Australia news live update: cabinet meets to finalise 2050 net zero deal, Victoria to lift Covid travel restrictions by Friday


That was quite the weekend.

The Nationals are now trying to rebrand as “calm and rational” over their climate views, with the junior Coalition partner agreeing to in-principle support for a net zero emissions target by 2050.

Well, most of the Nationals. Matt Canavan wants everyone to know its a bad deal.

But what is the deal? No one knows. Keith Pitt is back in the cabinet, after he was booted as part of Barnaby Joyce’s return, so the Nats got another cabinet spot (and vote). Other than that – it is all secret. But it’s calm and rational. Apparently.

Sarah Martin and Katharine Murphy gave up their Sunday to try to make sense of the position:

The Nationals MP George Christensen, who has repeatedly threatened to shift to the crossbench, told colleagues he would now reconsider his position in the government in protest at the party’s position.

Christensen attended the meeting remotely, wearing a “support coal” T-shirt.

Others who spoke out strongly against the target included Matt Canavan and Wide Bay MP Llew O’Brien.

The party’s Senate leader, Bridget McKenzie, also spoke against supporting the deal, and suggested Joyce could yet secure more for the party through the cabinet process.

The fact remains though that Australia’s government has been turning itself inside out just to get to this point but most of the rest of the world has moved to 2030 and action this decade – something Australia is not budging on.

So don’t expect this issue to go away. In fact, expect the election campaign to be bitterly fought on this point – with more scare tactics about “cost” and “plans”. Just remember that “meet and beat” is not the whole truth.

On that, the environment team have spent months putting this new podcast series together – it gives you all the history and knowledge you could need to understand what has happened – and what’s ahead.

We’ll bring you all of the day’s events as they unfold. Cabinet is meeting today and we have question time – as well as the first day of estimates hearings. Mike Bowers is already hard at work and we’ll get to as many committees as we can. Just follow Penny Wong’s eyebrows.

Meanwhile, congratulations to NSW students, parents and carers and school staff, with remote learning now a thing of the past. I don’t think any of us who have not been directly impacted can understand what school has been like for much of the past two years and I hope today is filled with as many happy reunions as possible. And Victoria is looking at being reunited on Friday, with the 80% vaccination target about to be met, which means Melbourne and the regions will no longer be kept apart. Given how many loved ones have been separated that is just wonderful news. I understand there are still concerns – everyone can take it as slow as they like, and if you are not ready to rush out, you don’t have to. Just take it at your own pace.

Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Daniel Hurst and Paul Karp will keep you updated on all of the politics today, with the rest of the Guardian stepping in to let you know important things happening outside of Canberra. It being a sitting week, you have Amy Remeikis on the blog until the end of the day.

It is going to be a busy week – Scott Morrison is due to leave for Glasgow on Thursday, so there is a bit to get through before then. Ready?


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