Welcome to our live coverage of politics from the national capital. All times in AEDST. You can also follow me on Twitter @murpharoo.
This blog auto-refreshes frequently. If this function is too quick for your taste, you can turn it off at the top of the blog.
5.50pm: And with that, we will bid you good evening.
We'll be back Pulsing again next week.
Thanks to Andrew Meares, Penny Bradfield, Tim Lester and all my colleagues in the Fairfax bureaus; and to you Pulsers.
Have a great weekend.
5.45pm: Now to some breaking news from senior correspondent Dan Flitton and Jessica Wright.
Video too by Tim Lester with Charles Lepani, PNG's envoy to Australia.
"Papua New Guinea has responded with dismay over Bob Carr's the surprise threat to sanction the country, calling in Australia's top diplomat in Port Moresby for a dressing down.
After only two days in the job, Australia's new Foreign Minister has already sparked a diplomatic incident after raising the prospect to ''condemn and isolate'' PNG should elections be delayed.
PNG took the rare and serious step to call in Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish this afternoon to complain about Senator Carr's comments made last night during a television interview."
5.41pm: Perhaps Mr Palmer will take it up with this man, at your disposal for the next little while on Twitter.
I'm happy to take some questions on Twitter for the next 20 minutes or so #asktony— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) March 15, 2012
I'm happy to take some questions on Twitter for the next 20 minutes or so #asktony
5.40pm: Fair to say Clive Palmer isn't very happy this evening.
Shame on Gillard and Swan for criticising me for exercising a constitutional right to challenge their ill-conceived carbon tax #auspol— Clive Palmer (@CliveFPalmer) March 15, 2012
Shame on Gillard and Swan for criticising me for exercising a constitutional right to challenge their ill-conceived carbon tax #auspol
5.35pm: Or, depending on how you look at things, 2+2+1-1
5.25pm: Our visiting Ministers from Indonesia couldn't give a toss about who runs the Future Fund.
They are downstairs now, meeting Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
So really, it's 2+2+1.
5.15pm: Now, the parable of the better person, this time by Tony Abbott.
The Opposition leader:
"Well, Kevin Rudd obviously thought Peter Costello was a good choice because Kevin Rudd put Peter Costello on the Future Fund.
The Future Fund only exists because of Peter Costello.
It was because of Peter Costello’s consistent budget surpluses that we have a Future Fund.
What we’ve had from this government is consistent budget deficits.
Peter Costello gave us consistent budget surpluses averaging one per cent a year of GDP. This government has given us the four biggest deficits in Australian history.
I can think of no better person than Peter Costello to manage taxpayers’ money."
5.00pm: A brief parable of a "better" person.
Who is the best man for the job.
Depends who you ask really.
Treasurer Wayne Swan on Melbourne radio this morning.
FAINE: Why didn’t you want Peter Costello when he was thought to be the better person?
TREASURER: No, no sorry; he wasn’t thought to be the better person.
FAINE: Well, some people thought he was.
TREASURER: Well, I’m sure some people thought he was the better candidate but certainly the Government didn’t think he was a better candidate and I think the overwhelming view of the business community would be that Mr Gonski is the better candidate.
Political blogger Grogs Gamut clearly isn't sympathetic to Mr Costello.
Bloke who didn't get job he wanted complains about not getting the job he wanted. #shocked— Greg Jericho (@GrogsGamut) March 15, 2012
Bloke who didn't get job he wanted complains about not getting the job he wanted. #shocked
4.50pm: Interested in thoughts from Pulsers on this.
If the Future Fund recommended Peter Costello for the job, should the Government have accepted that advice?
Or can they do as they wish?
After all, Mr Gonski has impeccable credentials.
If you have a view, get in touch @murpharoo
4.45pm: Peter Costello will be predictably unhappy about not being chosen to run the Future Fund on the ABC's 7:30 Report tonight.
