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Australian politics live: Morrison still in isolation as parliament returns for final 2020 sitting

Welcome to the first day of the second last week of parliament for 2020.

Guys – we have almost made it.

It’s only been two weeks since parliament last sat, but it feels like a lifetime: Scott Morrison has been to Japan and back in that time. Which means he is now in quarantine, at The Lodge (with a small staff, including his personal photographer) and question time this week is going to look a little different. He’ll be zooming in. So at least we’ll mostly be spared the usual dramatics. (Although Michael McCormack will probably see it as his role to step up and fill the gap, and honestly, after the year we have had, no one has capacity for that.)

It’s also time for the latest quarterly update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and Angus Taylor says Australia has beaten its 2020 target by 459 million tonnes.

And there only needed to be a worldwide pandemic to do it.


Turns out that when you shut down most of the travel industry, as well as lock down communities for long stretches of time, greenhouse gases fall.

Taylor, of course, is claiming credit, saying it was all about Australia “meeting and beating” its targets.

He says it is because of structural declines in the electricity and agriculture sectors. And part of it is – with industry, and the states, leading the way.

I have to say, weather may not be climate, but after the heatwave the east coast experienced this weekend – and seeing bushfires start up again – hearing the federal government talk about its climate policy and how amazing it is, is going to be quite jarring this week.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, this also happened:

In terms of legislation, the government is trying to make the cashless welfare card permanent in some sites, as well as introduce it to the Northern Territory – despite most of the independent evidence pointing to it not having positive impacts.

We’ll bring you all that, and more, as politics live enters its eighth-last day for 2020. (And don’t worry, looking at the rest of the world, I am very aware of how lucky I am to be back blogging about the ridiculousness of Australian politics, rather than the number of my fellow countrymen and women dying.)

You have Amy Remeikis back with you, with Mike Bowers and his camera wandering the hallways, and Katharine Murphy, Paul Karp and Daniel Hurst as your Canberra team. As always, you will have everyone in the Guardian brains trust at your service.


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