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Australian politics live: Coalition feels heat over emissions policy as Victoria records no new Covid cases for 10th day

Federal parliament returns as Biden administration vows to sign back up to Paris agreement; NSW unveils ambitious renewable energy plan to create 60 wind and solar farms. Follow all the updates live

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10.03pm GMT

Simon Birmingham, who steps into Mathias Cormann’s shoes today, as government leader of the Senate, had some issues finding a line which worked this morning, as this exchange between himself and David Speers shows:

Speers: One of the things that Joe Biden spoke about in his victory speech there was climate change. He wants to recommit to the Paris Agreement. He has plans to implement a net zero by 2050 emissions target. Do you think that the US setting that net zero target by 2050 will be helpful?

Well, we welcome the fact that Joe Biden is committed to the Paris Agreement. Our Government never walked away from the Paris Agreement …

Well look, David, I’m making the point very clearly here – the Paris Agreement is what Australia is deeply committed to. We’ve never walked away from it.

I think what is helpful is that Joe Biden has also outlined a clear approach to invest in technologies – the same type of technology roadmap.

Well, what is helpful – are policies that actually change emissions profiles. That’s what we’re investing in in Australia, and we look forward to the United States taking a complementary approach in investing similarly in terms of emissions reductions policies. You know, Australia has reduced emissions by a greater rate since 2005 than the OECD, on average, by a greater rate than the United States. What we want to see is that the rest of the world achieves the same type of success as we have in building a strong trajectory to get us to the point of net zero as soon as possible. The Paris Agreement commits all parties to achieving that in the second-half of this century but we want it done as soon as possible …

9.53pm GMT

And here is Penny Wong on what Murph was talking about, with Mark Butler:

You know, what the Biden victory demonstrates is that a centre-left party can be elected with an ambitious climate policy. President-elect Biden’s policy is not only net zero by 2050. It’s zero emissions from the electricity sector by 2035. It’s a massive investment in clean energy. And that demonstrates that we have the world’s greatest power on track to be part of the fight against climate change, part of trying to control what we are seeing already occurring. And that’s what matters. That’s what matters and what matters also is that we have a government which is now increasingly isolated.

We have the US, we have Japan, we have South Korea, United Kingdom, the European Union and many others, all signed up to net zero by 2050. And here we have Scott Morrison and Matt Canavan playing politics on climate.

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