Australia news live updates: climate bill to face Senate inquiry; police say possible Collinsville shooting suspect in custody | Australia news

Key events

Victoria records 34 Covid deaths and 699 people in hospital

There were 7,502 new cases in the last reporting period, and 39 people are in intensive care.

Josh Butler

Josh Butler

Climate bill will help economy grow, Albanese says

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has promised that the economy will grow on the back of Labor’s climate bill, saying the transition to renewable energy will unlock new economic opportunities.

Albanese told ABC Melbourne radio this morning:

Unless we do this transition, Australia will actually suffer and shrink.

The climate bill passed the House of Representatives yesterday, and is expected to pass the Senate next month following the Greens’ support. But Albanese denied that yesterday’s decision by environment minister Tanya Plibersek to block a proposed coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef was a concession to the Greens’ calls for no new coal or gas mines.

Albanese said the Greens have “a different position from Labor”.

In a 20-minute interview, Albanese shrugged off Coalition complaints that he had made an offensive gesture to deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley, countering that the opposition had been “completely disruptive” in parliament in the opening sitting fortnight. He said:

I dismiss the comments as being totally hypocritical, given the yelling that occurred every time I was on my feet, including non-stop gestures and yelling for me to sit down. That is just part of the disruption.

The PM said he expected inflation rates to go higher, but doubted Australia’s numbers would go into “double figures” as seen in some parts of Europe. Albanese admitted the government could not do much to constrain potential interest rate rises, which are controlled by the independent Reserve Bank, but flagged spending cuts to bring down inflationary pressures.

One of the things the government can do is constrain spending through fiscal prudence, and one of the reasons we’re bringing down a budget in October … is to go through line by line and look for savings that can be made, to rip the waste that is there, out of the budget.

NSW records 29 Covid deaths with 2,224 people in hospital

There were 12,908 new cases in the last reporting period, and 63 people are in intensive care.

COVID-19 update – Friday 5 August 2022

In the 24-hour reporting period to 4pm yesterday:

– 96.8% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine*
– 95.3% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine*

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) August 4, 2022

Flood warnings issued in three states

Flood warnings have been issued in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

The flooding is expected to be minor to moderate in parts of NSW and Victoria, and minor in Tasmania.

Albanese to take short break next week

Josh Butler

Josh Butler

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, says he will be “taking a break” next week, with his deputy, Richard Marles, to act in the top job in his stead.

Speaking on ABC Melbourne radio, Albanese said he would take a short period of leave and travel somewhere in Australia. Parliament rose yesterday and will not return until 5 September. Albanese joked:

Taking a break with security issues is more complex, I have found.

He said it was his first period of leave this year. Opposition leader Peter Dutton took a fortnight of leave last month, travelling to the United States.

Possible shooting suspect in custody in north Queensland

Queensland police say a suspect in the shooting of four people near Collinsville in north Queensland may be among those in custody.

The shooting occurred yesterday morning at a rural property in Bogie near Collinsville. Of the victims, two men and a woman have died while one man remains in Mackay Base hospital in a serious but stable condition with a single gunshot wound to the stomach.

Superintendent Tom Armitt told Channel Nine’s The Today Show that of the five people police were speaking to:

Three people remain in custody. We believe one of those persons is responsible for this matter.

No charges have been laid.

Armitt had earlier said: “the parties involved are neighbours and some conversation has occurred between the parties,” he said.

Nine news is also reporting that of the five people being questioned overnight, the other two people were wind farm contractors near the property “just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Barilaro’s former chief of staff to appear at NY job inquiry

John Barilaro’s former chief of staff Siobhan Hamblin will today give evidence at the parliamentary inquiry.

She is expected to be asked about what she knows of the former NSW deputy premier’s controversial appointment to an overseas trade commissioner role.

Investment NSW managing director Kylie Bell and Public Sector Commissioner Kathrina Lo will also give evidence.

if you want to catch up about what hearings have heard so far this week, Michael McGowan and Tamsin Rose have this report:

Health minister says there are 58 cases of monkeypox in Australia

The health minister, Mark Butler, also discussed the increasing cases of monkeypox being reported around the globe on ABC radio this morning.

The government yesterday announced that monkeypox vaccines have been secured. Butler said they will be due to arrive “this week or early next week”.

He said there were now 58 cases of monkeypox in Australia.

ABC asked the minister if he was worried some communities may be vilified, given that monkeypox is being spread through sex (although it isn’t a sexually transmitted disease). He responded:

We’re really conscious of this, it’s important to say that anyone can get monkeypox … but this overwhelmingly has affected gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

We’re working very closely with the Federation of Aids Organisations, the clinicians in HIV medicine – these are organisations that over 40 years have built extraordinary networks and communities.

