Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded

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Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed across Australia for Operation Aged Care Assist. 1,700 men and women of the ADF will take up additional duties in aged care facilities to help Australians most in need.

Global Tech News Daily

— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton_MP) February 8, 2022

The Greens say bill is ‘throwing trans kids under the bus’

00:45 Josh Butler

Global Tech News Daily

Further to Paul Karp’s reporting on the argy bargy between the Coalition and Labor on the religious discrimination bill today, the Greens have flagged introducing amendments in the House and Senate to update what they claim is an “appalling” proposal.

A Greens spokesperson told a media briefing after their party room meeting that they would introduce more modest amendments in the House. They hoped Liberal moderates may support them, rather than proposing “stronger” amendments in the Senate where the government does not control the majority.

The Greens’ amendments would include removing section 38(3) of the Sex Discrimination Act, which says it is “not unlawful” for religious schools to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This is central to today’s controversy around transgender students not being protected against expulsion, under the current government proposal.

The Greens are “really disappointed” Labor hasn’t spoken more strongly in opposition to the current bill, the party spokesperson said, and claimed the current proposal was “throwing trans kids under the bus”.


00:44 Josh Butler

Coalition senator Gerard Rennick has spoken briefly at a growing anti-vaccine protest outside Parliament House, accepting a letter the group wanted delivered to prime minister Scott Morrison.

“I’m going to help you guys fight to end the mandates… make sure our children don’t get vaccinated and make sure we restore our civil liberties and end government overreach,” Rennick told protesters, to loud cheers.

One group involved in the protests has asked supporters to sign an open letter which is critical of Covid vaccines, which they claim will be “presented to the prime minister on Tuesday”. The letter claims that protesters “will bring hundreds of thousands sending you into hiding and we will take this country back for the people”.

Labor senator Murray Watt, a long-term critic of his fellow Queenslander Rennick, tweeted that the Coalition MP was “working against Morrison govt policy”.


00:41 Melissa Davey

Nurses working in aged care are descending on parliament house this morning protesting dangerous staff shortages, underpayment, and a lack of personal protective equipment – issues that persist more than two years since the Covid-19 pandemic began and despite numerous inquiries into the aged care sector.

“I’m here because I care, our residents deserve better” @anmf_federal

— 🧶🧶🧶 unravellednurse 🧶🧶🧶 (@jsam_1967) February 8, 2022

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation federal secretary Annie Butler said nurses are “fed-up with this government for abandoning aged care workers and residents”:

Every day that Mr [prime minister Scott] Morrison fails to act on safe, minimum staffing ratios, fails to deliver a decent, permanent pay rise for underpaid workers and fails to show our aged care workers and residents dignity and respect, is another day that elderly Australians in nursing homes continue to suffer.

A piece published by the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday and led by the director of the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong, Prof. Kathy Eagar calculates that aged care residents comprise .74% of the Australian population and .59% of Covid-19 cases. Yet they represent 36.87% of all Covid-19 deaths in the pandemic so far.

Eagar and her colleague Anita Westera wrote that in addition to ongoing systemic failures in aged care, issues that exacerbated the Omicron crisis included government decisions to end lockdowns and ease restrictions based on general population vaccination rates rather than whether the aged care sector was prepared; aged care booster programs not being complete before restrictions eased; poor access to rapid antigen tests; and inadequate personal protective equipment.

Other issues identified by the authors include poor pay for staff, less experienced staff being employed to cut costs, “a long-held agenda within the centre of government to curtail projected costs associated with an ageing population,” and the Commonwealth’s “hands-off approach to aged care”. They wrote:

The current crisis yet again reflects the reactive and iterative policy making that has characterised aged care in recent decades. And while responsibility for aged care remains centrally controlled at the national level, this is unlikely to change.



Olympic champion Ian Thorpe is standing up to speak about the religious discrimination legislation on behalf of Equality Australia – he’ll be followed by a range of speakers, who are all calling for the bill to be opposed.

Thorpe, who came out as gay in 2014, said it amounted to “state-sanctioned discrimination” that would “gain rights for one group of people, while excluding another group of people”.

The delegation includes representatives from the Hindu Council of Australia, the Australian Council of Social Services, and transgender year 12 student Olivia Stewart.

