That's it for today, thanks for reading.

Here are the main stories on Monday, 30 May:

We’ll see you all again tomorrow.

Northern Territory to permit alcohol in remote Aboriginal communities that do not opt out

A fascinating story out of the Northern Territory about the remote dry communities where alcohol may soon be legal, via AAP:

The Northern Territory government has released a list of the remote dry Indigenous communities where alcohol will soon be permitted.

A new NT law to replace expiring Intervention-era commonwealth alcohol restrictions requires communities to ask for the ban to continue past 16 July.

If they don’t, it will no longer be illegal for people to sell or drink alcohol in 144 remote and currently dry communities.

This includes Peppimenarti, 325km southwest of Darwin, which was rocked by civil unrest and gunfire last year.

Also on the list is the closed community of Bulman, 310km northeast of Katherine, and Amanbidji near the Western Australian border.

The NT government says any person or entity that wishes to sell alcohol in a remote community must apply to the NT Liquor Commission for a license.

“This is a robust statutory process governed by the Liquor Act 2019 requiring strict criteria to be met, and is subject to any condition placed on it by the Liquor Commission,” a spokesperson told AAP.

It is also contacting communities to educate them about the law change and help them opt-in if they want restrictions to continue.

“The [government] will be providing additional resourcing to support stakeholder groups and community organisations to lead consultations,” the spokesperson said.

Peak social service and medical groups slammed the legislation, which was passed on 17 May, saying the number of affected communities is more than 400.

The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency’s chief executive, Priscilla Atkins, said the move is likely to have a devastating impact on communities.

“We already have so many problems related to alcohol. Our hospitals are full, our domestic violence rates are the highest in the nation and rising, and the justice system is clogging up” she said.

“What the NT government has just done will add to that harm. It’s absolutely disgusting.”

The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory said the legislation was rushed through parliament without consulting key stakeholders.

“It will now be up to the federal government to do what is needed given the failure of the NT government to listen and respond to requests for an ‘opt out’ system,” said John Boffa of the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition.

About 100 communities under other NT liquor restrictions before the commonwealth law came into force in 2007 will revert to the previous controls.

The territory has the highest per capita alcohol consumption and rate of alcohol-attributable deaths in Australia, according to the NT Council of Social Service.


Here is how our political editor Katharine Murphy views the incoming opposition leader:

The jostling continues...

I'm hearing the left has added Anne Aly to the front bench line up #auspol

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) May 30, 2022

A large drop in carbon emissions in China, according to this analysis.

Big news out of China, where latest @laurimyllyvirta analysis for Carbon Brief finds the longest sustained drop in CO2 for at least a decade

The decline, which predates recent lockdowns, is set to continue in Q2 2022 after harsh Covid controls kicked in

— Simon Evans (@DrSimEvans) May 30, 2022

An update on vote counting in the inner Melbourne seat of Macnamara (formerly Melbourne Ports):

Latest Macnamara 3CP count has Liberals 104 ahead of Labor and Labor ahead of Greens by 355. That might be enough of a lead for Labor to win but it is unclear how many votes remain to be counted. They are currently processing the Covid telephone votes. #ausvotes

— Antony Green - elections (@AntonyGreenElec) May 30, 2022

Crown fined $80m by casino watchdog

Crown Melbourne has been fined $80m for allowing patrons to use credit or debit cards to gamble at its casino between 2012 and 2016.

In a statement, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission said a process using the China UnionPay service was illegal, and facilitated access to nearly $164m, from which Crown derived an estimated revenue of more than $32m.

Crown Melbourne admitted the process was illegal and “completely unacceptable”, and acknowledged it was appropriate for the commission to impose a fine. In taking disciplinary action, the commission had regard to Crown’s cooperation and contrition.

It is the first time the commission has used stronger enforcement powers under amendments to the Casino Control Act, with the maximum fine now $100m, up from $1m.

The commission chairperson, Fran Thorn said in a statement:

Crown’s CUP process was a clandestine, deliberate process, which not only breached the Casino Control Act but was also devised to assist patrons to breach China’s foreign currency exchange restrictions.

Crown was aware of the risk that the CUP process could be illegal but decided to run that risk. In doing so, it showed no regard for upholding its regulatory obligations. Indeed, it went to some lengths to hide what it was doing.

Crown benefited handsomely from its illegal conduct. The fine will ensure that Crown is stripped of the revenue it derived from the CUP process and will send a clear message that it must comply with its regulatory obligations.

The commission is also considering further disciplinary proceedings against Crown related to the other findings of the royal commission, which can each attract a fine of $100m.

The initial action was reported here:


Foreign affairs minister responds to Pacific security deal rejection

The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, has issued this statement about the decision of Pacific countries to reject a proposed Chinese security deal. She said:

It’s up to the countries of the region to make choices for their people.

The security of the Pacific is the responsibility of the Pacific family, of which Australia is a part.

And we want to help build a stronger Pacific family.

Australia will always work with the Pacific family to address shared security challenges, which is why we will boost support for Pacific maritime security and increase defence cooperation.

We want to bring new energy and more resources to the Pacific.

And we want to make a uniquely Australian contribution including through the culture we share and economic opportunities through our Pacific labour programs and permanent migration.

Here’s our story on the earlier development:

Floods highlight housing crisis, telco failures and government missteps, NSW inquiry told

Flooding has exposed a series of problems in the north of NSW, a parliamentary committee has heard. AAP report:

Northern NSW towns hit by this year’s devastating floods highlighted a housing crisis, telco failures and government missteps in the region, an NSW parliamentary inquiry in has been told.

At least 10 people died in the wild weather that forced thousands of residents to flee their homes and left many towns in the region severely damaged.

On Monday, Byron Shire Council mayor Michael Lyon told the inquiry the floods revealed an “inability to deal” with a housing crisis which existed before the crisis.

“We’ve put planning proposals [in on] tiny homes, caps on short-term letting, we’ve been attempting this for several years, we haven’t been able to get those through,” Lyon told the inquiry, sitting in Ballina.

“What that meant was that the exacerbation caused by the floods, and that existing crisis, left us really exposed and it’s made things so much harder in the aftermath of the floods.”

He also hit out at the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, saying the agency failed at times, especially on setting up evacuation centres.

He pointed to one evacuation centre in the town of Mullumbimby having to be “informally stood up” as DCJ “didn’t really make the effort to get in there”.

Flood-submerged car in Lismore
A car submerged in floodwater in Lismore in March. Photograph: Seven Network/Reuters

Telstra was also in Lyon’s firing line for the communications network remaining down for weeks during and after the floods.

He said the telco giant had serious questions to answer over the way its network was designed and whether its privatisation contributed to its performance.

Ballina Shire Council’s mayor, Sharon Cadwallader, said residents knew the area faced a flood risk, but “mitigation money” had been inadequate.

Cadwallader also cited communication problems during the crisis which left the area isolated, labelling what happened as “totally inadequate” .

The situation was so dire, she said, “runners” had to go between evacuation centres and people had to cross the border to Queensland to get messages out.

Rebecca Woods, the chief executive of the Bogal Local Aboriginal Lands Council, testified that in Coraki, flood-hit residents had been taken in by others, resulting in overcrowding.

The upper house inquiry continues in Lismore on Tuesday.


NZ Labour party support continues to fall

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s government is on the nose, AAP report.

Jacinda Ardern’s government continues to shed support into her second term, leaving New Zealand politics evenly split between the left and right.

In a new poll released on Monday night by the public broadcaster TVNZ and conducted by Kantar, Labour sat on 35% support, behind opposition National on 39%. Labour’s governing partner the Greens received 10%, while the right-wing minority party ACT received 7% and the Maori party 2%.

The result continues a slow slide in support away from Ardern’s party which began early last year, when the highs from Labour’s 2020 election result began to wear off.

Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, speaks at the San Francisco Botanical Garden in San Francisco last Friday. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

The National leader, Chris Luxon, who became opposition leader in November, claimed momentum on TVNZ towards ending Ardern’s prime ministership at the next election, expected in late 2023.

Ardern leads Luxon 33-25 in the preferred prime minister stakes.

The prime minister said the poll results, taken in a week after her government’s budget, was reflective of New Zealand being in a “tough patch as well as the rest of the world”.

The budget included a $NZ350 ($AU319) cost of living payment that will go to 2.1 million Kiwis later this year.

“That $350 payment for people on low and middle incomes, making sure we’re keeping public transport cheaper, extending the reduction in the cost of fuel. All of those things are designed to make a difference as we come through that period,” Ardern told NZTV.

Ardern is in the United States on a week-long visit that included giving the Harvard Commencement address and will conclude with a White House visit to meet President Joe Biden.


NSW premier Dominic Perrottet, says his predecessor would make a great federal member of parliament, amid reports about Gladys Berejiklian’s potential return to politics, AAP report.


Pacific countries have declined to sign up to a sweeping regional economic and security deal proposed by China, after a crucial meeting of Pacific foreign ministers and their Chinese counterpart on Monday. Kate Lyons reports:

Cold weather for south-eastern Australia expected to continue

Autumn saying goodbye in the unkindest way possible, via AAP:

An icy blast hitting much of southern and eastern Australia is expected to intensify, bringing low-level snow to several states.

The strong cold front and low pressure system will be at its most severe on Tuesday, the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast.

“Residents of south-east South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and eastern New South Wales and parts of southern Queensland will be impacted by this system,” the BOM said.

“Significant snow and rain with possible severe thunderstorms and hail is also expected ... mostly impacting western and central NSW, and western Victoria and Melbourne.”

Snow levels are expected to rapidly drop on Tuesday to 600-700 metres across Victoria, Tasmania and south-east NSW, and above 800m in the NSW Central Tablelands.

Severe Weather Update: powerful cold front for southern Australia. Video current: 2.15pm AEST 30 May 2022

Know your weather, know your risk. For the latest forecasts and warnings, go to our website or the #BOMWeather app.

— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) May 30, 2022

Significant snow on alpine peaks of 20-50cm is likely with blizzard conditions.

The bureau warns the low-level snow and windy conditions will create particularly hazardous driving conditions, with inland highways likely to be hit by sleet.

Maximum temperatures are expected to be 3-6C below the May average, including in areas as far inland as southern Queensland and southern NT.

The cold front is also bringing large swells that will batter most of the southern Australian mainland, in particular South Australia and western Victoria.

Severe weather warnings for damaging wind gusts are in place for much of South Australia and NSW, plus northern Victoria.

“These areas have also recently seen significant rainfall meaning winds over sodden catchments may see fallen trees (and) powerlines and impacts to caravans and motorhomes,” the BOM warns.

