishment of an anti-corruption body.
She says she has put forward the establishment of a joint select committee to facilitate the process to attorney general Mark Dreyfus, of which she would be the co-chair:
I had a conversation with the attorney general a few days after the election and I was reassured by him he wants to work very closely with me ... to make sure we get the integrity commission that is fit for purpose.
I’m awaiting, really, now, the next steps to undertake that work with the attorney.
[I’ve had] one conversation thus far with Mr Dreyfus, he was very open to that suggestion [a committee], as yet we haven’t got that nailed down and I’ll be pursuing that.
Haines says she supports the inclusion of pork barrelling to the commission and it is part of why people have “lost trust” with the government.
Celebrations planned in Biloela
Reporter Eden Gillespie and photographer Mike Bowers will be covering the Nadesalingam family’s long-awaited return to Biloela today for us.
A reminder: the family will arrive at Thangool airport about 2.30pm, where Priya Nadesalingam and members of the Home to Bilo campaign will speak.
Gillard tells Albanese to look after himself
Beyond Blue chair and former prime minister Julia Gillard appeared on ABC News Breakfast this morning with words of advice for Australia’s newly sworn-in leader.
Asked what the biggest challenges for Anthony Albanese were, she replied:
Well, at the rate our new prime minister appears to be working at the moment, I think getting enough sleep might be the biggest challenge. Words of advice – make sure you’re looking after yourself as well.
She said there was “no need” to share her learnings of dealing with a large crossbench as the PM was at the heart of the government she led:
He knows what it’s like in terms of dealing with people respectfully across the chamber.
Crowds and chaos at Sydney and Melbourne airports
Here’s some more footage of chaos at Sydney airport, as travellers find themselves in lengthy crowds before the long weekend.
There are similar scenes in Melbourne:
Ardern has no plans to become an Australian
Jacinda Ardern is told Australians “love welcoming Kiwis – especially claiming the good ones as our own”.
She laughs politely. “You could end up an Australian one day!,” she is told.
No, there’s no prospect of that happening. Thank you, though.
“That’s the firmest answer we’ve had this morning,” the host replies.
The Pacific is our family, Ardern says
On China’s move to tell NZ to stop interfering in the Pacific, Jacinda Ardern says she takes the same view that she always has:
We are a Pacific nation. Our connections in the Pacific, they run deep. They are family. We have large Pacific communities in New Zealand ... Pacific members of parliament, Pacific ministers. So the relationship for us is not a bilateral relationship; it’s a family relationship. And so I don’t see our relationship as ever being able to be described as interference. We have a closeness to one another that will always be the case.
Ardern says there is “power in the collective”, while the Pacific Island Forum will be critical for neighbours to speak for themselves:
I do think it’s time that actually there is an opportunity for our Pacific neighbours to speak for themselves. There’s a lot of commentary around what’s happening in the region. Very little opportunity for them to speak to it.
[China’s] presence is not new. The relationship that they have with the Pacific islands is not new. It’s whether or not they are seeking to change those relationships to dip into spaces like, for instance, the potential militarisation of our region and that’s ... where of course you hear that concern being raised but off the back of those recent trips you also saw that the Pacific held its ground on security arrangements, and that again speaks to the fact that the Pacific are speaking and sharing their own views.
Ardern to raise deportations policy
Jacinda Ardern will be raising Australia’s controversial deportation policy in today’s meeting. Asked if she has knowledge of whether the government is prepared to “water it down a little bit”, she replies:
Just to be clear, the issue we have is not with deportation. We deport as well. If a New Zealander comes to Australia and commits a crime, send them home ... but when someone comes here and essentially, hasn’t even really had any connection with New Zealand at all ... have all their connections in Australia and are essentially Australian, sending them back to New Zealand, that’s where we’ve had the grievance.
I’ve heard the prime minister prior to winning the election speak to his acknowledgement that that is the part of the policy that we’ve taken issue with. Even that acknowledgement says to me he’s hearing us, he knows it’s a problem.
