Penny Wong has entered the sub-tweeting chat
Even though the conference has been rather by the by, there are some who are still managing to find joy from it.
George Simon, the NSW Labor assistant general secretary, has written a piece for the Left faction’s Challenge magazine, which looks at the definition of the Labor base – and some people’s very narrow definition of that:
So what does it mean when some people say they’re putting the labour back in Labor? Who are they standing for when they say they are fighting for the Labor base? It’s unlikely they’re talking about the nurse living in Cambridge Park, the Indian-Australian retail worker in Revesby, the receptionist in Woy Woy, or the school cleaner in Seven Hills. They are normally referring to a very narrow segment of Labor’s electoral coalition and one that cannot deliver us government on its own.
Electoral campaigns are full of contradictions and opportunity costs. A policy offering that wins you votes in one community can often come at the expense of votes in another community. At the heart of it, [Joel] Fitzgibbon is offering a strategy to hold on to his seat of Hunter but at what cost? As a party of government, we have a responsibility to find a platform that can win the full range of seats we need to form government while staying true to our enduring values.
To win the next election, Labor can build a platform capable of meeting the aspirations of people being left behind by this government and this economy. Those who are being left behind are diverse. If we want to win back trust and support amongst communities that rejected us in 2019, we should fight for all of them.
The Labor conference is on break – it is all but done.
There is a little bit more to go, on ‘developing our people’, but all the main issues have been worked out.
Mark McGowan, currently the most popular Labor figure in the country, has delivered a ‘why we need to win’ speech via video to the Labor conference.
Labor is hoping some of McGowan’s popularity will rub off on Anthony Albanese and the federal team when it comes down to it at the next election. That is usually not the way of things – people can vote for Labor state governments, but federally vote for the Coalition in the same area and do – but given some of the big losses in WA, both from a state perspective, and the losses of big names federally, there is hope for gains in the west.
Naaman Zhou took a look at the vaccine rollout a little earlier today:
Australia has administered nearly 600,000 doses of the Covid vaccine, which is 3.4m shots short of a 4m dose target set by the prime minister, Scott Morrison, for the end of March.
The current figure is also 1m doses short of what’s needed to meet the government’s revised target of 4m doses administered by the end of April.
Australia’s chief health officer, Prof Paul Kelly, said on Tuesday there had been 597,000 doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine administered to date. That’s 15% of Morrison’s original target.
The prime minister in January said that he was aiming for 4 million people to have received their first of two doses by the end of March.
Greens leader Adam Bandt has responded to Labor’s gas amendments to its platform:
Greens Leader, Adam Bandt, says Labor at its national conference has joined the Liberals by backing gas and having no 2030 target, leaving voters who want action on climate change with only the Greens
“Gas is as dirty as coal. If you back new gas fields, you’re not serious about stopping the climate crisis,” Bandt said.
“With Labor’s national conference falling in behind the Liberals’ gas-led recovery and refusing to adopt a 2030 target, Labor is letting Scott Morrison off the hook. No hat-tips to renewables or bare-minimum EV policies can make up for a gas-fuelled lack of 2030 climate targets.”
Oh and the missile announcement today?
The Morrison Government will accelerate the creation of a $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons Enterprise, boosting skilled jobs and helping secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities.
The Department of Defence will now select a strategic industry partner to operate a sovereign guided weapons manufacturing capability on behalf of the Government as a key part of the new Enterprise.
The new Enterprise will support missile and guided weapons manufacturing for use across the Australian Defence Force.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said creating a sovereign defence industrial capability was a key priority for the Government while also creating new opportunities for jobs and small business growth.
They have used “accelerate” there because it is an old announcement – it was made last year. So today was about bringing forward a project which had previously been announced.
NSW health minister Brad Hazzard says he is “as angry as I have ever been”.
In the questioning, Gladys Berejiklian, when asked about how many doses NSW has rolled out, said:
There is no point in delivering something to us a day ago or two days ago and saying you haven’t rolled them out.
Queensland has also criticised the federal government’s supply of vaccines.
So what you have now, is the two states who were at absolute loggerheads with each other for most of the past year over border closures, now united in criticising the federal government for its vaccine supply rollout.
Annastacia Palaszczuk and Gladys Berejiklian aren’t known for having a warm relationship. Neither would go out of their way to back the other unless it was important. And they are both saying the same thing here.
Gladys Berejiklian has responded to Scott Morrison’s vaccine rollout deflection this morning.
Respectfully of course – they are from the same side of politics. But Berejiklian is making it clear that there have been failures in the rollout and the states – at least not hers – are not all to blame.
This is the point, it is unfair to go out publicly and comment on the rollout when you literally only let the state know in the last 24-48 hours [you haven’t] delivered what those new doses are.
What the people of New South Wales, I hope, know is that we are working night and day to get all the doses out as quickly as possible.
I don’t know any other state that has 100 hubs either up and running or in the process of and I also say this: 100,000 doses that we have issued in five weeks and it is slightly over, I am being conservative.
