Weekly Wrap Up
- Gladys Berejiklian has today announced that she will resign as Premier and Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a ministerial reshuffle following Christian Porter’s recent resignation. Read more in our briefing note.
- The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security released its advisory report on the proposed critical infrastructure legislation.
- Senate President Scott Ryan announced his resignation from Federal Parliament nine months earlier than anticipated. The Senate will be asked to endorse a candidate when it sits later this month.
- Nationals MP Darren Chester confirmed he is taking a step back and won’t attend party room meetings, citing months of frustration with the Nationals leadership.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined his counterparts of India, Japan and the United States for the first face-to-face Quad leaders meeting last weekend. The leaders discussed a range of issues such as the COVID vaccine supply and Indo-Pacific security challenges, with Mr Morrison confirming he received bipartisan support for the recently announced AUKUS alliance to make the Indo-Pacific region “stronger, more prosperous, and more stable”.
Additionally, Mr Morrison met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi separately where they further discussed trade agreement negotiations and climate change. To this end, the two leaders agreed on a low emissions technology partnership. Following these discussions, it was announced Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan will soon travel abroad to represent Australia at multilateral engagements in India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Italy, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Mr Morrison has yet to confirm whether he will personally attend the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow between 31 October and 12 November. The Prime Minister’s reluctance to confirm his attendance comes as discord continues within the Coalition as the Nationals pushback on net zero emissions by 2050.
Final Budget Outcome 2020-21
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham handed down the Final Budget Outcome 2020-21[PDF] which reports the actual 2020-21 Budget deficit as $134.2 billion, which is $26.8 billion lower than initially forecasted. At the end of 2020-21, net debt was reported at $592.2 billion (28.6 per cent of GDP) which was also $25.3 billion lower than anticipated. Mr Frydenberg credits the Government’s $311 billion economic and health support measures with keeping the economy afloat during the pandemic.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced its planned roll out for rapid antigen self-testing for in-home use. Under new regulations, interested companies can now formally apply for regulatory approval to supply their self-tests for use at home in Australia after 1 November. In a press conference earlier this week, Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed that the TGA have received over 70 expressions of interest so far while approving at least 33 tests for supervised use.
The Federal Health Department’s latest[PDF] vaccination figures show almost 78 per cent of Australians aged over 16 years have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while almost 55 per cent are fully vaccinated.
National Cabinet will meet today where discussions are expected to centre around the next steps of the national transitional plan, ongoing pressures to the health system and the resumption of international travel.
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