The International Monetary Fund has warned the global economy is weakening at a “faster than expected” rate on the back of collapsing US-China and UK-Europe trade deals.
The ABC and The Australian ($) report that the IMF has also highlighted an economic slowdown in China, which reported its slowest annual GDP growth in almost 30 years. Further, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will tell a London audience overnight that he wants to sign agreements with the UK and Europe “as rapidly as possible” amidst Brexit trade breakdowns, and will later in the week speak in Switzerland over the future of the World Trade Organisation.
SHORTEN’S HYDROGEN SPLASH
Opposition leader Bill Shorten will today announce a $1 billion injection into Australia’s hydrogen export industry from Gladstone in central Queensland, where he also plans to build a $3 million National Hydrogen Innovation Hub if elected in May.
The Courier-Mail ($) reports that Shorten, announcing the plan midway through a pre-election tour of Queensland, would quarantine funds from his $10 billion injection into the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for developing and commercialising the potential clean fuel source. While still relatively expensive, hydrogen has been championed by the government’s chief scientist as a viable new export and is expected to create a global market worth $215 billion by 2022.
Shorten’s announcement comes as the first lithium mineral lease is awarded in the Northern Territory ($), officially sparking a new battery industry in the Top End.
TRADITIONAL OWNERS SECURE STATION
Nyikina Mangala people in WA’s far north have secured a landmark pastoral lease for a more-than 402,000 hectare cattle station in the Kimberley where, in the days before equal pay, many of their parents and grandparents once worked as boundary riders, cooks and station hands.
According to The Australian ($), native title body Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation has bought control of the historic Myroodah station from the Keating-era Indigenous Land Corporation. Emerging Indigenous cattle company KAPCO, which is part-owned by Nyikina Mangala people and other traditional owner groups, will now manage the site’s 17,000 head of cattle.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
One of my favourite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy’ … He inspired us to change through the legislative process to become a more perfect union. That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on congress to do.
The US Vice President compares Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s civil rights work to Donald Trump’s plan for a gigantic wall between nations.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Kelly O’Dwyer — who managed to get openly laughed at by stakeholders during a speech on superannuation — leaves behind no legacy of achievement. But the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison/Who Next? government has been a bonanza of incompetence, and she can proudly say she’s been significantly less incompetent than any number of more senior, mostly male, figures — some of whom remain in parliament.”
“As Australia tumbles from summer into the heat of a four-month election cycle, we can look forward to political reporting dominated by seemingly endless critiques of the performance art that is electoral politics.
It’s not what we need. Nor, judged by declining news consumption, is it what media audiences want.”
“The first takes on the ad — sorry, ‘short film’ — mostly brought to the world via social media, were pretty evenly divided between those incredibly offended (we’re looking at you, Piers Morgan) and those delighted by the message. The first flushes of outrage were still hot as men took videos of themselves throwing out their razors while, at the same time, others heaped praise on the ad.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Life for bankers will never be the same post-Hayne ($) — Karen Maley (Australian Financial Review): “As the country’s top bankers bid farewell to the ski-slopes of Aspen and Whistler and return to their desks this week, some will be consoling themselves that at least the banking royal commission — which so brutally exposed rampant misbehaviour in the financial sector — is now behind them.”
Reform: Pay the rent — Nat Cromb (IndigenousX): “Perhaps the most important component for First Nations people is the damages for massacres, rapes, child removal, slave labour, trans-generational trauma and environmental damage. A rudimentary example of the premise of this economic rationalisation would be: Land + earnings from mineral resources + (interest x 231 years) + non-economic loss.”
Preacher of hate Abu Bakar Bashir rewarded for showing no mercy ($) — Amanda Hodge (The Australian): “Bashir has never renounced violence, nor expressed regret for the murderous rampage of Jemaah Islamiah. It’s hardly surprising that news of his imminent release has sparked dismay and disbelief in both Australia and Indonesia. There is little chance conservative Muslims will be wooed by what is widely seen as a cynical ploy for votes ahead of April’s presidential elections.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp will announce that demolition works have begun on the former Munro building adjacent to the Queen Victoria Market.
A tribute will be held for murdered Palestinian student Aiia Maasarwe where she was found near a Polaris shopping centre in Bundoora.
The Cancer Council of Victoria will help launch a “Rethink Sugary Drink” campaign promoting the damage soft drinks and sports drinks do to teeth.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will present “Creating opportunity and encouraging aspiration: The key to a growing economy and a stronger Australia” to conservative think-tank the Sydney Institute.
Experts responsible for the recent pill testing trial in the ACT will explain the logistics of a pill testing medical service to interested MPs.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten will announce a policy quarantining $1 billion in CEFC funding for hydrogen programs, to include a $3 million National Hydrogen Innovation Hub based in Gladstone.
Acting mayor Danny Gibson will release an update to Launceston’s flood mapping following the June 2016 floods.
“Independent micronation” the Republic of Wynnum will inaugurate new president and champion kickboxer Martin Kristoffersen.