scott morrison bushfire
(Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

AUSTRALIA BURNS FOR MORRISON

Authorities have issued an emergency warning in the Hawkesbury area north-west of Sydney where a “mega blaze” is believed to have destroyed several homes. Properties are reported to have been lost around Mount Tomah and Mount Wilson, but there are no reports of deaths or injuries so far.

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According to The Australian ($), the 375,000-hectare fire is likely to wreath Sydney in smoke once again. Meanwhile, 22 health organisations have issued a joint statement calling Sydney’s air quality a “public health emergency”. Things are likely to get worse as the week progresses, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning Sydney is likely to experience “widespread, severe heatwave conditions”.

At the other edge of the continent, fires are raging around Perth — most seriously threatening lives and homes in Mogumber and Yanchep, north of the city. Some buildings in the area have already been lost.

A MARKETPLACE OF (RIGHT-WING) IDEAS

Australia is looking to benefit from the Conservative Party’s landslide win in the British election and the UK resolving its long-running Brexit process, The Australian reports ($). British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will make a post-Brexit free-trade deal between Australia and Britain “a top priority” ($).

“Australia stands ready to shift into formal negotiations towards an Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement and we would look to conclude a deal as quickly as possible,” Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told the AFR ($).

HONG KONG UNREST

After a three-week lull, violence has once again broken out in Hong Kong. Agence France Presse reports that police made arrests and used pepper spray on groups of pro-democracy protestors targeting shopping malls around the city.

Masked activists also trashed restaurants run by Maxim’s, a catering firm whose founder’s daughter has criticised the pro-democracy movement.

Hong Kong has been rocked by six months of unrest, with violent battles between police and pro-democracy protests. Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam is currently in Beijing.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Did you forget your pants today?

Kerri Anne Kennerly

KAK shows a certain want of respect ($) to her colleague, 10 daily senior reporter Antoinette Lattouf.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Climate change: Longest United Nations talks end with compromise deal

McDonald’s franchisee removed after video shows him berating Aboriginal neighbour

New Zealand volcano disaster: Australian victim transferred to Sydney hospital dies

Christmas pain as Jetstar faces more strikes ($)

Hot streak sees Perth smash December heat record

Victorian farmer leads class action against Roundup manufacturer

‘I’m broken’: Jack reveals awful toll of clinical anti-doping machine

Refugees in limbo: Visa uncertainty makes trauma worse

Funding cut threatens community sector wage parity and services, ACOSS warns

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Vote now in the 2019 Crikey Awards!

“About the best thing you could say for 2019 is that it was so relentlessly and exhaustingly bleak that it felt like it took forever, thus slowing the feeling of humanity careening towards irrevocable calamity. But, as ever, there were little dots of hope, in particular from the collective actions of the young, who — with wit and determination — pushed back against the hypocrisy, sloth and avarice of public life in 2019.”


Confessions of a whistleblower: ‘Sometimes you just have to be able to live with yourself’

“’I think as I say to my kids, sometimes you just have to be able to live with yourself and not just for yourself. I didn’t feel that at any point I was going to benefit from it personally. It was really a matter of my own conscience. My motivation was that this is wrong. It should be better and could easily be better.’”


The last great central banker dies

“Unlike [Alan] Greenspan, whose crowd-pleasing policies would eventually cause trillions of dollars of economic destruction, [Paul] Volcker was deeply unpopular, facing demands that he take his “boot off the neck of the economy”. On one occasion, the Fed building was attacked by a man carrying a sawn-off shotgun, necessitating full time security for the Fed chief.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

We need politicians to have the guts to admit it’s going to hurt to fight climate changeGreg Jericho (The Guardian): “After weeks like the one we’ve just had, I sometimes wonder how long it will be before our major political parties shift from talking about reducing emissions and instead arguing over how to best deal with the impact of climate change. You know the sort of thing – “Should we means-test free access to P2 masks?” or “Should there be a mutual obligation regime for climate-change relief?” – and before you know it the Australian and the other climate change-denying News Corp media outlets will be running editorials about how “we need to get more people off climate change welfare”.

Sudanese mothers wonder if they were better off in a war zone Biong Deng Biong (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The youth crisis is compounded by increasing suicides and stress-related deaths among the South Sudanese, with mental illness, unemployment, family breakdown and threats of homelessness devastating the community. Mothers, often single, carry these burdens. Their silent sufferings have been overshadowed by the youth and this stoic but exhausted army of women contend with hopelessness, regret, discontent with the legal system and the crushing sense of not belonging. Many express sorrow about resettlement, lamenting that ‘we were better off in a war zone or refugee camp than in Australia’.”

MYEFO: Outlook heralds slow-and-steady hand on economy ($) – Judith Sloan (The Australian): “No doubt we will hear the calls for additional stimulus spending, notwithstanding the contribution that public final demand is making to GDP growth. The government will withstand these calls while noting additional spending has already commenced or has been foreshadowed — in relation to drought relief, some brought-forward infrastructure spending and spending on aged care.”

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook is set to be released. A morning lockup at Parliament House will be followed by a media conference with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Hobart

  • Anthony Albanese is expected to visit Tasmania this week.

Melbourne

  • A case management and interlocutory hearing will be held at the Federal Court over the deportation of the Tamil asylum seeker family.

  • The Lawyer X informer royal commission will continue, with evidence expected from former Victoria Police commissioner Simon Overland.

Sydney

  • Refugee advocate Craig Foster and former Australian cricket captain Ian Chappell will launch Game Over, a campaign to relocate everyone in detention on PNG and Nauru.

  • The Woolworths Group Limited AGM will be held.

  • The ABS will publish data on how much was borrowed by households and businesses in October.

Adelaide

  • SA coroner David Whittle will continue an inquest into the death of Matthew Kim Morgan, who was shot dead by police.

Perth

  • A 45-year-old Beechboro woman will make her first court appearance, charged with nine counts of corruption and alleged to have acted in concert with former Department of Communities executive Paul Whyte and his co-accused, physiotherapist Jacob Anthonisz.

  • The trial for the accused Claremont serial killer will continue.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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