Australia news live updates: big push to count remaining votes in three seats in doubt; Nationals spill leadership | Australia news

Anthony Albanese has wasted no time attending the theatre as prime minister.

He’s also been spinning the C1 plated car through Sydney’s inner west.

I spotted the prime minister’s C1-plated car driving through Marrickville this morning. It’s a brave new world.

— Michael Mazengarb (@MichaelM_ACT) May 29, 2022

Peter Hannam

AGL Energy’s board will meet on Monday morning and is expected to ditch the plan to split its operations, surrendering to a campaign by the billionaire climate activist Mike Cannon-Brookes to foil the move.

Neither AGL, Australia’s biggest electricity generator, nor Cannon-Brookes would comment on the meeting. Still, bankers and consultants briefed some media outlets at the weekend that the demerger would be scrapped.

One insider told Guardian Australia that the board itself and management roles were “up in the air”, and it appeared Cannon-Brookes had succeeded, at least for now.

Read the story here:

New South Wales to roll out free flu vaccinations

The New South Wales government will follow Queensland and fund a free flu vaccination for all residents in a “month-long blitz” to combat an expected severe influenza season.

The flu vaccinations will be funded at GPs and pharmacies from 1 June to 30 June. Previously they were only subsidized for high-risk groups.

Chief health officer Dr. Kerry Chant said there had already been a sharp increase in flu cases, with 1,140 respiratory illnesses notified in the past week.

That compares with 766 in the previous week and 150 presentations and admissions to hospitals.

We strongly urge everyone over six months of age to get a flu shot as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones, as the virus is easily spread and potentially deadly.

This is particularly important for those in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and children aged six months to five years. If you live in an aged or disability care facility, are over 65, or are immunocompromised, now is the time to book in.

We also recommend a Covid-19 winter booster if you are eligible, as flu and Covid-19 vaccines can be given simultaneously.

Pharmacies can administer flu vaccines to children five and up, reduced from 10 to allow families to get vaccinated together.

NSW chief health officer Dr. Kerry Chant. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

Updated at 18.06 EDT

Australia news

Barnaby Joyce speaks ahead of Nationals’ leadership vote

Speaking of Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals leader was up on Sunrise this morning alongside Labor MP Tanya Plibersek.

Joyce said he remained “sanguine” about today’s leadership spill.

I’ll let the party room make up its mind … we won every seat we had before the election. We have three retiring members and still won seats … the Liberals lost 19 seats in the last two elections that I’ve been the leader … we must be something right; still, the job is not over; we’ve got to make sure we lock the process in and make sure we have the proper guide rails on policy, we have the appropriate ministries—the right resources so we can continue.

Asked whether Joyce had the numbers to retain the leadership role, he replied:

That’s hubris; you don’t run around telling people you’ve got the numbers; you leave that to the room.

Barnaby Joyce is fighting to keep his hold on the Nationals’ leadership. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Updated at 18.03 EDT

Zimmerman said the candidate for Warringah, Katherine Deves, was a distraction the party “didn’t need and shouldn’t have had”.

I was blindsided by it; it was a flaw in that whole process … to this day, I don’t understand it because, leaving aside the complex issue of trans women in sports, having a candidate with such inflammatory views in an electorate that had a history of supporting equality in our community made zero sense to me.

Part of the challenges for candidates like me is if I was talking to national media top of the list about Katherine Deves, not what I was offering my community of North Sydney.

Asked if he knew Morrison’s intentions in handpicking Deves, Zimmerman replied:

At worst, some clumsy attempt to create a distraction failed and did us enormous harm.

Updated at 17.58 EDT

Zimmerman said while former prime minister Scott Morrison was undoubtedly unpopular, the real lesson of the election was a “policy one, not a personality one”, with climate change at the top of the list.

There was an underlying concern we hadn’t pursued an integrity commission and an underlying worry we got about the needs and aspirations of women in our community … which was detrimental to my prospects and the government’s prospects overall.

Blaming an individual may mean we don’t learn the lessons that must be understood.

Zimmerman said Peter Dutton would have a “hard path ahead of him” to win the confidence of the electorates back.

He comes at the conservative end; I’ve disagreed with him in his decisions about refugees and home affairs. Still, I also know Peter has a pragmatic streak … he knows we have to regain voters’ trust in electorates like mine if we ever have a path to victory … I think it’s important he’s a constructive opposition leader.