“There will likely be damage to property and weakened trees, with possible flash flooding due to blocked drains.”

The damaging winds are likely to ease late on Wednesday.


Both of them watch too much mixed martial arts for mine.

ROO RUMBLE: A man has found himself squaring off with a kangaroo in New South Wales' Northern Rivers region.🦘

The man was able to pin down the large marsupial, but not without copping a few blows. #9News

— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) May 30, 2022

Pacific countries reject China's proposed region-wide economic and security deal

Pacific countries have rejected a sweeping regional economic and security deal proposed by China, after a crucial meeting of Pacific foreign ministers islands meeting with China’s foreign minister today.

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, is currently undertaking a marathon tour of the Pacific, visiting eight countries in 10 days, in a move that security experts have said represents a dramatic “uptick in tempo” of China’s push for influence in the region.

He held a virtual summit with foreign ministers from Pacific countries at which a sweeping region-wide security deal was discussed.

The deal, which was leaked last week, covers everything from a free trade area with the region to providing humanitarian and Covid relief. It also lays out China’s vision for a much closer relationship with the Pacific, especially on security matters, with China proposing it would be involved in training police, cybersecurity, sensitive marine mapping and gaining greater access to natural resources.

At a press event following the meeting, attended by Wang and Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, China confirmed the deal had been shelved for now.

Wang Yi and Frank Bainimarama
Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi (left), and Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, at a joint press conference in Fiji’s capital city, Suva. Photograph: Leon Lord/AFP/Getty Images

China’s ambassador to Fiji said that while there had been “general support” for the agreement among foreign ministers had been shelved, some Pacific countries had voiced concerns.

Bainimarama also alluded to dissent among some foreign ministers at the meeting, saying the group had a “consensus first” approach. Wang said that China would release a position paper to increase consensus and cooperation.

Wang touched down in Fiji yesterday as part of a marathon diplomatic trip through the region. He met with Bainimarama this morning, a meeting both leaders said had been successful. The two countries signed at least three agreements after the meeting, which Wang said would expand cooperation between the two countries in the economy, trade, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, civil aviation, education, law enforcement, and emergency management.

“China is not a newcomer but an old friend with a long-standing friendship,” said Wang, at a press event on Monday afternoon, at which questions from media were not allowed, adding that China would provide assistance to Pacific Island countries with “no political strings attached”.


Mini-tornado hits Adelaide

AAP has the latest on a fairly wild weather event in Adelaide:

A mini-tornado has cut a path through an Adelaide suburb, bringing down powerlines, trees and damaging houses.

The windstorm hit Salisbury, about 20km north of the Adelaide CBD, shortly after 5am on Monday, the South Australian State Emergency Service says.

More than 200 people called for help, with SASES reporting it was difficult to get to some areas due to a large amount of debris blocking roads.

It struck as a severe weather cell passed across the north of the city, dumping more than 70mm of rain in some areas.

Social media photos showed many large trees fallen across roads and power lines.

Other images on Facebook showed cars stranded on flooded roads and damaged buildings.

More than 1,850 homes and business across the city remained without power about 2pm, with the SA electricity distributor, SA Power Networks, warning some customers may be without power until Tuesday.

A severe weather warning for damaging wind remains in place for much of the state.


Vote counting resumes in remaining seats of Gilmore, Deakin and Macnamara

Here’s an update on the post-election state of play, via AAP:

Vote counting in crucial marginal seats has resumed more than a week since the federal election, with Labor on the cusp of securing a majority government.

Labor is currently on 75 seats in the house of representatives, according to the Australian Electoral Commission, one short of the 76 needed to govern in its own right.

Large numbers of absentee and declaration votes are expected to be counted on Monday.

Three seats remain in doubt, including the electorates of Gilmore, Deakin and Macnamara.

In Gilmore on the NSW south coast, Labor incumbent Fiona Phillips was ahead by 142 votes as of 1pm on Monday.

The narrow lead for Labor comes following absentee votes being counted.

Liberal Michael Sukkar has marginally increased his lead in the Melbourne seat of Deakin to 891 votes over Labor’s Matt Gregg.

The Melbourne seat of Macnamara is also another tight contest, with a three-horse race still under way between Labor, the Liberals and the Greens.

As of Monday, Liberal candidate Colleen Harkin is on 33.56%, with Labor’s Josh Burns on 33.5% and Steph Hodgins-May from the Greens on 32.93%.

The ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green, said the large number of declaration votes being counted on Monday should clarify the final result in marginal seats, unless the contests remained too close to call.

The three seats left in doubt will have no fresh counting today. Staff will be processing declaration envelopes to be ready for a big count on Monday. That should clarify the final result - unless the three seats remain ultra-close. #ausvotes

— Antony Green - elections (@AntonyGreenElec) May 29, 2022

It comes as both the Liberal and National parties met in Canberra on Monday to elect their new leaders.

Peter Dutton was elected unopposed as the next Liberal leader and opposition leader, with Sussan Ley also elected unopposed as the party’s deputy.

After a marathon party meeting, the Nationals selected David Littleproud as the next leader and Perin Davey as the deputy.

Meetings will take place on Tuesday within the government to determine the make up of the new cabinet.

The new front bench will be formally sworn into their roles on Wednesday.


Senator Michaelia Cash, who was elected deputy leader of the opposition in the Senate today, has issued this statement:

I am pleased to congratulate the Hon Peter Dutton MP on his election unopposed as leader of the opposition and the Hon Sussan Ley MP as deputy leader.

I am also honoured that my Liberal Senate colleagues elected me deputy leader of the opposition in the Senate today, with senator the Hon Simon Birmingham to be the leader of the opposition in the Senate.

I look forward to working with Peter, Sussan, Simon and my opposition colleagues as we hold the new government to account.

The leadership team will work together to focus on the concerns of all Australians and put forward policies that will make their lives better and aspirations more achievable.


NSW paramedics enter day two of industrial action

AAP has filed this report on a paramedics strike in NSW:

Paramedics in NSW are two days into five days of snap industrial action as their dispute with the government over staffing and wages shows no signs of simmering down.

On Saturday, paramedics brought forward plans for on-the-job industrial action after the NSW government launched a legal challenge with the Industrial Relations Commission.

Paramedics will not take patients’ billing details, will not report key performance indicators and will not leave their home stations.

It comes as nine out of 10 paramedics report they believe patients are dying due to under-resourcing, according to a survey from the Australian Paramedics Association NSW.

Anyone who calls an ambulance during the industrial action will still receive help, says Catherine Treloar from APA NSW, but they will not be billed for it.

“Paramedics are taking industrial action today for patients’ safety and I think really the question is, are patients being put at risk every day by the NSW government’s failure to take action,” Treloar told the Nine Network on Monday.

The recent addition of 300 paramedics to the NSW workforce did not address staff shortage issues, and the sector needed at least 1,500 new staff, she said.

The APA wants the government to commit to further funding for specialists and community care, to increase paramedic staff numbers by at least 1,500, and to lift paramedics’ wages.

NSW ambulances with protest messages chalked on
Messages chalked on NSW ambulances as part of the Australian Paramedics Association’s industrial campaign over ambulance ramping and staffing shortages. Photograph: Brett Simpson/Australian Paramedics Association

The NSW premier, Dom Perrottet, said on Friday that further funding would be committed to paramedics in the June budget.

He urged people to call an ambulance only in an emergency, saying people were increasingly calling triple zero in non-urgent situations.

The IRC will hear the matter on Monday.


Here’s our full story on the news from earlier today on AGL abandoning its demerger plans, via Peter Hannam.

National Covid summary

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from around Australia today, as the country records at least 10 deaths from Covid-19:


  • Deaths: 1
  • Cases: 5,855
  • In hospital: 1,181 (with 34 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 201
  • In hospital: 11 (with no people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 1
  • Cases: 2,872
  • In hospital: 365 (with 4 people in ICU)

South Australia

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 2,220
  • In hospital: 216 (with 8 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 1
  • Cases: 627
  • In hospital: 46 (with 1 person in ICU)


  • Deaths: 3
  • Cases: 8,288
  • In hospital: 550 (with 37 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 4
  • Cases: 6,649
  • In hospital: 317 (with 10 people in ICU)


Qantas says regional airline Rex’s allegations are ‘just ridiculous’

Qantas has hit back at regional carrier Rex after it accused the flying kangaroo of “bullying and heartless behaviour” that caused it to cancel services to five destinations.

On Monday, Rex announced it would no longer service Bathurst, Grafton, Lismore and Kangaroo Island from 30 June, and would terminate flights to Ballina on 2 July.

Rex is also considering ending services to two other regional New South Wales airports, pending further review, and has warned other services in its network could be adjusted in coming months.

In its statement, Rex noted the end of the federal government’s regional airline network support program and said its decision to terminate some routes was part of an effort to improve its financial performance. However deputy chairman John Sharp pointed the finger at Qantas. Sharp said:

Qantas’ well-publicised predatory actions on Rex’s regional routes have meant that Rex no longer has the ability to cross subsidise these marginal routes.

It is unfortunate that these regional communities are the collateral damage of Qantas’ bullying and heartless behaviour. This behaviour is all the more unconscionable after receiving over $2 billion in Federal bailouts over the past 2 years.

On Monday afternoon, Qantas issued a statement calling Sharp’s claims “just ridiculous”. A spokesperson for the airline said:

Rex is always looking to blame others when it withdraws from regional routes, but none of its claims stack up to scrutiny. Rex has a monopoly on three of these routes it’s abandoning, so if it can’t make them work, it has no-one else to blame but itself.

Rex says it doesn’t have the funds to cross subsidise these routes, but it doesn’t have a problem finding money to invest in more aircraft for its capital city 737 operations. That must be confusing for regional customers given Rex’s tagline is that their heart is in the country.

The spokesperson added that “Rex’s claims against Qantas have become so far-fetched, we had to create a dedicated page on our website to rebut them and update it on a fairly regular basis as they cook up more weird conspiracy theories”. You can check out that website here.


Prof Glyn Davis appointed secretary to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Glyn Davis, a former University of Melbourne and Griffith University vice chancellor, has been appointed secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, replacing Phil Gaetjens.

The department said in a statement:

On the recommendation of the prime minister, the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, the governor general today appointed Professor Glyn Davis AC as the new secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Professor Davis currently serves as CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, Australia’s largest philanthropic trust. Professor Davis served on the panel led by David Thodey to review the Australian Public Service.

