CEILING THE DEAL
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s first ministry will be sworn in today, and there are a record 10 women in his 23-person cabinet (ScoMo had seven) — check it out here. A sprint through: Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Finance Minister Katy Gallagher, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth, Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney, Housing Minister Julie Collins, Resources Minister Madeleine King, Infrastructure Minister Catherine King, and Communications Minister Michelle Rowland. As suspected, Richard Marles took Defence, but Plibersek moving into Environment, O’Neil taking Home Affairs, and Collins picking up Housing were all surprises, Guardian Australia reflects. Was Plibersek’s shuffle a snub? News.com.au points out she was also stripped of her Women’s portfolio, and notes she wasn’t invited to the campaign launch in Perth. And Murray Watt, the Queensland left-wing senator, ascending into cabinet as Agriculture minister raised an eyebrow. Political scribe Katharine Murphy also points out it’s a bit of a bummer that childcare was moved to the outer ministry, seeing as Albo campaigned so strongly on that front.
So how are the musical chairs all decided? Partly to satisfy the factions — of 30 new positions to be sworn in, 15 went to Labor-left and 15 to Labor-right, as AFR reports. But it’s also partly to reflect the election result: Labor’s strong performance in WA, for example, will see WA MPs sitting on the front bench (with King in cabinet), as The West ($) reports. Speaking of the west — Liberal senator Linda Reynolds is demanding a prominent Liberal party member and businessman apologise for describing Michaelia Cash as “caterwauling” in a tweet slamming the Liberal election loss, WA Today reports. The word, which can be a synonym for “shrill”, could be seen as derogatory, but CEO Nigel Satterley’s spokesperson says he didn’t mean it that way.
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NOT HAVING A GAS
Newly minted Energy Minister Chris Bowen says he deliberately designed his climate policies so he wouldn’t need the Greens’ support in the Senate, The Age reports. Labor will introduce a bill to enshrine its goal of a 43% emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 into law, as Guardian Australia reports, but most of their policies don’t need legislation to be rolled out. Would the Greens take issue with the 43% bill? Possibly. Labor’s goal falls well short of what the Greens want, which is net zero by 2035, though neither party is not likely to forget the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme debacle. Labor could go harder on their goal, even if Bowen says he’s comfortable with the goal — for instance, the US signed a 50-52% reduction by 2030, as the White House says, though Canada’s is 40% by 2030, CBC says. The new crossbenchers want somewhere between 50% and 75%, but Bowen was like, so I’m expected to trash policy I took to the election? He’d hardly be the first, but anyway, his policies will tighten the Safeguard Mechanism (to cap 215 polluters) and pour money into the electricity grid so it can cop us tripling our renewable energy. He’ll also quickly cut taxes on electric vehicles.
Meanwhile, we’re facing a serious gas problem amid the Ukraine conflict — yesterday the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) put a cap on gas markets in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane after wholesale prices soared an incredible 80 times normal levels, The Australian ($) reports. The cold snap gripping parts of the country isn’t helping either, while big retailer Weston Energy’s collapse (which supplies 7% of east Australia’s market) made things even more tricky. AI Group’s boss told the paper we can expect high energy prices for “years to come” — yikes. Indeed Perth petrol prices hit $2.10 a litre today, a 23c price hike overnight, according to FuelWatch via The West ($).
BOARD OF THE RINGS
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk booted former prime minister Scott Morrison’s hand-picked representatives off Brisbane’s Olympic Games organising committee almost immediately after the Coalition lost the election, The Courier-Mail ($) reports. She wrote to former sports minister Richard Colbeck and Queensland MP Ted O’Brien on the Wednesday after the result saying goodbye and good luck, but the paper reckons organisation president Andrew Liveris should’ve done it (Palaszczuk is vice president). O’Brien said he did have “a little bit of a chuckle” upon opening her correspondence, considering it was the first letter he received after the election.
Speaking of noses out of joint — the head of the NAB says he was “a wee bit surprised” (why is everyone sounding like cordial hobbits in this section) that new Liberal leader Peter Dutton has distanced himself from big business in favour of the “forgotten people” in small business, The Brisbane Times reports. Ross McEwan says he could call former treasurer Josh Frdyenberg “any time of the day or night” and that he wasn’t sure where Dutton’s comments came from. Sounds a little close for comfort.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
The city of Vancouver was on high alert after an apparent cougar was spotted prowling through a densely populated residential area. Several hysterical residents called the Vancouver Police Department terrified after seeing the large cat — cougars have been known to prowl around in the outskirts of the metropolitan Canadian city, but strangely this one had been spotted near two busy intersections, and quite close to a number of schools. The cops rushed to the scene and immediately began their emergency wild animal protocol, scouring the area for the dangerous predator. Police visited several local schools to place them on high alert too. What police found, a somewhat rueful Constable Tania Visintin told the eager reporters, was a plain old house cat.
It wasn’t your average tabby, however — it was a Savannah cat, which does have a lovely leopard-spotted flank. Savannahs haven’t forgotten their wildcat ancestral roots, but can be trained to walk on a leash and even play fetch. They’re a little bigger than your average moggy too, but definitely not as large as a cougar. Police and conservation officers managed to coax the curious pussycat and take it home to its sheepish owner. “It wasn’t a cougar, cheetah or 200 pound jaguar. It was a Savannah cat! Conservation Officers assisted @VancouverPD with rounding up a pet Savannah cat spotted out for a stroll in #Vancouver,” the region’s conservation body posted on Twitter. Constable Visintin added that there was, of course, no threat to the public.
