The day that was, Thursday 8 September

We will wrap up the blog here at the end of the first sitting week of this fortnight period in what has turned out to be a busy last sitting day.

Here’s what made the news today:

  • The new Labor government’s signature climate change bill enshrining a 43% emissions reduction target by 2030 has passed the parliament, with government MPs hailing the passage of the bill as the end of the climate wars.

  • The attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, was accused by the Coalition of breaching the ministerial code of conduct over holding shares in his self-managed superfund in a fund that is a major shareholder in a company involved in litigation financing. The Coalition has raised questions about whether it represents a conflict of interest. Dreyfus has denied any wrongdoing but said he would examine the matter.

  • The RBA has said it will need to lift interest rates at least twice more to curb inflation.

  • Governor Philip Lowe has said he has no intentions of resigning, despite calls for him to go.

  • Masks will no longer be mandatory on international flights from tomorrow, in line with changes coming into effect on domestic flights.

  • From tomorrow Covid cases and deaths will be reported weekly.

  • There were at least 74 reported Covid-19 deaths reported on Thursday.

  • Baggage handlers have called off a planned strike for Monday.

  • Infrastructure minister Catherine King will introduce legislation to establish a High Speed Rail Authority.

My colleague Natasha May will be back with you tomorrow morning, while I’ll have the Friday afternoon slog. Until then.


The cold front bringing the chance of severe thunderstorms to western inland is expected to reach the east by tomorrow. Chance of showers and thunderstorms tomorrow morning in the east before settled conditions over the weekend. See:

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) September 8, 2022

Australians urged to get Covid vaccine booster ahead of spring sports events

The nearly one in three Australians who have not had a Covid-19 vaccine booster are being urged to do so before footy finals and the spring racing carnival.

It’s particularly important to be protected from severe disease as changes to mask rules and isolation come into effect on Friday, according to a leading vaccine advocacy group.

Immunisation Coalition CEO Kim Sampson says he wants vaccine-complacent Australians to be jolted out of thinking the pandemic is over.

“As we head into the footy finals, with large crowds of fans from across the country travelling and gathering, it’s important Australians don’t delay protecting themselves and their loved ones by being fully vaccinated,” Sampson said.

Just over 71% of Australians aged 16 and over have had three or more jabs.

There’s also concern that less than 60% of school-aged children are immunised against Covid-19.

There have been nine reported Covid-19 deaths in children under five.

Immunisation Coalition Board member Professor Robert Booy is urging parents to make sure their children are protected.

“Covid-19 disease has been described as a generation-defining disruption to children who have been forced to forego large amounts of their education,” he said.

“Vaccines are available for high-risk children between the ages of six months and five years and are more widely available for school children in general.”

The push comes as states and territories agree to stop releasing daily Covid-19 case figures from Friday.

The federal government will instead issue weekly data on new cases, deaths, hospitalisations and ICU admissions.

There were more than 10,000 new cases of Covid-19 and 62 deaths reported across Australia on Wednesday.


Labor MPs revel in passing of climate change bill

Perhaps slightly premature to declare the climate wars over, but Labor MPs are taking a victory lap on social media.

UPDATE: Labor’s Climate Change bill has now passed the Parliament and is on its way to become law.

The decade of climate wars is over.#auspol

— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) September 8, 2022

Today we make history.

The Albanese Labor Government's Climate Change Bill has just passed the Parliament. The Bill delivers our commitment to reduce emissions and move to 83% renewable energy by 2030.

After a decade of denial, division and delay, climate action is now law.

— Ged Kearney (@gedkearney) September 8, 2022

Today the 43% emissions reduction target was passed by Parliament. My community in Lilley knows climate change is real, we’ve felt its effects first hand. After almost a decade of inaction on climate change this Government is taking action so our kids & our planet have a future.

— Anika Wells MP (@AnikaWells) September 8, 2022

Here it is. The moment that our climate change bill passes all Houses of Parliament.

Ayes 37
Noes 26

Yep. The Liberals voted against action on climate change once again.

— Jerome Laxale MP (@jeromelaxale) September 8, 2022


Flood warning for parts of Victoria

⚠️ Initial #Flood Warning issued for #SevenCreeks & #CastleCreek. #Minor flooding occurring at #Strathbogie and #Minor flooding may develop at #Euroa Thursday evening. See for details and updates; follow advice from @vicemergency #VicFloods @vicsesnews

— Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic) September 8, 2022


Greens bid to protect South Australian wombat burrows

Legislation to help stop wombats being buried alive has been introduced to the South Australian parliament after incidents of burrows being bulldozed, AAP reports.

Greens MP Tammy Franks said while wombats were a protected species in SA, their burrows were often filled in during farming or construction work, dooming the wombats inside to a slow and horrific death.

She said in one incident captured on video in 2021, police and environment department officials said they could not take action because there was no explicit evidence of animals being injured.

“Burying a wombat in a burrow is a slow death sentence for the animal. They slowly suffocate and starve, a process which can take as long as three weeks,” Franks said.

“Across South Australia wombats are still being buried alive as a form of eradication day in and day out with little action or recourse, in stark contradiction to the intent of our current laws aimed at protecting them.”

Wombat burrows are often filled in during farming or construction work, dooming the wombats inside to a slow and horrific death.
Wombat burrows are often filled in during farming or construction work, dooming the wombats inside to a slow and horrific death. Photograph: Annabel Preston

Under the Greens’ bill it will be an offence to destroy, damage or disturb a wombat burrow with maximum penalties of a $5,000 fine or imprisonment for 12 months.

Wombat Awareness Organisation spokeswoman Brigitte Stevens said protecting wombat burrows by law was long overdue.

“The lives of thousands of animals would be spared from the horrors of being buried alive,” she said.


Here’s my colleague Adam Morton’s full report on the passage of the government’s signature climate change legislation through the parliament today.

NSW corruption watchdog at capacity: chief

The NSW anti-corruption commission is receiving 50 to 70 referrals every week and the watchdog’s chief warns it is unable to take on further investigations, AAP reports.

Despite an 11% funding boost for the commission in the June budget, the agency says it has reached a full workload after years of prior cuts.

“At the moment, and I’ve made this point to the premier as well, the commission does not have spare capacity,” Icac chief commissioner John Hatzistergos told a budget estimates hearing on Wednesday.

“If the parliament was to pass a resolution asking the Icac to take on an investigation, the only way we could do that is by taking people away from current projects.”

The former district court judge and attorney general said his commission has seven preliminary investigations and four full investigations afoot.

Those include the inquiry that led Gladys Berejiklian to resign as premier in 2020 when she was compelled to admit she’d been in a relationship with her parliamentary secretary, Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire.

Icac is also investigating alleged corruption at two Sydney councils and the roads authority.

The commission fielded a record 3,570 referrals in the year to June, an average of 9.8 a day.

This financial year is similarly high, sitting at 557 two months in.

Hatzistergos said the $3.5m funding boost in the June state budget would allow for 17 new full-time equivalent positions.

But the recruitment and vetting required for people working for Icac meant it was still suffering from cuts in 2016.

“Letting people go is relatively easy. Putting people on takes time,” Hatzistergos said.

His predecessor had called for Icac to be funded by the parliament, not the executive government.

The government instead agreed to separate funding for commissions such as Icac and the Auditor-General through a separate unit of Treasury, which will develop a charter of independence.

Efficiency dividends – forcing agencies to find savings each year – will no longer apply.

Labor says it will legislate to guarantee independent funding for Icac, if elected in March.

“A strong and independently funded Icac is critical to restoring public faith and confidence in government,” opposition special minister of state spokesman John Graham said on Thursday.


New iPhone feature could save lives when phone is out of range

AAP has a story on what one of the new features in the new iPhone could mean for people in regional and remote parts of Australia.

Apple launched its new iPhone series on Thursday with a range of new capabilities.

One key feature will allow users to send text messages to emergency services using satellites in the absence of a cellular or wifi connection.

Deb Charlton from NSW Farmers said the new feature would put safety in more pockets once it becomes available down under.

“For a great big land like Australia, being able to call for help when you’re out of coo-ee will be a game changer,” Charlton said.

“While this won’t help us deal with the issue of data connectivity or being able to run your business from the paddock, this promises to be a major step forward for safety.”

In some instances, users will also be able to share their location via satellite when they have no other connectivity.

The new Apple feature will be free for the first two years before users will have to pay.

The latest features will initially be rolled out across Canada and the United States before being expanded to other parts of the world including Australia in coming months.

Apple’s new emergency satellite messaging feature could potentially save the lives of Australians.
Apple’s new emergency satellite messaging feature could potentially save the lives of Australians. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


On that note, I shall leave you in the very safe hands of Josh Taylor for the evening.

If the week seemed a lot, don’t worry – we’ll wrap the parliament week in a quick video for you, which you can watch on Saturday.

Until then, keep checking back on the site for all the updates and in-depth coverage from Sarah Martin, Josh Butler and Paul Karp as well as the entire Guardian brains trust.

A huge thank you to them all for their tireless work, not only being across everything, but also dragging me across the line.

And to Mike Bowers – all of the thank yous, from all of us, because without him, there is no Politics Live. The moderators have also worked overtime to keep comments open for as long as possible – which means we have all been able to have a good old chat. Big thanks to them.

