Anthony Albanese commented this morning about the parliamentary staff cuts for crossbench MPs. He told ABC radio:
They’re not totally on their own … They have access to the Parliamentary Library, whicwhich we will be increasing support for; they have access to clerks that draft legislation and individual staff…
At the same time as [the Morrison government] was cutting Centrelink staff, people can’t get passports; visas can’t get processed, and the only area of public service that saw an increase in staffing levels appears to have been parliamentary staff.
He said there had been “misconceptions” about the job of electoral office staff, who often did parliamentary work.
Also speaking on ABC RN, independent ACT senator David Pocock accused the prime minister of deciding to gain a political advantage:
Cutting back on our small teams creates an unfair playing field that disadvantages our communities and our capacity to advocate on their behalf.
It could be incredibly hard to be across legislation; if I don’t understand things, it will be very hard to vote on them.
…I want to be constructive, to represent a community I love. I won’t vote against things to make a point; that’s not how I do things.
Updated at 18.33 EDT
Victoria: it’s cold! It’s getting colder!
🥶Cold this morning? More places (esp across the N of Victoria) are expected to drop below zero tomorrow.
This morning…Hopetoun Airport -1.8°C @ 7:33amRedesdale -1.8°C @ 7:17amBallarat Airport -0.5°C @ 6:58amHorsham -0.1°C @ 5:30am#VicWeather: https://t.co/BQEpwrEDgw
— Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic) June 26, 2022
It’s not warm in NSW, either:
Current temperatures across #NSW, the chance of frost about the ranges and southern inland. That frost area is expected to increase tomorrow and include on and west of the ranges. Chance of showers along the coast and possibly southern ranges today. See:https://t.co/SPHgGeisGZ pic.twitter.com/sCTUgdjOxZ
— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) June 26, 2022
An advocacy group for Australian Muslims has complained to Twitter with the Queensland Human Rights Commission, accusing the site of failing to take action against accounts that incite hatred on the platform.
The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (Aman) argues that, as a publisher, Twitter is responsible for content posted by a far-right account cited in the manifesto of the extremist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.
The network says despite multiple requests, Twitter has refused to delete the account and replies to its posts that “vilify” Muslims. The network has accused Twitter under Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act of inciting hatred as a publisher of third-party accounts and discrimination for refusing to take action against hateful content.
Its complaint also says Twitter has engaged in indirect discrimination by failing to apply Australian standards to content on its platform.
Read the full story here:
Movement of bee hives and products in NSW banned amid biosecurity concerns
AAP reports that an emergency biosecurity zone has been imposed to stop the movement of bees across NSW after the parasite varroa mite was discovered for the first time in Australia.
Agriculture minister Dugald Saunders issued the order on Sunday, saying no bees will be allowed to be moved across NSW:
Australia is the only major honey-producing country free from varroa mites, the most serious pest to honey bees worldwide.
The tiny reddish-brown parasites have the potential to devastate an industry that’s worth $70m annually by spreading viruses that cripple bees’ ability to fly, gather food, and pollinate crops.
Varroa mite was detected at the Port of Newcastle on Friday by the state Department of Primary Industries, which is now investigating potentially contaminated hives outside an initial 50km biosecurity zone.
A property near Trangie in central western NSW will be inspected; containment and control activities will be carried out on Monday after hives near the Port of Newcastle were recently sent there.
If varroa mite settles in the state, it will have severe consequences. We take every precaution and action needed to contain the parasite and protect the local honey industry and pollination.
We’re working with apiary industry bodies and stakeholders to ensure beekeepers are well-informed and can continue to help us with this critical response.
The 50km biosecurity zone around the Port of Newcastle means beekeepers within the area must notify the department of the locations of their hives.
A 25km surveillance zone is active around the site, and officials monitor and inspect managed and feral honey bees.
A 10km emergency zone around the port remains in place, with hives in that area to be eradicated.