Professor Davis has had a long and distinguished career in both academia and public service, having served as director general of the Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet from 1998 until 2002, before moving to vice chancellor roles at both Griffith University and the University of Melbourne. He holds emeritus roles at universities around the world, and has served as Chair of the Group of Eight, Chair of Universities Australia and Chair of Universitas 21. In 2010, Professor Davis delivered the Boyer Lectures on the theme the Republic of Learning.

Prime minister Albanese has welcomed the appointment of Professor Davis.

“Professor Davis will bring to the role of secretary a deep understanding of public policy and will work with my government in bringing about positive change for the Australian people,” he said.

The prime minister thanked Philip Gaetjens for his service to the Australian public, both as secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet since August 2019, and across a distinguished 45-year career of public service.

Professor Davis will commence his five-year appointment on 6 June 2022.

Media Release PM @AlboMP: Appointment of Professor Glyn Davis AC as Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

— Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (@pmc_gov_au) May 30, 2022


Barnaby Joyce has released a statement about losing the Nationals leadership (again).

"I suppose you think I am sad. Not really." @Barnaby_Joyce #auspol

— Political Alert (@political_alert) May 30, 2022

Mike Cannon-Brookes responds to AGL abandoning demerger plans

Not surprisingly, Mike Cannon-Brookes’s family company, Grok Ventures, has welcomed AGL’s surrender today on its planned demerger, calling it “the sensible decision by AGL to abandon its value-destructive demerger plan and renew its board”. In a statement, it said:

AGL’s retail and institutional shareholders have sent an emphatic message to the Board and management of AGL that the company needs to be kept together to take advantage of the economic opportunity presented by decarbonisation.

As AGL’s largest shareholder, we have requested a meeting with Vanessa Sullivan and Graham Cockroft who are co-chairing the “strategic review”.

Grok, though, will be keen that the country’s biggest electricity generator remains intact, and for the review not to result in the company’s assets being hived off “piece by piece”.

Cannon-Brookes last week said Grok would be seeking two board seats, and it affirmed its interest today that it would demand “board representation ... [to] ensure that AGL has the talent, capital, capability and oversight that is required to embrace the opportunity presented by decarbonisation”.

It did not indicate whom it will be putting up to join the board.


Dutton: ‘We have to be able to pay for it’

Dutton is asked a final question about “multicultural and minority communities, including the disabled community and the LGBTIQ community, feeling underrepresented by some of the Liberal policies and [by] the Liberal party itself. What’s your message for them to know that you will represent those people?”

He mentions a “broad suite of policies designed to help people not discriminate against anyone”, two gay Liberal MPs who lost their seats at the election, Trevor Evans and Trent Zimmerman, and issues a quick warning to Labor, saying:

... whatever program it is that we want to provide to the community, we have to be able to pay for it. And if we don’t run the economy well, we don’t manage the budget well, you can’t pay for it. And that’s exactly what Labor is about to find out.

And that’s it from Dutton and Ley.

Peter Dutton
Peter Dutton delivers his first press conference as leader of the opposition. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Dutton: We’ll support climate change policies ‘that aren’t going to crush families and small business’

Dutton is asked if there’s any prospect he could work with the government on climate policy in this parliament. He responds:

I take the issue very seriously, I’ve supported our policies in the past, I’ve looked at countries that have made commitments and never met them. We have made commitments, we’ve met them. So, I’m very supportive of serious policy, but I want us to get the balance right. And if you look at what’s happening in Europe at the moment, my job as the opposition leader is to put policies forward, between now and the next election, and to hold the bad government to account.

That’s my job. And we’ll support policies that aren’t going to crush families and small businesses. And I’m worried at the moment the Labor party policies, as they’ve got – make energy less reliable and more expensive, and families at the moment can’t afford that, because they can’t afford to fill their car, they’re seeing grocery prices go up, they know that their rents are going up or that interest rates, if they go up, that they’ll have to pay more in their mortgage, and they are worried.

And I don’t want to make that situation worse for them. I want to help their families and I want to help their small businesses become bigger businesses. And I worry that the Labor party is embarking on a course where they will tax and spend, and it will be those families and those small businesses that will be adversely impacted.


Dutton is asked if Australia should still be preparing for war (as he said it should a few weeks back). He responds:

Well, Australia should be realistic about what’s happening in China under President Xi, and the Prime Minister has made this point, and they have been very clear about their intent in relation to Taiwan.

I’m concerned that if they went into Taiwan, that would change quite dramatically the security settings within our own region. I think it would impact negatively on the trading relationships that we have with our neighbours and what it means for safe passage of vessels through particular straits and all the approaches to our country as well.

And I quoted, I think, a fifth-century proverb maybe at the time, which was, you know, not too controversial. That is that you’ve got to, as a country, be strong. And I want to be a strong country. As I said before, we live in the best country in the world, it’s worth fighting for, it’s worth making sure that we take the decisions to help people, and to clean up Labor’s mess in three years’ time. They are going to be a bad Government. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. They don’t have the experience or the capability.

Dutton wants Indigenous voice to parliament to be ‘accompanied by practical responses’

Reporter: You previously argued that an Indigenous voice to parliament would amount to a third chamber. Are you disappointed in enshrining a voice to parliament or is that something you will campaign against?


Well, the minister, Linda Burney, has stated, as I said before, that she’s not yet settled in her own mind yet, and certainly I don’t think it’s been through the caucus in the Labor party as to what the final form will be. So, we’ll have a look at what they’re proposing.

But as I said, I want the symbolic nature – which I accept is very important to many people – to be accompanied by practical responses. I want to understand how we’re going to reduce the incidence of child abuse within those communities. I want to understand how it is that we’re going to allow more young girls to go on to education, how we can address infant mortality, and many other indicators.

And as I say, it’s not been from a bad place, but we’ve failed in this policy area. And nobody, hand on heart, can sit here today and say that we are in a better position in many of those instances, many of those indicators, then we were five or 10 or 25 years ago.

So, I want to understand what it leads to and how we can be constructive in helping Indigenous Australians also celebrate the great successes.


Dutton reiterates that the Liberals are a ‘broad church’

Reporter: The Liberals lost around 17 seats. Is it based on the policy offerings you put forward or the salesman Scott Morrison and what lessons have you learned from his leadership as Prime Minister?

Dutton starts his response by talking about the “unprecedented” pandemic, and how some of the former government’s policies saved the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people, but added:

There are lessons out of the election. We’ve initiated this process. We’ll see what that comes back with and respond appropriately to it. But under my leadership, the Liberal party is not, as I said before, not the Conservative party, not the moderate party. We’re Liberals, we are a broad church. We’ll have policies that appeal to Australians across the board, those that believe as I do that we need to keep our country safe and keep the economy strong so we can help families and small businesses and help them grow.

Peter Dutton
Peter Dutton at Parliament House. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Dutton appears to say the Liberals will keep the housing policy which would have allowed people to draw on their superannuation for a house deposit. He also says that the push for the suburbs will not be harmed by the party’s reputation with multicultural Australia, but says he does want to “engage more” with those communities.

Dutton is asked about his earlier comments that the party was “estranged” from big business. He says he does not seek an adversarial relationship, but:

...frankly a lot of CEOs now are closer to the other parties and out of the Liberal party, that is the modern reality and I don’t seek estrangement from them but we will work closely with them but I want to create jobs, I want to have a robust economy and with the damage I think Labor will do over the next few years, we will have a big job [to do] when we are returned to government in 2025.


Dutton: ‘there is an opportunity to work constructively’ with crossbenchers

Reporter: What is your plan to approach the crossbench members including a lot of the new independent MPs who obviously occupy seats once held by Liberals? Can you forge a relationship and potentially vote with them on certain issues?


Yes is the short answer. As leader in the house, I tried to have a very productive relationship and respectable relationship with the independents and you’ve seen some public commentary that reflect that from the independent members and I will continue to do that.

There are issues we can disagree on but in the chamber, you can work out who are real independent MPs [or] green independent MPs and it will become obvious by people’s patterns and their statements and their comments on broader issues. It’s just been examined during the course of the election. There is an opportunity to work constructively.

I suspect if the government doesn’t get a majority in the lower house, then they will ask Mr Wilkie to be the speaker. I suspect Mr Wilkie or one of the other independent members would do that.

That’s how I think they will shore up their position in the lower house and of course in the Senate, the Labor party will be relying on the Greens to get their agenda through and that will be an interesting experiment which I think will drag the Labor party further to the left.


Dutton responds to WA premier Mark McGowan

Dutton says that he will also be targeting the working class under his leadership, before being asked about the party’s dire showing in Western Australia, and the characterisation of him by WA premier Mark McGowan as an “extremist” who isn’t very smart. He said:

I feel a great affinity with WA.. As a Queenslander, as much as anything, two mining states and two states with vast regional areas, there has always been that affinity with WA and Queensland so I feel at home in WA, frankly as I do around the rest of the country.

In this job I travel to Sydney hundreds of times, dozens and dozens of times to other capital cities, including Perth and I’ve got lots of friends in WA. I’ve got respect for Mark McGowan as premier of WA, I’m not going to enter into a tit-for-tat and juvenile comments. The state premiers and state Labor premiers and chief ministers lined up as one to attack and pull down Scott Morrison, they will seek to do the same with me.

All I’d say to the Australian people is look at me and form your own judgement, listen to what I’m saying and form your own judgement
as opposed to [listening] to these politically motivated statements.

And in relation to the second part of his comment, well, I have a bachelors degree in business, in public administration ... I was not a committed student at school, I was more interested in making money, I started a business from nothing, employing 40 staff, [I’ve] been on the frontbench of the Liberal party since 2004 having been identified by John Howard in my first term as capable of being appointed quickly to the ministry. I’ve served as our country’s health minister, and sport [minister] which was a great portfolio.

I’ve been a defence minister, home affairs minister, I’ve been on the expenditure review committee, I’ve been part of the National Security Committee, as I say, and [have been] part of the leadership of the party. I will let people draw their own conclusions as to my capacities.

Peter Dutton
Peter Dutton talks to the media in the Liberal party room in Parliament House. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Dutton: Greens believe in ‘all sorts of radical plans’

Dutton is asked a question about the increase in the Greens’ lower house presence, which has increased from one seat to as many as four, with the possible three extra seats all coming in his home state of Queensland. He says:

In relation to the Greens, I think both parties frankly are going to have to talk more about what the Greens represent. The Greens are not this environmental movement that believes in particular policies, they believe in halving the defence spending in this country, they believe in all sorts of radical plans which I don’t think most Australians would support.

