Albanese is holding talks with many international leaders ahead of and during the NATO summit this week, including New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea. He will also sit down with British prime minister Boris Johnson.
Later this week, Albanese is flying to Paris to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron, in which he’s expected to try to mend the rift between Australia and France in the wake of the Morrison government scrapping the $90bn submarine deal last year. Albanese is yet to confirm whether he will visit Ukraine, following an invitation by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to travel to Kyiv, with security assessments still underway – it’s reportedly a 50/50 chance at this stage.
Albanese to speak on Australia’s ‘iron-clad’ commitment to global order. Prime minister Anthony Albanese will give a speech in Madrid today to spotlight Australia’s “iron-clad” commitment to upholding the international order, AAP reports. In an address to a Nato Public Forum event, Albanese is expected to say that under the Labor government, Australia will defend values respecting international laws and territorial integrity.
AAP has supplied some advance lines from his speech:
By supporting peace and sovereignty in Europe, we are underscoring our iron-clad commitment to these norms in our region, the Indo-Pacific.
We recognize strategic competition in our region, and Australia is not afraid to stand up with all the countries of our area for an open, inclusive, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
It will be through Australia’s actions that you will see our resolve.
We will maturely deal with this issue firmness and resolution.
Albanese is also expected to praise Nato alliance members for their “inspiring” responses to Russia after its “brutal” and “unjustified” invasion of Ukraine, and the alliance Australia is “invested for the long-term” in the Nato relationship.
Updated at 18.28 EDT
Uber and Transport Workers’ Union strike agreement on gig economy employment standards. Ride-sRidesharing Uber and the Transport Workers Union have struck a landmark agreement on proposed employment standards and benefits ahead of expected new gig economy regulation from the Albanese government.
The union and Uber have also agreed to jointly support creating a new independent government-funded regulatory body to develop industry-wide standards for rideshrideshareood delivery gig workers, following months of negotiations.
Under the agreed standards, the body will create minimum and transparent enforceable earnings, benefits, and conditions for people working on the rideshrideshareorm. The body will also resolve disputes over platform employment issues, such as when a worker’s account is deactivated.
The standards also outline that the rights of workers to join and be represented by a union will be respected.
The Transport Workers Union national secretary, Michael Kaine, told Guardian Australia:
It is quite a remarkable document. It’s a unique set of principles.
It identifies that we need change, and there is a pathway to change, and we’ve got a new federal government that’s indicated that it wants to act in this area as well. So the stars are aligning for us all.
Read the full story here:
Updated at 18.17 EDT
The number of social housing units in Australia rose by less than 1% last year and went backward in some states. At the same time, waiting lists across the country blew out further, and rental stress among jobseekers receiving rent assistance doubled.
As the new Albanese government seeks to increase social housing stock nationally, a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) on Wednesday showed demand for housing support continues to outstrip supply.
The data released with the AIHW report showed social housing – public housing and properties leased out by community housing providers – was stuck at 4.2% of overall housing stock.
That was steady from 2020 and down on the 2012 figure of 4.8%.
Updated at 18.13 EDT
After the first national cabinet meeting as prime minister, Anthony Albanese revealed the commonwealth had made no effort to change its secrecy rules, despite his criticism of his predecessor Scott Morrison over the issue.
On Tuesday evening, the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, clarified that the government’s position does not favor “unnecessary secrecy” but still intends to block documents from freedom of information using the exemption.
Dreyfus told Radio National’s Law Report:
A convention applies to the cabinet papers of former governments, which is that they remain the cabinet papers of former governments and are not available for public distribution. And by and large, observing that convention, we will continue to apply whatever settings the former government had in place.
But in the future, very much, it’s our view that the meetings of First Ministers are ones that, if there is a need to protect from [FOI] applications, then the exemptions in the [FOI] Act that have been there since the first enactment … in 1982, which preserve commonwealth-state relations that those exemptions are the ones which should be relied on. What we don’t want to see is the creation of unnecessary secrecy.
We don’t want to see reliance on an exemption that applies to the federal cabinet meetings incorrectly used to meetings between First Ministers of the states, territories, and the Commonwealth.
While it’s good to see that the Albanese government is not persisting with the fiction that the federal cabinet is a sub-committee of the federal cabinet, it still sounds like no documents will be produced.
Updated at 18.03 EDT
SA power operator fined $900,000 for breach.
AAP reports that the operator of South Australia’s Tesla big battery has been fined $900,000 after a software glitch left it unable to help stabilize the grid.
Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) was ordered on Tuesday to pay the penalty after being taken to the federal court by the Australian Energy Regulator.
The court heard HPR had breached national electricity rules between July and November 2019 after it made offers to the Australian Energy Market Operator and was paid to provide market ancillary services, which it could not provide.
The contingency frequency control ancillary services are required to help keep the lights on following a power system disturbance.
Aemo brought the conduct to the regulator’s attention following a power system disruption at Kogan Creek Power Station in Queensland in October 2019.
The disruption was not caused or contributed to by HPR.
Tesla car charging stations near Jamestown, South Australia. Photograph: Morgan Sette/AAP
An investigation by Tesla later identified a firmware update carried out in July as the cause of HPR’s failure to provide its promised services.
Justice Anthony Besanko on Tuesday ordered HPR to pay a $900,000 fine regarding several breaches of the national electricity rules.
He acknowledged submissions from HPR that the contraventions were negligent and the relevant payments had been repaid to AEMO upon request. The breaches caused no actual loss or damage, he noted.
The AER’s chair, Clare Savage, said in a statement the penalty sent an important message to the market at a time when many new operators were joining the grid:
Generators must do what they say they can if we keep the lights on through our market’s rapid transition to more variable renewable generation.
Updated at 17.53 EDT
Good morning folks, and welcome to another day of rolling news. Australia’s fractured relationship with France has caused a “critical” trade deal with the EU to “stall” over perceptions Australia isn’t “fair dinkum” on climate change action, Anthony Albanese has said. The prime minister is in Europe this week before the Nato summit, which will consider further sanctions on Russia for its continuing war on Ukraine. He’s been meeting with various international counterparts on his trip, including Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, on Tuesday.
The federal energy minister, Chris Bowen, will give an address at the National Press Club today in which he’s expected to talk about the government’s renewable energy plan in the wake of coal-fired power station shutdowns, a cold snap and spiking gas prices adding to the cost of living pressures for already-squeezed Australian households.
Industrial action in NSW continues, with the Rail, Tram, and Bus Union to meet today to consider whether to continue with their planned strikes this week. They are in dispute over safety concerns regarding the new intercity train fleet with the NSW government.
Meanwhile, hundreds of nurses voted on Tuesday to continue with industrial action, rejecting the NSW government’s offer of a 3% pay rise. The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association general secretary, Brett Holmes, said members will now pursue a pay rise of 7%.
And a parliamentary inquiry will today scrutinize the appointment of the former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro to a lucrative trade job in New York.
There’ll be stacks more throughout the day, so stay tuned. And as always, if you see something you reckon needs my attention, you can email me at [email protected] or ping me on Twitter @gingerandhoney.