We’ve never asked deportations as a general rule to stop. We won’t be hypocritical about it, because we do it too. It’s just those extraordinary cases that trouble us.
Asked if there will be movements with the discretionary aspect of it, she says she has raised it and wants to give Anthony Albanese time to consider it:
It’s been a bugbear for us for a long time so I would like to see movement on it.
Ardern says vinyl swap was ‘mostly by chance’
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern just appeared on the Today show before this morning’s meeting with Anthony Albanese.
On the vinyl swap, Ardern says it was “mostly by chance” – she knew he liked music so she shared some favourites from the New Zealand indie label Flying Nun.
Asked why this didn’t happen with Scott Morrison, she replies:
We talked about music on occasion but I’m not sure I would’ve picked necessarily the right music if I think I was given that task.
Transmission is the energy problem, not renewables, Burke says
On climate change, Tony Burke was told he had been getting “hot and bothered” about renewables (??) but if it weren’t for gas and coal South Australia would have lost power last week. “Are you going to shift that policy as well?”
Burke said Australia lost a decade in climate action under the Coalition and the transition to renewables should have started a long time ago:
We were stuck in climate wars where Barnaby Joyce was effectively running energy policy, we’ve ended up with a situation where the transmission and the grid’s not able to handle renewables the way it should. Renewables are the cheapest form of energy. We need to fix transmission so we can get more into the system.
We will be relying on on coal and gas for some time, there’s no doubt about that [but] the worst thing you could do would be to say, let’s add the most expensive form of energy, which is nuclear, which is what Pete is talking about.
Peter Dutton replied that the difficulty was you don’t have a “firming up” of renewables when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing:
We’re all in favour of renewables but the difficulty is that this is not a discussion at the moment about renewables. Everyone’s signed up to that. It’s what you do to firm up the market.
Burke said we have water when it isn’t raining, which, under Dutton’s argument, would be some sort of impossibility:
How do we have water when it’s not raining? We have dams, we have storage.
Dutton says Coalition will support Labor on immigration
Peter Dutton said when Tony Burke was immigration minister “about 6,000 people arrived, so people smugglers aren’t stupid”:
They’re organised criminal syndicates. They’re evil people, taking money off innocent men, women and children. What we don’t want to see is a repeat of Labor’s last disaster. So the mixed messages coming out of the government that are heard in places like Sri Lanka are concerning, because not everybody within the Labor party is singing from the same hymn sheet that Tony is, and that’s the difficulty.
But we’ll support whatever policies the government puts forward. I hope that they don’t change what we had in place, because we had got all of the children out of detention that Labor put in, we’d stopped the boats, stopped the drownings at sea, and I don’t want to see it restart, but the people smugglers know that the same people are now in government who made terrible decisions before, and that’s what they’re preying on.
Burke replied that the Coalition’s turnbacks policy was “the right policy” and wouldn’t be changing under Labor.
Tony Burke says no change to boat arrival policies
Federal employment minister Tony Burke and opposition leader Peter Dutton appeared on Sunrise this morning.
Asked if Labor would alter its asylum seeker policy, with “problems in Sri Lanka” and “more boats”, Burke said the government’s policy wouldn’t change:
People who try to come by boat get turned around and sent back. That’s what happens. In the previous government, one good thing that they came up with was how to handle this issue. There were things we’d done that had reduced it from its peak but when they came up with a way of being able to do the turnbacks, it was a good idea.
I’d say to the opposition, every time they want to say, ‘Oh, the doors are open,’ or something like that, they might be trying to send a message, trying to encourage them. The policy hasn’t changed and won’t change.
Emergency response fund ‘very close’ to being spent
Murray Watt was asked if he has spent money from the emergency response fund to aid flood victims.
He said it was “very close” to being spent and would be split evenly between New South Wales and Queensland.
Albanese and Ardern trade vinyl
AAP has more on Anthony Albanese’s meeting with Jacinda Ardern in Sydney, as the fast-paced start to his prime ministership continues.
