A TRUE ANTI-ZERO
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Scott Morrison has declared that he is not concerned about the future impact of net zero emissions targets set by four of our top trading partners — China, Britain, South Korea and Japan — on Australia’s fossil fuel industry or domestic targets.
While a number of those countries have also gone hard on post-COVID green stimulus programs — i.e. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who just yesterday outlined a 2050 net zero target and also announced a US$61.9 billion Green New Deal in July — Morrison has effectively rebuffed a direct call from Boris Johnston to take “bold action” on climate change and looks set to remain on his gas-led recovery designed by gas executives.
The news comes as The Australian ($) reports that ANZ will today announce “the most ambitious net zero emissions action of the big four banks and adopt climate change as a condition of lending”, a plan that will increase pressure on businesses, construction firms, and farmers to establish low-carbon transition plans by next year.
Elsewhere, The Age reports that Victorians who lost their homes in the Black Summer bushfires are calling for a massive expansion of the state’s fleet of aerial water bombers and for governments to take the threat of global warming as seriously as they are taking COVID-19.
Finally, on the international front, RenewEconomy reports that analysis led by Stanford University futurist Tony Seba has found that 100% clean electricity from solar, wind, and batteries is both physically possible and economically affordable across America and “the overwhelming majority of other populated regions of the world” by 2030.
PS: If you are at all curious about the types of people Australian governments are interested in appeasing, The Guardian reports that Adani has hired a private investigator to spy on the wife and daughter of Brisbane activist Ben Pennings.
RETRACING OUR STEPS
According to the Herald Sun ($), Victoria’s opposition has received approval for a parliamentary inquiry into the state’s contact tracing system.
The news comes after the system was overwhelmed in the early days of Victoria’s second wave — for example, the ABC reported in August that a close contact was texted permission to leave a quarantine he hadn’t been told he was supposed to be in — as well as recent improvements including new training programs, a shift from paper to digital, and expanded criteria for what constitutes “close contacts”.
Elsewhere, The Sydney Morning Herald reports the state government is considering increasing the number of quarantine “health hotels” following a spike in returned travellers testing positive.
The paper also reports that more than 1500 aged care homes had their requests for personal protective equipment from the National Medical Stockpile rejected by the Department of Health; for context, lack of PPE was one of several issues identified by the aged care royal commission’s special COVID-19 report.
PS: In reopening news, the Herald Sun reports that Melbourne pubs — buoyant though they, and we, are that they are once again open — are calling for the state government to tweak the November 8 step and allow 40 patrons inside without being split up into a maximum of four groups of 10.
MOMENT OF TRUTH: LEFT OUT IN THE COLD
According to The Hill, hundreds of Donald Trump fans in Nebraska were left waiting in freezing cold temperatures Tuesday night after shuttle buses were unable — for an unidentified reason — to return them from his rally to their cars.
With more than 70 million votes already counted, Trump is going hard on swing states — often unhappily, as CNN reports of his complaints over poor weather/locales and his audible wishes to drive away in a big Pennsylvania truck.
Conversely, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Joe Biden has bizarrely made his rallies invite-only, although CNN notes his campaign is about to get some younger — if not exactly fresh — energy as Barack Obama joins him for the final stretch.
Finally, The New York Times’ ($) latest investigation into Trump’s financial history finds he was able to avoid $287 million in unpaid debt for a failed real estate project because, “rather than warring with a notoriously litigious and headline-seeking client, lenders cut Mr Trump slack — exactly what he seemed to have been counting on”.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
The government doesn’t have a measure of poverty, which has been the practice of successive governments, because our payments system is very comprehensive and specifically targeted towards providing the policy outcomes that are defined by the particular measures…
A narrow definition of [adopts air quotes] ‘poverty’, as I said, is not something the government has ever sought.
While the social services minister is not exactly interested in gauging whether $287.25 a week is enough to avoid this so-called “poverty” people talk about, the Grattan Institute has actually done the work for her: it’s $179 below the relative poverty rate, and $255 below the Henderson line.
“Jim Reed is not a household name, nor is his company, Resolve Strategic.
“Which is why it has raised more than a few eyebrows that his business, registered to a PO Box in Glebe, is running a million-dollar marketing campaign that is helping shape key parts of the Morrison government’s economic policy.”
“Did you hear the news? The Reserve Bank has ‘indicated the recession is over’, according to News Corp. Kerry Stokes’ The West Australian confirms that — ‘Recession over, says Reserve Bank’ — and Stokes’ Seven News repeated the claim, as did Sky News.
“With so many media outlets saying it, surely it must be true? Well you won’t believe this, but just because the government’s main news media propagandists say something is true doesn’t mean it is.”
“Three years ago, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, Malcolm Turnbull said the quiet part out loud: ‘Some fear that China will seek to impose a latter day Monroe Doctrine on this hemisphere in order to dominate the region.’
“The then prime minister was referring to the United States’ 19th century attempt to claw back territorial domination of the Americas from Europe. The speech is littered with warnings to China about coercion, and threats to peace and harmony in the region. The subtext was clear: China was a threat. Beijing needed to back off.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Qld election debate: Aggressive Premier fails to land knockout blow ($) — Steven Wardill (The Courier Mail): “Annastacia Palaszczuk should have wiped the floor with Deb Frecklington at yesterday’s people’s forum. She’s now an experienced hand who performed admirably against Frecklington’s predecessors Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls at her last two forum forays. Palaszczuk also thrives in a town hall environment like few other politicians. Yet she just couldn’t seem to shake off the challenge, let alone land a telling blow, against the plucky LNP leader, Deb Frecklington.”
A more humane, less costly solution for aged care: stay at home — Pru Goward (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The royal commission into aged care has emerged as a key playmaker in the country’s preparations for the Baby Boomer generation’s 80th birthday party in six years when the first of us receive our OBE (proudly referred to as Over Bloody Eighty by its recipients). The commission will most certainly need all the skills and cunning of a Cameron Smith to convince governments and communities of the wisdom of its findings; there is already no doubt it is going to be a very expensive party.”
The road to listening — Jenny Sinclair (Meanjin): “Huge old trees are already coming down, and the works are advancing further towards several trees that are considered sacred. Security guards and police have fenced the trees off, and two protesters are in the trees. There will be more confrontations: 60 people have already been arrested. Desperate rearguard court actions are underway. How did it come to this, again? According to Victorian Ombudsman, Deborah Glass, part of the answer is that when the road was being planned, we — the state and the settler people of Victoria — didn’t listen carefully enough.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Senate estimates will examine Skills and Training, science agencies, and DFAT.