The day that was, Monday 5 September

That is where we will wrap up the live blog for Monday.

Here’s some of what happened on the first sitting day this week:

  • Welfare payments will be indexed in line with inflation from 20 September. This is an automatic increase and is going up to the highest rate in 30 years because inflation has been rising so high.

  • The Greens senator Janet Rice has called on the government to scrap the stage three tax cuts and raise the jobseeker rate.

  • The president of Timor-Leste, Dr José Ramos-Horta, will be visiting Australia from tomorrow.

  • The government voted with the crossbench to allow crossbench members to have three questions per question time, but refused a Coalition push to require question time to run until 3.30pm.

  • Half of Australia’s gross domestic product is generated by industries with a “moderate to very high” direct dependence on nature, according to a new study that argues for a stronger suite of environment laws to protect the economy.

  • In her first speech, independent MP for Fowler, Dai Le, wore a traditional Vietnamese dress emblazoned with the Australian flag that was made by a designer in her western Sydney electorate. Le said her community were the “forgotten people” in the election.

  • Le also called for the government to extend the fuel excise cut for another six months.

Amy will be back with you tomorrow morning for the next sitting day. Until then, enjoy your evening.


Ticket sales for the @mcg semi-finals:

🏟 58,000 sold for @CollingwoodFC match including 4,500 @freodockers members who bought tickets.

🏟28,000 sold for @melbournefc match (3,900 @brisbanelions members).

This does not include MCC tickets. @7NewsMelbourne

— Blake Johnson (@BlakeJohnson) September 5, 2022

Major delays across Jetstar services

Thousands of Jetstar passengers have had their travel plans disrupted in Australia and Asia as the carrier’s fleet was hit by problems ranging from lightning and bird strikes to a missing spare part.

AAP reports the low-cost carrier on Monday apologised to passengers after eight return services between Melbourne and Sydney in Australia and Denpasar in Bali, Indonesia were cancelled since the beginning of the month.

“Unfortunately, our Boeing 787 fleet has been impacted by a number of issues” a Jetstar spokesperson said. The Qantas subsidiary said it had accommodated a majority of affected passengers and was working to find alternatives for about 200 more.

Furious passengers took to social media to vent their frustrations after last-minute flight cancellations to and from Indonesia, Thailand and Japan. Some passengers reported having multiple flight cancellations in the same day, no alternative flights for up to five days and limited access to customer service.

“My elderly parents stranded in Bangkok with no help or guidance from anyone!” Melbourne woman Filiz Tigli tweeted.

It comes after recent reports of Australian Jetstar passengers being stuck at Tokyo’s Narita airport overnight without food and water, due to strict Covid-19 border controls.


Independent lodges motion to disallow $18m grant from former government to mystery foundation

This is in relation to an $18m grant given in the final budget of the Morrison government, to a charity that was set up last year. The ABC has reported on it here.

Today, I lodged notice of a motion to disallow the Morrison govt’s mysterious $18m ‘special grant’ for a non-operational leadership program, co-signed by @WilkieMP

There is insufficient evidence supporting this peculiar grant.

It must be disallowed and reviewed with rigour.

— Dr Monique Ryan MP (@Mon4Kooyong) September 5, 2022


Thousands of Aboriginal families left without the means to pay for funerals after the collapse of the predatory insurer ACBF-Youpla will be able to apply for financial relief when an emergency scheme begins on Wednesday.

The interim scheme will be open until 30 November 2023. Eligible families will be able to register on the Treasury website from 7 September. People applying will need to provide documents to support their application, and payments will be made within two weeks of approval, according to the Save Sorry Business coalition.

Australians could face death penalty in Japan under new agreement, committee hears

Australian defence force personnel could face the death penalty in Japan under a treaty between the two nations, a federal parliamentary committee has heard.

AAP reports that the Australia-Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement seeks to improve the ability of the countries’ militaries to work together and with other key allies, including the US.

It also sets out a framework for troop activities in each country.

Under questioning, the defence department’s Hugh Jeffrey told the joint standing committee on treaties that Australians who committed serious offences while in Japan could be sentenced to death under its judicial system, which includes capital punishment.

“The possibility that we think that Australian Defence Force personnel would be involved in such criminal activity we think is, is vanishingly small,” he said.

“But were a person to commit such a terrible crime, while they are not on official duties, that the possibility is encompassed they could be subject to the death penalty.”

He said negotiations were “challenging” and “complex” and were the first time Japan had ever held discussions for a military access agreement with another country since the end of the Second World War.

But finalising negotiations for the pact has taken seven and a half years, after the work was begun in 2014 by former prime minister Tony Abbott and his then-Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

Japan’s use of the death penalty has been a major stumbling block, amid fears Australians could be executed for criminal offences committed in Japan.

Jeffrey said it wasn’t “exceptional” that an Australian could be subject to the death penalty, because the nation had reciprocal agreements with other countries that also carried out capital punishment.

These countries included Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.

The committee was told Australia had managed to secure exemptions from the application of the death penalty for its troops in some of those countries, including Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

Labor senator Deborah O’Neill said she wasn’t “convinced that our personnel are safe”.

The next hearing into the agreement between Australia and Japan will be held in October.


New Labor senator Linda White states her political aims

The Labor senator, Linda White, is delivering her first Senate speech.

There’s a big turnout for White - who is a heavy-hitter in the Victorian left and on the ALP national executive - with prime minister Anthony Albanese, deputy PM Richard Marles, ACTU president Michele O’Neil, immigration minister Andrew Giles and assistant treasurer Stephen Jones in attendance.

White recounted her work at the Australian Services Union, including helping workers at Ansett – Australia’s “biggest corporate collapse” – to recoup nearly $760m over decades.

“Markets don’t prioritise the wellbeing of workers – that’s not their purpose and never has been,” she said.

White said:

Industrial relations is not a fair fight, any new laws must take that power imbalance into account. Workers are not a line item on business balance sheets, they’re partners in the success of a business and should be treated as such.

White said her aim in politics is to “make all forms of justice less dependent on money, connections and class”.

She noted trust in politics and politicians at a low point, arguing that “one of the biggest roles for the Albanese government is showing what governing in the public interest looks like”. The national anti-corruption commission will be “a good start”.

Labor Senator Linda White makes her first speech in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra.
Labor Senator Linda White makes her first speech in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Liberal MP urges ‘stocktake’ of Afghanistan conflict

New Liberal MP Keith Wolahan says Australia has “a duty to take stock of our longest war” in Afghanistan, saying the nation must “reference truth-telling over myth-making” in conflict.

Wolahan, Member for Menzies, made his first speech to parliament this afternoon. Born in Dublin in 1977, his family migrated to Melbourne in 1988. He completed three combat tours in Afghanistan in 2008, 2009 and 2014.

In his speech, he noted that he and fellow Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie and Phil Thompson had all been deployed to Afghanistan at the same time in 2009, and called for a “stocktake” of that conflict.

“That stock-take starts with a solemn truth. That young Australians, of every generation, are capable of the most extraordinary bravery and sacrifice. That behind each of the 102,000 names on our war memorial, is a family,” Wolahan said.

“From the allegations in the Brereton Report to the Fall of Kabul, we have a duty to face up to all that happened. Twenty-one years later, we can fairly ask: how did we reorder the world around us?”

“If we answer that question with humility, then we will recognise the limits of military power alone. If we answer that question with honesty, then we will have demonstrated that ours is an open and accountable democracy. That is something worth fighting for.”

Wolahan said he “will be a commando for life”. He later referenced a Ronald Reagan quote, concluding his speech with: “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.”

New Liberal MP Keith Wolahan makes his inaugural speech in the House of Representatives.
New Liberal MP Keith Wolahan makes his inaugural speech in the House of Representatives. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Dai Le calls for fuel excise cut extension

Le said her first speech was emotional, and said buses were organised so her supporters could watch the speech live in parliament today:

Being on the refugee journey of remembering the escape and remembering the journey. No matter how many times I tell that it gets emotional especially because my family was a gallery and so other

refugees and other refugees from other nations, there been through the journey as well. Recalling that was painful because you remember every single moment and I want to get over the pan and I don’t know if I can get over the fact that we will be able to overcome that.

Le says she wasn’t trying to “give a swipe” at the Labor candidate, Kristina Keneally, saying she ran because the community wanted someone from the community, not someone parachuted in.

I think it was about highlighting that our community wanted someone from within the community to stand up and fight for them and defend them. And who understands our plight and our journeys and the experience that we have had. Especially in the last couple of years in particular to have lived through the difficulties and the challenges that we face as a community.

Le says the fuel excise cut should be extended for at least another six months.


MP Dai Le delivers her inaugural address in the House of Representatives

The independent MP for Fowler, Dai Le is up next after her inaugural speech in the House of Representatives. She says the dress emblazoned with Australian flag she wore for her speech is a traditional Vietnamese dress designed by a local designer.

She said:

I felt it was a significant moment for our community and for me and for Australians and for me to acknowledge obviously that Australia has given my family the opportunity to reveal our lives. I want to … remember and acknowledge my own heritage in my own original dress.

I’m a proud Australian with Vietnamese heritage and I want to celebrate that and for me it is … about celebrating being an Australian and the multiple cultures we have become as a nation.

Independent MP for Fowler Dai Le delivers her inaugural speech in the House of Representatives. She said she wished to ‘acknowledge my own heritage in my own original dress’.
Independent MP for Fowler Dai Le delivers her inaugural speech in the House of Representatives. She said she wished to ‘acknowledge my own heritage in my own original dress’. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Minister for early childhood education defends timeframe for delivery of childcare changes

Minister for early childhood education, Anne Aly, is on ABC’s Afternoon Briefing, and says most stakeholders understand why the government can’t bring forward the policy for cheaper childcare from July next year to January 2023.

She said it will be a big change that needs time:

We want to make something that is pretty … it is a pretty radical change, or we are looking up. We have a vision for early childhood education. In order to do that there are a number of things we have to do. First off we have to pass legislation and that has got to happen. Then we have to build the ICT systems (information and computer technology) to cope with the requirements of a new subsidy and a new childcare subsidy system. That takes time. Right now we have … third-party providers who provide software that interfaces with systems for 13,685 services and they support 1.3 million families.

She said the former government’s childcare changes took 50 weeks to implement.