On 730, former Treasurer Peter Costello unloads on the selection process for the chair of the Future Fund board. Don't miss it.— Chris Uhlmann (@CUhlmann) March 15, 2012
On 730, former Treasurer Peter Costello unloads on the selection process for the chair of the Future Fund board. Don't miss it.
4.30pm: Our environment correspondent David Wroe can bring you up to date with some events in the House of Representatives today.
The House seemed to linger for quite some time on a piece of legislation concerning road transport. It was a long pause, worthy as safe road transport is.
So what was all that about?
Blocking a disallowance motion from Independent Rob Oakeshott basically.
- Independent MP Rob Oakeshott’s disallowance motion that would enable logging companies to claim renewable energy certificates on waste woodchips burned to produce electricity was pushed back by some filibustering by Mr Oakeshott (yes, he was into it too); and the Coalition.
- Mr Oakeshott, (even though it was his proposal), wasn't keen to have a vote on the disallowance today.
- The motion is likely to come up again next week.
- The Greens, who are ardently against the motion, (arguing it goes back on part of the clean energy package to which Mr Oakeshott signed up), seem to be confident the numbers are there to shoot it down.
4.15pm: Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has now hit the airwaves to ensure Australians didn't miss Indonesia's significant problems with the Coalition's "turn back the boats policy."
The Indonesian Foreign Minister said earlier today policies that aim make unlawful boat arrivals someone else's problem (ie: if Australia turns back refugee boats to Indonesia as the Coalition proposes to do) are not helpful.
Not workable. The only way forward is regional cooperation.
This was quite a strong statement from Indonesia.
Mr Bowen is telling Sky News: "The Coalition should accept that policy is dead."
4.05pm: Today's birthday in politics is Queensland Liberal Senator Sue Boyce.
Happy birthday Senator Boyce.
3.55pm: Just a reminder folks, if you want to bother, (sorry - send polite and constructive thoughts and questions) to Malcolm Turnbull after his outing on Q&A this week, pop over here.
3.50pm: Question Time is over, but still they argue the toss.
Liberal Wyatt Roy.
Well @Wyatt_Roy_MP, hope it gave you time to think about small businesses in Caboolture & the tax cuts you don't think they deserve. TeamJG— Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) March 15, 2012
Well @Wyatt_Roy_MP, hope it gave you time to think about small businesses in Caboolture & the tax cuts you don't think they deserve. TeamJG
3.21pm: We should note that a Cabinet Minister, Tanya Plibersek, was one of the many MPs thrown out in today's Question Time.
3.20pm: Good afternoon all.
3.15pm: Liberal Sophie Mirrabella objects to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon's use of the term "Liberal boys."
(Ms Roxon is arguing the Opposition is only interested in jobs for one of their own. Jobs for the boys.)
Editor of the ABC's opinion site, Jonathan Green, is with Mrs Mirrabella.
i too am offended by the expression 'liberal boys' #qt— Jonathan Green (@GreenJ) March 15, 2012
i too am offended by the expression 'liberal boys' #qt
Speaker Slipper is not buying, although he pauses to consider.
(NB: This entry is corrected from the original post. I thought it was the Speaker who had objected to the expression in the din of today's Question Time, and that was my first report. Apologies Pulsers.)
(Good grief a second correction! The horror. The story has broken now, 3.40pm, that Jonathan Green has resigned as the editor of The Drum. He's moving to Radio National. In fact he's already there, I spoke to him last Sunday. All the best Jonathan.)
3.10pm: On being sashimi-ed.
3.05pm: Speaker Slipper insists that Mr Abbott withdraw disorderly terms like lying if he wants to remain in the House.
Mr Abbott digs in at first.
Speaker Slipper stands his ground.
Then Mr Abbott withdraws.
3.01pm: A ringside observation from The Sydney Morning Herald's Phillip Coorey.
