It’s day two of the sitting week, which means it is party room meeting day, which means most of the action, as usual, will be taking place outside of the chamber.
If you missed yesterday, Brittany Higgins’ allegation she was raped by a colleague in Linda Reynolds’ ministerial office in March 2019 dominated almost everything.
Scott Morrison was asked about the allegation during question time. He is at a teal ribbon breakfast event for ovarian cancer this morning, where he will no doubt be asked again.
We will bring you any updates as they happen.
Morrison wasn’t with Greg Hunt yesterday to announce the first shipment of vaccines had arrived in Australia – despite taking centre stage with almost all other vaccine announcements.
But the government is hoping the vaccine arrival will provide the space for some good news, as it prepares for the first jabs to begin on 22 February.
That comes at the same time as news that a new Covid variant has been found in Australia. They don’t know a lot about it yet – it’s also turned up in Denmark and the UK – but it appears to be more contagious and could “blunt” some of the protections offered by a vaccine:
That is to be expected – take the flu, for instance. There are plenty of variants of that, and not all of them react as strongly to the vaccine as others. Still, it’s a reminder that we have a lot to learn about this virus, even as we learn to live with it.
The disability royal commission also reconvenes today. The Greens senator Jordon Steele-John fought for more privacy protections for those giving testimony. Steele-John has been instrumental in both getting this royal commission to happen and keeping attention on it within the parliament and out.
We’ll also learn a little more about the media bargaining code, plus learn what the Nationals decided to do about the non-existent 2050 net zero commitment, and the non-existent mechanism to get there, given that party MPs are already threatening to cross the floor on something that doesn’t exist.
You have the Canberra crew of Katharine Murphy, Daniel Hurst and Paul Karp, and of course Mike Bowers is out and about causing all sorts of good trouble.
Amy Remeikis will guide you through most of the day, helped along by more coffee than is advised to be consumed. Huzzah for Tuesday.
Let’s get into it.