Queensland records 5,178 Covid cases and 12 deaths


Queensland has recorded 5,178 new Covid cases and 12 deaths. About 700 people with the virus are in hospital, and another 22 in intensive care.



Getting down to business (part 2):

The first sitting day of 2022 will get underway at midday today. You can find our order of business (the Red) on ParlWork

One of the first items of business on the #Senate‘s agenda is the swearing in of Senator Mirabella as a senator for Victoria

— Australian Senate (@AuSenate) February 8, 2022



Getting down to business (part 1):

Good morning! The House resumes for the first sitting of the year at noon. Today will begin with a statement from the Speaker. The first order of the day is the resumption of debate on the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 and related bills. Full program:

— Australian House of Representatives (@AboutTheHouse) February 8, 2022

Victoria seeking legal advice on religious discrimination bill, Andrews says

00:22 Benita Kolovos

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews was also asked for this thoughts on the federal government’s religious discrimination bill. He said:

I think everybody should be treated fairly, properly and that’s exactly the arrangements that we have in place … In terms of the interaction between changes at a Victorian level and a commonwealth level, well there’s a few things to be settled there.

Late last year, the Victorian parliament passed laws banning religious schools from sacking or refusing to hire staff based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Andrews confirmed the Victorian government is seeking legal advice on how to defend its laws if the federal bill passes:

We will use any and all legal avenues to defend those who ought to be treated fairly and equally and might not be under any arrangements where a commonwealth act overrode or set aside provisions of a state act that duly passed the parliament.

Andrews said he wanted “every student to be treated equally”. He continued:

I want every Victorian to be confident, safe, respected, included for who they are. And I must say it’s pretty offensive for some in the community to equate sexual orientation or gender identity to a choice not to get vaccinated. That’s the wrong choice. People’s identity is not a matter of choice; who you are is who you are, who you love, is a matter for you. You should be treated fairly and equitably. You should not be discriminated against based on who you are. That’s just my view. It also happens to be the view of the Victorian community.

Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded
© Provided by The Guardian Daniel Andrews speaks to the press in Melbourne this morning. Photograph: Luis Ascui/AAP


00:20 Paul Karp

The former Labor leader, Bill Shorten, has responded to reports the government will protect gay students from discrimination but not transgender students, by noting it is a “hypothetical” but that prime minister Scott Morrison promised to protect students from all forms of persecution.

He said:

We’re five minutes to midnight and he [Morrison] is having to be dragged across the concrete by the fingernails.

Shorten said Labor is “against discrimination” and religious freedom is “a core value” but you don’t improve the rights of some while taking away from the rights of others.

As to how Labor will resolve the balance between religion and other rights – there’s still nothing definitive until the Coalition settles its final bill.


00:04 Ben Doherty

The head of Australia’s Communications and Media Authority, Nerida O’Loughlin, is speaking at the International Institute of Communications Asia Telecommunications & Media Forum 2022 today.

She is on a panel alongside Than Htun Aung, the deputy director general of Myanmar’s Posts and Telecommunications Department. That department, under the control of Myanmar’s illegal military junta, is responsible for widespread surveillance of citizens across the country.

Advocates argue inviting representatives of the junta to speak at international conferences legitimises the Myanmar military regime:

🤯Australia’s @acmadotgov chair Nerida O’Loughlin speaking on a panel TODAY on “protecting citizens & consumers” w/ a #Myanmar junta official responsible for surveillance & censorship of media & civil society! Hosted by @The_IIC.#ACMA: Stop reputation laundering for terrorists!

— Justice For Myanmar (@JusticeMyanmar) February 7, 2022



It’s the first sitting day of 2022, and if sitting day eve was anything to go by, it’ll be firing on a number of fronts.

The religious discrimination bill will be up for debate. At this stage it seems rather unlikely that prime minister Scott Morrison’s hope it will unite the parliament will be fulfilled. He’s off to the traditional parliamentary ecumenical service at 7.30am, so thoughts and prayers are on the way.

There will be a statement of acknowledgement in parliament around midday. It was a recommendation of the Jenkins review that the workplace culture of bullying, sexual assault and harassment in parliamentary workplaces should be publicly acknowledged. That was a recommendation of the Jenkins review, and there is word it will include an apology. It’s likely there were other apologies flying around yesterday amid news that former staffers Rachelle Miller and Brittany Higgins had not been invited – despite being instrumental in the review itself.