Abbott complains that costello didn't get future fund gig. Costello once complained Abbott stopped him being PM— Phillip Coorey (@PhillipCoorey) March 15, 2012
Abbott complains that costello didn't get future fund gig. Costello once complained Abbott stopped him being PM
2.59pm: The Future Fund only exists because Peter Costello created it, Mr Abbott shouts.
Mr Costello was good enough for Kevin Rudd, who was generous enough to appoint him. Why isn't he good enough for this unworthy and embarrassing Prime Minister?
The Coalition is not against David Gonski, but David Gonski himself thinks Peter Costello was a better candidate, Mr Abbott says.
2.53pm: Peter Costello was not the best person for the job, David Gonski was, Ms Gillard insists.
The Liberals should avoid going on a Liberals for jobs campaign, she says, derisively.
And here comes the suspension of the standing orders.
From Mr Abbott.
Explain yourself, Prime Minister, he says.
Why did you ignore your experts on this critical appointment?
The Future Fund manages $70 billion worth of taxpayers funds.
"The Government has been incompetent in managing (the appointment) and dishonest in explaining it."
"This Prime Minister owes the country an explanation."
2.50pm: Now, way too much fluff and nonsense this afternoon.
It certainly is Thursday isn't it?
Finally some substance.
Three questions now to the Prime Minister on the Future Fund.
Why didn't the government follow the advice of the Board of Guardians, Mr Abbott (and others) ask?
It is believed the Board of Guardians wanted former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello.
The Government ignored them and appointed David Gonski.
"We appointed the best person for the job," Ms Gillard says, of David Gonski.
"Would the Leader of the Opposition have us do anything else?"
2.45pm: From one superb fashionista to another.
@PeterSlipperMP The tie is splendid.But you should wear the wig too - jazz it up with a black streak to go with the two tone tie.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 15, 2012
@PeterSlipperMP The tie is splendid.But you should wear the wig too - jazz it up with a black streak to go with the two tone tie.
2.40pm: It is always our mission on The Pulse to bring you the inside story.
Here is the offending pot, clutched by Mr Smith.
See the no carbon tax stamp?
Stamped by Tony Abbott himself, during a visit to Garden City Plastics last year.
2.35pm: Liberal Ewen Jones has been ejected.
Now we are on to Fair Work Australia, and the Thomson investigation.
The Prime Minister is not amused.
The Opposition must have run out of material she suggests.
They certainly won't be asking questions about business tax cuts, Ms Gillard says.
Now deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop has been punted.
2.30pm: Speaker Slipper is insisting Mr Smith's pot prop be removed from the House.
(Someone needs to move that the pot be no longer heard.)
The world's most famous backbencher, Kevin Rudd can see the funny side.
2.25pm: Good grief.
Click on the live link to have a look at the new bow tie.
Now Victorian Liberal Tony Smith is asking about the impact of the carbon price on plastic pot manufacturing.
A pot has been brandished in evidence.
Speaker Slipper notes that props are "undesirable".
The Prime Minister says if Mr Smith is worried about the pot business, he should give them a tax cut.
Mr Smith is hollering.
And now the Member for Casey has been shown the door by Speaker Slipper.
And as the PM answers the question, Smith is booted (the flower pot remains in the house on his desk) #qt— James Massola (@jamesmassola) March 15, 2012
And as the PM answers the question, Smith is booted (the flower pot remains in the house on his desk) #qt
2.20pm: A news break from fashionista Maley, the inventor of the term "Slipperace" to describe Speaker Peter Slipper.
Slipperace has a new tie. Abbott does not have a new line of questioning. It's carbon tax charges on Westfield centres. #QT— Jacqueline Maley (@JacquelineMaley) March 15, 2012
Slipperace has a new tie. Abbott does not have a new line of questioning. It's carbon tax charges on Westfield centres. #QT
The Prime Minister meanwhile is being asked about bus prices, and kids catching buses under the carbon tax.
2.15pm: And the moment of tranquility ends abruptly.
Back to the carbon price.
Mr Abbott opens with the negative impact on retailers.