We are hoping to have it ready … by the date that we set in our election commitment, which is July next year. We are working really hard to get everything set up so that when these changes come into place, it runs smoothly and is done effectively.


Albanese rolls out public housing quip – again

Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather was unimpressed by the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, joking that he was “back in public housing” in an answer to his question about rental stress - accusing the PM of “stupid jokes”.

In question time today, Chandler-Mather - who has been campaigning for a rent freeze over cost of living pressures - asked Albanese whether he would put the Greens policy on the national cabinet agenda. Unsurprisingly, the PM basically said no (Labor not exactly being enthusiastic about following the policies of the minor party nipping at their heels in some progressive parts of the country) but the Greens were unhappy about Albanese repeating a joke he’s made a few times recently.

“I am very pleased that I am back in public housing, it has to be said. A lot better than my first public house”.

Albanese grew up in public housing in Sydney, living with his mother who drew a disability pension. The PM has spoken across his entire career of the impact his upbringing had on his life and politics.

Despite Chandler-Mather’s question being about rental stress, not public housing, Albanese’s answer acknowledged people “under stress” and the difficulty people are facing in paying their bills.

As my esteemed colleague Amy Remeikis pointed out earlier, the “public housing” Albanese says he is “back in” is referring to The Lodge (the Canberra mansion with a tennis court and swimming pool) and potentially Kirribilli House, the prime minister’s Sydney residence on Sydney Harbour.

Today I asked the PM about the housing crisis and he joked about the Lodge being public housing. He didn't mention renters. Once. And didn't once acknowledge the terrible conditions many actual public housing tenants live in. We need action on the housing crisis. Not stupid jokes

— Max Chandler-Mather (@MChandlerMather) September 5, 2022

Chandler-Mather tweeted his disappointment at Albanese’s response. His colleague Janet Rice simply tweeted “Wowwwww” at the comments.


— Janet Rice (@janet_rice) September 5, 2022

Albanese has made the same public housing reference at least five more times in media appearances since his election. In a June WSFM interview, speaking of The Lodge, he said “it’s a better form of public housing than the one I grew up in”.

On August 18, he told B105 radio “I’ve moved back into public housing, it’s a lot better than my last public housing where I grew up”; and on August 28, he told Sky News “I’ve returned to public housing.”


Nationals MP calls for extension of fuel excise cut

Nationals MP Kevin Hogan tells ABC’s Afternoon Briefing that it is disappointing the Labor government isn’t extending the cut to the fuel excise – despite the deadline being set by the former Coalition government.

He claims that had the Coalition been re-elected, he would have advocated for it to be extended.

The price has come off a little bit but the pressures on household budgets are as tight as ever and petrol and diesel are a big part of that for motorists, I would be arguing if I was in government to extend that.

Labor MP Susan Templeman says the government would be able to do more if there weren’t a $1tn debt left by the former government.

Hogan said despite this he still supports the stage three tax cuts going ahead, saying it is an effective wage increase. Templeman says the government will keep its promises on the tax cuts, and says getting multinational tax legislation through will bring in more revenue.


Welfare increase ‘the right thing to do,’ says Labor MP

How can Labor be taking credit for the increase in welfare as a result of the automatic adjustment against inflation? Macquarie Labor MP Susan Templeman tells ABC’s Afternoon Briefing that it’s because they’re letting it happen.

She said:

I think the fact that we are letting it go, because it is the right thing to do, is to allow the cost of living increases to go through even though they are really significant ones. 4.7 million people will have an increase and for the people on allowances there is the biggest increase in 30 years. It is the biggest uplift that we have seen in 12 years for pension. That is why the mechanism is there … we should absolutely be telling people about it and be very pleased to be the government who is able to fund this and make it happen.


There’s been a number of votes in the House of Representatives after question time after the crossbench and the independents worked to guarantee three questions in every QT.

It passed with the support of the government but the opposition has been putting up objections because giving the crossbench more questions will take away questions from the opposition. So there are many votes going on right now.


Victorian government apologises to families of those affected during triple-zero crisis

The Victorian government has repeated its public apology to the families of people who died during the state’s triple-zero crisis, but the premier is yet to respond in person, AAP reports.

In a damning report into the performance of Victoria’s triple-zero call service, the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority identified 40 “adverse” events between December 2020 and June 2022.

Thirty-three patients died but Victoria’s inspector general for emergency management Tony Pearce did not rule on whether the events contributed to their deaths, leaving that judgment to the state coroner.

When the report was released on Saturday, emergency services minister Jaclyn Symes offered a swift apology on behalf of the government to the families of those who died.

Premier Daniel Andrews has not acknowledged the report or faced questions on the subject.

His deputy Jacinta Allan on Monday reiterated the government’s apology.

But she wouldn’t be drawn on findings that the government had been alerted to the telecommunications authority’s “precarious” financial position as early as 2015 and that its funding model didn’t allow for its response to be rapidly scaled-up when Covid-19 hit.

“[The authority] met its benchmark every year prior to the pandemic,” she told reporters on Monday.

“There is no doubt that the pandemic placed huge pressure on the organisation, on call-takers.”

The authority’s benchmark was for 90% of ambulance calls to be answered within five seconds but answering times blew out to “completely unacceptable” levels after Victoria moved away from lockdowns in October 2021.

At its worst point during the first Omicron wave, only 39% of calls for an ambulance in January were being answered within the five-second target. One caller waited more than 76 minutes.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy said the premier owed an explanation to the 33 families who lost loved ones during the triple-zero system failings.

“At the moment, all he’s done is give them silence,” he said.


On the climate change legislation, independent senator David Pocock says a 43% emissions reduction target for 2030 isn’t enough.

He said:

It is a start. My focus is on ensuring the target has integrity, so we need more transparency, more accountability about how we are actually going to get to 43% and how we will get in at zero.

He says he is in discussions with the government on amendments, including requiring the annual budget statement to calculate the projected greenhouse gas emissions from new projects over the forward estimates.

He says the government response so far has been “lukewarm”, but that discussions are ongoing.

He says he will ultimately vote for a target, but says the Senate isn’t there to rubber-stamp what passes in the House. He notes the 43% target is a floor.


Senator ‘confident’ on legislation for voluntary assisted dying in territories

Independent senator David Pocock is on ABC’s Afternoon Briefing discussing his support for the territory rights bill being debated in the Senate at the moment. This is a bill that would allow the NT and ACT to seek to enact legislation for voluntary assisted dying.

He says it is “looking positive” that the legislation will pass the Senate, which is reflective of the shift in views in society.

He said:

They’re recognising it’s about dignity. It’s about giving people at the end of their life choice. Now they’re often in huge amounts of pain.

He said the territories are capable of having this debate for themselves. He said that at the time of the introduction of the Howard-era law, the federal government was concerned the territories would be out of step with the states – he says that is now the case again with the states having passed voluntary assisted dying laws.


Petrol price rises to further hit budgets when fuel excise reinstated

The consumer watchdog will be on the lookout for unnecessary price hikes as the fuel excise is reinstated in full later in the month, AAP reports.

The reintroduction of the tax will see motorists pay an extra 25 cents per litre, including GST and indexing to inflation, from 29 September.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it won’t hesitate to act against anti-competitive behaviour.

“We will shortly be engaging with fuel wholesalers and retailers to say we do not expect to see uncharacteristic or abnormal wholesale and retail price increases in the days leading up to, and on the day of, or after, the reintroduction of the full rate of fuel excise,” chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

The regulator also warned petrol stations against false and misleading statements to consumers about why prices were increasing.

Cass-Gottlieb said the maximum penalty for retailers providing misleading pricing information was $10m, if legal proceedings were taken.

The ACCC also released its quarterly report on fuel prices, which shows the fuel tax did cushion customers at a time of “record and rising wholesale prices”.

However, in real terms, petrol prices in the June quarter were the highest since the September quarter in 2008.

The report also shows prices had “come down quite a lot” since July due to increased supply, lockdowns in China and a worsening global economic outlook.

Petrol prices fell by 4.4 cents last week, to a national average of $1.72 a litre, according to Australian Institute of Petroleum data. This follows two consecutive weeks of increases.

Fuel prices fell across most capital cities except Adelaide and Canberra.

Petrol prices fell by 4.4 cents last week, to a national average of $1.72 a litre.
Petrol prices fell by 4.4 cents last week, to a national average of $1.72 a litre. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images


Investigation into collision between fire truck and light rail near Sydney’s Central Station

Fire and Rescue NSW says an investigation has been launched into the collision between a fire truck and a light rail near Central Station in Sydney earlier today.

The agency said in a statement:

NSW Ambulance assessed several people including the FRNSW crew. One firefighter was transported to hospital as a precaution, while paramedics also treated a light rail passenger for minor injuries.

As per standard operating procedures, FRNSW has begun its own review of the circumstances surrounding the collision.

FRNSW will also cooperate with the NSW Police investigation into the incident.

Localised road closures remain in place as FRNSW works with transport officials to get the light rail vehicle back on the tracks.

Emergency services and technicians are seen onsite after a fire truck crashed into a tram in Sydney on Monday.
Emergency services and technicians respond after a fire truck crashed into a tram in Sydney on Monday. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP


I have a little bit of other work to finish today, so I am coming off the blog a little earlier than usual, but don’t worry – the wonderful Josh Taylor will guide you through the rest of the afternoon.

I will be back early tomorrow morning for the second day of the sitting. It is bound to be a bit busier – there are party room meetings for starters – and the Mondays always tend to be a little flat, especially after a month away from Canberra.

Until then, please – take care of you Ax

In case you missed this a little earlier, it seems as though maybe Angus Taylor didn’t do his homework before appearing on TV:

Angus Taylor fails in his attack on Labor over Veterans not getting a Pension increase:
“They’ve excluded the Veterans altogether”
“Why exclude Veterans?”
“They’re being penalised”
“Why would we exclude Veterans from this? It’s extraordinary!”

L Jayes: “Veterans are included”🤣

— stranger (@strangerous10) September 5, 2022


And here is some of how Mike Bowers saw question time:

The prime minister Anthony Albanese during question time.
The prime minister Anthony Albanese during question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
The member for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel, talks to the leader of the House, Tony Burke, during question time.
The member for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel, talks to the leader of the House, Tony Burke, during question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
The Nationals leader David Littleproud during question time in the House of Representatives (he is making a zero)
The Nationals leader David Littleproud during question time in the House of Representatives (he is making a zero). Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition leader Peter Dutton during question time
Anthony Albanese and opposition leader Peter Dutton. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Mike Bowers was in the chamber for question time and caught this little series.

