Turkey has launched its long-planned military operation in north-east Syria, with Kurdish forces reporting widespread airstrikes and “huge panic”, The Guardian reports.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the launch of “Operation Peace Spring” in an afternoon tweet, just days after US president Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from the region. Air strikes and artillery fire have begun hitting the Turkey-Syria border, with civilians fleeing deeper inside the Kurdish-held region. Meanwhile, three more Australian dual nationals trapped in Syria have been stripped of their Australian citizenship ($), while the children of “ISIS bride” Zehra Duman may have also lost the right to claim theirs.
THE WORST OFFENDERS
The Guardian and the Climate Accountability Institute have revealed the 20 firms behind one-third of the world’s carbon emissions, shining a light on the outsized culpability of fossil fuel companies. The list is a mix of investor-owned companies, such as Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell, and state-owned companies including Gazprom and Saudi Aramco, the latter responsible for 4.38% of the global total alone.
Closer to home, analysis shows that planned fossil fuel developments in northern Australia would push Paris climate goals beyond reach, while several Liberal MPs — including Tim Wilson, Dave Sharma, and Katie Allen — have signed on to a crossbench-led climate action committee.
UN V MORRISON
UN human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet has criticised Australia’s asylum-seeker policies, saying she fears our “public narrative” surrounding asylum seekers could be weaponised via misinformation and racism, the ABC reports.
Bachelet used a Whitlam Institute Oration in Sydney to raise concerns with offshore processing and prolonged mandatory detention, noting our politicians were far from alone in using migrants as convenient scapegoats. She also made reference to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent “negative globalism” remarks, perceived by many as a veiled swipe at the UN, saying there was “rarely a serious gap between the interest of humanity, and the national interest of [a] country”.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
It’s one of the nicest things that has been said about me for a long time. A ‘non-cooperative crusty’, absolutely superb – do they taste good? That’s my thought, I think they do.
Boris Johnson’s father tells a London Extinction Rebellion demonstration that he is proud to call himself an “uncooperative crusty”, as Boris has labelled the British protesters, 800 of whom have been arrested since Monday.
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“In 2017, Feng went to China to talk with human rights lawyers and liberals within the government, as he had been doing for many years. He says he was used to being followed by the secret police and came to regard such surveillance as the cost of doing academic research. But this time he was detained for a week in his hotel room and interrogated. ‘Who pays you?’ they asked him, warning that a long jail term was on the cards. Throughout the week their interrogation revealed that not only was Feng under surveillance in Australia, but there were paid informants on the ground reporting on his movements and his meetings, including some with prominent non-Chinese Australians.”
“Australia thus stagnates along with its lazy government. Its workers and households face a decade without income growth and a low-productivity future. Its children face a poorer, more chaotic life on a cooking planet, and are vilified when they protest. Its expensive energy sector teeters on the brink of failure every summer. Its Indigenous peoples face years — decades — without the most basic recognition of their existence and history, while continuing to endure a vast gap in life outcomes and opportunities with non-Indigenous Australians. By 2022, when the next election is due, a lost decade will be in sight, in which Australia as an economy and as a nation has marked time. With a shell-shocked and timid opposition, further lost years beckon beyond that, deep into the next decade, a country doing nothing, going nowhere.”
“Dr Alex Wake, who manages RMIT’s journalism program, told Crikey that publicly releasing and reporting on these kinds of mental health assessments could ‘have a wider damaging effect by hindering others from seeking professional help’. ‘There is a deep enjoyment in every story [about this case] without any thought of the impact,’ she said. ‘Everyone believes that when they speak to a medical professional, that it will be treated confidentially. Ms Gobbo would have known that these reports could have been potentially released. But people may not practice help-seeking behaviour if they think [their mental health disclosures] are going to end up on the front page of a paper, that their employer might find out about it’.”
Morrison’s hubris shows he’s turning his back on ordinary Australians – John Hewson (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “How are we ‘first’, when this ignorant, subservient behaviour at the White House has left us seriously exposed to the possibility of ‘mission creep’ in the Middle East, especially if, as Trump claims, he can easily start a war there? How are we ‘first’ when we are left risking Chinese retaliation for those trade remarks? How are we ‘first’ when the world disputes the substance of our climate policies, indeed identifies us as a serious “climate laggard”? From his US/UN visit, ‘first’ to Morrison is all about his personal interests and perceived political advantage; it means sucking up to the likes of Trump, whose concept of ‘America first’ is also ‘America only’, clearly determined and driven by his personal interests, failings and foibles, and his obsession just to be seen as (reality TV like) powerful, and to be liked.”
Jim Chalmers makes a pitch to nation’s middle ground ($) – Niki Savva (The Australian): “Chalmers, who has a critical role to play as putative treasurer and potential leader — in the mould of Tony Blair, according to his fans — seized the opportunity a fortnight ago in his Light on the Hill speech to not only redefine a party whose dwindling base could prove resistant to change but also to define himself and make a pitch to middle-of-the-road Australians … It had been assumed that as Swan’s top adviser, he might endorse his former boss’s position that Labor should stick with high-taxing, high-spending policies that as a member of the frontbench Chalmers helped devise. However, Chalmers is clear-eyed about the reasons for the defeat, has acknowledged his part in it and has shown he has a keen appreciation of what must follow if Labor is to have any chance at the next election.”
It’s time to rein in the fossil fuel giants before their greed chokes the plane – Richard Heede (The Guardian): “Fossil fuel companies must not be allowed to sit on the sidelines, professing support for climate action while they continue to contribute to worsening climate chaos. I challenge oil executives to manage their companies in line with the best science on climate change. The pursuit of next quarter’s profits must be shifted to embrace climate stewardship, or we leave as our legacy a bereft planet and a broken moral compass. We preside over our own future, and we owe it to our descendants and ourselves to eliminate climate change as a threat to our survival well before mid-century. Let’s get on with it.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte will deliver a Lowy Institute keynote address: “Middle powers: The Last Defenders of the International Rules-Based Order”.
NSW Environment Minister Matthew Kean will attend the official opening of Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Retreat, with a Welcome to Country delivered by Cammeraygal traditional custodian Dennis Foley.
UNICEF and the NSW Government will hold a Youth Drought Summit, aimed at engaging youth, hearing their voices and shaping policy around them.
The Royal Australia Navy Sea Power Conference will be held, with delegates from over 80 countries exploring the theme “The Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain in the 21st Century — The Spectrum of Influence”.
CHOICE Magazine will host its annual Shonky Awards, with lab testers, journalists, policy makers, campaigners and researchers shaming the years’ shonkiest products.
Voting on candidates for the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria will close.
The Royal Australian Navy’s landing ship HMAS Choules will arrive to mark the commencement of Victorian Navy Week.
The Australian Army’s Ready Battle Group will officially mark their arrival in Adelaide with a military parade at the RAAF Base Edinburgh.
ATO whistleblower Richard David Boyle will appear in the Magistrates Court.
Hervey Bay, Queensland
The World Cetacean Alliance and Fraser Coast Tourism will host the 5th World Whale Conference.
The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia will host its biennial leadership conference, with a range of multicultural and ethnically diverse speakers.
World Mental Health Day will raise awareness for mental health issues and promote greater understanding of their effects. Australian Rotary Health will hold their annual Hat Day celebrations, while Lifeline’s crisis support volunteer team will host The S-Word, offering informal conversations about suicide and mental distress.
World Sight Day will raise awareness of blindness and vision impairment.