JUSTICE FOR WALKER

A Northern Territory police officer has been charged with murder over the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker, which has been declared a death in custody.

Zachary Rolfe, a 28-year-old constable, has been released on bail with suspended pay and is due to reappear in court on December 19. Witnesses to Saturday night’s shooting told Nine they saw a wounded Walker being dragged by his legs and thrown into the back of a police van, while another said an officer holding a gun warned people they would be shot if they approached. NT Police commissioner Jamie Chalker has announced a professional standards investigation into the incident, with questions being raised over how police and health officials dealt with the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

TAX BREAKS

The government will offer tax breaks ($) for major infrastructure projects, in an attempt to attract foreign capital and stimulate the economy, The Australian reports.

A new Treasury paper will set a 15% concessional tax rate for energy, transport, water and communications projects worth more than $500 million, to be approved by the treasurer, as opposed to the 30% rate that would otherwise apply. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg writes that the tax rate will apply to projects “in the national interest” ($) which “significantly enhance the long-term productive capacity of the economy”.

FIRE UPDATE

Dozens of fires are still burning in NSW, with the RFS commissioner warning fire fronts remain “very aggressive” in spite of a southerly change. 

More than 300 homes have been destroyed across NSW, while twin bushfires near the WA port city of Geraldton are threatening lives and properties, having destroyed two homes so far. The NSW government is split over hazard reduction, with Minister for Environment Matt Kean and Nationals leader John Barilaro clashing over whether enough was done. Meanwhile, researchers are scrambling to adjust to rising extremes, suggesting management approaches may no longer be “fit for purpose”. Hot and windy conditions are expected to return on Friday.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

For those attending AdaptNSW today, Public Affairs has issued advice not to discuss the link between climate change and bushfires.

NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Bureaucrats attending the conference were directed by email not to discuss the link between climate change and bushfires.

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‘Devastating’: Fewer than quarter of arts funding applicants to succeed

Millions of dollars to flow into Sydney waterfront precinct redevelopment

‘Right thing to do’: Sydney council drops Australia Day celebrations

Not going to get pinged for misdemeanors’: Rex Patrick says union bill fixed

‘We won’t be shy’: Company bosses could face Senate probe into wage theft

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

This will change us

“One suspects that we are only one more cycle away from a general collapse within rural Australia of the resistance to such a message, and a rapid transformation. That would be best prepared for by the creation of a political rural network running from the seat of Indi in Victoria, up through NSW, to the Darling Downs in Queensland, anchored by the Indi Voices/Cathy McGowan/Helen Haines network and related independents in the southern half, Lock the Gate in the northern half, and an autonomous Indigenous affiliation in both. Separate from the Greens, centrist on some economic policies, moderate leaning ‘progressive-conservative’ on social issues, grounded in local independents, but with a common badging, the time for such a network to emerge is now.”


What happens now that Pell is going to the High Court?

“The High Court’s sensitivity to criminal miscarriages is unsurprising, given that it knocked back Lindy Chamberlain’s appeal from her conviction which, it turned out, was an absolute travesty. There is always a chance for a criminal appellant that the court will be sufficiently disquieted to quash their conviction.If that happens, Pell may be sent back for a fresh trial on the same charges.  Alternatively, the court can say that’s enough. He’s had two trials already (the first resulted in a hung jury) and served material time in prison; he’s also about to turn 80. There’s a strong likelihood that he will be made a free man if his appeal succeeds.”


An incomplete list of reasons why Australia won’t celebrate Margaret Court

  • On playing in apartheid South Africa with her Indigenous doubles partner Evonne Goolagong, 1971: ‘Even if the South African government rejects Evonne on racial grounds I will still go.’
  • On opponent Martina Navratilova, 1990: ‘A great player but I’d like someone at the top who the younger players can look up to. It’s very sad for children to be exposed to homosexuality. Martina is a nice person. Her life has just gone astray.’
  • On the birth of tennis player Casey Dellacqua’s baby in a same-sex relationship, 2013: ‘This baby has seemingly been deprived of a father’.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Climate change makes bushfires worse. Denying the truth doesn’t change the factsRichard Denniss (The Guardian): “Climate change makes bushfires worse. Even if we catch an arsonist who lights a fire, the fact is the fires they light will burn further and faster than they would have if the world had burned less coal, and the temperature was lower than we have made it. With the same amount of effort into managing fuel loads and cutting firebreaks, a fire lit by an arsonist will spread further today than it would have in past decades. The embers from hotter fires, moving across drier ground, can spark new fires further away from the firefront than they once did. And as climate change ramps up the intensity of bushfires in Australia, we will need to put in a lot more resources simply to hold the amount of fire damage constant over time. Experienced firefighters have tried to tell the prime minister, but he literally will not listen.”

Ignore the howls of anguish, the ABC has made the right call Alan Attwood (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Sydney’s Games were my last. Since then they’ve become more bloated, more costly, more of a burden on a host city. (A shout-out here to all the poor people in Rio.) The ABC has made the right call. But, some say, its radio coverage goes way back to Helsinki in 1952. When Australia didn’t have TV. Or the internet. Or Bruce McAvaney. He’ll be in Tokyo. It will be special. Not long ago, ABC radio covered Australian Open tennis matches. No longer. We move on. At Games time next year, ABC radio will endure. With Anything But Climbing.”

Albanese moves slowly, steadily to change ($) – Niki Savva (The Australian): “If there is one salutary, if perverse, lesson that comes through clearly from Labor’s review of why it lost when it should have romped in, it is this: often the greatest perceived strength, in this case unity, became its greatest weakness. Unity is prized, but it can be overrated, especially if it is weaponised to stifle legitimate debate. There is a difference between sabotage of a leader and constructive internal discussions that spill out into the public arena, that test the leader’s ideas or policies, which have the potential to lead them over a cliff. While Bill Shorten consulted allies during his long tenure, there was no serious questioning of the direction he set, publicly or privately, so they were all responsible for the disastrous policies and the narrative, such as it was.

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Minister for the NDIS Stuart Robert will address the National Press Club.

  • Extra Senate estimates hearings will feature DPMC, the Department of Finance, North Qld Livestock Industry Recovery Agency, the Official Secretary to the Governor-General, and the Department of Parliamentary Services.

Sydney

  • The Climate Council will host a press conference to discuss climate change and the recent bushfires, with attendees including Greg Mullins
    (former Fire & Rescue NSW commissioner), Lee Johnson (former Qld Fire & Emergency Services commissioner) and Neil Bibby (former CFA CEO).

Melbourne

  • Medibank Private will host its AGM, with CEO Craig Drummond to hold a doorstop at the AGM’s conclusion.

Launceston

  • A “Hands Off Our Gorge” petition will be tabled at the City of Launceston council regarding the Cataract Gorge proposal.

Adelaide

  • Richard “Harry” Harris and Craig Challen will launch their book about the Thai cave rescue.

Canowie, South Australia

  • EnergyAustralia managing director Catherine Tanna will visit the Hallett Power Station to inspect progress on the installation of a new gas turbine.