‘No, it was health, finance, resources, home affairs and then treasury … ’
‘No, it was health, finance, resources, home affairs and then treasury … ’ Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
‘Or maybe it was treasury and then home affairs…’
‘Or maybe it was treasury and then home affairs … ’ Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
‘Hmmmmmm.’ Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Yeah, nah – health, finance, resources, home affairs and treasury
‘Yeah, nah – health, finance, resources, home affairs and treasury.’ Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Question time ends

And with another dixer, this time to Ed Husic (who could have put out a press release or an Instagram story) question time ends.


Peter Dutton to Anthony Albanese:

My question is to prime minister and I refer to his previous answer. Prime minister, was the matter considered by the governments’ cabinet committee or was given by the [clerk]


We don’t talk about cabinet operations. The leader of the opposition knows that is the case. That it is impossible for me to answer a question about a cabinet...


A very tight and specific question, didn’t go to deliberations, didn’t go to anything other than...

(there is no point of order)


It did go to the operations of cabinet and a cabinet committee. Which we do not answer those questions in this chamber. You actually wait and get that. Apparently the Westminster system...

…Apparently the Westminster system is alien to those opposite.

(Dutton yells out: “TRANSPARENCY” and half the chamber breaks into outright laughter)


That is not surprising. I will tell you the way the Westminster system operates and has operated since Federation. You have a cabinet then you have cabinet committees. But those opposite had a cabinet committee of one. With one member so they could avoid transparency. So they can avoid concessions and say it was a meeting of the Cabinet committee when people coopted onto it.

Then we know opposite when it comes to transparency and the functioning of government we had the former minister for Home Affairs did not know he was the co-minister. The co-minister. We had the minister for health that didn’t know there was another one. [Actually, Greg Hunt did know and was one of the only people who did].

The minister for energy, science and industry who didn’t know there was another one. The final decision maker wasn’t actually the minister, it was the prime minister.

I tell you what is occurring now and what those opposite might not recognise come up we have a proper cabinet government. A proper cabinet government. That has cohort comments from ministers that doesn’t have PowerPoint presentations from Crosby Texter. Doesn’t have PowerPoint presentations that have proper deliberations that result in outcomes that are then released through legislation.

They are the processes we have.

Anthony Albanese
Anthony Albanese during question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Kevin Hogan has a question for Anthony Albanese:

The minister for regional development, local government and territories has disclosed ownership of shares in eight different companies and let sought to transfer them to her husband. Something the code specifically prohibits. Prime minister, is the minister in breach of the primers of conduct?

(That is based on this work from Sean Johnson, an ex-ministerial staffer who has been doing a lot of work looking at members interests and declarations through his site, Open Politics.)

Albanese responds:

I will ask the minister to supplement my answer. I am very satisfied with the explanation the minister gave me. The minister rang me about the circumstances. The minister is seeking to rectify that at the earliest possible opportunity and that is the way it should work. I am not going to take lectures about transparency from those opposite! Who did not know who the Treasurer was, didn’t know who the finance minister was, didn’t know who the energy and finance minister was, didn’t know the health minister, the finance minister has responsibility for signing off ...

One thing that didn’t happen, Mr Speaker. We didn’t have to worry about someone being sworn into the Department of the arts because there wasn’t one. There wasn’t one. The truth is we won’t take lectures on transparency from those opposite, we have been upfront about our position with regard to the ministerial code of conduct.

Kristy McBain:

Thank you, prime minister and I think the Minister for the question for them it is an important topic as was warranted, I transferred to my husband … on reviewing the code of conduct and making additional inquiries, I realised it inadequate form of divestment.

We fully intend to sell the shares but I am the first to admit that that should have taken place sooner. I take my responsibilities as minister very seriously.

We have now divested ourselves of all shares to make sure there is no conflict of interest. Since the shares are now sold. Consider the matter closed. At no point did I intend to deceive the parliament, adequately disclosed as I was required to, unlike those opposite.

Kristy McBain
Minister for regional development Kristy McBain, 3 August. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Kylea Tink has the next crossbench question. She asks Catherine King:

In order to reach and exceed the government offered 43% reduction target, all sectors or our economy must adapt, including how we fund infrastructure projects at the Western Harbour Tunnel and the beaches link by electorate of North Sydney. Will the minister making infrastructure funding projects that serve these contingent on a project delivering a carbon base case which would attract and limit emissions over the life-cycle of the project from design through to construction?


Can I thank the independent member for North Sydney for the question, and also, interest in the contribution that infrastructure makes and can make to achieving net zero. It does have a substantial contribution that can make, and I thank you for your interest in it.

I am aware of the proposal from infrastructure partnerships Australia to introduce a carbon base case for infrastructure project and programs over $100m and I want to work with industry and with others who have ideas in this space to implement new ways that we can work towards achieving our goal of achieving 43% reduction of emissions by 2030.

I understand that there is no current accurate and consistent way across the country to actually estimate the carbon base case for infrastructure projects, and I am happy to receive proposals and also very happy to work with others in collaborative and explore ways we can get to that and increase sustainability about the structure investments.

That is what happens when Labor was last in office when the prime minister held this portfolio, he invested in seed funding to the infrastructure sustainability ratings scheme that was established, the first one that had ever been established, and it is an independent rating framework that is still used to help assess the state sustainability of our infrastructure, the performance of our infrastructure across the nation.

Across my portfolio in terms of both transport and infrastructure, we have a lot we can contribute to net zero. It did surprise me maybe it won’t surprise others here but there wasn’t actually anywhere within the Department of infrastructure and transport, where we were actually working on net zero and decarbonise in the infrastructure portfolio.

Surprisingly, I have asked my secretary to establish a unit within the department to start doing that. We will be establishing that net zero unit within the portfolio.

Kylea Tink
The Independent member for North Sydney, Kylea Tink, 4 August. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Jenny Ware (member for Hughes) has a question for Tony Burke:

I refer to media reports of the minister’s letter to the Fair Work Commission welcomed by the New South Wales rail, tram and bus Union. Can the minister explain to the house why he has intervened in the New South Wales rail dispute in support of unions and further strikes?

Burke has been waiting for this one and seems to actually relish being able to answer it:

First of all, it is not unusual for ministers for workplace relations to write to the Fair Work Commission. Not unusual at all. Not unusual for them to write to the Fair Work Commission in order to update the Fair Work Commission on what is happening with legislation.

Later today, we will debate the family and domestic violence leave bill. The Fair Work Commission received two letters in advanced of that coming to the house letting them know, because they have an impact on their workload.

A completely normal thing to do.

…That is something that actually happens quite routinely. The difference, though, between the letters and correspondence that used to go to the Fair Work Commission and what goes to the Fair Work Commission now is a big difference. So when, for example, the former minister Christian Porter wrote to the Fair Work Commission, he wrote to them to be able to cut penalty rates. That was how he wrote to them.

When each time came around ... I have written four times. I have written to them with respect to the annual wage review, the aged care wage review, family and the violence leave and with respect to unilateral termination of agreements.

On all four times, none of those letters of the previous government would have written. I get that because all of them advanced wages and conditions, every single one. And because of the annual wage review, did so in areas that disproportionately helped narrow the gender pay gap. Both of them.

So with respect to the specific letter that the member asks about, first of all, I don’t know what application from the New South Wales government she is referring to because there isn’t one on that issue.

It actually doesn’t exist but I am not exactly sure what I meant to be intervening on. But if you look at the timing of this versus the timing of the letters that went with respect to family and domestic violence leave, on each case, the Fair Work Commission was advised once a decision of government had been made.

It is a respectful thing to do, the appropriate thing to do. Those opposite but not be used to concepts where people are notified of something that is relevant to them.

I am sure Josh [Frydenberg] would have loved the letter being told, ‘by the way I am Treasurer as well’. I am sure there is a whole lot of notification that respectful notification that those opposite maybe they should have happened previously. But what has happened here is completely orderly and the right thing to do.

Tony Burke
Leader of the House, Tony Burke during question time today. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


David Littleproud to Catherine King:

How many of the foot-and-mouth vaccines promised to Indonesians have now been administered?


Thank you for the question and as you know, this government has been in office for 100 days and has actually implemented a program to actually prevent foot-and-mouth disease coming into this country.

As you know, as I have said to previous questions before, in order to make sure that we are able to deliver vaccines to Indonesia to assist them to get on top of this, and it is in our country ‘s interest to make sure that occurs, we need to make sure that we have the right viral load.

We know what we’re doing in relation to that. And we can deliver it. In terms of the actual number, I will come back to the Minister.

In terms of the actual number, in terms of that. What I would remind the minister of, when I would remind the minister of, on the 11 May, you knew the foot-and-mouth disease would be an issue in this country and you …

Paul Fletcher makes a point of order, but King has concluded her answer (the minister did not answer the question).


Jim Chalmers gets a little gift when Angus Taylor asks him a question

Can the Treasurer guarantee that bargaining and industrial action will not raise the cost of living for Australians?


Are we writing these questions for the member’s opposite? Asking a question about wages and the cost of living after a decade of deliberate wage suppression and wage stagnation under those opposite.

The changes that we are working through in consultation with employers and with unions and with the broader Australian community is about seeking more and better agreements and not more conflict.

If those opposite had their way, Mr Speaker, we would have another decade of stagnant wages and ordinary working Australians falling further and further behind.

Our efforts at the jobs summit, whether it is the minister for industrial relations or the areas we have paid close attention to is about getting wages moving again in this economy. The defining failure of those opposite and the dregs of the former government which sit before me, wages for a decade barely shifted and meant that ordinary Australian people ...


It was a very specific question about the impact of industrial action on the cost of living. Not wages.

There is no point of order.


Ordinary Australians and their living standards have been going backwards. That is because those opposite for almost a decade and offers delivery when after people’s wages and job security and working conditions. Even admitted in a breath of candour that low wages was deliberate design feature of the economic policy. We take a different approach.