In the analysis I have done of a number of our seats and a number of seats where Labor has been in trouble ... I think there was as much a protest vote [as] there is a vote for the Greens and I would be surprised if that holds up over the next three years. I think frankly as I said before, people were not happy with us, in the end that is clear, they were not that enamoured with Mr Albanese ... and I think many of them have sent a protest vote through the Greens and we will talk more about that.


Dutton voices support for Icac

Dutton says he expects to announce his shadow cabinet ministry later this week. On whether Labor has a mandate for a federal Icac and a 43% emissions reduction target by 2030, given the election result, Dutton says:

I dealt with the emissions question earlier but on the Icac, I’m a strong supporter of the Icac, I believe in transparency and I always have, I think one of the greatest things that happened post the Fitzgerald inquiry era in Queensland was that there was continuing scrutiny which I think has stood our state in good stead.

It’s not the same in every state in the country, I think there are issues and I think the commissions have worked with varying success.

I believe very much in the transparency. The reason I think it’s more important than ever is that under this Labor government, under the Albanese government, we are going to have a continuation of this unholy alliance with the CFMEU, the ETU, the MUA and the Labor Party. In states around the country we’ve seen red shirts in Victoria, Queensland where ministers are keeping secret second email accounts to take direction from union bosses, so I welcome the scrutiny, I think it’s a good thing.

The nuance in the detail, we will be able to work through that and I’m keen to engage with Helen Haines for whom I have a great deal of respect.

Peter Dutton and Sussan Ley
The newly elected leader of the opposition, Peter Dutton, and deputy Sussan Ley. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Ley is asked again about her earlier comments re women voters, saying:

The time following any election loss is a time for sober reflection as it should be, and sometimes women are presented as one homogenous group which clearly they are not, and every woman has their own passions and drives and determination, wishes for themselves, their children and families ... to collect them in one group and say these things apply, these don’t, this went wrong, this didn’t would be far too presumptuous.

I do know that there were women who abandoned the Coalition over the last election. There were women who firmly supported us. At this point in time as a review takes place, I’ll be travelling to as many parts of Australia to speak directly to the women to hear their individual perspectives about what matters to them but I also know that the Coalition’s strong focus on women’s economic security and women’s safety, record investments that we made over the term of the last government, will stand us in good stead and set us up for those future conversations.


Dutton: People in the suburbs are the ‘forgotten people’

Dutton is asked about a focus on the suburbs, and whether he thinks they can reclaim government if they do not win back the inner-city seats the party lost to so-called teal independents at the election. He responds that the party will not be ignoring any seat, saying:

Our policy is going to be targeted at those people who understand the Liberal party is the best when it comes to economic management so that we can pay for our climate change investment and pay for education and policing and our roads and infrastructure. All those issues that are important to people. They are shared commonly in the capital cities and in the suburbs.

All I want to do is to make sure that we don’t forget about those in the suburbs and I do think they are the forgotten people.

I want to have that the focus of our policies, strong policies and we will be talking more about that. So I’m not giving up on any seat, but I do want to send a very clear message to those in the suburbs, particularly those in seats where there has been a swing against the Labor party on their primary, in many parts of the country, this election was a pox on both your houses, there is huge hesitation around Anthony Albanese ... whether he is up to the job.

People will give him a go, rightly, they voted for him and there will be a honeymoon period. The media will give him that, that is the convention. But people had big doubts about whether they would vote for him and in some cases, in many seats right across the country, the primary vote went down under Mr Albanese’s ... leadership, so I think we’ve all got a lot of work to do, there is a lot to listen to out of this election.


Dutton calls for a ‘generous refugee and humanitarian program’

Reporter: Do you still characterise the Biloela children as anchor babies?


There are a couple of points worth making. There are hundreds of cases I acted on grounds of compassion in relation to migration policies. The minister of immigration is one of the most difficult jobs in the government.

One of the things I didn’t have when [I was the] minister for immigration and border protection and home affairs were calls at 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock in the morning from the admiral telling me that the boat had listed and women and children had drowned, and I was conscious of that because I spoke to men and women of the Australian Defence Force and the Navy in particular [who] are still suffering from PTSD today because of that policy failure when Labor was last in government so [I] wish the family well, I have no gripe against the family. No gripe against the family, and as I said I acted compassionately in hundreds of cases which were not in the media.

What we have to be careful about is the people smugglers who are evil, are trading gun parts, in drugs, and human beings, if they think they are back in business or they are hearing messages from the Australian government that there is an opening for them and they can pitch to people if you wait long enough, you will be able to get on a boat and come to Australia, that will be tragic.

We were able to bring people here in record numbers through the refugee and humanitarian program in a responsible and measured way. I want to make sure that we don’t see the tragedy of kids in detention, we get all the children out of detention. I don’t want to see the boats restart and I do want to see a generous refugee and humanitarian program.


'I am not going to change': Peter Dutton

Dutton says he will wait for the findings of the review into the election loss by Brian Loughnane and Jane Hume, but he says:

We have heard a message loud and clear from the Australian public. We were a government of nine years, the last couple of years have been some of the most dramatic, certainly that I’ve experienced in my 20 years in public life, the reality of Covid, the way it’s impacted on the Australian psyche and the response to it through jobkeeper for example, when we saved over 700,000 jobs.

There are policies that were strongly endorsed by the Australian people and others they weren’t happy with but we’ve gone through difficult times of the country over the last couple of years, and I hope that’s in the past, but I think there are economic headwinds that will be a reality over the next couple of years and you don’t know what happens in the future.

Dutton was asked about how he plans to change the “rigid” perception some voters may have of him. He responded:

In relation to your other question, [I’ve] been given tough jobs, as a minister it was difficult in Home Affairs bringing together but I was ultimately able to cancel the visas of about just over 6,000 criminals, people who had committed sexual offences against women and children, committed murder, serious criminal acts and to deport them from our country.

It’s pretty hard to break into a smile when you are making that announcement.

I was defence minister and we could negotiate with the United States the Aukus deal and the other issues, [the] realities of [the] withdrawal of over 4,000 people out of Kabul, one of our proudest achievements. Intaking people from Syria, war-torn Syria into our country. The Yazidi women who were being tortured, slaved and butchered by Isil, we brought them here under my watch.

But it’s hard to talk about all that without showing a softer side or a different side to your character and all I would say is I’m not going to change but I want people to see the entire person I am [and] reserve and make their own judgments when they meet me.

I’ve been in the community, a notionally Labor electorate, I won that electorate eight times in a row and people on the ground can see in a more wholesome way who I am. Hopefully you can tell a different story that I’m not as bad as the ABC might sometimes report. There is a smile. The ABC always brings a smile to my face.


Sussan Ley says many women ‘were generally happy’ with Morrison government

Dutton is asked about Ley’s comments regarding seeking to win the trust back of women voters. Dutton says he will get Ley to answer that.

Ley describes the question, which was basically what Dutton thinks of Ley’s theory the Coalition lost the trust of women voters, as a “mischaracterisation” (despite saying only minutes ago she wanted the party to win back the trust of women).


That is, respectfully, a mischaracterisation. However, I do acknowledge that women did not support us who may have supported us previously. There were many women, including in my electorate, who were generally happy with the government’s performance. What we need to do with the analysis of the results of the federal election is look at that. It might be booth by booth, community by community. There are so many different stories to be told.


Dutton again on China:

I believe very strongly that we can work together with the government, and I have made this clear before, and I’ll repeat it again now. We will support good policy. We will oppose Labor’s bad policy but I can tell you, from all that I have seen, the risk continues to compound.

China has been very clear about their intent in relation to Taiwan. You’re seeing the reality now on the ground.

You know, the final point is that Labor has promised at the last election that they would resolve these issues. Penny Wong said that she’s going to take a different approach and she’ll address the issues and we won’t see the continued aggression or the signing of these agreements within the Indo-Pacific.

I’ll be happy to [see an] outcome but I suspect we’ll be talking about this for a while.


China 'the biggest issue our country will face in our lifetimes', says Dutton

Dutton has described China under their president, Xi Jinping, as “the biggest issue our country will face in our lifetimes”.


You and Scott Morrison went out pretty hard on the China issue. The evidence appears to be that you lost the votes of Chinese Australians if you look at some of the seats that were lost. You went pretty close to accusing people on the Labor frontbench of treason, almost. Are you going to attempt to temper some of that language or there’s no backing down, you’re still going to go hard on the China issue?


I have had the benefit of the briefings in the National Security Committee and to be high-level in some circumstances as defence minister. The issue of China under President Xi is the biggest issue our country will face in our lifetimes. That’s the reality. That’s the assessments of the American, British, Japanese, Indians and it’s our assessment as well.

I will support policies which help to defend our country, decisions made by the new government in relation to rolling out Aukus, which was an incredible achievement of the Morrison government, and other policies which will help keep us safe ... [I] don’t want interference in our electoral outcomes. I don’t want there to be threats on university campuses.

I want us to have a productive relationship with China. I want it to be restored but that is an issue for China. Now, I have made strong statements in the past and I don’t resile from those because I feel very passionately about this issue.


Dutton says he 'made a mistake' in walking out on apology to Stolen Generations

Reporter to Dutton: “You said you regretted walking out on the apology to the generations. Does that mean you’ll support the Uluru Statement From The Heart?”


I noted Linda Burney said they’re working through the detail of what they’re likely to ... propose. I’ll wait for the detail.

I made a mistake in relation to the apology and largely that was because of my own background and experience. Many of you have lived out in regional areas and many of you haven’t.

I worked in Townsville. I remember going to many domestic violence instances, particularly involving Indigenous communities, and for me at the time I believed that the apology should be given when the problems were resolved and the problems are not resolved. There are little boys and girls in parts of our country in 2022, in this year, that slept in a shipping container last night to get through the hours of darkness in Indigenous communities and it’s completely unacceptable.

Now, governments, our government, the Morrison government, back through Rudd, Gillard, for many years, I think we have all been on a unity ticket to do as much as we can to improve the condition in local communities, the advancement of Aboriginal people in our country, education, health outcomes, closing the gap, all the rest of it, but we have all failed, and so, yes, I – I understand the symbolism and I made that mistake.

But for me it came from a place where I just find it unbearable to think that those little kids are facing that situation or women are facing significantly higher domestic violence circumstances and realities in those communities. So I want there to be practical solutions, and I want to work with the government to deliver chose. But I want them to work hand-in-glove.

Going to a meeting here in Canberra and giving 10 acknowledgements to country, that’s fine, and I don’t say that in a disparaging way. I want to know how it is we’re going to support those kids and how it is we’re going to get higher health outcomes and [lower] mortality rates, more kids through university, just to finish primary school and secondary school to start with. That’s the perspective that I bring to it.