Prime Minister Gillard says stories in the tabloids this morning concerning the precise point Mr Abbott is making about shop leases are based on a false premise.
"This clause has been in leases for several years," Ms Gillard says.
Ms Gillard says Mr Abbott would be better giving small business a tax cut.
"He's too busy doing what Clive Palmer tells him to instead."
Mr Abbott regroups and comes back with a supplemetary.
Does the Prime Minister regret misleading people when she said only 500 businesses would pay the tax, and there would be no carbon tax under the government she led.
Ms Gillard says that's basically the number of businesses that will be impacted.
"No amount of shouting in Question Time" will change that.
2.05pm: Prime Minister Julia Gillard opens with a tribute to former National Senator Douglas Scott, who has died, aged 91.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott rises to support Ms Gillard's words, and hands over to Warren Truss, leader of the Nationals.
"Solid, fair-minded and decent," Mr Truss says of the late Douglas Scott.
1.55pm: Question Time coming.
Feel the excitement.
1.45pm: Coming to a Facebook account near you.
1.25pm: Some senior Coalition staff have rolled over the ring tones on their smart phones.
It used to be Prime Minister Julia Gillard's infamous utterance: "There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead."
They have now moved on to the equally infamous "we are us" moment from the ALP national conference.
(Do you recall that ALP conference speech where Ms Gillard said of her party, then brimming with internal leadership tensions and personality conflicts, "we are us?")
The passage of time hasn't made that line any better unfortunately.
Now when phones ring, this is the ringtone in the Prime Minister's distinctive timbre.
"We follow it simply because we are us."
1.10pm: That nice Bob Brown.
Too polite to crow.
Back to nuclear subs, and that botched motion we spoke of in the 10.55am entry, for a minute.
Here's a statement from Senator Brown:
"Labor and the Coalition's about-turn on their support for nuclear submarines is a welcome acknowledgment that they made a mistake yesterday in a Senate vote, Australian Greens leader Senator Bob Brown said today.
Labor and the Coalition yesterday voted against Senator Brown's motion: That the Senate reject the proposal, backed by the former Minister for Defence, Mr Peter Reith, for Australia to purchase nuclear submarines serviced in the United States of America (US) or at a US base established in Australia.
But today the government asked for the vote to be recommitted and both parties accepted the motion.
"What a difference a day makes," Senator Brown said.
"Australia's stance should remain strongly against nuclear power and nuclear military hardware, and that includes housing nuclear vessels from other countries in our ports."
Andrew Carr from the Australian National University, however, is not so stoked.
He thinks the proposal required serious consideration.
Good to see the ALP voted to consider buying nuclear submarines from Washington. A shame if, as @murpharoo says, it was in error.— Andrew Carr (@AOCarr) March 15, 2012
Good to see the ALP voted to consider buying nuclear submarines from Washington. A shame if, as @murpharoo says, it was in error.
Let Andrew Meares put you in the room for a minute for this morning's "2+2."
While I've been gathering:
Tony Abbott says his concern with carbon price is not that it is necessarily unconstitutional but that it's 'unethical.'— Latika Bourke(@latikambourke) March 15, 2012
Tony Abbott says his concern with carbon price is not that it is necessarily unconstitutional but that it's 'unethical.'
That's a change from a few hours ago on 2UE when Tony Abbott said he shared concerns about the constitutionality of thecarbon price.— Latika Bourke(@latikambourke) March 15, 2012
That's a change from a few hours ago on 2UE when Tony Abbott said he shared concerns about the constitutionality of thecarbon price.
12.50pm: I'm conscious I haven't had a chance to get across another major story doing the rounds today, a stoush over leadership of the Future Fund.
Former Liberal Treasurer Peter Costello has been snubbed by the government who appointed him to his current gig at the Future Fund.
Fortunately our business correspondent Clancy Yeates has stepped into the breach.
Here's Clancy's snippet bringing us up to speed:
- The stoush over Labor’s decision to overlook Peter Costello as head of the Future Fund is escalating today.
