Going through what happened in Senate estimates yesterday after I finished up, I’ve come across this exchange between Kristina Keneally and Amanda Stoker in the legal affairs committee.
Keneally asks Stoker if she would like the opportunity to respond to Grace Tame’s comments (which we reported on yesterday) that Stoker had only attempted to get in contact with her on Instagram.
This all happened just before 6pm. Stoker says she hasn’t “seen what Ms Tame has said or done” because she has been in estimates “and haven’t been following blow by blow what others are saying outside of the [estimates] bubble”.
She then goes on to say she really cares about coming up with ways to make sure women are safer, and her offer of a meeting remains open.
But at 2.10pm, Paul Karp had sent an email to Stoker’s media adviser asking for a response to Tame’s comments in the Betoota Advocate podcast, which included a rundown of what she had said about Stoker. Other reporters also contacted Stoker’s office about the same issue.
At 3.43pm, Stoker’s adviser responded with comments attributable to the senator:
My invitation to meet with Ms Tame remains open. I would welcome the opportunity to hear her concerns and work towards common goals. I believe a direct discussion between the two of us will be far more effective than one had through the press gallery.
It’s not exactly Watergate, but still. Someone in her office was following the “blow by blow”.
From today, anyone over the age of 16 who lives in regional South Australia is eligible for a Covid vaccination – you will have to prove you are a local.
Apologies – an earlier version of this post left off “South”, which is a very important qualifier.
Someone please just fire me into the sun. Get it over and done with.
The current deputy prime minister apparently thinks “rapping” is awkwardly moving your shoulders while holding your arms up like a zombified pterodactyl and ugh.
New exposure sites for Melbourne listed by Victoria Health
Victoria’s health department has updated its list of exposure sites after a Covid-19 outbreak in Melbourne’s north:
TIER ONE – get tested, isolate for 14 days * Nando’s Epping, Dalton Road, 19 May, 8.30pm to 9.20pm * Highpoint shopping centre, 20 May, 5pm to 8pm * Jump! Swim Schools, Bundoora, 21 May, 8.55am to 10.15am * Woolworths, Epping North, 22 May, 4.45pm to 5.45pm
TIER TWO – get tested, isolate until negative result * Shells Coles Express, Reservoir, 18 May, 3.15pm to 4.15pm * B.T. Connor Reserve, Reservoir, 21 May, 8pm to 11.30pm * Epping North shopping centre, 22 May, 4.45pm to 5.50pm * House and Party, Epping, 22 May, 5.15pm to 5.50pm * Futsal, Brunswick, 23 May, 9am to 10am * Urban Diner food court, Pacific Epping shopping centre, 23 May, 1.15pm to 2.30pm
AAP has some new Covid exposure sites for Melbourne readers:
Nando’s Epping and Woolworths Epping North joined Jump! Swim Schools Bundoora and Highpoint Shopping Centre as tier one sites, meaning anyone who attended those places at specified times must be tested and isolate for 14 days.
Futsal Brunswick, Epping North shopping centre, House and Party at Epping, Urban Diner food court at Pacific Epping shopping centre, Shells Coles Express Reservoir and B.T. Connor Reserve are tier two sites – meaning affected people must get tested and isolate until they have a negative result.
And Sarah Martin shares what is happening with NSW preselections within the Liberal party – and it doesn’t look pretty:
The prime minister, Scott Morrison, is facing preselection turmoil in NSW with at least four sitting Liberal MPs facing an internal attempt to overthrow them ahead of the next election.
Despite Morrison saying he wants more women in parliament, the challenge to sitting members includes a push to oust female MPs in two key marginal western Sydney seats – Fiona Martin in Reid and Melissa McIntosh in Lindsay.
The immigration minister Alex Hawke – a key ally of Morrison – is being challenged in his blue-ribbon seat of Mitchell, while Trent Zimmerman, the leader of the NSW moderates in Canberra, is also under threat.
Katharine Murphy has the latest Guardian Essential Poll:
A majority of voters think a sprint to an early election would be opportunistic, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.
And a significant majority worry the Morrison government either lacks a long-term plan on a range of policy fronts or is failing to communicate its plans clearly.
The latest survey of 1,100 respondents suggests most voters would be irritated if Scott Morrison went to an election later this year rather in the first half of 2022, with 61% characterising any post-budget sprint to the ballot box as political opportunism, and 39% saying that would be reasonable because a lot has changed since the last federal election.
Michael McCormack muddled his way through a bunch of talking points on ABC News Breakfast this morning. He wants you to move to the regions to take up jobs there, but when asked about the lack of rentals and accommodation in the regions – a huge problem for a lot of people, and what is there is not particularly affordable at the moment –McCormack spoke about “working on it” and how the budget has grants for first home owners. Which is great if you are a first home builder and decide to build a house in a place you have just moved to, but I am not sure where you are supposed to live in the meantime if you take that path.
So, moving on from that, he was also asked whether the federal government should open up the vaccination program to under-50s, as a lot of the states have – so more people get vaccinated. Remember, when the government talks about 3.6m vaccinations, they don’t mean 3.6 million people have been vaccinated, they mean 3.6m doses have been administered. We don’t know how many people have been fully vaccinated (two doses). It’s an important distinction.
Here is what the deputy prime minister had to say:
We’re looking at these things all the time. We have daily meetings about what we need to do and the important thing is that we’ve tweaked and altered the way we’ve done things, based on what the states have asked us, based on what the community expected us to do.
There’s no manual for Covid-19. That’s why we’ve been able to put in place the measures and adapt the measures to ensure that. Just take jobseeker, for example. We extended it. We did the right thing in that regard and that’s what we’ve done the whole way through. We’ve met community expectations and I say again – I reiterate again to those people – make sure that you get your jab.
Welcome to day two of the sitting week and estimates.
Today should be a busy one – the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is in front of the finance and administration committee today, so that’s a chance for senators to try to find out some more information over what is happening in the prime minister’s space.
In response to a question from Kristina Keneally which had been put on notice, we now know the AFP first alerted Peter Dutton’s office it had received a media inquiry about an alleged sexual assault in parliament house in October 2019.
There was a notification that a media inquiry had been made and responded to by ACT policing.
The first recorded contact the AFP has with Dutton over the matter was 11 February 2021. That’s after changes to how AFP dealt with “sensitive matters” were put in place – and were unknowingly triggered by Brittany Higgins when she spoke to the AFP about continuing her case. It was also the day before Samantha Maiden of news.com.au put in questions to the PMO about the alleged case.
That will no doubt be followed up today.
We will also be keeping an eye on what is happening in Melbourne after four cases of Covid were diagnosed – they are from the same family, across two households and everyone is in isolation, but still. We know how triggering cases can be for people in Melbourne, so we will bring you all that information as soon as possible.
You have Katharine Murphy, Daniel Hurst, Paul Karp and Sarah Martin in Canberra. Mike Bowers is already on the case, and Amy Remeikis is on the blog.