After a detour into something about people shopping at the IGA and petrol prices, Speers is trying to pin down Joyce one more:
How many times do you want to ask me this, David? This is like the seventh time. I told you, I didn’t know when I came in because the decision was made before me. There was no distinct conversation that happened, it happened obliquely over a period of time. The only decision revolved around the PEP11 decision. The PEP11 decision was made by-the-Prime Minister. It is on file. You can watch it yourself. There is a press conference. What else do you want?
Speers: You never knew [Scott Morrison] was the Minister for Resources?
Joyce: He never said to me, “I was the Minister for Resources.” He never said that to me.
Speers: Did you at any point wonder how on earth he could make this decision, the power rested with the Minister for Resources?
Joyce: Well, he never said he was. He obviously had the power to do it As I said before, you just take the decision back to Cabinet and relitigate it.
Speers: But he didn’t. You weren’t curious as to how he did this?
Joyce: No, no not particularly.
Perhaps a timely reminder that Joyce was once deputy prime minister.
The conversation has now turned to the PEP11 decision and who was the minister responsible. Keith Pitt was the minister, but Scott Morrison had the authority and ultimately made the decision by over-ruling Pitt.
Speers is asking why didn’t Joyce tell anyone about the power sharing relationship – and it’s getting weird pretty quick. Joyce has attacked the ABC Insiders panel, Speers and is refusing to answer a question: why weren’t people told?
I told you I found out about it subsequently. I proved to you that the Prime Minister of the day made the decision.
Joyce doesn’t appear to have proved anything, however.
This is a little hard to keep up with as Joyce is all over the road here, but he’s saying that he can’t remember being explicitly directly told of the power sharing arrangement and seems to be describing it at as a process by which he came to understand something was going on. Eventually Morrison made a comment saying he can overrule a minister.
He’s then asked about how he reacted to Morrison “sidelining” the Nationals by giving them an extra minister and then take it away.
Joyce is asked whether Scott Morrison directly told him.
No, it doesn’t work out like that, David.
It worked out that over a period of time where the prime minister, Scott Morrison got to a position and said: “I can overrule him.”
Barnaby Joyce ‘wasn’t aware at the start’ of Morrison’s extra portfolios
Barnaby Joyce is now speaking to ABC Insiders host David Speers where he is asked when he was told about Morrison’s taking over of additional portfolios.
He says he arrived there “obliquely”. Joyce says he “wasn’t aware of it at the start” because it happened before he became the Nationals leader.
Then over a period of time and discussions to the Pep-11 it became more apparent that the prime minister had greater powers than I initially assumed.
Morrison didn’t call finance minister to apologise, Maiden says
There’s been an interesting point from Samantha Maiden on the ABC Insiders panel about the timeline of events between former PM Scott Morrison and his former finance minister Mathias Cormann.
During a wide-ranging press conference on Wednesday, Morrison’s explanation of events made it seem that he had called Cormann to apologise for what happened.
However, Maiden suggests that’s not actually what happened:
Scott Morrison is really good at painting word images, right, and if you listened to that press conference this week, would you not get the impression that he called Mathias Cormann to apologise and he had called Josh? Would that be the impression you were left with?
That’s not what happened. What happened was Mathias Cormann calls Morrison on the weekend. He picks up The Weekend Australian, he reads the article, he comes to the international language of WTF and goes: “What happened here?”
Rings Morrison and goes: “Mate, what are you doing?”
Covid royal commission will look at response of all governments, PM says
Prime minister Anthony Albanese said a royal commission into the nation’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic will include both state and federal governments.
Clearly you need to look at the response of all governments.
Primarily, it will be about the federal government. That’s what we have responsibility for, but the interaction between the levels of government of course, were critical to the response to the Covid pandemic.
The response of various government agencies, how it operated, the different jurisdictions … it exposed some of the issues with our federation can often be quite difficult with overlapping responsibilities.
Albanese said a royal commission would be held as soon as practical.
– with AAP
Anthony Albanese has flagged reform and inquiries in the wake of revelations former prime minister Scott Morrison secretly swore himself into five ministries, to ensure it never happens again.
The prime minister will receive advice from the solicitor-general on Monday on whether Morrison’s actions gave rise to any legal or constitutional problems, then make any necessary changes.
Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Albanese said if the solicitor-general’s advice was Morrison had acted within the law, he would still seek to change the system.
There’s separate questions about the functioning of our democracy, about conventions and whether any conventions have been overturned and whether there’s a need for any reforms required to ensure that something like this can never happen again.