But the biggest thank you, as always, belongs to you, for all of your support. We couldn’t do it without you. I’ll be back on the blog from Monday with the next sitting week (it will be a general news blog tomorrow, given the parliament is adjourned) so I hope to see you there.

Until then, please – take care of you.


Federal parliament wraps up for the week

There was very little fanfare at the end of that vote. The house is now going through the adjournment debate.

And the MPs are starting to leave for the airport.


Labor's climate bill passes House of Representatives

And that looks like it.

The amended legislation has passed the house.

Australia (almost, royal assent first) has a legislated climate target.


The first vote on the first lot of amendments ends with the ayes winning (as expected).

Ayes 86 to Noes 50.

We are now moving on to the next amendment vote, and another division.


House of Representatives votes on climate bill amendments

The house is now voting on the Senate amendments to the climate bill – it will pass.

The division is a way of showing who voted against it.


Lidia Thorpe criticises Indigenous voice working group

The Greens senator Lidia Thorpe has also had a crack at the government’s appointment of a new working group of First Nations leaders to “guide the big questions” about a referendum to enshrine a voice to parliament in the constitution which was announced by the minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney on Thursday.

The Victorian senator said from what she had seen of the list – which includes Noel Pearson, Megan Davis, Pat Anderson, Marcia Langton and Tom Calma – they were “captain’s picks” who did not represent First Nations voices.

Thorpe, a Djab Wurrung, Gunnai and Gunditjmara woman, said:

I mean, we want to talk about grassroots. I don’t see anyone different in the list that I’ve seen so far, so they haven’t gone very far and wide.

There’s a lot of work to do and grassroots people have been contacting me since the announcement – they’re not happy and they need to do better.

We need to define who Aboriginal leaders are in this country, because it’s very easy to label one, and we also need to define who grassroots are in this country. Grassroots don’t have big-paying jobs; they’re not CEOs or chairpersons of organisations; grassroots are the people who you never hear from and they’re the people that should be behind the microphone today.

Thorpe, who is a strong proponent for establishing a treaty before looking at constitutional recognition, said that while she had been “locked out of the conversation” with the government, she would soon have a meeting with Burney to discuss “truth, treaty and voice”.


Mike Bowers went to Sussan Ley’s press conference on Labor ministers’ shareholdings and says it was more of the same “no integrity on integrity” with a dash of “is it about to rain?” (the answer to that last one is yes).

Deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley at a press conference in a Parliament House courtyard
Deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley at a press conference in a Parliament House courtyard. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Are you there [insert deity], it’s me Sussan
Are you there [insert deity], it’s me Sussan. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Climate bill amendments come before House of Representatives

The climate bill is back in front of the house, where the opposition is arguing against it.

Ted O’Brien is very upset over a lack of modelling.

The amended bill will come to a vote very soon.


The Senate has offered up some truly special contributions today.

Lidia Thorpe and Larissa Waters sum up the vibe in this photo from Mike Bowers.

Greens senators Lidia Thorpe and Larissa Waters during question time in the Senate
Greens senators Lidia Thorpe and Larissa Waters during question time. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


We will bring you what we can from Sussan Ley’s press conference – it is not being shown as yet, but we are on it.

No matter who's in government, conflicts of interest or perceived conflicts should always be avoided. The Greens will continue to push for Ministerial standards to be stronger and independently enforced.

— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) September 8, 2022

Mask mandate on international flights to be scrapped

Australia’s chief medical officer says masks no longer need to be worn on international flights, as of tomorrow.

From the statement:

The requirement to wear a mask on international flights to Australia will be removed, effective 12.01am on Friday 9 September 2022.

This is based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer and is consistent with the decision of National Cabinet on 31 August 2022 on domestic flights.

We encourage travellers to consider wearing a mask to reduce their personal risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19.

Travellers should also be aware that airlines and countries they are travelling through may have different requirements.


Opposition pushes ministerial code of conduct breach allegations

The attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, is the latest government member to become embroiled in a widening furore over investments held by ministers, with the Coalition claiming the financial arrangements of several frontbenchers breach Anthony Albanese’s ministerial standards.

The attorney general denied any wrongdoing but said he would “examine the matter”.

Dreyfus’s register of interests shows his self-managed superannuation fund holds shares in the Greencape Wholesale Broadcap Fund, which in turn is a major shareholder in Omni Bridgeway Limited, which bills itself as “the global leader in litigation financing and managing legal risk”. With Dreyfus as the nation’s first law officer, the opposition has raised questions about whether this represents a conflict of interest.

The opposition has been trawling through the register of interests after ministers Kristy McBain, Bill Shorten, Tim Ayres and Ged Kearney disclosed they had shareholdings in some form – which the Coalition claims may breach the ministerial code, which requires that “Ministers divest themselves of investments and other interests in any public or private company or business, other than public superannuation funds or publicly listed managed funds or trust arrangements”.

Mark Dreyfus speaks during question time
Mark Dreyfus speaks during question time. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

In question time today, the deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley asked Dreyfus about his arrangements. Dreyfus said he would “examine the matter that has been raised”:

I can assure the honourable member and assure members of this house that I have complied at all times with the code of conduct for ministers. It’s a very significant matter, that’s why I’ve undertaken to look at the matter that’s been raised.

Every single one of the publicly listed managed funds that my private superannuation fund invests in have been fully disclosed to this house.

Dreyfus said that in all his publicly listed financial arrangements, he had “no influence over investment decisions of that fund or trust”.

Ley is to hold a press conference in Canberra at 3.45pm, so we expect to hear more from her on this.


Here is how some of that event looked:

Prime minister Anthony Albanese and minister for the NDIS Bill Shorten are greeted by 14-month-old golden retriever puppy Sissie at a Vision Australia event in Parliament House
Prime minister Anthony Albanese and minister for the NDIS Bill Shorten are greeted by 14-month-old golden retriever puppy Sissie at a Vision Australia event in Parliament House. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Sissie says hello
Sissie says hello to the PM. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Labor promises to cut red tape for people trying to access assistance animals

Bill Shorten held a press conference with some puppies from Vision Australia to draw attention to some of the changes needed with groups like Vision Australia:

Even the most seasoned political cynics will be surprised at some of the red tape we’ve uncovered since coming to government, with how difficult the previous government made it accessing assistance animals. For example, the previous government had guidelines that said the average working life of a guide dog is 8 years.

The problem is the average working life of a guide dog is somewhere nearer to 6 years. So what the old government used to say is that if your dog, who might have died of cancer, who could no longer do the work, had done less than 8 years, the person with vision impairment would be required to pay the shortfall up to 8 years. I kid you not.

Another example we’ve discovered upon coming to government is that whilst assistance animals empower people’s lives, we’ve found that people who had an assistance animal have been told by the National Disability Insurance Agency that they weren’t eligible for taxi concessions. Now the point about this is that whilst an assistance animal helps you, sometimes you need to get a taxi. Not every meeting, not every aspect of your life is within walking distance. So literally we’ve seen some of the [most bizarre] forms of red tape.

I don’t know if the old political government even knew these rules existed that they were administering. The other thing we intend to resolve is that organisations such as Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs or Guide Dogs for the Blind – they are the most experienced dog trainers in the world. Not every vision-impaired person needs a guide dog or is suitable for a guide dog.

But if Guide Dogs Australia or Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs, if they do a rigorous assessment, if they say this vision-impaired person is suitable for the animal and they’ve got an animal available, what we found is that the old government would then take the person that wanted the dog and the assessment done by these reputable agencies and take them to court and argue about it.

My view is that, and I’ve looked since coming to government, if the government had a secret unit of dog trainers who were skilled in assessing the work of Seeing Eye Dogs and Guide Dogs Victoria etc. So far I haven’t found that unit. So what we want to do as a government is get out of the way of the people that have been doing this for decades. Not everyone needs, or is suitable for, a guide dog. I don’t think if we decrease the red tape all of a sudden there will be thousands of guide dogs in every street in Australia. The government is here to help people. The NDIS should be helping people. So that’s what I mean by cutting out some of the red tape. Literally, it is some of the most bizarre rules that not even Shaun Micallef could invent these rules.


National Covid summary: 74 deaths reported

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from around Australia today, as the country records at least 74 deaths from Covid-19:


  • Deaths: 0

  • Cases: 179

  • In hospital: 87 (with 1 person in ICU)


  • Deaths: 25

  • Cases: 3,334

  • In hospital: 1,530 (with 29 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

  • Deaths: 0

  • Cases: 89

  • In hospital: 15 (with 1 person in ICU)


  • Deaths: 11

  • Cases: 1,564

  • In hospital: 225 (with 3 people in ICU)

South Australia

  • Deaths: 2

  • Cases: 654

  • In hospital: 83 (with 7 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 0

  • Cases: 166

  • In hospital: 24 (with 1 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 24

  • Cases: 2,102

  • In hospital: 227 (with 15 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 12

  • Cases: 1,088

  • In hospital: 201 (with 7 people in ICU)

Coalition calls press conference on Labor ministers’ shareholdings

Sussan Ley has called a press conference for 3.45pm.

She will be speaking on the Coalition’s allegations that three of Labor’s ministers have breached the ministerial code of conduct over their shareholdings.

Josh Butler will be summarising that for you, as my brain is bleeding out of my ears at this stage of the sitting.


