What we learned: Wednesday 30 November

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

  • Former prime minister Scott Morrison was censured in parliament today, for taking on five additional ministries in secret.

  • Morrison defended his actions, saying he was “proud” of his record in response to the censure motion, and that it was “strange” to describe his actions as a “power grab”.

  • Manager of opposition business, Paul Fletcher laid out why the Coalition was not supporting the censure, calling it “political payback”.

  • But Liberal MP for Bass, Bridget Archer, supported the motion, saying it was a “reflection on the specific actions taken”.

  • The national anti-corruption commission bill passed today, with the commission set to be established next year.

  • Former Coalition minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt said it was “laziness” to use the excuse of a lack of detail to oppose the Indigenous voice to Parliament.

  • The New South Wales Nationals leader, Paul Toole refused to back his federal colleagues in their opposition to the voice to parliament.

  • October’s inflation rate came in at 6.9% today, a fall from September quarter’s 7.3%.

  • Graphic warnings like “smoking kills” and unattractive colours may soon be printed on individual cigarettes, under new reforms by the Albanese government to drive down smoking.


It’s been a wild day in Canberra, but if you are looking to watch former PM Scott Morrison responding to the censure motion against him, you can take a look at the link below:


So earlier today, the official portrait of former prime minister Tony Abbott was revealed, painted by Johannes Leak.

The painting features a classic Abbott pose, jacket-less with sleeves rolled up, and the former PM said he’d always wanted “some form of political immortality”:

If you’ll forgive me, I have this vague hope of achieving some sort of political immortality.

All prime ministers form the most exclusive club that weather the storms of the past and the storms to come.

Christopher Pyne says public not interested in Morrison’s secret ministries

Former Liberal MP Christopher Pyne is back in the news, telling ABC News it’s “time to move on” from Scott Morrison’s secret ministries after he was censured earlier today.

Pyne dismissed the outrage at Morrison secretly having himself appointed to five ministries, including Health, Finance, Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Treasury and Home Affairs.

Pyne said it was time to focus on “things that are more important to people”:

The Australian public see it as a very inside-the-beltway story and a Canberra bubble story.

It’s time to focus on things that are more important to people like inflation and things.


Afternoon update

And if you are looking for a quick and easy summary of the days many important news pieces, look no further than our trusty Afternoon Update.

Today, it looks at Scott Morrisons censure, the passing of the anti-corruption bill and a breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug:


South Australian One Nation MLC introduces bill to punish those who cause death of a foetus

A bill to punish offenders who cause the death of foetuses has been introduced into South Australian parliament by One Nation MLC, Sarah Game.

Game – who says her bill will not affect abortion laws – says it replicates New South Wales’ Zoe’s Law but goes further and covers foetuses “of any gestation period or weight”.

An embryo becomes a foetus at eight weeks.

Zoe’s Law is named after the daughter of Brodie Donegan, who lost her unborn daughter after a drug-affected driver crashed into her. Charges would be laid after 20 weeks pregnancy or if the foetus is 400 grams or more. The NSW bill has been criticised as threatening women’s abortion rights.

Game said her bill “acknowledges the grief and death that has resulted from a criminal act”.

“A death not through choice or illness or disease, but through malice, recklessness or the negligence of others,” she said.


Victorian teal candidate congratulates Liberal on claiming seat

Victorian “teal” independent candidate Melissa Lowe has congratulated Liberal leadership hopeful, John Pesutto, who is on track to win the inner-city seat of Hawthorn.

Postal votes have favoured Pesutto and pushed him further ahead of Lowe today.

On Twitter, Lowe said Pesutto had worked “incredibly” hard on his campaign:

Congratulations to @JohnPesutto on his success in Hawthorn!

He and Betty worked exceptionally hard on his campaign, and the result is a credit to their efforts and the efforts of their team.

Wishing you well, John!

— Melissa Lowe (@mel4hawthorn) November 30, 2022

Pesutto is one of three Liberals vying for the leadership. They also include Berwick MP, Brad Battin, and Polwarth MP, Richard Riordan.

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


Seaplane accident in Queensland

A seaplane has crashed off a tourist hotspot in the Whitsundays, wth all six passengers surviving.

No injuries were reported, although the six were forced to swim to shore after being able to pull themselves out of the sinking plane, at around 1pm this afternoon.

One the survivors posted that she was ok on Facebook:

Our holiday that we won’t forget! Survived a plane crash. We are all ok. Photo to come later.

Investigations are underway into what caused the incident, with Hamilton Airport open after being closed for a short period this afternoon.


Reports toddler killed in fire in Tasmania

AAP is reporting that a toddler has died and another young child has been seriously injured in a shed fire in northern Tasmania.

Emergency services were called to the blaze in the Launceston suburb of Mowbray around 1.30pm on Wednesday.

“The shed was fully alight when police and Tasmania Fire Service crews arrived minutes later,” Tasmania Police said.

A toddler was found deceased and another young child was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

An adult was also taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Authorities will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the fire and a report will be prepared for the coroner.


Good afternoon, and as always a quick thanks to the irreplaceable Amy Remeikis for a stellar job once again. Mostafa Rachwani with you this afternoon and into the evening, with much to still get through.

Change to Senate sitting hours

The Hours motion passed earlier in the week means the Senate will sit until 11pm tonight and then all night tomorrow to get through IR (this evening) and then territory rights and the left over IR (and some less sexy legislation, which still needs to be passed).

Which means the Senate probably won’t need its Friday sitting. But the house needs to be ready to get up on Friday to deal with any amendments the senate has sent through.

So a bit of a long night ahead for the Senate. That’s their fault though, for choosing to be senators.

Mostafa Rachwani will take you through the evening and I will be back early tomorrow morning for the last full day shenanigans. Until then, please – take care of you.


So Simon Birmingham and the crossbench have had a win – the February estimates week is back on the agenda.

But the government has used what had been a proposed Senate sitting week to do it.


Coalition welcomes ‘backflip and capitulation’ on Senate calendar

The manager of government business in the Senate, Katy Gallagher, has revealed the government has added an extra week of Senate estimates to next year’s sitting calendar, after Coalition accusations that it was trying to reduce time for scrutiny.

Gallagher told the Senate a short time ago the government had worked “with senators to tweak the program that was circulated constructively”:

The original program did not have estimates in February as there had not been a Myefo since the budget … However we have responded to the feedback from the Senate that they would like estimates in February.

Gallagher said one of the amendments was to turn the Senate sitting scheduled for the week of 13 February into a week of Senate estimates.

The leader of the opposition in the Senate, Simon Birmingham, who had led the criticism of the original change, welcomed the “backflip and capitulation by the government”. Birmingham said the government should never have attempted to axe it in the first place:

Imagine the Labor/Greens outrage if a Coalition government had sought to axe one week of the traditional four weeks of Senate estimates. Imagine the even greater outrage if this was done … without any consultation having occurred across the chamber. The outrage would have been off the Richter scale from Labor and the Greens.

Simon Birmingham
Leader of the opposition in the Senate, Simon Birmingham. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Fletcher stands by Coalition’s censure motion decision

Paul Fletcher is continuing to defend the Coalition’s decision to not support the Scott Morrison censure motion (as you would expect)

On the ABC’s Afternoon Briefing he said in answer to this question:

Q: There were a few arguments employed, particularly by the member for Cook himself. One is that journalists, the media, should have asked. And if we had we might have got an honest answer. That’s a bit disingenuous, isn’t it?


Only Scott can talk about what he would have done in particular circumstances. This was a very specific political exercise designed to damage the reputation of Scott Morrison as an individual and his term as prime minister.

The fact is Scott led the Morrison government through one of the most difficult times our nation has ever faced. It’s a matter of factual record the economic outcomes, the health outcomes were amongst the best in the world.

We’ve seen this government focusing on a particular issue from the moment the revelations emerged, the overwhelming motivation of the Albanese government was to maximise this for political advantage.

They had not just the solicitor general’s opinion, but they had it from former Justice Bell which didn’t save anything additional to what HIH already been said, including it was not unconstitutional, despite claims repeatedly by Mr Albanese and his ministers that it was not illegal. These are the facts on the face of the report.


Senior Liberal senator demands full four weeks of Senate estimates

Simon Birmingham wants the February estimates sitting week and he won’t stop until he gets it. From his statement:

The Coalition and Senate crossbench will not tolerate the Albanese government’s attempt to push through a parliamentary sitting calendar for 2023 without the usual four weeks of Senate estimates.

The opposition, along with the cross bench, have written to the leader of the government in the Senate, Senator Wong, stating that the Albanese government must reinsert a fourth Senate estimates week into the sitting schedule.

As the longest serving clerk of the Senate, the late Harry Evans, said in 2006:

The value of estimates hearings in improving accountability and probity of government has long been widely recognised. The hearings allow apparent problems in government operations to be explored and exposed, and give rise to a large amount of information which would not otherwise be disclosed. They have come to be recognised as a major parliamentary institution of accountability.

The axing of a whole week of Senate estimates is a case of the Albanese government taking an axe to accountability and transparency.

This extraordinary change, along with the unprecedented addition of Friday sitting days without committing to the transparency of having a Question Time, has been proposed with no consultation with the opposition and no regard for Senate conventions.

It is also extraordinary that the Greens have failed to join the Coalition and cross benchers in demanding the extra Senate estimates week. Whatever happened to the Greens commitment to transparency and accountability, or what deal have they done to trade away Senate estimates?

I thank Senators Babet, Hanson, Lambie, Pocock, Roberts and Tyrrell for ensuring the convention of this critical parliamentary institution of accountability is rightly upheld.


Andrew Gee will cross floor on Indigenous voice to parliament

Nationals MP Andrew Gee has further backed in his decision to go against his party’s decision to oppose the Voice to Parliament, saying he will “cross the floor on this if I have to” in order to support Indigenous constitutional recognition.

There’s a live debate inside the Nationals with a variety of views on the voice, with Gee saying he’ll back it, Sam Birrell reserving his position, and Michael McCormack saying the party could revisit its stance next year.

Gee told ABC Central West radio this morning that there was still an “onus and a responsibility on the government to provide as much detail as possible” about their proposal, but that he would support it.

This is a view that I’ve had for quite a long time — I’ve made it public, I haven’t hidden it from anyone”

…the ABC reported him as saying.

Gee called for a “respectful conversation” about the voice, admitting there were some “very entrenched views” about it in his party.

We have come a long way, and that’s something to be proud of, but reconciliation is not complete”


Dr Helen Haines has released a statement on the passage of the national anti-corruption commission:

The legislation is based largely on my model and I am proud to have played a significant role in its development through the government’s consultation process and as Deputy Chair of the committee which scrutinised the Bills.

I am disappointed that my amendments which would have removed the exceptional circumstances clause for public hearings, and further strengthened the independence and powers of the NACC, were not agreed to by the major parties. But overall, this is good legislation and I wish the future NACC every success.”


From Mike Bowers’ lens to your eyeballs:

Anthony Albanese holding a folder
The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, holding the report on the Indigenous voice to parliament. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Linda Burney during question time
The minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney during question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Peter Dutton talking to Vicki Treadell and Anne Marie Trevelyan
Opposition leader Peter Dutton talks to The British High Commissioner to Australia, Vicki Treadell (centre) and The British Minister of State for the Indo Pacific, Anne Marie Trevelyan (right) during question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Cross bench members celebrate with Senator David Pocock
Cross bench members celebrate with Senator David Pocock after the Nacc legislation passed through the house of representatives this morning. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Tanya Plibersek hugs Mark Dreyfus
Attorney general Mark Dreyfus is congratulated by his colleagues after the Nacc legislation passed Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Bob Katter has put out a statement on the Indigenous voice to parliament, where he seems to be in support of it, but also wants to add another senator as part of any referendum.

I think.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter has called on the prime Minister to include an alternative question in the Indigenous voice to Parliament referendum.

Mr Katter said he agreed that First Australians deserved to have their voice and their needs heard and recognised by the parliament, but stressed the importance of that voice being a true representation of Indigenous people.

He proposed members of community areas geographically delineated be given the right to elect one senator to represent First Australians of those communities in parliament, as opposed to a government-appointed “silver tongue from Sydney University.”

“Canberra has been granted two senators with a few hundred thousand people, and it’s a similar situation for the Northern Territory as well,” Mr Katter said.

“So I can’t see how you could argue that these people in community areas, who desperately need special representation, shouldn’t be given at least one senator in the Australian Senate.”

Bob Katter
The independent member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, in the house of representatives on Wednesday. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


The federal parliament has moved on to the matter of public importance – it is led by Goldstein independent MP Zoe Daniel and is on the importance to act on eating disorders.

Victorian Liberal leadership race update

State Liberal leadership hopeful, John Pesutto, is one step closer to the job with it looking likely he will win the seat of Hawthorn.

The latest batch of absentee pre-poll votes counted by the Victorian electoral commission have pushed Pesutto 1,000 votes ahead of teal independent candidate Melissa Lowe.

Postal votes have also been favouring the former shadow attorney general, meaning it is unlikely Lowe will gain enough ground to get ahead.

Pesutto is one of three Liberals vying for the leadership.

They also include Berwick MP, Brad Battin, and Polwarth MP, Richard Riordan.
Earlier today, Warrandyte MP, Ryan Smith, withdrew his candidacy and threw his support behind Battin, who he described as sharing a similar vision for the future direction of the party.


And then there is a dixer to Tony Burke and Anthony Albanese calls time on question time.

One. More. To. Go.

Allegra Spender gets the next crossbench question:

Senator Pocock said that you made a commitment to him to review modern awards. Can you please confirm you have made this commitment and provide further information to the chamber, particularly regarding to the form of the review, its timing and whether it will be conducted independently of government.

Tony Burke:

Thank you and I want to thank the member for Wentworth for the question and acknowledge both the member for Wentworth and a number of members of the crossbench in this house raised issues yet that ended up being a part of the negotiation taken place in the Senate. The review of the awards is one of the issues that had been raised by crossbenchers within this house as well.