We take a different approach to wages. We think stagnant wages are a defining feature of the failure of those opposite to manage the economy in the interests of working people. What we want to do and what the jobs summit was about, what our government is about, what our prime minister is about and our cabinet is about is about getting wages moving again in this economy. People find it too difficult to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of living. So the changes that we are consulting on committee changes which were discussed at the jobs and skills summit are all about looking for more agreement not more conflict.

I understand, Mr Speaker, that when the shadow treasurer demanded an invite to the jobs and skills summit, I know that it was humiliating for him when mum and dad said he couldn’t go. I know it was humiliating for them. That doesn’t excuse the kinds of rubbish questions which attempted to whitewash and gloss over the fact that those opposite were responsible for a decade of stagnant wages. We think something has to change when it comes to wages in this country. Because we don’t want to cut ordinary working people going further and further and further behind. There is an appetite in this country to get wages moving again we want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

If you lot had your way, would have another decade of what wage stagnation and ordinary Australian people copping it in the neck.

Jim Chalmers
Treasurer Jim Chalmers speaks at the end of the jobs and skills summit Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Dixer on the indexation increase to social security payments

Amanda Rishworth claims:

Of course, this government knows that pensioners and those on Social Security payments are [facing] cost of living pressures. That is why it is so important as a government we give them every little bit of help we can. Today our government has announced extra cost of living relief for those on social security payments.

Once again – the government made no such decision. Coalition governments claimed credit for indexation increases too – and used them as proof that they were doing something about raising the Jobseeker rate – and were rightly criticised then. Nothing has changed. The government is not giving “every little bit of help we can”. It has not made any decision. The bi-annual indexation review is the reason for the increase. It is a large increase because inflation is at a three decade high. That is the reason for the increase. It is not because the government decided to raise the rate.

Amanda Rishworth
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather gets the first crossbench question

There are almost 2 million households in mortgage stress and 2.7 million Australians in rental stress with 1 million of those paying more than 50% of their income on rent. Many are one rent increase away from eviction. Will you put aside your own status as a landlord and put the Greens proposal for a two-year rent freeze and an interest rate [freeze] on the agenda for the next meeting of the national cabinet?

Anthony Albanese:

I am very pleased that I am back in public housing, it has to be said. A lot better than my first public house.*

The fact is that a range of people are certainly under stress in terms of the housing affordability.

Finding it difficult to get into the market and finding it difficult to pay the rent and pay the bills. That is why we have a housing Australia Future Fund. We recognise, we recognise that what we need to do is have a comprehensive plan to deal with housing issues in this country.

We have a housing Australian Future Fund that will create 30,000 additional social housing units.

And indeed, on Thursday and Friday, at the summit, we had one of the initiatives was to use the national housing infrastructure facility to encourage investment in affordable housing from the private sector and from superannuation funds. This is a fund of some $575m. Where we will hope to leverage that fund in order to attract investment from those, including the superannuation sector who are looking for those long-term returns.

That is why it makes sense to use that facility and it is another initiative on top of that we have $100m additional that we will put into emergency housing. We know that too many people get turned away from emergency housing, particularly victims of family violence. Too many women and children are turned away each and every day.

We will take these policies seriously, I say to the Greens political party that they can do a lot better if they can point to one area in one time in my constituency or others in which actually is supported in affordable housing strategy.

In which they supported the sort of plans that are being put in place with cooperation of private sector and public sector a particularly local government and they would be a good thing.

I welcome this support in the Inner West Council but in others as well. Where Greens representatives have consistently voted against projects like the project right next to Marrickville Station where they said we couldn’t have medium density houses though, we couldn’t have medium density there and voted against the project. Even though what it did was give people in affordable housing opportunity to get to work but from that trade line of Marrickville.

*I am not sure referring to the Lodge or Kirribilli as ‘public housing’ is quite the line the prime minister thinks it is. Just given the amount of complaints we have all seen about public housing – mould, lack of repairs, no insulation, broken plumbing, waiting lists that stretch into years ... pointing out that the prime minister’s residences are paid for by the public is not exactly comparable, even if you did grow up in public housing.

Max Chandler-Mather
The Greens member for Griffith Max Chandler-Mather. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Sussan Ley gets the next question

It wasn’t a great week for Ley last week – she was criticising the jobs and skills summit on TV by saying she was in Lismore when she was in Sydney (she had been in Lismore, but it was the day before), but she’s back:

I refer to the prime ministers captain’s calls to invite CFMEU boss to his talkfest. Mr Chris Cain has been previously charged with common assault, has described John Setka as one of the most fair dinkum people in the country and on Thursday said that if you are not at the table and you are part of the menu. Will the prime minister apologise for inviting this misogynist thug, or was a payback for millions in dirty CFMEU donations?

Anthony Albanese:

I thank the deputy leader of the opposition for her question about the fact that they were trade unionists at the summit. We had presentations from the Australian Nursing Federation. They were the people who stood on the frontline the pandemic. The people who protected people in the health sector. We heard from United Workers Union about the work that took place in terms of childcare during the pandemic. Heard from them about the need to deal with skill shortages. We heard from unions in the tax sector about the work that was required there.

Peter Dutton:

Mr Speaker it is again on relevance. All of those unions who were there had a legitimate reason to be there, who are good people. This question is about the thugs of the CFMEU that go around breaking arms and misogynistic behaviour…

Tony Burke gets up again and there is argy bargy before Albanese gets back on the floor and repeats what a success the summit was.

Angus Taylor, Sussan Ley and Kevin Hogan
Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor, deputy leader of the opposition Sussan Ley and member for Page Kevin Hogan during a press conference in Lismore, Thursday 1 September. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP


The first dixer is on the jobs and skills summit.

Another dixer that could (and has been) a media release.

Moving on.

Dutton targets Labor on jobs summit and power prices

Peter Dutton to Anthony Albanese:

Prior to the last election, Labor promised a $275 cut to power bills on many occasions. Since the election, you never mentioned it. Last week the government promised to return to industry-wide bargaining which will mean more strikes and will drive up the costs of living for families in our country. Why are Australian families paying the price for the prime minister’s new priorities?


I thank the leader of the opposition for his questions. Spraying across a range of issues because they can’t decide which tactic to land on. Perhaps one of those was from the Liberal party and one from the National party. A bit like last week when they couldn’t agree whether they should attend jobs and skills summit. A bit like that. Some were in, some were out. There was a common theme. Which is that those opposite, they seek to forget the fact that they have just been in government for almost a decade. They think that 21 May was ground zero. They think 21 May was when the Federation was formed.

But in fact, in March, in March those opposite sat on an increase in wholesale electricity prices. They sat on it and consistently with their attitude and approach towards transparency in government, they didn’t tell anyone.

They didn’t tell anyone. Because it is not surprising that they didn’t tell anyone because we know now that I didn’t have one energy minister, did they? They didn’t have one. Perhaps one of the energy minister’s knew exactly what was occurring. But nonetheless, the people who didn’t know where the Australian people.

The people who didn’t know with the Australian people. Then they have the hide, they have the hide to come in here and ask an incoherent babble of the question, an incoherent babble of the question.

Dutton tries a point of order to call Albanese a liar. Albanese asks him to withdraw it. Dutton, a master of knowing what grabs the TVs like to run, repeats that he alleged Albanese was a liar and that he withdraws it. Tony Burke gets involved. And then eventually we get back to the answer:


What we did is put out a coherent policy. A coherent policy after a decade of inaction. After 22 policy announcements and none of them delivered. But what we know is there was a 23rd.

The 23rd policy was put up in March of an increase that they are responsible for which came to a fact because it was deliberately delayed by the then government until after the election. We stand by our modelling that we put out. We stand by the fact that renewables are the cheapest form of new energy.

It is not really rocket science. You don’t need an economics degree or a science degree to know that if the market changes from a more expensive level of energy to a cheaper level of energy, you get cheaper energy prices. I know that might be beyond those opposite but that is exactly what the Australian people know. That is why they got solar panels on their roofs.


There is a moment of reflection for Mikhail Gorbachev and then we are into the questions (Peter Dutton had also spoken and paid his respects on behalf of the opposition)

Question time begins

Before the questions, the prime minister is, on indulgence, paying tribute to the last leader of the USSR (which was never united) Mikhail Gorbachev.

Gorbachev didn’t mean to bring about the end of the USSR, but his reforms led to its collapse and Baltic states fighting to win back their independence. (Anthony Albanese does mention this, particularly the blood spilled in Georgia and Lithuania. It is my duty as a Lithuanian-Australian to inform you that the red in the Lithuanian tri-colour flag, is for the blood spilled in defending the nation)


It is the downhill slide into question time – so brace yourself for that


Greens against proposed change to better off overall test

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, has warned his party does not approve of changes to the better off overall test that would allow workers to be paid less than the award.

One of the surprises out of the jobs and skills summit was the Australian Council of Trade Unions agreeing the test needed to be “simpler and fairer”, with changes to include removing the ability for hypothetical shift patterns to block a pay deal.

Bandt told reporters in Canberra the Greens “don’t support making it easier for big corporations to steal wages”. He noted that only the better off overall test had allowed the retail and fastfood workers union to get agreements struck down that removed young workers’ penalty rates.

Bandt said that - what might be a worker in a hypothetical worse position one day - can become a “real worker” worse off the next, with pay deal approved when “nobody is in that position” followed by the employer hiring according to a new roster pattern.

The test for the Greens is that “nobody receives less than the award”, he said, citing Tony Burke’s simple test last parliament that the better off overall test shouldn’t change if it meant people were worse off.

Adam Bandt
Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Teal MP says government cannot have it both ways on climate and fossil fuels

Independent MP Dr Sophie Scamps has given her support to the Greens climate trigger legislation:

The science is clear, we must stop burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and gas if we are to avert the worst impacts of climate change. It is estimated there are over 100 new coal and gas projects up for assessment under the EPBC Act. We need to ensure the impact from the emissions that these projects will create are assessed and that approvals under our national environmental law are not just a smokescreen that provide fossil fuel companies cover to continue profiteering while destroying Australia’s environment.

The Albanese government cannot have it both ways. They cannot say the climate wars ‘are over’ and legislate our emissions reduction targets while also refusing to act on the root cause of climate change – fossil fuels.

It is time our national environmental laws were strengthened. And the first step in doing so, is ensuring every major project is assessed for its future climate change impacts – our environment, our economic prosperity and our future depends on it.

