(Image: Unsplash/Matt Howard)


In New South Wales, two volunteer firefighters have been killed and three injured after their truck rolled while they battled a fierce blaze overnight. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declared a state of emergency for the second time this fire season. The Bureau of Meteorology and ambulance, police and surf lifesaving services will today hold a joint media conference to discuss the high-intensity heatwave conditions impacting NSW and the ACT.

Several South Australian regions are today expecting “catastrophic” bushfire conditions, with the state to be hit by a combination of near 50-degree temperatures, rising winds and dry lightning.

All of Queensland has been placed under a high fire danger warning as crews across the state fight roughly 70 blazes.

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Australia’s biggest banks and ­insurance companies will be required to protect themselves against climate change, as part of a push — replicated globally — by APRA and the Reserve Bank of Australia to assess large businesses’ vulnerability to changes in asset prices caused by climate change or public policies aimed at combatting it, The Australian reports ($).

Banks and financial insti­tutions would be expected to adopt a series of “stress tests” to inform them, among other things, whether to dump potentially risky assets or investments. Large financial institutions could also be forced to reveal their exposure to climate-related risks in their financial statements.


The surreal fallout from Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s mishandling of his time off during the bushfire crisis continues.

A Seven News journalist shared an image on Twitter purporting to confirm the PM was in Hawaii. This follows The New Daily’s Samantha Maiden reporting she had been told rumours to that effect were “wrong”, while the AFR reports his minders ordered the media not to report he had taken leave.

Meanwhile, a charity raising money for the bushfire efforts is selling Hawaiian print shirts featuring Morrison’s face, and protestors have flocked to Kirribilli house to condemn his absence.


I must warn you that should you fail to comply with my direction, you may be arrested. Do you understand, Issy?

An unnamed senior constable

The police get firm but fair with Issy, a protestor outside the PM’s residence, who also happened to be a tearful 13-year-old girl.


And the 2019 Arsehat of the Year is…

“…despite a year in the spotlight thanks to scandal after scandal after scandal, one can’t recall a single thing [Angus Taylor] has actually said, not a single memorable turn of phrase. The arrogance and evasion he’s shown in response to each scandal. It all totals up to an impression of someone who went into politics not out of any coherent idea of what the world ought to be, much less a desire to serve, but as a natural career progression — of ending up in government because people who go to the right schools and meet the right people often do.”

Two injured, one killed: the new Takata airbag threat that fell between the cracks

“The NSW Coroner is already part way through an inquest into Australia’s first known Takata airbag fatality, that of 58-year-old Sydney man Huy Neng Ngo, who bled to death in the driver’s seat of his Honda CR-V in July 2017 after a faulty airbag exploded and shot a piece of metal from the centre of his steering wheel into the base of his neck. The BMW accident is significant because in this case the car was fitted with a Takata airbag which uses a propellant known as NADI 5-AT. Up until very recently, Australia’s Takata airbag recall has focused almost entirely on airbags using the explosive substance ammonium nitrate as the propellant.”

The jobs scheme with five-star revenue and two-star performance

“Like all other disability employment service (DES) providers, Matchworks’ performance in achieving this task is assessed by the Department of Social Services (DSS), which allocates them a star rating out of five based on a client’s disability and employment outcomes. These ratings are weighted nationally, with three stars being the average.  The stars did not light up for Matchworks: 40% of their offices and contracts were rated less than two stars. At the same time, parent company GenU reported $314 million revenue in their latest annual report — $208 million of which came from government and other grants.”


Banks, insurers face ‘stress test’ on climate change ($)

Maccas workers win penalty rates in a ruling to end years-long saga

New NSW koala protection laws anger loggers ($)

Instagram bans influencers from promoting vaping products

‘Not appropriate’: Watchdog unhappy after inspecting Melbourne’s medevac motel

Stokes puts stake in the ground in Prime battle ($)

‘This is very hard’: Queensland towns on ’emergency’ water rations

Huawei wins Brisbane railway signals contract ($)

Far-right extremist Blair Cottrell loses appeal against conviction for inciting contempt of Muslims

‘Act of bastardry’: Wharfies’ Christmas bonus cancelled after smoke haze stopped work

Former Ryde mayor Ivan Petch gets 18-month sentence

Senior WA bureaucrat charged with corruption now behind bars


Impeachment delivers Donald Trump a rare dose of accountability ⁠— Matthew Knott ( The Sydney Morning Herald): “The impeachment result represents a rare encounter with accountability for a man who famously boasted that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. As a real estate mogul, Trump inherited huge wealth from his father, went bankrupt six times and systematically dodged taxes. Yet he successfully branded himself as a self-made business genius. As a presidential candidate he insulted the family of a Gold Star soldier, accused a judge of bias because he had Mexican heritage and was caught on tape boasting about groping women. Yet he won.”

Chinese ambassador Cheng Jinye’s conference: mixed grill of half truths, baloney ⁠— Greg Sheridan (The Australian): “… the most preposterous claim is that the Chinese Commun­ist Party is the choice of the Chinese people. How would we ever know? There’s never been a national election in communist China. The only bit of China that gets to vote at all, Hong Kong, recent­ly voted overwhelmingly against Communist Party priorities. One senior Chinese diplomat said this was possibly because of natural anti-incumbent sentiment. Could the Chinese people themselves be feeling some anti-incumbent sentiment after 70 years of one-party rule?”

The PM’s time out underscores the summer storms of politics ⁠— Philip Coorey (Australian Financial Review): “Contrary to the common misconception that pollies only work when Parliament is sitting, the hard yakka comes in non-sitting weeks as well. Often harder, and it’s seven days a week. They need and deserve a break too, especially after a year as long as this one.  The optics, however, of Scott Morrison spending a few days abroad in the midst of uncontrolled bushfires so severe that a state of emergency has been declared, are undeniably terrible.”


The Latest Headlines


Surry Hills, NSW

  • The Bureau of Meteorology, NSW Health, NSW Ambulance, Surf Lifesaving NSW and NSW Police will hold a joint media conference regarding the high-intensity heatwave conditions impacting NSW and the ACT.


  • The Lawyer X informer royal commission will continue, with further evidence expected from former Victoria Police commissioners Simon Overland and Christine Nixon.


  • Julian Assange is due to testify via video conference from Westminster Magistrates’ Court before Judge José de la Mata in Spain’s National Court in Madrid. He will provide evidence against a Spanish security company that allegedly spied on him for the CIA while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy.


  • A plea hearing will be held for Hazelwood Power Station, which has been found guilty of multiple charges stemming from mine fires in 2014.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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