Dutton remains non-committal on issue of legislating emissions targets

Dutton is asked about newly appointed Nationals leader, David Littleproud, who said only moments ago that he would support legislating carbon emissions targets.

He passes his congratulations to the new Nationals leadership, reiterates the importance of the Coalition, but is otherwise non-committal:

In terms of policy, on climate, I’m a very passionate believer in making sure we have the appropriate response to the issue of our emissions reductions. We need to do it in a sensible way ... We will have obviously our shadow cabinet meeting, this is day one of a 3-year journey. We’ll go through the party room and respect all those processes before we announce any change to that policy.

Dutton claimed power bills would go up under Labor, and that his policies would seek to build manufacturing capacity and safeguard small business, describing them as the guide rails of any future announcements.


Sussan Ley says Liberal party ‘determined to earn back’ women’s trust

Sussan Ley thanks a “modest” Dutton, adding he’s the best person for the job and they have been colleagues and close friends for more than two decades:

Thank you very much. Can I thank the Liberal party room for the great honour of being elected deputy leader. Can I thank my electorate of Farrer for returning me eight times to this federal parliament, the wonderful people from western New South Wales along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers. I draw strength from you everyday.

Can I thank you, Peter, for your leadership to date and say that you are absolutely the best person for this job, and we have been colleagues and close friends for over 20 years and I want to commend all of the work that you’ve done.

You’ve been very modest in your self-assessment but particularly your work upon child safety both behind the scenes and out there in the community. I want to say that I will continue to be a strong voice for rural and regional Australia.

Ley says she is “inspired” by the Liberal party brand and tells the women of Australia “we’re listening” and the party are determined to earn back their trust and faith:

The Liberal party brand inspires me and is equally effective and belongs everywhere across our great country, whether it be in the cities or the bush. In fact, my hometown of Albury is where the Liberal party was founded by Sir Robert Menzies.

I will continue to be a strong voice for women. We know that we didn’t receive the support of all women at the last election, and my message to the women of Australia is we hear you. you. We’re listening. We’re talking. And we are determined to earn back your trust and your faith.


Dutton pays tribute to former PM Scott Morrison

Dutton, who is speaking with his newly-appointed deputy Sussan Ley, has paid tribute to former prime minister Scott Morrison. He said:

I want to acknowledge my predecessor Scott Morrison his wife Jenny and his girls for the enormous contribution they’ve made not just to our country but the Liberal Party as well and we wish them all the very best in the next stage of their life.

I have held a marginal seat for two decades and I know how to work with people and how to achieve outcomes for local communities. I know how to campaign.

I’ve been the assistant treasurer to Peter Costello and held ministries in the Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison cabinets. I have served on the National Security Committee and the leadership group in two governments.

My greatest honour was to represent the men and women of the Australian Defence Force, the ... Cyber Security Centre, Australian Federal Police, ASIO, and AUSTRAC.

Dutton also outlined other experiences in his life that have given him the character traits needed to become prime minister. He said:

My parents worked hard for every dollar and we weren’t financially well off. I started part-time work in a butcher shop after school until I started university. I saved and bought a house at 19 and built a business from nothing to ultimately employ 40 people.

I was a police officer for 10 years and I have dedicated my working life to public service and I’m passionate about the protection of children and women, particularly the protection against sexual assault and harassment.

I owe everything of course to my family, friends, my community and the Liberal party and my colleagues for the incredible honour to be standing here with you today. As prime minister, you need strength of character and relentless resolve to see our country through the good and the bad times. They are among the character traits that I bring to this job.


With that, I will pass you into the very capable hands of Nino Bucci. Have a ripper Monday.

Peter Dutton gives first press conference as Liberal leader

Peter Dutton is giving his first press conference as leader of the Liberal party.

He says:

Our policies will be squarely aimed at the forgotten Australians in the suburbs across Australia, under my leadership the Liberal party will be true to our values, that have seen us win successive elections over the course of the last quarter of a century.

Make no mistake, and Australians understand this, the next three years under Labor is going to be tough for the Australian people. Already they’re breaking promises and foreshadowing policy shifts. They weren’t ready to govern


Finally, after mentioning the “sensible centre” multiple times, Littleproud returns to climate, asked about Labor’s 43% emissions reduction target.

Who pays for it? My job is to protect regional and rural Australia. I don’t think regional and rural are against reducing emissions. We should get back to first principles, that’s about reducing emissions. As the National party we didn’t just look at reducing. We came up with the reductions emissions by improving biosecurity.

We bring the common sense to this place. We don’t believe we have to mandate. We can incentivise and encourage, and I believe farmers should be at the centre of that. We should square the ledger for what they’ve actually had to pay for us to live up to international commitments.

That’s the common sense way that the National party will continue to deal with these issues, but you’ve got to be honest with the Australian people. You have to look them square in the eye and tell them how you’re going to pay for it and who will pay for it. This is the problem we have.


Littleproud avoids question of whether Nationals would support Indigenous voice to parliament

Littleproud is asked whether the Nationals would support implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart and enshrining an Indigenous voice to parliament – a key Labor priority.

He says one of the “greatest things” about the National party is Jacinta Price.

I’m proud to say that she is a strong Indigenous woman who will be part of that conversation. In fact, under my leadership we’ll make sure that she is part of that conversation and that we need to hear and we need to have those strong voices and we’ll have Jacinta at front and centre in working constructively with the National party and the Labor party and the Liberal party.

But we need to work through those details. But I think the beauty of what we’ve been able to achieve during this election is to bring Jacinta Price into our party room that will give us guidance and clarity so we can get an appreciation of first Australians, Indigenous Australians, aspirations moving forward.


Littleproud reiterates Coalition’s ‘technology not taxes’ approach to emissions reduction

To emissions reductions targets – Littleproud is asked whether the party will make a commitment to live up to its climate commitment with the Coalition.

We don’t believe in telling people what to do. Australians have done it themselves. We have reduced emissions by 20% since 2005 ... we didn’t have to tell people ... we created an environment for the market to sort it out.

We have made a sensible decision to be part of the global community. The global community asked us to sign up to net zero by 2050. Our plan is about technologies not taxes, it’s making sure those people in rural and regional Australia don’t bear the brunt ... We’re a fair nation. That’s why I say what we bring to Canberra is common sense.

We are moving forward on climate. We made that commitment and the Australian economy is moving forward on that ... there’s a lot of emotion going around at the moment. There’s a lot of people who are hurting who have lost their job. We respect that.

Part of the process in terms of us moving forward is to understand and to actually try and make sure that as a collective unit – whether that be the National party [or] in the Coalition – make sure that we can clearly enunciate where we’re moving forward, how we’re moving forward, how that will change the lives of people not only in metropolitan Australia but rural and regional areas.


Littleproud says ‘sensible centre’ is where elections are won

Littleproud is asked why they’re changing the leadership if they won all their seats in the federal election.

“This a journey towards 2025,” he replies.

This is not about the National party lurching left or lurching right, it’s using common sense and being in the sensible centre. That’s where you win elections, not chasing extremities.

The National party proved that when we [signed] up to net zero by 2050 ... if we didn’t sign up to that, capital markets had already factored in nearly up a 3% increase in your mortgages, and your commodity prices would have gone down. I couldn’t look my people in the eye and say we can’t be part of a global community ...

This isn’t about anything other than the National party being that voice here in Canberra to articulate the challenges but also the aspirations of regional rural Australians towards 2025. That’s the team we’re bringing forward.


Littleproud says two ‘powerful and strong’ women standing behind him in party

Now to questions. Littleproud is asked why the Nationals and Liberal party have emerged with male leaders after the Coalition was abandoned in droves by female voters.

He says there’s “two women standing behind me that are powerful and strong and there’s a woman standing behind Peter Dutton”, presumably in homage to the phrase “behind every great man is a great woman”.

The diversity of our room means we can draw not only from men but the strength of these women that bring the experience of the regions together. This is about us as a party moving forward, not lurching to the left, not lurching to the right but bringing this thing called common sense to Canberra.


Nationals will ‘take it up to’ Labor and Greens in Senate, says Bridget McKenzie

Bridget McKenzie says she is “very proud” to be re-elected as Senate leader of the party.

I lead a fabulously diverse, talented, strong, articulate team, and in opposition a lot of that fight is happening in the Senate. So you’ll see my senators take it up to the Labor party and the Greens each and every day.

Opposition starts today. One team, one dream. That is what we’re all talking about. We are super excited about the team we’ve got together, about uniting our party for the betterment of rural and regional Australia.


Davey congratulates Littleproud and says she is proud of the Nationals party room and its democratic processes:

This is about the future. We are the team for the future of the National party, building on the experience within our party room. In 2019, we held all of our seats under Michael McCormack. This year, we held all our seats under Barnaby Joyce. And next time, we will hold all our seats, and some, under David Littleproud.

We are looking eyes on the future because we can’t ignore the regions, because we’re from the regions ... we’ve got three years to make sure we hold the new government to account, and to make sure they don’t forget the regions, and they don’t sell us short by doing deals with other parties and other interests.


Perin Davey ‘has probably longer lineage than me in the National party’, says Littleproud

Littleproud throws to Perin Davey, the newly elected deputy, and Bridget McKenzie, highlighting the “diversity and strength” of the party room. Littleproud says:

[Perin Davey] has probably longer lineage than me in the National party ... her father would be sitting there today, I suspect, as one of the greatest National party stalwarts, with a tear in his eye, knowing that his daughter has come to this place and will be the deputy leader of the National party.

And to Bridget McKenzie, who has been there from the start, as our leader in the Senate. This will bring the diversity and strength of our party room beyond any individual. This is about the National party as a team, driving the future.


David Littleproud says Nationals ‘equipped to face’ emerging challenges

Littleproud continues:

The legacy that both Barnaby and Michael have left is one that can be seen every day in regional and rural Australia, and for that they should be profoundly proud ... and one that I need to build on, and my team needs to build on as the National party.

Today we start that journey towards 2025. We start it with the enthusiasm and energy of knowing that, while we held all our seats, there are emerging threats, there are emerging challenges, but we’re equipped to face them. We’re equipped to face them not because of me but because of my team and the diversity of our team.

No individual will continue to represent regional and rural Australia alone. It will be the team, the collective wisdom of those men and women, those 22 men and women in that room, that will drive the National Party into the future that, will drive regional and rural Australia, that will give it its voice right here in Canberra.


New Nationals leader David Littleproud says he believes ‘passionately’ in the party

David Littleproud is speaking. He says the National party is “all there is about regional and rural Australia”, and it is the “proudest day” of his professional life to lead the party.