Government looking at other grants after funding scrapped for foundation backed by governor general

Monique Ryan wants to know if the government will review other discretionary grants given to organisations and charities in light of the scrapping of the $18m in funding for the leadership foundation backed by the governor general.

Anthony Albanese says yes, that is something the government is looking at.


Question time resumes after Dutton motion fails

Annnnnd the division ends as expected, with Labor winning.

Question time resumes.


OK, now we are going to a division on that suspension motion, which Labor will win (by that there will be no suspension).


Climate bill gives business greater clarity, Australian Energy Council says

Meanwhile, the Australian Energy Council has also welcomed the passage of the climate legislation through the Senate:

The peak body for energy retailers and generators, the Australian Energy Council, congratulated the Federal Government on the passage of the Climate Bill through the Senate and welcomed the foundation it will provide for economy-wide emissions reduction policies.

The AEC’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said the AEC wholeheartedly supports the Government’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 and the need for well-considered interim targets to assist its achievement.

“Enshrining a policy in legislation gives businesses and industry greater clarity. For sectors like electricity, which are already deeply invested in Australia’s decarbonisation journey, policy confidence is critical to the sector’s orderly transition. We look forward to the amended Bill being passed by the House of Representatives in due course.

“Achieving 43 per cent emission reductions by 2030 requires sectors other than electricity to begin their decarbonisation journey this decade. Promisingly, there are immediate and affordable ways to start decarbonising sectors such as Australia’s transport and stationary energy sectors through the uptake of electrification technology.”

The AEC has proposed an interim economy-wide emissions reduction target of 55 per cent on 2005 levels by 2035.


MP share revelations come from work of non-partisan Open Politics

A lot of these revelations have come from the work of Open Politics, which is run by the former ministerial staffer Sean Johnson. It is not a partisan site and is looking at the private interests of all MPs.

A long bow for Opposition to go after @markdreyfusQCMP over his managed funds. But it does show the political complications of ministers owning shares, direct or otherwise. @qt #auspol

— Open Politics (@openpoliticsAU) September 8, 2022

Good to hear the PM @AlboMP announce Minister Ged Kearney @gedkearney is divesting her managed funds following our revelations yesterday. A very bad look to have investments in a sector in your ministerial portfolio.

Now will the Opposition clean up its act re Hollie Hughes?

— Open Politics (@openpoliticsAU) September 8, 2022


Tony Burke lists shares owned by shadow ministers as he speaks against Dutton motion

“OK everyone, wake up,” says Tony Burke, who is now speaking against the motion by listing the shares that the shadow ministry has, including the shadow minister for climate change having shares in Rio Tinto.


Labor has no integrity on integrity, Julian Leeser says as he seconds Dutton motion

Julian Leeser is seconding Peter Dutton’s motion, speaking on the theme “Labor has no integrity on integrity”.

He is also being granted time to speak.

Labor has the numbers, so the debate won’t happen unless it wants it to (which it doesn’t) but it is notable that the speeches are allowed to happen.

There is a lot of chatter from the opposition benches as Leeser makes his way through his speech.


Here is how the climate legislation vote played out:

The Senate during voting on the climate change legislation in Parliament House, Canberra
The Senate during voting on the climate change legislation in Parliament House, Canberra this afternoon. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
How the ayes looked
How the ayes looked. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
And the noes
And the noes. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Peter Dutton is getting a whole speech in for this suspension motion, which is very against trend for these sorts of things.

Peter Dutton moves a suspension of standing orders during question time
Peter Dutton moves a suspension of standing orders during question time. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Liberal Hollie Hughes grills Labor’s Murray Watt on childcare subsidies

In the 47th parliament Labor’s ministry is heavily loaded towards the lower house. It’s caused quite a workload for the ministers in the Senate who have to represent their lower house colleagues in question time.

All week, the Coalition has been targeting upper house ministers with questions in the portfolios of their lower house colleagues.

For example, today Liberal Hollie Hughes is grilling Murray Watt not about his portfolios of agriculture or emergency management but about childcare, with questions about subsidy increases at various income points ($60K, $400K etc).

Watt takes them on notice adding:

I’m sure you’re posing that question to the actual minister – if that’s not occurring she should talk to her colleagues.

This provoked cries of “not your job, Murray?” recalling Labor’s ads attacking Scott Morrison with his own dictum “not my job”.


Labor is letting Peter Dutton speak on this suspension (which is something the Coalition very rarely let happen).

He says Labor promised to “usher in a new era” and “none of that has happened”.

Manager of opposition business Paul Fletcher (left) speaks to Peter Dutton while moving a suspension of standing orders during question time
Manager of opposition business Paul Fletcher (left) speaks to Peter Dutton while moving a suspension of standing orders during question time. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Leave is not granted by Labor (which was a favourite of the Coalition government).

There is a bit of argy-bargy over whether Peter Dutton is moving the right motion (to suspend standing orders) using the right terms, but we are back on track now.

Tony Burke has been able to play his favourite game, “who knows the standing orders best”, twice so far this question time. He seems to very much enjoy it (because most times, he wins).


Peter Dutton moves to suspend standing orders for first time

And now Peter Dutton is moving a motion to suspend standing orders – his first for question time, and an old Labor tactic.

It’s on transparency – and how the LNP thinks three Labor ministers have breached the ministerial code by having shares (or divested) which is against the code.


Because all technology apparently hates me, the Otter transcription service is struggling to keep up with question time, so I am going to have to track down the hansard to bring you this.

It is all over the place.

Grassroots NT Labor party members at odds with government on fracking

There was an interesting development out of the Northern Territory Labor party conference on the weekend.

The party’s grassroots base voted overwhelmingly in favour of passing a string of motions calling for the banning of fracking in the NT. That’s a position that is at odds with both the Labor territory and federal governments, which both support opening up the vast Beetaloo Basin for gas development. Motions put forward during NT Labor’s conference on Saturday included calls for an “immediate ban” to fracking in the NT, a halt to exploration in the Beetaloo Basin, and an end to government subsidies supporting the gas industry.

One motion, moved by Young Labor, called for an acknowledgement that the progress of the Beetaloo project was an “indictment of the Territory Labor Party’s morals and is a direct result of capitalistic greed”.

Another motion, moved by the Casuarina branch, said that increasing emissions by developing more fossil fuel deposits, including in the Beetaloo and the Barossa offshore gas fields, was “incompatible with sustaining life as we know it in the NT, Australia and globally”.

Other motions called for the development of a 2030 carbon emissions reduction target and implementation plan, and urged the government to heed a recommendation of the landmark Pepper inquiry into fracking by ensuring no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions occurred.

All of the anti-fracking motions were passed with very little opposition, according to multiple sources.


Climate bill must serve as springboard for more action, Climate Council says

From the Climate Council:

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie says: “It’s time to crack on, as the climate crisis is upon us.

“This Act is important because it demonstrates that the majority of our Parliamentarians understand that climate action is a shared and urgent responsibility,” Ms McKenzie said.

Australia’s politicians are finally working together. Voters made it clear that they want to see progress, and we thank members of the ALP, the Greens and the Independents in both houses of Parliament for working together so constructively to pass this Bill.

For the first time ever Australia has clear, minimum climate targets enshrined in law. This will help encourage the massive private investment we need to transform our economy to net zero.

On its own, the Climate Change Act won’t reduce emissions – so the law should serve as a springboard for more action. It needs to be backed up by credible climate action across every sector of the economy, so we can build on this; going much further and faster this decade.

The 2020s are the make or break decade for keeping global warming to survivable limits. Everything is at stake if we get this wrong.


Australia no longer ‘a laggard and a laughing stock’, ACF says

All the statements are now starting to roll in.

From the Australian Conservation Foundation’s climate program manager, Gavan McFadzean:

It is heartening to see Australia’s legislators finally taking the climate crisis seriously.

For too long Australia has been a laggard and a laughing stock. This is no longer the case.

ACF commends parliamentarians – in the House of Representatives and the Senate – who have strengthened this bill on its passage through the parliament.

Amendments to this legislation, introduced by Senator David Pocock and supported by a majority of Senators, have improved the transparency of this bill.

It’s good to see parliamentarians working together for stronger action on climate change.


Climate bill goes back to House of Representatives where it is set to pass

The climate bill now goes back to the house to have the amendments from David Pocock voted on, but it will pass there as well.

Which means it will be sent off for royal assent and then once granted, Australia will have a legislated emissions reduction target. Symbolic, yes, but given what has happened over the last decade, still important.


Government says climate bill will provide ‘certainty needed to usher in economic growth’

And some very quick staffer in the PMO already has a statement out on it:

The Albanese Government’s landmark Climate Change Bills have now passed the Senate, ensuring Australia’s emissions reduction target of 43 per cent and net zero emissions by 2050 will be enshrined in legislation.

For almost a decade, Australia stumbled from one policy to another, and our economy and communities missed out on billions of dollars in public and private clean energy investment. But today that changes.

This overdue legislation will provide the energy policy and investment certainty needed to usher in economic growth and opportunity in a decarbonising global economy.

The Bills ensure a whole-of-government approach to drive down emissions and accountability through an annual update to Parliament.


Climate bill passes the Senate

It is a done deal in the upper house.

