What happened Monday 25 October
Question time begins
Additional Nationals cabinet spot confirmed with Keith Pitt elevated
Coalition dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ to net zero position: Labor
2030 target ‘not changing’
NSW Covid update
Victoria Covid update
What happened Monday 25 October
With that, we will wrap up the blog for this evening.
Here’s a recap of today’s major stories:
- Boosters should be available six months on from last vaccine doses, Lt General John Frewen flagged today. Advice from Atagi is expected to come imminently.
- Victoria has reported 1,461 new Covid cases and, sadly, seven further deaths. Among them was a woman in her 20s. Over in NSW, the state has recorded 294 cases and four deaths as hundreds of students returned to school.
- Deputy prime minister and leader of the National party Barnaby Joyce has been on radio describing the net zero by 2050 target as a “goal”, not a commitment. Labor’s Chris Bowen today said the Coalition had been dragged “kicking and screaming” to the position a week before the Glasgow climate summit.
- Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt will be added to the Cabinet, Scott Morrison announced, a day after the Nationals confirmed an in principle support of net zero by 2050.
- Origin Energy have been slugged a record $5m in penalties after allegedly charging prohibited exit fees to more than 20,000 customers.
- And nearly one-third of refugees at Melbourne detention hotel test positive for Covid and one has been hospitalised.
at 3.46am EDT
Former NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli is up on The Drum alongside Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor, discussing John Barilaro’s appearance at Icac hearings today.
You can catch up on that here:
In terms of the way government decisions get made about allocating resources, it’s pork-barrelling but it’s in somebody else’s electorate, when it’s in your electorate it’s about being a good local member.
Tony Windsor and plenty of others were given lots of things in their electorates in order to carry their support with our independence, particularly in a minority government. Is that corrupt in itself? No. It’s not. It’s the political process.
I don’t think we can sit here and excuse pork-barrelling as being just the way that politics is done. Pork-barrelling means when there isn’t clear criteria and when it isn’t a transparent and clear process.
And yes of course you might need a different set of criteria for say regional projects and the profitability of them in urban projects but you need criteria and a process, if you get to the point where pork-barrelling is normalised we are in a sorry state and it’ll erode trust in politics. That would be a terrible thing.
at 3.28am EDT
Labor’s Marielle Smith has been quizzing PMC officials about Josh Frydenberg’s stay at the Lodge before the August sitting period.
The treasurer told Sunrise in August that Morrison was “actually on the dishes, would you believe, because it’s just the two of us there”.
PMC officials told Senate estimates that “there would have been household staff continuing to operate” because even in times the Lodge has been used to quarantine, staff have accessed the back of house through a zoning arrangement to keep them away from those quarantining.
Smith also asked whether taxpayers were paying for food and drink, because Frydenberg had said “there’s enough bottles of ginger ale for us both to get one”.
Officials said that as Frydenberg was there for two weeks there was no “cost recovery”, he didn’t pay his own way, and the tab was picked up by the department. For longer stays of non-dependent adults, the department seeks to recover costs.
Officials couldn’t say whether MP Ben Morton had stayed there as they have “no visibility” of who stays at the Lodge.
at 3.27am EDT
Australia is edging ever closer to 90% first vaccination doses among over 16-year-olds.
Over in Tasmania, sonar imaging of the sea floor off the north-west coast has found no trace of a man or boat that went missing a week ago, AAP reports.
Thomas Courto set off from the town of Wynyard around midday on 18 October with friends Isaiah Dixon and Bree-Anna Thomas in a yellow and white 17-foot motorboat.
The bodies of Dixon and Thomas were found washed ashore at nearby Table Cape on Wednesday afternoon.
Multi-beam sonar technology was used on Monday to comb an underwater area of roughly 340 hectares about three to four kilometres offshore.
Inspector Steve Jones said there had been “no sighting” of Courto or the missing vessel, and said it wasn’t likely he’d be alive at this stage.
Jones said air and sea search efforts would not occur on Tuesday, when a review into the week-long operation would be undertaken to determine if any spots had been missed. Searching may then resume on Wednesday.
Courto’s family and friends continue to search coastline in the area and are still holding hope of finding him alive, Jones said.
at 3.11am EDT
The Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is on ABC Melbourne now.
He says Victoria will get “well over” 90% double-dose coverage in the coming weeks. Asked why Victoria is the only state with vaccination mandates to extend well into 2022, Andrews says:
The protection you get from these vaccines is so clear cut, the fact this isn’t going away… the way to stay open, the way to stay as safe as possible is for people to get vaccinated… the evidence and steady climb in the numbers would make the case for me that having it mandated in certain settings has absolutely made people get vaccinated.
Sometimes you need to be prompted, sometimes a bit of urgency comes when you have a date to work to.
at 2.49am EDT
Meanwhile, Bridget McKenzie is speaking with ABC Melbourne on the National party’s support (in principle) of net zero emissions by 2050.
She says the government has “made it clear” the targets won’t be legislated.
On that note, I am going to hand you over to the lovely Caitlin Cassidy who will take you through the last part of the blog. Estimates continues and we will keep an eye on it, but the house is starting to wrap up. We will be back with Politics Live early tomorrow morning, but make sure you check back to see what the team have been working up for you today.
A very big thank you to Mike Bowers, Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Paul Karp and Daniel Hurst for their never ending diligence and support. And to everyone else in the Guardian Australia brains trust who work overtime keeping this thing afloat (and all of us out of trouble. Well most of us. I’m always going to manage to find it)
But the biggest thank you, as always, has to go to you for following along with us. It’s been a very strange year and it must feel a little weird as we all move on like the last two years weren’t completely life changing – I can assure you we feel it too and we are very aware of the load people are carrying. We’re all trying to find a balance at the moment, and there is no script for that. Find your own in your own way. Just try to be kind to those around you as we all stumble along.
Have fun with Caitlin and take care of you.
at 2.27am EDT
A good Monday evening to all and thanks to Amy Remeikis. I’ll be with you for the rest of the night.
A thank you to the secret squirrels who are watching estimates so we don’t have to for passing on this gem – apparently the department of prime minister and cabinet spent $9,500 on consultants, who were hired to train up the people in PM&C who train others on how to handle… estimates.
So 10 grand on training the trainers, if you will, who then train senior executives on how to answer questions about their department.
How does one train for estimates? Well, there is no scale of Penny Wong’s eyebrow raise for one.
Also, no one plays specific senators during the mock hearings, there is apparently no list of senators to watch out for (one would think that is obvious anyway) and the training doesn’t teach people how to avoid answering questions. Apparently.
So it remains unclear what they are taught. Because it is not as if we get a lot of answers during estimates anyway. We imagine it is probably pretty obvious not to wink at a minister during a hearing as well, so that probably doesn’t form part of the training either.
at 2.26am EDT
Labor’s Kate Thwaites has seconded Josh Burn’s motion on the asylum seekers being held in the Parks Hotel:
It is just not good enough that asylum seekers are still being held in unsafe and cruel conditions.
In Melbourne asylum seekers are being held at the Park Hotel, where we now have a covid outbreak. At least one person has been taken to hospital.
It’s not clear if the appropriate arrangements around infection control are in place to keep other people being detained safe.
It is unacceptable the Morrison government is leaving people in an unsafe position during a global pandemic.”
at 2.22am EDT