It’s the last day of the joint sitting – next week the senate will move to estimates while the house continues to sit, with Scott Morrison due to leave for Glasgow next Thursday.
The Nationals will hand over their demands to the prime minister at the end of the week, Barnaby Joyce says, as the standouts in his party room work out what it is it would take for them to support a net zero emissions target three decades into the future.
Not all of them though. Matt Canavan is out. He’s also trying to force the government (to which he belongs) to release the modelling it is using to sell net zero to the Nationals. So far, all anyone outside of cabinet has seen is the ‘results’ of that modelling, which Canavan says is worth nothing. Again, Canavan (a former cabinet minister) is trying to force the government he is part of, to release something it doesn’t want to, so he can continue to tear it apart. We’ll see how that works out, and if that modelling is released to the senate.
Meanwhile, integrity is back on the agenda, with the crossbenchers pushing for the government to actually do something.
And that was before the government went against more than a century of convention and voted against referring Christian Porter to the privileges committee to examine his register of interests disclosure. Porter declared he had received funds from a “blind trust” but could not reveal the donors. He resigned from the ministry and moved to the backbench, but Labor said given the precedent it could potentially set, there needed to be an inquiry.
The Speaker, Tony Smith, had agreed there was a prima facie case for Porter to face, stressed that he was not making any determination, and gave Labor permission to move the necessary motion for the referral.
Every other time, when the Speaker has found there is precedence, the house follows through and refers. Not this time. For the first time since federation, the government voted against the referral motion.
Instead, it has asked the privileges committee to ‘clarify’ what responsibilities members have when declaring crowdfunded donations. And so, Peter Dutton said, having taken that step, the government saw no reason to refer Porter.
There is no precedent for this. The move shocked not just Labor, but government MPs as well. There will be more on that today.
We’ll bring you the fallout, as well as everything else that happens with Mike Bowers, Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Paul Karp and Daniel Hurst at your service. You have me, Amy Remeikis until the end of the day. It is most absolutely a cake for breakfast day.