Sophie Scamps
Independent member for Mackellar, Sophie Scamps, during debate on the climate bill in August. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


MP for Chisholm’s first speech

Labor MP for Chisholm, Carina Garland, is giving her first speech in the lower house. Garland, a former assistant secretary of Victoria Trades Hall Council, targeted insecure work.

She said:

Too many people in our country are left without the sorts of jobs they can count on, that they can build a life on. In almost every industry there are people sitting every day waiting, at the end of a mobile phone, to find their fate, to know if they have a job and a wage that day. This is a national problem. Our communities are starved when people cannot make the important commitment to their local footy club or neighbourhood house or art group because they do not have certainty about their hours of work or their income.

I know the ache of insecure work. It has been the dominant form of employment I have experienced. The feeling that everything might dissolve in a moment sticks with me now as it has throughout my working life. The experience of insecure work in academia, in cultural institutions and for some of Australia’s largest employers has defined my relation to the world as one where everything is precarious and could slip away suddenly, and I do not want this to be the case for anybody else.

I feel a real sadness, and an anger, when I think that precarity may be the experience more commonly felt than security in work for a growing number of people in this country. One of the reasons I was so motivated to be here is so that I can do my best to ensure that everyone can forge a life for themselves and their families built on security, opportunity and ambition. Until we rid our society of the scourge of unnecessary insecure work, too many people will be left behind, unable to live the lives they want to live, and should be able to live in a country like Australia. I am proud to be a part of a government that has committed to improving people’s lives through making sure we have good, secure jobs so that a better future is possible.

[Garland also spoke about her hope for a more equal world for women she drew from a letter sent to her by an 11-year old girl from Mount Waverley, called Angie.]

I remember, on a particularly long day in the middle of the campaign, opening a letter with neatly printed handwriting that read: “I just wanted to say that I support you on your journey of good in this world. Even though I can’t vote because I’m too young, can I help and support you?” It was signed, “Angela, your supporter and proud young feminist”. Angie’s letter was one of hope for the future, of a nation and a world that is more equal. Angie’s words gave me encouragement when I needed it.”

Carina Garland
Labor member for Chisholm, Carina Garland, during a Labor caucus in May. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Dai Le’s first speech

Mike Bowers was in the chamber for Dai Le’s first speech – here is some of what he has seen:

Independent member for Fowler Dai Le is congratulated by her colleagues after she delivered her first speech in the House of Representatives chamber of Parliament House
Independent member for Fowler Dai Le is congratulated by her colleagues after giving her first speech in the House of Representatives. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Dai Le after her speech
Dai Le after her speech. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


David Pocock calls on Labor to bring forward childcare subsidies

The independent senator David Pocock has called on the government to bring forward childcare subsidies, due to start in July 2023, and to extend paid parental leave.

Pocock told reporters in Canberra:

We’ve heard ... a lot at the jobs and skills summit and over the last hundred days about seeking consensus around issues. It seems like there’s a lot of consensus around childcare and increasing shared parental leave and things that will help [cost of living]. And I think we should be looking to bring them forward. Yes, they are costs but they’re also huge benefits.”

Pocock noted there are some “serious disagreements when it comes to industrial relations” when asked about Labor’s other proposed reforms, but did not directly endorse Jacqui Lambie’s conclusion it will be impossible for Labor to pass a bill this year. He said it will depend what the government proposes.

Pocock also described climate negotiations with the government as “lukewarm”. Pocock said his proposed amendments would strengthen the bill - but the government has not been “massively receptive” to making any changes.


Scott Morrison sits down for interview with Paul Murray

Continuing the tradition he set while prime minister, Liberal backbencher Scott Morrison has decided to have a sit down with Sky News’s Paul Murray (the only Australian journalist given the opportunity to speak to Donald Trump during a Morrison visit to the US, who asked if he had a “good day with your Aussie mates” and “what do you want to say to your many, many Australian supporters who wish you nothing but the best on November 20”, and about Scott Morrison’s smile when Trump was bemoaning the “fake news media”, why he preferred Morrison to Malcolm Turnbull and “what’s the best thing you’ve ever had from the kitchen downstairs”) – tonight at 8pm.

Morrison held a press conference on his secret ministries, which raised more questions than answers, and then made some jokes on Facebook about it, but other than that has been quiet on the topic.


New MP Dai Le wears Australian flag for first speech in parliament

With parliament’s resumption, we again return to the first speeches made by new politicians. Fowler MP Dai Le (who was wearing what looked like an Australian flag áo dài) spoke passionately and emotively about her family’s settlement in Australia as refugees, and the strict lockdown conditions her western Sydney community was placed under last year, likening it to a “communist dictatorship”.

Le, wearing emblazoned with the Australian flag, claimed her community were “the forgotten people”. Her speech was greeted with supporters in Parliament House’s public galleries clapping, shouting and chanting her name.

Independent Fowler MP Dai Le wearing the Australian flag for her maiden speech. #auspol @SBSNews

— Naveen Razik (@naveenjrazik) September 5, 2022

Labor MP Alison Byrnes, representing the Wollongong seat of Cunningham, said her area was keen to participate in the jobs opportunities presented by clean energy, even as coalmining and manufacturing jobs may be on the decline:

I support action on climate change structured to create jobs while reducing emissions. The Illawarra has long been a place of steel, mining and heavy industry. Our deepwater port and world-class university provide enviable connections to the globe. We stand ready to be leaders in achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

We stand ready to use our skills to produce high quality steel in a more sustainable way. It will be used to build the renewable energy and transmission infrastructure we need to power homes and industries.”

Byrnes said there was “a skills crisis in renewable energy”, and that Wollongong locals and businesses could play “a major role in supplying that highly skilled workforce.”

Debate on the Address-in-Reply has resumed, with the Member for Fowler @dai_le making her first speech in the House. First speeches will then be made by the Member for Cunningham @AlisonByrnesMP and the Member for Chisholm @CarinaGarlandMP. Watch live:

— Australian House of Representatives (@AboutTheHouse) September 5, 2022

Labor MP for Chisholm, Carina Garland, is up next. Later today we’ll also hear the first speeches from Liberal MPs Keith Wolahan and Henry Pike, as well as senators Linda White and Ross Cadell.


Wages v profits

Peter Hannam mentioned the difference in wages compared with profits in his last post.

This graph shows exactly how wide that gap is:

The latest figures out today from the ABS show profits rose 7.6% while wages went up just 3.3%.

Since March 2016 profits have risen 157%, and wages? Just 25% #OffTheCharts

— Centre for Future Work (@CntrFutureWork) September 5, 2022


Antipoverty Centre: ‘maximum rent assistance of $72 a week a pittance compared with median rent of $508 per week’

The Antipoverty Centre has also responded to the indexed social security increases (which come in, as usual, on 20 September).

From its statement:

$1.78 a day indexation for the base jobseeker rate offers no relief for the millions of people subjected to poverty payments and the treatment we receive in the media. Indexation is designed to ensure that payments do not fall behind CPI, however CPI is an inadequate measure of rising living costs for people on low incomes in urban areas – it doesn’t even attempt to measure the pressures facing those in remote areas.

The reality is that people on welfare are suffering each and every day and we will continue to suffer unless politicians stop justifying cruelty and stop forcing us to try and survive in poverty. People are being forced into homelessness, with the maximum rent assistance of $72 a week a pittance compared to median rent of $508 per week. Some properties have increased by $100 a week between tenancies.

More people will starve themselves, more people will become homeless, and more people will die for as long as the government refuses to spend money and use its vast resources to help us.


More on the economy

As noted in the earlier post, ABS data would add a few more of the missing pieces to the June quarter puzzle.

After the bumper earnings season that just concluded (particularly if you were a fossil fuel exporter, as we noted here) it isn’t a big surprise that corporate profits posted a notable jump in the quarter.

Still, the 28.5% annual pace of profit growth compared with 6.8% for salaries might have disturbed the harmony that otherwise characterised last week’s jobs summit.

Inventories, another contributor to GDP, rose at an annual rate of 4.2% in the June quarter - the fastest pace in at least six years (although that would not have been high on the summit agenda).

The number of job ads, meanwhile, continued to hold up, ANZ reported this morning. It had been expecting March to be the peak in the current cycle but labour demand remains high even as those RBA rate rises start to sap some of the sentiment in the economy.

Australia's job ads rose again last month, exceeding the March highs, @ANZ_Research said.

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) September 5, 2022

Also of interest is news from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries that showed car sales topping 95,000 for August, or 17.3% than a year earlier.

Sales of electric vehicles reached 4.4% of the total, with Tesla also selling 3,397 vehicles.

This is the highest market share for pure battery electric vehicles ever recorded in a single month in Australia,” FCAI head Tony Weber said.

Taking into account hybrid vehicles, such cars now make up more than 10% of the market.


Speaker rules against debate on Scott Morrison referral for multiple ministries

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Milton Dick, has just said he will not grant precedence for a debate about whether to refer Scott Morrison to the privileges committee over his multiple ministries.

As Guardian Australia reported in August, Dick was not persuaded by the Greens MP Adam Bandt that a prima facie case has been made that Morrison deliberately misled the house when he failed to notify it he had been appointed to administer five other portfolios.

Dick said that he “understands the concerns of the member” (Bandt). While he cannot give precedence to a motion to refer Morrison “it is still open to the House to determine a course of action in relation to this matter”, he said.


Simon Birmingham quizzed on what to do with the fuel excise pause

Simon Birmingham stopped by doors this morning (doors is when politicians choose to enter the parliament by one of the main two entrances for MPs – they know journalists are there, so enter via those doors when they have something to say – there are plenty of areas we are not allowed to interview people in, which is why when politicians want to avoid us, they can, because under the DPS rules, we are not allowed to have cameras in certain areas).

Birmingham was asked about the fuel excise pause expiring and said:

Well, the policy to cut the fuel excise was put in place by the previous Coalition government at a time when oil prices were very, very high and it was done so to address that particular cost of living pressure. We’ve seen some of those oil prices come down a bit and stabilised over time. But we’ve seen other inflationary pressures rise. So with this reduction in fuel excise coming to an end, it is for the government to explain what else they are going to do to actually help Australians with the cost of living pressures they now face and that they’re facing in a range of other ways beyond those in fuel excise alone.

Q: If you were still in government, would you be recommending that this be continued?


