(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

PRIMED AND READY

According to The Australian ($), Barnaby Joyce will demand even more control over future climate change policies and more senior ministerial portfolios as part of a new pre-election, secret Coalition agreement to be hammered out with Scott Morrison throughout the week, after the new deputy prime minister-elect is sworn in today at 8am AEST.

David Littleproud, Resources Minister Keith Pitt, and Bridget “Sports Rorts” McKenzie are reportedly set for cabinet positions, while Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester’s position is “in doubt”.

While farming groups speaking to the AFR ($) such as Farmers for Climate Action and AgForce have expressed frustration at the prospect of even more inaction in the face of “climate wars”, several Nationals MPs yesterday demanded the government continue to hold out on a net zero emissions 2050 target and use taxpayer funds for new, otherwise uneconomic coal-fired power stations.

It is not clear what more the party could demand in terms of immediate climate action, however, given that Morrison has never pledged anything beyond Tony Abbott’s relatively-pathetic 2030 emissions target, let alone one 30 years down the track, or done anything to replace the carbon price or even Malcolm Turnbull’s failed national energy guarantee.

Elsewhere, founding member of Australian Women in Agriculture Alana Johnson has told Guardian Australia it was “astounding” the party had voted to reinstate Joyce, who yesterday again denied a “spurious and defamatory” harassment allegation — which an internal investigation was unable to resolve either way — and saw two taxpayer-funded roles created by allies for Joyce’s partner Vikki Campion in 2017, after their affair created tensions in his office.

PS: In unrelated news, ACT prosecutors yesterday received evidence relating to Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape; Denis Handlin has been removed as head of Sony Music Australia a week after Guardian Australia revealed multiple allegations of a toxic work environment; Victorian state Liberal MP James Newbury has used parliamentary privilege to name a Labor MP, Dustin Halse, accused of having sex in his parliamentary office; and a group of prominent legal and political voices has called on Morrison to stop delaying the federal anti-corruption watchdog.

OUT OF SITE, INTO MIND

NSW Health has announced three new exposure sites overnight — Fresh Nails at Westfield Bondi Junction (Friday June 18, 9:30am-7pm); Chemist Warehouse 383 George St (June 15 between 1:45-2:15pm); and an ANZ branch on the corner of York and Market St (June 16 between 8:30am-4pm) — while Queensland counterparts yesterday added two low risk venues for Saturday June 19: Hamilton Harbour Residences (9.30am-11.59pm) and Park Regis Hotel lobby, 293 North Quay (4.50-5.15pm).

Two cases were yesterday recorded in New South Wales, both close contacts of known cases in the Bondi cluster and already in isolation, while The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, amid a constrained vaccine rollout, two in five state residents aged 70 and over have not received a single dose. Gladys Berejiklian also clarified that state mask rules will likely be extended beyond Wednesday.

Queensland health authorities recorded no new cases and, according to the ABC, found a flight attendant that tested positive in Brisbane contracted the virus while in hotel quarantine.

Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Victoria will resume from midnight tonight, while both Tasmania and the Northern Territory have eased restrictions with the state. Victoria recorded just one new case yesterday, a close contact who quarantined during their infectious period.

Meanwhile, Victorian government departments rejected three police requests for QR code check-in data in December, though as The Age reports, acting Police Minister Danny Pearson appears to have knocked back the possibility of a Western Australia-style privacy law outright banning access as he wants the option to remain available for more serious cases.

Elsewhere, the ABC reports that the head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration John Skerritt has emphasised at a parliamentary COVID-19 Committee hearing that two vaccine doses are required to adequately protect against the highly infectious Delta variant.

And Scott Morrison has downplayed criticism of a secret G7 side trip to explore his convict family roots following reports in Nine papers and Cornwall Live that his office spent weeks planning the event even as he publicly argued Britain was too risky for Australian travellers.

MONEY BUSINESS

Finally, both New South Wales and South Australian governments will today announce faster-than-expected budget recoveries, with The Sydney Morning Herald reporting that increases in GST receipts, stamp duty, and payroll tax helped more than halve NSW’s historic $16 billion deficit within seven months while The Advertiser ($) reports that SA Treasurer Rob Lucas will forecast a slim surplus of $48 million in 2022-23, a year earlier than expected.

Note however that the former presumably includes shell company Transport Asset Holding Entity, which the Nine papers found in June would prop up the NSW budget by about $2.7 billion this year.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Well, I acknowledge my faults. And I resigned as I should and I did.

I’ve spent three years on the backbench and you know, I hope I come back a better person. I don’t walk away from the fact that you have to have time to consider, not only the effect on yourself, but more importantly, the effect on others. I’ve done that.

I don’t want to dwell on the personal, except to say – hopefully one learns from their mistakes and makes a better person of themselves.

Barnaby Joyce

After resigning over an unresolved, strenuously-denied sexual harassment allegation and an affair that saw two taxpayer-funded roles created for Vikki Campion in allies’ offices, the once and future Nationals leader declares he is “humbled” to resume the role but fails to specify a) any actual faults or b) what, exactly, he is supposed to have learned from them.

