Weekly Wrap Up

15 October 2021


  • The ABS released its labour force data for September showing an increase to the unemployment rate by 4.6 per cent while seasonally adjusted employment fell by 1.1 per cent.
  • Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews released the Government’s Ransomware Action Plan[PDF] which establishes a new set of stand-alone criminal offences for people who use ransomware in cybersecurity attacks.
  • Labor MP Anthony Byrne announced he will resign as Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security following his witness testimony on branch stacking in recent Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) hearings.
  • NSW Liberal MP Melanie Gibbons announced her plans to resign from State Parliament to run for the Federal seat of Hughes. Ms Gibbons announcement means the NSW Government may face four by-elections in the coming months.
  • The High Court rejected claims by Clive Palmer that legislation passed by the Western Australian Parliament intended to prevent him from claiming almost $30 billion in damages was unconstitutional.

Climate Change

Debate over climate change and how Australia can achieve net zero emissions continues, as the Prime Minister is still yet to confirm whether he will attend the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in the coming weeks. Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor addressed the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Energy and Climate Summit earlier this week where he confirmed the Government would be releasing its long-term emissions reduction plan ahead of the conference.

The Morrison Government’s climate and energy policy is expected to be presented to the Nationals over the weekend to review. Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce told ABC’s 7.30 his party would be reviewing the policy ‘forensically’ with a focus on regional Australia. Meanwhile Labor’s Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus in an appearance on Q+A this week was critical of the lack of action on climate change and accused the Nationals of holding the Coalition to ransom over the policy.

COVID Developments

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced it has approved three COVID-19 home use tests from AM Diagnostics to be supplied across Australia from 1 November. Head of the TGA Professor John Skerritt confirmed the tests would be made available to purchase through pharmacies, convenience stores and online. The TGA also granted provisional approval for Pfizer to apply for its vaccine to be given to children aged 5 to 11. Health Minister Greg Hunt welcomed the announcement saying it happened sooner than expected and would provide additional protection for parents and families.

Meanwhile the NSW Government announced the removal of quarantine requirements and caps on overseas arrivals for fully vaccinated travellers from 1 November. The announcement comes as NSW prepares to lift further restrictions on 18 October as it reaches its 80 per cent double dose vaccination target. ACT has lifted lockdown requirements from today with restrictions on certain businesses – such as restaurants, cafes, licenced venues and beauty services – eased to allow a resumption of trading, while further restrictions are set to lift from 29 October.

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