Well, we’re not in government unfortunately. We no doubt would have continued to put a strong emphasis on helping Australians with cost of living pressures. It’s what we did in government, what we would have continued to do. But it’s now for this government, the Albanese Labor government, to explain what is it they are going to do to help Australians with the cost of living, given they seem to be letting this fuel excise cut come to an end.

Which is not an answer – so the opposition is happy to slam the government for allowing the fuel excise to expire, but can’t actually say whether or not it would have extended the pause itself.


Sydney traffic diversions after accident involving tram

(If you are reading the blog in Sydney I am including this traffic update because it is a fairly major one).

Pitt St is closed in both directions at Eddy Ave due to a crash involving a vehicle and a tram. There’s no access into Eddy Ave from Elizabeth St. Northbound traffic is being diverted into Quay St and southbound traffic can use Elizabeth St or George St.

Fireman Truck just collided with Sydney tram in Haymarket area@abcsydney @abcnews

— Modaquu (@Modaking52) September 5, 2022


Jobseeker rise ‘does not deliver a real increase’

And before anyone gets too excited about the increase to jobseeker, it is not going to make a material change to beneficiaries’ lives.

As Acoss’s acting CEO Edwina MacDonald said:

We regularly speak to people who cannot eat three meals a day, who cannot afford essential medication and who are in debt with their utility provider because they cannot cover the cost of energy.

While an extra $1.80 a day will help, [the] jobseeker payment remains grossly inadequate to cover essentials.

Youth allowance, the unemployment and student payment for young people, is just $38 a day and won’t be indexed until January. Young people will somehow have to cope with skyrocketing cost of living on a payment that doesn’t cover average rents let alone everything else.

Indexation of jobseeker happens twice per year in line with the consumer price index. The 20 September rise reflects the CPI increases from December to June 2022. It does not deliver a real increase – an increase above inflation – and that is what people on jobseeker and other payments need to keep a roof over their head and put food on the table.

The federal government must urgently increase jobseeker, youth allowance and related payments in the October budget to address the acute crisis facing people on the lowest incomes. Jobseeker and related payments must be at least $70 a day so that everyone can cover the basics.


The week to come economically

It’s been quite a big week economically, which we can expect to “inform” or “inflame” debate in parliament over cost-of-living pressures.

Before May, the monthly Reserve Bank board meetings were mostly dull affairs since the cash rate had been sitting a record low of 0.1% since November 2020.

That was then. The RBA now seems to be fairly set on lifting its key interest rate every month and is now in the midst of its most aggressive tightening phase since 1994.

Tomorrow we should see another increase from the 1.85% level, with the guessing game settling on whether a 40-basis-point rise to 2.25% would be neater than a fourth hike in a row of 50bp to 2.35%.

Ahead of Tuesday's expected RBA board meeting investors are rating likelihood of a 50 basis point increase to 2.35% as more than a 4-in-5 chance. For now, they're tipping cash rate peak in a year's time at just under 4%. (Economists: 'hard landing' ahead if that's the outcome.)

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) September 5, 2022

Come Wednesday, the ABS releases GDP data for the June quarter, and the sentiment is for another solid three months of growth to be reported.

There will be a few more stats out before then that economists will plug into their models to fine-tune forecasts, but our $2 trillion a year economy will be growing at levels that might be about their peak.

More data out today and tomorrow, but for now economists are expecting GDP growth in the 2nd quarter to show an uptick. @WestpacMacro are among those, predicting an acceleration to 4.5% growth from a year earlier, and 2% vs the March quarter.

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) September 5, 2022

For one thing, the effect of the current spate of interest rate rises is still to work its way through to consumers.

CBA puts that delay at about three months – and as it issues about one in four mortgages in Australia it has a wary eye on “hip-pocket” pain.

The coming slowdown, though, is mostly about a question of how much. While a lot of attention is placed on the federal budget - which the treasurer Jim Chalmers will release on 25 October – it’s worth keeping an eye on how states are faring too.

Moody’s has an interesting report out today that looks at how debt loads are rising almost everywhere, while revenues will likely ease off as property prices (and therefore stamp duty) drop.

@MoodysInvSvc has an interesting report out today about rising state debt in Australia. Revenues dependent on the property sector face being squeezed while the cost of repaying the mounting debt will likely go the other way...

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) September 5, 2022

“Global credit conditions are weakening and a slowdown in growth lies ahead,” Moody’s says. “We expect rising inflationary pressures – compounded by energy supply issues (and prices), rising debt servicing costs, softer consumer and business sentiment and increased capital market volatility – to ultimately constrain revenue growth.”

In its not very cheery assessment it also notes: “States continue to face physical climate risks and may require extensive capital spending to build long-term resilience, although direct economic impacts from recent flood events in Queensland and NSW have been modest.

It’s a point worth highlighting as we head into another likely wetter-than-average spring and summer (including a third La Niña event in as many years) and possibly a more active than usual tropical cyclone season.


Sales of electric cars hit record levels

AAP has an update on electric vehicle sales – turns out that we want to buy them. Huzzah – the weekend has been saved!

The Australian vehicle market has posted its best August result for five years, with a 17% surge in demand as sales of electric cars hit record levels.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says 95,256 new vehicles were retailed last month, up from 81,199 in the same month last year, the best August result since 2017.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said sales of electric cars accounted for 4.4% of total demand, the best monthly result for battery-powered vehicles in Australia.

We have seen strong sales of battery electric vehicles in August, with Tesla alone selling 3,397 vehicles.

Year-to-date EV sales are 2% of the total market, hybrids are 7.6% and plug-in hybrid vehicles are 0.6%.

Combined electrified vehicles are now just over 10% of total sales in 2022.

Weber said the overall August result was also a positive sign for the industry after two years of constrained supply, due to both the Covid-19 pandemic and a shortage of computer chips.

This gives hope that the supply of vehicles to the Australian market is beginning to show signs of improvement.

The August result took total sales so far this year to 717,575, still down on the 732,828 sold at the same time in 2021.

Toyota was the market leading company last month, selling 20,616 vehicles ahead of Mazda on 8824, Kia (6780), Hyundai (6643) and Mitsubishi (6380).

The Toyota Hi-Lux was the top-selling vehicle with 6214 ahead of the Ford Ranger with 4497, Toyota’s RAV4 with 2482 and Tesla’s Model 3 on 2380.


Context ...

This is correct, but it is because of indexation.

Context is important.

From this month, millions of Australians will see the biggest increase to their pension in 30 years.

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) September 5, 2022


José Ramos-Horta to visit Australia

Anthony Albanese has just announced the president of Timor-Leste, Dr José Ramos-Horta, will be visiting Australia from tomorrow:

I am delighted to announce I will meet with His Excellency Dr José Ramos-Horta, president of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, during his Guest of Government visit to Australia from 6 to 11 September.

His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), governor general of Australia, will host President Ramos‑Horta. The president will visit Government House for a ceremonial welcome and state lunch and will lay a wreath at the Australian War Memorial.

Australia and Timor-Leste enjoy a close relationship based on our shared history, mutual interests and strong people-to-people links. The president’s visit reflects the deep ties between our two countries.

Australia is committed to supporting Timor‑Leste’s economic development. This visit will be an opportunity to further deepen this relationship, and explore avenues for strengthened cooperation both bilaterally and in the region.

I look forward to welcoming President Ramos-Horta to Australia.


Senate debate starts on territory rights bill

The Senate debate on Labor’s “territory rights” bill around voluntary assisted dying has begun, with already two Coalition senators supporting the push and one Labor senator raising doubts about it.

The bill, which would allow the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory to make their own laws on euthanasia – which they’ve been blocked from doing for 25 years – passed the lower house last month by a resounding 99-37 margin, but the Senate vote is expected to be much closer.

🔔 Debate started this morning in the Senate on the Territory Rights Bill 🔔

It’s been a long journey to get here and now that the Bill has passed the House of Reps for the 1st time ever, we have our best chance at repealing the Andrews Laws once and for all.#auspol

— Katy Gallagher (@SenKatyG) September 5, 2022

Finance minister and ACT senator Katy Gallagher, supporting the change, said it was a chance to “right the wrong”. Coalition senator Simon Birmingham, who backed a similar change that was ultimately unsuccessful in 2019, said it was wrong for the federal government to block the territories from making euthanasia laws in the first place.

Voluntary assisted dying makes the kinder pathway of avoiding prolonged pain, suffering or loss of dignity,” he said.

ACT senator David Pocock has campaigned strongly on the change, and will support the bill. He said he was mindful of strong moral opposition to voluntary assisted dying, but noted strong public support for the change.

Labor senator Deb O’Neill, who opposed the 2019 push, described herself as a “garden variety Catholic” and said it was important to have a “faith perspective” in the debate. Recounting her father’s experience with palliative care after diagnosis with a brain tumour, O’Neill spoke about palliation and pain management, and access to health services.

Nationals deputy leader Perin Davey said she saw the change as being about democratic freedoms, not euthanasia, indicating she would support the move.

We either support the territories making laws ... or we don’t,” she said.

I don’t think it’s fair that the territories always have this hanging over their heads, that if we [federal parliament] don’t like their laws, we’ll come into this place and work against them.”


Greens’ Janet Rice says ‘poverty is a political choice’ and Labor must scrap stage three tax cuts

The Greens senator Janet Rice has responded to the indexation increases, in the context of the government not moving on raising the jobseeker rate this year:

Today’s indexation is a less than $2 a day increase for someone on jobseeker. This doesn’t even get payments close to the poverty line, let alone make them enough to live on.

This comes in the same week the RBA is expected to again increase interest rates, making the cost of living even higher, and pushing basic items like food, medicine and rent further out of reach.

Labor is insisting that they need to spend $244bn on tax cuts for billionaires and the ultra-wealthy. This will see people earning over $200k getting an extra $24 a day.

Poverty is a political choice, and this government is choosing to leave people without heating or food as they struggle to pay the rent. Labor must scrap their stage 3 tax cuts for billionaires and the ultra-wealthy and lift income support rates above the poverty line.

Greens senator Janet Rice.
Greens senator Janet Rice. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP


Half of Australia’s GDP is generated by industries that rely on nature – report

Half of Australia’s gross domestic product is generated by industries with a “moderate to very high” direct dependence on nature, according to a new study that argues for a stronger suite of environment laws to protect the economy.

