From 20 Jul 2022 09.31 What we learned: Wednesday 20 July With that, we will wrap up the blog for the evening. Here are today’s major developments: Former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro said “this is the job for when I get the fuck out of this place” inquiry heard. Barilaro denied the claims, calling them “fictitious”.
said “this is the job for when I get the fuck out of this place” inquiry heard. Barilaro denied the claims, calling them “fictitious”. The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews , has accepted all the recommendations from state integrity agency’s report into Labor’s branch stacking scandal, apologising and taking “full responsibility” for the conduct.
, has accepted all the recommendations from state integrity agency’s report into Labor’s branch stacking scandal, apologising and taking “full responsibility” for the conduct. The NSW Icac has found Drummoyne MP John Sidoti engaged in “serious corrupt conduct”. Sidoti has vowed to fight the findings, as the premier, Dominic Perrottet , called on him to resign.
engaged in “serious corrupt conduct”. Sidoti has vowed to fight the findings, as the premier, , called on him to resign. The treasurer, Jim Chalmers , announced the terms of reference of a review of the Reserve Bank of Australia, which will include examining whether changes are needed to the bank’s inflation targets.
, announced the terms of reference of a review of the Reserve Bank of Australia, which will include examining whether changes are needed to the bank’s inflation targets. Viral fragments of foot and mouth disease and African swine fever have been detected in pork products at a Melbourne retailer.
retailer. The PM said the chief medical officer, Paul Kelly , did not recommend mask mandates to him.
, did not recommend mask mandates to him. The home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil , said the government has begun prioritising offshore visas.
, said the government has begun prioritising offshore visas. The Reserve Bank governor, Phil Lowe , said inflation has increased again in the three months since March.
, said inflation has increased again in the three months since March. The new US ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy – the daughter of John F Kennedy – will arrive on Friday.
– the daughter of John F Kennedy – will arrive on Friday. Three children have died after a house fire in Port Hedland in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. There were 90 Covid deaths today across the country.
Updated at 09.47 BST
20 Jul 2022 09.00 Tamsin Rose Sidoti: ‘I will continue to fight to clear my name’ Former Liberal minister John Sidoti has vowed to fight the Independent Commission Against Corruption finding that he engaged in “serious corrupt conduct”. In a statement released shortly after 5pm, the independent Drummoyne MP raised issue with the watchdog’s methods and said the report released on Wednesday included errors. He rejected the findings and has told his lawyers to lodge an application in the supreme court. He said: ICAC took complaints from a non-government majority upper house committee, they interviewed disgruntled Liberal Party members and interrogated my family to arrive at the conclusion that, as the elected local member I engaged with my local Liberal councillors, having robust communications for the sake of the community is corrupt. Icac did not interview the people at crucial meetings to support what I had stated. They failed to chase down exculpatory evidence. This report has a number of unfounded inferences, errors and assumptions, and its findings are completely rejected. The only positive for myself and my family is that the ICAC part of this saga is over. I will continue to fight to clear my name and have instructed my lawyers to lodge an application in the Supreme Court. The commission found Sidoti had used his official role as a member of parliament to try to “improperly influence” Liberal City of Canada Bay councillors in relation to properties in Five Dock between late 2013 and early 2017.
Updated at 09.16 BST
20 Jul 2022 08.53 Pauline Hanson on Sky News, complaining Labor hasn’t shown her the 43% climate legislation, wonders if she’s “too far right” for them
[literally 10 seconds later]
says linking Australia emissions to natural disasters is “bunkum”, claims CSIRO never linked C02 to climate change — Josh Butler (@JoshButler) July 20, 2022
20 Jul 2022 08.35 Fuel excise will return despite cost-of-living pressures, Bill Shorten says The government services minister, Bill Shorten, has warned the government still intends on reintroducing the fuel excise, despite the ongoing rise in cost of living pressures. Speaking to Sky News, Shorten laid some of the blame on the previous government as well: We’re not going to be able to just indefinitely spend money on the fuel excise, but it is a tough issue. Families are doing it hard. I wish when it comes to things like energy prices that the previous government had not been asleep for 10 years. Our childcare measures are going to help families battling with those costs, and we’ve seen our support for a modest increase in the wage system, so Labor’s got some measures to help the cost of living, but fuel excise is horrendously expensive for taxpayers.