The climate bill legislating a 43% emissions reduction target has passed 37 votes to 30.


Paul Fletchers voice sounds like it left his throat and had a roaring great time in a smoky Vegas pokie room until 4am and then went and rolled around in gravel for good measure before returning for a day’s work.

We hope the manager of opposition business feels better soon.


Anthony Albanese faces questions about Labor ministers’ shareholdings

We have had three questions about Labor ministers/assistant ministers who had interests in shares which is against the Albanese code of conduct.

Anthony Albanese says all has been addressed.

Anthony Albanese speaks during question time
Anthony Albanese speaks during question time. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


OK, now we are all caught up, it seems that the Tveeder transcription service has given up the ghost and is not working.

So we will have to paraphrase a bit because it moves too quickly for me to transcribe in near-live time.


Mike Bowers is in the Senate capturing the climate bill vote.

Senate update: climate bills are now passing, with support from Greens, Pocock and Lambie. Coalition, One Nation and Babet opposing but they don’t have the numbers to block. Greens improved the bill but we will keep fighting to stop new coal & gas, and to lift the target #auspol

— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) September 8, 2022


I have no plans to resign, RBA governor says after ‘Lowe must go’ calls

The RBA governor, Philip Lowe, has addressed a few questions from the media about whether he had broken a promise about when the bank would lift interest rates.

Among them, he was asked about the “unity ticket” between the Greens’ Nick McKim and the Nationals’ Matt Canavan demanding (in rhyme) that “Lowe must go”.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe arrives for lunch in Sydney where he delivered a speech
Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe arrives for lunch in Sydney where he delivered a speech. Photograph: Mark Baker/AP

Lowe says:

I can assure you I have no plans to resign.

He also defended his position in late 2021 that the RBA’s cash rate would not rise until 2024.

Those comments, Lowe said, were “highly conditional”. “Can I correct you,” Lowe told a Sky business reporter. “Because I did not promise” that timing, even if many people interpreted it that way.

Academic macroeconomists who have lately spoken to Guardian Australia have tended to agree with Lowe. His comments were taken to mean more than Lowe was actually saying.

The point they make, though, is that Lowe would have seen how his comments were being taken by the public (such as by mortgage brokers who have a vested view about what they tell potential clients) and correcting that misinterpretation was within Lowe’s powers.


China quiet on Anthony Albanese’s proposal for meeting with Xi Jinping

China’s foreign ministry hasn’t exactly jumped at Anthony Albanese’s proposal for a meeting with President Xi Jinping, saying it has “nothing to share” when asked by journalists about whether the leaders could meet in coming months.

Albanese said yesterday he was “open to dialogue” with Xi, after China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, suggested there could be a long-awaited meeting between the leaders – potentially at an upcoming international summit.

“I’m open to dialogue with anyone at any time, particularly with leaders of other nations. It’s a good thing if there’s dialogue and if such a meeting took place I would welcome it,” Albanese said.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was asked about a potential meeting at a press conference and said:

The sound and steady development of China-Australia relations is in the shared interest of both countries and peoples and conducive to peace, stability, development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

China stands ready to follow the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit and work with Australia to steadily advance bilateral relations along the track of comprehensive strategic partnership and bring benefits to the two peoples.

As for a meeting between the leaders, I have nothing to share.

Mao said China was “ready to work with Australia to steadily advance bilateral relations along the track of comprehensive strategic partnership”.

But asked if a meeting was possible, she added: “I have no information to offer.”


RBA governor reiterates how wages pick up will influence future interest rate rises

The Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, has reiterated that how wages pick up will influence how hard he hits the brakes with more interest rate rises.

“The main uncertainty we have is how the labour market is going to respond to this period of high inflation,” he said. “I know it’s very difficult for people to accept the fact that wages are not rising with higher inflation.” (Ask the ACTU’s Sally McManus and a few million others.)

“It’s very difficult, and it’s causing a lot of people distress,” but the alternative is that inflation becomes “protracted”, requiring even higher interest rates later on and even more unemployment levels. “And that’s going to hurt low-income people more,” Lowe said.

However, given profits are at record levels while labour’s share of the economy is at a record low level, that’s going to be a hard argument to make stick, you’d have to think.

Greg Jericho has noted that in his excellent column today:

and here:

But the long-terms trends really are not surprising. Alas.

Oh well I guess having an economy geared to sending profits offshore is a sign of success??....

— Greg Jericho (@GrogsGamut) September 7, 2022


(Continued from previous post)

McKim speaks about national account figures out on Wednesday and says they clearly show “that wages share of national income is at all-time record lows and profits share of the national income is at all-time record highs.”

“Never ... have workers had such a small slice of the pie and never have the corporates had such a big slice of the pie – never in the entire history of national accounts,” he says.

He says the figures also show it was a “massive mistake” for the RBA to put up interest rates so rapidly, saying hundreds of thousands of Australians had been induced into taking out mortgages because they believed the RBA when it said interest rates would not go up until 2024.


(continued from previous post)

Thorpe is talking about the failure of successive governments to implement recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody 31 years ago, saying “implementing those recommendations means saving lives”.

She also speaks about the process for treaty, saying it needs to come before constitutional recognition.

Thorpe says:

It is time for this nation to mature and go forward with a treaty.

The only mechanism to truly unite is treaty and we see examples of that around the world. Once we get our treaty and once we go through the process of treaty, then we can have a conversation about how we go into the coloniser’s constitution, and in that order is the very essence of how we are going to get real outcomes.

Thorpe is also asked about her protest at the Midwinter Ball at Parliament House last night which had fossil fuel companies among its sponsors.

She says Woodside and Shell have “done a lot of damage to country” and “a lot of damage to Indigenous people across this country”.

They’ve never gained free prior and informed consent to have any of the explorations that they’ve been doing. The process is flawed to gain consent from traditional owners. In fact, it’s unconscionable conduct how these mining companies and governments receive consent from traditional owners. It’s all manufactured.

It’s a dangle of a car or a dangle of a job and hand-picking those that will say yes for the money or the car. So it’s a flawed system, and so I was having a go at Woodside and Shell and anyone who supported them at that fossil fuel ball.

When asked about the attendance of several Greens MPs and senators at the event, Thorpe says “they protested”.


Greens flag intention to push government to do more on safeguard mechanism

Just before question time, the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, gave a press conference with senators Lidia Thorpe and Nick McKim.

Bandt was speaking about the climate bill being debated in the Senate, which is expected to pass this afternoon, saying it is a “small step” to tackling climate change, but much more work is yet to be done.

He is flagging the party’s intentions to use its balance of power position in the Senate to push the government to do more when it moves to legislate changes to the safeguard mechanism.

The Greens are readying for a fight over the new change, and are warning Labor against doing a deal with the Liberals, who in government flagged changes to the mechanism that was first introduced by Tony Abbott.

Bandt says the ball is now in Labor’s court:

Do they want to work with the Liberals to keep all of the loopholes in a safeguard mechanism that Tony Abbott put there and have a scheme that allows pollution to go up and new coal and gas mines to be open? Or does Labor want to work with the Greens as it designs the safeguard mechanism, so we come up with a plan that sees pollution go down, not up, and it tackles this question of new coal and gas.

We’ve shown very clearly we’ve been prepared to work constructively with the government to get action on climate now the rubber hit the road as the government starts to tell us exactly how they’re going to cut pollution from these big coal and gas plants.

We’re ready to work with them. But really the question now is, is Labor going to try to design a scheme to satisfy the Liberals, or are they going to work with the Greens on a scheme that might cut pollution.


Over in the Senate, it looks like the business of the climate bill vote is finishing up – which means it should be back with the house for a final vote, very soon.


Sorry about the delay – I had a small internet issue. Back on deck now.


OK – time to grab whatever it is that helps get you through QT. We’re almost ready to head to the chamber.


20% rise in cost of new homes among the uneven price increases RBA model did not predict

The RBA governor, Philip Lowe, also noted that new dwellings have cost 20% more to build in the past year – another of the “sectoral” differences that the bank’s broader model didn’t pick up so well.

RBA's Lowe highlights the 20% increase in the cost of building a new home in the past year was among the uneven increases in prices.

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) September 8, 2022

The psychology of inflation is something Lowe says the bank is watching closely, and so far those expectations haven’t taken off.

“Inflation expectations have picked up a little, but the measures derived from financial prices suggest there is a high degree of confidence that inflation will return to target [of between 2-3% over the medium term],” he said. “This suggests that a pick-up in inflation expectations is not a primary driver of the sharp rise in inflation.”

Lowe makes quite a bit about the importance of inflation expectations remaining low. So far, at least compared with the US, those expectations haven't shifted greatly - yet.

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) September 8, 2022

How wages rise will contribute to how those expectations play out, he says.

“If workers and businesses come to expect higher inflation, and wages growth and price-setting behaviour adjusts accordingly, the task of navigating that narrow path will be very difficult, if not impossible,” Lowe said.

The US, for instance, has wages rising at 5% a year, well above their 2-3% inflation target, he said. (Australia’s wage price index was rising at a 2.6% annual pace in the June quarter.)


Philip Lowe on what lessons the RBA has learned from Big Miss on inflation

The RBA governor says while the central bank didn’t get it right on inflation, neither did other economists, and posts a chart to show that.

