This morning at the Senate's COVID19 oversight committee - Nev Power, Chair of the PM's secretive National COVID19 Commission.

Livetweeting in this thread.
Lots of boiler plate stuff in the opening statements, no mention of gas.
. @SenKatyG points out PMC is massively overdue on large numbers of questions on notice. currently ~100 unanswered. Dept Sec waves them off
Gaetjans says he heard about the failures of Commonwealth age care response to St Basils outbreak by media reports this morning.

PMC says it's not their problem
PMC Dept Sec says improving pandemic response in age care is not his problem, a problem for other Departments.

The PM's top official, the Secretary of his Department, says the pandemic response to the age care crisis is a problem for other Departments.
Deputy Sec steps in to confirm they do have their own officials in PMC. Have they briefed PM on age care esp St Basil? "there have been regular briefings" - insisting on this form of words
PMC Dept Sec now dredging up guidelines about communicable diseases, which as the Senator points out, is not a comprehensive commonwealth plan for aged care
Gaetjens is taking offense on behalf of the AHPPC that the Senator would question their performance.
Who is in charge of JobMaker. PMC seems a little unclear, but someone in PMC.

Is there a plan?

The PM gave speeches, talk of a five year plan (!). No plan.
Asked about the JobMaker policy announced 78 days ago, the official is pointing to the speech made by the PM.

How many jobs will JobMaker make? (if a jobmaker could make jobs)

We'll have to see in the budget.
. @SenatorSiewert is also grilling PMC over failings in aged care.
GAS. The NCCC's gas subsidy report, govt sitting on it since May - when will it be released?

"A matter for govt."
. @sarahinthesen8: when is any of the arts sector package going to be spent?

PMC: well most of it is for events and they can't do events now anyway so

. @JacquiLambie wants to know "who is lying here" about PPE - govt said there was enough, now we have a problem.

Is PMC going to take responsibility?

PMC says all requests for gear is met, but there is a 'professional dispute' about what gear is needed
Lambie is having a good go at shortages of PPE - is someone going to step in? PMC says there is no shortage.
. @Senator_Patrick wants to know what part of answering questions for PMC is "outside of his control". PMC says it goes somewhere else - the PM? - but not for approval, surely not
Now all NCC advice goes direct to the PM.

The Dept Secs of the core agencies all sit on the Commission.
Inspector Rex wants to see the org chart.

Nev Power steps in, sets it out. He Chairs the board, which gives advice to the PM.

Now nothing goes through the Department, unless they are asked to.
. @Senator_Patrick can find the new PMC org chart here. Nev Power now sits alongside the Dept Sec of PMC.
. @MurrayWatt wants to know what PWC is doing under contract for the NCC.

Strategic communications framework, social media.
Also asking about the half a million to Boston Consulting, to write the "subsidise new gas" report.
Watt: this is core APS work, why was this outsourced?

"Surge capacity".

Did any other taskforce require outsourced help?


So why did the manufacturing one need it?

Because they asked fior a plan
So are we ever going to see the report that we paid for?

"A matter for government"
Murray Watt wants to know if NCC is open to renewably powered manufacturing?

Nev Power goes straight to feedstock, which is a SMALL minority of overall gas.

Most gas is burnt, and that can be replaced easily.
Nev Power says we need more gas to reduce prices. Funny that the exact opposite has happened...
Nev says we need more gas for firming of renewables - funny, the AEMO ISP says the exact opposite
NCC has not looked at promoting renewables and storage.

There you have it.
What about the half a million to a former Liberal Party pollsters?

COVID message testing, essentially.
Ex Liberal party pollster commissioned to research

"How to message to the community" on "non health" issues, how to promote "compliance" and "understanding"
Can we please see the reports?

"I'll take that on notice Senator"
Have any steps been taken to stop the ex Liberal Party pollster's research, paid by the Commonwealth, going to the Liberal Party?

"I can't comment on arrangements in the PM's office".
The pollster has been given /another/ contract, by Treasury. PMC doesn't know anything about it.
NCC has made a new contract with another org linked to the Liberal Party. What is it for?

"General support services" in govt communications.
Is the NCC sure the other contracts don't involve Liberal party people? (Patterson interjects, or Labor?)

"we're using existing methods, widely used"
. @SenatorSiewert: has PMC started implementing the recommendations of the NCC "subsidise gas" report?

The pall of cabinet confidence falls across the monotony of the official response.
PMC forced to admit they have provided advice on that report.
"We wouldn't necessarily expect the report to be implemented, we would expect it to inform the Minister's thinking"...
Is the NCC recommending subsidies for gas?

Nev Power says "we recommend support for pipelines ... not necessarily subsidy... "
What sort of support?

"Guaranteed offtakes" - IE promising to buy the gas.

= a subsidy
Nev Power is admitting that his secret report recommends government promise to buy gas to support gas infrastructure.
Gas executive says that promising to buy gas to get new gas infrastructure built is not a subsidy.
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