Welcome to the last sitting week of 2021 – and possibly until the next election.
Scott Morrison attempted another reset at the weekend, using the time off from parliament to make anonymous social media trolling the biggest issue facing the country.
With the government trying to blame Labor for not bringing forward its commonwealth integrity commission legislation and Morrison attacking the NSW anti-corruption commission, Icac, while backing in former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, who he wants to run for the Sydney seat of Warringah, he wants to move away from messy topics.
So after giving the party room the usual “disunity is death” talk last Tuesday, now the prime minister is talking up the rebellion happening within the Coalition’s backbench as a good thing, because apparently, they are not “drones” in the Liberal party. Never mind that six of the seven MPs who crossed the floor did so over public health measures Morrison himself was supportive of until recently. Or that it was Tasmanian Liberal Bridget Archer who received a talking to, while Gerard Rennick was allowed to “negotiate” and offered a talk with constitutional lawyers over his position.
But Morrison may not get his way with attempts to reset the agenda for what seems like the third time this sitting – a new Covid variant has made its way into Australia, just as the reopening was gathering pace.
Morrison was doing the breakfast TV rounds this morning (not the ABC, from what I can see so far) and of course it’s what the hosts wanted to speak about.
Australia has gone from “borders open” to “of course they are not open” very, very quickly. Here’s Morrison on the Seven network:
Let me stress firstly, our borders are not open. The only country to which our borders are open are Singapore and New Zealand, otherwise the only people coming to Australia are those who have very specific exemptions and those who are Australian residents and citizens, we don’t close our borders to Australian citizens, that has only been done once in the case of India and for a very short period of time.
Of course it is concerning and that’s why we’re getting all the information we possibly can.
National cabinet will be meeting either this afternoon or tomorrow to work through the available information.
We will bring you all the information as it comes – on both parliament and any border changes. Mike Bowers is already up and about for you, and Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Daniel Hurst and Paul Karp are on deck to bring you all the Canberra news. The rest of the Guardian team is also at your disposal for news happening around the nation.
It’s most likely going to be a four-coffee morning. Let’s see how it plays out.