Labor rejects Greens climate deal

Labor has doubled down on its pledge not to do deals with the crossbench to get its climate policies passed, as the party seeks to marginalise a growing political rival in the Greens. 

What we know:

  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he is open to listening to “positive ideas” but his government has a “clear mandate” on its policies and he intends to “implement exactly what we said we would” (AFR $); 
  • With the seat of Lyons called for Labor, Albanese is now just one seat away from a majority government, which he is expected to secure (Poll Bludger); 
  • However, Albanese will likely need all 12 Greens crossbenchers in the Senate along with an additional vote to enact legislation;
  • The Greens sought to negotiate policy deals on Sunday when it was unclear if Labor would secure a majority, but Albanese declined as he had already secured supply from independents;
  • With the Greens eroding Labor’s support base, a Labor strategist said the minor party had to be sidelined from the beginning of the Albanese government;
  • Labor has threatened to enact its climate change policy unlegislated rather than give into demands from the Greens and teal independents to strengthen its 43% emissions target for 2030;
  • The party is fearful of enduring a similar political beating as former prime minister Julia Gillard after she was portrayed as breaking a promise of “no carbon taxes” (Pearls and Irritations); 
  • Labor is also seeking to keep the fossil fuel sector onside, backing project expansions at an oil and gas conference last week (Michael West Media); 
  • The Albanese government has made no commitment to contain fossil fuel exports, which  are by far Australia’s biggest contribution to the climate crisis (The Conversation). 
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States insulate against power bills

Energy bills are about to rise further across Australia, after the regulator lifted its standard electricity price.

What we know:

  • The Australian Energy Regulator approved price increases due to reductions in power generation resulting from unplanned outages of ageing coal plants, higher fossil fuel prices, the floods and a slowing of investment in new energy (AFR $); 
  • From July 1, the default market offer will go up as much as 20% in SA, 18% in NSW, and 12% in Queensland;
  • Victoria, which is not covered by the default market offer, will lift prices by 5%;
  • Incoming energy minister Chris Bowen said the increase was the result of “nine years of delay and denial” by the Coalition government (The Guardian); 
  • The Queensland government has responded by offering a $175 rebate on household power bills (InQueensland); 
  • The NSW government meanwhile is offering $400 in vouchers for households experiencing financial hardship (SMH).
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Morrison behind election day boat leak

As one of his final acts as prime minister, Scott Morrison ordered the Australian Border Force (ABF) to publicise an interception of a suspected asylum seeker boat on election day.

A direct request from the Prime Minister’s Office was made to release details of the ABF operation before it had been completed (ABC).

The Department of Home Affairs examined the legality of issuing a statement during an election campaign as it could breach caretaker conventions.

It was decided that a statement could be issued by Operation Sovereign Borders Commander Rear Admiral Justin Jones, which has been subsequently criticised by ABF collegues.

Morrison then responded to questions in an election day press conference, where he confirmed “there has been an interception of a vessel en route to Australia”.

The Liberal Party sent mass robo-text messages to voters in marginal seats about the boat, urging they vote for a Coalition government.

The incident is now subject to an inquiry by Home Affairs Department Secretary Mike Pezzullo.

The new Labor government has since returned the asylum seekers to Sri Lanka in a potential breach of international law.

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Chester challenges Joyce for leadership

Former veterans affairs minister Darren Chester has announced he will challenge Barnaby Joyce for the Nationals leadership.

Chester will formally nominate for the role when the party meets in Canberra on Monday (The Age). 

“We need to be honest with each other in the party room and take some responsibility for the Liberal losses in the city,” Chester said.

City-based Liberal MPs have vented their frustration over Joyce’s comments during the campaign deriding the Coalition’s 2050 net-zero emissions target.

Three anonymous Nationals MPs said they also expect deputy leader David Littleproud to mount a challenge on Monday.

Former National Party leader Michael McCormack will also consider nominating.

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Victoria secures Barak artworks

The Victorian government has contributed $500,000 in a last-minute intervention to bring home two artworks by Wurundjeri artist William Barak up for auction in New York.

The Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation had crowdfunded $120,885 from more than a thousand donors before the Victorian government made its contribution (Arts Hub). 

Barak’s Corroboree (Women in possum skin cloaks) was auctioned for $532,122 and Parrying Shield cost $74,497.

“I feel pumped, I tell you,” said Wurundjeri elder Ron Jones, a descendant of William Barak who watched the auction with tears in his eyes (ABC). 

The late 19th-century works are expected to return to Country in the coming weeks.

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I asked him what happened to your hand and he told me he woke up to them chewing on it.

After a few months of respite, the mice plague has returned to regional Queensland in force to provide us all with a steady supply of nightmare fuel (news.com.au).

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Postscript: Watch Margaret Atwood take a flamethrower to an unburnable copy of The Handmaid's Tale

In response to the recent rise in book banning and burning, Penguin Random House and (the oft-targeted author) Margaret Atwood are auctioning off an "unburnable" copy of her less-fictional-by-the- day, The Handmaid's Tale. The one-off book is made of a black Cinefoil dust jacket and white heat shield foil pages, with sections sewn with nickel wire, stainless steel head and tail bands, and bound using Kapton high temperature adhesive (Boing Boing).

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