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Australia politics live: Airbnb levy ‘on the table’ in Victoria to help housing affordability, Daniel Andrews says | Australian politics

Australia politics live: Airbnb levy ‘on the table’ in Victoria to help housing affordability, Daniel Andrews says | Australian politics

Monique Ryan says crossbench distressed by ‘shameful’ behaviour in parliament

Independent Kooyong MP Dr Monique Ryan said the crossbench was distressed by the past week in parliament:

I can speak for other members of the crossbench because we talk to each other after each question time because we found it distressing, and we wanted to stand to our feet and say that we felt it was conduct unbecoming parliament, and I think if we learn nothing from this, we have to decide as a society whether we want our parliament really to be dragging people who have gone through really difficult experiences through that sort of experience again. It wasn’t ideal. It was – I actually felt it was shameful.

Updated at 18.15 EDT

Key events

Caitlin Cassidy

Universities Australia praises partnership with India


The Universities Australia chief executive, Catriona Jackson, has told a conference in India the federal government is “urging” Australian universities to continue scaling up surging Indian enrolments as the partnership enters a “golden era”.

Jackson is in India this week to deliver the keynote address at the 2023 Universities20 Conference alongside the Indian education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan. She told the conference education and research was “at the heart” of the two nation’s strategic relationship.

Minister Pradhan’s visit to Australia last year clearly reinforced India’s desire for this collaboration. And it has proven to be a pivotal point in the further strengthening of our relationship. I had the privilege of speaking directly with Prime Minister Modi in Sydney … and was very pleased to hear his strong emphasis on education as a fundamental economic and social connector between Australia and India.

Jackson said Australia could “certainly help” India achieve its ambition to educate 500 million students by 2035.

This is Jackson’s second visit to India this year, the first alongside the education minister, Jason Clare, who signed a mutual recognition agreement with his counterpart. A string of universities have jumped at the opportunity for collaboration, with Deakin University and the University of Wollongong announcing they’d be the first institutions to establish campuses in India.

The opportunity for Indian students to attend university in Australia will never not be there. This scale of interest is unprecedented, and we expect that it will keep growing. Our governments are urging us to do this.

Updated at 19.38 EDT
Josh Taylor

Josh Taylor

Medibank says it uses MoveIt to share information

Yesterday we brought you the news that embattled consultancy firm PwC had been caught up in the hack of third-party file transfer company MoveIt, and now we can confirm that health insurer Medibank has also been caught up just months after its own cyberattack led to the information of millions of customers being stolen and posted on the dark web.

A spokesperson said:

We were advised by the vendor Ipswitch about some vulnerabilities discovered in MoveIt – a software system we use to share information with external parties – and have promptly applied all the vendor’s recommended security patches.

We continue to investigate and work closely with the vendor, and at this stage we are not aware of any of our customers’ data being compromised.

Medibank systems have not been impacted by the Moveit cyberattack.

Updated at 19.42 EDT

Daniel Andrews says ‘everything’s on the table’ to improve housing affordability

Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Still on the topic of the Victoria state conference, where Labor members voted for several housing initiatives include a levy on short stay rentals, Andrews says “everything’s on the table” to improve affordability:

The government is actively considering every element of our housing supply policy settings, planning all the way through to how we better partner with the private sector to get more and more housing built. Zoning and all of those issues are an important part of that. The short-term rental accommodation to Airbnb type issues, that’s also on the table.

He says the government’s housing statement, to be released in the coming months will “represent one of the most profound shake ups of all the settings that determine how much supply we have”:

Because that’s what determines price, equity and decency, as well as creating a lot of jobs. I think it’ll be one of the biggest shake ups in that policy area for many, many decades.

Updated at 19.42 EDT
Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Daniel Andrews says he would not have supported Victorian Labor motion calling on Albanese government to recognise Palestinian state

Daniel Andrews says he wouldn’t have voted for a motion that passed Labor’s state conference at the weekend, which called on the Albanese government to recognise a Palestinian state within the term of this parliament.

He says he’s a supporter of Israel, describing it as the “only place in the region where women are treated equally”:

My position on Israel has been very, very consistent and clear. It’s not always popular but it’s my view and I won’t change.

Andrews also sought to distance himself from his Socialist Left faction, which moved the motion on Sunday:


I haven’t been to a faction meeting in 13 years and I’m quite pleased about that to be honest.

Updated at 19.29 EDT
Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Victorian premier says Paul Denyer parole application not ‘well handled’

Back to Victoria for a moment and Daniel Andrews admits the parole application for serial killer Paul Denyer “has not been particularly well handled” and says the government is looking at changes to the law, as well as more support for families of victims of crime.

While he said he has confidence in the Adult Parole Board, which last month denied Denyer’s bid for release, he said families should have been supported better through the process:

This is an incredibly difficult time and whilst I don’t want to go into great detail about this particular matter, because it’s not appropriate to speak in detail about what the parole board is done … We don’t want a situation where families who have been through unimaginable tragedy where there’s really very little prospect of any prospect that the person is going to get out, laying awake at night, thinking that that person is going to be freed. Now that decision is not made until it’s made but you can support people, you can inform people, you can try and be there for people and the system has had 30 years to get ready for this day. Sadly I don’t think those families have been as well supported as they should have been. I’ll take responsibility for that. And we’re going to make sure that that doesn’t happen again. So the system needs to better engage with those families.

