Home affairs minister Peter Dutton says he is “absolutely confident” he has not broken any donations laws.
The Queensland opposition leader, Deb Frecklington, is facing questions today over a dinner where she and Dutton were guests, that was attended by property developers. It is illegal to obtain donations from property developers in Queensland, but Frecklington said none of the property developers present actually made donations.
And that ends the Morrison and Dutton press conference.
Morrison addresses reports that China has told its factories to stop importing Australian coal.
He says people should not get ahead of themselves, and it is unclear whether that is due to domestic quotas rather than an import ban.
“At the moment this is speculation and the trade minister is running that down,” he says.
Morrison says Berejiklian has his ‘absolute support’
Scott Morrison says that Gladys Berejiklian has his “absolute support”.
“Gladys is a tremendous premier and has my absolute support, and I thought she showed a lot of courage yesterday, but I also thought she showed a lot of humility,” he says. “We are all human, and particularly in those areas of our lives, and Gladys is an extremely private person … that would have been really tough, to have that all out there in front of everybody yesterday.
“I would like to thank [NSW treasurer] Dom Perottet and [health minister] Brad Hazzard and the whole the whole team down there in the New South Wales government getting in behind her, and certainly they were the messages sent yesterday.”
Prime minister Scott Morrison is also speaking now, from Brendale in Queensland.
In Sydney, the Berejiklian press conference has just wrapped up, with some parting questions on the racing season.
The Gladys Berejiklian press conference is still continuing, even though the ABC has cut away from it.
Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant is speaking now, providing more information on the new Covid-19 cases.
Berejiklian is asked when she started her relationship with Maguire.
Well, can I say, it is a very subjective and personal thing as to when you think something changed from a friendship to a close personal relationship.
It is a very subjective thing. And I have provided information to the best of my recollection and in full openness. And in fact, I was as open as I could be for someone who is very private.
A back and forth between Berejiklian and the reporters about any improper conduct.
Berejiklian says: “I was absolutely not aware, which is why I didn’t report anything.”
Reporter: “Premier, he told you on the call.”
Berejiklian: “The matters before the Icac involving Mr Maguire are subject to those investigations. I stress again I did nothing wrong. If I had, I would be the first to put my hand up.
“Mr Maguire approached a number of people in government, a number of public servants. He was rigorous in his attempts and his attempts amounted to nothing. His attempts amounted to nothing.
“This person had been in parliament for 15 years. And unfortunately sometimes people are able to get away with things without a lot of people realising.”
Berejiklian is also asked whether it is acceptable for an MP to do business deals with developers, even if they are not found to be corrupt by Icac.
She says that she does not set the rules around what MPs can and can’t do.
“There are various rules and obligations and business interests which are outlined in the code, that parliamentary secretaries and members of parliament are able to engage in. Those activities are not determined by me. They’re determined by various bodies.
“If people want to put to me in a further restriction of what business activities and what business interests members should have, that is something the government is happy to consider.”
Gladys Berejiklian is now being asked about her relationship with disgraced MP Daryl Maguire, who is being investigated by Icac, and whether she knew of any wrongdoing.
She is asked why it did not “ring alarm bells” when Maguire spoke to her about his potential business deals.
She says that “at all times” there was a distinction between her personal life and her public office.
“I have always acted in the best interests of the people of this state, I’ve not done anything wrong,” she says. “I will not tolerate, I never have and never will, any improper conduct.
“Had I known any wrongdoing was done at any stage I would have not have hesitated to act and I have acted very swiftly when I needed to.”
Dr Kerry Chant says two pop-up testing clinics have been set up. One at Lakemba and one at Oran Park.
“The Oran Park testing is established today at 1pm until 6.30pm and depending on demand the operational hours can be amended.”
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian is speaking now.
She announces that from Friday, outdoor venues will be allowed to have the two square metre rule – rather than four square metres – outside.
She also says musical performances can have 500 people as long as they are seated, it is outside and complies with the four square metre rule.
But businesses who want to adopt the relaxed restrictions will need to use a QR code sign-in system.
Youthlaw, Victoria’s free legal service for young people, has criticised new laws expected to be passed this week that it says expand police powers “under the cover of Covid”.