The review is something something that has not been taken yet but it is to my understanding the review will be undertaken next year put the reason for the review and one of the reasons why I readily agreed to it is as part of the secure jobs better pay bill, we are not only updating the objects of the act, we are updating the objects of the modern awards. That means the award system will now have objects that it did not have when it was developed.

For example, the principles of gender equality, particularly under the amendments made here, they will now be requirements of the act but when requirements whether what was. And secure jobs as an objective once legislation is passed, and objective of the award but wasn’t when it was designed.

I am not proposing that the review would be committed to these issues. Certainly there will be decision of government as to the full breadth. But when you change the objects of the award system, I think it is very important that you then have some sort of review to work out what that actually means for the awards themselves.


Angus Taylor has a question for Stephen Jones:

I refer the minister to reports today in the Financial Review, that former ACCC Chair Rod Sims said multi-employer bargaining raises issues for competition and consumers. Can the minister guarantee the that consumers won’t pay higher prices as a result of the government’s extreme industrial relations changes?

(Jones was the subject of quite a scathing attack from the Fin review, which Stuart Robert was a fan of, so I don’t think the reference to the paper is an accident)


I thanked the member for hume for his question. What I will guarantee and what every member of the Albanese Labor government can guarantee, as we stand for higher wages. That we stand for workers having a fair go and being able to negotiate on an equal basis with employers and to be able to get wages moving again. This is in stark contrast to the policies of those on the other side of the House because for nine years.

For nine long years on the watch we saw wages stagnate, and for those who are struggling with cost of living increases, there are two ways to deal with this and we want make sure we can get wages moving again. And we had heard time and time again from employers in the childcare sector, aged care sector, and other caring sectors across the economy, that they cannot attract workers. In one of the reasons they cannot attract workers is because the wages are not able to compete with other comparable jobs across the economy. So what we on the side of the House and can her, as our policies...

There is a back and forth about points of order, which end as you would expect – with Jones returning to the question.

Thank you, Mr Speaker, I tell you one lot of price increases they don’t want us to talk about, that’s the 40% increase in childcare costs occurring on their watch.

That is one set of price increases they don’t want to talk about we have implemented measures that will address the 40% increase in childcare costs that they were very happy to see occur on their watch.

One of the first priorities that we addressed when coming into government was to make sure households could make a choice of whether they wanted to go back to work three days, four days five days a week because we are addressing the price increases in childcare by ensuring the majority of Australian households cannot pay for childcare.

I can understand the leader of the house got a bit jumpy when I was talking about negotiations, but we are concerned to make sure low-paid workers are able to access a bargaining stream which enables them to negotiate fairly. Which enables them to negotiate fairly.

It understands the leader of opposition is very jumpy when we talk about negotiations, because the last negotiation he was involved and didn’t go so well.

He was able to provide $27m worth of taxpayer money for a block of land only worth $3m in 2010, so whenever we talk negotiation they get very jumpy over there because the last negotiation he was involved in [didn’t end well].


Karen Andrews has a question for Andrew Giles

It is a privilege, not a right, to be welcomed as a guest to our country. In government, the Coalition cancelled more than 10,000 visas of dangerous non-citizens who posed a threat to the Australian community. Minister, how many visas have you cancelled under the provisions of the Migration Act?

Giles is cranky:

Thank you and I thank the shadow minister for home affairs for her question as she will be well aware of the side of the house, we supported the 2014 changes to be tessellation regime. [Jason Wood interjects]

As the member for Latrobe should remember because he was in this place, we supported in 2014 the changes introduced by the former government to be carried a cancellation regime. We believe it is important that we cancel visas where appropriate. We deny visas and counsel visas as appropriate.

We also think this is an area where a commonsense approach is required. Because we have seen unintended consequences of the regime that was put in place by the former government. We have been working through those in particular to the critical importance of our relationship with our good friends in New Zealand. These are issues that should be, should be, of significance to the leader of the opposition. Who put a wrecking ball through the emigration portfolio when he was minister. He built an edifice around himself instead of focusing on the national interest. Particularly on questions like this should be beyond this cheap partisan politics. Cheap partisan politics.

After all this time, after all this time...

[There are points of order and then Giles continues]

I am sure, like all ministers for immigration, we also have responsibilities in this area as the shadow minister will no, make these decisions on the basis of the law and materials before me.

What is so disappointing here is that everyone in this parliament everyone in this parliament recognises the policy grounds we have that go to visit France.

And indeed to the cancellation of visas to non-citizens who should not be in the community who present a range of risks.

These are not issues that should be shamelessly politicised. Indeed, many issues, Mr Speaker, that go to the migration system go to the shameless politicisation of this regime by members opposite. Over nine years of neglect.

I expect a bit more from the shadow minister of home affairs. A bit more because one thing that unites or should unite every member of this place is a concern for the safety of the Australian community.

The safety of the Australian community. The fact that members opposite seem entirely unconcerned about this is frankly disappointing.

From the last election, they have learned absolutely nothing. Perhaps they could consider how we could work together in the national interest on these questions instead of engaging in this shameless, shameless scaremongering.


The defence minister Richard Marles takes a dixer where he talks about this story from Daniel Hurst

Having said that, Murph reported a fairly significant leak from cabinet deliberations on Monday. If you missed it, it will give you a hint of where the government is going.


Sussan Ley then gets up (and has to repeat herself quite a few times because of the arguments going on across the chamber)

Today the minister for industry was asked what would happen if states rejected Labor’s half-baked plan on power prices for that the minister could only say, “Let’s wait and see.” The minister can only say I could love Queensland because when pushed the actual details, the minister said, “I was hoping you would not ask for details for the banquet given the government has no idea of the details, I won’t be prime minister say sorry for giving false hope to Australians about lowering power prices?

(We covered this interview of this morning on the blog – Husic was joking. As we said, he has a Bachelor’s degree in Smart Arsery and never misses an opportunity to deploy it)

Anthony Albanese:

I thank the member for her question which is based upon a range of false premises. I make the following comments.

One is I did hear the interview conducted by the minister for industry and I thought he did very well. Congratulations.

I thought also, and I want to make further comments, that is the first point I will make.

Second point I will make is I love Queensland as well.

And the third point is that the minister is quite right, there is this thing called cabinet and when you are asked what cabinet discussions were, it is appropriate to say something like, “I hope you wouldn’t ask that question.”

Because you don’t reveal cabinet discussions.

I know that would seem bizarre to those opposite.

Who apparently it is OK to talk about who held what ministry when the people are writing a book but not OK to be accountable in terms of cabinet government. I encourage all of my cabinet colleagues, when asked to reveal cabinet discussions, to say exactly that. Say I am not telling you or I hope I was not being asked that question because we don’t talk about cabinet processes.

The cabinet is dealing with these issues. The minister for industry is diligently consulting with the manufacturing sector in particular.

And he is doing a terrific job in that process. We will continue to work through these issues. We have said we will make some announcements before Christmas. That is the timeframe we have said. We stand by it and I thank the minister for industry on the work he is doing as part of that process and I congratulate him on a terrific interview. I hope that people do continue to listen to Patricia Karvelas from 7.30am to 9am because the interview with the minister for industry was equal to at least with respect by the rather extraordinary the contribution of contribution of Ken Wyatt.


Anthony Albanese then uses a dixer to talk about the voice:

This morning I heard an extraordinary interview by another great Indigenous Australian, one who has been honoured in this House by being the first Indigenous Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Ken Wyatt, a former member of this house.

And in that interview, Ken Wyatt addressed very directly, the suggestion that somehow, there was no detail when it came to the voice to Parliament, on the link between a voice to parliament and practical reconciliation on closing the gap, something Ken Wyatt was very passionate about. In it, he said a range of things.

Mr Wyatt spoke about there being four pages, he said this, “A people read them they would understand the detail, pages for being - 19 which spells out for based approach, the scope and it does work in practice, what other steps we need to get there the relationship with government which doesn’t impinge on the sovereignty of the Australian parliament.”

He was talking about this, the indigenous voice co-design process, the final or to the Australian government for July 2021.

He went on to say “I took this report to cabinet twice, not once, but twice. And that he returned to the pages that outlined the principle -based framework for local and regional voice, how does this work in practice, the national voice overview instruction and principles that are there, pages 15 - 19, and I tabled those pages of the government report that was developed by, because Tom Calma and Marcia Langton, they were of course commissioned by the former government, it reported to the former government, it is 280 pages of detail. 280 pages of detail. About how the voice will operate.

And what’s more, what’s more, is that it arose from the 2018 joint Select Committee on Constitutional recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait on the people’s final report, with a clear recommendation in that report, it was a bipartisan report. We have had this process for a long period of


This question time is getting quite nasty and delving into some quite murky places.

Julian Leeser has a question for Linda Burney.

Can the minister advise whether on her recent visit to Alice Springs did anyone raise with her an increase in child sexual abuse and violent crime?


Child sexual abuse is an abhorrent. Every single person in this chamber is of that view. No matter where you live, our children have a right to grow up safe and healthy. And let me assure this chamber, as a first Nations woman, with decades decades of experience in education and child protection, I know the best way to protect children is to work with communities. I was the minister for community services in the NSW parliament. I saw the worst of what could happen to children. When they were abused. I dealt with it on a daily basis. Years and years of experience. I am focused on concrete actions, that make a difference. Establishing a royal commission does not mean concrete actions on the ground directly with local communities. Yes, I did go to Alice Springs, and in Alice Springs, as I said previously, I met with families, Northern Territory, I met with women’s services, I met with children’s services and I met with youth services. And none of them raised with me a royal commission into aboriginal sexual assault.

Peter Dutton tries to interject with a point of order but his microphone has been turned off, with Milton Dick saying he did not raise what his point of order was on.

Paul Karp, in the chamber and hearing what the broadcast does not pick up –Dutton arguing “I did.”

Dick shuts him down for arguing against his ruling.

You will not question the Chair either.

Burney continues:

What was raised with me, by the many people I spoke with, who work in Alice Springs, who live in Alice Springs, and are dealing directly with this very serious issue, is the need for coordination across three tiers of government. Coordination with local government, with schools, with police, and not punishing people. That’s what was raised with me. That in Alice Springs, there is leadership, there is capacity, and I have faith people of Alice Springs, to know what their issues are and to be able to deal with them, with the support and the constructive involvement of all tiers of government.


Rowan Ramsey has a question for Amanda Rishworth:

I refer to the minister’s visit to Ceduna last Friday. Will the minister confirm she witnessed first-hand the direct result of a government policy to scrap the cashless debit card trial which saw street brawls and a number of intoxicated individuals arguing and fighting. It is a tragic but predictable outcome for Ceduna because the government scrapped the cashless debit card trial.


I would like to thank the minister, member for his question. I was pleased to visit Ceduna last Friday where I was able to engage with a range of different organisations and services to talk to them about what they needed going forward.

To make sure they were supported and properly provided services. One thing I would say is what was made very clear was that the council, when I met with the mayor and other services, they were very clear that they wanted a positive vision for Ceduna going forward.

They wanted to make sure I understood that there was a positive message in the town. So, yes, I was able to also speak with the police and the police made it very, very clear that they could not attribute antisocial behaviour that happens from time to time as a result of the reduction of, the abolition of the card.

In fact, I didn’t want to pick out a little bit of misinformation where there has been a number of comments made and reports, anecdotal comments because I understand, Mr Speaker, this is an emotional issue.

We have to deal with the facts when it comes to this issue. That includes on one side there was reports of antisocial behaviour two days after Royal assent of the increase of the number of people sleeping rough in particular towns. Now no income, no changes had actually happened. Two days after Royal assent. That was absolutely inconsistent with the evidence.

Ramsey has a point of order on relevance, Milton Dick rules Rishworth is in order.


…Talking about the support they need to address long-standing issues in the community. Long-standing issues that have existed for some time. I must say, if the member actually got out to Ceduna a bit more often, he might understand that on that day, there was a funeral in town. There was a funeral in town and there were a number of people that had come from outside the Ceduna area, in the five different communities surrounding.

There were significantly high tensions and significantly some grief and the town. It was a particularly sad day in Ceduna and the surrounding communities for this significant sorry business. I was also pleased to be in town to deliver a commitment of $17m for economic development in the town. This was money the former government announced and never delivered. I was welcomed in that town because we are delivering money to those communities.


PM has 'personally' raised release of Julian Assange with US government representatives

Anthony Albanese’s comments just now do not go substantially beyond what he has said in the past about Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange - but it was notable that the prime minister had confirmed he had “raised this personally with representatives of the United States government”.

He did not state explicitly whether that included with the US president, Joe Biden, personally, or with other representatives such as the US ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, with whom he met recently.

They were the most at-length public comments Albanese has made about Assange since he became prime minister - he has previously made similar comments when he was leader of the opposition, but shortly after the election indicated he would pursue the matter through quiet diplomacy.

Albanese also promised to “continue to advocate” for the US pursuit of Assange to be brought to a close, indicating that he does not consider the representations made to date to be the end of the matter.


Question time opened with the question from Peter Dutton:

The prime minister and the minister for Indigenous affairs recently met with me and I am very grateful for that to discuss the prisoners and traffic levels of sexual abuse of children in Alice Springs and elsewhere in the NT. Will the government, please join the opposition in supporting a royal commission into sexual abuse of Indigenous Australians.

Anthony Albanese:

I thank the member for his question and the leader of the opposition and also thank him for the constructive engagement that we had in my office with the minister for Indigenous affairs about what is very serious issues.

The leader of the opposition would be aware that, just last year in fact, the national strategy to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse 2021-2030 was put in place by the former government. It was put in place with the support of state and territory governments and with the bipartisan support of what was then the opposition and is now the government. This is important because quite clearly when it comes to these issues, we need to work cooperatively across parliament and across parliaments and the different levels of government.

This work includes responding to the recommendations of the royal commission in institutional responses to child sexual abuse. The national office for child safety is leading work to protect all Australian children for child sexual abuse under the national strategy to prevent and respond to child sex abuse for this decade. This was put in place by the Morrison government just last year. Just last year.