That is likely to have been remedied. Shortly I’ll bring you some more info on that statement.

Then there’ll be more talk of tomorrow’s National Press Club appearance by Grace Tame and Higgins, who have become good friends through all of this.

Those text messages from Barnaby Joyce and the mystery minister disparaging the PM are still the topic of talk, as a symptom of internal strife. And there’s some strife without, as those pesky anti-vaccine protestors continue to threaten chaos.

As for legislation for a federal Icac … wait and see. There have been mixed messages about whether the government will prioritise integrity over other issues.

Mike Bowers will bring you pictorial excellence, while Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Daniel Hurst, Paul Karp and Josh Butler will be playing whack-a-mole with everything that is going on today. Strap in!

Morrison not committing to watching Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins speech

07 Feb 2022 23:59

Quick flashback to prime minister Scott Morrison this morning, when he was asked if he would tune in to hear Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame speak at the National Press Club tomorrow. He said:

Well, it’s going to be a busy week, I don’t get the opportunity to listen to all those speeches, but I’ll certainly ensure that I’m aware of what they have said, and I’m certainly, like the rest of the country, very interested in the contribution that they make and the contribution that they have made.

I think the contribution they have made, as I said, has brought forward some very important issues that we’ve had to deal with and we should deal with and were long overdue, and I’m very pleased that they have been in the actions we’re taking together as a parliament to address those very serious issues.

Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded
© Provided by The Guardian Grace Tame will speak at the National Press Club alongside Brittany Higgins today. Photograph: Rob Blakers/AAP

Tasmania records 601 Covid cases

07 Feb 2022 23:52

Tasmania has had a small increase in new Covid cases, with 601 recorded overnight after a few days in the 400s, AAP reports. Ten people are in hospital, one of them in intensive care.

New reported cases up on yesterday = 601

Hospitalisations steady at 15

ICU steady at 1

No deaths

— COVID Tasmania (@CovidTasmania) February 7, 2022

Daniel Andrews welcomes border reopening, announces free RATs for kids in childcare

07 Feb 2022 23:41 Benita Kolovos

Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, spoke to reporters in Melbourne earlier this morning.

He welcomed the federal government’s decision to reopen the Australian border to tourists and all visa holders, provided they have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine:

Firstly, I think we all were a bit amused at the timeline that had been put forward by the commonwealth government around Easter, I thought that was … some time off and perhaps we could do better than that. It’s great yesterday that the commonwealth were able to confirm that it will be much sooner than that. That’s good for the economy, for jobs, so that’s something that we fully support.

Andrews said national cabinet is still awaiting advice from Australia’s independent expert group on vaccination, Atagi, on whether it will change the definition of fully vaccinated to mean three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. He said:

They (Atagi) must be getting very close to making that decision. We’ve got a national cabinet meeting on Thursday, hopefully we can receive it before then or at that meeting.

All the international evidence, all the advice I get from our team is that three doses is what’s required in order to be as safe as it can be.

Andrews said if the definition of fully vaccinated changed for Australians, he expected the same would apply for international arrivals:

That would be consistent with the approach they’ve taken … Let’s just wait and see what Atagi comes up with. But I think it’s highly likely, the weight of evidence suggests a booster or third dose is not really an optional extra. It’s critically important and it’s not just for now, there’s also for whatever comes at us when the weather turns later in the year.

Andrews announced free rapid antigen tests will be made available for children aged three to five attending early childhood services in the coming weeks. The program, which involves children being tested twice a week, will be “voluntary, but highly recommended”, he said.


07 Feb 2022 23:33

Some context on the latest Covid numbers from Peter Hannam, who reports that hospitalisations are slightly down from yesterday:

(Third time’s a charm): NSW #covid deaths increase by 4 to 18, and hospitalisations are down 1.5% extending a run of recent falls. ICU patients are down 3.6%, extending that recent promising slide too.

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) February 7, 2022

Anti-vaccine mandate protests to return to Parliament House

07 Feb 2022 23:09 Josh Butler

Anti-vaccine mandate protests will return to Parliament House today, to coincide with politicians returning to Canberra, with huge crowds expected.