Updated at 09.48 BST
20 Jul 2022 08.18 Opposition leader @ChrisMinnsMP told @2GB873 Sidoti should resign and Labor would support a motion to suspend him if he did not.
“It’s hard to see how Mr Sidoti could be that effective voice in the NSW parliament with such a big finding up against him.” — Tamsin Rose (@tamsinroses) July 20, 2022
20 Jul 2022 08.10 Zoe Daniel says Ibac shows need for effective federal anti-corruption commission The independent MP for the Melbourne seat of Goldstein and member of the teal wave, Zoe Daniels, says today’s Ibac findings have “exposed flaws” in Victoria’s anti-corruption legislation. Speaking on ABC’s Afternoon Briefing, Daniels says it is a good time to emphasise the importance of a federal anti-corruption commission that can be effective: I think this has exposed there are flaws in Victorian legislation. As you’ll see, the recommendations go to closing those loopholes. So, for example, the electorate office staff being used, campaign staff or pseudo branch stackers, so therefore not working for the public, working for the politician or for the party. So I think what it does is it sheds light on flaws in that legislation. And we are I think in the fortunate position as we pull together this model for a federal integrity commission that we can have a lock at what the state models are delivering, where the gaps are in order to make sure the federal commission has the teeth it needs. I think the commission has a very specific role and the commission’s role is to find facts, expose and publish those facts, and then as needed refer those to the likes of the DPP. So the commission is never going to be in a position to enact a penalty on someone. That’s not the role of the commission. The commission is to find those facts and to refer them on. But I think what we need with the commission that we’re pulling together is the capacity for the commission to refer these kind of cases to the Department of Public Prosecutions for example. So I think the next step – and the federal provisions around the use of electorate office staff are stricter than those in Victoria – but I think the next step is to take a look at those and make sure those loopholes don’t exist federally. Zoe Daniel says today’s Ibac findings in Victoria show the importance of a federal anti-corruption commission that can be effective. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP
Updated at 08.24 BST
20 Jul 2022 07.54 Paul Kelly urges mask wearing, but stops short of backing mandates So, potential mask mandates have been in discussion all day, and a key question has been whether or not a mandate is currently necessary, especially in light of the repeated insistence of their importance. Australia’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, who urged people to wear masks indoors yesterday, was in discussion with RN Breakfast’s Patricia Karvelas about his recommendations: Karvelas: Why are you reluctant to introduce mandates, and is it still in your back pocket as an option? Kelly: I’m not the person who introduces mandates … Karvelas: Recommends. I should say recommends, then.
Kelly: I think the important thing here is these are difficult times and difficult decisions need to be made. But I’m going to have to leave that to the decision-makers to make those decisions. Karvelas: OK. Let me ask then … have you recommended mask mandates? Kelly: I have recommended that we need to increase mask use … we need to look at ways to increase mask use within the community. And we have left it there for others to consider the pros and cons of how to do that. That’s really a matter for others. Karvelas: Why haven’t you made that recommendation stronger? Kelly: The firm recommendation is increased mask use. And I’ll leave it there, I think. Karvelas: Is it your view that mandates just don’t work any more? Kelly: Mandates are contentious, as we know. And as I’ve said, I’m not going to talk to mandates. But my view is mask use should increase. Paul Kelly speaking at a press conference yesterday as health minister Mark Butler watches on. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Updated at 08.03 BST
20 Jul 2022 07.41 Dominic Perrottet calls on John Sidoti to resign from NSW parliament Tamsin Rose The New South Wales premier, Dominic Perrottet, is calling on the former Liberal minister John Sidoti to resign from state parliament after he was found to have engaged in “serious corrupt conduct” by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Perrottet says he will seek to remove the independent Drummoyne MP if he does not resign. He says: I have contacted Mr Sidoti to inform him that I believe he should resign from the parliament. Should Mr Sidoti not resign, the NSW government will move a motion to have him suspended. The NSW government has also sought legal advice in relation to this matter. There is no place for corruption in the NSW parliament. The commission found Sidoti had used his official role as a member of parliament to try to “improperly influence” Liberal City of Canada Bay councillors in relation to properties in Five Dock between late 2013 and early 2017. The anti-corruption watchdog also recommended that the Director of Public Prosecutions consider whether the MP should be charged with misconduct in public office. According to Nine News, Sidoti has said he will not resign from parliament and will would appeal the corruption findings in the Supreme Court. He said:
I am going to fight this all the way, I’m not going anywhere. EXCLUSIVE: John Sidoti tells @9NewsSyd “I am going to fight this all the way, I’m not going anywhere.” Vows to appeal corruption finding in the Supreme Court and says he will reject Premier @Dom_Perrottet request for him to resign from parliament. pic.twitter.com/fXhLjC7CsW — Chris O’Keefe (@cokeefe9) July 20, 2022
Updated at 08.11 BST
20 Jul 2022 07.20 Australia needs urgent renewable energy upgrade, Plibersek says The environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, made waves with her National Press Club address yesterday, and today was backing it up with a series of media appearances. Speaking to the Today show earlier this morning, Plibersek warned that Australia urgently needed to upgrade its renewable energy systems, adding that the nation was “not far enough down the road on renewables”: The report says the state of the Australian environment is bad and it’s getting worse.
Across our land, sea and waterways, things are going backwards in most areas. We’ve lost more mammal species than any continent on earth. It is a really tough challenge to restore and protect Australia’s environment. But if we don’t turn this around, if we stay on this trajectory, our planet will be worse for our kids. We’re not far enough down the road on renewables. It needs to be easier to get that power from the solar farm or the windfarm into the National Energy Grid, but we also need to increase storage. It doesn’t always rain but we always have water on hand because we’ve got dams, we’ve got storage. We need to do the same with renewable energy. Tanya Plibersek speaking at the National Press Club yesterday. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Updated at 07.44 BST
20 Jul 2022 07.05 AMA chief urges people to wear masks to ease strain on hospitals Earlier today, Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid was on the Today Show, and said people should “do the right thing by masking up.” Dr Khorshid said it was important people heed the warnings, before authorities consider re-implementing mandates: What we have is yet another Covid crisis before us with over 5000 of our hospital beds taken up by people with Covid, thousands upon thousands of healthcare workers unable to attend work because they’ve got Covid. And what that means is people who need hospital care simply cannot access the care they need. So we’ve got a choice as a community. We can either do the right thing and try to protect those hospitals, keep the resources available for the Australians who need it, or ignore it until our chief health officers have got no choice but to bring back mandates. So we all need to take a little bit of the bitter pill [and] do the right thing. That means getting your vaccines. Even though they’re not the complete solution, they’re part of it. It means if you have the slightest cold or flu systems to test yourself, and report those results to the government in the way you’re supposed to and not to be out and about. We are not at this stage calling for mandates. But if we get to that point, and it may well be that that is coming, and if people are not doing the right thing, there may be no choice but for the government to step up to ask us to do the right thing by masking up. AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
Updated at 07.12 BST
20 Jul 2022 06.50 ACTU calls for employers to provide N95 masks for indoor workers amid Covid surge Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, has tweeted that the union is calling for all employers to implement work from home if possible, and to provide N95 masks for indoor workers. McManus said the union is also calling for ventilation and air purification indoors as well as fully paid sick leave for all workers isolating, saying these measures are necessary until this current wave of Covid infections “recedes.” The ACTU Executive today heard from health care unions on the crisis in our hospitals with surging Covid and the extreme pressure & burnout workers are experiencing. They asked for solidarity from all unions to reduce the spread to relieve the pressure on them 1/2 — Sally McManus (@sallymcmanus) July 20, 2022 Employers have a legal obligation to keep workers & workplaces safe. In light of all of this we are calling for until the wave recedes:
– WFH for all who can
– N95 masks for indoor workers
– ventilation & air purification indoors
– full paid sick leave for all isolating 2/2 — Sally McManus (@sallymcmanus) July 20, 2022
Updated at 06.53 BST