As a result of the evidence put forward. I congratulate the former government in doing that, they had our support doing that. The national strategy includes measures leading partnership by the National Indigenous Australians agencies and First Nations experts to support and empower First Nations communities in the NT. Minister Burney was on the ground in Alice Springs recently. And minister Burney might like to add to the answer about what she saw as well on the ground in those communities. I thank the leader of the opposition for his question.

Linda Burney:

Recently I visited Alice Springs. Not long after the leader of the opposition was there. I spoke to territory families, I spoke to women’s services, I spoke to youth services, in fact, I visited two youth services. Not one single person raised with me the issue of royal commissions into Aboriginal children sexual assault. What they did raise with me is working in partnership on concrete actions to address this issue which is unacceptable.


Anthony Albanese answers that question:

I thank the member or Kooyong for the question. She raises an issue of interest to many Australians and of interest to many across this chamber. I note the member for Bruce, the member for New England, for example, people who have raised this question.

I, long ago it made my point that enough is enough. It is time for this matter to be brought to a conclusion.

In that, I don’t express any personal sympathy with some of the actions of Julian Assange.

I do say, though, that this issue has gone on for many years now, and when you look at the issue of Julian Assange and compare that with the person responsible for leaking the information … now Chelsea Manning, she is now able to participate freely in US society. The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member for Kooyong, that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government, my position is clear, and has been made clear to the US administration.

That it is time that this matter be brought to a close.

As I said I don’t have sympathy for Mr Assange’s actions on a whole range of matters, but, having said that, you have to reach a point, whereby what is the point of continuing this legal action, which could be caught up now for many years, into the future. So, I will continue to advocate as I did recently in meetings that I have held, I thank the member for her question and for her genuine interest in this, along with, so many Australian citizens, who have contacted me about this issue.

The prime minister deadnamed Chelsea Manning in that answer. We have not published that name.


Dr Monique Ryan has raised an interesting question about Julian Assange – we have not had a question on what the government planned to do for some time.


Prime minister, journalists obtaining and publishing sensitive information is in the public interest and essential to democracy. Australian citizen Julian Assange is still detained in bill ... Charged by a foreign government with acts of journalism. His freedom will only come from political intervention. Will the government intervene to bring him home?


Breaking out of politics for a moment

JUST IN: A helicopter has crashed into the roof of a house in Mentone just after 1pm today.

Emergency crews are currently working to free the pilot, who is trapped in the aircraft.

No one was inside the home at the time of the crash. #9News pic.twitter.com/ACRuVNrzAl

— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) November 30, 2022

Victoria Police report:

Police are currently in Mentone after a helicopter crashed into the roof of a home this afternoon.

Emergency services were called to Broome Avenue and Tylden Court just after 1pm.

The male pilot, the sole occupant, remains trapped in the aircraft while emergency service crews attempt to free him.

No one was inside the home at the time of the incident.

Broome Avenue and Tylden Court remain closed.


Question time begins

After that morning he seems strange that anyone would have any energy left, but here we are.

The second last QT for this sitting year is under way.


Sex discrimination commissioner gives update

The sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, spoke earlier at the national press club, giving a 2022 update on five-yearly sexual harassment statistics.

The results are ... not good.

Jenkins said:

Disappointingly, since 2018, not much has changed in terms of behaviours in many of our workplaces. One third of Australians still experience sexual harassment in the workplace: 41% of women and 26% of men. The highest rates of sexual harassment are still young people. LGBTQI+ people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people with disabilities.”

Jenkins said half of people under 30 had experienced harassment in the last five years.


Tony Abbott’s official portrait is officially hanging in the parliament.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the unveiling of his official portrait by artist Johannes Leak in the members hall of Parliament House
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the unveiling of his official portrait by artist Johannes Leak in the members hall of Parliament House Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Blue tie, no jacket

Tony Abbott and artist Johannes Leak with the former prime minister’s official portrait @FinancialReview pic.twitter.com/toYmN24Lbp

— Tom McIlroy (@TomMcIlroy) November 30, 2022

I hope everyone has managed to have a breather – we are about to get into the second last question time of the year.

Matt Kean says Liberal party preselection processes need to change

The New South Wales treasurer, Matt Kean, was “devastated” after the women’s safety minister, Natalie Ward, lost a preselection battle for the safe seat of Davidson to a former “junior staffer”, Matt Cross.

Speaking in western Sydney on Wednesday morning, Kean said more women needed to be preselected and vowed to change internal party structures stopping that from happening, including changes to allow upper house members to nominate for leadership roles.

He said:

I am devastated about the results. I thought that a smart, talented senior female minister would trump a former junior staffer every day of the week, but the party processes are the party processes and I will be campaigning for the candidate. The leadership now needs to change some of our processes. Clearly, we’re not seeing the results that the community expects the Liberal party to be delivering.

Ward was looking to move into the lower house after the resignation of the speaker, Jonathan O’Dea, before she was defeated in the preselection by Cross by 10 votes.

Kean warned voters would punish the party unless it made changes.

He said:

It’s clear that the branch membership is not reflecting the community. The community sent a very strong message not only to the Liberal party but to all political parties that they want to see more diversity in our parliaments. We need to make sure that we are looking at our processes to ensure that we are reflecting the sentiment, otherwise the community is going to take it into its own hands and reject Liberal candidates that don’t reflect the community values that they expect.


The headline inflation number for October of 6.9% was on the low side, but does it point to a peak in price increases?

In short, it’s too early to tell, but the numbers were encouraging. (Remember we’re expecting inflation to peak at close to 8% in December quarter so we should see some tapering.)

The answer that matters is really in the underlying inflation data, particularly the trimmed mean measure that the Reserve Bank of Australia looks at most closely when deciding to go hiking with its interest rates.

For one thing, the 5.3% trimmed mean number for October was better than the 5.7% rate some economists had tipped.

The chief economist for Betashares, David Bassanese, said the monthly trimmed mean increase at 0.3% was less than the average gain of 0.5% needed if the RBA’s quarterly forecast of 1.5% was to be reached. It was also the smallest advance since November 2021.

“As a result, the 0.3% October rise represents a pleasing undershoot for the first month of the new quarter,” Bassanese said. “[U]nderlying inflation pressures appear to be cresting.”

“The three-monthly moving average of the annualised monthly rise in underlying inflation appears to have peaked at 6% mid-year, and has slipped to 5.2% in October,” he said.

Bassanese said the results may encourage the RBA to at least pause its rate hike schedule for a few months after next week’s increase.

Prior to Wednesday’s data release, investors were rating as a two-in-three chance that the central bank would lift its cash rate by 25 basis points on 6 December to 3.1%. Such a rise would be a record eight in as many meetings.

CBA’s senior economist for Australia, Gareth Aird, said it was “too early to conclude the annual rate has peaked but the slowdown is the monthly rate of core inflation is encouraging”.

The bank retains its base forecast that the RBA will halt its rate hikes at 3.1%, with some risk it could still go as high at 3.1%. Markets as of yesterday were still betting the cash rate would peak at about 3.8%.

NAB’s senior Australian economist, Alan Oster, agreed that it was too soon to be certain inflation had reached a peak, noting that lots of data points for October are not measured compared with the quarterly surveys.

While the slowdown in the rise in the cost of fruit and vegetables was a good sign, it will probably reverse given the more recent floods.

NAB is sticking with its expectation that the RBA will raise its rates in December and then again in February and March after returning from its January break. “But if the economy slows a la retail sales in October, a pause in February could happen,” Oster said.

Here’s hoping for some mild weather and lower fuel prices when many of us hit the road in coming weeks.


National anti-corruption commission bill passes

The ayes have it!

There is applause in the chamber, as it unanimously, on the voices (meaning no division) passes the national anti-corruption commission legislation.

The government has passed a key election promise and a national anti-corruption commission will be established by about the middle of next year.


Lidia Thorpe says a national treaty will close the gap

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe says the latest Closing the Gap report shows the importance of progressing treaty:

The latest Closing the Gap report proves that the injustices which started with invasion continue through child removal, incarceration and suicide.

The rate of First Nations child removal is at an all time high. Survivors of the stolen generation are now witnessing a new generation of First Nations children being stolen from their families and communities. The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines, ‘Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group’ as an act of genocide.

Implementing the recommendations from the bringing them home report will keep First Nations kids with First Nations families. These are self-determined solutions that successive governments have ignored for 25 years.

Incarceration rates are up, yet access to basic human rights will prevent First Nations people from going to prison in the first place. Around 40% of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody’s recommendations are about basic rights like education, health and housing. Labor and Liberal governments have ignored this advice for 31 years.

What’s come out today is a clear call to action to implement all of the recommendations from the bringing them home report and the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody. If the Albanese government is really committed to hearing our voice, they will do this critical work. This is urgent, and overdue.

First Nations people are resorting to self-harm because they cannot see a future for themselves in this system. The continuing high rate of suicide shows that this nation wasn’t designed to keep First Nations people alive, because ultimately, it’s killing us.

This government has inherited a racist institution that has not undertaken any fundamental change since colonisation. First Nations people have been locked out of decision making processes since invasion, but we have an opportunity to do things differently in this country.

A national, grassroots treaty will Close the Gap by restoring First Nations people’s right to make decisions for ourselves. We know that self-determined solutions work, because Aboriginal people know what’s best for Aboriginal communities. This government needs to wake up and take action, because First Nations people are dying while they’re stalling.


Treasurer says inflation figures don’t yet fully reflect flood crisis

While the house goes through its final motions before passing the Nacc bill, let’s take a look at how the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has responded to the monthly inflation figures Peter Hannam has reported on:

The monthly consumer price figure confirms the pressures that are being felt throughout our economy and around every kitchen table.

While the slight easing in the indicator in October is welcome, we know there are further price pressures that will drive inflation this quarter.

The October result is yet to fully reflect the impact of the floods on grocery prices or the hit to energy bills caused by the war in Europe and the Coalition’s decade of policy chaos.

That’s why our budget and economic plan has been carefully calibrated to deal with the inflation challenge in our economy, while delivering responsible and targeted cost-of-living relief to Australian households.


PM speaks on Nacc bill before final vote

Anthony Albanese has singled out independent MP Helen Haines for her advocacy and work for a national anti-corruption commission as he gives a speech on the legislation ahead of its final vote.


House to pass Senate amendments to Nacc bill

The Senate’s message is being read out to the house – it approves the bill but has amendments.

The house is going to pass the amendments (together) and then we are done.

Australia is a few moments away from having a legislated federal anti-corruption commission.


After the Closing the Gap debate is adjourned (and moved to the next sitting) we will have the vote on the national anti-corruption commission legislation.

It will pass.


Climate crisis could make banks more vulnerable to economic downturns

Australian banks face up to a threefold increase in lending losses by 2050, but the system should be able to absorb the impact, the banking regulator says.

Losses on mortgages were expected to be higher in northern Australia, which is at greater risk of some extreme weather events, notably cyclones and heavy rain, according to the climate vulnerability assessment by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (Apra).

Losses from business loans were likely to be higher in mining, manufacturing and transport – the sectors most affected by a transition to a net zero emissions economy. The report said the country’s five biggest banks – ANZ, Commonwealth, Macquarie, National Australia Bank and Westpac – were likely to respond by adjusting lending practices and appetite for risk, including reducing their exposure to higher risk regions and industries.

The report suggested Queensland would be particularly sharply affected, with modelling implying lending losses to the state could increase by 35% between 2030 and 2045.

Apra’s deputy chair, Helen Rowell, said the assessment was an important step as it required the banks to develop techniques in climate analysis. But she indicated there were limitations – for example, banks used different modelling approaches and assumptions.

Despite the high profile of climate change, climate risk management and modelling remain emerging areas of expertise, in part due to uncertainty about how the risks will play out decades into the future, and how these risks are incorporated into financial models.

This, however, is a good start and we urge all Apra-regulated entities to examine the [assessment] findings.

The treasurer, Jim Chalmers, said the report was “a really significant contribution to understanding the risks of climate change in our banking system”.

The government is developing a framework for climate disclosure by businesses and financial institutions. A consultation paper is expected next month.


And the last part from the voice co-design report:

A key element of the consultation standards is the general expectation that parliament and government would engage the national voice at the earliest opportunity when developing policies and proposed laws that have a significant impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The result of this early engagement would mean that by the time a bill is finalised, the national voice should already have been engaged and given the opportunity to provide considered formal advice.

The consultation standards and transparency mechanisms must be flexible enough to address the full range of possible circumstances, particularly concerning timing. In some cases, consultation with the national voice may be built in from the early stages. In other cases, legislative changes may be time-sensitive, and a shorter amount of time might be provided for consultation with the national voice. The proposed consultation standards and transparency mechanisms do not take a prescriptive approach to this. Instead, they support partnership and dialogue that can facilitate change.

How membership of a national voice is determined is a crucial matter for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. During community consultation sessions, a significant topic of discussion – especially in the most disadvantaged areas – was the need for greater representation at a national level to ensure the most marginalised and excluded voices have the opportunity to be heard, particularly those of people living in remote areas and those of people who are not members of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisation. As a result of this, and through careful deliberation, the final proposal for a national voice is a 24-member model including five members representing remote regions, and one member representing the significant number of Torres Strait Islanders living on the mainland. This is a critical refinement from the proposal in the interim report that each state and the Northern Territory have two members, and the Australian Capital Territory and the Torres Strait Islands each have one or two members, for a maximum of 18 members. In both the interim and final proposals, there is also an option for the joint appointment of up to two additional members if a particular skill set is required and this is agreed upon between the national voice members and the minister for Indigenous Australians.

The national voice membership would be structurally linked to local & regional voices. Members of the local & regional voices within each state and territory would collectively determine national voice members from their respective jurisdictions. This membership model draws on the strength, legitimacy and authority of local & regional voices, particularly as developed under the principles of inclusive participation and cultural leadership. This would embed community voices and ensure the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is connected to the national voice. This membership model provides flexibility and opportunity for the involvement of jurisdiction-level Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative assemblies, where they exist, and elections if the local & regional voices and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of the relevant jurisdiction agree.