Labor’s shadow home affairs minister Kristina Keneally warned that some protesters “seek to do real harm” and that the groups “contain individuals that our national security agencies are worried about”.

“Some of these protesters actually want to undermine and overturn democracy,” Keneally told a press conference. She noted a protester who was arrested last week after police allegedly found a gun in his car:

Not all the people who are here to protest are here to protest peacefully … There are individuals here who have expressed support for doing physical harm, indeed execution of parliamentary representatives, judges and the like.

Protest leaders told supporters in social media videos to remain “peaceful”. However, at a small protest outside parliament on Monday, one speaker gave a speech saying “we are coming for you … we are emptying this building” and warning of a “mess”.

Keneally also accused the federal government of “currying favour with extremists”, citing support for the rallies from Coalition MPs George Christensen and Gerard Rennick, and former Liberal Craig Kelly. She called for prime minister Scott Morrison to pull his members into line:

Mr Morrison needs to take seriously the integrity of our parliament, the security of our parliamentarians, and the staff who work here and indeed make clear to members of his government, it is not appropriate for them to be going out and giving support to people who seek to enact violence upon this building.

Kelly told Guardian Australia on Monday that he planned to sign in a small contingent of protesters into parliament today, potentially to hold a press conference and try to meet with Morrison or Labor leader Anthony Albanese. Morrison’s office said the PM had no plans to meet the protesters.

Read more detail on the protests here:

Related: Australian parliament’s Covid rules could block anti-vaccine protesters’ entry


07 Feb 2022 23:07

They were “communicated in confidence”…

Related: Aukus row: Scott Morrison’s office refuses to release full text exchanges with Macron


07 Feb 2022 22:38

I’m already terrified of my mortgage. This won’t help:

So ANZ has joined the other three big banks in lifting fixed income lending rates. has them lined up. Meanwhile, investors are back picking June as the month the RBA will lift the official cash rate to 0.25% p.a.

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) February 7, 2022


07 Feb 2022 22:37 Paul Karp

The bin fire of the religious discrimination bill is not as simple as same-sex attracted kids to be protected and trans kids to be forced to wait.

Because the draft amendments Scott Morrison has proposed to the Sex Discrimination Act are so narrow they only prevent same-sex attracted students from expulsion, not from other forms of discrimination.

So Labor and equality advocates are concerned that other forms of punishment of gay, lesbian and bisexual students will still be allowed (short of expulsion), as will pregnancy discrimination.

Labor has been coy about the fact it has seen draft amendments, relying on the fact that attorney general Michaelia Cash has said the bill isn’t final until it’s passed their party room, which explains why shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus told the Labor caucus it hadn’t seen the final bill.

Related: Religious discrimination bill will not protect trans students from expulsion, Simon Birmingham confirms


07 Feb 2022 22:25

To my fellow survivors – those who have spoken out publicly at great personal cost, those who have spoken out anonymously like I have, and those who suffer in silence: never forget that you are strong, resilient and amazing people. Others may call me overly optimistic, but I believe that there is now real momentum for change.

Related: I was sexually assaulted by an Australian parliamentarian’s chief of staff – I believe change is coming| Former political staffer

Victoria records 9,785 Covid cases and 20 deaths

07 Feb 2022 22:12

Victoria has recorded 9,785 new Covid cases and sadly 20 deaths.

We thank everyone who got vaccinated and tested yesterday.

Our thoughts are with those in hospital, and the families of people who have lost their lives.

More data soon: #COVID19VicData

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) February 7, 2022

NSW records 9,690 Covid cases and 18 deaths

07 Feb 2022 22:08

New South Wales has recorded 9,690 new Covid cases and 18 deaths.

NSW COVID-19 update – Tuesday 8 February 2022

In the 24-hour reporting period to 4pm yesterday:

– 95.5% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

– 94.1% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) February 7, 2022


07 Feb 2022 22:06

Josie Coles credits independent MP Zali Steggall for finding her and others a spot in the gallery:

Not one person in the Government has advocated for us, still haven’t heard anything from them. We are so lucky to have an ally and supporter in @zalisteggall who has fought to secure a number of spots in the gallery for us today for this acknowledgment.