Health minister increasingly confident Covid-19 wave has peaked

Health minister Mark Butler was on ABC Radio just now after the national cabinet was briefed that the country may have seen the worst of the current wave of Covid.

Butler said there were still pressures on the health system with “close to 5,000 Australians in hospital with Covid – that’s close to one in 12 public hospital beds”.=L

There’s no question our doctors, our nurses and other hospital workers are still under enormous pressure … although we’re increasingly quietly confident that the peak has appeared a little earlier than we’d earlier feared.

Butler said the third wave had been “very bad”, with more than 300,000 cases a week officially though “the likely number was more than twice that”.

He said the fourth dose program was “going very well” since it was expanded, but he was still worried about the third dose.

As for the long-term situation, Butler said Covid-19 has not become a seasonal virus the way influenza is.

Will and if so when, will COVID isolation periods come to an end?

“i’ve got no advice before me from the CHO, or any other other public health experts for that matter that there should be an end to isolation.. it’s an incredibly important public health measure”@Mark_Butler_MP

— RN Breakfast (@RNBreakfast) August 4, 2022

Investigations continue into north Queensland shooting

Police are speaking to a number of people over the shooting of three people on a remote property near the north Queensland town of Collinsville yesterday.

No charges have been laid.

Acting Superintendent Tom Armitt told Channel Nine today: “What we do know is that the parties involved are neighbours and some conversation has occurred between the parties.”

The AAP is reporting that the neighbours are believed to have met at the boundary line of their properties early on Thursday.

Resilience NSW ‘to be scaled down’

Disaster agency Resilience NSW, now led by Shane Fitzsimmons, could be scaled down under recommendations from the state government’s flood inquiry report, according to reports this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC.

The report was handed to premier Dominic Perrottet five days ago but is yet to be made public.

Former police commissioner Mick Fuller and Prof Mary O’Kane are the authors of the report, which the Sydney Morning Herald said “will call for the bloated agency to be cut to a small office and its responsibilities reallocated to existing government departments”.

WA confirms first monkeypox case

Western Australia has confirmed its first case of monkeypox in a returned overseas traveller. The patient is in isolating in Perth, WA Health said.

The risk to the community remains low, according to authorities, and returned travellers are being urged to monitor for symptoms.

The state’s communicable disease control directorate’s director, Dr Paul Armstrong, said:

Monkeypox is spread to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, either by direct contact with open lesions or prolonged face-to-face contact, or with material contaminated with the virus.

A person with monkeypox can transmit the infection to other people through skin lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.

Jacqui Lambie to speak at veterans inquiry

Tasmanian independent senator Jacqui Lambie will appear before the royal commission into defence and veteran suicide after years of campaigning for an inquiry into the nation’s armed forces, AAP reports.

Lambie served in the Australian army for 11 years, before being medically discharged in 2000 because of a back injury.

She will give evidence today and is expected to speak about a lengthy legal battle with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs over compensation.

Lambie, who called for a royal commission into defence force culture during her maiden Senate speech in 2014, has previously revealed she attempted suicide in 2009 as she struggled with an addiction to painkillers.

The commission is holding seven days of hearings in Hobart, its final evidence gathering before delivering an interim report on Thursday focusing on issues needing urgent action.

Lambie is scheduled to give evidence for three hours.

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie
Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Good morning!

Australia’s new parliament has wrapped up its first sitting week, and will return along with the wonderful Amy Remeikis on 5 September.

The House of Representatives yesterday passed Labor’s climate targets it took to the election, which will now be subject to a Senate inquiry. This will report back to parliament by the end of August.

The bill received support from a majority of the crossbench and one Liberal MP, Bridget Archer, but opposition leader Peter Dutton remains critical, telling Sky News that the government is introducing “unreliability” into the energy market. Prime minister Anthony Albanese had earlier declared the Coalition “stuck in time”.

If you want to read more about what happens now, Guardian Australia’s climate and environment editor Adam Morton has this report for you:

Meanwhile, forensic police are this morning conducting examinations around a rural property in north Queensland where they have declared several crime scenes after the terribly grim news that a gunman opened fire on four people yesterday morning.

Two woman and a man died at the scene, while a fourth man managed to flee with a gunshot wound to his stomach. He underwent emergency surgery yesterday and police say he is in a serious but stable position.

Police are speaking this morning with five people in relation to the shooting and say they “do not believe there is any ongoing danger to members of the public”.

It’s a busy Friday morning so let’s jump in!

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