Co-authored by the Australian Conservation Foundation, the report found $896bn of the country’s economy – or roughly 49% – is dependent on the natural environment.

Using the same modelling as the World Economic Forum’s landmark report that found US$44tn trillion of global GDP is dependent on nature, the report found sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food manufacturing and water generate some $293bn per year, or roughly 16% of the country’s economic output.

Others with a moderate or high direct dependence on the natural environment – such as mining, real estate, accommodation and hospitality – contributed $602bn per year, or about 33% of GDP.

“Every Australian business depends on nature, whether they make things out of steel, build houses, grow food or trade stocks,” ACF chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said.

For some industries the dependency is direct and obvious, but indirectly, there is not a dollar exchanged in the economy that does not depend on nature. Every worker and consumer needs clean air and water, food, their health and a safe climate.

And nature is in trouble, which spells bad news for the economy if we don’t reverse nature destruction and halt the extinction crisis.

The ACF used the report to argue that Australian businesses should consider the risk of the destruction of the natural environment into their practices. It argues businesses not only risk their reputation and financial blowback from damaging the natural environment, but also “material inputs”.


Pocock says he got ‘lukewarm’ response from Labor on climate bill amendments

ACT senator David Pocock claims he got a “lukewarm” reception from the Labor government when proposing amendments to the climate bill that would bring more transparency to the federal stance on emissions reduction.

Pocock and fellow independent Jacqui Lambie have proposed the Climate Change Authority be obligated to publish the advice and recommendations it gives to the climate change minister, and explain how that fits with latest scientific advice.

Lambie has been upset the government hasn’t responded positively. Pocock said he was disappointed.

The reception has been lukewarm. We’ve been putting forward our case, they’ve made it pretty clear that they feel like they’ve given some amendments in the lower house and they’re keen to see it pass,” he told a doorstop interview in Parliament House this morning.

For me it really is about transparency, integrity and accountability ... I’ve said I’m happy to vote for a bill that the target probably isn’t where it needs to be, definitely isn’t where it needs to be, but if that actually has integrity as a starting point and we can ramp it up over time, then it’s a good start.

Pocock admitted he wouldn’t stand in the way of the bill passing, but said it has to be “a target with integrity”.


Welfare recipients to get boost because of indexation to CPI

The increase in social security payments, which are coming into effect on 20 September, have nothing to do with the Labor government and are part of a twice-yearly slated indexation to CPI.

The payments are increasing by more than usual, because inflation is the highest it has been in 30 years and the payments are linked to CPI.

Pensions increase by more than payments such as jobseeker, because they are linked to male total average weekly earnings, a measure which was put in place 40 or so years ago so aged pensioners did not fall too far behind living standards.

That was when the unemployment payment was low but still liveable. Unemployment payments have fallen starkly below the poverty line over the last 25 years, with no government committing to raising it.


Which welfare payments are indexed, and why?

The parliamentary library (a wonderful resource) has written an explainer on what social security payments increase and when:

Why are payments indexed?

Payment rates are indexed to maintain their real value—so they have the same purchasing power as costs of living increase (p. 518). For most payments, this is done by adjusting payments in line with movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI)—a measure of changes in the price of a fixed basket of goods and services.

Since 2009, pension rates have also been adjusted using a different measure: the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI). The 2009 Harmer Pension Review had found the CPI, as a general measure of price changes, did not reflect cost of living changes for certain household categories (pp. 61–63). It recommended the use of an index which measured cost of living changes for pensioner households (p. 54). The PBLCI measures the effect of price changes on the out-of-pocket living expenses experienced by households whose main source of income is government payments.

Pensions are also adjusted to ensure rates do not fall behind community living standards. This is done through a benchmark—a minimum level for pension rates. The benchmark used since the Hawke Government is a percentage of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).

Pension indexation

Currently, pensions (including the Age Pension, Service Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment) are adjusted on 20 March and 20 September by the greater of the movements in the CPI or the PBLCI over a six-month period. After this indexation occurs, the combined couple rate is benchmarked to 41.76% of MTAWE. The single rate of pension is set at 66.33% of the combined couple rate (which is equal to around 27.7% of MTAWE). If the combined couple rate is lower than 41.76% of MTAWE, the rates are increased to the benchmark level.

Indexation for other payments

JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment Partnered and Special Benefit rates are usually adjusted on 20 March and 20 September each year in line with CPI movements over the preceding six month period.

Youth Allowance and Austudy rates are only adjusted once a year, on 1 January, in line with CPI movements over a 12 month period.

Parenting Payment Single is adjusted in line with CPI movements in the same way as JobSeeker Payment but is also benchmarked to 25% of MTAWE (this was the same benchmark used for pension payments prior to changes in 2009).

(You can find the whole article here – it was written after the Morrison government made the decision to not index payments in 2020.)


Pushing the message on welfare payments

Government MPs have been pushing this message very strongly today, but the “significant increase” is because of indexation – most social security payments are adjusted twice a year based on CPI.

This increase – due to come in on 20 September – is the biggest in 30 years, yes, but that is because inflation is the highest in three decades.

You can see the indexation payments for previous years here.

We know there is a cost-of-living crisis.

That's why the Albanese Govt is getting to work to support people who are doing it tough.

From 20 Sept, 4.7 million people who are on welfare payments will receive a significant increase, the biggest increase for allowances in 30 years.

— Clare O'Neil MP (@ClareONeilMP) September 4, 2022


Childcare workers to strike on Wednesday

And a reminder – early childhood educators have a planned strike on Wednesday 7 September, which is Early Childhood Educators Day.

There is a march to parliament which has been planned.

The workers have voted to strike as part of an ongoing campaign on wages and conditions.


Rising FOI delays and refusals 'leaving the public in the dark', new report warns

A new report reveals a continuing deterioration of Australia’s freedom of information system, which is suffering from increasing delays and refusals to release government documents.

The Centre for Public Integrity released a report this morning analysing publicly available data on the FOI system. It shows the number of FOI requests that have taken longer than the lawful 30-day time limit has increased from 11.5% in 2011-12 to 22.5% in 2021-22.

The number of FOI requests being refused has increased from 11.5% to 22.5% over the same period.

The number of FOI requests granted in full has dropped from 59.1% to 41.1% in the decade.

In a statement issued by the Centre for Public Integrity, barrister Bret Walker SC said the desire for secrecy had gone “beyond acceptable limits on the part of governments in this country”.

He said:

The supposed benefits of freedom of information legislation have nearly been destroyed by recalcitrant administrators and counterproductive exemptions.

Geoffrey Watson, barrister and Centre for Public Integrity director, said the system was broken.

Delays and refusals to give information are on the rise, leaving the public in the dark about important government business. We need to increase staffing and resourcing of the Information Commissioner, and implement sanctions against officers in contempt of the FOI Act.


The parliament sitting is due to kick off at 10am.

This is the Senate program:

The #Senate meets at 10am today. Our order of business (the Red) is available from ParlWork

— Australian Senate (@AuSenate) September 4, 2022

And you can find the House program here


Upper house to vote on Labor’s climate bill this week

The Senate will be keeping itself busy this week with Labor’s climate bill – the one which legislates the 43% target.

It will pass. We know that. The Greens have given (reluctant) support and David Pocock is on board. That’s enough in terms of numbers.

But that doesn’t mean it will be quick. There will be attempts to amend it to make it stronger, include climate triggers and push the government to do more. So it won’t be a tick and flick. But it will eventually pass.


Newspoll shows support for federal Coalition at a historic low

AAP has the latest on the Newspoll:

Support for the federal coalition has fallen to a historic low, according to Newspoll, while the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, has fallen further behind Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister.

The latest survey for the Australian newspaper has the Coalition’s primary vote down two points to 31%, its equal lowest Newspoll result, while Labor remains at 37%.

Labor’s two-party preferred lead has widened to 57-43 since the previous poll in July.

Albanese remains preferred PM by a wide margin, rising two points to 61%, while Dutton dropped three points to 22%.

The state of Liberal-National support follows weeks of political fallout over former prime minister Scott Morrison’s secret ministerial appointments.

The positive result for the government came as it wrapped up its jobs and skills summit in Canberra, which established dozens of “concrete plans” to tackle Australia’s economic challenges.

• This post was amended on 5 September 2022. An earlier version incorrectly gave Labour’s two-party preferred lead as 53-47.


Women more likely to belong to a union than men, ABS data shows

The opposition seem to think they have found their latest fight in one of their favourite areas: unions.

The Liberal party didn’t attend the jobs and skills summit (its position was a bit of a mess – it wasn’t going, then it was demanding an invitation, then it wasn’t going, then it was thinking about it before absolutely not going), but it took the news out of the summit – multi-employer bargaining discussions – and decided that was the battleground which would pull it out of political obscurity.

The “union thug” line has already been trotted out pretty strongly.

But the thing is, unions have changed since the 70s. Not only do they not have as much power, because membership has dropped considerably; union members are more likely to be women than men.

The latest ABS statistics on union membership found that of the proportion of employees who were union members, 12.7% were men and 15.9% were women.

So women make up more union membership than men in today’s world.


Senator David Pocock ‘not confident’ territory rights bill will pass upper house

ACT senator David Pocock has admitted he’s “not confident” the so-called “territory rights” bill around voluntary assisted dying will pass the Senate after it is introduced this week, but said he hopes his colleagues will get behind the push.

A private member’s bill from Labor MPs Luke Gosling and Alicia Payne passed the lower house during the last sitting period. Pocock had campaigned on the issue, planning to introduce his own bill to allow territories to make their own laws on euthanasia, a legislative power they’d been denied for 25 years while every other state made such laws.

Asked whether he was confident the bill would pass, Pocock said: “This is the ninth attempt, so not confident, but really having conversations … clearly, societal attitudes have changed.”

People recognise this is actually about dignity and allowing people who have terminal illness [to have] end of life choices.

Every state has legislated, [it’s] just the territories that haven’t. It’s time to change.

Polling from progressive thinktank The Australia Institute, released this morning, found 78% of Australians support giving territory governments the right to legalise euthanasia. The poll of 1,005 people found just 11% opposed the change.

The polling found 82% of Anglicans and 79% of Catholics supported the change.