— Josie Coles (@josiemcoles) February 7, 2022


07 Feb 2022 22:03 Daniel Hurst

There were some reports from Cambodia late last night that the Australian economist Sean Turnell had been released after a year of detention in Myanmar. Those reports credited Cambodia’s leader with securing his release.

Unfortunately that’s not the case at this stage.

A spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement late last night:

The Myanmar authorities have advised DFAT that professor Sean Turnell remains detained. Following the foreign minister’s statement of 6 February marking the one year anniversary of professor Turnell’s detention, the Australian Government repeats its call for professor Turnell’s immediate release, and for his rights and welfare to be upheld.


07 Feb 2022 21:58

Labor leader Anthony Albanese was sporting ABC socks at the church service this morning, possibly in response to yesterday’s announcement that the national broadcaster’s funding would be restored.

Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded
© Provided by The Guardian Anthony Albanese at a special ecumenical service to commemorate the start of parliament for 2022 at St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Kingston, Canberra. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Barnaby Joyce did not join other leaders in the front row:

Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded
© Provided by The Guardian Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce at the service this morning. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


07 Feb 2022 21:55

Rachelle Miller also talked about the ongoing impact of her experience. She said:

I’ve had days where I’ve driven past (Parliament House) and just burst into tears. The impact is significant on me. But I’m speaking on behalf of a lot of people who for whatever reasons, valid reasons, are not speaking out about their experiences.

I like to feel like I’m speaking on behalf of them as well.


07 Feb 2022 21:54

Brittany Higgins is now also expected to be in Parliament House for that statement. It’s still astounding that the women who suffered the worst of parliament’s workplace culture and spoke out about it weren’t invited all along. Another former staffer, Chelsey Potter, says no one from the government has contacted her:

As @rachellejmiller confirms on @RNBreakfast, we will now be attending the acknowledgement today

However, this is only due to women outside of the government who have strongly advocated on our behalf, making this happen

As yet, no one from the government has contacted me at all

— Chelsey Potter (@chels_e_potter) February 7, 2022


07 Feb 2022 21:53

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said prime minister Scott Morrison wrote to him proposing a conversation about the religious discrimination laws. “Those discussions have not taken place,” he said.

Albanese said the Coalition is still debating the legislation.

“They’re having a party room (meeting) and they’re in dispute,” he said.

Morrison says religious discrimination bill about ‘binding Australia together, not forcing it apart’

07 Feb 2022 21:37

Prime minister Scott Morrison is speaking now, after this morning’s church service. He starts by speaking about the religious discrimination bill.

Morrison says many people of faith have come to Australia to escape discrimination and he doesn’t want them to be discriminated against here.

For many Australians, their faith and religion is their culture. You can’t separate them. When you listen to their stories, they will tell stories over hundreds of years and even longer, about how they as a people of faith and religion have survived through some of the worst things you can possibly imagine in countries around the world. But they came here to Australia so they could get away from that. And they could start a new life. So they could have their religious faith and they could have their belief and they could have their community and they could have their culture, and they would not be discriminated against. I don’t want them to be discriminated against.

Before the last election I said I wanted there to be laws in place that ensured their freedom from that discrimination. That’s what this is about. There’s many other laws in our parliament, many other laws that deal with many other things. And there’s time and place to deal with those. But on this day, it’s important that we remember that for so many Australians, it doesn’t matter if you’re Hindu, if you’re Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, if you choose to have no religious faith at all, we sing Australians ‘one and free’ and I hope that means something today as we gather together and seek to put in place the opportunity for those who wish to live their religion and live their faith, binding Australia together, not forcing it apart. This is why I made that pledge before the last election, and that is why I continue to stand very strongly on this point.

Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded
© Provided by The Guardian Scott Morrison during the opening of parliament at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra today. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


07 Feb 2022 21:34

#BREAKING Former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller has confirmed to @PatsKarvelas that she is now invited to attend the acknowledgment of bullying and abuse in parliament today. An investigation into her allegation against Alan Tudge is unresolved. He denies wrongdoing @SBSNews

— Anna Henderson (@annajhenderson) February 7, 2022


07 Feb 2022 21:34

Once again, Paul Karp has dug through the details to bring them to you. Here’s the latest on protections for transgender students:

Related: Religious discrimination bill will not protect trans students from expulsion, Simon Birmingham confirms


07 Feb 2022 21:33

Now Morrison is asked about whether the bill will protect transgender students. He says the current bill does not endorse the existing law. “That bill does not do the things you’re saying,” he said.