More on the Indigenous voice to parliament from the co-design report

The national voice would advise on matters of national significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples relating to their social, spiritual and economic wellbeing. This is to ensure that the diverse perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are considered in key areas of legislation and policy development. The relationship between the Australian parliament and government and the national voice would be a two-way interaction, with each able to initiate advice or commence discussion around relevant policy matters.

The proposed model for the national voice includes a set of consultation standards for when, how and on what types of matters the Australian parliament and/or government should consult with the national voice. Engagement with the national voice would ideally occur early in the development of relevant laws and policies to allow for a partnership approach. The Australian parliament and government would be “obliged” to ask the national voice for advice on a defined and limited number of proposed laws and policies that overwhelmingly affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. There would also be an “expectation” to consult the national voice, based on a set of principles, on a wider group of policies and laws that significantly affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The proposed model for the national voice also includes a set of complementary transparency mechanisms situated in the parliament to provide for public accountability and enhance the ability of the national voice to be heard. Importantly, these are based on existing parliamentary mechanisms and practices.


For those who haven’t read the voice co-design report, or can’t find the relevant parts Ken Wyatt was talking about, here you go:

National voice

The proposal for a national voice was strongly supported during the consultation and engagement process. Key considerations raised during consultation included how membership for the national voice would be determined, the number of members on the national voice and the link between the local and regional voices and the national voice.

As a result of the consultation and engagement process and resulting deliberations, key refinements are presented for the proposed national voice.

The final proposal for the national voice is for a small national body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members tasked to advise the Australian parliament and government. The national voice would provide the mechanism to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a direct say on any national laws, policies and programs affecting them.

The national voice would provide advice to both the Australian parliament and government. This is important because it allows the national voice to engage fully with laws and policies at different stages of development. This dual advice function reflects the different roles of government and parliament in making laws and policies. This does not diminish from the role of providing a voice to parliament; it strengthens and integrates advice, ensuring early engagement before bills are introduced to parliament. By providing for a voice to both parliament and government, the national voice would engage fully with policy of different kinds and at different stages of development.


Lower houses discusses Closing the Gap report

The chamber is acknowledging the latest Closing the Gap report, which as our colleague Josh Butler reported earlier in the blog, has shown we are still not doing enough to close the gap with Indigenous Australia.

Anthony Albanese used the opportunity to urge people to support the voice as another measure to actually act.

Peter Dutton said again there wasn’t enough detail. This is after his former cabinet colleague told ABC radio this morning that argument was just “laziness” and he took a proposal to cabinet (which Dutton sat in) twice.

Ken Wyatt also said all the detail is publicly available in the Indigenous Voice Co-design Process Final Report to the Australian Government.


Sussan Ley: ‘an appalling political stunt’

Sussan Ley was also not in the chamber for the vote but she was paired (meaning her vote was matched with someone from the opposite side).

Her office sent Paul Karp a statement:

This speech has been in the deputy leader’s diary for months. She was paired in parliament long ago. Her absence from the division on the censure should not be read into – this was an appalling political stunt by the government of the day that the deputy leader unequivocally rejects.


Karen Andrews confirms she abstained from censure vote

Karen Andrews confirmed she abstained from the censure motion vote (meaning she did not vote either for it, or against it).

Andrews was one of the only members of the Coalition to chastise Scott Morrison’s actions for taking on additional ministries in secret (including hers) and had previously called for him to resign from the parliament.

But that doesn’t mean she is in support of the censure.

In a statement to the Guardian, Andrews says:

“The government has had ample time to introduce remedies in accordance with the Bell recommendations. I expected Labor to milk this and that is exactly what they did – this was never about fixing the problem, but a political stunt.”


On Karen Andrews …

Just before we move on to the next bit of parliamentary business, I looked for Karen Andrews in the vote on Scott Morrison’s censure, and couldn’t see her in the House.

Andrews had called for Morrison to resign from the parliament when she learned of the extent of his additional ministries, which included her former ministry of home affairs.

I will confirm, but I think Andrews may have abstained during the censure vote.


Victorian Nationals leader on leaving Coalition: ‘something that has to be discussed’

The Victorian Nationals leader, Peter Walsh, says the party will discuss leaving the Coalition agreement with the Liberal party following the state election.

The Victorian Nationals held their first party room meeting on Wednesday morning. The Coalition’s junior partner seized back three regional seats from independents at the weekend’s election, while the Liberal party suffered a disastrous result.

Asked if the Nationals would consider leaving the Coalition, Walsh did not rule out the possibility:

That’s something that has to be discussed by ourselves and with the Liberal party once they elect their leadership group.

We’ve demonstrated with the policy platform and initiatives we took to the election that we can work well together to put the issues that are important to Victorians front and centre.


Scott Morrison is censured over secret ministries

The Greens, Liberal MP Bridget Archer and the crossbench (minus Bob Katter) back Labor’s motion to censure the former prime minister.


Paul Karp has the numbers on the censure vote:

86 votes to 50.

Labor, Greens, Bridget Archer and crossbench (minus Katter and Dai Le) in favour.

Opposed: Coalition (including Scott Morrison who did vote) and Katter.

Le was not listed as voting.


Bob Katter has entered the chamber and is sitting with the Coalition.


And now we get to the vote on the motion.

It is falling into the lines you would expect.

Labor, the crossbench and Bridget Archer on one side, voting for the motion and the Coalition on other, voting against it.

Mark Butler announces new anti-smoking measures

Graphic warnings like “smoking kills” and unattractive colours may soon be printed on individual cigarettes, and menthol cigarettes will be banned, under new reforms by the Albanese government to drive down smoking.

“Australia was once a world leader on tobacco control and now we are a laggard,” said health minister Mark Butler, who announced the reforms today. “We are determined to see Australia reclaim its position as a world leader on tobacco control.”

Butler announced 11 new measures which will be streamlined alongside existing laws into a single act. This will include:

  • standardising the size of tobacco packets and products

  • preventing the use of specified additives in tobacco products, including flavours and menthol

  • standardising the design and look of filters

  • limit the use of appealing names on products that falsely imply these products are less harmful, like “organic” or “light”.

  • health promotion inserts in packs and pouches

  • Updated advertising regulation to capture e-cigarettes

After nine years, Butler said Labor’s plain packaging reforms had started to lose their impact. He said at best the warnings on the packaging are ignored, and “at worst, they are mocked”.

The aim of the new measures is to achieve smoking prevalence in Australia of less than 10% by 2025, and 5% or less by 2030, Butler said.


Abbott unveiled

Meanwhile former, former, former prime minister Tony Abbott is having his prime ministerial portrait unveiled today.

Last year we revealed it would be painted by Bill Leak’s son, Johannes Leak.


Dr Sophie Scamps, the independent MP for Mackellar, is also in support of the motion (you can take it that the independents who were elected on a platform of transparency are going to be in support of this motion).


Kate Chaney, independent MP for Curtin, is also in support of the motion

At a time when democracy is being threatened across the world in countries we never thought were at risk, it was actually really scary to see Australia dipping its toe in the autocracy [waters].

The visible lack of respect for our parliamentary institutions is one of the drivers behind the new force in Australian politics that is seated around me as I speak now.

It may take some time to change a culture that considers these actions to be acceptable.

But for now it’s vital that we draw a line in the sand and let the record show that the former prime minister’s actions are unacceptable. This is not how democracy works in Australia


Monique Ryan, independent MP for Kooyong, supports the motion


I call on all members of the House to show the Australian people that they renounce and resolve [to make a] call to action as strongly as our electorates have. If we do not, we risk shattering the virtual trust given to us by our constituents. If we do not, then we will be telling the Australian people that we are content with representatives who undermine the principles of responsible government.

If the opposition does not support this motion, it will be telling all Australians that this is not a party that is subject to the public and changed. This is not a party of integrity and transparency. This is a party which has met that made bad choices, their choices before, and stands by them now.

This is a party which will continue to protect its own, even when they act without honesty and transparency, at the expense of the public and the future of our country.

For as long as the Liberal and National parties tried to defend the former prime minister [for his behaviour] in government, his legacy will be the legacy that will be defending the indefensible.


More on the October CPI

The overall increase in CPI of 6.9% is from a year earlier, including a 20.4% increase in the cost of building a new dwelling.

Automotive fuel prices were up 11.8%, quickening from the 10.1% pace in September when the end of the “excise holiday” added about 25c/litre.

Fruit and vegetables were up 9.4% but that was about half the pace of the annual rate of increases in September of 17.4%. Still, we haven’t seen the end of the floods impacts, so watch this space.

Michelle Marquardt, ABS head of Prices Statistics, said those high building costs were the result of ongoing shortages of labour and materials.

On the subject of homes, separate figures from the ABS show that the number of dwellings approved fell 6% in October.

That was slower than the 8.1% pace of contraction in September. The drop in October was mostly in flats, which were off 11.3%, while private sector house approvals were down 2.2%.

NSW’s total dwelling approvals slumped 18.8%, with Queensland also off 18.7%. Several states posted increases, such a Victoria with 5.8% and South Australia 17.6%.


Independent MP for Indi Helen Haines speaks in support of the motion

Helen Haines: Fixing the loophole doesn’t prevent the need to stand up for the conventions and honour of this parliament, to move a censure motion when there has been such a substantial breach of trust.#auspol

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) November 30, 2022

I listened carefully to what the member for Cook had to say this morning and I found nothing in his explanation that could negate the need for this essential motion today.

It is a strong motion and history will record it, so I support the motion. It gives me no joy to do so. I feel sadness and disappointment that we moved to have to do this.

But the report of former justice Bell and the conclusions that the actions and failures of the member for Cook were to undermine public trust and confidence are so serious that I must support this motion. I’m compelled to do so.

And I say to this House, I hope we never have to face a situation like this again.


Adam Bandt speaks on the censure motion

The Greens leader ends with:

The reason that this has struck a chord with so many people in not only this parliament but with so many people across the country, across the political spectrum, is that this was a betrayal of trust. At a time when we look around the world, and we see what happens in other countries and in other parliaments where trust in democracy is eroded.

People want the politicians to start telling the truth.

And this was not only a failure to tell the truth, it was one that came with a power grab added to it.

That undermines our belief and our country’s ability to trust our democracy, which as a previous speaker has said is an asset of this country it is to be preserved and starts at the top. And if a former prime minister can’t be honest with the people, if a former prime minister engages in a power grab and then can’t even bring himself to say sorry for it and doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, then that member deserves to be censured.


Some more of what Mike Bowers is seeing:

The member for Bass Bridget Archer speaks for the censure motion during debate the Scott Morrison censure motion
The member for Bass, Bridget Archer, speaks for the Scott Morrison censure motion. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
The chamber
The chamber. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Anthony Albanese delivers his speech
Anthony Albanese delivers his speech. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks to the cross bench during debate
Anthony Albanese speaks to the crossbench during debate. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


The commitment was for 2025, but that aside – what the actual

The current Prime Minister owes an apology to the Australian people for deceiving them at the last election by promising to lower electricity bills by $275. Instead, electricity bills are now going up 56% on Labor's watch. https://t.co/3iyYJn1Je6

— Stuart Robert MP (@stuartrobertmp) November 30, 2022

October inflation 6.9%, a fall from September quarter’s 7.3%

The relatively new monthly consumer price index figures (compared with quarterly ones) are out, and they show that in October inflation was 6.9%.

That’s less than the 7.3% for the September quarter alone. Too early to call a peak but this lower figure will encourage people to think that the rate rises from the RBA might not need to be so high.


Michael McCormack on Scott Morrison: ‘I regard him as a friend’


I want Scott Morrison’s legacy to be the fact that he led this nation as best he could. He led this nation honestly.

He led this nation extremely well.

And he kept Australians alive.

He kept their jobs in place and in tact in the most extraordinary and difficult times that this nation has had since World War Two.

And I regard him as a friend.

I was proud to serve him as his deputy prime minister. I don’t know why you’re shaking your head.

You weren’t there, I was, and I, I very much admire the way he led this nation during very, very dark days.

You can “want” almost anything. It doesn’t make it true.


Michael McCormack: why didn’t journalists ask?

McCormack is now saying as a former journalist that he often wondered why journalists didn’t ask Scott Morrison “what would happen is the minister for XX came down with Covid” and he is “sure” Morrison would have told the truth.

“And maybe that is not an excuse,” says the former deputy prime minister.

It is not an excuse. Not just because it makes no sense, but also because journalists DID ask those questions. Repeatedly. Because Peter Dutton came down with Covid early on in the pandemic and everyone wanted to know what would happen if a minister came down with Covid.

You know what answer Scott Morrison didn’t give? That he would swear himself in to a number of portfolios just in case.


Anthony Albanese: Scott Morrison ‘owes an apology to the Australian people’

The PM comes to the conclusion of his speech:

I thought this morning that we would see some contrition - some. A semblance of contrition. We got none of that.

We got hubris and we got denial from the former prime minister, who in spite of the fact that when we were appointed and there was a range of things that we could have done as a government.

It wasn’t a royal commission like occurred into former Labor leaders’ activities, for example, against former prime minister Gillard on something that might have occurred or alleged was to have occurred a long, long time before she was in parliament.

That’s what the former government did. That’s what the former government did. There was none of that from us. None. None!

We appointed a former high court judge, Virginia Bell, to undertake an inquiry. We did that under the expectation that there would be cooperation with it. But the former prime minister chose to only talk to that inquiry through his lawyers.

In spite of his public comments at the time that there would be full cooperation with it. This morning, what we saw was just a justification of his government’s record.

Now, some of that is, quite rightly, the subject of political debate, and we will agree on some of it and disagree on some of it. There are many things that the former government did to deal with the Covid pandemic that we supported wholeheartedly. There are things that we think could have been done better.

