Australia news updates live: bigger quarantine fines in NSW over Omicron; parliament under pressure on second-last day

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A report on the workplace culture in Australia’s Parliament paints a damning picture of widespread sexual harassment, with employees sharing harrowing stories of an alcohol-fueled environment where powerful men violated boundaries unchecked.

— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 30, 2021

Good morning


It’s the second last sitting day of the year and the government still has things like the voter ID legislation to get through, so it’s beginning to cut things a little fine.

There won’t be any federal integrity commission legislation from the government. We know that. Scott Morrison is blaming Labor for his government not bringing on the bill (which is currently just an exposure draft) because for some reason, Labor not supporting the government’s proposal is a stumbling block for a government which carries a majority in the house and has brought on countless bills the opposition does not support. But that’s the logic we’re being offered up on this one.

Labor doesn’t support the voter ID laws but at this point, the government is pushing ahead with those. There’s also religious discrimination, which is off to a joint committee, which will meet over the summer holidays in order to report back by early February. Morrison wants that one wrapped up before the election, hence the rush. So we’ll probably at least squeeze in the February sitting before the next election, but again, there’s no guarantees on that.

National cabinet met late yesterday and all the leaders agreed to hold the line on keeping domestic borders open, most likely anticipating a whole of country meltdown if Christmas is cancelled for the third year in a row. That, and no one knows enough about the Omicron Covid variant yet to want to make a decision which could end up looking a bit panicked. So far, there is no information warranting any other action than watch and wait (domestically at least). But there are a few more obligations for returning international travellers; in NSW those who don’t comply with quarantine/isolation rules face a $5000 fine, while Victoria is mulling whether to re-introduce a 14-day quarantine for returned travellers (no change as yet though).

Related: How have Australia’s international travel rules changed in response to Omicron?

Speaking of Victoria, it should pass its pandemic laws today, after securing the votes it needed from the crossbench.

We’ll keep you up to date with all the political news (and a little more, given Covid is still with us) with Mike Bowers, Katharine Murphy, Daniel Hurst, Sarah Martin and Paul Karp at your service. The entire Guardian brains trust is also chipping in, as usual, to make sure you know everything you need to know to stay up to date across the nation. It being a sitting day, Amy Remeikis is on the blog. Will there be enough caffeine? Probably not. But onwards anyway.




Turns out those in the Victorian parliament are probably the most sleepy in the country:

Soooo you know how we thought the pandemic legislation would pass overnight? MPs have sat ALL night – and they’re still going!

— Sharnelle Vella (@SharnelleVella) November 30, 2021

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