Updated at 17.54 EDT

Trent Zimmerman urges Liberals to accept Labor’s 43% emissions reduction target mandate.

Former Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman is up on Radio National.

He said it was a “clever ploy” by teal independents to link Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce with more “moderate” Liberals.

There’s a whole package of reasons why we lost inner-city seats like mine, and clearly, climate change was one of the key issues. The fact the national party leadership and individual members were seen not to be genuinely enthusiastic about our net zero commitment … undoubtedly had an impact …; particularly during the campaign,n I thought Matt Canavan’s intervention was one of the killer moments for us.

There was an underlying suspicion that people like Canavan and Barnaby Joyce would somehow prevail if we were re-elected.

Zimmerman said it would be a “small comfort” for the Nationals to have retained all their seats when the Liberal party saw such heavy blows, placing the Coalition in opposition.

He said it would be the “democratic” thing for the incoming Liberal leader to accept Labor’s current climate targets as bipartisan.

A sensible approach to climate change must be at the top of the list. There is now bipartisanship on the end goal, but the easy step the opposition could take is the government has a mandate for its 43% target.

Trent Zimmerman. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Trent Zimmerman to colleagues: if you want to win back seats like mine and others we lost or nearly lost, accept Labor’s mandate on the 43% emissions reduction target @RNBreakfast #auspol

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) May 29, 2022

Updated at 18.11 EDT

Twelve leading economists have penned a letter to treasurer Jim Chalmers recommending several measures to be implemented for the upcoming Reserve Bank of Australia review.

They say the review should be wide-ranging, independent, headed by a foreign expert, and consider the interaction between fiscal and monetary policy:

I and 11 other economists sent this letter to the Treasurer, @JEChalmers, yesterday, calling for the upcoming review of the @RBAInfo to be wide-ranging, fully independent of the bank and government headed by a foreign expert. There are many foreign precedents.

— Steven Hamilton (@SHamiltonian) May 29, 2022

Chalmers swiftly responded on Twitter:

As I work through the best model and terms of reference, weigh up all these issues, and discuss with the PM and our colleagues, the RBA, Treasury, and others, I’m grateful for the advice and input. I’m keen to get the ball rolling relatively soon if we can. Thanks. #auspol #ausecon

— Jim Chalmers MP (@JEChalmers) May 29, 2022

Incoming Greens MP Stephen Bates appeared on Sunrise earlier this morning, “raring to go” after winning the seat of Brisbane.

He said he “always had a feeling” the three seats the Greens in Queensland won were obtainable.

We were campaigning for a solid year, we knocked on thousands of doors, spoke to thousands of people … getting as many people’s opinions as we could, and you could sense … people were angry; they felt like the government wasn’t doing anything .. they liked that we came to the door and asked them what they thought.

Bates said climate change was “far and away” the biggest issue people brought up with him “completely unprompted” during the campaign, and he was looking forward to pushing for greater action.

People saw other countries worldwide doing so much more than we were doing, and people were sick of getting left behind.

The Greens’ MP for the seat of Brisbane, Stephen Bates. Photograph: Dan Peled/Getty Images

Updated at 17.38 EDT

Caitlin Cassidy is here to guide you through this morning’s news, starting with the mop-up of the federal election. The last three seats still in doubt could be decided today, with big surges of remaining votes to be counted.

Gilmore, Deakin, and Macnamara’s seats remain in the balance. Liberal candidate Andrew Constance is a whisker ahead in Gilmore, but Labor could close the gap, while Deakin is also a tight two-way contest between Labor and the Coalition.

Over the weekend, the Greens took the seat of Brisbane and still have their eyes on Macnamara. If Labor comes in first or second, they will win the heart. The Liberal party has taken the lead, while the Greens are catching up on Labor. To secure a majority government, labor must win one of the three seats.

Meanwhile, former defense minister Peter Dutton will be elected unopposed as opposition leader today as the Liberal and National parties meet to form the party’s leadership roles.

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce is fighting to retain his position, with a new poll showing three in five voters view the New England MP as an electoral weakness. Deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud and Victorian MP Darren Chester are expected to throw their hats in the ring for the top job.

Prime minister Anthony Albanese will finalize his cabinet on Wednesday, including the highly speculated role of Speaker.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.