Our journalism usually sits behind a paywall, but we believe this is the time to make more of our content freely available to as many readers as possible. For more free coverage, sign up to COVID-19 Watch.

THE PRICE OF POWER

The government’s protracted response to the energy review authored by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel is set to conclude this week, with a new energy plan expected in the coming days. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet with cabinet today and likely emerge with a plan that reduces subsidies for renewable energy and pushes investment in new power generators, according to The Australian. As indicated last week, it is not expected to include a Clean Energy Target.

Energy will again dominate Parliament as MPs return to Canberra and Treasurer Scott Morrison releases a report by the ACCC showing energy bills have increased in real terms by 30% over the past eight years. While the ACCC identifies the growing cost of renewables as part of the reason for rising prices, the surge was mostly fuelled by network costs and a lack of competition.

In today’s Newspoll, voters express mixed feelings on the energy debate: 63% say subsidies for renewables should continue while 58% say they are not prepared to pay any more on top of current bills in order to meet a Clean Energy Target. Unfortunately for Turnbull, the overall polling is less mixed. Labor has won its 21st consecutive Newspoll, leading the Coalition 54-46.

AUSTRALIA QUESTIONED OVER HACK

US officials have asked Australian counterparts to explain the hack of a defence subcontractor, revealed last week. According to a Fairfax scoop, Australian figures have been asked about the incident, with concerns about leakage of US intellectual property tied to the Joint Strike Fighter project.

As questions about the security of Australian defence contractors linger, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has assured Australians the country is not a primary target of North Korea. The comments came after Bishop was attacked by North Korean state media, which warned Australia would “not be able to avoid disaster” if it continued to back perceived provocations by the US.

Confusingly, the row played out as Bishop offered a rare rebuke of the US, calling on the country to retain its anti-nuclear deal with Iran, which President Donald Trump has declined to re-certify.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT

“The state has no business telling us who we should love and how, sexually or otherwise,” Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher told attendees at Mass on Sunday, as he encouraged a no vote in the marriage postal survey. Same-sex couples currently barred from marriage by the state may well agree.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Mogadishu truck bomb: 500 casualties in Somalia’s worst terrorist attack

‘Volcanic’: Evidence of Queen’s involvement in the 1975 dismissal uncovered

Harvey Weinstein: Oscars board expels producer from Academy amid sexual assault allegations

Shorten ally chucks a parliamentary sickie to take a trip to Israel

NSW byelections: Nationals set to retain seats despite major swings

WHAT’S ON TODAY

NSW: Year 12 students begin their final Higher School Certificate examinations.

Canberra: Both houses of Parliament sit.

Canberra: Speakers including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Shadow Minister Penny Wong address the 2017 Australian Institute of International Affairs Conference.

Brisbane: The man who allegedly assaulted Kevin Rudd’s godson over his support for marriage equality faces court.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Jacqui Lambie’s plan to fix the lobbying racket in Canberra — Jacqui Lambie (Sydney Morning Herald): “Unions like the CFMEU are exempt. Industry groups like the Minerals Council of Australia are exempt. In-house lobbyists for tobacco companies are exempt from the rules. Tony Abbott could resign tomorrow, take up a job working as a third-party lobbyist, and he’d be completely within the rules.”

Real challenge to set out clear energy policy — David Crowe (The Australian $): “The government has a real challenge in setting out an energy policy that scales back subsidies for renewables when voters clearly believe these are worthwhile. The obvious risk is voters will respond to Bill Shorten when he sticks to his 50 per cent renewable target.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF FRIDAY

What next for the Citizenship Seven? — Sally Whyte: “Canavan has told reporters it’s up to his ‘boss’ — his wife — to decide if he quits politics or not if the Court doesn’t rule in his favour.”

When banks stopped educating and started manipulating Australian kids — Douglas Ross: “The key skill children seem to acquire is earning tokens to be redeemed for rewards, much like those rewards we receive by using our credit cards. What seems likely as being fostered is not financial literacy in young Australians but a relationship with debt.”

Trump-backing US Congressman in hot water over Aussie company — Glenn Dyer: “A US Congressional ethics oversight body says New York Republican House of Representatives member Chris Collins may have broken US federal law when he took actions to help listed Australian biotech Innate Immunotherapeutics, in which Collins holds a big stake.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

This crisis will cut hard and deep but one day it will be over.

What will be left? What do you want to be left?

I know what I want to see: I want to see a thriving, independent and robust Australian-owned news media. I want to see governments, authorities and those with power held to account. I want to see the media held to account too.

Demand for what we do is running high. Thank you. You can help us even more by encouraging others to subscribe — or by subscribing yourself if you haven’t already done so.

If you like what we do, please subscribe.

Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

Support us today