Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

A ROADMAP TO…

Energy Minister Angus Taylor will today announce that the Coalition’s technology roadmap will overlook wind and solar, which are “coming to an end of value”, and focus on the “next challenges”, such as hydrogen, methane from livestock, and (Trojan horse alert) carbon capture and storage, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

And rather than policy per se, according to The Conversation, Taylor will call for “economic goals” of four to five times existing R&D investment from the private sector.

FUN FACTS: Australia sourced 79% of our electricity from fossil fuels in 2018; renewable investment has tanked post-2020 Renewable Energy Target; and as Crikey has noted multiple times, and despite the millions of dollars already pissed away at carbon capture and storage, the most effective form of sequestration is trees.

MORRISON TO DECLARE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The Morrison government has extended the China travel ban until March 7 and is preparing to declare a coronavirus pandemic, the ABC and The Sydney Morning Herald report, with emergency measures aimed at hospitals, schools and aged-care facilities.

According to The Australian ($), University of Queensland virologist Ian Mackay believes COVID-19 — like the four existing strains of coronavirus — is destined to become an endemic virus, that’s just “with us for life”, but generally manifests as little more than a cold.

Notably, with new Deloitte modelling indicating the virus will knock $6 billion off tourism, mining and education this year, the Coalition is now considering new economic stimulus, The Age reports.

ANTI-MUSLIM RIOTS

The death toll from anti-Muslim riots in Delhi has hit 37, Al Jazeera reports. The violence was sparked when Muslims protesting against discriminatory citizenship law were attacked by Hindu mobs.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Donald Trump, who, speaking at a mega-cricket stadium together, received strong applause praising India and the US’ fight against “radical Islamic terrorism”.

FOREIGN AID ALMOST EXTINCT

The Sydney Morning Herald reports 25 of Australia’s 29 foreign aid deals have expired throughout seven years of consistent, billion-dollar cuts to the budget — while remaining deals with Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Tuvalu are set to expire in July.

TALKING POINT: While aid has now been cut to a record-low $4 billion a year, or 0.2% of gross national income, it’s hardly the only sector feeling some pain; The Australian ($) reports defence has been forced to dip into its $200 billion capital investment program — meant for new equipment, tech and infrastructure — to pay salaries, clean up pollution, maintain IT and compensate sexual assault survivors.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

They are inspired by their spiritual leader, the m-m-m-member for Rankin, Mr Speaker. The m-m-m-m-member for Rankin, [hahahaha] Mr Speaker. And I was thinking yesterday, as the member for Rankin was coming into the chamber fresh from his Ashram deep in the mountains of the Himalayas…

Josh Frydenberg

In a performance that managed to get “Hinduism” trending in Australia, the Treasurer mocks a wellbeing budget proposed by Jim Chalmers that, when first introduced in New Zealand last year, was heralded as an innovation in mental illness, crime and poverty prevention.

CRIKEY RECAP

A peek into the corrupt world of grants exposes unregulated role of staffers

“Is this the most corrupt federal government in Australian history?

“The Howard government — lying about Iraq, the AWB affair, the Dili bugging, Mamdouh Habib, Mohamed Haneef, regional rorts, the MRI scandal, the government advertising scandal — might vociferously object to a younger generation claiming the prize. But the growing stench of rorted programs and self-interested decision-making is reaching historic levels in Canberra.”


Assange stands up to the courts — but what of the press?

“While The Guardian has featured a few opinion pieces protesting Assange’s treatment and made some editorial comment in his support, well, it hasn’t exactly been cry freedom, has it? The best you can say is that it’s undone some of the immense damage it did to Assange after he broke with them during the Cablegate releases of 2010.”


Memo for Nina and Bettina: it’s time to start fighting the real enemy

“Ladies, we need to talk. There’s another war between women going on and this time it’s pointless.

“I remember one of the early schisms in the feminist movement, the ‘mummy wars’ of the 1980s, where all post-pubescent women were drafted into pitched battles between ‘working’ women and ‘stay-at-home’ mothers.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Government under pressure to lift Newstart amid troubling economic times

Two Australians named in Italian court as alleged leaders of the mafia

Great Barrier Reef: coral bleaching to worsen unless weather conditions change

Hand-picked commissioner slams government’s ‘tired, unimaginative’ drug policies ($)

Labor accuses PM of ‘cooking the books’ with timing of sports grants

Morrison and Ardern to talk crime, coronavirus and managing their coalition partners

Labor’s mayoral candidate plans to make Brisbane carbon neutral by 2050

Saudi Arabia blocks foreign pilgrims as Japan plans school closure amid coronavirus outbreak

Disrupted flights and travel insurance: how the coronavirus is affecting travel for Australians

THE COMMENTARIAT

Coronavirus threatens more than just the budgetWaleed Aly (The Sydney Morning Herald): “‘We brought the budget back to surplus next year,’ declared Scott Morrison on the eve of last year’s election in what is among the more absurd political statements in recent memory. Clearly it is impossible to have achieved something that will not happen for another year.”

Scott Morrison learns from his horror summer mistakes ($) — Dennis Shanahan (The Australian): “It was Anthony Albanese who said Morrison was politicising the bushfires and on Thursday it was again the Opposition Leader who said Morrison was politicising the coronavirus crisis and acting without decency by not briefing Labor on the pandemic call.”

The real bullies who spread hatred and division aren’t on Twitter – they’re in plain sight Nyadol Nyuon (The Guardian): “Simply said, for women of colour there is no ‘bubble’, no ‘echo chamber’, online or in the real world, which can protect us. We can either choose to remain in the fight or be silenced, and we have long heeded the warning that our silence will not protect us either.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Parliament will hold hearings for inquiries into Australia’s oil and gas reserves; the NBN; data retention; ASIC; and the sports rorts scandal, which will hear from former chief of Sport Australia Kate Palmer.

  • Crime fiction writer Dervla McTiernan will speak in conversation with critic Jeff Popple on her new novel, The Good Turn, at an ANU/Canberra Times event.

Sydney

  • NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to meet with Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

  • Coronial inquest findings into the death of Indigenous man Eric Whittaker will be released.

  • Sociologist Dr Louise St Guillaume will present the findings of her 2019 Whitlam Fellowship “Newstart, Poverty and Disability”.

Melbourne

  • Seven Network FOI editor Alison Sandy will present an “FOI for journalists” Walkley Masterclass.

Adelaide

  • Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn will present a 2020 Economic and Political Overview.

  • Business SA and Crime Stoppers SA will release the Understanding the Impact of Crime on South Australian Businesses – a Snapshot report

  • Opening night of the 2020 Adelaide Festival, to run until Sunday, March 15.

Peter Fray

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