Australian politics live: debate on 43% emissions target set to begin; interest rates decision

Key events

Sarah Hanson-Young was also asked how the discussions between the Greens and the government over the climate change bill were going.

The government can not pass the bill through the parliament without the Greens support.


We are in good conversations with the Government. Those discussions are continuing.

The Greens will be discussing this issue again at our party room meeting today to discuss and go over what changes the government has committed to.

It’s a welcome move that the government has made some changes that the Greens have pushed for, that is important. But what is even more important than that, is this 43% is not enough to reduce the pollution at the rates and in the time frame needed. We all know that.

The science says that. We need real action on the table. So regardless of whether this 43% target bill passes the Parliament, what comes next is what is most important.

Because we need to cut pollution, and we need to be doing it faster, and harder and deeper.

We need to get out of any suggestion that we need new fossil fuel projects here in Australia.

Australia has a big role to play internationally. We have this government saying they want to bring the UN Climate Conference to Australia, well, they’re going to have to do much more than 43% otherwise, we continue to be a laughing stock on the world stage.

Sadly, and most importantly we will be left behind when the transition is on everywhere else.

Australian businesses will lose out and our climate will continue to get worse.

Gas companies ‘taking us all for a ride’, Sarah Hanson-Young says

The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young had a bit to say about Australia’s gas situation on the ABC this morning – particularly given that this isn’t about supply, it’s about the amount which has been quarantined for domestic supply:

It’s quite obvious that the system, as it is, is broken. These big gas companies have been ripping off customers, consumers, households and small businesses for far too long.

They’re making windfall profits. They’re not paying enough tax. And they’re taking Australians for a ride. There is no shortage of gas here in Australia. We’ve got plenty of it.

It’s just that these big corporations are wanting to make more profits, don’t pay any tax.

Most of it goes overseas and Australians are left high and dry. We need to change the system.

One of the things we’ve got to really do is fast track the transition … of our energy grid making sure we have it powered by renewables and storage. That would make cheaper, more reliable power and push down prices very, very quickly. These big gas companies, I mean they’re taking us all for a ride.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Photograph: Matt Turner/AAP

Updated at 18.23 EDT

Department of Parliamentary Services defends air quality in Parliament House amid Covid surge

The Department of Parliamentary Services wasn’t happy with my comment yesterday about the airflow in the building (in relation to people not wearing masks despite the advice and Covid infections) and has sent through this statement:

DPS regularly engages independent experts to monitor air quality in Parliament House. This monitoring reinforces the effectiveness of the Parliament House ventilation system, with all air quality measures, including in the Press Gallery, well within required thresholds.

Updated at 18.18 EDT

Moderates in Coalition may be open to Labor’s climate policy

Labor’s climate policy is yet to go through the Coalition party room but Peter Dutton made a decision the party would not support it.

That has left some moderates unsettled – Bridget Archer and Andrew Bragg have not ruled out crossing the floor.

Warren Entsch has told Murph and Sarah Martin he has an “open mind” on the legislation – from their report:

The veteran Liberal MP Warren Entsch says he is open-minded about Labor’s bill to enshrine a 43% emissions reduction target if he can be convinced the Albanese government has a concrete plan to achieve the cut without driving up power prices.

Ahead of the first substantive Coalition party room meeting of the 47th parliament on Tuesday, Entsch told Guardian Australia he was seeking advice on the bill and might lend support if there was evidence to suggest the number wasn’t a “brain fart”.

Updated at 18.00 EDT

RBA expected to lift interest rates today

Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam

Unless you’re living under a rock you’ll have probably heard that the Reserve Bank board will very likely raise its main interest rate later today at 2.30pm, AEST.

We previewed the meeting here, noting among other things that energy prices might be ebbing (deflating some of the need for an extension of the 22.1 cent/litre petrol excise cut beyond its 28 September expiry).

We haven’t had a rate rise of larger than 50 basis points (or half a percentage point) since 1994 when there were a couple of 1 percentage point rate hikes.

They came within a five-month period when there were three RBA rate rises totalling 2.75 percentage points – that’s the last time the central bank was this active.

Back then, though, the following move didn’t come until July 1996 when the RBA began the first of six rate cuts that stretched out over about 2.5 years.

Nobody, though, is expecting Tuesday’s move – the fourth rate rise in four months – to be the last increase.

Investors have a market they can bet on what the RBA will do, and as of yesterday evening they were wagering on a 65 basis point rise today to 2% as a 67% chance.

Ahead of today’s RBA meeting, investors are predicting the cash rate will rise again, with a two-in-three chance it will rise 65bp to a nice round 2%. Most economists, though, predict a 50bp rise to 1.85%, as the central bank undertakes it fastest series of increases since 1994.

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) August 1, 2022

And expect more rate rises to come – just how many and how large will play out for the rest of the year and into the next one.

Updated at 17.39 EDT

Good morning

Happy Tuesday!

The political parties will hold their party room meetings and work out positions on issues and legislation, but it’s all about the Reserve Bank of Australia and the slated rate rise today.

With inflation having risen since the last quarter, all economists seem to agree there is another rise coming from the RBA, which is hoping that sharp rises now will head off problems down the track.

But that just means people are being hit twice – in their daily spend and their mortgages. It seems incredible that after all these years there doesn’t seem to be any other ideas of how to handle rising inflation other than to raise interest rates, but here we are.

There are a lot of eyes on the governor, Philip Lowe, and the RBA board as to how high the rate rise will be this month given the already sharp increases. We know that the RBA believes it needs to take the cash rate to 3% before the end of the year, so mortgage holders are being told to brace for more pain.

Meanwhile, the government is under pressure to extend the fuel excise pause the previous government had in place. It’s due to expire in September (the date the Morrison government set) but with petrol prices still high despite the 22c cut, the Albanese government is being asked to keep the pause going. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says that will cost the budget too much given all the other pressures it is under, but given household budgetary pressures, it may be a fight Labor isn’t willing to have this early in the term.

And of course, there is still climate and the issue of gas supply.

We’ll cover all of that and more as the day unfolds. You have Mike Bowers with you, with Katharine Murphy leading the way. Sarah Martin, Paul Karp, Josh Butler and Tory Shepherd will help guide you through exactly what is happening while me, Amy Remeikis, drinks too much coffee and tries to keep up.

I’m on cup number three already, if anyone was wondering.