Philip Lowe says the RBA had a 'very big inflation surprise'...but they weren't alone.

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) September 8, 2022

As I recall, the big CPI jump was the 5.1% rise in the March quarter – none of the economists had picked a number with a 5 in it.

Needless to say, the Morrison government wasn’t too happy about that inflation surprise either given that landed 27 April, smack bang in the middle of their (failed) re-election campaign.

Lowe goes on to talk about the lessons the RBA has learned from the Big Miss. One is that it was relying on aggregate demand models that didn’t adequately pick up things going haywire because of Covid.

He cites the demand shift towards goods v services during the working from home period.

Lowe makes the point that models of the aggregate didn't pick up sectoral changes as well as they should have. (eg During Covid times, goods vs services demand shifted significantly.)

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) September 8, 2022

(Still, given how much coverage the media gave to those issues, it’s surprising the RBA didn’t question whether it might be missing something.)


RBA carefully watching ‘inflation psychology’, governor says

The RBA governor has made reference in his speech to the Anika Foundation to the vibe (my paraphrasing – he calls it inflationary psychology) – something some economists and economic writers have been warning about – where prices increase because we expect them to increase.


There’s something here that’s worth watching.

It’s not easily captured in our standard models. And that’s the general inflation psychology in our community.

By this I mean the general willingness of businesses to seek price increases and the willingness of the community to accept those price increases.

Prior to the pandemic, it was very, very difficult for a business person to stand in the public square and say they were putting their prices up.

And a common theme from our liaison was because most businesses found it difficult to put their prices up, they had trouble putting their wages up. Wages growth had to be kept modest because price increases were modest and that was the predominant mindset in Australian business.

Today business people are able to stand in the public square and say they’re putting their prices up. And they can point to a number of reasons why.

The community clearly doesn’t like this. I think there’s a begrudging acceptance of it, the higher price increases. And with prices increasing, it’s harder for businesses to resist bigger wage increases, especially given the labour market is so tight. So the psychology in the community is shifting.

Or, as the Bank for International Settlements put it, when inflation is high, it becomes a coordinating mechanism for pricing decisions. In simpler words, people really start to pay attention to changes in costs and prices. And I think that’s happening.

The result can be faster and fuller pass-through of cost shocks and more frequent price and wage adjustments. There is some evidence that is already occurring, which is contributing to the strength of the pick-up in inflation. So this is something that we’ll watching very carefully, this general shift in the inflation psychology.


RBA says it will need to lift key interest rate at least twice more to contain inflation

The Reserve Bank will need to lift its key interest rate at least twice more to ensure the “scourge” of inflation is contained, with the pace and size of increases determined in part by how fast wages pick up, the bank governor Philip Lowe has said in a speech this afternoon.

Lowe told the Anika Foundation a “very large surprise in inflation” had caught the RBA and other central banks flatfooted. They had no choice but to lift the cost of borrowing to stop an “inflation psychology” taking hold, he said.

The board expects that further increases in interest rates will be required over the months ahead,” Lowe said, according to a speech circulated by the RBA. “But how high interest rates need to go and how quickly we get there will be guided by the incoming data and the evolving outlook for inflation and the labour market.”

Lowe’s comments follow Tuesday’s decision by the RBA board to lift its cash rate target by another 50 basis points to 2.35%. The increase was the fifth in as many meetings and raised the benchmark rate to its highest since early 2015.

The governor, who has faced calls by the Greens this week to be sacked, said the bank was “committed to doing what is necessary to ensure that inflation returns to target over time”.

High inflation is a scourge. It damages our standard of living, creates additional uncertainty for households and businesses, erodes the value of people’s savings and adds to inequality,” Lowe said. “And without price stability, it is not possible to achieve a sustained period of low unemployment.”

Lowe blamed the mistake of starting too late to lift the cost of borrowing in part to the unexpected Russian invasion of Ukraine in December. The resulting increase in energy prices as nations imposed sanctions on Russia had jolted inflation higher particularly in Europe but also contributed to Australia’s rise, he said.

More soon.

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe.
Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe. Photograph: Diego Fedele/AAP


Morrison’s secret ministries butt of jokes at Midwinter Ball

Some of you picked up on an earlier post that Anthony Albanese made reference to jokes about Scott Morrison’s secret ministries being made at the Midwinter Ball (which he said was actually a serious matter, despite also making for a good joke)

So I did some secret squirrelling to find out what was said:

Albanese in his traditional roast made a joke about Scott Morrison being “one to five in the ministry power list” (the order in which ministers are listed on the ministry list designates importance and is a big deal behind the scenes over who is what number.

Peter Dutton in the traditional opposition leaders’ roast made a joke about him having held different ministries while in government, but he was “unaware I could have held them all at the same time”.

And Mark Humphries made a joke about Morrison being well within his rights to try and pick up gigs on the speakers’ circuit as he had “just lost six jobs”.

Anthony Albanese with his partner Jodie Haydon during the federal parliamentary press gallery Midwinter Ball on Wednesday night.
Anthony Albanese with his partner Jodie Haydon during the federal parliamentary press gallery Midwinter Ball on Wednesday night. Photograph: Jane Dempster/AAP


We are less than an hour away from the last question time of the week.

Can’t wait to see how many questions Kristy McBain gets today.

Peter Hannam tells me the RBA Governor Dr Phil Lowe’s speech at the Anika Foundation is quite interesting – he will bring you some of that very soon.

David Littleproud speaks about keeping foot and mouth disease out of Australia

Nationals leader David Littleproud had a chat to Adelaide radio 5AA where he dropped in this little anecdote in an interview about what he thinks the government needs to do about keeping foot and mouth disease out of Australia:


I’m confident we will keep FMD out, but you need a minister that acts decisively, that challenges his department. Because I’ve got to say, when I said about the foot baths and foot mats, the department said to me it was more of an inconvenience for them to undertake that then it was about mitigating the risk. And so this is where you’ve got to be able to challenge the parliament.

Q: Isn’t that a very odd answer? Because they’re not there for their own convenience. They’re there for the people that pay them.


Well, that’s what shocked me is and they made this generalisation and it blew me away. They said, oh no everyone that comes back from Indonesia wears thongs. I mean, are you kidding me? I mean, this was the reason the Department of Agriculture told a former ag minister, albeit about two months after that I was in charge of them, that most people come back. I mean, I did have a little bit of corporate knowledge about agriculture and working with them, and this was the disappointing thing. And Murray Watt hasn’t had the ability to challenge them, hasn’t seen the intensity of the problem and acted decisively. And this is what exposes us. We’ve been lucky. This is a good move that he’s made, and I congratulate him for it, albeit too late.

And it’s just been good luck rather than good management that we’ve kept this FMD out. But this is a real lesson and a real wake-up call to Australian consumers. You’re paying a lot already for your groceries and it would have got a lot worse if we got it here.

The Nationals leader David Littleproud during question time in the House of Representatives on Monday.
The Nationals leader David Littleproud during question time in the House of Representatives on Monday. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Australia to switch to weekly reporting of Covid cases and deaths

The states and territories will switch to weekly reporting for Covid cases from tomorrow (a national cabinet decision) and by and large, governments have decided we are well and truly in the “moving on” stage of Covid management.

But it’s still having a huge effect on people’s lives (long Covid is just one part of that – immunocompromised people and their families are now having to try and avoid the virus in a society that has largely stopped taking measures to halt the spread).

Passengers wear face masks at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne.
Passengers wear face masks at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne earlier this year. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

And the economy is not immune – as AAP reports:

Payroll jobs have fallen for the second month in a row largely due to workers catching Covid and other winter illnesses.

The 0.8% fall in August follows a 0.6% drop in July.

“The slightly lower number of payroll jobs continued to reflect the ongoing impacts of short-term employee absences from Covid and other illnesses during winter, within a tight labour market,” Australian Bureau of Statistics head of labour statistics Lauren Ford said.

ABS data also showed the trade balance falling in July despite a strong performance in the June quarter.

The balance on goods and services fell from $17.1b in June to $8.7b in July.

The 9.9% fall in exports was led by a drop in coal, coke and briquettes, as well as metal ores and minerals.

Imports lifted by 5.2% to $46.5b for the month.


Exhibit A

Senator Malcolm Roberts talks to Ralph Babet, Alex Antic and Gerard Rennick during debate on the climate change bill and amendments in the Senate chamber of Parliament House.
Senator Malcolm Roberts talks to Ralph Babet, Alex Antic and Gerard Rennick during debate on the climate change bill and amendments in the Senate chamber of Parliament House. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


The senate really is just a human ball pit.

Pictures really do speak 1,000 words.

Seantor David Pocock during debate on the climate change bill and amendments.
Seantor David Pocock during debate on the climate change bill and amendments. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Yup. We wonder too.
Yup. We wonder too. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


For those who didn’t see the earlier post, this from Peter Hannam is worth your time:

It’s a nice little easter egg left over from Matt Kean’s time as environment minister and will no doubt give the Sky After Dark crew something new to talk about.

And finally, there looks like there will be some action on payday loans.

From Stephen Jones’ statement:

Small Amount Credit Contracts and Consumer Leases

The legislation will also introduce new protections for consumers of high-cost credit products known as SACCs (also known as payday loans) and consumer leases. These products are typically used by low-income households to purchase household goods, who may have limited access mainstream credit products, such as credit cards.