That’s quite rightly the subject of political debate.

That’s not what is before the House today. What is before the House today is whether the former prime minister’s actions in being given responsibility to administer a whole host of portfolios, which even after the first two came out as a result of him feeling it was OK to tell two journalists what was going on, is how the first two came out.

Then there were further revelations and we found through the Bell inquiry that he also considered being sworn in to administer the environment and water portfolios as well as an additional portfolio. Whether that was appropriate.

Secondly, whether there should have been transparency about that. There should have been. There should have been.

The former prime minister owes an apology, not to people who he shared brekkie with at The Lodge. He owes an apology to the Australian people for the undermining of democracy, and that’s why this motion should be supported by every member of this House.

The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during debate on a censure motion moved by the leader of the house Tony Burke against the member for Cook Scott Morrison in the House of Representatives chamber. Wednesday 30 November 2022. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Anthony Albanese: ‘People had a responsibility to act. They didn’t’

The PM has asked for extra time to continue speaking here. He has gone from being unsure if he would speak to taking up two slots. And he is doing most of it off the cuff.

People had a responsibility to act. They didn’t.

It was a slippery slope that undermined the functioning of this parliament. That undermined our democratic institutions, that this House has a responsibility to act on.

I think that the comments of the member for New England go, in his own words, to motivation why people didn’t speak up.

I know that there’s a range of different contexts.

I’ve spoken about arrangements that were entered into that were not transparent.

I was asked a question this week about the discussions I had with Senator Pocock, and asked to be transparent about it. And I have been, as has Senator Pocock.

These things are important. It’s actually how our democracy functions. I cannot still conceive of the idea that, and this is why questions weren’t asked, because it’s impossible to conceive that a prime minister does not have the authority to have influence over their ministers. I hope I do!

At the end of the day, I have that great honour of leading this quite extraordinary group of ministers that have been sworn in. I assure you, I have not thought for a millisecond about being sworn in in order to override them.


Anthony Albanese: former deputy PM ‘should never have been asked to be put in that position’

He came up with a different explanation today. If only he was asked! To blame the media and everyone else. Why didn’t we come in here and ask if he’d been sworn in as treasurer or finance minister?

What’s your day job?

It’s just beyond comprehension that this parliament should be as a whole standing up and voting for this motion. The whole parliament. Because it began with measures like the former deputy prime minister, who I have a lot of respect for, and he knows that.

… The former deputy prime minister was told by the prime minister’s office then to not be transparent about whether he was acting prime minister in 2019.

That is how these things begin.

And I don’t blame the former deputy prime minister for being loyal to his prime minister. I respect that.

But he should never have been asked to be put in that position.

Nor should there have been a cabinet committee of one.

Nor should those people who were aware of this not declare it. The former deputy prime minister, the second one, former deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, was asked on Insiders why it was that he was aware of the Pep 11 decision and why he did not speak up and say something about this at the time.

This was his response, and I quote:

‘I had negotiated an extra minister, which we were not entitled to. I had another person on the ERC which we were not entitled to. I negotiated more staff for the National party, which we were not entitled to. If I pursued this, it was quite simple – he just took away the portfolio that we weren’t entitled to and took us back to the number we were entitled to. He would have the portfolio back and we lose all power on August 21, 2022.’


Anthony Albanese: ‘This is not a one-man show’

This morning, I came here not certain as to whether I would speak.

But I have to respond to the prime minister’s comments, who has confirmed again that he just doesn’t get it, the former prime minister.

He said this morning that he had conversations privately with my colleagues.

It’s not about Josh Frydenberg. It’s about the people of Australia. That’s who we’re accountable to.

Through this parliament, at this dispatch box, we ask questions about Pep 11. We asked questions about health.

Not knowing that the then prime minister was actually responsible and sworn in.

The former prime minister flipped more questions to ministers than all previous 29 prime ministers.

The former prime minister shut down debate at this dispatch box each and every time where people attempted to make [enquiries] about the serious matters.

And when it goes to Covid, I had that sense too, as the leader of the opposition, which is why we on this side of the House now, when we sat there, took responsible decisions to not play politics, to vote for and to declare in advance of packages coming forward, that even if our amendments were not successful, even if there were measures which we did not agree with, such as the raiding of superannuation, we would not stand in the way.

Even though there was a political cost to that, that they were conscious of.

But we understood our obligation to the national interest. This is not a one man show.

This was the Australian people who stood up and protected themselves, not just in the parliament.

Those people who stayed at home, people who got vaccinated, the heroes of the pandemic who went out there and worked with people who were sick.

So all of this self-congratulation that we heard this morning should be dismissed.


Anthony Albanese: Morrison ‘was not responsible to the parliament and through that to the electors’

The fact is that our democracy is precious. There’s no room for complacency. We’ve seen overseas, including with the assault on the Capitol building in the United States, that we can’t take our democracy for granted.

The explanations that were put forward were described by Ms Bell as, ‘Not easy to understand and difficult to reconcile with the facts’.

The implications were there in the Bell inquiry. There was a risk of conflict if different ministers wanted to exercise the same power inconsistently.

Ms Bell confirmed the solicitor general’s view that it was fundamentally undermined because the member for Cook, the then prime minister, was not responsible to the parliament and through that to the electors for which he was appointed to administer. It undermined public confidence in government.

It was, according to Ms Bell, ‘corrosive of trust in government’.

The public didn’t know something it was entitled to know.


Anthony Albanese: censure motion ‘a profoundly sad moment’

A censure motion like this is as rare as it is grave. The fact that it has become so necessary constitutes a profoundly sad moment in the life of our national parliament.

But to ignore it would be to be complicit to say – well, that was OK. This House of Representatives has a responsibility. To declare its view on what occurred with these extraordinary actions by the former prime minister.

I wake up every single day cognisant of the honour that I have in serving as Australia’s 31st prime minister.

I’m also very aware of the responsibility that comes with it. I’m also very conscious of the power that comes with it. Power should never be [taken lightly].


Anthony Albanese delivers speech on censure motion

It wasn’t set in stone that the PM would speak on this. He is facing an almost empty chamber as he does – there are only a handful of Coalition MPs left in the chamber.


Bridget Archer: ‘This is not a game’

I’ve said time and time again that we talk very much in this House about the great privilege and honour of being here. But we talk less often about the responsibility that comes with that. There is a great privilege that comes with being the prime minister. But with that comes great responsibility and accountability. Which you can’t have without transparency.

And it might be a shock to some who sit here from all sides, but this is not a game.

There are things that sit above the cut and thrust of politics and the essential motion goes to our system of democracy.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that for me this issue also sits at the heart of the ability of our party to move forward.

This is a clear opportunity for a line to be drawn and to move in the right direction. We must heed the message sent to us at the May election. Learn those lessons. Reset and move forward constructively.

In closing, I just say this. I am a Liberal. I believe in Liberal values. And our statement of values says this: we believe in the rule of law. Under it there is freedom for the nation and for all men and women. Democracy depends upon self-discipline, obedience to the law, and the honest administration of the law. And it is for this reason, I’m obligated to support this motion.


Bridget Archer: ‘I do not accept explanations’ made by Scott Morrison

Bridget Archer again shows her courage in speaking up when her party won’t, and criticises Scott Morrison’s speech and explanation.

I do not accept any of the explanations put forward by the former prime minister for his actions. And I’m deeply disappointed by the lack of genuine apology or, more importantly, understanding of the impact of these decisions.


Liberal Bridget Archer rises in support of the censure motion

The Liberal MP for Bass says it is not an attack on the three years of Scott Morrison’s leadership, but “rather a reflection on the specific actions taken, that in my view, defy the expectations we have for our leaders”.

As Virginia Bell concluded in her report, the actions taken were corrosive to trust in politics. Those actions sit outside the expectations of the Australian people. And it sits outside of how we expect elected representatives in the highest office to act.

I’ve relentlessly advocated for more integrity in politics and fought for an integrity commission that would begin to restore the public’s faith. In elected officials. To sit quietly now would be hypocritical and I firmly believe we should be intentional in the actions we take to ensure that we do not let this happen again.


Paul Karp says Anthony Albanese is speaking to the teals (Kate Chaney, Zoe Daniel, Allegra Spender, Sophie Scamps, Monique Ryan) in the chamber.

Julian Leeser then moves on to how he is surprised the government hasn’t added a ‘burning of an effigy of the former prime minister’ ahead of each sitting, along with the morning prayers.

This is what the shadow attorney general has against the censure motion.


Julian Leeser says Albanese government not elected ‘to look in the rearview mirror’

Shadow attorney general also says it does nothing to help the Australian people to put food on the table, or lower the cost of living.

So I guess there is no point for a national anti-corruption commission, given it doesn’t put food on the table or lower the cost of living.

The opposition’s matters of public importance debates about how terrible the government is are also a waste of time.

We should also not work on improving standards of behaviour, working to end violence or any other policy for social good. Because it doesn’t put food on the table or lower the cost of living.

I mean, honestly.


Morrison congratulated after censure speech

Mike Bowers is still in the chamber – here are some of the MPs who lined up to shake Scott Morrison’s hand after he finished his speech arguing against his censure (most then left the chamber).

Just a reminder this wasn’t a valedictory (although it could be argued it was an audition for the speakers’ circuit) – it was in defence of his actions to take a suite of extra ministries in secret. He didn’t even tell them, his colleagues – the people he led (ultimately to a historic defeat). And yet here they are, lining up to shake his hand.

The member for Cook Scott Morrison is congratulated by his colleagues after speaking against a censure motion against him
The member for Cook, Scott Morrison, is congratulated by his colleagues after speaking against a censure motion against him. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
More of the same
More of the same. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Bob Katter ends his speech but no one in the chamber appears any clearer on what he thinks about it all.

NSW Nationals leader refuses to back federal colleagues on voice vote

The New South Wales Nationals leader, Paul Toole, has refused to back his federal colleagues in their opposition to the voice to parliament, saying his party room had yet to form a position on the referendum and stressing the need to consult on the vote.

Flanked by the bulk of his party room, the federal Nationals leader, David Littleproud, on Tuesday announced the party would oppose the referendum.

But the decision was not unanimous: Andrew Gee became the first to break ranks, saying he would support the vote, as did the WA Nationals leader, Mia Davies.

Toole, the state’s deputy premier, said NSW had not yet formed a position on the vote and left open the possibility of letting individual MPs campaign for either side of the referendum.

This is a conversation that our party room will have at some point in the future. But again, this is a matter for the federal government.

Asked whether his Nationals colleagues had been too hasty in opposing the referendum, Toole said it was “a matter for the federal Nationals party”, but he said he was keen to consult widely on the referendum, particularly with Aboriginal communities.

I think there needs to be good consultation with our Aboriginal communities right across the state, or that is something that I’m very keen to continue to hear from those groups.

I think it’s important that the consultation is done widely, it’s respectful, and we understand the views that are given from all sides.

We will have that conversation. We know that if there is a referendum, we’ll have to get all the information provided [and] then we’ll have a stance. It might even be a stance where individual members have various views, and they’ll be able to share that with their communities to inform how they would like their community to vote on such a referendum.

On Wednesday Toole also conceded the withdrawal of about 33,000 Covid-19 fines had been due to an “error” with the drafting of the Public Health Orders, but denied police had been “overzealous” in enforcing the pandemic-era laws.

Police were not overzealous, police were undertaking the public health orders. They were following the public health orders to keep the community safe. I’ll back our police in each and every day for the work that they did to keep the community safe.


Bob Katter, in his speech (hard to say if he is for or against the censure), once again says he did not swear allegiance to “a lady in England” like the rest of the chamber did.

We have already checked this out – he did swear allegiance to the Queen. Signed and delivered.


Robodebt royal commission to call Scott Morrison and Marise Payne in December

Scott Morrison and Marise Payne will front a royal commission into the botched robodebt scheme next month.

The former prime minister was social services minister when the failed Centrelink debt recovery scheme was established in 2015, while Payne was human services minister.

A witness list published by the royal commission on Wednesday confirms Morrison will give evidence on Wednesday 14 December. Payne is scheduled to appear on Tuesday 13 December.

A key line of inquiry for the commission is how legal advice – that warned the scheme could be unlawful – was treated by the public service and ministers. The program was implemented in 2015 without legislation, and subsequently found to be unlawful in 2019, culminating in a $1.8bn settlement with hundreds of thousands of victims.

The commission has previously heard Morrison had asked the Department of Human Services to develop Centrelink compliance proposals that could be considered for the 2015 budget. Among those proposals was what became the robodebt scheme.

Kathryn Campbell, the secretary of the Department of Human Services at the time the scheme was being devised, told the commission briefing documents she prepared for Morrison had said it was likely such a plan could not be implemented without legislation.

The commission is yet to hear how or why that advice was disregarded to allow what became the robodebt scheme to be included in the May 2015 budget.

The inquiry has heard Payne was also briefed on early versions of the plan.

The commission’s second block of hearings will last two weeks and commence next month.

Campbell will continue her evidence on Wednesday 7 December, while other senior and mid-level managers from the departments of social services and human services will also give evidence.


The Liberal MP for Menzies, Keith Wolahan, said he believed it was important to stay for the first few speeches in this censure motion, Paul Karp reports, but he won’t be voting for it.

So far, it is just Bridget Archer who is crossing the floor.


Lots of little side chats in the chamber.

As Bob Katter holds forth in the censure motion, there’s a sidebar in the chamber between @BridgetArcherMP @keithwolahan @Mon4Kooyong @AdamBandt #auspol @AmyRemeikis

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) November 29, 2022


Back in the chamber and Paul Karp reports Michael McCormack wandered over to talk to Mark Dreyfus and Madeleine King.


Meanwhile the robodebt royal commission has confirmed it will be calling Scott Morrison to give evidence.

Luke Henriques-Gomes will have more for you very soon.


And this speaks to the Coalition’s “all over the place” way it is addressing the censure motion:

Fletcher noted the solicitor general said issues like this are "generally enforced politically not legally".