Forty years ago, I joined the National party as a six-year-old boy, handing out for my father ... as he tried to become the member for Condamine. I am all that is the National Party. I believe passionately in the National party because we are all there is about regional and rural Australia.

We are the conscience of rural and regional Australia right here in this parliament. This is the proudest day of my professional life, to lead a party that, over the last 40 years, I believe ... it has been a National party that has guided me, guided me to who I am and what I am ...

The National party today starts its journey towards 2025, with a vibrant team, ready to articulate the policies that are important to regional and rural Australia, but also to draw on the experience of two former deputy prime ministers in Barnaby Joyce and Michael McCormack.

To build that bridge of unity and purpose, to make sure that regional and rural Australia isn’t forgotten here, to draw on the experience of those great men, not only those that are there, but those that have come before us, and these great women that stand here with me as the future of the National party, in taking us forward to 2025.


To recap:

New Coalition leadership

Libs leader: Peter Dutton (QLD)
Nats leader: David Littleproud (QLD)
Libs deputy: Sussan Ley (NSW)
Nats deputy: Perin Davey (NSW)#auspol

— Dan Jervis-Bardy (@D_JervisBardy) May 30, 2022

David Littleproud to become leader of National party

Following a whopper meeting, the member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, has been elected the new leader of the National party, defeating Barnaby Joyce and Darren Chester.

Senator Perin Davey from New South Wales will be the deputy leader.

Mark Coulton made the announcement, informing reporters the newly elected leaders would address the media presently.

There was three people [contending] for the leader and three for the deputy. But apart from that, I have no further comment. I’ll leave it at that. You can ask the leaders on that. OK?

Asked whether there was a lot of disagreement, he replied:

The National party room likes to be thorough how they deal with these things. Thank you.

Nationals leadership announcement - Queensland MP David Littleproud will take over from Barnaby Joyce, while NSW Senator Perin Davey will become the deputy. #auspoI @theheraldsun

— Jade Gailberger (@JadeGailberger) May 30, 2022


Labor leading election count in Gilmore by 142 votes

The AEC is counting a large number of prepoll votes today with three seats still in contention. They’re trending in favour of Labor in the seat of Gilmore, where Fiona Phillips now leads over Andrew Constance by 142 votes.

Updates on #Gilmore here - Labor has hit the lead after big breaks on absents and dec prepolls. Can't project that these will keep breaking that way as they're probably from ALP-friendly adjacent booths, but makes it harder for Constance.

— Kevin Bonham (@kevinbonham) May 30, 2022


This can only be a great sign.

The Nats have been meeting for more than 2 hours and there’s still no outcome on leadershop. @9NewsAUS

— Eliza Edwards (@ElizaEdNews) May 30, 2022


South Australia SES responding to hundreds of calls after Salisbury hit by small tornado

The South Australian State Emergency Service has responded to more than 200 jobs today after a small tornado hit Salisbury, north of Adelaide, this morning, bringing down powerlines and trees and damaging houses.

More than 70 volunteers are currently responding to about 150 jobs in the Salisbury area alone.

Robert Charlton, SASES state duty officer, urged the public to be patient as volunteers responded to the large number of callouts.

Due to the amount of fallen trees, power lines and other debris on roads our access is currently being hampered.


WA records four deaths, 6,649 new Covid cases

Western Australia’s premier has provided the state’s Covid update.

There have been 6,649 new cases detected to 8pm last night and four deaths reported to the state department.

There are 317 people being treated in hospital with the virus including 10 people in ICU.

This is our WA COVID-19 update for Monday, 30 May 2022.

For official information on COVID-19 in WA, visit

— Mark McGowan (@MarkMcGowanMP) May 30, 2022

May not be the time to make anecdotal comparisons of Peter Dutton to characters in magical children’s books.

Peter and Sussan. Like Narnia but no fun lions and witches. Or wadrobes. #auspol #LNP

— Georgie Hewson (@GeorgieHewson81) May 30, 2022

The new leader of the Liberal party is given some sage advice from Karen Andrews.

#breaking Peter Dutton elected unopposed as Liberal leader. Sussan Ley confirmed as deputy #auspol

— Finn McHugh (@FinnianMchugh) May 30, 2022

Karen Andrews asked if she has any advice for Mr Dutton. “Be inclusive” she says #auspol

— Finn McHugh (@FinnianMchugh) May 30, 2022

Scott Morrison congratulates new Liberal leader and deputy

Former prime minister Scott Morrison is speaking now. He congratulates Peter Dutton and Sussan Ley on their new positions.

They are incredibly experienced, well versed, are deeply committed Australians to both the Liberal cause and the cause of the nation and I think they’ll do an outstanding job and I look forward to giving them all of my full support. It was a good opportunity for me to thank my colleagues for their great loyalty and support over these past more than three-and-a-half years.

He also says the party was saddened Josh Frydenberg “couldn’t be with us” (because he lost his seat).

... to do that both on my behalf and on behalf of my dear friend, Josh Frydenberg, we are all very sad he couldn’t be with us today and there was a rousing cheer for Josh as there should be.

So to him and all the Liberal party supporters out there, thank you very much. It’s been a great privilege to lead the Liberal party and I hand over to Peter and Susan and wish them all the very best.


“We’ve been looking at this empty corridor for quite some time now,” an ABC presenter says, as we continue to wait for news from the Nationals camp.

SA police releasing images of suspect in theft of car with four-month-old child inside

The police spokesperson said to describe the event as “despicable” was an understatement.

You imagine from any parent’s point of view, it’s more than distressing that a child would be taken under any circumstances.

It’s a great relief to South Australia police to reunite mum and child and ... you can imagine the distress that caused mum. As a result, we have released images of a suspect. Police are still actively looking for the male and we appeal to the public for anybody that may have seen this Honda Jazz.

South Australia police confirm a four month old baby in the back of a car that was stolen has been found alive and well
South Australia police confirm a four-month-old baby in the back of a car that was stolen has been found alive and well. Photograph: ABC


SA police still ‘actively looking’ for suspect after locating stolen car with four-month-old child inside

Police in South Australia are providing an update on the stolen vehicle, which has been located with the four-month-old baby.

Through a large number of resources into that area ... sometime later at 10.09 this morning, police located the vehicle at Wilkinson Avenue at Enfield and thankfully seated in the rear was the child.

Ambulance and police attended the scene, and the baby will be returned “safe and well” to its mother, police say. Police are still “actively looking” for the male suspect.

At this stage, the baby hasn’t gone to hospital but will be checked by a doctor, police say.


Peter Dutton elected new leader of the Liberal party

Peter Dutton has been elected unopposed as the next leader of the Liberal party, with former environment minister Sussan Ley to be his deputy.

The Nationals meeting continues.

#breaking Peter Dutton elected unopposed as Liberal leader. Sussan Ley confirmed as deputy #auspol

— Finn McHugh (@FinnianMchugh) May 30, 2022

Bert Van Manen made the announcement, thanking the former PM for his leadership.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Scott Morrison, the outgoing leader, for his service and his leadership of our party over the past 3.5 years and Josh Frydenberg as the outgoing deputy, sadly Josh couldn’t be here given the result in Kooyong but he has provided tremendous service to the party as the deputy leader and treasurer over the past 3.5 years so thank you very much.


Four-month-old child in back of stolen car found by SA police

News outlets are reporting the four-month-old baby who was in the backseat of a car stolen this morning has been found.

South Australian police are about to confirm these reports in a press conference.

BREAKING: The car and baby have been found.
The infant is ok.
More to come.@7NewsAdelaide

— Hannah Foord (@HannahFoord7) May 30, 2022


Peter Dutton and Sussan Ley arrive at Liberal party room

Meanwhile, the soon-to-be-opposition leader, Peter Dutton, and deputy, Sussan Ley, enter the party room together.

Incoming leader Peter Dutton and deputy leader Sussan Ley arrive together #auspol

— Finn McHugh (@FinnianMchugh) May 30, 2022

Peter Dutton and Sussan Ley walk into the Liberal Party room, expected to secure the leadership in a mattter of moments. #auspol @SBSNews

— Naveen Razik (@naveenjrazik) May 30, 2022


Scott Morrison arrives at Parliament House, unsurprisingly not busting for a chat, then circling back for round two.

The former PM not answering questions on his first walk past the party room

— Trudy McIntosh (@TrudyMcIntosh) May 30, 2022

I think he missed the turn to the party room. He’s back, saying the party will determine its leader #auspol

— Finn McHugh (@FinnianMchugh) May 30, 2022


Queensland records one Covid death, 2,872 cases

Queensland Health has released today’s Covid update.

There have been 2,872 new Covid cases reported and one further death.

There are 365 people being treated in hospital with the virus including four people in ICU.

Today we have recorded 2,872 new COVID-19 cases.

Sadly, we have reported 1 death in the past 24 hours.

Full details➡️

— Queensland Health (@qldhealth) May 30, 2022

AGL share price drops after demerger proposal withdrawn

AGL’s shares are down more than 3% in early trade as investors absorb Mike Cannon-Brookes’s success in derailing the energy company’s plan to split.

The stock fell in early trading on Monday, losing 3.6% or 32 cents, to drop to $8.56. That fall compared with a gain of about 1% in the overall market so far.

AGL’s ditching of the plan to carve the $6bn company (by market value) into a retailing arm, with some 4.5m customers, and a generating arm, comes just four weeks after MCB (as he’s known) launched a raid that netted him an 11.28% stake in one of Australia’s oldest companies.

The Albanese government is yet to comment on AGL pulling the pin, as we noted here earlier. Chris Bowen, who is very likely to be the incoming energy and climate minister, won’t be sworn in until Wednesday and won’t get his full briefings under way until Thursday.

One person to keep an eye on is former AGL chief executive Andy Vesey, who developed a more aggressive decarbonisation plan for the company.

The Turnbull government, though, wasn’t too keen on the timing of the closure of the Liddell coal-fired power plant in the Hunter region of NSW, and spoke out publicly against the plan to shut it in 2022.

In the end, it was Vesey who was shut down, and the Liddell closure date pushed back until April 2023, handily just one month after the NSW state elections. At time of the feds v AGL fight in late 2017, then environment and energy minister (in that order) Josh Frydenberg was reported as intervening in person to get Vesey out.

There might be some irony (or even schadenfreude) if Vesey were to return in some role, with Frydenberg recently turfed out of his previously safe Liberal seat of Kooyong.