- It’s now emerged that Cabinet ignored the Fund’s board members, who thought Costello was the right man for the job.
- Mr Costello is already one of the Fund’s directors, after being appointed by Kevin Rudd.
- Making things more complicated, the person who passed on the board’s endorsement of Costello to the Government was no other than new chairman, David Gonski, after being retained to sound out the directors.
- The Coalition says Costello was overlooked for petty political reasons, but Finance Minister Penny Wong insists Costello just wasn’t right for the job.
Here too is a news story from The Australian Financial Review's political editor, Laura Tingle, with all the relevant particulars.
12.45pm: Gathering here now for a few minutes.
Here's a little snap The Sydney Morning Herald sketch writer Jacqueline Maley sent of kids waiting for the Prime Minister this morning.
Jacquie said the Prime Minister prompted hysteria among the school kids.
"Here is a bunch of them expectantly waiting. Julia Gillard is doing a walk around and they are all jostling to have photos with her. No doubt being uploaded to Facebook as we speak."
12.41pm: Why am I the shortest man at this podium?
Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro.
(Thanks to Andrew Meares)
12.40pm: Over to you Marty.
Do you mind if I call you Marty?
12.30pm: On live exports. Is Indonesia going to wind back live cattle exports?
Minister Natalegawa says politely "lessons have been learned" from "the previous episode."
Was the containment of China discussed?
No, says Bob Carr.
Minister Natalegawa is more nuanced.
He says regional architecture was part of the discussion. He says there is a general wish on the part of our countries that the region remain benign. We should not create conditions threatening the outlook.
But Indonesia has always believed that conditions are best served where there is an absence of dominant power in the region.
Bob Carr winds up by telling reporters he's exchanged mobile numbers with his Indonesian counterpart.
12.25pm: A question from Australia on Mr Abbott's policy of turning back the boats.
Minister Natalegawa says boat people are a regional problem.
Everyone needs to pull their weight.
"Naturally it would be impossible and not advisable to shift the problem from one end of the continuum to the other.
"We must be presenting collectively, not partially, as part of the solution."
12.20pm: The Indonesian journalists ask about US Marines in the Northern Territory.
"There is a belief it could create tension and mistrust in the region."
Senator Carr says there won't be tension.
"We had an enormously useful discussion about using the US presence to coordinate humanitarian relief," Senator Carr says.
Minister Natalegawa says the Indonesians initially queried the US deployment.
But it's ok now.
"If there were some questions initially, those questions have been provided answers for."
12.15pm: Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro notes he is the shortest man at the podium.
12.10pm: Minister Marty Natalegawa says this morning has been time well spent.
The Australia-Indonesia relationship is "strong, solid, and critically important."
But there's plenty of room for improvement.
"I am looking for more opportunities for enhancement of our very positive relations."
He congratulates Bob Carr on his appointment.
Minister Natalegawa says he's looking for a personal bond, like with "Kevin, and Stephen (Smith) before."
12.05pm: Now here is Bob Carr, quoting Paul Keating, at his press conference with the Indonesians.
We've talked security, regional cooperation, Senator Carr says.
"We already work together in substantial ways," Bob Le Carr(e) says.
(Sorry. I'll stop now.)
"Today we shared ideas about how to make the relationship stronger."
11.50am: It's worth putting Mr Palmer's argument on the record too.
Here he is last night, with the ABC's Chris Uhlmann.
[The quick summary of Mr Palmer's position: I can't tell you what our legal argument is, because I'm not a lawyer. We will challenge the carbon tax because it is a "joke."]
CHRIS UHLMANN: On what grounds is it unconstitutional?
CLIVE PALMER: Well the grounds are set out in legal advice and they'll be coming in the High Court. I can't answer that question 'cause I'm not an lawyer. I can only go on the advice that I'm given, and so we'll be looking forward to the challenge.
