scott morrison covid-19 gas
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

A REAL GAS

According to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation, Scott Morrison will today announce a “dispatchable capacity investment target” of 1000 megawatts in NSW for April 2021, in a move aimed at pressuring the private sector to either build a gas-fired replacement to AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power station — despite the fact that the market operator found AGL’s plan to switch to renewables and battery storage would “deliver sufficient dispatchable resources to fill the identified 850 MW resource gap” — or use Snowy Hydro to build one.

Morrison claims the move will prevent an energy price spike — although if there’s modelling, it would have to ignore the literal cheapest energy source there is — and will canvass support for five new gas basins and more pipelines; the latter follows a request for underwriting support from the gas-stacked COVID Commission but flies in the face of the market operator’s predictions.

Additionally, The Australian ($) reports that Morrison will also commit to a gas distribution hub similar to the Henry Hub in the US, which follows a similar request from COVID Commission adviser and oil billionaire Andrew Liveris in 2019.

PS: While the Morrison government again claims it will beat its 2030 emissions target of 26%-28% below 2005 emissions levels — a claim handily stenographed at the SMH — this is a reference to its made-up Kyoto credit accounting trick; according to a June 2020 report from the Academy of Technology and Engineering, Australia is still only on track for a 16% cut.

PPS: According to The Australian ($), Anthony Albanese has approved of a draft ALP policy platform that would see the party head to the next election without emission targets for 2030.

QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?

The ABC reports that a Melbourne man is in an induced coma after his head was stomped on by police during his arrest Sunday afternoon, a period in which lawyer Jeremy King said the man had not committed a crime and was being treated for mental health issues.

The incident has been referred to Victoria Police’s Professional Standards Command for investigation, however King has called for an independent investigation. Similarly, Greens MP Tim Read has called for an IBAC referral, and for the Andrews government to resource the body so that the state no longer has “police investigating police”.

A Victoria Police spokesperson has said that the man assaulted a police officer, and that, “the male allegedly became aggressive and damaged a police vehicle whilst attempting to avoid arrest,” although footage released by Channel Seven appears to show police driving into the man on the street.

PS: On the other end of this cycle, the Andrews government yesterday announced a $41 million contract to manufacture steel cells as part of his 2019/20 budget’s $1.8 billion prison expansion scheme.

UN APPEAL IGNORED BY AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

According to the ABC, the Morrison government has rebuffed a United Nations recommendation to release a man who is barely able to eat due to a medical condition and, after seven years in immigration detention, is now critically underweight.

Although specifics have been kept hidden to ensure his privacy, the man reportedly weighs about 45 kilograms, is unable to eat proper meals due to a medical condition causing a bowel obstruction, and, according to the lawyer seeking his release, is suffering a major depressive disorder. Home Affairs was reportedly under the mistaken impression he was wanted by Interpol and attempted to deport him in November last year after he spent three months in a private psychiatric hospital.

PS: Because 2020 has finally killed irony in Australian politics, The Australian ($) reports that Tony Abbott has joined a slew of Coalition critics and slammed Queensland’s hard border as “a moonbeam from the larger lunacy”.

A ROUNDUP OF GOOD SCIENCE NEWS

Finally, some cool science news to round us out:

  • RenewEconomy reports that, for the first time ever, the National Energy Market hit 25% renewables over the last year
  • According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a satellite and sensor program dubbed the “Fire Shield” is currently being used to improve identification of bushfire ignition points across Australia and, with drone technology, is designed to enable fire agencies to extinguish dangerous blazes within an hour by 2025
  • A new paper at Nature Astronomy has identified phosphine gas — a chemical only produced by microbes and industrial processes on Earth — in the cloud decks of Venus; although it could have emerged from a heretofore-unknown chemical process, ABC explains that it could also be a hint of life.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Western thought is based on causality; East Asian thinking is like a spider’s web, where moving any individual point on the web moves everything else.

With this starting point, mosaic collection and analysis is both logical and natural for the East Asian mind.

Five Eyes intelligence officer “Aeneas”

A since-deleted version of the ABC’s report into Chinese surveillance systems offers a glimpse into the spooky, spooky world of race science.

CRIKEY RECAP

Security, sovereignty and the sweet smell of petrol

“It’s a rule of thumb of politics in recent years that if you use the word ‘security’ a lot, you’ll be taken seriously and people will switch off their critical faculties. This used to only apply to national security, until other industries adopted it as well. Biosecurity. Information security. Water security. Food security. Energy security. And, of course, fuel security.”


Bitter break-up case opens a new frontier for the whole Australian race

“[I]t was accepted by the tribunal that Fiona Bendall really didn’t like Aussies and had ascribed the worst of our features to her husband. The question was whether the unpleasant consequences that he suffered were, at least in part, on account of his protected attribute: his race. The tribunal thought so, and some of the $170,000 in damages it awarded was due to that.

“Surprisingly, the culture warriors of Australian media haven’t latched immediately on to this case to point to the stupidity of drawing distinctions between people on the dubious basis of ‘race’. Nobody seems to be calling Duncan Bendall a snowflake or a cynical beneficiary of political correctness gone mad.”


‘A question of integrity’: ageing lobby group invests in controversial aged-care app

“The Council on the Ageing (COTA) is a not-for-profit organisation whose core mission is to stand up for the rights, interests and futures of older Australians. So why is it investing in an aged care app that some experts say should be banned because it puts older people at risk?

“COTA is a relatively small investor in Mable, an Uber-like tech company that boasts it is disrupting the aged care sector by linking carers directly with clients.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Return to pre-coronavirus JobSeeker rate could cost 145,000 jobs

NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro to face no-confidence vote in parliament

New COVID-19 hotspot emerges in Melbourne’s south-east

Victorian Government announces cash grants for business impacted by coronavirus lockdown, with focus on outdoor dining

Lockdown relief in sight for regions, but Melbourne must wait

Federal government in talks to buy out licences for Aboriginal flag design, Senate hears

University of Tasmania backs funding overhaul as government seeks Lambie vote

Trump still in the fight if polls are as wrong as in 2016 ($)

Greece resettles hundreds of migrants in new Lesbos tent facility after fire

THE COMMENTARIAT

Cyber security has to be every company’s business ($) — Rachel Falk (The Australian): “A total of 27,814 login attempts, 2178 user names, 10 countries. This is the taxonomy of a single brute force cyber attack that resulted in the installation of malicious software, facilitated cryptocurrency mining, peer file sharing and other hacking capability. And it was one of many. In what is a test case — a case with the potential to set a significant precedent — the Australian Securities & Investments Commission has begun proceedings against RI Advice Group.”

Daniel Andrews feeling pinch as pandemic upends politics ($) — Brian Loughnane (The Herald Sun): “The pandemic however has brought to prominence problems in government administration and decision-making in Victoria and placed Labor under much greater national scrutiny. As a consequence, the political management model that worked so well up until recently is arguably now contributing to the problems of the state rather than helping resolve them.”

The death cult of Tony AbbottBen Brooker (Overland):Abbott’s imputation was clear: Islamist terrorists worship death; we value life above all else. This was, after all, the former health minister and archly conservative Catholic opposed to abortion and euthanasia. Life, to him, was not merely precious in a secular sense but sacred. How curious then to witness Abbott’s latest contribution to the public debate given, as is his wont in the post-prime ministerial wilderness he now occupies, to an overseas right-wing think tank.”

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Brisbane

  • Renewable energy expert Ketan Joshi will launch his new book Windfall: Unlocking a fossil free future at a virtual Avid Reader event.

Peter Fray

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