nationals abc
Nationals Leader Michael McCormack.


Queensland MP and Barnaby Joyce ally Llew O’Brien has officially quit the National Party, with The Courier-Mail ($) reporting that last week’s Natspill was much more than your run-of-the-mill Barnaby spat.

O’Brien reportedly advised Scott Morrison of his decision last night and, while the Wide Bay member has guaranteed the government supply, he is likely to cross the floor on key bills. These include Christian Porter’s proposed anti-corruption body, which O’Brien — much like Crikey — views as something of a toothless tiger.


Storms that helped put out NSW’s Currowan fire — which burnt for 74 days — have led to state-wide flooding, power outages for 137,000 homes, and evacuation orders Narrabeen, North Richmond, Moorebank and other regions, both the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald report.

And because neither side of the country can catch a break, Pilbara residents are recovering from Cyclone Damien, which brought gale-force winds over the weekend, the ABC reports.

For current NSW warnings, check out BoM’s summaries.


Independent MP Zali Steggall has called for a conscience vote on a proposed climate change bill, urging self-styled “modern Liberals” to commit to climate risk assessment, a national adaptation program, a target of net zero emissions by 2050, and (another) independent climate change commission.

The Guardian reports that Steggall — who will officially launch the conscience vote campaign this morning with Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie — is finalising the legislation for introduction to parliament in March.

The news comes as Angus Taylor tells The Age the Coalition plans to settle its 2050 strategy ahead of the crucial Glasgow climate summit in November.


Freshly minted Resources Minister Keith Pitt is off to an inauspicious start, threatening a big new tax on the Australia’s [sic] wealth-creating gas sector just two days after his swearing-in.

Joel Fitzgibbon

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources slams the Coalition’s suggested tax hike on gas and oil (a ‘minerals’ or even ‘carbon’ tax, if you will). Are we stuck in a simulation?


Why do politicians sound so fake? We asked a linguist to explain

“Fifty years ago, British philosopher of language Paul Grice proposed a model to explain how meaningful communication between speakers is made possible. Key to this is our dependence on certain co-operative norms.”

Maths and Mathias: finance minister needs a lesson on political donations

“It became apparent during 2018’s prime ministerial coup that Peter Dutton’s best mate Mathias Cormann couldn’t count. Yesterday, the finance minister and Coalition Senate leader also proved that he’s a duck-and-weave merchant of the highest order when it comes to political donations.”

What does being PM do to your face?

“If fame is a mask that eats into the face, politics dispenses with the mask and just lets the elements have at you.”


Political gridlock looms for Ireland after Sinn Fein surge as vote count begins

Calombaris in crisis meeting to save empire

Wildlife will need food drops for a year to survive in razed bushland

Indonesia deal to absorb economy shocks: Scott Morrison ($)

Victoria Police misled High Court, Supreme Court over Gobbo, DPP alleges

Coronavirus evacuation flight from Wuhan lands in Darwin

‘Immortal clones’: Plea for recovery plan to aid ancient rainforests

Labor Party expels ‘disloyal’ mayor Emilia Sterjova ($)

Parents of suicide victim want ‘catfishing’ to be a crime

Aged care provider says wealthy homeowners ‘should be paying more’

Disaster coverage does not come cheap: ABC chair Ita Buttrose ($)


Indigenous fall into wider gap ($) — Patricia Turner (The Australian):”What we heard overwhelmingly through our comprehensive community engagement process is that structural reform based on the Priority Reforms is far more critical than targets. We must ensure the full involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in shared decision-making at national, state, local and regional levels.”

Christmas Island and the rise of mandatory detentionOsman Faruqi (The Saturday Paper): “While most political observers were focused on the leadership machinations playing out in the ranks of the Nationals and Greens on Monday, Australia’s director of human biosecurity issued the dryly named Biosecurity (Human Health Response Zone) (North West Point Immigration Detention Centre) Determination 2020.”

What the leak about the RBA says about an insecure and rattled Morrison governmentMichael Pascoe (The New Daily): “Contrary to Thursday’s front-page report in The Australian, it’s not all that uncommon for Reserve Bank governors to provide federal cabinet with a confidential economic briefing. What is uncommon, unique even, is for the government to disparagingly leak about the briefing to the LNP Gazette.”


The Latest Headlines



  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo will address a joint sitting of parliament.

  • South Australian Liberal Andrew McLachlan will officially be sworn into the Senate, replacing Cory Bernardi.


  • Day one of RMIT’s three-day event “2020 Activism @ the Margins: Stories of Resistance, Survival and Social Change” will feature Gary Foley, Patricia Hill Collins, Dennis Altman and other speakers.


  • The Queensland Public Sector LGBTIQ+ Steering Committee will host a panel discussion at Brisbane’s Parliamentary Annex titled “The Rainbow Ceiling – Where are our LGBTIQ+ leaders at all levels?”


  • The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will begin a two-day hearing focused on the redesign of the aged-care system.


  • The Conservation Council of WA will launch Australia’s most polluting fossil fuel proposal, a new report critiquing the Burrup Hub gas fields plan.


  • Today marks the end of the Royal Hobart Regatta and is a public holiday for much of Tasmania.

Fremantle, WA

  • Day one of the four-day AMOS National Conference, the southern hemisphere’s largest meeting of meteorologists, oceanographers and climate scientists.

Hollywood, USA

  • The 92nd annual Academy Awards will begin at midday AEDT.