CRIKEY RECAP

Amid unresolved sexual harassment claims, Joyce returns to damage the Liberals

Barnaby Joyce has signalled a new period of instability within the Morrison government and further undermining of climate action by taking back the leadership of the parliamentary National Party from Michael McCormack in a partyroom ballot this morning.

“McCormack left the meeting saying that the result was democracy in action.

“The former — and now reelected — leader left the job, and the deputy prime ministership, in February 2018 after detailed allegations of sexual harassment emerged about the high-profile figure. Those allegations have never been resolved, despite a Nationals investigation of them. He denies them. The complainant, who wished the matter to remain confidential, was outed by party figures to News Corp at the time.”


Friendlyjordies is the Pauline Hanson of social media. He’s definitely no martyr

“Arresting Kristo Langker is not just a thoroughly bemusing use (misuse?) of police powers. It also risks making a martyr of one of the internet’s most egregious egos. YouTuber Friendlyjordies (aka Jordan ‘Persecution Complex’ Shanks-Markovina) was already soaking up victimhood status after NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro starting suing him for defamation.

“And now Langker, Shanks-Markovina’s producer, has been charged by the NSW Police Fixated Persons Investigations Unit, paving the way for Friendlyjordies to follow the Pauline Hanson script even more closely.”


Rants and raves and bogus COVID claims: Sky News blows sky high in regional Australia

“When Stuart heard his elderly parents loudly criticising Victorian health officials for refusing to use hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment, he knew exactly where the idea had came from: the opinion hosts of Sky News Australia.

“The disproved treatment has been a popular topic of discussion by COVID health restrictions sceptics and anti-vaxxers alike, flourishing on social media where people share individual scientific papers to make the case for using the drug instead of the vaccine.”

THE CRIKEY PAYWALL IS DOWN

Here’s the latest from the Crikey vault, enjoy them while they’re unlocked!

The first person to lose their job in the Porter matter is female. What happened?

Annette Kimmitt was toast the moment she got thrown out Joe Aston’s Rear Window.

“Last Thursday, the white-collar gossip columnist revealed that the managing partner of corporate law firm MinterEllison had sent an all-staff email expressing concern about the company’s work for Attorney-General Christian Porter. Less than a week later, Kimmitt is gone.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Ben Roberts-Smith given glass replica of dead Afghan man’s prosthetic leg, defamation trial told

Mark Vaile won’t be next Newcastle university chancellor following backlash over coal links

Marion Barter ‘covertly’ started new life after going missing, inquest told

“Clearly unacceptable:” Morrison government blocks massive Pilbara renewable hydrogen hub

China-led ‘ambush’ on health of the Great Barrier Reef ($)

‘In all our interests’: NZ approves Pfizer jab for 12 to 15-year-olds

Trump proposed sending Americans with COVID to Guantánamo, book claims

Supreme Court sides with Nestle and Cargill in case alleging child slavery

Nikol Pashinyan’s party wins Armenian election after deal handing parts of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan

THE COMMENTARIAT

Barnaby Joyce’s Nationals threaten to blow up any climate ambition, and it’s making life hardGabrielle Chan (Guardian Australia):Barnaby is back. The Nationals have delivered leadership into the hands of a political terrorist and his allies, thereby throwing tacks under the tyres of rural communities. Slow clap for them. Meanwhile, the rest of us out here in their actual electorates are trying to run businesses that depend on Australia following the world on climate policy. Why? A) Because we export so much of our produce into those markets. B) Because there are opportunities for rural communities — particularly farmers — in a decarbonised world.”

Recruit, train teachers better for higher scores ($) — Alan Tudge (The Australian): “When asked why Singapore has such astounding success in school education, the Singaporean high commissioner’s response to me was crystal clear: ‘It boils down to the human capital you recruit.’ Singapore recruits its teachers exclusively from the top 10% of applicants and trains them at a single, highly regarded institution with a sole focus on making them ready to teach. Australia used to sit alongside Singapore in the top performing nations in education outcomes, but in the past 20 years Singapore has improved its standards while Australia has gone backwards.”

Critical Race Theory – what isn’t it?Luke Pearson and Nat Cromb (IndigenousX): “Depending on who you listen to, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is an academic theory built around the assumption that racism is not just an issue of individual biases and prejudices but is something that has been embedded throughout society and its institutions, OR it’s some sort of pagan witchcraft that will turn your children into gay communists if they get too close to it, unless they already are gay communists and then I assume it will turn them into some sort of… politically correct, halal-latte sipping, sharia law-loving vegan socialist, who is also a gay communist.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • President of the Australian Local Government Association Linda Scott will present “Local government: leading strong, community-centric recovery” at the National Press Club.

Brisbane

  • Deputy Premier Steven Miles is scheduled to speak on the state government’s voluntary assisted dying legislation at a Queensland Media Club event.

  • To commemorate the 50th anniversary of anti-apartheid and Indigenous rights demonstrations at the Tower Mill motel in 1971, author of The Tower Mill Protests Anne Richards and authors Aunty Lesley Williams and Raymond Evans will speak in a digital Avid Reader event.