CIVILIANS KILLED

An Australian airstrike is “likely” to have killed two adult civilians and injured two children on May 3 last year, during an operation targeting Islamic State snipers reportedly hiding within a residential Iraqi building. 

The Australian ($) reports that reports of civilian causalities, initially alleged by Amnesty International and not-for-profit website Air Wars, have been confirmed as credible by the Australian Defence Force. Reports then differ between Joint Operations deputy chief Major General Greg Bilton, who reports that the RAAF’s bombing of a two-storey Mosul home was targeted at active snipers on the second storey, and an unnamed Air Wars witness, who reported that he had just left the house in question and returned following the airstrike to find his brother and sister-in-law dead but “there were no Daesh (Islamic State) around, otherwise how could I have walked out of the house?”

KNOCKED FOR SIX

Former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner have received 12-month bans from Cricket Australia (CA) for last weekend’s ball-tampering scandal. CA has also handed opener Cameron Bancroft a nine-month suspension for his actions during the South African test.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports a number of reveals from the CA charge sheet, namely that Bancroft used sandpaper, not tape, in attempting to cheat; that Warner had been the architect of the plan, even giving Bancroft a tutorial on how to tamper with the ball; and that Smith had made “misleading” public comments about a leadership group’s involvement when responsibility was reportedly limited to the three players.

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VIRTUAL POWER PLANT

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced support for a rollout of an 8 Megawatt (MW) virtual power plant by retailer Simply Energy and powered with Tesla battery storage units.

RenewEconomy reports that ARENA will provide $7.7 million of funding for the total $23 million cost of Simply Energy’s plan to link 1200 households with 6MW of storage and a further 2MW of demand response capacity for local businesses. This will make for an historic fourth virtual power plant to be announced or rolled out in the city within the last two years, however the future of Tesla’s seperate plans for the world’s biggest VPP project across Adelaide is unclear after freshly-elected Liberal Premier Steve Marshall refused to announce support for the full rollout.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

“It feels like I’ve been white-anted from within.”

— Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi responds to news that his former South Australian colleague Dennis Hood will quit the party to join Steven Marshall’s state Liberal government. While we’re not convinced tautology is the best form of defence, we do agree in principle, Cory. Imagine riding a party’s coattails only to flip-flop between the Liberals and the Australian Conservatives. This day will live in notorious infamy.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Steve Smith and David Warner’s one-year bans might be more than their crime deserves

The Turnbull government is mulling more cuts to overseas aid

Victorian power bills soar after Hazelwood coal plant closure

Spy story just a Western conspiracy, says Russian ambassador ($)

Prime Minister speaks out about child protection crisis in Northern Territory ($)

Health insurance cost pain after rules glitch ($)

‘Extreme’ fossil fuel investments have surged under Donald Trump, report reveals

Blueprint aims to halt the indigenous cycle of crime ($)

On world stage, Kim Jong-un says denuclearisation is ‘our position’

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra: The Governor-General will announce recipients of the 2018 Australian Bravery Awards.

Murray Bridge/Adelaide: The Murray-Darling Royal Commission will begin visiting Basin areas in South Australia to receive feedback from local communities.

Sydney: Commemorative service and flypast to mark 97th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force, with guest speaker former chief of the Defence Force Angus Houston.

Melbourne: Opening for Australia’s annual Marxism conference, with the remainder of the event set to run from tomorrow Friday March 30th to Sunday April 1st.

Bendigo: Bendigo Visitor Centre will unveil a new mural by artist Frankie O.

Wellington: Minister of Employment and Associate Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson will launch the “Change Agenda: Income Equity Report for Māori” at Parliament.

Australia: Animals across the country will be given Easter gifts ahead of the long weekend, with inhabitants at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, Melbourne’s Werribee Open Range Zoo and Perth Zoo set to receive personalised, Easter-themed treats. The Easter Bunny is also scheduled to dive into a tank full of sharks, stingrays and sawfish at Melbourne Aquarium, which, I mean, wow, good luck, little bunny!

THE COMMENTARIAT

‘I am old. I only wanted a small life. I have no hope left’ — Indrika Ratwatte (The Guardian): “After decades working in humanitarian crises around the world, witnessing Australia’s offshore processing firsthand is deeply confronting. Despite comprehensive evidence of the harm inflicted, meeting the innocent people affected in Nauru this week is nevertheless an immense shock. For over four years, in desperate conditions, they have had to endure. They have held their families together. Some have tried to start small businesses or otherwise further their lives. Human resilience is astounding, but it has its limits. As UNHCR staff, we are shocked each time we return to Nauru by a further deterioration in people’s capacity to cope.”

Steve Smith and David Warner’s one-year bans might be more than their crime deservesShane Warne (Herald Sun $): “Let’s take the emotion out of it. We are all feeling angry and embarrassed. But you need a level head and you shouldn’t destroy someone unless they deserve to be destroyed. Their actions were indefendable, and they need to be severely punished. But I don’t think a one-year ban is the answer. My punishment would have been to miss the fourth Test match, a huge fine, and be sacked as captain and vice-captain.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Who is the man spruiking the ‘white privilege and nurses’ non-story?Emily Watkins: “Last week the national conservative media whipped itself into a frenzy over a nurse and midwife code of conduct that reportedly required nurses to declare their ‘white privilege’ before treating Indigenous patients. As per Media Watch‘s coverage on Monday, the story was (surprise!) a beat-up. The reference is in a new code of conduct’s glossary, and the Nursing and Midwifery Board has issued a statement rejecting claims that nurses and midwives would be required to declare ‘white privilege’ to patients.”

Troubled Business Council thinks yet another ad campaign will do the trickBernard Keane: “If ministers are depressed about the government’s failure to push company tax cuts through the Senate this week, their spirits will surely be lifted by the news that the Business Council has declared it will be launching an advertising campaign to convince voters of all the good that its members do. Because, if there’s one thing that’s been missing from the tax debate, it’s campaigning by the Business Council.”

How to write about trans people (if you aren’t one)Kaya Wilson: “1: Mention Caitlyn Jenner and the ‘transgender tipping point’ in your intro. 2: Being trans is a full-time job. Never mention any occupation or enterprise of a trans person other than being trans. 3: Trans people are never well-adjusted or have healthy relationships with their families. Reflect this fact. 4: Whenever you mention trans children, be sure to mention surgery and hormones in the same sentence and include the phrase ‘children as young as’ somewhere in the mix.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

 

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

Liz
North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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