He’s talking about the religious discrimination bill – but according to reporting in the Nine newspapers, it’s a parallel discussion over the sex discrimination laws that would protect students on the basis of their sexuality, but not on the basis of their gender. Morrison said:

You’re referring to an existing law that was introduced by the Labor shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus. He put that in place. This bill does not seek to endorse that arrangement. That’s an existing law. What we’re dealing with here today are not those matters. Those are going through a process with the Australian Law Reform Commission. We’re dealing with discrimination against people for their religious belief and faith. That bill does not do the things you’re saying. There was an existing law introduced by the Labor government in Parliament.

Yes, it’s all a bit of a word salad, served up with some sneaky sauce. But we’ll keep working through it and bring you the latest today.


07 Feb 2022 21:12

Katharine Murphy has the latest Guardian Essential poll. It includes a “modest rally” for prime minister Scott Morrison:

Related: Guardian Essential poll: voter anger cooling at Morrison government handling of pandemic

Peter Dutton says he hasn’t ruled out taking legal action against Bob Carr

07 Feb 2022 21:07

The defence minister Peter Dutton has told the Today show he is reserving his right to take legal action against former NSW premier Bob Carr, who doubled down on his claims that Dutton was the “mystery minister” who called prime minister Scott Morrison a “psycho”. Dutton said:

It was not me. I mean, every family’s got this crazy uncle that wakes up from the rocking chair and sort of in a startled way shouts out something and I just don’t know what is going on with Bob Carr. Is he the full quid or not? He’s a bizarre guy. He hasn’t produced any evidence. He’s now saying if it’s not me, then the person needs to come forward to prove my innocence. I just find it bizarre. But anyway, I just find it bizarre. But anyway, I think he has discredited himself.

He hasn’t produced any evidence and you can’t just make a claim and then back away from it. But that’s what he’s done. I think it’s embarrassing for him and I think most journalists frankly have treated him as a bit of a joke and this sort of relevance deprivation syndrome cuts in for a lot of former politicians as we’ve discussed on the show before.

Asked if he’d take legal action, Dutton said Carr’s post was still up, it was defamatory, and that he reserves his right.

“Let’s see what happen,” he said. “I think he should take it down and hopefully sooner than later.”

Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded
© Provided by The Guardian Minister for defence Peter Dutton. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Trans children excluded from protections in religious discrimination bill

07 Feb 2022 20:59

Simon Birmingham has confirmed to ABC’s Radio National that under the federal government’s religious discrimination bill, transgender students could still be expelled. As the federal government tries to keep both conservatives and moderates happy, it has made amendments to its original bill to protect people’s sexuality, but not their gender. More to come.


07 Feb 2022 20:57

ABC’s Patricia Karvelas has asked Labor’s Tony Burke about the laws. She asks him if the amendments have more protections for gay students, but not transgender students.

“I’m not sure we have seen the final amendments,” Burke says.

He says they won’t see the final version until the government has had a further meeting.

“The prime minister previously said he would end discrimination for all students and he should be true to his word on that.”


07 Feb 2022 20:43

Don’t let this pass you by today – rogue Nationals MP George Christensen has used $10,000 a month in taxpayers’ money to pay for “e-material”. (And no, he wasn’t promoting the science). Sarah Martin reports:

Related: George Christensen claims $10,000 a month for ‘e-material’ as he ramps up anti-vaccine mandate Facebook ads


07 Feb 2022 20:38

Hey, just in case you’d forgotten about deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce calling prime minister Scott Morrison a liar and a hypocrite, nationals deputy leader David Littleproud is talking about it on ABC television.

He’s worried that the text saga is distracting from the Nationals’ real message.

He’s trying not to, but he’s still talking about the texts.

Littleproud says the Nationals will be campaigning on the “wombat trail” out in rural and regional Australia, but that Morrison and Joyce will (at some point) be out on the hustings together.

Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded
© Provided by The Guardian David Littleproud. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


07 Feb 2022 20:31

Before today’s firehose really gets going, here are a couple of pictures Mike Bowers took last night of the Last Post ceremony.

Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded
© Provided by The Guardian Prime minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese at the Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Monday night. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Australia politics live news updates: parliament returns; anti-vaccine mandate protests continue; at least 50 Covid deaths recorded
© Provided by The Guardian The laying of wreaths. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


07 Feb 2022 20:31

Paul Karp is keeping a eye on all the religious discrimination argy bargy, here’s the latest:

Related: Morrison signals attempt to pass religious discrimination bill ‘in the near future’


07 Feb 2022 20:28 Katharine Murphy

Morning all. When parliament sits at noon, the presiding officers in both chambers will deliver a statement of acknowledgement about deficiencies (to put the problem diplomatically) in the workplace culture at Parliament House.

This implements one of the recommendations of the Jenkins review. (Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins ran an inquiry last year into workplace culture triggered by allegations raised by the former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins.)

Today’s statement is a public apology to people who have endured bullying, harassment or worse while working for the commonwealth. As well as the formal acknowledgment, today’s statement will outline next steps in reform.

After the presiding officers have delivered the statement, party leaders will speak. When I checked in with Higgins yesterday, she had not seen the wording of today’s statement.

As I reported yesterday on the blog, former staffers who have led the push for change are also disappointed that the closure of the building to the public will prevent them attending today’s statement. The government says provision will be made for some visitors.

(Tory here, rudely busting into Murphy’s piece – there is some chatter around this morning that the rude oversight will be rectified. I’ll let you know as soon as I do).


07 Feb 2022 20:25

See change in action. I encourage you to watch the opening of Parliament today for the historic Statement of Acknowledgment to Parliament: @AusHumanRights recommendation 1 of #SettheStandard Join House of Reps here

— Kate Jenkins (@Kate_Jenkins_) February 7, 2022

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EXPLAINER: Why frustration lingers in Okinawa 50 years later

The Associated PressFILE – U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Anglen of Turner, Ore., center, stands atop a cliff as Sgt. Bryan Wallace of Pikin, Ill., waits for his turn before ... Read more »

Astros beat Nationals 6-1 for 11th straight victory

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to ... Read more »

Kreider scores late, Rangers edge Pens 5-3 to force Game 7

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chris Kreider’s long slap shot bounced over Louis Domingue and into the net with 1:28 left and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on ... Read more »

Astros push winning streak to 11, roll past Nationals 6-1

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, and Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep to help the Houston Astros extend their winning ... Read more »

Moustakas, Drury power Reds to 8-2 victory over Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mike Moustakas homered twice and Brandon Drury drove in four runs to break out of a slump and lead the resurgent Cincinnati Reds to an 8-2 victory ... Read more »

Peterson's bases-loaded walk lifts Brewers over Marlins 2-1

MIAMI (AP) — Jace Peterson walked against Anthony Bender with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 Friday night. After starters ... Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during manager Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Ogunbowale, Gray help Wings rally past Mystics, 94-86

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arike Ogunbowale scored 27 points, Allisha Gray had 21 and the Dallas Wings overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Washington Mystics 94-86 on Friday night. ... Read more »

Resigning North Dakota senator led lawmakers in travel costs

The Associated PressFILE – North Dakota Sen. Ray Holmberg listens during a joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee meeting at the Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Jan. 7, 2009. Holmberg, ... Read more »

Residents in picturesque California county hit with gas prices topping $7 a gallon

A California county known for its spectacular mountains and proximity to Yosemite National Park has been paying the nation’s highest gas prices. Read more »

Boudreau to return as coach of Canucks next season

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bruce Boudreau will return as coach of the Vancouver Canucks next season after helping to turn the struggling NHL club around as a midyear replacement. ... Read more »

New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID

On Location: May 13, 2022 Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.The Associated Press WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19 ... Read more »

Today in History for May 14th

Highlights of this day in history: Colonists go ashore in Virginia to set up Jamestown; Lewis and Clark begin to explore Louisiana Territory; Israel founded; Skylab launched; Movie producer George ... Read more »

Twitter CEO expects Elon Musk acquisition to close, addresses spending cuts

Musk is awaiting details supporting calculations that spam, fake accounts represent less than 5% of Twitter's users Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Renovated NYC museum shows indigenous perspectives

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City recently finished a major renovation of its exhibition on the native peoples of the northwest coast of North America. Curators ... Read more »