These reforms aim to reduce the risk of financial hardship for consumers of these products, through for example, new caps and protected earnings amounts for consumer leases, enhanced and extended protected earnings amounts for SACCs, prohibitions on certain types of unsolicited marketing of SACCs and consumer leases, new disclosure obligations, enhanced sanctions for misconduct and the introduction of new anti-avoidance provisions targeting avoidance practices by predatory lenders.


Then there is this one which was an election promise – and also something which had been called for for years to help vulnerable people:

Compensation Scheme of Last Resort

The government is delivering on its election commitment to establish a Compensation Scheme of Last Resort to ensure Australians continue to have trust and confidence in the financial system external dispute resolution framework.

The CSLR will facilitate the payment of compensation of up to $150,000 to eligible consumers who have a determination from the Australian Financial Complaints Authority relating to personal financial advice, credit intermediation, securities dealing and credit provision which remains unpaid.

The government will contribute towards the costs of the scheme in its first year of operation, which is proposed to commence from 1 July 2023. The scheme will be fully industry funded through a levy on relevant financial service and credit licensees in the subsequent years of the scheme’s operation.

The government has also released for consultation exposure draft regulations to support the operation of the CSLR legislation. Further information is available on the Treasury consultation website.


That’s just a very long way of saying banks and financial institutions need to be held more accountable for their decisions.


The government is finalising its response to the banking royal commission with Stephen Jones introducing legislation which was part of the recommendations.

There is a bit to get through, so I’ll spread it out over a couple of posts.

First up:

Financial Accountability Regime

The government has finalised the legislation to implement recommendations to extend the Banking Executive Accountability Regime to all Apra-regulated entities and to provide for joint administration between Apra and Asic.

The new Financial Accountability Regime imposes a strengthened responsibility and accountability framework that will ensure that the directors and most senior and influential executives of financial institutions will be held accountable for their decisions and conduct which have significant flow on effects for everyday Australians and the Australian economy.

The FAR imposes heightened accountability obligations and ensures that where these obligations are not met, appropriate consequences will follow, including civil penalties for financial institutions and disqualification of senior executives as accountable persons.


PM says ‘we need to act’ in response to breakdown of trust in government and public institutions

There was a short question and answer session after Anthony Albanese gave his speech, which ended on this question:

Q: The US has recently shown how fragile democracy is. How will the current government increase public trust in government, protect democracy and reduce corruption while the national agenda is delivered?’


It is. We need to recognise that there is a breakdown in faith and trust, and we need to not take democracy for granted. In some places in the world it is in retreat. If you look at some of the surveys of young people about systems of government, that’s a little bit scary in terms of what system they think works better.

And that’s why we need to act. I think that democracy is undermined by a lack of transparency and I think we’ve seen that. The reason why we’ve asked the former high court judge Virginia Bell to have a look at the fact that it would appear that the former treasurer wasn’t aware that there was another person as treasurer and as finance minister and health minister and all of that.

Whilst it made for a number of really good jokes on this stage at the Midwinter Ball last night, it’s actually pretty serious.

It’s actually pretty serious because under our legislation, for example, ministers have specific responsibility. Resources ministers, for example, are responsible for examining in an objective way, without interference from anyone else’s decision-making processes, to determine funding. I think is why it is a serious issue as much as it was a source of some good humour last night.

The big picture element that we will do is to introduce legislation for a national anti-corruption commission. That will be introduced next week into our national parliament. I committed to it being introduced this year, so we’re doing it pretty early.

We’re doing it so that there can be a full parliamentary examination through the committee process. And that will hopefully provide a ballast and some comfort that there is a process that’s not aimed at replacing existing mechanisms – because the truth is, there are a range of existing mechanisms which are in place, such as through the Australian Electoral Commission and through the various bodies of this parliament. But clearly we need to respond to that and the government will. But, also, I think there’s a need for a recognition of a changing culture as well.

You can legislate and set rules, but you change mindsets as well. Over a period of time, there was a law of diminishing returns under Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison, whereby in the end all these funds were available. The budget in October will see some of the funds – that were just on the whim of a minister – wiped out as part of the savings that are required to help send the budget in a better direction than the way it was headed. There’s some tough decisions required that requires people in position of power to give up some of that power and to be accountable.


There wasn’t a huge amount new in Anthony Albanese’s Ceda speech.

He did, however, continue Labor’s push for revamping the bargaining system, explaining why he believes it is necessary:

We also need to recognise a simple reality: the workplace bargaining system in this country is broken.

It’s not delivering productivity gains for business – or wage rises for workers.

And the inescapable, uncomfortable reality is that the workforces with the most women are the ones with the least bargaining power – and, as a result, the lowest pay.

Aged care. Childcare. Disability care.

Heroes of the pandemic.

Workers we celebrate as essential, people who give expression to our Australian values:

1. looking after our loved ones when they grow older

2. educating our children

3. empowering Australians with disability to fulfil their potential.

The Australians doing these jobs are among the best of us – but they are getting the worst of the deal.

So whenever we talk about closing the gender pay gap, we should acknowledge that getting bargaining back on track is central to the task.

Industry, small business and big employers will all benefit from a bargaining framework that’s more flexible, more straightforward and more attuned to the realities of work in Australia in the 2020s.

Better bargaining will mean stronger wages growth, helping people with rising living costs.


As SBS’s Naveen Razik points out, not all (utterances of) shit is treated equally:

Bullshit is off limits but cow shit is fine. #auspol

— Naveen Razik (@naveenjrazik) September 8, 2022


David Pocock's frustration over climate scepticism

Seems like three weeks of Senate sittings is all it has taken for ACT independent senator David Pocock to have heard enough. He took aim at some of the sigh-inducing speeches he has had to hear from senators who are STILL questioning climate science (I don’t need to put in who. You know who. It’s always the same people). Pocock was pulled up for this:

It seems like a pretty sad day in Australia where in 2022 we are hearing arguments about climate science after however long of the bullshit that Australians have had to…

He was stopped for “unparliamentary” language.

Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson chimed in with something along the lines of ‘where is the lie?’ but Pocock was made to withdraw anyway.


Given we should see the climate legislation passed before the end of the day (after a trip back to the house) this is probably worth your time:

Baggage handlers call off strike

Workers at Dnata, which provides baggage handling and other ground services to Qantas, have called off a strike planned for Monday after reaching a new agreement with the company.

The Transport Workers Union said Dnata has agreed to a 17% pay rise over four years, better conversion to full time and permanent work for part-time and casual employees, and improved consultation over workplace changes.

Dnata also dropped a bid to reduce overtime entitlements, the TWU said.

Workers had planned to go on strike for 24 hours, beginning at 3.30am on Monday.

The action would have primarily hit international flights, but would have had knock-on effects that could also have affected local flights that have already been beset by delays and cancellations, sparking an investigation into Qantas by the consumer watchdog.

While the union and Dnata have reached agreement, approval for the new deal is required from the Fair Work Commission.

The TWU is hopeful of reaching agreement this week with another of the three main companies handling Qantas baggage, Menzies, where strike action was also on the cards.

However an industrial battle looms with the third, Swissport, when its existing agreement expires at the end of the year.

The TWU is already fighting a PR war against Swissport, which is regarded as strongly anti-union, this week releasing a dossier of safety memos that revealed incidents including firearms left on baggage carousels.

There are now 53 bills which have been introduced to the parliament after three or so (ceremonial days aside) weeks of sitting.

The Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services @StephenJonesMP has introduced seven bills to the House, including bills relating to financial sector reform, foreign acquisitions. Find the bills and accompanying materials at:

— Australian House of Representatives (@AboutTheHouse) September 8, 2022

Europe’s largest electricity company sets sight on Australian clean energy market

AAP has an energy update:

A world leader in wind power and green hydrogen has earmarked $4.4bn for Australia.

Lured by new climate laws that will require billions of dollars of private capital to modernise a coal-dependent electricity grid, Europe’s largest electricity company Iberdrola is looking to expand its footprint.

Chair and CEO, Ignacio Galán, has met Anthony Albanese and Energy and climate change minister, Chris Bowen, and is also wooing state leaders and local investment partners.

“The full ratification of Australia’s decarbonisation targets will align federal policies with the ambitions already shown by most states, and the commitment shown by Australian companies and wider society,” Galán said.

Already running Europe’s largest industrial green hydrogen plant in Spain, he said Australia could consolidate its reputation as one of the largest global energy exporters by producing green hydrogen.

Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest also has his sights set on green hydrogen and green steel, and has the Sun Cable project underway with fellow Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes to harness mass-scale solar power.

“There is huge global demand from industry for new climate solutions such as green hydrogen, green ammonia and green steel,” Galán said.

Under the new federal regime, he expected Australia to quickly lead the way in new clean economy technologies and sees “massive potential” in green hydrogen.

The clean energy company already has a footprint in Australia after buying renewable energy utility Infigen Energy two years ago, and is building the Mount James wind farm and Broadsound solar plant in Queensland.

Sydney-based Autonomous Energy, bought this year, services commercial and industrial companies.

The new commitment would double Iberdrola’s share of energy generation for a grid that market operators - and the federal government – intend to ramp up to 82% renewables.