*To the tune of George Baker Selection’s Little Green Bag*

Members of the decimated moderate faction arrives for the Liberals party room meeting #auspol

— Finn McHugh (@FinnianMchugh) May 30, 2022


Nationals must revisit key issues such as gender equality, Michelle Landry says

As we wait for updates on the leadership spill, Nationals MP Michelle Landry earlier told reporters the party needed to look at the election results “very carefully” and revisit its position on “key areas of policy” including gender equality.

You can’t have people running off with different agendas, we all need to be on the same message, the same page.

Nationals MP Michelle Landry says the party needs to rethink some of its policy stances - with all members on the same page: "We've taken the Greens far too lightly." #auspol @SBSnews

— Naveen Razik (@naveenjrazik) May 29, 2022


⚠️Updated Severe Weather Warning for Lord Howe Island: Damaging Winds and Damaging Surf developing tomorrow. Warning details

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) May 30, 2022

Or for those playing along at home, refreshing Twitter feeds.

It’s good to know that no matter who is in government, no matter which party is changing the leader, the sport of corridor watching during a spill will always remain

— Andrew Brown (@AndrewBrownAU) May 30, 2022

⚠️ #Minor Flood Warning issued for the Lachlan River at #Booligal. See for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) May 30, 2022

Liberals edging ahead in Deakin as postal vote counting continues

Deakin is looking increasingly difficult for the Labor party to gain as postal votes come through in favour of Michael Sukkar. That means they’d need to win either Macnamara or Gilmore to form a majority government.

Big pickup for Sukkar in #Deakin on postals, now back to 887 ahead. Would need big counting corrections to get Labor back into it now.

— Kevin Bonham (@kevinbonham) May 30, 2022


“Time for change?” Nationals MP Michael McCormack is asked as he enters the party room.

The Nationals are trickling into the party room ahead of today’s #natspill #auspol @SBSNews

— Naveen Razik (@naveenjrazik) May 29, 2022

The Nationals are meeting to decide on a new leader. It’s a three horse race between Joyce, Littleproud & Chester. Asked if he has the numbers when he walked in, Darren Chester says he has “at least one”. @9NewsAUS

— Eliza Edwards (@ElizaEdNews) May 30, 2022


Mike Cannon-Brookes has weighed in on AGL’s dumping of its demerger plan.

Wow. A huge day for Australia 💚💛

Had to sit down & take it in. This live shot couldn’t be a better metaphor for a better, greener path ahead 🌱

We embrace the opportunities of decarbonisation with Aussie courage, tenacity & creativity.

Lots of work but we CAN do this 👊🏻

— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼‍💻🧢🇦🇺 (@mcannonbrookes) May 29, 2022

Read Peter Hannam’s story here:


Nationals preparing to vote for new party leader and deputy

In Canberra, the Nationals are about to hold a leadership spill with Barnaby Joyce facing off a challenge to retain the top position. We’ll bring you the latest as it comes.


Linda Burney on the Uluru statement, treaty and building consensus

Incoming Indigenous affairs minister Linda Burney has a long list of priorities when she is sworn in this week, but chief among them is to embark on the unfinished “nation-building project” of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

No pressure, then. Burney says the election adrenaline has worn off and now she feels as if she’s been “hit by a truck”. As the first Aboriginal woman to hold a federal ministry and to sit in the cabinet, she says: “I feel elated and daunted at the same time. I actually have a very long history in the Aboriginal affairs space. So I feel ready to take on the challenge.”

Read the story here:


Adelaide police searching for stolen car with four-month-old child inside

Police say a car holding a four-month-old child has been stolen in Adelaide.

The model car is being described as a 2009 white Honda Jazz, S619AXE. Police say it was stolen in Klemzig this morning after a man pulled up in a stolen Mazda utility.

Police described the man as in his mid-20s, Caucasian and with dark hair.

Police are searching for a stolen car with a four-month-old child inside.

The 2009 white Honda Jazz was allegedly stolen from Klemzig around 7.45am.

Anyone who spots the Honda Jazz is being urged to contact police immediately on 131 444. #9News


— 9News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) May 29, 2022

Police have released images of the man believed to have stolen a car with a four month old child in the rear from a Klemzig address around 7.45am this morning. Please call 131444 or 000 if you spot the stolen Honda Jazz - S619AXE

— South Australia Police (@SAPoliceNews) May 30, 2022


Covid deaths on the rise in Australia

Covid-19 deaths are again on the rise with Australia recording 88 fatalities over the weekend and 363 in the past seven days, AAP reports.

By contrast, daily toll reports during April only once exceeded 50 and were often less than 25.

Victoria recorded 16 deaths on Sunday, Western Australia seven, NSW four, Queensland two and Tasmania one.

Australia’s active virus caseload remains above 300,000 and there are more than 2,700 patients recovering in hospitals around the country.

Authorities have again extended emergency powers in Tasmania, where almost one-third of the state has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and there have been almost 60 deaths this year.

Meanwhile, one of Australia’s leading charities says the effect of the pandemic on children’s education is not over.

A Smith Family survey has found one in two parents and carers feel the pandemic is still making learning difficult for their children, while three-quarters worry about their future schoolwork and have struggled to help them during the pandemic. Two-thirds say the virus has made it hard to start school this year.


AGL chairman and chief executive to step down, board renewal under way

Further to the announcement the demerger proposal at AGL won’t be going ahead, the chairman, Peter Botten, and chief executive, Graeme Hunt, have confirmed they are stepping down from their positions.

A board renewal is under way, with Cannon-Brookes vying for two seats to push for a climate-friendly future.

Resignation. The chair and CEO of AGL are stepping down. #inplay #ausecon #auspol

— Peter Martin (@1petermartin) May 29, 2022

AGL's demerger is off. Board renewal is underway:
Chair Peter Botten will resign.
CEO Graeme Hunt will step down.
Jacqueline Hey has resigned as non-exec director, effective immed.
Diane Smith-Gander will resign after the co's FY results, in August.@mcannonbrookes

— Sabra Lane (@SabraLane) May 29, 2022

Late on Friday, Cannon-Brookes wrote to the outgoing chairman:

As your largest shareholder, we are most exposed to the decisions and actions made by the board and management relating to the future economic performance of AGL.

We continue to believe shareholders’ interests are best served by keeping AGL together. There is a bright future for a combined AGL to fund an accelerated transition to renewables, creating jobs and ensuring power prices remain as low as possible. We are therefore seeking two nominees for Grok Ventures on the board of AGL.

We intend to engage directly with you and your fellow AGL Directors in relation to board and management renewal. We want to ensure that AGL has the talent, capital, capability and oversight that is required to embrace the opportunity presented by decarbonisation.


More Australians eligible for fourth Covid vaccine from today

The eligibility for fourth Covid shot (ie the second booster) has been expanded from today.

From today, an extra 1.5 million Australians with underlying health conditions and people with a disability are eligible for a fourth #COVID19 dose. With winter fast approaching, it’s vital people step forward and receive this dose from their regular GP ASAP. #CovidIsNotOver

— Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) President (@RACGPPresident) May 29, 2022


Victoria records three Covid deaths and 8,288 new cases

Victoria’s Covid update has just been released. There have been 8,288 new cases detected and three further deaths.

There are 550 people being treated in hospital with the virus, including 37 people in ICU.

We thank everyone who got vaccinated and tested yesterday.

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

More data soon: #COVID19VicData

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) May 29, 2022


NSW records one Covid death and 5,855 new cases

NSW Health has released today’s Covid update.

There have been 5,855 new cases reported and one further death.

There are 1,181 people being treated in hospital with the virus, including 34 people in ICU.

COVID-19 update – Monday 30 May 2022

In the 24-hour reporting period to 4pm yesterday:

- 96.4% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- 94.9% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) May 29, 2022


AGL withdraws demerger proposal

AGL has released a statement confirming the demerger proposal “will not receive sufficient support” to meet the 75% approval threshold. It follows a campaign by billionaire and climate activist Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Cannon-Brookes shocked the company this month when he announced he had become the biggest single shareholder of the company. He vowed to block the demerger, saying it would delay the closure of AGL’s remaining coal-fired power plants and destroy value for shareholders.

Statement from AGL - formally confirming that it will withdraw its demerger proposal.
"AGL Energy believes the Demerger Proposal will not receive sufficient support to meet the 75% approval threshold for a scheme of arrangement."

— Michael Mazengarb (@MichaelM_ACT) May 29, 2022


If you missed it this morning, congratulations are flowing in for Australian cyclist Jai Hindley, who has made history by winning the Giro d’Italia.

Perth cyclist Jai Hindley has made history, winning the Giro d’Italia.

— The West Australian (@westaustralian) May 29, 2022

Foreign minister Penny Wong also continues her Pacific tour today.

China’s Foreign Minister leaves the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva for his first meeting of the day, with Fiji’s President. Big day coming up: Wang Yi will also met Fiji’s PM Frank Bainimarama before holding a virtual meeting with Pacific Foreign Ministers at around 2pm 1/

— Stephen Dziedzic (@stephendziedzic) May 29, 2022

Teenager on murder charge over alleged NSW stabbing

In NSW, a teenage boy has been charged with murder following the death of a youth and wounding of another person on the north coast yesterday.

Emergency services were called to a fast-food restaurant in Casino about 5.10pm yesterday, responding to reports of a brawl.

Officers attended along with NSW Ambulance and found youths suffering stab wounds.

A 17-year-old boy died at the scene, while an 18-year-old male was taken to Lismore Base hospital for treatment. He remains there in a stable condition.

Following inquiries, a teenage boy, also 17, was arrested at Casino, charged with murder, reckless wounding and affray.


This is a striking chart and a firm rebuke of any comparisons of Covid to more mild respiratory illnesses.

There have been 6,197 COVID-19 deaths so far this year. How does this compare with other illnesses?

The chart below shows weekly COVID deaths, compared to other illnesses (2015-2021 avg).

Cancer is the biggest killer in 🇦🇺. COVID (in 2022) has been 2nd, heart diseases 3rd.

— CovidBaseAU 🦠📊🇦🇺 (@covidbaseau) May 29, 2022

Liberal MP Stuart Robert has confirmed on the Today show this morning that Peter Dutton will be the party’s new leader, with Sussan Ley to be sworn in as deputy uncontested.

Asked why he didn’t seem “over the moon”, Robert replied:

I’m definitely [happy] with that ... super happy about the party room and the leadership team we’re bringing in.

As for the Nationals, Robert said “we’ll wait and see” what they do.

They had a great campaign. Held their seats to their credit. David Littleproud is a great colleague of mine from Queensland. I wish them all the best as it goes ahead.

“You think David Littleproud will be the leader?” he was pushed.

I think it’ll be close.