Police release 911 calls in Gilgo Beach case

A woman who disappeared in a beach community on New York’s Long Island more than a decade ago, sparking an investigation into a possible serial killer, said “there’s somebody after ... Read more »

Academy Awards set 2023 Oscars for March 12

The Associated PressFILE – Oscar statue on the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Next year’s Academy Awards will ... Read more »

Actor Fred Ward, of 'Tremors,' 'The Right Stuff' fame, dies

The Associated PressFILE – Fred Ward, a cast member in “30 Minutes or Less,” poses at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles on Aug. 8, 2011. Ward, a ... Read more »

Judge refuses to drop elections suit against Trump, media

NEW YORK — A Colorado judge on Friday denied motions to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by an election systems worker against former President Donald Trump’s campaign, two of its ... Read more »

Q&A: Becky G unveils every side of herself in latest album

The Associated PressFILE – Becky G appears at the Oscars in Los Angeles on March 27, 2022. Beck G’s latest album is “Esquemas.” (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) NEW YORK ... Read more »

North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak. Read more »

North Korea confirms 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea says 21 people died and 174,440 people were newly found with fever symptoms on Friday alone as the country scrambles to slow the spread ... Read more »

White Sox place Giolito on COVID list, activate Vaughn

The Chicago White Sox placed ace Lucas Giolito on the COVID-19 injured list and activated outfielder Andrew Vaughn following a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. Giolito began experiencing ... Read more »

Traded back and forth, Ford learns to live out of suitcase

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Ford has learned to travel light — and quickly. Since the start of the season, the 29-year-old first baseman has played for Tacoma, San Francisco ... Read more »

Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink satellites

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from California on Friday. (May 13) Read more »

Celtics' Robert Williams remains out for Game 6 vs. Bucks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Boston forward/center Robert Williams missed his third straight game with an injured left knee as the Celtics tried to keep their season alive Friday night in Game ... Read more »

Padres sign Robinson Canó, plan to use him off the bench

ATLANTA (AP) — The San Diego Padres have signed veteran second baseman Robinson Canó to a major league contract and plan to use him as a left-handed bat off the ... Read more »

WNBA star's Russia detention extended by 1 month

The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner says her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month. Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press the relatively short extension indicated ... Read more »

Louisiana justices toss COVID-related charges against pastor

Hundreds of thousands of Americans fighting long-haul symptoms from COVID-19 Dr. David Putrino from Mount Sinai Health System and COVID long-hauler Joel Fram discuss the long-term effects of the disease.The ... Read more »

Sandy Hook lawsuits against Alex Jones on track to resume

The Associated PressFILE – This Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, photo shows radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at Capitol Hill in Washington. The Sandy Hook families’ lawsuits against ... Read more »

Rockies' Bryant closer to return after cortisone shot

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant took swings in the cage Friday for the first time since he was sidelined with a sore back nearly three weeks ago ... Read more »

Mariners demote Jarred Kelenic to minors after poor start

NEW YORK (AP) — Rather than make his Citi Field debut against the team that traded him, Jarred Kelenic was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma by the Seattle Mariners on Friday ... Read more »

Biden: ASEAN partnership 'critical' in this moment

Looking to strengthen ties, President Joe Biden welcomes leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to Washington for the first time. “We’re launching a new era in U.S.-ASEAN relations,” ... Read more »

Phil Mickelson will not defend his title at next week's PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson caught lightning in a bottle last year at Kiawah Island, winning a major championship at 50 years of age. The fairways flooded, and the golf world stood and ... Read more »

Tennessee Titans' Malik Willis on Ryan Tannehill's mentorship comments: 'Everything is cool'

The Tennessee Titans didn’t take issue with Ryan Tannehill’s comments about mentoring third-round rookie Malik Willis. Willis and coach Mike Vrabel were asked about Tannehill’s scrutinized remarks following the first ... Read more »

Lawyers plan suit against Lufthansa over Jewish passengers

Lawyers for 26 passengers said Friday they told Lufthansa that they will sue the German airline for refusing to let members of a large group of Orthodox Jewish passengers board ... Read more »

Wild face offseason after yet another early ouster

While the Minnesota Wild were stacking up franchise records and securing the extra home game for the first round, general manager Bill Guerin carefully acknowledged a “great year” for the ... Read more »