We’ll examine all of those issues … I am running a proper cabinet government that has proper processes.
Very clearly, there’s a need for proper scrutiny of what occurred here, this was an undermining of our parliamentary democracy.
Albanese said his predecessor had trashed the Westminster system.
Albanese would not be drawn be drawn about the legal consequences of Mr Morrison’s intervention in a gas drilling project off the NSW coast.
He said the government would honour contracts that were signed under modern manufacturing grants, and were worth more than $828 million.
Media fallout from Morrison’s secret ministries continues
The ABC Insiders panel is serving as a good barometer for how the media is responding to the revelations about former prime minister Scott Morrison this week and Samantha Maiden is taking no prisoners.
Just listening to his own words in that press conference, the absolute rubbish that people held him responsible for every drop of rain, this guy had some sort of Messiah complex and this is what was going on and he seriously is deluded, right. He was delusional. When he talks about the unilateral national interest, you could mount a strong argument that having the gas project go ahead could be in the national interest, right. He is not talking about the national interest. He is talking about his political interests.
This morning the Barnaby Joyce will be appearing on ABC Insiders with a run of press conferences to follow.
I also understand Victorian premier Daniel Andrews and the New South Wales environment minister James Griffin will be holding competing (separate) press conferences at 10am on the east coast.
We’ll bring you all the latest as it comes.
Eighteen people with Covid-19 have died in Victoria overnight, with the state recording 2,427 new cases on Sunday morning, 438 people in hospital, 29 in ICU and 12 on ventilation.
Sixteen people with Covid-19 have died in New South Wales overnight, with the state recording 4,335 new cases on Sunday morning, 1,925 people in hospital, and 52 in ICU.
Medical expert warns current Covid policy unsustainable
Coronavirus infections and deaths continue to tick upwards as the head of a medical institute warns Australia is losing its battle with the virus, AAP reports.
Burnet Institute director Prof Brendan Crabb told Seven’s Sunrise on Saturday that current strategies to combat the virus are not working.
What the numbers say is that we’re simply not winning.
The latest wave we just had … which was the third wave of this year, was the worst wave we’ve had this year, more hospitalisations and more deaths.
At that rate, the country is on track to record its 10 millionth case within a week.
Prof Crabb said there was an “attitude problem”.
We haven’t quite grasped the fact that having lots of virus in our community is bad.
We have to change to reduce transmission, to be intolerant of the amount of virus in our community.
Prof Crabb said the research from the US on how repeated infections increase the risk of acute and chronic is worrying and surprising, and shows the need to reduce infection rates.
There is no wall of immunity built by infection against the impacts of infection.
While “herd immunity” is real, Prof Crabb said the way to reach it was through vaccination, not infection.
Labor claims byelection victory in NT seat of Fannie Bay
Labor has fought off a swing to claim victory in the Northern Territory seat of Fannie Bay in the byelection to replace former chief minister Michael Gunner, AAP reports.
Brent Potter was ahead on Saturday night with 52% two-candidate preferred over the Country Liberal party’s Ben Hosking, according to the Northern Territory Electoral Commission, with 63% of the vote counted.
Chief minister Natasha Fyles hailed Potter’s victory, saying the constituents of Fannie Bay “want a government that backs them and only a Territory Labor government can do that”.
It is with great pride that we welcome Brent Potter into the Territory Labor caucus.
Hosking led the primary vote with 42%, with Potter on 33% and the Greens with 19%.
The three independents – George Mamouzellos, Raj Samson Rajwin, and Leah Potter – each garnered between one and three per cent.
The past three Fannie Bay MPs have served as the NT’s chief minister.
And welcome to another Sunday morning Guardian live blog.
The Albanese government is facing growing pressure to abandon plans to pass Stage 3 tax cuts. The cuts are expected to cost $243bn by 2032-33, but unions, economists, the Greens and analysts are saying the money could be better spent providing critical services.
Fallout from the revelations that former prime minister Scott Morrison secretly took over five additional ministerial portfolios continues with calls for the governor general to explain why his signing of critical documents was left off the official diary. David Hurley signed off on the documents swearing Morrison in to the health, finance, treasury, home affairs and industry, science, energy and resources.
I’m Royce Kurmelovs, taking the blog through the day. With so much going on out there, it’s easy to miss stuff, so if you spot something happening in Australia and think it should be on the blog, you can find me on Twitter at @RoyceRk2 where my DMs are open.
With that, let’s get started …
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