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ENVIRONMENT SPENDING FELLED

The federal government has slashed environmental funding with the amount allocated for the 2020-21 year set to fall to just 60% of the amount spent in 2013-14.

The figures were compiled by environmental groups Australian Conservation Foundation and World Wildlife Fund as part of a submission to government. According to a report in The Guardian, the biggest cuts in environmental spending have been to biodiversity programs — first cut by the government of Kevin Rudd in 2013, then abandoned altogether by the Coalition — and to the Landcare program.

The submission is critical of Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and his predecessor Greg Hunt, both of whom are accused of failing to advocate for their portfolio. In response, Frydenberg said the government had maintained standards while cutting red tape.

The analysis comes as investor-activists join forces to put pressure on the world’s 100 largest greenhouse gas emitting companies to improve their climate footprints. Among the companies targeted will be Australian groups BHP Billiton, Wesfarmers, and Rio Tinto.

GILLARD WARNS AGAINST DELAY

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the public will not accept delays and inaction as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse prepares to hand down its final report on Friday.

The royal commission was announced by Gillard’s government in 2012 and was extended by the government of Tony Abbott in 2014. It has now made over 2500 referrals to police and held over 8000 private sessions.

Gillard told Fairfax that even she had been surprised by the scale of what the commission had uncovered. As survivors wait for Friday’s report, Gillard said she believed there would be broad public support for removing tax concessions from churches that refuse to comply with recommendations but declined to predict whether the final report would threaten them with such action.

“Any sense that this is going to go on the back shelf and gather some dust, the community won’t tolerate it, the public won’t tolerate it,” Gillard said.

BREAKING SOCIAL MOORES

Voters in the US state of Alabama will today decide on their next federal Senate representative after a heated contest in which Republican outsider Roy Moore survived multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct — including towards a 14-year-old — to take the fight to Democratic candidate Doug Jones in the deep-red state.

At a bizarre rally yesterday, Moore’s wife said he could not be a bigot because “one of our attorneys is a Jew,” while a former soldier who served with Moore in Vietnam praised the candidate for refusing to attend a brothel apparently staffed by very young women.

The poll is expected to be tight with young, non-white voter turnout key to Jones’ hopes of an upset.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Trump attacks senator and dismisses sexual harassment claims as Democratic conspiracy

‘Wake-up call’: One in four boys falling short of NAPLAN minimum standard

Westfield: Lowy family sells shopping centre empire to French property giant for $32 billion

WHAT’S ON TODAY 

Sydney: Artists and venues of the 2018 Biennale of Sydney named.

Sydney: Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe speaks about online currencies at the Australian Payment Summit.

Canberra: The High Court is expected to receive the result of the special count required in Tasmania after the resignation of senators Jacqui Lambie and Stephen Parry.

Canberra: Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin speaks at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Perth: A Joint Select Committee of the Western Australian Parliament will hold a public hearing looking into the issue of assisted dying in the state.

Melbourne: Protestors supporting and opposing Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem expected to meet outside the State Library of Victoria.

THE COMMENTARIAT

The quest for Sam Dastyari’s scalp turned a serious issue into a circus — Katharine Murphy (The Guardian): “If we think Dastyari is the only person in politics who has trouble knowing where to draw lines, we are all suffering from a collective delusion. The culture of chasing the money that lurks behind the basic misjudgment is endemic, and a problem for both major parties, one they have seemed very reluctant to fix.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Australia’s great corporate tax heist — Wayne Swan: “Between 2011 and 2016, Australia’s economy grew by 15.6%, putting us 11th among OECD nations. But not one of the 10 countries that recorded stronger economic growth over that period did so by cutting taxes.”

Dasher’s social media antics put the ‘party’ in Labor Party — Charlie Lewis: “Dastyari was the perfect attack dog to send out on social issues, and was often called upon to cater Labor’s messages (say, on penalty rates) toward the young. No one in either party was better at putting together a shareable, mildly amusing video that people actually watched.”

Turnbull is showing his stress, and Bennelong is watching — Tony Walker: “Lose Bennelong and thus a Coalition majority on the floor of parliament and Turnbull risks losing whatever momentum has been generated in the past week or so following the feel-good passage of the same sex marriage legislation, notwithstanding that a significant bloc of conservatives voted No.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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