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There's a lot going on in politics in this final sitting fortnight of 2021

There's a lot going on in politics today.

His replacement is tipped to be Queensland LNP MP Andrew Wallace but former minister Kevin Andrews and Sydney-based MP Trent Zimmerman are also considered to be angling for the job.

A vote will take place today to decide who will fill the big shoes left behind by Mr Smith, who is considered one of the best Speakers of modern times.

Sticking with federal politics and Penny Wong has accused Defence Minister Peter Dutton of deliberately stoking conflict with China in "the most dangerous election tactic in Australian history".

Meanwhile, Liberal and Nationals politicians are expected to endorse a contentious proposal to boost religious discrimination protections.

The bill will go to the coalition's joint partyroom on Tuesday when members are set to see and approve it.

The federal government would like to put the 2019 federal promise to parliament during the final sitting fortnight of the year.

In South Australia, former parliamentary speaker Josh Teague will be sworn in as the state's new attorney-general, taking the role from the embattled Vickie Chapman who is facing an ombudsman's inquiry.

Mr Teague is scheduled to become the state's chief law officer in a ceremony at Government House on Tuesday after being selected for the role by Premier Steven Marshall.

The laws are just nine supporters short of passing in the NSW parliament.

South Australia opens its borders

South Australia has thrown its borders open to all states and territories for the first time in months, with thousands of travellers expected to arrive in the days and weeks ahead.

From Tuesday, people from Victoria, NSW and the ACT are allowed to enter SA along with those from WA, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, although some restrictions and requirements will remain in place.

Aged care workforce crisis

The Australian Aged Care Collaboration, a group of six aged care peak bodies, says the aged care workforce shortage is reaching a crisis point and has called on the federal government to take action.

Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said the current crisis has been worsened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the staffing shortages are nothing new.

CSIRO fears new wave of extinctions

Australia is facing a brutal new wave of extinctions but there's still time to limit how many native species are killed off by foreign invaders, the CSIRO has warned.

The national science agency has released a report detailing what the country has already lost - and stands to lose in the future - to an army of exotic enemies.

The numbers are sobering, both in terms of ecological and financial losses.

- with Australian Associated Press

This story There's a lot going on in politics in this final sitting fortnight of 2021 first appeared on The Canberra Times.