NSW becomes first state to treat CO2 as pollutant to ensure industries cut emissions

While the federal parliament edges closer to passing the Albanese government’s climate bill, the country’s most populous - and as it happens, Coalition-led – state has just launched some climate action of its own.

NSW, along with other states and territories, has a more ambitious emissions goal than the commonwealth is trying to pass. Each – with the exception of the ACT – has a plan to cut 2005-level emissions by half by 2030, compared with the Albanese pledge of 43% over that time.

(The ACT is looking at a 65-75% emissions cut on the way to net zero by 2045, five years before all other jurisdictions.)

Anyway, NSW is moving towards a more aggressive implementation policy than the commonwealth is planning - at least according to the draft climate policies being released for eight weeks of consultations from today:

The state’s Environment Protection Authority is planning to licence carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants, and then work with polluters to cut those levels. The EPA currently regulates some 50,000 enterprises, so the task is going to be a big one.

The EPA’s new CEO, Tony Chappel, has told us he expects the plan will complement the federal government’s so-called safeguard mechanism that is supposed to target emissions of the 215 or so biggest polluting installations nationwide.

We can expect a bit of flak from the NSW policy but it has been approved by the Perrottet-led cabinet. Apart from the emissions component, the plan will also examine the extent the polluters are going to cope with the impacts of climate change. Adaptation, in other words, not just mitigation.

Crucial to the prompt was a court case led by survivors from the black summer bushfires that said the EPA wasn’t behaving according to its own act. It will be interesting to see if EPAs and environment departments everywhere (including in the federal government) face the same test.


Infrastructure minister says Australia will be ‘well and truly left behind’ if it does not start developing high speed rail system

Catherine King was asked about the high speed rail Utopia clip on ABC News Breakfast this morning (it seems it is the first thing a lot of us think of) and was asked about whether the cost stacked up.

She said:

The last time we did the business case, and we will update that as part of the High Speed Rail Authority that will be one of their tasks, was that it had a cost benefit ratio of every dollar you spent that you would return $2. This obviously, I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t an incredibly expensive thing to do, which is why that Newcastle-to-Sydney and the Central Coast bit is really important because of the density of population there. But it is viable. And it is certainly something that - whether it’s popular or not really isn’t the focus that we’ve got - it’s about actually what are the needs of our community, the way in which they’re going to be using transport, the way in which communities along the eastern seaboard are developing, not just in this term of government, but in the next 20, 30, 40 years. And if we don’t start doing this now, you know, we will be well and truly left behind other nations in terms of high speed rail.


Looking through the transcripts, it seems Jim Chalmers drew the short straw for government ministers after the ball, with five early morning media interviews.

For those watching the Senate, we should see a vote on the climate bills soon(ish) because, as you may remember, the government has accepted some of David Pocock’s amendments, which means the bill has to go back to the house for a final check off before it can be sent for royal assent.

(If the Senate amends a house bill, the house has to agree to the amendments as well.)


Infrastructure minister Catherine King to introduce legislation for high speed rail

I can’t hear the words high speed rail without thinking of this episode of Utopia:


But Australia is taking a step towards a very fast train.

Catherine King will introduce legislation to establish a High Speed Rail Authority, which will build on “previous work including the comprehensive study, commissioned under former Infrastructure Minister and now Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, that found high speed rail was not only viable, but would return over $2 for every $1 of investment”.

“A high-speed rail network could allow passengers to travel between major cities and significant regional cities at speeds exceeding 250 km/h.”

Which is what gets everyone very excited. Let’s see though, what happens from here.

King is optimistic though – as long as no one expects to see a very fast train in Australia anytime soon:

High-speed rail offers the promise to change the lives of millions of Australians, especially in our regions, while also bringing our east coast capitals closer together.

This is a visionary investment in opening up our regions to greater opportunity.

A high-speed rail network recognises the importance of prosperity in our regions, which will benefit from enhanced connection to our major cities and international gateways.

No project captures the imagination of Australians quite like high-speed rail, and we are committed to realising the massive benefits this project could bring.

This is a long-term project, but with the pragmatic advice of the High Speed Rail Authority we can take a genuine path forward.


Albanese and former PMs to attend Shinzo Abe’s funeral in Japan in late September

Anthony Albanese will travel to Japan for the funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Albanese will arrive in Japan on September 26 and leave on September 28.

He won’t be alone; former prime ministers John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, all of whom worked with Abe during his two terms as Japanese prime minister, will join the official delegation.


We mourn the loss of a true statesman.

Mr Abe was a remarkable leader, a catalyst for change in Japan and the region, a true friend of Australia.

Under Mr Abe’s leadership, Australia and Japan deepened our economic ties, defence cooperation and people-to-people links – he was deeply committed to furthering relations between our two countries.

Japan is a close and trusted friend of Australia. Our partnership is fundamental to both countries’ strategic and economic interests. We will continue to strengthen our partnership to promote a free, open and resilient region.


If anyone can enlighten me as to what Angus Taylor was actually saying, that would be great.


Angus Taylor will not say whether he thinks Labor’s childcare subsidy increase should start earlier than July 2023

So what needs to happen according to Angus Taylor?

“A timely plan.”

Patricia Karvelas wanted to know what that actually means. What about the childcare subsidy increase – should the government bring it forward?


Do you think it should start in January, yes or no?


Well, what we are saying is we need to see a comprehensive plan.


That’s not the question. The word “plan”, with respect, Angus Taylor – it doesn’t mean a lot. It is the word “plan”. It is very vague. It’s a very “vibe” kind of word. So I’ll ask you something specifically: childcare, should it start in January?


We need a timely plan. That includes a number of those initiatives we have outlined here … [There’s] a big menu to choose from, but waiting until later next year is not a timely plan.


So does that mean you support childcare reforms, Labor’s plan, coming in earlier? You say they are waiting too long – you can’t have it both ways.


At the end of the day, Labor is now in government and they have access to all the advice they need to look at the full menu of options of sensible things they can do that are going to strengthen the economy and at the same time, reduce inflationary pressures. We were very strong supporters in government of sensible childcare initiatives that would add to the supply side …


So are you changing your mind on the childcare changes?


No, we are saying there needs to be a comprehensive plan but we are seeing from Labor the exact opposite…


Well, no, they have a plan for childcare, it starts in July. You say that is too far away; should it happen earlier?


You know, PK. The initial test for this is: if the plan is not going to reduce pressures in the short term on the household bills of Australians, that is not a timely plan. Let’s be clear about that.

PK continues to press Taylor on whether Labor’s childcare subsidy increase should happen earlier, but he only goes as far as to say “we need timely action from the government”.


Shadow treasurer say government’s plan to allow more pensioners to work should go further

The shadow treasurer, Angus Taylor, also appeared on ABC radio RN Breakfast this morning, where he was repeating the Coalition’s line that the government needs to come up with a plan to deal with the cost of living pressures.

So what needs to happen?

It’s complicated.

Taylor wants the government to take up its idea of allowing pensioners to work. Which Labor is doing. But Taylor wants more pensioners to be able to take part.

Won’t that put more money into the economy during a time of rising inflation?

Not, Taylor says, if the government deals with the supply side pressures.

If you can relieve those supply side pressures, then it won’t be inflationary and that’s why it’s so valuable. And that’s why these sorts of initiatives that we’ve proposed are so valuable, and you’ve got to get on and do them now.


Victoria records 24 more Covid deaths

Victoria has reported 24 more lives lost to Covid, with 227 people being treated for the virus in hospital.

We thank everyone who got vaccinated and tested yesterday.

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

More data soon:

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) September 7, 2022

RBA’s Philip Lowe to give speech on inflation and monetary policy framework

The RBA governor, Dr Philip Lowe, will give a speech today on “inflation and the monetary policy framework” which will be received with quite a bit of interest given *gestures to everything*.

The governor’s address to the Anika Foundation is an annual event.

Given we often concentrate just on the speech itself, I thought it might be nice knowing some of the context behind where it’s held.

The foundation was established in the memory of Anika Wignall, and the annual address also helps raise awareness of the foundation’s work.

You can read some of Anika’s story and the foundation’s work through that link. She was also a budding poet – here is one of her poems:

People are like flowers
There are many different types
None of them are identical
Some die out
And some live on
Some flourish and bloom
Bright with colours
Others stay normal and plain
Many aren’t recognised, and stay as buds -never come out
Some are pointed out and get great recognition
But all flowers have their chance to bloom
And only half of them do


NSW records 25 more Covid deaths

NSW has reported 25 more lives lost to Covid, with 1,530 people in hospital being treated for the virus.

COVID-19 update – Thursday 8 September 2022

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

- 97% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine*
- 95.4% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine*

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) September 7, 2022

Looks like you can expect more questions for Kristy McBain in QT today.

Paul Fletcher dropped by doors as the opposition still try to make fetch happen:

We need to see the prime minister and his ministers demonstrate that they are taking compliance with the ministerial code seriously. The prime minister talked a great deal about integrity and accountability and he needs to explain how his code operates, how he’s satisfied that his ministers are in compliance with it. His ministers need to explain how that satisfied themselves that they are in compliance with the code.

We heard a lot from Mr Albanese … about new standards of integrity and accountability. This is now the first test, with a significant number of questions being asked about compliance with the ministerial code.

