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Key posts

  • Factional warfare threatens Victorian state Labor MPs
  • Teachers’ union a ‘protectionist racket’, NSW Education Minister says on eve of strike
  • Queensland to reopen from next Monday
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Factional warfare threatens Victorian state Labor MPs

Ten sitting Victorian Labor MPs could end up being pressured to leave state Parliament at the next election as part of a factional purge, prompting crisis talks and warnings that some will quit early and trigger damaging byelections.

Half a dozen sources from the Labor caucus, the union movement and factions told this masthead that the MPs, nine of whom are closely aligned with former state Labor minister Adem Somyurek, are angry that they are facing internal threats to their seats, and as a result could quit Parliament before next November’s election.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews could face a backlash from angry MPs.Credit:Chris Hopkins

The challenges would amount to an unprecedented shake-up of the party, and the MPs under fire have limited ability to win them because rank-and-file ballots were suspended after Mr Somyurek was implicated in a branch-stacking scandal. Reports by The Age and 60 Minutes prompted the federal party national executive, controlled by Mr Somyurek’s enemies, to take control of Victorian preselections.

“This is a real threat,” said one senior MP who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail the thinking of the frustrated group of members.

“It’ll be byelection after byelection after byelection. This will bring the government’s agenda undone if the madness won’t stop. [Dumping] two or three people – maybe people can swallow that – but not this many. It’s madness.”

Read the rest of the exclusive report here.

Teachers’ union a ‘protectionist racket’, NSW Education Minister says on eve of strike

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has launched a blistering attack on the NSW Teachers Federation, accusing it of being a protection racket that fights transparency and is “hell-bent” on hanging students out to dry for political purposes.

Ahead of the first teachers’ strike in almost 10 years, Ms Mitchell said families should not be punished by a conservative union focused on rewarding long-serving members rather than good teachers. “They do a great disservice to those wanting progressive public policy reform,” she said.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.Credit:James Brickwood

NSW public school teachers will strike for 24 hours today to reject the state government’s offer of a 2.5 per cent a year pay rise. They say their wages are falling behind similar professions and their mounting workload is stopping them from doing their job well.

Teachers want a five per cent pay rise, plus another 2.5 per cent for experience, which is above the government’s legislated 2.5 per cent public sector wage cap. Teachers begin on about $72,263, but their salary does not go beyond about $108,000 if they stay in the classroom.

They point to worsening shortages of teachers in subjects such as maths and science, and in regional and disadvantaged areas, as evidence that the pay is too low.

Read the full story here.

Queensland to reopen from next Monday

Queensland will reopen to vaccinated travellers without the need for quarantine next Monday, December 13.

The state was scheduled to reopen on December 17, but the key benchmark of 80 per cent of eligible Queenslanders being fully vaccinated is expected to be reached later this week.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.Credit:Matt Dennien

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said to give everyone certainty, the state government was locking in 1am Monday as the official relaxation point.

“Our goal was to get to 80 per cent double-dosed, to get as many Queenslanders as we could vaccinated before the borders open, because we know how important it is to reunite families, especially coming up to this really special time of year of Christmas,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

More on the new rules here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Tuesday, December 7. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

  • Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will do the breakfast television rounds this morning after bringing forward her state’s border reopening. The Sunshine State will now reopen to vaccinated travellers on Monday, December 13 instead of Friday, December 17. That’s after a total of more than 200 days of hard border closures. However, as Stuart Layt reports, people must receive a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before arriving into the state and an additional test five days after entering into the Sunshine State.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced Queensland’s hard border restrictions to COVID hotspots will ease from 1am on Monday, December 13.Credit:Matt Dennien

  • Up to 75 per cent of Sydney’s trains are expected to be impacted by strike action today, along with buses in the city’s south west. Teachers in the state are also on strike for the first time in almost a decade and will rally outside NSW Parliament later today. Educators are protesting the state government’s offer of a 2.5 per cent a year pay rise, pointing to staff shortages and overtime as examples of why they believe they should be paid more. Jordan Baker reports that NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has accused the teachers’ union of being “hell-bent” on hanging students out to dry for political purposes. Meanwhile, NSW reported 208 cases of COVID-19 yesterday but zero deaths. Local authorities say there are no 25 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the state.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has accused the teachers’ union of running a protection racket.Credit:James Brickwood

  • In Victoria, several state Labor MPs could end up leaving Parliament at the next election due to factional brawls. Paul Sakkal, Sumeyya Ilanbey and Josh Gordon report that some may even quit Victorian Parliament before next year’s poll, triggering byelections that could give momentum to the state opposition. A number of state Labor MPs have already announced their impending retirement from politics, including Planning Minister Richard Wynne. Victoria recorded 1073 cases of COVID-19 yesterday and six deaths.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews could face a backlash from angry MPs.Credit:Justin McManus

  • In federal politics, Labor has ruled out negotiating with the Greens regarding its 43 per cent target to slash greenhouse gas emissions if there’s a hung Parliament after the next election. As David Crowe and Mike Foley report, Labor is eager to distance itself from the environmental party after Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been out and about claiming that a vote for the centre-left is a vote for the Greens. The Greens want a more ambitious target than Labor’s 43 per cent cut by 2030. You might recall that former prime minister Julia Gillard reversed her position on a carbon tax after needing the Greens’ support in Parliament back in 2010. Labor’s federal environment spokesman, Chris Bowen, will front ABC radio later this morning to elaborate on his party’s current stance.

Labor MP Chris Bowen. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

  • In other news, the ACT reported six cases of COVID-9 yesterday. And we’re still waiting to hear if former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian will throw her hat into the ring to contest Tony Abbott’s former seat of Warringah, currently held by independent Zali Steggall. Yesterday, the PM said he thought Ms Berejiklian – who is currently being investigated by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption – would be a “great” candidate.
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