Australia news live updates: Joyce faces Nationals leadership vote; Liberals meet to confirm Dutton as leader

Nationals preparing to vote for new party leader and deputy

In Canberra, the Nationals are about to hold a leadership spill with Barnaby Joyce facing off a challenge to retain the top position. We’ll bring you the latest as it comes.

Scott Morrison arrives at parliament house, unsurprisingly not busting for a chat, then circling back for round two.

Queensland records one Covid death, 2,872 cases

Queensland Health has released today’s Covid update.

There have been 2,872 new Covid cases reported and one further death.

There are 365 people being treated in hospital with the virus including four people in ICU.

Peter Hannam

AGL share price drops after demerger proposal withdrawn

AGL’s shares are down more than 3% in early trade as investors absorb Mike Cannon-Brookes’s success in derailing the energy company’s plan to split.

The stock fell in early trading on Monday, losing 3.6% or 32 cents, to drop to $8.56. That fall compared with a gain of about 1% in the overall market so far.

AGL’s ditching of the plan to carve the $6bn company (by market value) into a retailing arm, with some 4.5m customers, and a generating arm, comes just four weeks after MCB (as he’s known) launched a raid that netted him an 11.28% stake in one of Australia’s oldest companies.

The Albanese government is yet to comment on AGL pulling the pin, as we noted here earlier. Chris Bowen, who is very likely to be the incoming energy and climate minister, won’t be sworn in until Wednesday and won’t get his full briefings under way until Thursday.

One person to keep an eye on is former AGL chief executive Andy Vesey, who developed a more aggressive decarbonisation plan for the company.

The Turnbull government, though, wasn’t too keen on the timing of the closure of the Liddell coal-fired power plant in the Hunter region of NSW, and spoke out publicly against the plan to shut it in 2022.

In the end, it was Vesey who was shut down, and the Liddell closure date pushed back until April 2023, handily just one month after the NSW state elections. At time of the feds v AGL fight in late 2017, then environment and energy minister (in that order) Josh Frydenberg was reported as intervening in person to get Vesey out.

There might be some irony (or even schadenfreude) if Vesey were to return in some role, with Frydenberg recently turfed out of his previously safe Liberal seat of Kooyong.

*To the tune of George Baker Selection’s Little Green Bag*

Nationals must revisit key issues such as gender equality, Michelle Landry says

As we wait for updates on the leadership spill, Nationals MP Michelle Landry earlier told reporters the party needed to look at the election results “very carefully” and revisit its position on “key areas of policy” including gender equality.

You can’t have people running off with different agendas, we all need to be on the same message, the same page.

Or for those playing along at home, refreshing Twitter feeds.

It’s good to know that no matter who is in government, no matter which party is changing the leader, the sport of corridor watching during a spill will always remain

— Andrew Brown (@AndrewBrownAU) May 30, 2022

Liberals edging ahead in Deakin as postal vote counting continues

Deakin is looking increasingly difficult for the Labor party to gain as postal votes come through in favour of Michael Sukkar. That means they’d need to win either Macnamara or Gilmore to form a majority government.

Big pickup for Sukkar in #Deakin on postals, now back to 887 ahead. Would need big counting corrections to get Labor back into it now.

— Kevin Bonham (@kevinbonham) May 30, 2022

“Time for change?” Nationals MP Michael McCormack is asked as he enters the party room.

The Nationals are meeting to decide on a new leader. It’s a three horse race between Joyce, Littleproud & Chester. Asked if he has the numbers when he walked in, Darren Chester says he has “at least one”. @9NewsAUS

— Eliza Edwards (@ElizaEdNews) May 30, 2022

Mike Cannon-Brookes has weighed in on AGL’s dumping of its demerger plan.

Wow. A huge day for Australia 💚💛

Had to sit down & take it in. This live shot couldn’t be a better metaphor for a better, greener path ahead 🌱

We embrace the opportunities of decarbonisation with Aussie courage, tenacity & creativity.

Lots of work but we CAN do this 👊🏻

— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼‍💻🧢🇦🇺 (@mcannonbrookes) May 29, 2022

Read Peter Hannam’s story here:

Nationals preparing to vote for new party leader and deputy

In Canberra, the Nationals are about to hold a leadership spill with Barnaby Joyce facing off a challenge to retain the top position. We’ll bring you the latest as it comes.

Lorena Allam

Linda Burney on the Uluru statement, treaty and building consensus

Incoming Indigenous affairs minister Linda Burney has a long list of priorities when she is sworn in this week, but chief among them is to embark on the unfinished “nation-building project” of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

No pressure, then. Burney says the election adrenaline has worn off and now she feels as if she’s been “hit by a truck”. As the first Aboriginal woman to hold a federal ministry and to sit in the cabinet, she says: “I feel elated and daunted at the same time. I actually have a very long history in the Aboriginal affairs space. So I feel ready to take on the challenge.”

Read the story here:

Adelaide police searching for stolen car with four-month-old child inside

Police say a car holding a four-month-old child has been stolen in Adelaide.

The model car is being described as a 2009 white Honda Jazz, S619AXE. Police say it was stolen in Klemzig this morning after a man pulled up in a stolen Mazda utility.

Police described the man as in his mid-20s, Caucasian and with dark hair.

Police are searching for a stolen car with a four-month-old child inside.

The 2009 white Honda Jazz was allegedly stolen from Klemzig around 7.45am.

Anyone who spots the Honda Jazz is being urged to contact police immediately on 131 444. #9News


— 9News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) May 29, 2022

Police have released images of the man believed to have stolen a car with a four month old child in the rear from a Klemzig address around 7.45am this morning. Please call 131444 or 000 if you spot the stolen Honda Jazz – S619AXE

— South Australia Police (@SAPoliceNews) May 30, 2022

Covid deaths on the rise in Australia

Covid-19 deaths are again on the rise with Australia recording 88 fatalities over the weekend and 363 in the past seven days, AAP reports.

By contrast, daily toll reports during April only once exceeded 50 and were often less than 25.

Victoria recorded 16 deaths on Sunday, Western Australia seven, NSW four, Queensland two and Tasmania one.

Australia’s active virus caseload remains above 300,000 and there are more than 2,700 patients recovering in hospitals around the country.

Authorities have again extended emergency powers in Tasmania, where almost one-third of the state has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and there have been almost 60 deaths this year.

Meanwhile, one of Australia’s leading charities says the effect of the pandemic on children’s education is not over.

A Smith Family survey has found one in two parents and carers feel the pandemic is still making learning difficult for their children, while three-quarters worry about their future schoolwork and have struggled to help them during the pandemic. Two-thirds say the virus has made it hard to start school this year.

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