TURNBULL UNDER SIEGE
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s lead over Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has dropped from 19 to 12 points in the latest Newspoll, while Labor is still ahead 49-51 and the National Energy Guarantee is expected to dominate as parliament resumes today.
The Australian ($) reports that Turnbull has already moved to fast-track plans for Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s recommendation to underwrite new dispatchable generation, as the PM looks for backbenchers’ support ahead of a partyroom meeting tomorrow. ACCC chairman Rod Sims is also expected to brief the Nationals today on the report — which does not exclusively call for more coal or gas — while former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce reportedly rang the energy minister last night to demand a “plan B” for power prices in exchange for support.
The Greens will also move a Senate motion today demanding full modelling for the proposed NEG design, which they say has not yet been adequately proven to reduce prices, while industrial analyst IBISWorld has argued that Australia’s constant debates over emissions targets show that the NEG will do nothing to relieve investor uncertainty.
VETERAN VS FAIRFAX
War veteran Ben Roberts-Smith has called for a criminal investigation into reports of a secret inquiry into SAS conduct in Afghanistan, including allegations concerning the former corporal’s behaviour that he unsuccessfully tried to stop Fairfax Media from republishing last Friday.
The Age reports that Roberts-Smith has denied all allegations of bullying and domestic violence aired during the inquiry, and has asked Attorney-General Christian Porter to refer the leaks and story to the Australian Federal Police. Fairfax has since published an editorial defending its reporting of the inquiry and comments from a former head of the Defence Department emphasising that the SAS should be subject to the same rules as other soldiers.
WALKING ON SUNSHINE
NASA has launched a spacecraft directly at the sun in an effort to get probing tech closer to the burning star than ever before. The ABC reports that, after some technical delays, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has launched as part of a seven-year journey to get within six kilometres of the sun’s surface. The spacecraft will be protected by a revolutionary carbon heat shield, and make 24 efforts to “touch” the sun throughout its life span.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
If you want to talk about tenders, the Labor Party has provided billions of dollars without tender. It is not unusual to provide large grants.
The Energy and Environment Minister explains to Insiders host Barrie Cassidy that, if everyone is doing it, it’s all good.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“There has been much analysis of whether BuzzFeed… did the right thing by publishing at all. There is a fair debating point of journalistic ethics in this, since the publication did root Husar royally, rendering the investigation process fairly pointless. A separate question is whether BuzzFeed has anything to worry about, legally speaking.”
“The hyperventilating from News Corp over the Victorian government’s decision to nix Sky News from its train station screens has been amusing — we await tens of thousands of words from The Australian on how it’s an outrageous attack on free speech — but obscures a more interesting backstory.”
“The Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) investigated the Tonightly skit that suggested renaming the electorate of Batman to ‘Batman was a cunt’, given John Batman’s involvement in the murder of Aboriginal people. Comedian Greg Larsen’s segment also included a mocked-up campaign poster of Australian Conservative candidate Kevin Bailey, which also described him as a ‘cunt’.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Senior NAB executive Andrew Hagger is set to appear at the banking royal commission’s superannuation hearing over the bank’s fees-for-no-service scandal. The inquiry will first hear from QSuper and Suncorp witnesses.
Melbourne Science Festival Week 2018 will launch with events including a discussion with NASA scientist Dr Jessie Christiansen.
Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan, opposition spokesperson David Davis and Greens spokesperson Sam Hibbins will participate at a transport forum.
Community leader Maker Mayek and Melbourne mayors will hold a press conference speaking in solidarity with Sudanese-Australians and condemning media panic over youth crime.
Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel will open a state-of-the-art AGRF genomics testing facility at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Parkville.
Radio presenter Adam Spencer will host a full-day TEDx event exploring “The Great Unknown”.
Gomeroi poet and writer Alison Whittaker will speak on her forthcoming book Blakwork as part of a panel event at The Wheeler Centre.
The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne will run until August 22.
Federal parliament will, for the first time since the Super Saturday byelections, resume sittings. Three MPs from the byelections are expected to be sworn in, while AEC is still to deliver final results for Longman and Perth.
ANU Cultures Learning Community will hold a panel discussion on “Culture and Conflict: North and South Korea”.
Eleventh Hour Escape Rooms will launch a new escape room as part of National Science Week 2018.
An upper house inquiry into the fire and emergency services levy will begin hearings examining the financial modelling of the levy and considering alternative models for funding fire and emergency services.
Personal Robots Group research scientist at MIT Media Lab Hae Won Park will speak at a UNSW in-conversation event on social robots.
Universities Australia chief Catriona Jackson will speak at a CEDA event.
The Department of Environment and Science will launch the 2018 Art meets Science exhibition.
Frontier Impact Group will hold the National Biochar Roundtable, set to discuss the recent economic, environmental and social impact of biochar, a charcoal used as a soil amendment, in California.
Author Ann Cleeves will speak at an in-conversation event presented as part of the Lord Mayor’s Writers in Residence series.
Assistant Professor of Black Diasporic Art at Princeton University Anna Arabindan-Kesson will speak on “Black Bodies, White Gold: cotton, art and the materiality of race” at a UWA event.
The Forever Project will hold their latest full-day seminar event as part of their “Sustainable Urban Forest: Management Symposium Series”.
Founder of American organisation “STEM from Dance” Yamilée Toussaint and Creative Moves WA’s Rachael Bott will speak on inspiring under-represented minority girls to engage in STEM through dance, as part of a National Science Week event at Curtin University.
Business Tasmania will hold a roundtable conversation event as part of the Business 21st Century (B21) Tasmanian Business Growth Strategy.
Today is the first weekday of National Science Week 2018, set to run until Saturday August 19 along the theme of “Game Changers and Change Makers”.
Startup hubs around the country will begin events for Female Entrepreneur Week 2018.
Domain Holdings, JB Hi-Fi and BlueScope will post their annual results.
Horse’s act of defiance carries message for all of us — Andy Marks (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Perfectly healthy, prize-winning horse Chautauqua is refusing to race and pundits are perplexed. ‘A dapple grey horse’, the proverb goes, ‘will sooner die than retire’. Not so this eight-year-old gelding. Sometimes a simple act of defiance brings home the absurdity of relatively unquestioned conventions, like — for instance — forcing animals to perform for sport.”
A two-horse race where the riders don’t matter ($) — Simon Benson (The Australian): “The Turnbull government lacks policy coherence, party unity and remains crippled by a failure of political management. The consensus is that it is sleepwalking to likely defeat. The critical message from the electorate is this: the relative popularity of both leaders, or lack of it, is no longer the key driver of votes. Bill Shorten proved this in the Longman byelection. People voted Labor despite him. Malcolm Turnbull has now discovered how fleeting (relative negative) popularity can be and the questionable relationship it may now have with voting intention.”