Andrews said the government was looking at “further constraining” parole applications for people who have committed multiple murders:

I think we can sensibly further limit the options that they have – not to be applying to the parole board every five minutes and potentially only the one application if you have refused to involve yourself in the rehabilitation programs that we think are central to you demonstrating that you are no longer at ongoing risk to Victorians.

Updated at 19.44 EDT

After the Greens successfully moved to shelve the housing Australia future fund debate in the Senate until 16 October, the government responded that it considered the bill to have failed – the first step in setting up a double dissolution trigger (not a guarantee one would happen – the government would have to pull it).

The housing minister, Julie Collins, was asked about the future of the bill and said:

We’re looking at what we’re doing, what options are available to us. You saw that last weekend when we announced our $2bn Social Housing Accelerator. What we want to do is get on with building homes. That’s what the Australian people expect us to do, and that’s what we’re going to do.

Which doesn’t exactly make anything clearer.

Updated at 19.44 EDT
Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Victorian premier says he has no plans to make cannabis legal for personal use

Daniel Andrews says he has no plans to make cannabis legal for personal use, despite a coordinated push from Legalise Cannabis MPs in three states launched today:


My position is the law as it stands now.

He says work is ongoing to see if there is a way to allow medicinal cannabis users to safely drive:

It’s very, very difficult to reconcile both of those, so there’s some work going on in that space, which is critically important, but I don’t want barriers to people getting the care and treatment that they need and potentially getting the benefits from. Beyond that, as I said, sorry to disappoint you but I’m not here to make any announcements about drug policy today.

Updated at 19.22 EDT
Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

While we’re on the topic of pandemics, Andrews has denied a report in the Sunday Age that his government is cutting future funding for the local public health units established during Covid-19:

We’re funding them at 60% of their Covid levels. That is a very substantial investment and they’ll do important work not just with infectious diseases but with broader issues of public health, whether that be a Legionnaires outbreak, all the way through to all the way through to potentially more serious matters. So whilst this was stood up as a response to a one in 100 year event, their future is secure. Their funding is ongoing. But of course as with many things, the funding is not at pandemic levels because we are not in a pandemic anymore.

Updated at 19.22 EDT
Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Prof Margaret Hellard, from the Burnet Institute, says once the project is complete, its researchers will all be under the same roof for the first time:

It will also provide a really important opportunity for clever young scientists who in my view to do what they do best – to be curious, to be innovative, and to be brave in their science. Having buildings like this quality labs and quality spaces both wet and dry labs allows that to happen. It’ll help us quickly respond and fight the next pandemic … But we can do better and pursue these things. It’ll help us to end HIV, eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat, to stop TB and malaria, and improve maternal and child health, both in our country and globally.

Updated at 19.20 EDT
Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

The minister for medical research, Mary-Anne Thomas, is now telling reporters a bit more about the features of the facility:

Some of the features of this magnificent building include a robotic biobank, which will enable the storage of biomedical samples, the Human Challenge Unit, which is one that I think is particularly exciting, and it’s exactly what it suggests. It’s about ensuring that we try in an ethical and safe way to really speed up that process … from discovery to research to clinical trials … and of course, high containment facilities because we’re talking about live viruses here. And hats off to our scientists who work each day to examine, identify, and indeed, to code these viruses that are in our community.

Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Daniel Andrews says Australian Institute of Infectious Diseases will be complete by 2027

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, is out in Carlton this morning, where the Australian Institute of Infectious Diseases will be built.


The government first announced the facility during the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and has contributed $400m to its construction. About $250m has also been contributed by the University of Melbourne, the Doherty Institute and the Burnet Institute.

Today, they’re showing off renders of what the facility will look like. Andrews says the project will begin construction next year and will be complete by 2027, when it will house 1,000 scientists, students and researchers:

We are fundamentally obliged to make the most of very challenging circumstances we all got through because we had a faith in science, we had a faith in each other and we were compassionate … We really were so well served by that sense of connection between people that have never met each other, let alone a medical research and a public health community.
That that really is a point of pride for not just our state but our nation and indeed beyond. So it just makes sense to double down and invest and make the most of all of those skills.

Updated at 19.21 EDT

And Josh Butler and Lorena Allam have looked at some of the tensions around who gets to contribute to the “no” pamphlet:

Pauline Hanson and Lidia Thorpe will jockey with Coalition members to have their opinions on the Indigenous voice detailed in a 2,000-word essay from the no campaign, as politicians navigate an obscure process to write a pamphlet which will be sent to all homes for the referendum.
The Australian Electoral Commission is writing to all politicians to give guidance on the essays, but tensions are already emerging as members and senators have to decide among themselves how to navigate competing ideas and write one argument for each side.

