Weekly Wrap Up
- Newspoll data has revealed a tightening contest between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, with the preferred PM swinging to 46 (-2) Morrison to 38 (+4) Albanese.
- As of today, 84.2 per cent of all eligible Australians over the age of 16 are now fully vaccinated.
- The Northern Territory extended its biosecurity measures today to continue to protect remote communities.
- Nearly all restrictions have eased in Victoria as of 11.59pm Thursday 18 November, including those relating to density and capacity limits in restaurants, mask wearing in most public places and visitors to the home.
- The South Australian Government passed a vote of no confidence in Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman, marking the first time that a minister has lost the confidence of the lower house.
- Also in South Australia, Premier Steven Marshall has clarified that fully vaccinated residents from Victoria and New South Wales will be able to enter South Australia without quarantining.
- The 2021 Glasgow Climate Summit concluded last week, with calls on governments to return next year with further commitments and pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat deforestation and coal financing, and commit to climate action.
Victorian Parliament Update
Victorian Parliament has taken centre stage this week, as the Andrews Labor Government has sought the passage of the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 by the end of the sitting year. The proposed laws would replace the existing state of emergency powers which are due to expire in mid-December. Under the current legislation, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has the power to declare pandemics and devise and enforce health directions. Under the new laws, the Premier and Health Minister are ultimately empowered to make pandemic declarations and subsequent health and wellbeing orders.
Due to uncertainty about support from the crossbench, the Government was forced to delay the debate in the Legislative Council on Thursday. At present, it is unclear when the Bill will be debated. There are two potential scenarios that may unfold: it may be dealt with in two weeks’ time when the Victorian Parliament returns, or additional sitting weeks may be scheduled. Though it is clear that the Labor Government would favour the Bill being dealt with as soon as possible, Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes this morning noted that it is unlikely that the Bill will be debated today. While the Government is holding off on debating the Bill today amidst having “productive” conversations with key crossbench MPs, Symes noted there is a chance Parliament may resume next week to debate the Bill even though it is not due to sit.
Federal Parliament will resume for its final sitting of the year next week.
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