Labor
(Image: AA/Mick Tsikas/Crikey)

NO ONE LIKES A SHADY BEACH

Scott Morrison’s personal approval rating has plunged from 45% to 37% in the first Newspoll since the bushfire crisis escalated in mid-December; Labor leader Anthony Albanese has gone from 14 points down to take out “preferred PM” for the first time.

Public anger at Morrison’s ill-fated Hawaii trip and belated bushfire response seems to have borne out in The Australian’s latest poll ($), with the Coalition trailing Labor 49-51 on two-party-preferred.

COALITION ASSISTANCE

Environment Minister Sussan Ley will today announce a $50 million ecology recovery package to support ecosystems and threatened species in the wake of the bushfires. The Coalition will also meet with fire-affected small businesses tomorrow ahead of a larger assistance scheme still to be announced.

On ABC’s Insiders, Morrison announced support for a royal commission into the bushfire crisis — however, he equivocated on climate action, hinting at “evolving” current schemes while refusing a carbon tax or NEG, both of which have been welcomed by some extremely generous News Corp editorials.

FIGHTING FIRES

Melbourne and much of Victoria will see the return of “poor” or “very poor” smoke from the East Gippsland fires over the following days, while Sydney could see a slight reprieve after yesterday hitting “hazardous” levels.

But calmer conditions over the weekend have helped firefighters bring a number of Australia’s hundreds of blazes under control, including the two-and-a-half-month-strong Gospers Mountain mega-blaze north-west of Sydney. The Princes Highway and road to Mallacoota, however, could be blocked for a month.

The Guardian reports that Victorian firefighters, while mourning the death of veteran Bill Slade, brought a fire near Mount Buffalo down from ‘emergency’ to ‘watch-and-act’, and that SA firefighters have similarly contained Kangaroo Island’s fire ahead of increased temperatures today.

For the latest updates, visit VicEmergency, SA Country Fire Service, NSW RFS or EmergencyWA. For air pollution, check the Real-time Air Quality Index Visual Map.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

For all those perpetuating the outright lie, propagated by commercial rivals and former staff, that News Corp reporting denies climate change, read The Australian’s editorial today.

Sharri Markson

The Daily Telegraph’s national political editor begins a whitewashing campaign less than two months after The Australian claimed “climate change did not cause this week’s firestorm” and published, among others, Ian it has never been shown that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming” Plimer.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Government apologises for bushfire payment bungle

Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen meets top US official as Beijing claims ‘cheating, repression’ after election landslide

Dominic Raab warns Iran of ‘pariah’ status after ambassador arrest

GetUp admits to election campaign mistakes

Young LNP club slammed over protest video shaming drag queens

Dodgy work and investment tax claims ‘costing us $30bn a year’ ($)

Don’t hide hacks: cyber security boss ($)

Roger Federer responds to climate crisis criticism from Greta Thunberg

‘Perfect storm’: The energy industry struggles to keep the lights on

Celeste Barber to host Fire Fight concert with Queen, KD Lang and Olivia Newton John

THE COMMENTARIAT

Scott Morrison makes a ‘historic change’, but it’s not the change his critics wantedDavid Speers (ABC): “Asked three times, the Prime Minister refused to rule out increasing Australia’s target to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 under the Paris Agreement. His office later played this down and at a subsequent press conference, Mr Morrison himself said the Government had already ‘set the target’ and would be sticking with its election policies.”

Germaine Greer’s Diary on the bushfires ($) — Germaine Greer (Australian Financial Review): “This is really not the right week for me to be knocking out light-hearted diary entries. I woke up on Sunday to the realisation that the huge bushfire that enveloped the town of Mallacoota in the far south-east of Victoria had indeed crossed the border and descended on the town of Eden. I knew there was only one way for it to get there and that Khandallah, a place very dear to me, was almost certainly lost.”

Church, judges in unholy union ($) — Chrissie Foster (The Australian): “I see red when I think about the Red Mass. The Red Mass is a Catholic mass said at the end of each January for the legal fraternity marking the beginning of the legal year. The Red Mass is a ­European tradition dating back to the year 1310 in England and ­earlier in Paris — 1245.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney

  • Today is the final day of the CBD lockout laws.

Germany

  • After facing climate protests, engineering group Siemens will announce whether they will help develop the Adani-Carmichael coal mine.