ZIMBABWE SHOWDOWN

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has been removed as the leader of the ZANU-PF party, flagging the beginning of the end of his political career. It was expected Mugabe would front the nation today to announce his resignation as President, bringing to an end his 37-year reign, but a final showdown is now brewing after he ended a nationally televised address simply by saying “I thank you and goodnight”.

The man leading the campaign to remove Mugabe, Chris Mutsvangwa, told media that people would now take to the streets of Harare this week.

Mugabe’s rule is facing a rapid and spectacular collapse after an army coup last week, apparently triggered by changes to his succession plan. The path had been cleared for wife Grace to be anointed after his death though she has now been expelled from ZANU-PF and may face charges.

The coup inspired some popular support but has also concerned democracy advocates.

Former deputy and security head Emmerson Mnangagwa is now ZANU-PF’s leader and is expected to lead the government when (or if) Mugabe steps down from his role as President.

FINKEL TARGETS RENEWABLES

Batteries and energy storage could help power Australia towards a 50% renewable energy target by 2030, according to a report commissioned by the country’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.

Compiled by the Australian Council of Learned Academies, the report says the 50% mark could be met “without significant requirements for energy reliability storage” and would only require “moderate growth of renewable energy”.

One problem to overcome is a lack of consumer confidence and knowledge relating to energy storage, with the report noting community concerns about safety lingering in the wake of the Rudd government’s home insulation scheme. Still, the report is an awkward look for the Coalition government ($), which has described Labor’s push for a 50% renewable mix as “crazy”.

The report comes in the wake of a letter from former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres warning Malcolm Turnbull that a government loan to assist the construction of Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland would “likely to have serious negative impacts on Australia’s reputation, in particular that of the Commonwealth Government”.

DIFFERENT ROPES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS

Two governments start the week fighting for their survival.

Labor and the LNP have officially launched their campaigns for the Queensland state election, where the incumbent Labor government is fighting and LNP/One Nation insurgency. Labor’s low-key launch was assisted by boxer Jeff Horn while the LNP’s event was headlined by another man used to being up against the ropes — Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The PM dubbed Annastacia Palaszczuk’s team a “lazy, do-nothing, green-left Labor government”.

The PM has problems of his own, however, with the byelection campaign also kicking off for the federal seat of Bennelong.

“This is an opportunity to say to Malcolm Turnbull, enough,” Labor candidate and former New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally told the Labor faithful at her own campaign launch. To send the federal Coalition into minority government, Keneally will have to overcome her own baggage, with The Daily Telegraph today reminding voters of cuts to education ($) during her time as premier.

READ ALL ABOUT IT 

Australians are building smaller new homes ($)

German coalition talks close to collapse

CEOs told to join fight for tax cuts ($) 

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne: Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and opposition spokesperson Mark Butler are among the speakers at National Energy Efficiency Conference.

Melbourne: Former union boss Kathy Jackson faces court for a committal hearing relating to charges of theft and fraud.

Sydney: The International Monetary Fund releases a statement on the Australian economy.

Sydney: Former federal party leaders John Howard, Tony Abbott and Kim Beazley launch the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, established by a $3 billion bequest.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Don Dale: Punishment not the way to deal with young offenders — Patrick Dodson (Sydney Morning Herald): “As a key tool in that task, the federal government would do well to move away from its insistence that there is no need and no value in setting national justice targets, agreed by all jurisdictions. Progress on the targets should be subject to annual report and review by First Ministers in COAG.”

Here’s a plan: the AEC can rule who qualifies — Kim Rubenstein (The Australian $): “There is an alluringly simple fix: ­embolden the AEC to tighten its scrutiny and compel prospective MPs to front up ­before they nominate with proof of their citizenship status.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF FRIDAY

Trouble In Paradise: Mullets, mining and murals — Guy Rundle: “At the Larrikin, the Pauline party went on, as the pub closes, the barmaids hanging the beer mats on the back fence outside, thin strips of gold, green, blue, like service ribbons, foaming white, as they turn a hose on them, hopsy tang in the night air. James Ashby has his phone glued to his head, talking to Putin’s No.2 or something. Inside, I wander back and forth, take notes on conversations Der Stuermer wouldn’t publish.”

Jacqui Lambie, ‘darling of democracy’, was hemmed in by her narrow views — Kara Schlegl: “Her Islamophobic rhetoric has been so impassioned, her comments on Chinese and Indonesian “invasion” so indigestible, that it has cut a fatal wound into her objectives. One cannot claim to fight against injustices for the disadvantaged while simultaneously fighting to disadvantage some of our most vulnerable communities.”

Calculating the total cost of the postal survey (SPOILER: it was a lot more than $100m) — Jason Murphy: “The total of all the costs outside the ABS is at least $60 million and likely more than the $100 million the ABS spent.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

 

Peter Fray

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