Matt Canavan Italian election
Nationals Senator Matt Canavan.

NEWS FROM CAPITAL HILL

The Coalition will today release an independent review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and use the findings on wait times, rigidity and uncertainty to help overhaul the scheme. This comes less than a week after Minister Stuart Roberts rejected reports that more than 1,200 people died waiting for the scheme.

Meanwhile, Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan has cited trade tensions with China ($) as the reason for an overhaul of the northern development agenda, which will see Australia pursue closer ties with India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Island nations.

Finally, in an update to yesterday’s $76 million tourism pledge, the national bushfire recovery fund will include grants of up to $50,000 and low-interest loans of up to $500,000 for affected small businesses.

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AUSTRALIA BATTLES FIRES, FLOODS AND DUST STORMS

Residents in towns just north of Melbourne, Pastoria and Pipers Creek have been issued a “too late to leave” emergency warning in the face of a large bushfire, even as thunderstorms bring both much-needed and dangerous rain, The Age reports.

Major fires are also reportedly burning across Victoria’s French Island, the Mount Buffalo area, and South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, while (deep breath) the ABC reports of hail in south-eastern Melbourne, The Daily Telegraph ($) of dust-storms along NSW’s Central Coast, and news.com.au of flash-flooding across Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Also, drought, dams and land clearing mean the platypus is apparently on the edge of extinction ⁠— in case your Monday wasn’t sad enough already.

For the latest updates, visit VicEmergencySA Country Fire ServiceNSW RFS or EmergencyWA. For air pollution, check the Real-time Air Quality Index Visual Map.

CAMO AGAIN, TRUMP?

The White House has responded to a 46-page brief for Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with a blunt, six-page filing denying all allegations and accusing Democrats of “a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election”, according to The Guardian.

Meanwhile, one of the President’s less controversial achievements, the establishment of an independent United States Space Force, has been forced to explain its new, woodland camouflage uniforms after experts pointed out that space is black, actually.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Simply put Noosa Satanists feel the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill is completely unnecessary and a waste of the Federal Government’s time. Having said that, should this Parliament vote to enact this legislation then Satanists across Australia will aggressively use this law to ensure that we can access all the privileges it guarantees.

Brother Samael Demo-Gorgon

The Noosa Temple of Satan’s submission on the Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 (Second Exposure Draft) is refreshingly frank.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

We know Bridget McKenzie is a political rorter. Here is how she can get her comeuppence

“Fact is, not only was the $100 million pork barrelled into marginal electorates and utterly rorted from the perspective of ministerial responsibility, but McKenzie had no legal power to do it at all. Consequences? In a world of actual consequences, apart from McKenzie being sacked, a few could be anticipated.”


Who is the Australian billionaire who just hired Julie Bishop?

“If you’ve never heard of Lex Greensill, you’re not alone. The ‘billionaire from Bundaberg’ has made a relatively quiet rise for someone who is now making billions off a controversial new financial product.”


News Corp is trying to dictate a broken climate debate

“With its standard blatant climate denialism looking less sustainable by the day, News Corp had limited options. Then they remembered the old lesson: if you’re losing an argument, change the argument.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Veteran Liberal MP Kevin Andrews faces preselection battle

Australian police using face recognition software as privacy experts issue warning

Anthony Albanese flags ‘ambitious’ emissions target but won’t recommit to 45% reduction

Silicosis cases double: One in five stonemasons diagnosed with silicosis ($)

Man launches legal action against Anglican Church and State Government for alleged sex abuse between 1948 and 1965 ($)

New fee website shows NSW pays up to 40 times more in out-of-pocket costs

WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh slams investigation into crushed Perth Airport worker Rodney Tan ($)

Childcare fees up 3% in last quarter and 34% since Coalition took power in 2013

Yemen war: At least 80 soldiers killed in missile attack

Hong Kong rally cut short as protesters and police clash

THE COMMENTARIAT

Six million hectares of threatened species habitat up in smokeMichelle Ward, Aaron Greenville et al (The Conversation): “We found that 99% of the area burned in the current fires contains potential habitat for at least one nationally listed threatened species. We conservatively estimate that six million hectares of threatened species habitat has been burned.”

Northern Australia’s value not lost on friends and rivalsPeter Jennings (The Australian): “It has been painfully obvious for years that our major ally, the US, major regional partner, Japan, and our major market, China, all see more strategic value in northern Australia than successive federal governments and much of our Defence establishment.”

The warming planet is already killing people, so health policy must catch upChris Bowen (The Age): “The devastation wrought by Australia’s worst bushfires has elevated the health effects of climate change right to the top of the national conversation. It used to be the case that we said we can’t pin a particular natural disaster down to climate change, but that natural disasters would occur more frequently. We’ve moved beyond that.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Hobart

  • Tasmanian Liberal MPs and Senators are due to begin discussions about naming a new leader and premier following the resignation of Will Hodgman.

Melbourne

  • After launching yesterday, LGBTQIA+ cultural event Midsumma Festival 2020 will run until Sunday, February 9.

Adelaide

  • Cycling commentator Phil Liggett will speak at the SA Press Club.

Sydney

  • Chatswood’s Year of the Rat Festival will open today and run until Saturday, February 8.

Perth

  • The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will hold a public consultation workshop on the management of native vegetation in Western Australia.

USA

  • Donald Trump is expected to file a more detailed legal brief as part of his impeachment defence.

  • The Screen Actors Guild Awards 2020 will be presented from 12.00 pm AEDT.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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