Independent ACT senator David Pocock.
Independent ACT senator David Pocock. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Anthony Albanese insists stage-three tax cuts worth $243bn will go ahead

There has been a lot of talk around the incoming (July 2024) stage-three tax cuts given they will cost the budget $243bn over 10 years (at this point); overwhelmingly benefit men earning over $180,000; and destroy Australia’s progressive tax system (everyone earning between $40,000 and $200,000 will pay the same tax rate).

The tax cuts belong to the Morrison government, but they passed with Labor’s support – no matter how reluctant Labor was, it did lend its numbers in the last parliament to passing the cuts.

Now in government, Labor is facing pressure to delay or scrap the cuts, which it so far is not entertaining, having gone to the election saying it had no plans to make any changes.

Anthony Albanese was also asked about the stage-three tax cuts on ABC Radio National this morning, and said the stage-three tax cuts were “a decision made under the former government”:

You make a choice about what you do, your initiatives and the initiatives we are making are positive ones that will make a difference to people, including our childcare policy.

It is possible for new governments to scrap plans of former governments. We see it all the time.

Prime minister Anthony Albanese.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


That’s the biggest indexation increase in about three decades. But it won’t go very far in an economy where the cost of everything, from housing to groceries, has increased.

There is no plan, at this point, to raise social security payments in the October budget.

Asked yesterday about the indexation, the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, said:

It’s really important that our payments keep up with inflation. That’s why they’re indexed twice a year, and every little bit helps. This indexation will be particularly big this month, because inflation is particularly challenging.

And we know that it won’t solve every problem for everybody, but it’s important that we try and make sure that those payments keep up. That’s what the indexation is about. It will be welcome even as we acknowledge that times will still be tough for a lot of people.

But the fuel excise cut? Don’t count on it being extended:

I’ve been really upfront with people before the election, during the election and after the election. I’ve said to you many times over the last six months or so that it would be too expensive to continue that petrol price relief indefinitely. I think Australians understand that we’ve inherited a budget which is heaving with a trillion dollars in Liberal party debt, and that means some difficult decisions including this one.


Increases in welfare payments

Indexation means people on social security will see increases in their payments from 20 September.

As AAP reports, that means:

Age pension, disability support pension and carer payment will all rise $38.90 a fortnight for singles and $58.80 a fortnight for couples.

The maximum rate of pension will increase to $1,026.50 a fortnight for singles and $773.80 for each member of a pensioner couple or $1,547.60 per couple.

Jobseeker for singles without children will increase $25.70 a fortnight to $677.20, while parenting payment single will rise $35.20 a fortnight to $927.40.

The rate for partnered jobseeker payment and parenting payment recipients will increase $23.40 a fortnight to $616.60.

The maximum rate of pension will increase to $1,026.50 a fortnight for singles.
The maximum rate of pension will increase to $1,026.50 a fortnight for singles. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP


PM says budget constraints preventing movement on 26 weeks’ paid parental leave

Asked why his government won’t lock in 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, given the productivity gains and social good which would come from it, Anthony Albanese says:

We have something called a budget and if you in the budget did everything that you wanted to do, that was a good idea, then they’d be an interview that we would hold the next morning which wouldn’t be about any specific measures. It would be about the enormous increase in our expenditure.

Which seems to point to the government being VERY conscious of negative media coverage, but doesn’t say why the government can’t do it.


On raising the jobseeker payment, Anthony Albanese says:

I would always like to provide as much support as is financially responsible for people who are doing tough and I recognise that people on Jobseeker are doing it tough.

There was a rise during the last term of government and one of the things that I’ve said I’ve said in opposition, I say it again in government is a Labor government will always look at payments each and every budget to see what is affordable and just see what we can do to take pressure off.

‘There is common interest’ between business and unions, Albanese says

Anthony Albanese says he sees himself as “pro-business and pro-worker”.

But those two aren’t always on the same page – what is best for business is often not best for workers.

Albanese walks both lines in this interview though:

I see that there is common interest between business and unions.

He says that if there is a “spirit” of cooperation, you can deal with the issues affecting workers and businesses.


PM says he does not ‘seek to impose changes’ on businesses with multi-employer bargaining

Anthony Albanese is speaking to Patricia Karvelas on ABC Radio National, where he is asked whether multi-employer bargaining would be compulsory or opt-in.

Albanese says he won’t be playing the “on the table game” and discussions are continuing.

“Those issues will have to be worked through,” he says.


I was really heartened by the spirit of cooperation that was there throughout the summit. So we don’t seek to impose changes, what we seek to is do is have discussions.

Prime minister Anthony Albanese.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Clare O’Neil says Australians using TikTok should think about what data of theirs is being collected

Clare O’Neil, wearing her cybersecurity minister hat, was asked about TikTok harvesting people’s data while she was on ABC breakfast TV. She said:

This is not just a problem about TikTok – this is a much bigger issue about how, as Australians, we’re going to engage with technology that’s invented in authoritarian countries.

So I’ve asked my department to begin a review process to consider how we can manage this. But I would just say to Australians – this is a really hard and very new problem. There is no country in the world that has quite nailed this.

I talked to my counterparts in the United States, in Canada, in Britain, in other friendly countries, and we’re all kind of trying to find our way through what is a set of very modern problems.

So we’ll be working pretty hard on that one. But I’d say to Australians: if you’re using TikTok, think about what data of yours might be being collected, and know that we’re not always 100% confident of how that data’s being used, and we do need to take precautions in this digital age.

Clare O’Neil.
Clare O’Neil. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Greens to introduce climate trigger bill to parliament

Today the Greens will introduce their climate trigger bill to ban the environmental approval of new mines or developments emitting more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon and require an assessment of emissions for projects emitting between 25,000 and 100,000 tonnes.

The Greens say the proposed laws will plug a huge flaw in Australia’s environment laws which currently allow the environment minister to approve a new mine or development without considering the impact of the pollution from the project on the climate.

The bill also requires the Climate Change Authority to develop a national carbon budget to 2050 to be updated annually. The minister must assess projects against the remaining carbon budget.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson Young.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson Young. Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

Australia’s environmental laws are broken. They are failing to protect nature and our iconic wildlife. The State of the Environment Report made it clear that the climate crisis is a driving force behind unprecedented environmental decline and species extinction. The alarm has well and truly been sounded and it’s time to act.

It’s crazy that in the midst of this climate crisis and environmental collapse that a new mine or development can get environmental approval without any consideration of climate pollution or damage ...

The Greens’ climate trigger bill will stop new coal and gas. There are 114 new coal and gas projects headed to the environment minister’s desk for approval – not a single one should be approved without considering the impact its emissions will have on the climate.

The environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, has previously not ruled out a climate trigger in new laws on fossil fuel project assessments, but she has also pointed to a major review of laws last year that said climate impacts could be addressed in other ways.

The Greens pushed for the trigger to be included in Labor’s bill enshrining a 43% emissions reduction target by 2030, but the government refused. That bill still requires the support of Jacqui Lambie or David Pocock to pass the Senate. The latter has also supported a climate trigger.


Good morning

Welcome back to parliament.

After the first sitting, where everyone was getting their bearings, the break was filled with the business of ‘just getting on with it’.

It has all been cost of living, jobs, the cost of living, climate, the cost of living and the cost of living.

But the government is not planning on raising the jobseeker rate, bringing forward the childcare package or continue the petrol excise cut – Jim Chalmers is all about the “$1tn debt” and the “difficult decisions” he says the budget position has left the government in.

But with interest rates to continue rising and inflation not going anywhere any time soon, the cost of living is already biting and is expected to get worse before it gets better. That is putting things like the $243bn stage three tax cuts (which are legislated to come into effect in July 2024) into harsh light, but it is also putting the jobseeker and other social security payment rates into question, with people already living below the poverty line facing impossible choices as the cost of living continues to rise – at the same time the country faces a rental crisis.

The government is focusing on industrial relations after the two-day jobs and skills summit. The big ticket item from that is the multi-employer bargaining idea, which would not stop businesses from striking their own EBA, which would not be affected by any multi-employer bargaining, but would help employees of smaller operations have more power at the bargaining table.

But there is still a huge focus on climate, with the Greens introducing its climate trigger legislation this week, which, if passed, would mean all fossil fuel mining projects would have to prove they would not increase emissions in order to be passed. Labor hasn’t shut the door on that, but it is not exactly embracing it with open arms either.

We will cover off the day as it unfolds. You have Sarah Martin, Paul Karp and Josh Butler in Canberra, with Mike Bowers already on the job, cameras at the ready. Because it is a parliament sitting, you have me, Amy Remeikis on the blog for most of the day. We stick mostly to Auspol with politics live, but if there is something major happening elsewhere, don’t worry – we will break into the politics coverage to let you know.

I have had two coffees and am eyeing off my third. So let’s get into it.


Josh Taylor and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Liberal MP Bridget Archer to cross the floor on climate bill – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Cait Kelly and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

03, Aug, 2022 @9:25 AM

Article image
Penny Wong warns against ‘miscalculation’ as China-Taiwan tensions escalate – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Cait Kelly and Amy Remeikis

04, Aug, 2022 @9:14 AM

Article image
Labor says Dutton ‘desperate’ to distract from defence failures – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor (now) and Cait Kelly and Caitlin Cassidy (earlier)

10, Jun, 2022 @8:19 AM

Article image
Albanese rallies against ‘fear and division’ at Labor campaign launch – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Tory Shepherd and Royce Kurmelovs

01, May, 2022 @7:57 AM

Article image
Independents slam ‘dirty tactic’, reporting fake campaign signs; 30 Covid deaths – as it happened
Scott Morrison won’t say if he will resign in case of hung parliament and Anthony Albanese backs royal commission into pandemic

Tory Shepherd and Amy Remeikis

06, May, 2022 @10:21 AM

Article image
PM says Opposition leader’s criticism ‘the comments of an armchair critic’ – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Tory Shepherd and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

16, May, 2022 @10:38 AM

Article image
Ruston dismisses suggestion Liberal party has ‘lost its way’; Hunter candidates square off – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Tory Shepherd and Amy Remeikis

04, May, 2022 @10:11 AM

Article image
ABC misses out on final leaders’ debate; key independents back call for robodebt inquiry – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Caitlin Cassidy (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

02, May, 2022 @9:04 AM

Article image
McKim calls for Lowe to stand down – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

06, Sep, 2022 @8:46 AM

Article image
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