Hoping the smiles come easily today, folks.
I read about this numerology theory that if you add the numbers that match the letters in your name you can change your personality. I worked out that if you added an ‘s’ I would have an incredibly exciting, interesting life and nothing would ever be boring. It’s that simple. And once I’d added the ‘s’ it was really hard to take it away.
Sussan Ley (2015)
The new deputy Liberal leader told The Australian ($) back in 2015 that she’d decided to add another letter to her name to make sure her life was interesting. When the editor of The Daily Aus posted it to Twitter this week, several pundits couldn’t resist taking aim at Ley — including one that replied, “Climate science? No thanks. Numerology? Do go on…”
The return to a frank and fearless public service is a monumental task
“The Abbott and Morrison governments were disasters for the APS, punctuated only by Malcolm Turnbull, who was genuinely interested in public sector reform and established the comprehensive review, chaired by David Thodey, early in 2018 — on which Davis served. But by the time Thodey and co reported, a right-wing putsch had replaced Turnbull with Morrison, and the latter binned the review, telling the APS that it would simply do what he told it to.
“Meanwhile, continuing apace were the politicisation of the public service, the relentless expansion of consulting firms in the APS, and the stripping of experience, talent and corporate memory. The appointment of Liberal Party staffer Phil Gaetjens as head of PM&C was the last straw — the once august position of leadership of the Australian public sector reduced to a Mister Fixit for Morrison’s myriad political problems.”
Squat Morrison … hungry for justice … Albo’d again
“‘Squat Morrison‘ is trending, as Australians gleeful at the thought of the departing prime minister having to navigate the brutality of the rental market wonder aloud when he’s going to depart Kirribilli House, where he’s apparently continuing to stay despite being dethroned over a week ago.
“Morrison, like Tony Abbott and John Howard before him, broke convention by making Kirribilli his primary residence during his time as PM. Abbott was relatively swift in getting out, but as it turns out Morrison (who has started the process of getting out of the Lodge, to be fair …) probably has a bit of time before it becomes a serious issue. Howard took 16 days to even start the process of getting his stuff out.”
End the political and legal fictions surrounding the Biloela family — otherwise the new government is as guilty as the last
“Well, hooray, sincerely, that this benighted family will finally be returned to where they were taken more than 1000 days ago. The new Labor government deserves credit for ending their torture to that extent. But also, come on. The torture is not at an end. The family are on bridging visas, and thus remain in immigration limbo.
“Let’s take the new government at its word: it is saying that there is still a legal process to be completed for ‘the resolution of [the family’s] immigration status’. What is that process? It is not a court process. The parents were ruled a long time ago to not be refugees. Whether or not one agrees with that assessment, it’s a done deal and there are no appeals left. The only issue still in legal suspense is the status of the couple’s youngest child …”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Boris Johnson faces growing Tory calls for confidence vote (The Guardian)
EU set to impose ban on insuring Russian oil (The Wall Street Journal) ($)
The teal win is a tectonic shift in Australian politics — Kylea Tink (The AFR): “Time and time again we saw reasonable legislation blocked without debate. Our political system was gridlocked, with parties more interested in retaining power than in using the power they had to work towards long-term progress. Many Australians watched in frustration as the nation slipped further behind international standards on measures as important as climate targets, the gender pay gap, workforce participation and basic human rights. As Kooyong’s Monique Ryan so eloquently put it: ‘The government wasn’t listening to us. So we changed the government.’
“I never sought to become a politician, but when a community group in my home electorate of North Sydney asked if I would stand up to ‘change the climate in Canberra’, I knew it was something I needed to do. North Sydney has been a Liberal seat for almost all of its 121 years since Federation, with the exception of six years under the independent Ted Mack. But as we watched the government fumble at COP26 climate talks, repeatedly ignore calls for a federal integrity commission, and shrug off serious allegations of sexual misconduct, many in the electorate felt that the parties no longer reflected our values, and their interests were no longer aligned with ours.”
The sounds of my family, and other irritants — Meena Evers (The SMH): “I realised the impact these sounds were having on me last year, when I found myself googling, ‘Why does my husband type so loudly?’ It turns out, it could either be his particular brand of laptop with its sexy, ultra-slim keyboard, which amplifies the sound, or a heavy-handed typing style which looks graceful but sounds like a chimpanzee randomly pounding on the keys. The third possibility offered up by the internet was that I have a condition called misophonia, literally translated as ‘hatred of sounds’ … I’m trying to control my reactions to the sounds that my loved ones can’t help making. I acknowledge it’s unreasonable to ask them not to breathe. Similarly, it’s unfair to ask them not to chew their food. After all, they are not pythons.
“I happily take the small victories when they come. For example, after months of shuffling around the house in a pair of backless, slide-style slippers, which admittedly I purchased, my husband finally bought himself a different pair. I think it was my strong words of encouragement (he might say ‘threats’) that finally motivated him to make the switch. The difference to our lives has been significant. Now, I don’t have to listen to scuff, scuff, scuff as he navigates walking on the wooden floorboards while keeping the slippers on his feet, and he doesn’t have to listen to me singing, ‘every day I’m shufflin’’, every time he walks. Win. Win.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)
Seven West Media’s James Warburton, Sunrise’s David Koch, and Free TV Australia’s Bridget Fair are among the speakers at a talk about the future of Australian TV content at the Ivy Ballroom.
Kaurna Country (also known as Adelaide)
Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)
US politics expert Joseph Torigian will talk about his book, Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion: Elite Power Struggles in the Soviet Union and China after Stalin and Mao at The Australian National University.