TRUMP DUMPS PARIS ACCORD
Donald Trump has formally announced that the US will withdraw from the global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions signed at Paris in 2015. The decision drew criticism from industry leaders, environmental groups and Democrats but was widely supported by Republicans, despite opposition from within Trump’s innermost circle of advisers. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the president said, at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. While Trump said the US would stop implementing the agreement immediately, he confirmed it would stick to the agreed exit process, which could take up to four years. The US will become the third nation that is not a part of the agreement, Nicaragua and Syria being the other two.
WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS …
While Trump has pushed the eject button, Australia is going the distance with the Paris Accord, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced. The PM said yesterday “we are committed to the Paris agreement, and we’re on track to meet our targets,” which comes despite pressure from the Coalition backbench, some of whom believe Australia should follow the US President’s lead.
Five Coalition MPs — Ian Goodenough, Eric Abetz, Ian MacDonald, Tony Pasin and Craig Kelly — went on the record with Fairfax media to say Australia should also reassess being part of the deal. Kelly, who is the chair of the environment committee, said he would be popping champagne at the news Trump was removing the US from the accord.
The Australian Financial Review‘s Laura Tingle writes today that Trump pulling out of the Paris agreement, coming a week before Chief Scientist Alan Finkel is due to deliver a report on the security of Australia’s national energy grid, represents a tension point for Turnbull:
“If, as expected, Trump gives a green light to shred its credibility, things will only be worse for the Turnbull government in terms of the pressure from its conservative flank to abandon what little [climate change] policy remains.”
TURNBULL TO GIVE SECURITY SPEECH IN SINGAPORE
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is in Singapore for the next three days, and ahead of a speech to be given to an Asia-Pacific defence conference, the PM told Bloomberg China needed to play its part in reigning in North Korea:
“We look to Beijing to bring the pressure to bear on the regime in Pyongyang, to bring it to its senses so that it ceases threatening the peace of the region with its reckless conduct.”
The PM also emphasised Australia’s relationship with the US, saying “the Australia-US alliance is more important than ever”.
Bloomberg wrote that the speech is the “most-anticipated foreign policy speech since becoming prime minister in September 2015” and The Australian‘s Dennis Shanahan echoed the view, labelling the speech “his most important security speech since becoming Prime Minister”.
CENTRELINK CALLS ENGAGED
Some 42 million calls to Centrelink have gone unanswered in the first 10 months of this financial year, it has been revealed at Senate estimates. Just over 42 million callers trying to get onto the government agency got an engaged signal, a huge jump on the almost 29 million in 2015-16, and 22 million in 2014-15.
But bureaucrats dispute the figure, saying people are using apps that call repeatedly, meaning the figure isn’t a true representation of how many people are trying to get through.
The government says an extra 250 staff will help people get through and wait times.
PELL: ‘I’M HANGING IN THERE’
The Australian has managed to ask Cardinal George Pell about the prospect of being charged with historical child sex abuse charges in Rome. Pell told foreign correspondent Jacquelin Magnay:
“Let me just repeat, I am not guilty of any crime.” “I have co-operated fully and will co-operate fully and I await the decision.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Singapore: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will give the keynote address at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue 2017 and hold talks with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Canberra: A Senate committee will hold a hearing into the effects of the government’s Gonski 2.0 plans.
Sydney: Former NSW Minister Ian Macdonald and former union boss John Maitland are set to be sentenced after Macdonald was found guilty of misconduct in public office and Maitland of being an accessory to the misconduct over a decision to grant a mining licence to Maitland in 2008.
Paris: Sam Stosur is the last Australian left in the singles draw at the French Open, and she will take on Bethanie Mattek-Sands tonight.
Malcolm Turnbull’s political fortunes swing on Donald Trump and Alan Finkel — Laura Tingle (Australian Financial Review $) “…if ever there was a time when [Malcolm Turnbull] should show some leadership – rather than simply follow the facts, or concede ground to the right – it is coming up. If ever there was an issue where he needs to redeem himself with disillusioned voters, it is roaring up at him.”
Reforms are urgently needed to the native title scheme — Bryan Keon-Cohen (The Age): “The ALRC’s report was tabled in the Federal Parliament in June 2015. To date, the Turnbull government through the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis QC, has failed to offer any response, let alone adopt these much-needed reforms.”
Our Constitution already gives First Nations a say — James Patterson (The Australian $): “Constitutional change is not necessary for the government or the parliament to establish better consultation processes on laws that directly affect indigenous Australians as sought at Uluru.”
‘It was the best of times, it was …’ for budget accounts — David Uren (The Australian $): “There is always volatility in the quarterly accounts, but the trend, as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, shows the economy has been slowing since the beginning of last year and has not been weaker since the heart of the global financial crisis in 2008-09.”
We must never ignore evil threats from extremists — Tony Abbott (The Daily Telegraph $): “I can understand the thinking behind the Iftar dinner at Kirribilli House last year but its practical impact was to give hardliners a status denied to integrated Muslims, let alone leaders of others faiths.”
There has been gunfire and an explosion at a popular shopping and tourist destination in Manila. Eye witnesses reported seeing a masked gunman on the second floor of a hotel, though the number of casualties is not yet clear. The Phillipines has been battling an Islamist insurgency in the country’s south. — CNN
In the wake of Brexit and the electoral triumph of Donald Trump, pollsters are not exactly held as the oracles they once were, but their parsing of the tea leaves will still be giving comfort to Emmanuel Macron and causing angst for Theresa May. A new poll in France shows Macron’s En Marche party winning a majority in the upcoming June election of the National Assembly. Across the Channel, May’s 24 point lead over rival Jeremy Corbyn is down to as little as three points in one poll, though closer to eight in others. — Reuters
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is a “person of interest” in the FBI investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, The Guardian reports. While Farage is not accused of wrongdoing, his links to those such as Roger Stone have brought him to the attention of investigators. — The Guardian
WHAT WE’RE READING
Looking for right and wrong in the Philippines (BuzzFeed): “Over my two weeks in the Philippines in April, hitting more than a dozen big and small cities from the northern tip to the southern edge, I spoke to scores of people — vendors, farmers, professors, drivers, politicians, cops, writers, business owners, lawyers, dentists — and nearly all of them, even those who voted against him, said they believe that their president is making the country better.”
The Bullshitter-in-Chief (Vox): “The president bullshits because he is ignorant. But his aides, in order to manipulate Trump into governing in ways they find reasonable or ideologically congenial or both, must echo his bullshit to prove their loyalty. This winds up creating substantial levels of second-order bullshit as flunkies pony up an outlandish series of pro-Trump claims — claims that are then echoed in a large and vibrant ecosystem of pro-Trump media.”
Cultural appropriation and power (The Saturday Paper): “The thing that separates appropriation from mere exchange is the power dynamic. The ability to exchange implies there is a power parity. What happens when there is no parity? What happens when one group of people are forced to assimilate and what is left of their culture gets pilfered?”
Will India ever need another coal plant? (CityLab): “The pace of change in the country’s energy infrastructure has been so swift that even researchers are scrambling to keep a steady pulse on a constantly developing beat.”
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