Varroa mite was detected at the Port of Newcastle on Friday, prompting NSW to issue an emergency order to restrict bee movements. Photograph: Ellen Smith/The Guardian
Updated at 18.12 EDT
A Melbourne games startup has raised $9m in funding while developing a mobile game aimed at mental wellness that doesn’t try to keep you on for hours a day in what is said to be the largest venture capital seed investment for a game studio founded by women in Australia.
Lumi Interactive has been developing Kinder World since 2020.
The premise of a mobile game of houseplant maintenance within a community focused on mental well-being was conceived during the six pandemic lockdowns in Melbourne between 2020 and 2021. Co-founder Lauren Clinnick said during the lockdowns, random acts of kindness made the world a better place.
Read the full story:
A little background on that: under the previous Coalition government, crossbench MPs and senators were allowed to have two advisers and two assistant advisers. Crossbench MPs and senators have been told they can only have one senior adviser alongside their four electoral office staff.
Monique Ryan, the teal independent who knocked Josh Frydenberg out of Kooyong, said over the weekend:
After coming to power, Prime Minister Albanese said he wanted to work cooperatively with crossbench MPs to ensure they could contribute fully to the parliament’s deliberations and operations. It’s disappointing that his first act towards the crossbench is utterly at odds with that statement.
Independent member for Kooyong, Monique Ryan. Photograph: Sam Tabone/Getty Images
Updated at 17.57 EDT
Labor’s Katy Gallagher defends crossbench staffing cuts
Finance minister Katy Gallagher has just been speaking on ABC RN about the parliamentary staffing cut:
The prime minister isn’t trying to put anyone offside … Boosting the parliamentary library is a fairer way to deal with this resource allocation. We’re open to a constructive discussion with the crossbench … but we need to be sustainable.
RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas puts it to her that they are in a very different situation to the major parties, which have significantly more collective resources, and “the machinery of government” behind them.
Gallagher says increasing resources to the parliamentary library is a “fairer” way of doing it.
We are having ongoing and constructive engagement with [the crossbenchers] and will continue that.
The people of Australia have voted for this parliament; it’s up to this parliament to make that work … Everyone is taking a hit here because we’re trying to make it fairer and more sustainable across the parliament.
Minister for Finance, Katy Gallagher. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Updated at 17.52 EDT
Good morning folks; welcome to yet another Monday.
The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is on hcomingEurope today. He arrived in Madrid this afternoon for the Nato summit, focusing on talks about the war in Ukraine and further sanctions on Russia. Albanese will be joined by leaders from New Zealand, South Korea, and Japan.
He’s expected to meet with UK PM Boris Johnson and US president Joe Biden during the trip. Albanese said before departure that he was still taking “security advice” on whether it was safe to visit Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv.
Back at home, independent members of the new federal parliament, Monique Ryan, David Pocock, Zali Steggall, and Jacqui Lambie, have criticized Albanese’s decision to cut the number of parliamentary staff crossbench MPs and senators can hire from four to one senior adviser, alongside their four electoral office staff, saying it will hamper their ability to scrutinize legislation properly.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews’ new cabinet will be sworn in today after the Labor government was forced into a quick cabinet reshuffle five months after the November state election. Deputy Premier James Merlino, health minister Martin Foley, jobs minister Martin Pakula, and police minister Lisa Neville all stepped down from cabinet on Friday, along with retiring planning minister Richard Wynne, prompting the reshuffle.
On Saturday, Andrews’ new frontbench was revealed, with Jacinta Allan crowned deputy premier. Sonya Kilkenny, Lizzie Blandthorn, Steve Dimopoulos, Harriet Shing, and Colin Brooks will be sworn in at Government House today.
And the movement of bees across NSW has been banned under an emergency order to stop the spread of the varroa mite after an infestation was detected at the Port of Newcastle on Friday. The mite can be devastating for hives and crops.
I’ll be with you until lunchtime today. If you see something you reckon I ought to look at, you can find me on Twitter @gingerandhoney or email me at [email protected]. Have you got coffee? Let’s get into it.