Welcome to day two of parliament – honestly, it’s like we never left.
We start the day with how we ended it – talking about Craig Kelly. The vocal government backbencher spoke to practically every media outlet yesterday afternoon, defending his social media posts on Covid treatments, which are not recommended by the Australian government health authorities, or have not been tested, or are considered dangerous.
Late yesterday, Kelly later made his views on the Covid vaccine clear. He spoke to Katharine Murphy, after he was supposedly counselled by the prime minister to zip it.
Scott Morrison has not publicly censured Kelly, although the Seven network interviewed Kelly as the prime minister was trying to call him before question time. Whatever was said, Kelly was happy to talk to media throughout the day, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Labor has increased the pressure on the prime minister to act, pointing out Kelly’s social media reach, and his continual contradiction of government advice. Kelly was a guest on Pete Evans’s podcast, a chef, whose own conspiratorial views have seen him kicked off social media platforms, show earlier this week, which has ramped up the criticism.
So that circus will roll on today. Kelly’s preselection is under threat in his NSW seat of Hughes (again) and only remained the candidate in the last few elections because of direct intervention by the Liberal leaders. Morrison saved his preselection last time, but seems less inclined to do so this time round. We’ll see.
Murph has covered off what has been happening here
In other vaccine news, the prime minister will talk with Pacific leaders today (virtually) where a vaccine roll out for Pacific nations will be the main topic.
Australia has committed $200m to help with the roll out, with today’s forum talking timing and logistics.
And outside of parliament, RBA governor Dr Philip Lowe will address the National Press Club, outlining the central bank’s plans for the year – the bank has a focus on employment, over inflation, with a keen eye on wage growth. Which is a bit of a turn around, so it will be interesting to hear him explain more about what the bank wants. Wage growth in Australia, even before the pandemic, was almost non-existent and it turns out that people not having money means the economy suffers. Who would have thought it?
We’ll cover all that and more – we are still watching WA as large parts remain locked down, while a bushfire continues to threaten communities near the Perth hills – as the day rolls on. Thank you for joining us. If you have questions, send them through and I’ll do my best to answer them. You have Amy Remeikis with you for most of the day, with Mike Bowers, Katharine Murphy, Paul Karp and Daniel Hurst in Canberra, and the rest of the Guardian brains trust scattered across the country keeping you updated.
Let’s get into it.