David Littleproud (left) and Barnaby Joyce are fighting for the leadership of the Nationals party.
David Littleproud (left) and Barnaby Joyce are fighting for the leadership of the Nationals party. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Anthony Albanese has wasted no time attending the theatre as prime minister.

HE CAME TO THE THEATRE TONIGHT A week into his leadership ! #ALBO thank you x

— Sacha Horler (@sacha_horler) May 29, 2022

He’s also been taking the C1 plated car for a spin through Sydney’s inner west.

Spotted the prime minister's C1 plated car driving through Marrickville this morning. It's a brave new world.

— Michael Mazengarb (@MichaelM_ACT) May 29, 2022

AGL Energy’s board will meet on Monday morning and is expected to ditch the plan to split its operations, surrendering to a campaign by the billionaire climate activist Mike Cannon-Brookes to foil the move.

Neither AGL, Australia’s biggest electricity generator, nor Cannon-Brookes would comment on the meeting but bankers and consultants briefed some media outlets at the weekend that the demerger would be scrapped.

One insider told Guardian Australia that the board itself and management roles were “up in the air”, and it appeared Cannon-Brookes had succeeded, at least for now.

Read the story here:

New South Wales to roll out free flu vaccinations

The New South Wales government will follow Queensland and fund a free flu vaccination to all residents in a “month-long blitz” to combat an expected severe influenza season.

The flu vaccinations will be funded at GPs and pharmacies from 1 June to 30 June. Previously they were only subsidised for high risk groups.

Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said there had already been a sharp increase in flu cases, with 1,140 cases of respiratory illnesses notified in the past week.

That compares with 766 in the previous week and 150 presentations and admissions to hospitals.

We strongly urge everyone over six months of age to get a flu shot as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones, as the virus is easily spread and potentially deadly.

This is particularly important for those in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and children aged six months to five years. If you live in an aged or disability care facility, are aged over 65 or are immunocompromised, now is the time to book in.

We also recommend a Covid-19 winter booster if you are eligible, as both flu and Covid-19 vaccines can be given at the same time.

Pharmacies will be able to administer flu vaccines to children five and up, reduced from 10 to allow families to get vaccinated together.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant.
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP


Barnaby Joyce speaks ahead of Nationals’ leadership vote

Speaking of Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals leader was up on Sunrise this morning alongside Labor MP Tanya Plibersek.

Joyce said he remained “sanguine” about today’s leadership spill.

I’ll let the party room make up its own mind … we won every seat we had before the election, we have three retiring members and still won seats … the Liberals lost 19 seats, in the last two elections that I’ve been the leader … we must really be something right but the job is not over, we’ve got to make sure we lock the process in and make sure we have the proper guide rails on policy, we have the proper ministries, the proper resources so we have the capacity continue on.

Asked whether Joyce had the numbers to retain the leadership role, he replied:

That’s hubris, you don’t run around telling people you’ve got the numbers, you leave that to the room.

Barnaby Joyce is fighting to keep his hold on the Nationals’ leadership.
Barnaby Joyce is fighting to keep his hold on the Nationals’ leadership. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Zimmerman said candidate for Warringah Katherine Deves was a distraction the party “didn’t need and shouldn’t have had”.

I was blindsided by it, it was a flaw in that whole process ... to this day I don’t understand it because leaving aside the complex issue of trans women in sport, having a candidate with such inflammatory views in an electorate that had a history of supporting equality in our community made zero sense to me.

Part of the challenges for candidates like me is if I was talking to national media top of the list was talking about Katherine Deves not what I was offering my community of North Sydney.

Asked if he knew Morrison’s intentions in handpicking Deves, Zimmerman replied:

At worst it was some very clumsy attempt to create a distraction that obviously failed and did us enormous harm.


Zimmerman said while former prime minister Scott Morrison was undoubtedly unpopular, the real lesson of the election was a “policy one, not a personality one”, with climate change at the top of the list.

There was an underlying concern we hadn’t pursued an integrity commission, and underlying concern we got it in relation to the needs and aspirations of women in our community ... which was detrimental to my prospects and the government’s prospects overall.

Blaming an individual may mean we don’t learn the lessons that need to be learned.

Zimmerman said Peter Dutton would have a “hard path ahead of him” to win the confidence of electorates back.

He comes at the conservative end, I’ve disagreed with him in decisions he’s made in relations to refugees and home affairs but I also know Peter has a pragmatic streak ... he knows we have to regain the trust of voters in electorates like mine if we ever have a path to victory ... I think it’s important he’s a constructive opposition leader.


Trent Zimmerman urges Liberals to accept Labor's mandate on 43% emissions reduction target

Former Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman is up on Radio National.

He said it was a “clever ploy” by teal independents to link Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce with more “moderate” Liberals.

There’s a whole package of reasons as to why we lost inner-city seats like mine and clearly climate change was one of the key issues the fact the national party leadership and individual members were seen to not be genuinely enthusiastic about our net zero commitment … undoubtedly had an impact … particularly during the campaign I thought Matt Canavan’s intervention was one of the killer moments for us.

There was an underlying suspicion people like Canavan and Barnaby Joyce would somehow prevail if we were re-elected.

Zimmerman said it would be a “small comfort” for the Nationals to have retained all their seats when the Liberal party saw such heavy blows, placing the Coalition in opposition.

He said it would be the “democratic” thing for the incoming Liberal leader to accept Labor’s current climate targets as bipartisan.

Having a sensible approach to climate change has to be at the top of the list. There is now bipartisanship on the end goal but the easy step the opposition could take is the government has a mandate for its 43% target.

Trent Zimmerman.
Trent Zimmerman. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Trent Zimmerman to colleagues: if you want to win back seats like mine, and others we lost or nearly lost, accept Labor’s mandate on the 43% emissions reduction target @RNBreakfast #auspol

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) May 29, 2022


Twelve leading economists have penned a letter to treasurer Jim Chalmers recommending a number of measures to be implemented for the upcoming Reserve Bank of Australia review.

They say the review should be wide-ranging, independent, headed by a foreign expert and consider the interaction between fiscal and monetary policy:

I, along with 11 other economists, sent this letter to the Treasurer, @JEChalmers yesterday calling for the upcoming review of the @RBAInfo to be wide-ranging, fully independent of the bank and government, and headed by a foreign expert. There are many foreign precedents.

— Steven Hamilton (@SHamiltonian) May 29, 2022

Chalmers swiftly responded on Twitter:

As I work through the best model and terms of reference, weigh up all these issues and discuss with the PM and our colleagues, the RBA, Treasury and others, I’m grateful for the advice and input. I’m keen to get the ball rolling relatively soon if we can. Thanks. #auspol #ausecon

— Jim Chalmers MP (@JEChalmers) May 29, 2022

Incoming Greens MP Stephen Bates appeared on Sunrise earlier this morning, “raring to go” after winning the seat of Brisbane.

He said he “always had a feeling” the three seats won by the Greens in Queensland were obtainable.

We were campaigning for a solid year, we knocked on thousands of doors, spoke to thousands of people … getting as many people’s opinions as we could and you could sense … people were angry, they felt like the government wasn’t doing anything .. they liked that we came to the door and asked them what they thought.

Bates said climate change was “far and away” the biggest issue people brought up with him “completely unprompted” during the campaign, and said he was looking forward to pushing for greater action.

People saw other countries around the world doing so much more than we were doing and people were sick of getting left behind.

The Greens’ MP for the seat of Brisbane, Stephen Bates.
The Greens’ MP for the seat of Brisbane, Stephen Bates. Photograph: Dan Peled/Getty Images


Good morning

Caitlin Cassidy here to guide you through this morning’s news, starting with the mop-up of the federal election. The last three seats still in doubt could be decided today, with big surges of remaining votes to be counted.

The seats of Gilmore, Deakin and Macnamara remain hanging in balance. Liberal candidate Andrew Constance is a whisker ahead in Gilmore but Labor could well close the gap, while Deakin is also a tight two-way contest between Labor and the Coalition.

Over the weekend, the Greens took the seat of Brisbane and still have their eyes on Macnamara. If Labor come in first or second they will win the seat. As it stands, the Liberal party has taken the lead, while the Greens are catching up on Labor. Labor needs to win one of the three seats to secure a majority government.

Meanwhile, former defence minister Peter Dutton will be elected unopposed as opposition leader today, as the Liberal and National parties meet to form the parties leadership roles.

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce is fighting to retain his position, with a new poll showing three in five voters view the New England MP as an electoral weakness. Deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud and Victorian MP Darren Chester are expected to throw their hats in the ring for the top job.

The prime minister Anthony Albanese will finalise his cabinet on Wednesday, including the highly speculated role of Speaker.

There’s much to get to, so let’s dive in.



Nino Bucci and Caitlin Cassidy (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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Pacific nations ‘very positive’ on re-engagement, PM says – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Royce Kurmelovs and Stephanie Convery (earlier)

29, May, 2022 @7:10 AM

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TGA extends shelf life of Covid anti-viral stock – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Cait Kelly and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

02, Aug, 2022 @9:16 AM

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Penny Wong warns against ‘miscalculation’ as China-Taiwan tensions escalate – as it happened
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Cait Kelly and Amy Remeikis

04, Aug, 2022 @9:14 AM

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Labor says Dutton ‘desperate’ to distract from defence failures – as it happened
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Josh Taylor (now) and Cait Kelly and Caitlin Cassidy (earlier)

10, Jun, 2022 @8:19 AM

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Labor denies bullying reports after death of Kimberly Kitching; NZ to drop vaccine mandate – as it happened
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Josh Taylor and Caitlin Cassidy

23, Mar, 2022 @7:32 AM

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Albanese rallies against ‘fear and division’ at Labor campaign launch – as it happened
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Tory Shepherd and Royce Kurmelovs

01, May, 2022 @7:57 AM

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Australia news live: Victoria to hold royal commission into Melbourne's Crown casino
Crown Resorts director Harold Mitchell resigns; PM refuses to commit to release report into handling of rape allegation; and phase 1a of vaccine program starts. This blog is now closed

Elias Visontay now, and Amy Remeikis earlier

22, Feb, 2021 @7:53 AM

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New South Wales records 10 new cases; Joyce sworn in as deputy PM – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

22, Jun, 2021 @8:25 AM

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Morrison pledges $20m for tourism; Shorten tests positive as 44 Covid deaths recorded – as it happened
Scott Morrison announces tourism package in Perth and Anthony Albanese pledges funding for manufacturing jobs in Tasmania

Josh Taylor and Cait Kelly (earlier)

07, May, 2022 @7:06 AM