Scott Morrison Coalition parliament
(Image: AAP/LUKAS COCH)

KEEPING HIS OPTIONS OPEN

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will consider more than 100 new renewable energy technologies as part of a forthcoming plan to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions. Set to be released later this year, the draft investment paper predicts renewable energy in the electricity grid will double over the next decade. 

Technology to be considered includes carbon capture and storage, lithium production, biofuels and waste-to-energy. Morrison on Sunday signalled his intention to cut additional carbon emissions and suggested the government may not need to carry over its Kyoto credits to hit its 2030 emissions reduction targets, The Australian reports ($).

GET READY TO LIB-SYNC FOR YOUR LIFE

Federal Liberal MPs in Victoria will be fighting to keep their seats in preselections opening tomorrow, The Age reports. Politicians including Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt are among those preparing applications for endorsement. 

With the next federal election more than two years away, the Victorian branch’s early preselection process has resulted in Liberal MPs and party members writing to the executive, asking for the procedure to be changed. This is the second time state president Robert Clark has had to field such calls, with the first time in December rejected on legal grounds.

“RENEGE ON RENEGING THE NEG”

Energy Security Board chair Dr Kerry Schott said the Morrison government’s lack of national energy policy is making grid management more difficult as renewable technology booms, The Age reports.

While individual projects, such as Snowy 2.0, are helping, Schott is looking to former government’s energy policy for inspiration. “If we went back to the [National Energy Guarantee] or to something that links emissions reduction to reliability and security, that would be great. That really needs national leadership,” Schott said.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I’m keeping calm. Everyone looks very worried about this. I’m trying not to be worried because I’ve been told he can sense if I’m worried.

Debi Edward

The ITV News Asia correspondent stood strong in protective armour as she held what she believed to be one of Australia’s notorious “drop bears”.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Philippine volcano spews ash and steam

‘Fake number’: Labor says Morrison is fudging emissions figures

‘Uncharted territory’ as species likely go extinct in bushfires

Murdoch University drops financial claim against whistleblower academic after backlash

Bushfire smoke plume destined to reach Australia again after circling the globe, NASA says

Westpac to pay mortgages for customers whose homes have been destroyed by bushfires ($)

‘I think it’s a load of BS’: Pauline Hanson wants climate change left out of bushfires royal commission

Liberal National Club president Wilson Gavin dies after protesting against drag queens at Brisbane library

Adani coalmine: Siemens CEO has ‘empathy’ for environment but refuses to quit contract

Westpac to pay mortgages for customers whose homes have been destroyed by bushfires ($)

Daniel Andrews downplays royal commission into bushfire crisis

Oscars nominations 2020: Joker, 1917 and Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood earn nods from the Academy

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The government is guilty of criminal neglect. But it’s not alone

“While Scott Morrison deserves to bear the brunt of criticism for the bushfire catastrophe, it is a disaster a generation in the making. Australia’s long-term role in sabotaging international climate action began under the Howard government, with John Howard leading the effort to resist internationally-agreed targets for emissions reductions in the 1990s and obtain a special deal for Australia’s rampant land clearing that alienated other countries.”


Just a reminder that Morrison can send us to war whenever he wants

“With everything feeling quite precarious, Prime Minister Scott Morrison — acting with a speed that will no doubt surprise anyone who lost their house to the bushfires while he was in Hawaii — announced he was monitoring the events in Iraq and ready to do whatever was necessary to ‘keep Australians safe’. So it’s worth bearing in mind that oversight of Australia’s war powers is practically non-existent. As Clinton Fernandes, professor of international and political studies at the University of New South Wales told Crikey back in 2018, ‘the executive can send us to war with no oversight’.”


Australia isn’t the only place battling extreme weather in the new year

“While Australia is seeing unprecedented weather extremes (the full list of which is too long to include), we’re not the only ones. A heatwave in Moscow, including a record high December temperature of 5.4 degrees, saw the government literally truck in — and guard — fake snow to decorate Red Square. Delhi recorded its coldest December day in 119 years. Air pollution also jumped, breaching the severe category during a period that saw the city launch its first ever air-purifying “smog tower”, while poor visibility delayed dozens of trains and hundreds of flights.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

How royal commissions can both help and hinderScott Prasser (Australian Financial Review): “Drawing on the experiences and lessons of past royal commissions, there are some things the Morrison government should do to avoid undermining the process from the start. This means the terms of reference of any royal commission must not avoid the underlying and growing public concern about the relationship between climate change and bushfires. Otherwise it will be doomed to failure, and add to the Morrison government’s present woes.”

Russia and Iran are eroding our democratic freedoms ($) — Stefan Romaniw (The Australian): “Democracy enshrines the rights of people no matter who or where they are. It is a basic right to buy an airline ticket, board a plane, take off and land safely at your destination. For 298 people — including 38 Australians — on Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, and 178 poor souls on Flight PS752 last Wednesday, those rights were nonchalantly ignored. What binds them are political forces exerting unlawful power, having no respect for international conventions and absolutely no fear of consequences.”

The sweet relief of rain after bushfires threatens disaster for our riversPaul McInerney, Gavin Rees and Klaus Joehnk (The Conversation): “When heavy rainfall eventually extinguishes the flames ravaging south-east Australia, another ecological threat will arise. Sediment, ash and debris washing into our waterways, particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin, may decimate aquatic life. We’ve seen this before. Following 2003 bushfires in Victoria’s alpine region, water filled with sediment and debris (known as sediment slugs) flowed into rivers and lakes, heavily reducing fish populations. We’ll likely see it again after this season’s bushfire emergency.”

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will meet with business lobby groups and small businesses to talk about bushfire recovery.

Sydney

  • Acting NSW Multiculturalism Minister Geoff Day will launch the Australia Day 2020 program, alongside Australia Day Council of NSW chair Andrew Parker.

Israel

  • An Israeli court will determine whether former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer is mentally fit to face an extradition trial for child sex abuse charges.