Not exactly a killer argument. He's speaking on a censure motion in parliament. This IS the enforcement of standards politically not legally. You're in it, mate.

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) November 29, 2022


Katter dons the aviators

It looks like Bob Katter is going to make a contribution – he has put on his trademark aviators. In the chamber.

Sometimes he does it because the lights bother him. Sometimes he does it without thinking.

Sometimes he does it to look cool.

The hat is not allowed.


Paul Fletcher says censure motion against Scott Morrison is ‘political payback’

The manager of opposition business, Paul Fletcher, is making a defence that is both technical and personal of Scott Morrison.

First, the technical argument, is that the standing order refers to censure of the government or a minister. He says censures of backbenchers are rare, and on the two occasions it has been done, it was by agreement – which is lacking here.

The second reason is that the censure is “political payback”.

His last reason is there are other ways to fix the problem – implementing the recommendations of the Bell report. That’s a straw man – the government has already said it is doing that, the question is what to do about Morrison’s conduct.


As previously reported, the Coalition will not be supporting the censure motion.

Paul Fletcher lays out why:

Paul Fletcher: the opposition will not be supporting the censure motion for 3 reasons:
(1) not appropriate procedure
(2) political payback and distraction;
(3) other ways to fix (which govt said they'll do already, re disclosure)#auspol

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) November 29, 2022

Coalition MPs publicly support Morrison

Not only did the Coalition mostly leave the chamber, most MPs stopped by Scott Morrison to shake his hand.

The Coalition members filed out past Scott Morrison, most shaking his hand.

Dreyfus now reading out adverse assessments from everyone from Malcolm Turnbull to John Howard.

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) November 29, 2022


Mike Bowers was also in the chamber:

Scott Morrison defends himself against a censure motion
Scott Morrison defends himself against a censure motion. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


The view from Murph

This basically sums up Scott Morrison’s speech.

Shorter Scott Morrison: I wasn’t that bad. If you wanted to know what I didn’t tell you, why didn’t you ask? #auspol @AmyRemeikis

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) November 29, 2022


Energy regulator says shopping around can save up to $404

The Australian Energy Regulator has just published its annual report, with a few figures to comb through on a politically sensitive topic.

Not surprisingly, higher prices feature prominently, with the AER saying most customers had opened their bills to find increases of 9%-20% for power prices and 7%-15% for gas from June to September 2022.

It notes that customers can save money by switching to a different contract, “but even well-informed customers are paying significantly more for energy than they did two years ago”.

The AER chair, Clare Savage, said discounts can be found if people shop around with a customer moving from a standing offer to a market offer in September able to cut annual electricity costs by as much as $404 in NSW, $120 in south-east Queensland, $122 in South Australia, $193 in Victoria, and $345 in the ACT

We encourage consumers to compare their energy bills using our free and independent Energy Made Easy comparison website and make a switch to a better offer if one is available.

Financial hardship features in the report, too, given the higher energy prices at a time when a lot of prices increased. (We looked at the relative impacts in this story a little while ago.)

Those customers with debt of more than $2,500 for more than two years had increased 39% through the year, Savage said.

According to AER analysis, customers on hardship programs consume up to 81% more electricity than average. As a result, customers on hardship programs in low-income households could pay between 1.2% and 3.7% more of their disposable income in electricity costs, the regulator said.

Many of the debt and hardship metrics and indicators presented in our report may worsen over time because of the impact of rising wholesale gas and electricity costs in 2022.

More once we’ve had a longer read.


The walkout

Back in the chamber, now that Scott Morrison has delivered his explanation, most of the Coalition has walked out.

Mass walkout from Coalition as Mark Dreyfus rises to support the censure motion.

Those staying: Paul Fletcher, Michael McCormack, Angie Bell, Keith Wollahan, Jenny Ware, Aaron Violi, and Bridget Archer - who has said she's voting FOR censure.

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) November 29, 2022


Health minister delivers damning speech about vaping

As we reported earlier, the health minister, Mark Butler, will today announce action is needed on youth vaping, with growing concern from parents, carers, health professionals and schools about the number of kids now addicted to nicotine. The reforms will be opened to public consultation.

At 10am Butler will give a speech alongside former health minister Nicola Roxon, who one decade ago introduced plain packaging legislation for tobacco products, a move followed by other countries and led to Australia being seen as a world-leader in holding big tobacco to account.

Butler is expected to say during his speech that: “... tobacco plain packaging was bold policy, achieved in the face of some often savage legal and rhetorical assaults”.

“It is a policy that has saved lives,” a draft of his speech provided to Guardian Australia says.

Ten years ago, around 16% of Australians smoked. Today, that rate is down to just under 11%. That is around 700,000 fewer people smoking.

But Butler will also say that there has been a lack of action on tobacco since then, and will talk about the newer issue of vaping, which is now an issue throughout schools and for parents and carers who say children are addicted to nicotine. He will also announce further tobacco policy aimed at driving tobacco smoking rates down further.

When the Coalition came to power, Australia was a world leader in tobacco control. After a decade of lethargy and laziness, we are now a laggard.

Tobacco smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability. In my lifetime, smoking has killed more than 1 million Australians. In 2018 alone, tobacco claimed the lives of almost 20,500 people. That’s more Australian lives lost in a single year than Covid-19 has claimed throughout the entire pandemic.

The gains of those world-leading reforms have been squandered, and it is the poorest and most marginalised Australians that have paid the price.

We cannot Close the Gap in health outcomes between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous Australians without looking at smoking. Twenty-three per cent of the gap is smoking: it is the most significant modifiable risk factor. First Nations peoples and disadvantaged Australians are paying the price for the past 10 years of inaction.

And now, terrifyingly, so are our children.


Censure motion continues

Mark Dreyfus will now speak as the attorney general.

The censure motion will continue – but it will pass, given the government holds the numbers in the house.


Morrison finishes his speech

He finishes with:

I conclude, Mr Speaker, by thanking the Australian people for the privilege of being able to serve my country in so many roles, but especially, Mr Speaker, as prime minister. Mr Speaker, I gave it everything I had. I did it to the best of my ability. And in the best of faith, each and every day I had the privilege to serve the Australian people.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison speaks during a censure motion against him in the House of Representatives this morning.
Former prime minister Scott Morrison speaks during a censure motion against him in the House of Representatives this morning. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Scott Morrison delivers his thanks

And then the thanks:

It is an honour to serve in this House and I have done that for these past 15 years and I am grateful again to the people of Cook for their strong support during this time, including most recently. I thank them for their encouragement, their many messages of support, as I and my family have returned to our dear home in the Shire.

I also thank my local Liberal party members for their constant support and my local church community in Horizon Church for their prayers, and people of faith from all around the country have extended the same. I have been humbled by your messages of support and encouragement.

I thank again my colleagues here in this place for their support. It has been an honour to serve alongside you. I especially thank my wife, Jenny, and our daughters, Abbey and Lily, my family and friends for their love and support, as well as my former staff for their great loyalty. You must always be proud of what you accomplished during our time working together.


Morrison: “have you ever had to deal with a crisis where the outlook was completely unknown?”

After moving through another list of achievements as prime minister, Scott Morrison says:

For those who wish to add their judgement today on my actions in supporting this censure motion, I simply suggest that they stop and consider the following – have you ever had to deal with a crisis where the outlook was completely unknown?

In such circumstances, were you able to get all the decisions perfectly right? And where you may have made errors, were you fortunate enough for them to have had no material impact on the result and the result itself proved to be world-leading?

Once you have considered your own experience, or what happens when you have had more in government, then you may wish to cast the first stone in this place.

Groans as Morrison delivers this line: "Once you have considered your own experience, or what happens when you have had more in government, then you may wish to cast the first stone in this

Earlier, he said he was turning the other cheek.

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) November 29, 2022

Perhaps the response to these difficult times and events is not to go down that path, Mr Speaker, but down the path of thankfulness that Australia’s performance through the pandemic was one of the strongest in the developed world, to appreciate, in humility, not in retribution, that no country and no leader got all the decisions right, and grace police, Mr Speaker, take up the lessons that have been learned and equip us to even do better in the future.

Scott Morrison responds to censure motion.
Scott Morrison responds to censure motion. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Morrison: I am proud of the many achievements that I have been able to accomplish

And then we get to the crux of who Scott Morrison is – never look back.

Morrison once declared he had no interest in leaving a legacy. In doing so, he created one of never reflecting, never examining and never accepting blame.

Mr Speaker, I have seen bitterness destroy people who have come to this place and it continues to gnaw away at them each and every day of their lives for even decades after they leave this place.

I am not one of those. Nor will I ever be. I am proud of the many achievements that I have been able to accomplish in this place, especially as prime minister, and I am very grateful for the opportunities and to thank, and to all of those I worked with to achieve them.


Scott Morrison:

Mr Speaker, this motion fails to [reasonably and fairly weigh these decisions against the overarching success of the other decisions taken], and sadly, therefore, betrays its true motive: that it is entirely partisan.

The government’s response to censure and prosecute this motion is to engage in the politics of retribution and nothing less.

These are the behaviours of an opposition, Mr Speaker, not a government, who understands that grace in victory is a virtue.

As a government, Mr Speaker, I recommend that their response should simply be to implement the recommendations of the Bell inquiry, which I support, and focus their attention on their current and urgent responsibilities to address the many challenges Australians are now facing on their watch, especially the cost of living. How we respond to these events, Mr Speaker, is up to each and every one of us.

For mine, I will take the instruction of my faith and turn the other cheek.

Since the election, I have refrained from public comment, despite provocation, other than on local issues, and to note the actions and achievements of my government.

I accepted the result, as I should, willingly, and happily, of the last election and wished the new government every success and have sought to move on with my life with my family and to continue to serve the people of my local electorate in Cook.

I voluntarily stepped down from the leadership of my party and gave my full support to the new leadership, whom I commend, and I thank them for their support, especially the leader of the opposition and the deputy leader of the opposition.

And I thank all of my colleagues for the same, both former and current, both now and over a long period of time, and in that I particularly acknowledge the former treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, the former minister for health and aged care, Greg Hunt, and the member for Riverina who, together, the four of us, dealt with so much of that crisis, each and every day, together.


Morrison says his unique awareness of national interests at the time ‘limits the ability for third parties … to sit in judgment’

Scott Morrison:

Mr Speaker, I note the criticisms made of my decisions to be authorised to administer a series departments have been made from the safety and relative calm of hindsight.

I also note that as prime minister, my awareness of issues regarding national security at this time and the national interests was broader than known to any individual ministers or third party could. This limits the ability for third parties to draw definitive conclusions on such matters and sit in judgment.

During the course of my prime ministership, I made many decisions. These decisions were taken during an extremely challenging period, where there was a need for considerable urgency and there was great stress on the system and individuals.

None of us can claim to be infallible in such circumstances, and I do not, and there are always lessons to be learned from such times and events.

Mr Speaker, I acknowledge that non-disclosure of arrangements has caused unintentional offence and extend an [inaudible] to those who were offended, but Mr Speaker, I do not apologise for taking action, especially prudent redundancy action, in a national crisis in order to save lives and to save livelihoods.

I also agree with and thank the many, Mr Speaker, who have expressed their support that any perceived deficiencies in the handling of these matters must be reasonably and fairly weighed against the overarching success of the other decisions taken and efforts made under extreme pressure to save lives and livelihoods.


‘Strange to describe such actions as a power grab’: Morrison

Scott Morrison has now decided he didn’t need to do what he did. Niki Savva reports in her book, Bulldozed, that when Josh Frydenberg asked him if he would do it again, he first said yes, and then a little while later, decided no, he wouldn’t. His first instinct though, was to say he would.

Today he says:

I now consider that these decisions in hindsight were unnecessary … and that insufficient consideration was given to these decisions at the time, including … disclosure. I now accept the recommendations put forward by the Bell inquiry as an appropriate remedy to these shortcomings.

I note again that these authorities were never exercised and as a result had no impact on the functions or actions of the government. It is strange to describe such actions as a power grab, as they were never exercised or even used to exercise influence over the relevant ministers.

They were simply a dormant redundancy. In relation to a decision to take authority to administer the Department of Industry, Science, Resources and Technology, for the purposes of being able to consider Pep11, I do not resile from that action. The authority was lawfully sought and exercised on a specific matter solely.

I considered it unnecessary to dismiss the minister to deal with this matter, as he was doing a fine job, and unlawful to inappropriately pressure him in relation to this decision. I therefore lawfully took the decision from first principles in his place.

I believe the decision I made on Pep11 was the correct one.


Scott Morrison:

No leader and no nation had a perfect record, but Australia can be proud that we had one of the very best. At the same time, significant powers were act by the government, including under the biosecurity act and in financial delegations to the Minister for Finance that were beyond the oversight of Cabinet.

I elected to put in place a redundancy to those powers and an oversight on these powers in the departments of health and finance. I do not resile from these decisions and believe them entirely necessary, mirroring many procedures being implemented in the private sector at the time.

My omission was not informing the minister for finance who I believed had been informed through my office. I was mistaken about that, which was only brought to my attention when I made these matters public.

I’ve addressed this issue directly with the then minister for finance. Had I been asked about these matters at the time at the numerous press conferences I held, I would have responded truthfully about the arrangements I had put in place*.

The recommendations of the Bell inquiry will appropriately remedy this deficiency in the future, and I support them.

The decision to take on the authority to administer departments of Treasury and home affairs in 2021 as a dormant redundancy for decisions that were not subject to Cabinet oversight was to be able to take swift action if necessary in the national interests in a time when Australia’s interests were under constant threat.

*Given that this has never happened before, there would be no reason for anyone to ever ask about it


Scott Morrison is now going through a roll call of people and organisations which have praised Australia’s (early) Covid response and how it had been labelled the “gold standard”.

This doesn’t have anything to do with Morrison taking on extra ministries in secret. There is no link here, other than Morrison using the opportunity to say his pandemic response was bang on and therefore, decisions he made doing it were understandable.

It does not answer the question – why did he do it?