CHRIS UHLMANN: I thought you were a reasonably good bush lawyer. You've been - you started in a prosecutor's office, didn't you? You must understand the argument.
CLIVE PALMER: No, I didn't. No, never worked in a prosecutor's - no, I never worked in a prosecutor's office, but we think it's unconstitutional. You can't really tax carbon. The other thing about it of course is it's a joke because the air moves right around the world. If you tax something in Australia, those initiatives will go offshore, those jobs will go offshore and the same amount of carbon will be emitted in the atmosphere. What we need is a global approach to the taxing of carbon or the regulating of carbon, regulating of industry. We don't want something that discriminates against Australian industry and Australian workers.
11.45am: Meanwhile, back at the Rudds.
I'm on @theprojecttv tonight. Thinking about pinching a souvenir from the set. Tips?— Jessica Rudd (@Jess_Rudd) March 15, 2012
I'm on @theprojecttv tonight. Thinking about pinching a souvenir from the set. Tips?
And brace yourselves.
Tasmanian Independent Andrew Wilkie is going bald.
For a worthy cause.
11.40am: Just for the record, here's what Mr Abbott said on 2UE earlier today about Mr Palmer's threatened legal challenge to the clean energy package.
JASON MORRISON: Are there constitutional problems with it? Have you flagged this?
TONY ABBOTT: It’s a very interesting question, Jason.
I certainly think that there are some constitutional issues.
Normally, the Commonwealth can’t tax the states, for instance, and this is going to be a tax that’s paid by the state governments and its instrumentalities.
So, I think there are some constitutional issues.
Whether they’re sufficient to raise a constitutional challenge is really up to people who have got standing and the obvious people to challenge the thing would be the state governments and let’s wait and see what happens.
11.15am: Schools Minister Peter Garrett was meant to be out with the Prime Minister this morning, but was not granted a pair.
He's had to take to Twitter to get his grab out.
More schools in the ACT to have greater decion-making powers under our Empowering Local Schools plan, announced by@JuliaGillard today— Peter Garrett AM MP (@PGarrettMP) March 15, 2012
More schools in the ACT to have greater decion-making powers under our Empowering Local Schools plan, announced by@JuliaGillard today
11.05am: Prime Minister Julia Gillard has bobbed up at the school.
She's asked what she thinks of Clive Palmer's legal challenge.
Mr Abbott has been out this morning suggesting the courts should look at the package.
"Clive Palmer tells Tony Abbott what to do," Ms Gillard says, crisp.
"Of course we took very careful advice."
Ms Gillard is asked whether or not she agrees with her Treasurer's attack on the billionaires.
She does, she says, although she's careful to say she's not against people getting rich.
Good luck to them.
But the government does not govern for the billionaires.
"The billionaires don't tell us what to do."
10.55am: We've often reflected that the Senate is another country.
We brought you a snippet yesterday of a motion from Liberal Gary Humphries that went awry.
There was another small debacle yesterday that has just come across my desk.
Greens leader Bob Brown had a motion debated that Australia should not buy nuclear submarines from Washington.
Labor accidentally voted the wrong way.
They voted with the Coalition, effectively concluding we should buy nuclear subs from Washington.
A big scramble over the past few hours to try and reverse the mistake.
The motion will come back to the Senate today to try and clean up.
Votes on motions start at ten to 12.
10.45am: Meanwhile to matters of weight.
Here is Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr and Defence Minister Stephen Smith shaking hands with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro for the inaugural Australia-Indonesia 2+2 Ministerial Meeting at Parliament House.
10.40am: The Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, is aware The Pulse is a constituent with access to a mechanism for live publishing.
Ms Brodtmann has just called by to enlist me in an effort to push back against a campaign from the Member for Fraser, Andrew Leigh.
Mr Leigh believes the northern suburbs of Canberra are the best. Ms Brodtmann begs to differ.
You are sensing merchandise aren't you?
You are right.
(We have to agree.)
Although the north side of Canberra rocks too.
