THE HEAT IS (STILL) ON
According to AAP, a new United Nations report finds that the global lockdown has done nothing to stop concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere hitting a record high, and that while emissions dipped in April to 2006 levels they reverted to 2019 equivalents in early June.
Additionally, authors of the report have explained at The Conversation how, despite the Paris climate agreements nominally aiming to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees this century, the research warns that the limit may be temporarily exceeded as early as 2024.
The report comes out as record-high heat exacerbates bushfires across California, and photos of orange, dark skies echoing Australia’s Black Summer come out of San Fransisco.
PS: A week after the Morrison government introduced a bill to use clean energy money for gas, The Guardian reports that Anthony Albanese yesterday called for Australia to become a “renewable energy superpower”, if not one that clamps down on resource exports. Meanwhile, the ABC reports that a class action has been submitted on behalf of young people seeking an injunction against the Morrison government from approving an extension to Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine.
The ABC reports that China’s foreign ministry has accused Australia of “blatant irrational behaviour” after an ASIO-AFP investigation into allegations of foreign interference led to four journalists leaving Australia and the government cancelling visas for two offshore Chinese scholars.
A day after Australian journalists Bill Birtles and Michael Smith were rushed out of China, Chinese state media outlets yesterday accused Australian security agencies of raiding the four reporters’ homes in June, seizing their equipment and ordering them to stay silent. While neither the AFP nor ASIO have commented, the ABC cites a federal government source confirming that authorities spoke to the journalists but alleging that the interview was lawful and “suggesting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs account was lurid and exaggerated”.
Reportedly, the probe relates to allegations the Chinese Communist Party attempted to infiltrate NSW Parliament through the office of Labor backbencher Shaoquett Moselmane via his former staffer John Zhang.
PS: In a profile of one of those now-barred academics, The Australian ($) reports that Shanghai’s Chen Hong has a relationship with Australia that dates back to his scholarship of novelist Patrick White in the 1980s and that he worked as a translator for former prime minister Bob Hawke in the ’90s.
According to The Age, Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate threatened to call police unless the City of Melbourne delivered more than 100 of Pauline Hanson’s “No Hard Feelings” stubby holders to every apartment in Melbourne’s locked-down public housing flats in July.
The merchandise, developed after Hanson hurled racist descriptions at residents on Today (i.e. “drug addicts” and “alcoholics” who “cannot speak English” and had not “adhered to the rules of social distancing”), were sent to householders but were held by officials overseeing distribution of food, mail, and medical supplies due to concerns the stubby holders might exacerbate an existing “emotional tinder box”.
Coincidentally, Holgate’s threat came as Australia Post was attempting to win One Nation’s support to ensure the Morrison government’s temporary relaxation of daily postal services was not overturned by the Senate.
In other local pandemic news:
- Victoria’s opposition has slammed Dan Andrews’ admission that his decision to impose a curfew was based on enabling police enforcement rather than health advice, while experts speaking to The Age explain the policy both could theoretically backfire by creating bottlenecks throughout the day but has precedent in helping Sierra Leone contain Ebola
- According to the Herald Sun ($), Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry has heard that, despite claims the government did not believe subcontractors were used by security firms, contracts include labour hire conditions. Also, two security guards were allegedly caught by supervisors engaging in sexual activity on shift
- Analysis by The Sydney Morning Herald has found that states and territories face a GST shortfall of at least $33 billion over the next four years
- A survey of single mothers has found the $550-a-fortnight COVID-19 supplement has been “life-altering”, but the decision to slash it come September 25 risks putting 1.1 million children into poverty (The Guardian).
A PEACE OF THE ACTION
Finally, The Guardian reports that Donald Trump has once again been nominated by far-right, anti-immigration Norwegian MP Christian Tybring-Gjedde for the Nobel peace prize, who this year cited Trump’s role establishing a peace deal between Israel and the UAE.
Although the prize’s broad nominator criteria means there are currently 318 candidates for 2020 — and the deal in question has been slammed by Palestinian officials as normalising Israel’s occupation of the West Bank — MarketWatch reports that online bookie Betfair has the president tied at seventh-most-likely to win at 20-1 with Bill Gates, while the World Health Organisation leads at 5-2.
PS: While it might be odd to hand the peace prize to a man who ordered the assassination of Iran’s second in command and implemented an immigration detention scheme on par with Australia’s, consider that former US secretary of state Henry “Multiple War Crimes” Kissinger won the prize two years before Vietnam technically ended, while Barack Obama took one home before he’d actually done anything.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
At a glance
- R U OK?
- Second round voluntary redundancy program — EOIs now open
La Trobe University
“The number of Australian citizens living and working in mainland China is believed to be in the tens of thousands. China has shown it is willing to use the arbitrary arrest and detention of business people for diplomatic purposes: Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been imprisoned in China since 2018 in retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
“It’s unclear whether the Chinese regime’s actions toward Birtles and Smith were part of its fight with the United States over journalists in each other’s countries, its ongoing hostility toward Australia or purely about Western journalism.”
“On demand, online, personal to you: that’s the challenge for the ABC, like all broadcasters, as Australian media navigates the end of schedule broadcasting. It’s the tension that underlies the day-to-day dramas of personality changes, board appointments and funding cuts.
“Sounds great, except it involves shattering the habits of linear destination programming that the ABC has spent decades building up, replacing it with a world of on-demand streaming, podcasts and news online. Even more challenging: the audience isn’t there yet — or at least much (maybe most) aren’t.”
“What’s the news from Richo’s Chinese restaurant, where Labor grandee Graham Richardson writes his column for The Australian on an Inn of Celestial Happiness napkin before doves whisk it away to Holt Street?
“According to Richo’s column today, Gough Whitlam stuffed up the Dismissal…”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
A pioneering China correspondent writes: it’s much more risky today — Yvonne Preston (The Age): “During my time as The Sydney Morning Herald’s China correspondent, from 1975 to 1978, I recall only one correspondent who was thrown out, a Canadian who had the temerity to write about human rights. His visa was simply not renewed. Occasionally a correspondent would be called into the Foreign Ministry for a reprimand, but that was it.”
There’s no spark of economic revival in this energy policy ($) — Tony Wood (AFR): “Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the national cabinet’s energy reform committee would progress critical reform of the energy system as a key component of Australia’s economic recovery. There is little doubt that governments, working across the economy need to drive such a recovery. In the same week, The AFR View described Australia’s energy system as a costly mess. Yet the immediate actions identified for the committee provide scant comfort they will effectively or efficiently contribute to either an economic recovery, or a fix of the wider energy mess.”
Halting the Oxford vaccine trial doesn’t mean it’s not safe — it shows they’re following the right process — Nigel William Crawford and Jim Buttery (The Conversation): “There’s been no official statement on the nature of the incident that caused the trial to be halted. We only know it was a suspected adverse reaction in a participant in the UK. (Phase 3 trials for the AZD1222 vaccine have been taking place in several countries.) The New York Times has reported the participant was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammatory condition than affects the spinal cord and can be sparked by viral infections..”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Journalist and former detainee Behrouz Boochani and human rights lawyer Julian Burnside will speak at online Refugee Voices event “Moments for Change” with organisation co-director Grace Williams.
Today is R U OK Day.