Good morning and welcome to the first Politics Live blog of 2021.
Or, the first Politics Live blog of the never-ending 2020 – whatever feels more true to you.
It’s a dreary morning in Canberra this morning, and not just because the MPs are back for the first time since December.
Parliament won’t sit until tomorrow, but today is all about agenda setting, with all sides of politics hoping to start as they mean to go on.
Scott Morrison will address the National Press Club today – he’s laying out a speech, which, from the extracts which seem to have been released, is all about explaining why the jobseeker supplement (such as it is now) and jobkeeper have to end in March. It is now time, apparently, for the economy to stand on its own two feet.
If you listen really hard, you may be able to hear “early election is on the cards”, but we’ll see.
Meanwhile, while the Western Australian MPs are in Canberra, they are not allowed *in* Canberra, after large parts of WA were placed in lockdown late yesterday afternoon.
For those playing at home, that includes the attorney general, Christian Porter, who is also the leader of government business in the house. That could pose a slight issue, given that you know, one would hope there are plans for government business in the house this week. At this stage, it’s a moving feast, so we’ll keep you updated on what the plans for the WA MPs are.
And in case you missed it, despite Josh Frydenberg, Greg Hunt and Michael Sukkar throwing their weight behind him, Kevin Andrews lost his preselection battle for Menzies. He’s been the member there for three or so decades, and hoped to go around for another term, so it is not an insignificant defeat. Not just for Andrews, but also the Victorian Liberal federal hierarchy, who didn’t get their way.
Followers of auspol won’t be surprised to hear that Craig Kelly – who has had his preselection saved by interventions from three different federal leaders: Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison over the past three elections – is once again facing a preselection threat which could bring about the end of his federal political career. Kelly has continued to derail the government advice during the pandemic, while spruiking unproven and in some cases dismissed treatments, which at least has been something different from the “climate change doesn’t even go here” train he was previously riding.
We will bring you all of that, as well as anything else happening today, with the Guardian Canberra team of Mike Bowers, Katharine Murphy, Paul Karp and Daniel Hurst all bright-eyed and bushy tailed and ready to bring you up to date.
You have Amy Remeikis on the blog – you’ll find me here during parliament sitting weeks (either at my desk, or rocking under it) and I’m thrilled to be back.
I hope you’re ready.