The New Zealand prime minister is the first world leader to meet with the new PM on Australian soil. The pair will hold talks before a joint press conference at 11.20am AEST.
Last night the Labor-Labour duo had dinner at Kirribilli House, taking in the views of Sydney’s Vivid festival and swapping gifts of vinyl records.
Albanese gave Ardern three Australian albums from Midnight Oil, Spiderbait and Powderfinger. The NZ PM gave a selection of records from indie label Flying Nun, including Aldous Harding, Reb Fountain, the Clean and the 70s Auckland punk compilation AK79.
For the Australian government, the engagement is seen as a meet-and-greet with a key regional ally. The pair will discuss tensions in the region, and US president Joe Biden’s new Indo-Pacific economic framework initiative.
But for New Zealand, any bilateral meeting with Australia is also a chance to press for concessions from its most important partner. The significance of the relationship is underscored in a NZ ministry of foreign affairs brief received by foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta when she took office in 2020:
The trans-Tasman relationship lies at the heart of New Zealand’s prosperity and security and Australia is our indispensable partner across the breadth of our international interests.
Australia is our only formal military ally, our most important security partner and our largest economic partner – the reverse is not the case.
The asymmetric relationship is clear in terms of population – Australia’s is five times bigger – and economically – Australia has a gross domestic product seven times larger.
Ardern has pledged to bring up two issues which cause grief among New Zealanders. The first is Australia’s practice of deporting criminals to New Zealand who do not have familial or community ties in Aotearoa.
Her government believes many of those deportees arrive untethered, without support networks, and can become destitute or join gangs.
The second issue is an improved pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders who live in Australia, which would grant them more security across the Tasman.
Airport queues return
Travellers across the nation are bracing for lengthy airport lines before the long weekend, with passengers urged to arrive two hours early for domestic flights.
There are long lines at Melbourne and Sydney airports this morning.
Murray Watt visits Lismore to talk about flood recovery
Minister for emergency management Murray Watt is appearing on Radio National from Lismore, an area devastated by flooding this year.
He says the opposition always wants to “pick a fight” before forming solutions, and he wants to put the “blame game and division” behind them in the recovery.
Watt says it was important to get out to Lismore as quickly as he could after being sworn in:
It is a pretty chilly morning here in Lismore and that’s a reminder there’s going to be new challenges for these communities to deal with as they recover.
I wanted to get back here to see for myself where things are at and what we can do to get the recovery moving more quickly.
Watt will hold a series of roundtables today with with community leaders, business leaders and insurers looking at, among other things, thousands of people still living in temporary accommodation.
They’re really, really cold – sitting in caravans, sitting in temporary accommodation.
We really want to get a real snapshot of where things are at and what we can do to get this community back up and running.
There are still many people who are displaced from their homes and frankly it’s going to take awhile ... we’re going to do everything we can in cooperation with other levels of government ... but I don’t want to mislead people, it’s going to take time.
Happy Friday! We’ve almost made it.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand’s leader Jacinda Ardern will sit down in Sydney today for their first in-person meeting.
They are expected to discuss a host of issues including Australia’s controversial deportation policy, which has kicked thousands of New Zealanders with criminal records out of the country.
Ardern will be the first foreign leader to visit Albanese on his soil since he won the election.
The Nadesalingam family will arrive home to the central Queensland town of Biloela today after four years in detention. The timing of the journey means Tharnicaa, who was just nine months old when she entered detention, will celebrate her fifth birthday in Biloela on Sunday.
Refugees living in limbo hope the family’s release will grant them a future as well.
And former defence minister Peter Dutton has been used of working against the national interest for “political point scoring” after publishing sensitive details of a plan to secure two nuclear submarines in the US in the media.
Diplomatic figures have condemned his disclosure, suggesting it could destroy plans to secure a joint agreement with the UK at the end of the year.
Caitlin Cassidy is here to guide you through it all. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @caitecassidy.
Let’s jump in.