There was no reason to. There was no reason to keep it secret. And going through a well-worn list of dot points of the successes during the response – jobkeeper is mentioned, as is the Triple A credit rating, but the delay in obtaining vaccines and “emerging from the cave” is not.


Morrison says secret ministries came amid ‘extremely challenging times’

Scott Morrison then turns to his substantive excuse – that no one had seen anything like the pandemic before and no one knew what would happen and he not only steered Australia through it, but the nation emerged stronger.

On the substantive matters, I return to those now, in each of the decisions taken during my time as prime minister to administer departments, I note again that our nation faced the greatest challenges we had experienced since the second world war: drought, natural disasters, a global pandemic, the global and domestic recession the pandemic caused, and a rising and assertive China seeking to coerce Australia into submission.

These were extremely challenging times. To put the economic challenge in context, according to the IMF during the first year of the pandemic, the global economy shrank by 3.1%. This is more than 30 times the magnitude of the economic decline during the global financial crisis of 2009. That was a crisis.

During this period, we were fighting for our very survival, from a public health, economic and national security perspective. As prime minister, I sought to exercise my responsibility during this extremely difficult period in a matter that would best advance and protect Australia’s national interest in the welfare of the Australian people. That is what I had pledged to do.

And I am pleased that through these efforts and the efforts of so many others that I worked with closely, Australia is able to emerge in this period of significant crisis in a safer and more prosperous position than almost any other country in the world, Mr Speaker. That was the objective of my government, Mr Speaker, and together with my colleagues here, and who formerly sat with us, that was achieved.


Scott Morrison continues with his technical arguments which amount to him saying he did not do anything wrong.

Just because a minister is sworn to administer our department does not mean they hold the office of minister in that portfolio.

… That the public would also be under the impression that the prime minister did not have authority over government departments is extremely unlikely. Furthermore, the proposition that the public would not hold the prime minister accountable for the actions of the government is also not credible, and counter to the argument that was put forward by the opposition when I was prime minister, each and every day that I sat in this house.

Returning to the issue of being sworn, I was not sworn to hold the office of any of those ministerial portfolios, and as a result any contention that I served as minister of those portfolios in that office is false.


Scott Morrison:

In addressing the matters that are subject to the motion, I repeat that I have welcomed and supported the recommendations of the Bell inquiry, and I note the following facts to the house.

[The ministries were] only to be activated in extraordinary circumstances evidenced by the fact that no powers were exercised under these authorities except in the case that led to the decision, as such circumstances were not realised and therefore none of these authorities were misused.

The solicitor general found that the authorities established to administer departments in this way were valid and were not unlawful.

Other than in the case of the Pep11 decision, ministers exercised their portfolio authorities fully, without intervention or the threat of intervention.

Departments supported their ministers in that capacity without uncertainty, regarding their ministerial authorities.

As prime minister, I did not act as minister, or engage in any co-minister arrangements as suggested, including requiring the receipt of any parallel briefing or co-authorising arrangements, except in the very specific case of the Pep11 decision, and otherwise for this department.

On the Pep11 decision, this was done lawfully and I consider my decision to be the correct one. My intent to exercise these powers was also advised to the minister in advance of exercising those powers.

The ministry was tabled in parliament, referenced as it does that ministers may be sworn to administer additional departments*.

*This has been an excuse Morrison has deployed previously. But it did not say the prime minister had those additional responsibilities.


Scott Morrison says he is 'proud' of his record in response to censure motion

The former prime minister stands up from his backbench seat in no man’s land (right at the back) and reads from a prepared speech.

I thank the Australian people for the privilege to serve as their prime minister. I thank the people of Cook for the privilege they have given me to serve in this house. I thank my colleagues, here in this place, and in previous parliaments who have asked me in the past the faith they have placed on me.

Mr Speaker, I am proud of my achievements in this place, and I am proud of my government, Mr Speaker. I am proud, Mr Speaker, at a time of extreme trial, my government stood up and faced the abyss of uncertainty that our country looked into and the coercion of a region and saw Australia through the storm.

Australia emerged stronger under my government. I have no intention now of submitting to the political intimidation of this government, using its numbers in this place to impose its retribution on a political opponent.


Tony Burke finishes with:

On this occasion, the conduct of one member prevented the house from doing its job. The conduct of one member prevented the house from knowing who was responsible for what. The fact that that one member was also the prime minister of Australia means that what we are dealing with now is not just unprecedented – could not have been predicted – but is so completely unacceptable.

For members today, I say to those opposite, there will be some thinking that yes, they oppose it, but their party has made a decision that they have to fall in and follow what their leader wants and that is just where they are at.

The Coalition gets activated at this.

Paul Karp tells me that Michael McCormack begins grumbling:

You’d get expelled – we’ve at least got a free vote. We won’t be lectured by you!

Which is not the excuse he thinks it is, given that means they are choosing not to censure Morrison for this.

Michael Sukkar also seems to have a lot to say.


Thresholds to warrant censure have been ‘met more strongly today than it ever has been’: Tony Burke

Tony Burke continues:

I hear the comment there, it’s just politics. If that is the attitude, then you would never have censured Bruce Billson.

Every single threshold that has previously resulted in a censure being given of a member is met today and is met more strongly today than it ever has been before.

This place runs on rules and conventions. The mere existence of the office of prime minister and the existence of a cabinet is a convention. It is not in the constitution, it is not required, it is a convention on which our system of government hangs.

The concept that the parliament knows who has what job is essential to responsible government. You cannot have responsible government if you do not know what people are responsible for.

And for two years we did not know. For two years, the ministers themselves did not know. For two years, departmental secretaries were unaware of who the ministers were to whom they had responsibility.

The gravity of what we are dealing with today is a censure motion beyond what the parliament has previously dealt with, because previously what we have dealt with is a conduct of one member being sufficiently bad that we needed to defend the house as a whole, to see that is not allowed to happen.


At this point there is an interjection: “It is just politics, pure politics.”

Paul Karp, who is in the chamber, says that came from Scott Morrison’s seat mate, Alex Hawke.


Tony Burke continues:

At the start of question time each day, when a minister is not present, every prime minister has an obligation to allow the house to know who answers questions on their behalf.

And yet at those exact moments, the former prime minister never once said that he in fact was sworn into different portfolios and could answer those questions as well.

The pathway of question time, the pathway of what this house did last term was different because we were deceived.

It was different, questions were asked in different forms to different people, because we were not told.

Now, it is true that what happened here was the end of a long process of enabling. When conventions were attacked one after the other, it led in a direct line to where we ended up.

When we had the situation of it being constant, silencing of opposition voices; when we had a cabinet committee with only one member; when we had a circumstance where, for the first time in living memory, a speaker, a member of their own party, made a recommendation for a privileges reference which could have led to censure of one of their own, [and] they used their numbers to prevent the independence of the speaker being recognised.


‘It beggars belief that anyone could forget that they had been appointed treasurer’

Tony Burke:

It beggars belief that the member for Cook would somehow argue that [multiple ministries] would be made public in the Gazette and he was making sure that he would not tell the ministers themselves, and when asked about the ministers, he said the reason he did not want to tell them, this was on 17 August, was ‘I did not wish ministers to be second-guessing themselves’.

Both cannot be true!

It cannot be the case that it was presumed to be coming out of the Gazette, and it was important for people not to be told.

To this day, the different versions being offered by the member for Cook cannot, cannot reconcile themselves with each other, in the same way that when this started to emerge, when only health, finance, and industry and resource appointments have been known, on radio, the member for Cook said, when he was asked, ‘Just so we can be clear, are there other portfolios that you assumed any control over?’

The answer: ‘Not to my recollection. I don’t recall any others being actioned.’

It beggars belief that anyone in Australia’s history could forget that they had been appointed treasurer.

It just beggars belief.


Scott Morrison has looked up at different times during this. As Tony Burke spoke about the undermining of core conventions, he looked up and blinked, quite rapidly, before returning to whatever it is he is keeping himself occupied with at his desk.

The opposition is also in the chamber and most are busy with things at their desk, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is going to stand up to defend Morrison here.


Morrison did not tell colleagues of ministries but told ‘some journalists writing a book’: Burke

Tony Burke says the multiple ministries undermined one of the core tenets of the parliament’s conventions, and the parliament must protect its conventions.

The core of responsible government was breached with the multiple appointments. In doing so, the member for Cook did not tell ministers themselves that he had sworn into their portfolios.

His cabinet was not told.

The department secretaries were not told.

The parliament was not told, and through the parliament the Australian people were not told.

The member for Cook, in doing this, did not just fall below the standards expected; he undermined them, rejected them, he attacked them, and he abused them.

How do we even know that all this happened?

We know because at the same time that the member for Cook was not telling his colleagues, was not telling the parliament and was not telling the Australian people, he was telling some journalists writing a book.

He thought it was interesting to contribute to the publication of a book, but not important to let anybody know whether it was directly relevant to them.


‘No one else’ besides Morrison thought secret ministries were acceptable: Tony Burke

Tony Burke said the last time a censure motion was made against a former minister, it was done so unanimously and was because “he fell below the standards expected of a member of the house”.


It was not that he had acted unlawfully, it was that he had fallen below the standards expected of a member of the house. That is the test. The test for a censure, while rare, is not a test of what would have the courts have ruled.

The court is the place to determine whether or not something was lawful, but in the parliament, we determine whether or not something was appropriate.

And I ask all members to think back to the first moment they heard about the multiple ministries, what their reaction was, some gave their reaction on the record, many more gave their reaction off the record. But nobody gave a reaction – with the exception for the member for Cook himself – no one else gave a reaction that said this was acceptable, or that it met the standards expected of this house.


Scott Morrison censure motion begins in parliament

Tony Burke is moving the censure motion against Scott Morrison in the House of Representatives.

Scott Morrison is in the parliament, but has his head down and is very, very busy with work.


Warrandyte MP Ryan Smith withdraws bid for Victorian Liberals leadership

The MP for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith, has withdrawn his candidacy for the leadership of the Victorian Liberals.

In a statement, Smith said his vision for the party’s future is closely aligned with fellow leadership contender, Berwick MP Brad Battin, so he will be supporting him:

Brad will make an outstanding leader - positive, energetic and a person of integrity. He also represents one of Melbourne’s growth areas, a demographic in which our Party’s future lies.

Thank you to my colleagues who have generously offered their support, it is appreciated.

In an interview with Guardian Australia earlier this week, Smith said the party needed to look towards the outer suburbs for a pathway to victory, noting double-digit swings towards the Liberals in Labor-held seats including Broadmeadows, Greenvale, Mill Park, St Albans and Yan Yean.


Customers accumulating energy bill debts as power prices rise

While we are still on energy, Peter Hannam will bring you some more on this, but the Australian Energy Regulator has just released its annual retail markets report and you will be shocked – SHOCKED, I tell you – to learn that power prices are up. Well up.

Up enough that the AER chair, Clare Savage, has reiterated the need for a “gamechanger” in the market, particularly for people already in hardship programs.

From the release:

The report shows the number of customers holding debt over $2,500 for more than two years had increased by 39% throughout the year.

It also showed that almost 50% of all customers in hardship programs are not meeting their ongoing energy usage costs, suggesting they are accumulating more debt while in the hardship program.

According to the analysis, customers on hardship programs consume up to 81% more electricity than average. As a result, customers on hardship programs in low-income households could pay between 1.2% and 3.7% more of their disposable income in electricity costs.


The need to support customers experiencing vulnerability in the energy market, increase participation and improve affordability has never been greater.

Many of the debt and hardship metrics and indicators presented in our report may worsen over time because of the impact of rising wholesale gas and electricity costs in 2022.

Some customers have already faced double digit price rises of up to 20% for electricity and 15% for gas in this current financial year.


Industry minister says ‘let’s wait and see’ whether states come on board with coal price caps

The industry minister, Ed Husic, was also on ABC radio RN Breakfast where he was asked what would happen if NSW and Queensland didn’t come on board the lower (coal) energy prices plan at the next national cabinet meeting?

(Murph covered that off yesterday:)

So what does Husic think, particularly about Queensland?

Let’s wait and see. I think there’s a bit of time between now and then.

Q: What’s your message to Queensland? The Queensland premier has expressed concern, wants compensation for … the way that any capping of coal affects her state. What do you say to her to get her across the line?

Husic, who has a bachelor in smart-arsery, responds:

My message is I love Queensland.

Q: Something more specific with policy detail.


I was hoping you wouldn’t ask me that detail.

Look, quips aside – obviously the states, they’ve got views and they’re expressing them. But there’s also a recognition from the states, because I’ve spoken with state ministers about this matter, bringing a sense of unity around the need to lower prices and to find a way through – really important.

And the reason why I said let’s wait and see – because as we well know, and it is a tired, tired saying, but you know, a week is a long time in politics.

We’ll work through those issues, but I dohave a lot of faith in the fact that the states recognise with us that we need to get those prices down.

So will Queensland need some compensation?


Well, you’re presuming that we won’t be able to find common ground and I believe that we will.


For those looking for the report Ken Wyatt referred to in his interview with Patricia Karvelas this morning, you can find it here.

The pages 16-17 set out a lot of detail on how a voice would work.


It is pretty rare for a speaker to make a submission, specifically in their capacity as speaker, so it would seem Milton Dick wants to leave a little bit of a legacy – making the parliamentary chamber a more orderly place.

Before he was speaker, Dick led an inquiry into how to make question time better, which was ignored by the previous government.

It would be a brave parliament indeed which ignored suggestions from the speaker though.


Milton Dick also makes these recommendations for things he believes may improve the parliament:

Offensive words or reflections on Members Standing Orders 88 to 90, for example, provide that Members should not use offensive words or cast adverse reflections on Members, but they do not refer specifically to language or behaviour that is sexist or otherwise exclusionary or discriminatory. Revisions to these Standing Orders, so that they explicitly include that this type of conduct is highly disorderly, would be advantageous to the Chair in ruling on such matters.