This is a test about whether the prime minister – whether the Albanese Labor government – are going to live up to their rhetoric on transparency and accountability or whether in fact, as presently seems to be the case, there are no sanctions for breaching the ministerial code and if all that’s required is for a minister to say ‘I don’t think there’s a problem’ and we move on.

That appears to be the approach. That’s a huge gap between what Mr Albanese campaigned on and the way that the Albanese Labor government is conducting itself on this matter.


Although there is a fairly regular canine visitor to parliament these days.

Toto, the prime minister’s beloved pup, is no stranger to parliament these days, no doubt raising the anxiety levels of the APH landscapers and gardeners by 247%.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with his dog Toto at Parliament House
Anthony Albanese with his dog Toto at Parliament House. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Bill Shorten is bringing puppies into parliament today for a Vision Australia event.

There’s always room for puppies.

Greens leader Adam Bandt reveals changes his party will demand to industrial emissions safeguard mechanism

Adam Bandt has marked out what the Greens will demand if they are to support what may be Labor’s biggest climate policy challenge – changing the safeguard mechanism, the scheme that is supposed to bring down industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

In prepared remarks released ahead of his appearance at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference in Canberra today, Bandt said the safeguard mechanism was a “rent seeker’s paradise” that was “cooked up by Tony Abbott” and “written by the coal and gas industry”.

He said the policy was “the wrong way to go” to cut emissions from industry, but the Greens were ready to work with Labor to improve it if the government’s changes ensured that pollution actually went down, including forcing “real cuts” from coal and gas.

The safeguard mechanism was meant to prevent increases in industrial emissions. In practice, companies have been allowed to increase pollution without penalty and industrial emissions have continued to rise since it began in 2016.

The government has released a consultation paper on changes meant to start next July. It says the 215 major polluting facilities covered by the scheme will have emissions baselines set, or limits, that will be gradually reduced over time. Companies will either have to cut emissions onsite or buy carbon credits (meant to represent emissions cuts elsewhere).

Bandt’s remarks framed the debate over the safeguard as about coal and gas developments.

He said 50% of the pollution covered by the scheme came from those fossil fuel industries, and that the choices over the safeguard design could “set the course of climate policy for the next decade and determine whether pollution rises or falls”.

He said the government would have to choose whether it wanted to work with the Liberals or Greens to get its changes to the scheme through parliament.

If they choose to work with us they’ll need to address some key issues.

First pollution has to go down, not up. That means real cuts from coal and gas, not just hot air.

Second, the question of new coal and gas has to be addressed. And third, the scheme has to have real integrity.


Acoss and ACTU join forces to call for higher jobseeker rate and other policy changes

The Australian Council of Social Services and the Australian Council of Trade Unions have announced they have “come to an agreement” on a range of issues.

According to the joint statement, the agreement calls for a range of policy changes including:

  • Lifting jobseeker and related income support payments to pension levels, from $46 to $70 per day.

  • Creation of secure, well-paid jobs in the community and care sectors including through adequate funding and expanded access to a fairer and simpler bargaining system, including multi-employer bargaining.

  • Replacement of the racist and discriminatory CDP with employment programs designed by First Nations communities which will deliver secure employment and drive economic growth in remote communities

Raising the jobseeker rate to $70 is still under the Henderson poverty line – which at this point, would need the rate to be raised to $88 a day to sit above it. A new inquiry into poverty in Australia will be carried out by a senate committee thanks to Janet Rice – there is hope it will recommend a new measure for poverty, to try and get everyone on the same page.


Inflation will start to moderate next year, treasurer says

Over on ABC radio’s RN Breakfast, Jim Chalmers is being pushed by Patricia Karvelas on when Australians can expect to see sunnier budget climes.

Chalmers says he has been having “frank” conversations with Australians about the budget situation and the economy, but he doesn’t want people to think he is not optimistic about the future.

Inflation will start to moderate next year and we’re realistic about that ... but there is genuine reason to be optimistic about our economy.

Chalmers also said that he doesn’t see the October budget in isolation and that there is another budget in May, so he sees it as more of a two-parter.


Treasurer says ‘it is not for me to take pot shots’ at RBA governor Philip Lowe over past statements on interest rates

Does Jim Chalmers believe the RBA governor Dr Phil Lowe should be accountable for his repeated statements in late 2020 and 2021 that interest rates would not be raised until at least 2024?

Greens senator Nick McKim has called for Lowe to step down given the interest rate rises (with more to come), saying Australians made decisions based on Lowe’s statements.

Chalmers has a different take:

I think he has given his account on what happened over that period. In his words, the economy got back on track earlier than he thought that it would, and he has, I think, answered that pretty honestly and openly in the last few months in particular, as he has attracted some of this criticism for his language in the past. For me as the country’s Treasurer, it is not for me to take pot shots at Phil Lowe.

My interest is to get the right institutional settings. People will rightly ask the governor questions about the recent decisions and recent language. My job is to get the system right and also to focus on the things that the government can have an influence on.

So in my case, in the budget and at the jobs and skills summit last week, it is all about dealing with the constraints in our economy which are pushing up inflation, whether it is labour and skills shortages, a lack of training, whether it is issues in energy – all of these other key investments that we want to make in the budget are about lifting the speed limit on the economy without adding to the inflationary pressures.

That is my job, I take responsibility for that. The governor can explain the decisions that the board makes.


Canberra’s Midwinter Ball makes a comeback after two years’ absence

From what I am hearing, the first Midwinter Ball since the pandemic started was fairly calm, with everyone in good spirits.

The Saturday Paper’s (and friend of the Guardian) Karen Middleton won Press Gallery Journalist of the Year, an award which was very well deserved.

Marcia Hines performed, and Mark Humphries had some pretty good jokes:

It’s great to see the ABC celebrating their 90th birthday and all of a sudden News Corp is in favour of euthanasia.

And Anthony Albanese, in the traditional prime minister’s roast, poked fun at his election brain fade on the unemployment rate, “forgetting” how much the Midwinter Ball had raised for charity across its history – “it’s four point … wait, five point zero …?”

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe staged a small protest in the Marble Hall as everyone was gathered about to go inside, yelling “fossil fools” – the event was partly sponsored by fossil fuel company Woodside.

Penny Wong, Katy Gallagher, Laura Chalmers and Jim Chalmers during the Midwinter Ball in the Great Hall at Parliament House.
Penny Wong, Katy Gallagher, Laura Chalmers and Jim Chalmers during the Midwinter Ball in the Great Hall at Parliament House. Photograph: Jane Dempster/AAP


Treasurer says scrapped leadership grant ‘didn’t pass muster’ in budget review

Jim Chalmers is up bright and early doing the media rounds. He spoke to ABC News Breakfast about the government scrapping the $18m leadership foundation grant the governor general had backed.

Paul Karp has you covered on that here:

Asked why it was scrapped, Chalmers says:

What we are doing is going right through the budget, line by line, to make sure that we are getting value for money for some of the commitments in the budget, and that one didn’t pass muster from our point of view, and so we won’t be providing that $18 million or the ongoing funding after that as well.

We have to take some difficult decisions in the budget. There have been some funds committed which will not be proceeding, and that’s an example of that. And there will be other examples, too, which you will see in the budget.

There will not be any further investigation into the grant.

This is a grant that came out of the Prime Minister & Cabinet department, so they’ve done the work, the due diligence, along with other departments, finance and Treasury and others, to see if we would get value for money for this. The conclusion is we would not, so we won’t be providing that money. I think Australians know, when we’ve got this budget with a trillion dollars in debt, that every dollar in the budget has got to be defensible.

We’ve got to ensure we get value for money and bang for buck. I don’t think we can make that case there and that’s why we won’t be providing the funding.


Good morning

We have made it to the last sitting day of the week – but lucky for us, there are another four next week! We’re just spoilt that way.

The prime minister will start the morning speaking to a conference of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, telling the conference he wants Australia to build things again.

That’s something Anthony Albanese has been wanting for sometime. It was one of his favourite speeches before he was prime minister and played a big part of his election campaign, so it’s no surprise to see it pop up now that he actually has some power to make it happen.

He’s backing up from the Midwinter Ball which I hear was pretty uneventful. I didn’t go, so I’m not bound by the Chatham House rule; if I hear any tidbits, I’ll let you know.

Labor should get its climate bill through the Senate today – it declared the bill “urgent” earlier in the week so it could call it to a vote when it wanted, and we should see that happen today. Moderate Liberals like Simon Birmingham are saying they won’t be voting for it because it’s not necessary to legislate a target and the bill is a bit of grandstanding, so don’t expect any of the opposition to cross the floor in the senate.

But it’s not necessary anyway – the Greens are reluctantly supporting it and David Pocock says he won’t be the one to stand in front of what little climate action we’ve seen from our politicians so far, so the bill will pass. The Greens will continue to push the government to do more, though – so given their powerful position in the Senate, expect some ongoing push and pull.

We’ll cover it all off before the MPs make the Thursday afternoon dash to the airport. It’s a wet grey day in Canberra which should help a few of the heads in the building after last night’s revelries, but also means everyone just wants to get home.


It’s at least a four-coffee day – maybe a six-coffee day for Mike Bowers who has not stopped this week. So we’ll just get into it before we stop for too long and can’t get up again.



Josh Taylor and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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