The Victorian government last week amended its omnibus bill – which expanded police powers – after concerns were raised about overreach.
But Youthlaw’s chief executive, Ariel Couchman, says that there is a “second-tier police force bill” that will pass unnoticed.
The bill will expand the reach of armed protective services officers (PSOs).
“In the same week as the amended omnibus b ill we will see a bill enter the Senate which will permit armed PSOs, with just 12 weeks of training, to operate in any public space – including shopping centres, roadways, public entertainment venues and sports grounds – with powers to detain, arrest and search,” she said.
“This bill represents a significant blurring of the roles outside of the original parameters of the PSO program which saw them only deployed in and around the transport network. We can now expect to see more and more PSOS carrying out the work of the Victorian police force.
“Under cover of Covid, the state government is effectively building a second-tier police force, with a fraction of the training and no independent accountability.”
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian will address the media at 12.30pm – along with treasurer Dominic Perrottet, health minister Brad Hazzard and the chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant.
Annastacia Palaszczuk is speaking now, addressing reports that her opponent in the upcoming state election, Deb Frecklington, was referred to the electoral commission by her own party over potentially illegal donations.
Frecklington has denied the report, published by the ABC, saying that she has not been referred to the electoral commission, and did nothing wrong.
“Let me say very clearly that there is a ban on property developer donations going to political parties,” Palaszczuk says. “That was a ban that my government proudly introduced. It is a very serious offence for people to be engaging with property developers in getting donations from them when it is against the law to do so.”’
Frecklington said that she may have attended dinners where developers were present, but they did not donate.
Palaszczuk says that she has not attended any fundraisers where property developers have been present.
“Not to my knowledge because the party does very, very detailed investigations about people who are attending those events.”
The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, is about to speak as well.
The treasurer, Cameron Dick, starts the press conference, and says that Deb Frecklington should resign, because her own party is leaking against her.
“One thing is sure and certain about Queensland politics, if you can’t lead your party, you can’t lead Queensland,” he says. “If you can’t govern your party, you can’t govern Queensland.
“These are not the Labor party’s words. These are leaks and destabilisation that’s coming from the LNP, targeting their own leader.”
‘I attend dinners all the time’: Frecklington denies wrongdoing
Deb Frecklington, the Queensland opposition leader, is speaking now about reports that she has been referred to the state’s electoral commission.
Frecklington denies any wrongdoing and says “as far as I’m aware”, the electoral commission is not investigating.
The ABC reported today that she had been referred over a series of dinners with property developers. Donations from property developers have been illegal in the state since 2018
“Let’s make it really clear, I stand by my integrity,” she says.
“In relation to any fundraising dinners, anyone who donates fills in a declaration and it is on the EQQ website. In relation to private dinners, I attend dinners all the time. I’m a politician and I attend supporters’ dinners. Of course I do.”
She says it is legal for prohibited donors to attend fundraisers as long as they do not donate.
“On the ECQ website, anyone can attend a fundraiser but a prohibited donor cannot donate,” she says. “It’s on the ECQ website that prohibited donors can attend fundraising events, they just cannot donate”.
A reporter asks her: “Your party warned you not to go to a dinner and did you still go?”
Frecklington responds: “That’s not a correct assertion.”
He says that vote of no confidence against him today, planned by the Victorian opposition, is “cheap politics”.
“Cheap politics does not work against this virus,” he says. “Cheap politics does not
work against this wildly infectious virus. If it did, then those who are completely irrelevant would have a much greater part to play.”
Andrews responds to questions about whether he will resign.
He is asked:
You’ve said repeatedly that you’re ultimately accountable and responsible as head of your government for what goes on. So far, you’ve let your health minister and your departmental secretary take the fall for the hotel quarantine program. You’re still here.
What gives you confidence that you should remain as premier, given you’ve said that two of the most senior members of your team did the right thing by resigning?
I don’t run from challenges. That’s not who I am. And if that’s not clear to you, then you perhaps don’t know me particularly well.
My accountability is very obvious. I want a report to be handed down and then I will take the decisive action to make sure that these sorts of mistakes can never happen again. I’m not doing any cut and run here.
He says that people should wait for the report of the hotel quarantine inquiry.