Education and procedural support

The principal mechanism for raising a grievance against another Member is via a point of order (Standing Order 86).

At times, Members may be unaware of options available to them or feel that they are ineffective in addressing their concerns, at the time that an instance of offensive conduct occurs.

The use of ‘offensive words’ or ‘reflections’ can also be highly subjective and only adversely felt by the person to whom it is directed, which can sometimes be difficult for the Chair to pick up on.

Training and support:

particularly for new Members Educational opportunities that focus on options for addressing grievances could benefit Members to better understand their expectations and opportunities when such matters arise.

This would lead to a more consistent application of procedural best practice.

Statement of principles

The Committee may wish to include statements of guiding principles in the Standing Orders that outline behavioural standards, the expectations of Members, and ways in which they can assist the Chair. This could also benefit the Speaker in maintaining a respectful work environment.


Speaker Milton Dick recommends more options for sanctioning disorderly MPs

The speaker of the house, Milton Dick, has made a rare submission (for a speaker) into a parliamentary committee inquiry into recommendations made in the Setting the Standard report.

Dick makes the point that he doesn’t have a lot of options at hand if a MP gets disorderly. And that it would help the speaker to have a few more cards to play:

Sanctions against disorder Under Standing Order 94{a), the Speaker may direct a Member to leave the Chamber for one hour if the Member’s conduct is considered disorderly. At times, this direction to leave can be advantageous to a Member or be worn as a ‘badge of honour’.

If a Member’s conduct is grossly disorderly, the Speaker can choose to name the Member in accordance with Standing Order 94{b), but in practice this option is not often used and not used for ordinary offences. It would assist the Speaker to have additional options to sanction a Member for disorderly conduct. For example, choices for increased penalties of time, and/or the introduction of cascading penalties of time for continued disorder, would be a disincentive to Members to be ejected.


'It is laziness' to use excuse of not knowing detail on voice to parliament: Ken Wyatt

Ken Wyatt also said the “detail” is already in the publicly available report and he is scathing of people who are saying “we don’t know the detail”.

I would tell everybody: go to the National Indigenous Australian agency, download the report on the voice and look at the pages I’ve just recommended – pages 16 to 17. That is the detail.

Now the legislative detail, if it reflects the model that our people have raised and the various reports is put into place then there is no excuse to say you do not know the detail.

It is laziness.

…I think it’s being used as an excuse. And to my mind, it offers up a level of immaturity around a very complex issue, because even in listening to my former colleague, David [Littleproud] saying they want pragmatic approaches. When I went out to communities, Indigenous people had not had ministers come out to their communities and sit their butts down in the red dirt and listen to them.

They went to organisations which suited them. Now I would challenge them, as I did when I was in the house.

I challenge every federal member to get out of their offices, go to the Aboriginal organisations within their electorates, sit and listen to the issues, see first-hand what Aboriginal people are talking about.

Because they’re talking about those 17 targets within the Closing the Gap strategy and I want media people to read those pages as well so that they’re much more informed than what I’ve been hearing in some quarters.

I even offered a journalist an opportunity of sitting with them and walking them through those pages so that they understood it, because they were saying the same thing – ‘we don’t know the detail’.

Just learn to read.


‘We have failed on multiple fronts’ in efforts to close the gap: Ken Wyatt

Ken Wyatt says the detail is there and has been for some time and he thinks the argument of not knowing the detail is “just an excuse”.

Wyatt is also critical of comments made by CLP senator Jacinta Price about Linda Burney (although he does not name her).

What people are doing is just hooking on to just elements of the Uluru dialogue, but the Uluru dialogue was an important step in raising national consideration around a status that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience and live every day, and I hear the derogatory term ‘elites’.

The ‘elites’ … are champions for Aboriginal people to have a better outcome in life, and the Closing the Gap targets that I took through our cabinet, and through national cabinet, and through every state and territory parliament cabinet are the same 17 target areas that the royal commission argued for and recommended should be addressed if we were going to change the lives of Aboriginal Australians.

So we have failed on multiple fronts.

And I am not hearing from the Nationals solutions to the complexities that are problems [that are still] there with Aboriginal people on the ground.


Ken Wyatt says he took detail of Aboriginal voice to parliament to Morrison government twice

The former Coalition minister for Indigenous Affairs, Ken Wyatt, has told ABC radio RN he took detail of what a voice to parliament would look like to the Morrison government cabinet. Twice.

So people who were ministers at the time would be fully aware of this report. And what is obvious with the National party is they have not read the report and have not given an Aboriginal voice to parliament, an opportunity to be aired and to be listened to and be implemented.


Good morning

We have made it to Wednesday. Which is also Scott Morrison censure debate day AKA the Coalition see nothing to censure day.

Tony Burke will move the motion in the house, and then there will be a short debate about why the former prime minister should be censured/shouldn’t be censured. There will be a vote and it will carry, because the government have the numbers in the house.

Bridget Archer is the only Coalition MP who has so far said they are “inclined” to support the censure, given she has previously criticised his actions in secretly taking on additional ministries.

Morrison stood up in the party room yesterday and thanked the people he led into an electoral defeat for their support.

He also made a pretty big show yesterday of pretending their were no issues with his backbench seat mate, Alex Hawke, who had told Niki Savva for her book Bulldozed that Morrison was “addicted to power”. Hawke released a statement distancing himself from his own words yesterday, but didn’t actually deny he said it.

So you know, everything is going great in the Coalition six months on from losing the election. Everyone has their shiz together and knows exactly where the party is going.

Meanwhile, the latest Closing the Gap report has been released and it is not great news, with positive movement in only two of the 18 targets and four going backwards.

Targets improving or “on track”:

· Babies born with a healthy birthweight (89.5%)

· Children enrolled in preschool (96.7%)

Targets worsening or “not on track”:

· Children being school ready (34.3%)

· Adults in prison (2222 per 100,000)

· Children in out-of-home care (57.6 per 1000)

· Deaths by suicide (27.9 per 100,000)

Given the Nationals have already come out and said they won’t be supporting an Indigenous voice to parliament because it will do nothing to close the gap, when the gap is not being closed with what we are already doing, there will be more questions today for the junior Coalition party.

Linda Burney is hopeful there will be movement. She told ABC 7.30 last night:

The Nationals have made a decision, but I do note that it’s not unanimous. We’ve got a member of the National party in the federal parliament, Andrew Gee, the member for Calare, being very vocal today through a Facebook post saying that he will support the voice. We’ve had the leader of the National party in Western Australia saying that they will support the voice. So, I think there is some way to run in terms of this discussion.

Burney also said there would be no public funds for either campaign.

The Labor party has made what I think is a very prudent and responsible decision. We will be using public funds to fund a civics campaign, so people know about what referendums are, people understand what the constitution is about and that people are well informed about referendums and how you vote in a referendum.

We will not be using public funds to fund a Yes or a No campaign. We believe those campaigns can raise their own money, through private means. I believe that this is a responsible, prudent approach to what is a very serious question that we’re asking the Australian people in the next financial year.

Most of the chatter is about the vote being held towards the back end of 2023, but it is just chatter at the moment and will depend on a lot of things – like the public mood.

We’ll cover the day and you have Katharine Murphy, Josh Butler, Paul Karp and Daniel Hurst to help you through. You also have Mike Bowers to take you into the chamber. I, Amy Remeikis, will be on the blog for most of the day. Along with an IV of coffee. I had cake for breakfast again. So, yeah, it is that sort of day.


Let’s get into it.


Covid cruise ship outbreak alert for Melbourne

A cruise ship with a Covid-19 outbreak aboard is set to sail into Victoria tomorrow, AAP reports.

It is unclear exactly how many cases are on the Grand Princess, which can carry nearly 4,000 passengers and crew and is due to arrive in Melbourne on Thursday.

“Like many other tourism operators, we too have been impacted by the current fourth wave being experienced across Australia,” a Princess Cruises spokesperson said in a statement.

The Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of Alaska.
The Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of Alaska. Photograph: Becky Bohrer/AP

The Victorian health minister, Mary-Anne Thomas, said she expected any cases onboard to stay away from the rest of the community.

“That’s the most important thing,” she told reporters.

“We know now that there are many cases of Covid that are not being counted or reported.”

About 95% of guests on Princess Cruises vessels must be vaccinated, with the remaining 5% of places allocated to those with medical exemptions.

Passengers with the virus are required to isolate for five days and their close contacts must have a test each day before leaving their cabin.


Closing the Gap reports on 'mixed progress'

My colleague Josh Butler has filed this take on the latest Closing the Gap report delivered this morning by Indigenous affairs minister, Linda Burney.

Indigenous social outcomes are “a story of mixed progress”, Burney said in the report, with just four of the 18 socio-economic targets being on track, and the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, calling some of the gaps “a chasm”.

“We can and we must do better on the four Priority Reforms and all 18 socio-economic targets,” Burney said in the report.

“I understand that many First Nations communities are frustrated by a lack of progress.”

Indigenous affairs Minister Linda Burney will discuss the Closing The Gap report today.
Indigenous affairs Minister Linda Burney will discuss the Closing The Gap report today. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

The latest data, released on Wednesday, found that the target of closing the gap in Indigenous life expectancy by 2031 is not on track; while targets around children commencing school, adults in prison, children in out-of-home care and people taking their own lives were worsening.

Targets around babies born with a healthy birthweight, children enrolled in preschool and young people in detention are on track, as well as the amount of land subject to Indigenous peoples’ rights and interests. However, all others were not.

The report noted that some assessments “should be used with caution as it is based on a limited number of data points”.

“For the majority of socio-economic targets there is still little new data available to reliably track trends, although important work has been undertaken to improve the data,” it said.

In a statement in the report, Burney said there had been progress in recent years in life outcomes and school attendance, “but also persistent and disappointing results in a number of other areas such as out-of-home care rates and adult imprisonment”.

In his own statement, Albanese said “for some of the targets, what we so gently call a gap has remained a chasm”.

Burney noted the government had invested $1.2bn over six years in its recent federal budget, for Indigenous health and social projects. She said closing the gap was a “top priority” and her government had “unequivocal” support for the project.

“The numbers in the annual report tell an important story – a story of mixed progress,” she said in a statement.

“The Closing the Gap architecture can only work when all parties are invested and there is a coordinated effort from all jurisdictions in partnership with First Nations peoples.

“We have to work more closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make real and much needed progress.”

Government to cap gas prices, ABC claims

The ABC claims a scoop that Anthony Albanese will cap wholesale gas prices at about $12 a gigajoule as pressure mounts on the government to intervene in the market.

ABC also reports that the government will demand a guaranteed domestic gas supply from producers, and enforce a mandatory code of conduct as part of a market intervention first flagged five weeks ago.

Subsidies are also under consideration but are likely to be sector-specific to avoid worsening inflation, ABC says.

“We do have to consider everything … because it is so complex,” the resources minister, Madeleine King, told the ABC.

“And to be fair, some things that at one stage we might have thought not possible, maybe we need to rethink these.”


Good morning and welcome to the politics blog. Amy Remeikis will be here shortly to take you through another big day in Canberra, but before that here are some of the stories making news overnight.

  • A Guardian Australia investigation reveals that the government is planning a crackdown on vaping amid alarm about the number of young people becoming addicted to nicotine through the habit. Experts have warned that many children did not know they were consuming nicotine through vaping until it was too late amid rising evidence of an explosion in addiction among children and adolescents. The federal health minister, Mark Butler, says vaping doubled between 2016 and 2019 and will today announce a raft of measures to counter the growing habit.

  • New South Wales residents wrongly penalised for Covid breaches say it is “crazy” that it took a lengthy and costly court case to force the state government to withdraw 33,000 invalid fines for offences it now concedes were too vague. The case initially involved three wrongly fined residents, including Rohan Pank, who was fined in August 2021 for sitting in a park 1km from his home while taking a short break from exercising. He challenged the fine and has now succeeded in making the government change tack.

  • With Scott Morrison facing that censure today, Labor released the wording of the motion last night. It notes that Morrison was appointed to five ministries without informing “the cabinet, the relevant departments, the House of Representatives or the Australian public”. “Therefore [the house] censures the member for Cook for failing to disclose the appointments to the House of Representatives, the Australian people and the cabinet, which undermined responsible government and eroded public trust in Australia’s democracy,” the motion states. Read our full story here.

  • And the latest Closing the Gap report has been delivered by the minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, who said “we can and we must do better”, with just four of the 18 targets on track while four had worsened. The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, in a statement said that for some targets, “what we so gently call a gap has remained a chasm”.


Mostafa Rachwani and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

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Prime minister tells Tracy Grimshaw ‘I could have been more sensitive at times’; nation records 66 Covid deaths. This blog is now closed

Tory Shepherd and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

17, May, 2022 @10:13 AM

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Albanese voted winner of election forum with 40% of votes to Morrison’s 35% – as it happened
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Tory Shepherd (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

20, Apr, 2022 @11:09 AM

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Leaders face off in final debate – as it happened
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Tory Shepherd (now), Stephanie Convery and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

11, May, 2022 @1:31 PM

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Sharma labels Deves’s comments on trans people ‘reprehensible’ – as it happened
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Tory Shepherd and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

21, Apr, 2022 @10:17 AM

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Final polls roll in as campaign hits home stretch – as it happened
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Tory Shepherd, Calla Wahlquist and Amy Remeikis

20, May, 2022 @10:47 AM

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Plibersek says Albanese has a ‘tough job’ as polls tighten – as it happened
Follow all the day’s developments live

Tory Shepherd and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

19, May, 2022 @10:19 AM

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Stuart Robert says ‘too late’ to debate Tanya Plibersek on education – as it happened
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Tory Shepherd (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

10, May, 2022 @10:23 AM

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Albanese says former PM owes apology to Australian people – as it happened
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Mostafa Rachwani and Natasha May

18, Aug, 2022 @9:08 AM

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Senator takes aim at ‘bullies’ as voice row escalates – as it happened
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Mostafa Rachwani and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

29, Nov, 2022 @7:58 AM