The bushfire emergency is expected to worsen, with the NSW Rural Fire Service issuing its first-ever “catastrophic” fire warning — the maximum warning level — for the Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter areas.
A statewide fire ban is in place for Monday and Tuesday, with the latter predicted to be a “dangerous day” due to high temperatures, strong winds and the region being drier than before the 2001 “Black Christmas” fires. Three people have died in the fires so far, while at least 150 homes have been destroyed, as 72 fires continue to burn across NSW (36 of which aren’t under control) and 51 across Queensland. The federal government has announced disaster recovery payments — $1,000 per adult and $400 per child — for those affected by fires.
WHO POLICES THE POLICE?
Lawyers and human rights advocates are calling for an overhaul of Victoria Police’s body-worn camera rules, amid revelations cops can deactivate their cameras whenever they choose, Nine reports. Officers can currently edit the footage shown before court cases, as well as limit complainants’ access, with the government giving police full power to deal with breaches of policy “in-house”.
Police in the NT town of Yuendumu, meanwhile, have lost the respect of the community, after they shot and killed 19-year-old Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker in an altercation at a residence on Saturday night. Several hundred people gathered outside the police station on Saturday to demand answers, while members of Walker’s family joined protests in Alice Springs on Sunday.
THE FUTURE OF MINING
New coal projects in Sydney’s drinking water catchment will be put on hold until next year, as the NSW government considers a report into the impact of mining on water supplies, Nine reports.
The independent report, put together by retired UNSW professor of mining engineering Jim Galvin, has made 50 recommendations on how future mining should be managed, finding that coal extraction may result in water losses of as much as 8 million litres per day. Sydney dam levels are currently dropping faster than at any time since 1940. NSW mines, meanwhile, warn that they may soon run out of water ($), after the government introduced new water restrictions in response to the drought.
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THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Yeah, f…k you. Just remember: the wheel always turns.
The former Labor leader reportedly confronted ScoMo ally Yaron Finkelstein in the Birdcage on Melbourne Cup day — right in front of The Australian’s media columnist ($).
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“You’ve got to hand it to Labor. The party whose leaders do concession speeches so well that you sometime suspect it is the true destination of the campaign has reflected on its 2019 effort and produced a review of that ghastly, disorganised, leaderless event that is — in argument, layout and presentation — a masterpiece of concision, directness and style. There is something near-pathological about this: the crisp executive summary, the subheadings, the FAQs, the ice-blue colour of the headers font (how much time was spent choosing that, I wonder) all dedicated to a story that should make you angry enough if you merely voted for Labor, and incandescent with rage if you actually campaigned for them.”
“There is a scene in next year’s Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian documentary that could encapsulate the ABC’s relationship with its audience. Margolyes, the British character actress turned Australian citizen, takes a road trip around the country and meets an older bushie in a pub. ‘Have you ever met a lesbian before?’ she asks provocatively. There is a pause, it could turn hostile, we can’t tell, before the man replies… ‘Shit yeah.’ This could be the ABC and its viewers. Aunty: ‘You need to watch our content on these important issues.’ Australia, sitting back, with a beer in hand: ‘Mate, we’ve already got this.’”
“A recent article in the Columbia Journalism Review tells the behind-the-scenes story of a reporter who ‘exposed racist tweets’ of a local hero and was then fired for his own ‘offensive tweets’. (Spoiler: it may not have been his comeuppance after all.) And remember Nick Sandmann? The MAGA-hat-wearing teen who ‘smugly grinned’ at — and blocked the path of — a Native American protester at the Lincoln Memorial. That, too, turned out to be a little more complicated than early reports suggested. Closer to home, we’ve had reports that Victorian libraries were considering ‘banning’ gendered books like Thomas the Tank Engine (they weren’t), and that Woolworths had caved to the ‘PC brigade’ and renamed Christmas cake ‘celebration cake’ (they hadn’t). The moral of the story? Don’t get mad online — that’s just what they want you to do.”
This is not normal: what’s different about the NSW mega fires – Greg Mullins (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “In the past I’ve have heard some federal politicians dodge the question of the influence of climate change on extreme weather and fires by saying, ‘It’s terrible that this matter is being raised while the fires are still burning.’ But if not now, then when? ‘Unprecedented’ is a word that we are hearing a lot: from fire chiefs, politicians, and the weather bureau. I have just returned from California where I spoke to fire chiefs still battling unseasonal fires. The same word, ‘unprecedented’, came up. Unprecedented dryness; reductions in long-term rainfall; low humidity; high temperatures; wind velocities; fire danger indices; fire spread and ferocity; instances of pyro-convective fires (fire storms – making their own weather); early starts and late finishes to bushfire seasons. An established long-term trend driven by a warming, drying climate. The numbers don’t lie, and the science is clear. If anyone tells you, ‘This is part of a normal cycle’ or ‘We’ve had fires like this before’, smile politely and walk away, because they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Six women left behind during Stefanovic’s on-off Today reign ($) – Annette Sharp (The Daily Telegraph): “When Karl Stefanovic returns to the helm of the Today show next year Nine bosses will be holding their breath and praying seven is his lucky number. That’s the number of female co-hosts Stefanovic has been paired with across 14 unsuccessful* seasons at Today. And despite the churn of clever women through the program’s ranks since 2005 — the last two, Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight, dumped on the Today scrap heap last month following Nine’s latest failed reboot of the breakfast show — Stefanovic endures, having once again whispered into the ear of a CEO and promised without proof of evidence something he is yet to deliver to Nine, a sustained ratings win.”
Brutality checks on activists – Anthony Kelly (The Saturday Paper): “Meanwhile, the Andrews government has provided extraordinary increases to the police budget since it was elected, overseeing a massive expansion in police numbers, capacity, weaponry and powers. And yet Premier Daniel Andrews seems resistant to the idea of strengthening the state’s police accountability system. A responsible government – recognising that people have been injured, with an international student hospitalised and dozens of other citizens subjected to a painful chemical agent at the hands of its own police force – would have faced the media last week and reminded Victoria Police its actions and methods must be explicitly authorised by law and subject to review by a fully independent complaint and investigation body. Why the Victorian government did not is a question we should all be asking.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Remembrance Day activities will be held across the country, marking the 101st anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War.
Australian Food Safety Week 2019 will launch with the theme of “Excellent eggs — handle them safely”, following a number of Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks.
Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week will aim to educate the public on recycling practices.
The High Court will hold a hearing in the case of Annika Smethurst v Commissioner of Police, over a police raid on her Canberra home.
The ACT Magistrates Court will hold a case directions hearing in the case of Afghan Files whistleblower David McBride.
The Housing and Ageing Policy Dialogue will bring together experts to consider current and future challenges facing this policy area.
NSW’s annual Remembrance Day service will be held in Martin Place.
An appeal hearing will be held for United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell over a 2017 conviction for inciting hatred, contempt and ridicule of Muslims.
Myer will unveil its Christmas window display in Bourke Street Mall.
The aged care royal commission will hold a hearing about the operations of selected approved providers.
SA deputy coroner Anthony Schapel will deliver findings on the death of three people at a particularly dangerous spot off the Adelaide coast.
The Crime and Corruption Commission will launch Operation Impala, examining the improper access and dissemination of confidential information by public sector agencies.
The inaugural Queensland AgTech Month will celebrate the ever-growing AgTech community.