Updated at 18.49 EDT

If you haven’t had a moment to read Lisa Cox’s latest investigation, I hope you can make time for it soon:

It is Tuesday, which means it is party room/caucus meeting day. Which means that things won’t kick off in the parliament until midday.

It is the last party room meeting until 31 July, so expect a bit more of a rah-rah than usual from the leaders.

Aunty Pat Anderson says there will be enough detail on voice for public to make up their minds

Aunty Pat Anderson, an Alyawarre woman and co-chair of Uluru Dialogue, was asked on ABC News Breakfast what she would say to people who want more detail on what the voice would look like (the parliament will decide that, if the referendum is successful).

Aunty Pat Anderson after the voice bill passed parliament yesterday.
Aunty Pat Anderson after the voice bill passed parliament yesterday. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Anderson said:

You know, in this kind of democracy, the one we have here in Australia, we vote on matters of principle. We have never gone to a referenda with all of the details … whatever was being voted upon, we go on matters of principle.
There are nine principles that are out there for everybody to look at, and all of the details of how it’s all going to work will be done after the “yes” vote. However, between now and when we do go to the polls, there will be enough information for the general public to make up their minds. As I said earlier, to make an informed decision.
That’s the task that we all have now. For the general public to inform themselves and for people like myself and everybody that supports us to talk to their members of their family, extended family, talk to their work colleagues, and all of their networks.
So we all got a lot of work to do and a lot of talking to do over this next few months, but I believe there’s time. But we have to, like, start now.

Updated at 18.26 EDT

Kerrynne Liddle says Indigenous voice ‘untested’

Liberal senator and Arrente woman Kerrynne Liddle was asked to explain on ABC radio RN Breakfast why, if she agrees with the need to Close the Gap and for more work to be done improving the lives of Indigenous people, she is against having something like the Indigenous voice enshrined in the constitution.

Liddle said:

I fail to understand why it needs to be in the constitution … If it’s in the constitution, it’s going to be there forever.
What I’m saying here is, this is untested, there is nothing like this anywhere else.
And the proposition here is a no compromise position to put this into the constitution. And what if it doesn’t work? We can’t just simply take it out. We can’t. It’s not such an easy process to just modify. It’s important that we actually had much more detail.

Liberal senator Kerrynne Liddle says she does not understand why the Indigenous voice needs to be in the constitution.
Liberal senator Kerrynne Liddle says she does not understand why the Indigenous voice needs to be in the constitution. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Updated at 18.14 EDT

Albanese says he’d be ‘comfortable’ if David Van never returned to Senate

Anthony Albanese is then asked about the past week of parliament and says:


I’m very concerned that if you are a woman wanting to come forward because of a sexual violence issue then you might be more reluctant. If you look at the coverage that’s occurred. There’s been something like 13% of sexual assaults in Australia reported to police and and that is a terrible figure.

Asked if he understands why women don’t come forward with their allegations, Albanese says:

I think some of the commentary and looking at personal text messages and other stuff that’s going on has been really regrettable … as well as not being legal, some of it as well.
I think that people need to be treated with respect. Every woman should feel safe at work.
And it’s as simple as that.
And our workplace hasn’t been good enough in the past. We know because of the accusation that was made in 2019, about an alleged sexual assault in a minister’s office, but also the revelations that ended up coming out of last week about allegations about the behaviour of one of the Victorian senators.

David Van has denied all the allegations raised against him.

Asked if he was aware of any rumours, Albanese says:

No. I’d never heard of him really. And I’d be very comfortable if he never returned to the Senate.

Van quit the Liberal party on Saturday and has taken leave from parliament this week. In a statement released on Saturday he has said he will cooperate with any investigation and said:

I am utterly shattered by the events of the past days and stunned that my good reputation can be so wantonly savaged without due process or accountability.

Updated at 18.07 EDT

Voice referendum to be held between October and December: PM

On the referendum date, Anthony Albanese says it will be “sometime between October and December”.

It is most likely going to be in October. But away from the AFL grand final Albanese says:

People are a bit distracted on that day. But we will announce it plenty of time in advance.

Updated at 18.28 EDT

Albanese says Indigenous voice a ‘sensible reform’


So far the Anthony Albanese “interview” on FM radio Melbourne KIIS FM is talking about how cold Melbourne is.

(I would like to state for the record that I can not feel my fingers and my cats are doing their best to burrow under my skin it is so cold in Canberra.)

The chat moves on to the referendum. Albanese says:

It’s always easier to get a no vote than it is to get a yes vote in a referendum – history tells us that that is the case. I think it’s something like eight successful out of 48 so that’s not a great strike right?
But this is such a sensible reform. This is about recognising first Australians in our constitution. We should be proud of the fact that we share this continent with the oldest continuous culture on earth. And secondly, it’s about giving them a voice on matters that affect them.
So we know that if you’re a young Indigenous person, you are more likely to go to jail than to university. That’s not good. … I think there’s an eight year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, there are health gaps, there are infant mortality gaps, their housing gap.

Updated at 17.54 EDT

Amy Remeikis

Published: 2023-06-20 00:29:18


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