We don't take sides in playground fights.
10.30am: One of the things I plan to do regularly on The Pulse, now we are up and running, is put a spotlight on Canberra's army of lobbyists.
I imagine many Pulse readers are curious about who these people are, and who they represent.
I'll start this morning with The Endeavour Consulting Group.
Pictured below left to right are Mark Baker, Jeff Townsend and Paul Chamberlin.
Mr Baker and Mr Chamberlin have worked in Parliament House for the Coalition: Mr Baker for John Howard and Mr Chamberlin for John Anderson and Warren Truss.
Mr Townsend worked for Bob Hawke and John Dawkins.
Some lobyying firms line up strongly with one side of politics, others make sure there are productive links across the divide.
Here are their current clients according to the register of lobbyists maintained by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
- Australian Orthopaedic Association
- City West Property Holdings Pty Ltd
- National Public Affairs Group
- Rio Tinto Ltd
- Christmas Island Phosphates
- Energy Resources Australia Ltd
- Incitec Pivot Pty Ltd
- American Express International Incorporated
- Northern Land Council
- The Shell Company of Australia Ltd
- Seven Network
- Ure Chan Group
- University of Canberra
- Vivid Wireless
- Rio Tinto Alcan
- Vinta Group
- Pindo Deli
- Vodafone Hutchison
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
- Clubs NSW
- Clubs Australia
- Village Building Company
- Dixon Advisory and Superannuation Services Ltd
- Lion National Foods
- Leighton Properties
9.55am: Flushed from the success of a Twitter forum recently on his swingeing essay in The Monthly about wealth and influence in national politics, Treasurer Wayne Swan is taking questions from readers this morning on news.com.au, staring in five minutes.
A tech head, clearly.
The new black.
9.50am: While blows are traded in the political arena about the constitutionality or otherwise of the Gillard Government's clean energy package, the experts say don't get complacent on the climate.
Don't let that wet summer convince you that it's now problem solved - look at the trend.
Here is David Wroe's news report from this morning.
"Australia's top climate advisory panel has warned strongly against letting the recent mild and wet weather encourage complacency about climate change, insisting the long-term trend remains as alarming as ever.
Following yesterday's CSIRO report that warned greenhouse gas levels were the highest in 800,000 years, the Climate Commission - a scientific agency set up to inform Australians about global warming - expressed concern in a discussion paper that people were confusing weather patterns with long-term climate change.
The climate commissioner and Australian National University academic Will Steffen said 2011 had been dominated by La Nina, the weather effects produced by cool ocean surface temperatures around the equator in the eastern Pacific.
''After a couple of years, the dams are full, everything is green around you, the soil moisture is topped up,'' Professor Steffen said.
''And you say, 'This is looking pretty good. What happened to all the droughts and dry periods that we thought were associated with climate change? That's a very common perception you hear. But these things are superimposed on a longer, underlying trend.''
9.40am: Opposition leader Tony Abbott is making haste to Calvary John James Private Hospital in Deakin for his event this morning.
9.37am: Crikey's Bernard Keane decodes Mr Palmer's position on the carbon price.
Shorter Clive Palmer: "I like carbon pricing where it is."— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) March 14, 2012
Shorter Clive Palmer: "I like carbon pricing where it is."
Labor's Bill Shorten, (I think), is all about the vibe.
9.35am: The Prime Minister is off to Gungahlin College this morning for her pre Question Time excursion.
9.30am: Climate Change Minister Greg Combet doesn't look worried, it must be said.
Apparently Mr Palmer has more money than sense.
Here's Mr Combet on Sky News this morning.
"Well we are sure that we are on very strong grounds in the clean energy package in the way in which it was legislated."
"It relies upon a number of powers under the Constitution including the corporations power and the external affairs power, so I think this is just another foray by Mr Palmer who has got more money than sense really."
9.20am: Good morning and welcome.
So Clive Palmer thinks the Gillard Government's carbon tax might be unconstitutional.