It is actually 150,000 doses that have been given out in New South Wales, it is a mighty effort.
We have had floods and we kept vaccinating people. We have had challenges and we haven’t been distracted.
I am normally a team player and I don’t engage in the he said/she said, however where public interest is concerned, we are getting our residents as safe as possible and as quickly as possible is concerned, I will stick up for my state and my workers.
Can I also make this point, we have offered on a number of occasions that we are happy, more than happy to do far in excess of the 300,000 we have been allocated.
We support the GP network, our GPs are as frustrated as we are. We support them, we support the pharmacies but all of us should be working together. I have said on many occasions we need all hands on deck if we are even going to get to the October deadline of having everybody vaccinated. I am keen to do that.
It is in our state’s interest, it is in our nation’s interest to do that but I do agree and minister Hazzard has been working behind the scenes and we need to have one rollout plan which involves the states and the commonwealth together, rather than the he said/she said that has to stop.
NSW MP Michael Johnsen has resigned from parliament.
The former Nationals MP is under investigation for sexual assault – allegations he has denied. Johnsen resigned from the party when the story broke, after the ABC reported yesterday Johnsen had been texting a sex worker while in parliament, sharing a lewd video of himself taken in a parliament precinct bathroom with her. Nationals leader John Barilaro said Johnsen’s position in the parliament was “untenable” and advised he resign as a MP.
He has now done that.
There will be a byelection in the Upper Hunter – and the NSW Coalition government is in minority
Back to the Labor conference, the most contentious issue leading into the platform conversation, in terms of energy and environment, was the position on gas.
Here is where they landed (without fight on the day):
Labor recognises and supports the critical role that gas plays in the Australian economy. Labor recognises that gas has an important role to play in achieving Labor’s target of net zero emissions by 2050. Labor’s policies will support Australian workers in the gas extraction industry, building on Labor’s legacy of supporting sufficient and affordable gas supply for Australian industry and consumers. This includes support for new gas projects and associated infrastructure, subject to independent approval processes to ensure legitimate community concerns are heard and addressed.
Labor will ensure the industry assesses and manages environmental and other impacts, including on water reserves and co-existence with other agricultural activities, and engages constructively with landholders.
The Federal government must also institute policies like more rigorous use-it or lose-it conditions for offshore gas resources, a price related export control trigger, and domestic reservation policies to ensure environmentally approved gas projects are developed for the benefit of Australians, including as a feedstock to crucial strategic manufacturing industries including chemical and fertiliser production. Labor recognises the critical role gas-power generation plays in firming the National Electricity Market (NEM) and have regard to the advice of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in continuing to ensure reliability and price affordability as the NEM transitions to net zero emissions and as other technologies emerge.
Scott Morrison also addressed Australian of the Year Grace Tame’s criticisms in his earlier press conference.
Here is a rundown of what Tame said, while in conversation with Kerry O’Brien for Griffith University overnight, as reported by Murph:
The Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, has criticised Scott Morrison for elevating Amanda Stoker as the new assistant minister for women, declaring that the Queensland senator had supported a “fake rape crisis tour” that inflicted great suffering on survivors.
Tame said Morrison had exhibited either very poor judgment, or cultural calculation, when he elevated the Liberal National party conservative who had conducted public advocacy “aimed at falsifying all counts of sexual abuse on campuses across the nation”.
“Needless to say that came at great expense to the student survivors who were already traumatised,” Tame told an event on Tuesday night.
Tame also turned her sights on Morrison in social media posts after the event at Griffith University. She said when she met the prime minister at morning tea on 25 January, “I spoke directly of the need for a permanent taskforce to tackle issues pertaining to sexual abuse.
“He dismissively insisted that such infrastructure already existed and functioned well.
Morrison responded with:
I wouldn’t share those views. I respect Grace and once again I congratulate her for those strong advocacy on the issues that have been so front of mind, they’ve always been front of mind for people who’ve been doing with these issues over generations and so of course, I respect her contribution.
And I know that Senator Stoker, is particularly keen to work with Grace Tame, as she takes on her new responsibilities.
And I think everybody’s got a contribution to make here and we’ll continue to do that in a respectful way that draws together, the experience of women from all walks of life, from all different perspectives.
And if anyone disagrees, as a country, you know, there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with each other but I think we’ve got to find better ways to disagree and this comes and builds from a cultural perspective, this country, which I know, and I am sure Grace would agree is something that we need to continue to build.
You might notice that pattern I highlighted below show up in that answer.
The conference has returned to “building Australia’s prosperity” – a chapter which was started yesterday and deferred to today. It’s mostly about “good local jobs” which shows the balancing act Labor is trying to work here.
Yes to protecting the environment, but also yes to protecting jobs – not all of which, by their very industry, marry up with protecting the environment.
Thinking forestry, or mining, or gas.
The message Labor is trying for is that existing jobs will continue to exist, but we are planning for the transition. But there are a lot of people, on both sides, caught in the grey area in between. And they are all very, very vocal.