Weekly Wrap Up
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a reshuffle of his Cabinet this week which he said would apply a “fresh lens” for achieving results for Australians, particularly women. For more information, see our summary here.
- Queensland Liberal MP for Bowman Andrew Laming stepped down from his Parliamentary responsibilities and will not contest the next election following allegations of misconduct. Mr Laming is undertaking empathy training and counselling in the meantime.
- The Morrison Government progressed the establishment of the $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons Enterprise with plans to select a strategic industry partner and the appointment of the Chief of Joint Capabilities as capability manager.
- The Food and Beverage National Manufacturing Priority Road Map was released. Funding has opened for projects that meet eligibility under the Translation and Integration streams.
- The Chinese Government extended its interim anti-dumping measures on Australian wines for five years.
- Federal Parliament House and Nine News IT systems were disrupted on 28 March due to cyber-attacks. The Australian Cyber Security Centre is investigating both incidents.
The 2021 Tasmanian state election is scheduled to be held on 1 May. Premier Peter Gutwein indicated he was motivated by Sue Hickey’s defection from the Liberal Party which resulted in his Government shifting to a minority. The Premier said Tasmania needs a stable majority Government to ensure a strong recovery from COVID-19.
Following allegations of misconduct, NSW Nationals MP Michael Johnsen resigned from State Parliament triggering a by-election for the seat of Upper Hunter. A number of parties are likely to field candidates to contest the marginal seat, which was won by the Nationals in 2019 by a 0.35 per cent margin. Mr Johnsen’s resignation has meant the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government is now in minority with 45 seats out of 93 in the Legislative Assembly. As such, the outcome of the Upper Hunter by-election will determine whether the NSW Government is able to maintain a slim majority, or rely on the crossbench to pass contentious legislation.
ALP National Conference
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese addressed the ALP Special Platform Conference on Tuesday, outlining key policies that the party will take to the next election. Significantly, Mr Albanese committed to establish a $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to boost regional economic development to improve Australia’s sovereign capability. He also outlined a strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, including plans[PDF] to exempt electric cars from import tariffs.
Two separate COVID-19 clusters have emerged in Queensland, prompting a three-day snap lock down in the Greater Brisbane area ending midday 1 April. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk swiftly moved to declare the area a hotspot on Monday and asked that her state and territory counterparts make the same decision. Subsequently, all jurisdictions imposed border restrictions. Cases have been identified across the state and into Northern NSW which also caused Premier Gladys Berejiklian to tighten social distancing measures in Byron Bay, Tweed, Lismore and Ballina for the Easter period.
The New Zealand Parliament will sit next week.
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