I love this series. It’s called Sorted and it’s a subjective, entirely arbitrary and fascinating ranking of things by Guardian Australia contributors. Check this out from Charmaine Manuel:
If you’re in Victoria, there are planned Extinction Rebellion blockades today. XR says “the times and locations are secret”, but this morning they are targeting the Exxon Mobil depot in Yarraville.
In a statement, XR said three people are “likely” to be arrested as they draw attention to the “climate and ecological emergency”:
We are aiming to cause sustained disruption.
Another big story from over the weekend – Hillsong is still suffering shockwaves after head pastor Brian Houston resigned. Here’s Elle Hardy’s take:
Karvelas asks if “the shine has come off” the Morrison government, and Birmingham (again, masterfully) turns to budget and election talking points.
“This is a budget for Australia’s future … the choice will be a real choice,” he says.
Karvelas asks Birmingham if this budget is about winning the election (imagine a pre-election budget that wasn’t!). Birmingham says:
This budget is the next stage in our long-term economic plan …
You and pretty much every other commentator is asking me what the government is going to do about cost of living pressures … we’re getting the balance right.
He’s declining to discuss any discussions that the government “may or may not have had” with the Solomon Islands government. Here are some reasons their potential security agreement with China is important, and worrying:
On that big infrastructure cash splash (see the details in a post below), ABC’s Patricia Karvelas asks Birmingham if they’re targeting marginal electorates (ie pork barrelling).
Birmingham demurs quite skilfully, as is his wont.
“This is about building a nation’s productivity,” he says.
On car parks (yes, more car parks), he says they’re also about lifting productivity, giving people easy access to public transport, and that they’ll be built all over the country.
The finance minister, Simon Birmingham, says the budget will help with cost of living pressures and will be fiscally “responsible”, but he’s not confirming reports in the Australian this morning that the fuel excise will be cut by between 10 and 20 cents for six months.
He’s telling ABC’s Radio National that Australians are “always grateful” for any financial relief and that his government has given them tax cuts to help.
We’ll update you on the severe weather today. AAP says a “slow-moving and potentially dangerous system” is moving across Queensland, while in NSW the dams are full. Here’s some background:
Here are the details of that infrastructure spending – almost $18bn has been promised. Sarah Martin runs through what will be in tomorrow’s budget:
It’s budget eve, and it’s a pre-election budget at that.
Today’s papers are full of promised spending, including billions in infrastructure, hints of an increase in defence funding, and there’s a promise from the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, that there will be a “material improvement” in the budget bottom line (a long way from “back in black”).
What people will be most interested in are pledges from the federal government that affect their hip pockets. A (temporary) cut in petrol excise is on the cards as bowser prices soar past $2 a litre.
More first homebuyers will get access to the scheme that helps them buy a home a deposit as low as 2%.
And many are waiting to see what the government will do about the low and middle tax offset – the so-called “lamington” – which is due to end this year.
Frydenberg has been pictured pounding the pavement (ever since former prime minister John Howard’s ubiquitous tracksuit-clad walks, the active pollie has been a thing) and he’s sure to be pacing through the media cycle today.
And (I am so sorry) Queensland is set for severe storms, with parts of the sodden east coast once again on flood alert. New South Wales also faces potential flash flooding.
As the politicians descend on Canberra today, there’ll be condolences for late Labor senator Kimberley Kitching, after her death from a heart attack at just 52.
It’s going to be a hectic week, the last sitting before the May election, and total manna for politics nerds. Here we go …
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