Queensland’s Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch has questioned the political pressure and environmental credibility behind federal counterpart Melissa Price’s approval of Adani’s groundwater management plan.
According to The Courier-Mail ($) and The Guardian, Enoch has voiced concerns that the internal pressure on Price “reeks of political interference”. Enoch also said that a 63-page dissenting report on Adani from the CSIRO and GeoScience Australia, written in February and assuaged with new advice from Adani in March, was received by the Queensland Government less than 30 minutes before Price’s announcement, despite multiple requests.
The Guardian reports that the initial CSIRO/GSA findings provide Queensland with a trigger to block the mine.
Labor is expected to unveil plans for up to $1 billion in funds for electric and hydrogen-powered car manufacturers in an attempt to resurrect the Australian car industry.
According to the ABC, Labor has been quietly working on a multi-million dollar plan for car maker research and development grants, with high-ranking US executives reportedly travelling to discuss “co-investment” options with ALP figures. The news drops as the Coalition launches both electric vehicle fear campaigns and funding announcements, while new Department of Environment and Energy analysis finds official government and opposition policies could result in identical EV uptakes.
YOU WYNN SOME…
Las Vegas casino operator Wynn Resorts has abruptly walked away from a $10 billion takeover proposal for James Packer’s Crown Resorts, blaming the “premature disclosure” of the discussions by its Australian rival.
The SMH and The Australian ($) report that Wynn has announced it “terminated discussions” less than a day after Crown issued a statement about “confidential discussions” around a proposed $10 billion cash-and-stock deal. The SMH also reports that Packer has been shopping around the casino empire for months.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Did you know Bill Shorten is my father? Hi dad, love you!
Conservative lobby group Advance Australia offers an early election highlight in the form of a deeply confusing anti-GetUp! superhero.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“On the first shabbat of the year, swastikas appeared in Melbourne. Between you and me, I haven’t been my chatty self since then. At some point on or around January 5, I was struck by confusion, then silence.”
“We know the election will likely fall on a Saturday in May but, frustratingly, the government has resisted giving us an exact date, with the 18th or 25th both firming as favourites. Since Australia doesn’t have fixed parliamentary terms for the House of Representatives, Morrison still has considerable control over when the election is held. Without a fixed date, the timing of the election is determined by a complicated series of provisions in the Constitution and Electoral Act.“
“This week, the long simmering question of the influence the Chinese Communist Party exerts over Australian politics returned to the surface as an Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Four Corners investigation — “China’s Operation Australia” — revealed more connections between Communist Party-linked Chinese businessmen and Australian politicians.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Both sides bank on patient power ($) — Sean Parnell (The Australian): “Behind all the political pointscoring, there is bipartisan acknowledgment that something should be done about patients’ out-of-pocket fees. The Coalition and Labor have both identified gap fees as a problem, and cancer services as especially deserving of attention. However, their proposed solutions differ greatly.”
The ABC didn’t receive a reprieve in the budget. It’s still facing staggering cuts — Alexandra Wake and Michael Ward (The Conversation): “In July, the ABC will start to feel the full impact of a three-year, A$83.8 million indexation freeze on its funding, which was contained in the 2018 budget. So devastating is the size of that cut – and the ones prior to that – that ABC managers are almost completely focused on money, undermining their capacity to be strategic about the future.”
Toxic males and petrol heads — James Bradley (Meanjin): “It must be a tough time to be a political satirist. While most of us were grappling with the truly shocking news that Ray Hadley might not be a very nice person, the Morrison Government decided the hill it was going to die on was the Labor Party’s civilization-ending plan to have half of all new cars sold in Australia be electric by 2030.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
PRACTICE, BY GUY RUNDLE
Practice distils Guy Rundle’s best writing on politics, culture, class and more. In it, he roves the campaign trails of Obama and Trump, Rudd and Abbott; rides the Greyhound around a desolate America; bails up Bob Katter and Pauline Hanson; and excavates the deeper meanings of everything from Nirvana to Anzac Day.
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen will deliver a budget reply address at the National Press Club.
Senate Estimates is expected to hear from Sport Australia chief executive Kate Palmer on Georgina Downer’s controversial novelty cheque for the Yankalilla Bowling Club.
ANU will host forum event “10 years of global drug policy: What have we learnt and where are we heading?” with Australian experts who participated in the March 2019 UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs.
Thousands of protesters, including Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, are expected to shut down much of the CBD in an ACTU “Change the Rules” rally, while multiple other rallies are also planned around the country.
Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes will speak at the Rural Press Club of Victoria on her vision for the portfolio ahead of the April 30 state budget.
Queen Victoria Markets will launch “Europa Night Market”, to run until May 8.
Former US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen Rapp will present “Rwanda to Myanmar: The role of media & social media in genocide & violence” at the University of Sydney on the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, to be followed by a panel discussion with former High Court Justice Michael Kirby and Australian member of the UN Human Rights Council Christopher Sidoti.
UTS will host panel event “Access Journalism and its impact on Investigative Journalism” with Nine’s Kate McClymont and Nick McKenzie and former ABC journalists Marian Wilkinson, Quentin Dempster and Chris Masters.
The Triffid will host Fenox VC’s Startup World Cup Australia Finals 2019.
NT Minister for Renewables, Energy and Essential Services Dale Wakefield will launch the 2019 NT Smart Energy Summit & Expo, to include a keynote from Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.
SA Governor Hieu Van Le will present awards to employers for showing support for defence force reservists.
Attorney-General Christian Porter and Liberal senator Dean Smith will speak on the federal budget at the 500 Club.
Minister for Aged Care, Senior Australians and Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt will present a federal budget briefing at the Swan Chamber of Commerce.
Byron Bay, NSW
Journalist John Pilger will speak on Australian propaganda at Ngara Institute event “Breaking the silence”.