Afternoon Update: Morrison censured; anti-corruption bill passes; and a breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug

<span>Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP</span>
Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Scott Morrison has become the first former prime minister to be officially censured by parliament. The House of Representatives – with the support of Labor, the Greens and the crossbench – passed the censure today, with the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, calling on Morrison to apologise for secretly appointing himself to administer additional portfolios.

Morrison did no such thing, however. Instead, he gave a speech before the vote saying he was “proud” of his achievements as prime minister, and that journalists should have asked about the ministries sooner. Fact: journalists did ask, particularly around the time Peter Dutton fell ill with Covid in March 2020 (and what would happen if ministers fell ill) and again with regard to the Biloela family. Keep your eyes out for a piece from our Canberra bureau on this.

While a censure is a symbolic slap on the wrist, it is significant given the rarity of such a measure being used against a former head of government.

Top news

Independent MP Helen Haines
Independent MP Helen Haines, who has championed integrity in politics, with attorney general Mark Dreyfus. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
  • Anti-corruption bill passes | Australia will have a federal anti-corruption commission by around mid-next year, after legislation passed parliament. It fulfils a Labor promise to get it done before Christmas, but the commission passed without amendments from independents – both in the Senate and the House of Representatives – to lower the bar for public hearings and explicitly include pork barrelling in the scope of investigations.

  • Vape crackdown | The federal government will crack down on children accessing e-cigarettes, including tougher import rules and labelling laws. Teenage vaping rates are soaring, with children as young as 13 calling the Quitline for help.

  • Nationals crack over Indigenous voice | The Nationals MPs Sam Birrell and Michael McCormack are the latest to waver on the party’s decision to oppose the Indigenous voice to parliament. Birrell refused to endorse the party’s stance, while McCormack said they could revisit the decision if more details are provided. It follows MP Andrew Gee’s move yesterday to break ranks with his party and support the voice to parliament. The former Liberal Indigenous affairs minister Ken Wyatt also came out to criticise the Nationals’ move, calling it “disappointing”.

  • Australia v Denmark preview | The Danes are preparing for Australia to “come out strong” in the do-or-die World Cup clash that will determine who proceeds to the playoff round. Our correspondent in Doha, Emma Kemp, has written this preview – the match is scheduled for 2am AEDT.

Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin meets her New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern
Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin meets her New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern. Photograph: Dave Rowland/Getty Images
  • Ardern, Marin shoot down gender question | A male Kiwi reporter asked Jacinda Ardern and the Finnish PM, Sanna Marin, whether the pair were meeting because they were young female leaders. “We’re meeting because we are prime ministers,” Marin said. “I wonder whether or not anyone ever asked Barack Obama and John Key if they met because they were of similar age,” Ardern added. Marin’s visit to New Zealand marks the first face-to-face meeting between the leaders.

  • Singapore lifts gay sex ban | The city-state repealed a British colonial-era law prohibiting gay sex, but its parliament amended the constitution to effectively block full marriage equality. LGBTQ+ advocacy group Pink Dot called the repeal a “historic milestone for LGBTQ+ equality”, but activists were also dismayed by the constitutional amendment.

  • US same-sex marriage protection | LGBTQ+ rights were also on the agenda in Washington, where the US Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act to protect same-sex marriage from being struck down by the conservative-dominated supreme court. The bill now moves to the House, where Democrats are hoping to rush it through before the chamber switches to majority Republican next year.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are a couple no more after reaching a settlement. Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
  • Kardashian, Kanye finalise divorce | The famous couple are a couple no more after they reached a settlement, averting a trial that had been set for next month. The terms include $200,000 a month in child support payments from Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, to Kim Kardashian.

Full Story

Flood waters in the NSW Riverina region
More homes in Australia are becoming uninsurable due to more frequent extreme weather events. Photograph: Murray McCloskey/AAP

How to fix Australia’s insurance crisis

Flood-ravaged areas face an exorbitant insurance cost. But with the effects of climate change worsening, how much of Australia will become uninsurable? Listen to this 16-minute episode.

What they said …

Liberal MP Bridget Archer in parliament
Coalition MPs walked out before the parliament vote on censuring Scott Morrison, save for Bridget Archer. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


“I do not accept any of the explanations put forward by the former prime minister for his actions. And I’m deeply disappointed by the lack of genuine apology or, more importantly, understanding of the impact of these decisions.” – Bridget Archer

The member for Bass was the sole Coalition MP to support the censure of Morrison, stressing the need to draw a line and “move in the right direction”. Democracy “is not a game”.

In numbers

It’s still too early to say we’ve hit peak inflation, but it strengthens arguments against the need for higher rate rises. It’s not looking too great over in the UK, however, which recorded a new high for food inflation of 12.4%.

Before bed read

Image of nerves in the brain
Lecanemab’s developers, Biogen in the US and Eisai in Japan, conducted a clinical trial of nearly 1,800 Alzheimer’s patients. Photograph: AP

A breakthrough has been achieved in treating Alzheimer’s. A drug has been found to slow the cognitive decline in patients with early stages of the disease. The drug, lecanemab, is an antibody therapy that removes clumps of protein called beta amyloid which builds up in the brain. This showed the drug reducing the decline in patients’ overall mental skills by 27% over 18 months – a modest but significant result.

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