Scott Morrison JobKeeper covid-19
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT?

Scott Morrison has suggested to parliament he will not be granted a speaking slot at a summit this weekend for countries with ambitious emissions targets, despite, as The New Daily reports, telling parliament last week he would attend to “correct mistruths” about his government’s seven-year-long policy vacuum.

Morrison was apparently hoping to tout new emissions data that projects Australia could hit its relatively weak 2030 target without cheating with Kyoto credits.

However, RenewEconomy explains the report also forecasts a massive drop in solar and wind investment; while the prediction is not clearly explained, it follows a large fall in investment last year after Energy Minister Angus Taylor chose not to extend Labor’s last remaining climate policy, the 2020 renewable energy target.

PS: In other news from parliament’s final day of the year, The Mandarin notes Environment Minister Sussan Ley has approved a $500 million redevelopment of the Australian War Memorial, despite opposition from two former heads of the AWM, while The Conversation reports a government-dominated electoral committee has made “radical” recommendations including US-style voter ID laws (which ACLU calls voter suppression), an end to byelections, terms longer than four years, a larger parliament, optional preferential voting, and reduced time-frames for pre-polling.

EASY AS, ABC

An independent review of the ABC’s 2019 election coverage has found overall coverage was impartial but an episode of The Drum “reflected too narrow a range of viewpoints” and should have included “more conservative voices and perspectives”. Additionally, two Insiders panels appeared to offer a “substantial shortfall in positive reflection of the Coalition’s prospects, policies or performance compared to Labor”.

The report did not criticise the hosts of either program, while the latter finding, which was not due to opinions but weight of analysis, is arguably down to the sheer quantity of Labor policies compared to the Coalition.

The Guardian explains that the review was contracted to British journalist Kerry Blackburn as part of the ABC’s internal evaluation processes, but forcibly released due to a successful Senate motion from LNP senator James McGrath. 

PS: With Communications Minister Paul Fletcher’s attack on the Four Corners investigation into Alan Tudge and Christian Porter doomed to fail, at least the new report has led to some dutiful News Corp spin (“A review the national broadcaster tried to keep secret found the ABC’s coverage of the 2019 federal election was ‘Labor, Labor, Labor’” — Herald Sun $).

A QUICK STUDY

According to The Age, the Victorian government is considering a proposal from international education and accommodation groups to fly up to 23,000 international students into the state from as early as January next year.

The plan would allow students to serve their quarantine period — a state responsibility — in student accommodation, and comes as the national cabinet meets today to reportedly discuss the future of international students.

PS: In global aviation news, the BBC reports that UK travellers could be barred from entering the EU from January 1 as EU travel rights expire and pandemic rules restrict entry to essential travel only.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Frankly, this is activism pretending to be journalism, and it’s one of the reasons why people are looking beyond traditional media for their news.

Peta Credlin

Slamming that bastion of lefty-pinko-coffee-sniffing-Marxism, the ABC, the Sky News host, former chief of staff to Tony Abbott, and Dan Andrews investigator extraordinaire bemoans the lack of balanced news and current affairs shows in Australia.

CRIKEY RECAP

Fletcher bungles ABC hit job and leaves the government stuck

“If it was unclear before that Communications Minister Paul Fletcher is badly out of his depth, his mishandling of the government’s reprisals against the ABC over Four Corners‘ revelation of the antics of Alan Tudge and Christian Porter has confirmed it.

“It’s debatable whether the government should even have looked to punch back against the ABC for the program. The revelations — entirely in the public interest — of the behaviour of two senior ministers were already yesterday’s news. In the “permanent present” of the press gallery, where no one remembers longer than five minutes ago and any story broken by another outlet is ignored until it can’t be, the news cycle had moved on.”


Tim Wilson’s anti-super crusade a worry for blinkered, vulnerable ALP

“There’s a particular trap in Australian progressive politics which involves dismissing a political issue simply because Tim Wilson has become involved.

“It’s fair to say the Liberal MP represents the antithesis of what anyone with a skerrick of blood in their veins feels life is all about: the rent-a-blazer with a nine-dollar smile, last seen in the 2019 election hanging around old folks homes like a has-been crooner doing morning melodies, or a fake relative with a newly drafted will.”


The great Mungo MacCallum is gone, and half a century goes with him

“Not being half the writer the great man was, I have to repeat myself: the death of veteran political commentator and former Crikey contributor Mungo MacCallum robs Australian political writing of vast reserves of clarity, incredulity and style — resources that were hardly in abundance even with his contributions.

“In fact, Mungo is one the few writers capable of summing up what he and his five decades of writing meant, and the different understandings of life and politics that he bridged and illuminated for us all.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

‘No one’s safe under these laws’: Surveillance Bill could target activists and downloaders

Healthcare workers caught COVID-19 in Victoria in their thousands, so what went wrong?

Employers seek wage fines delay ($)

‘A threat to Australia’: experts welcome inquiry’s focus on rise of rightwing extremism

Rio Tinto may have to pay $250m in Juukan Gorge compensation, native title chief warns

Women plead with Scott Morrison: don’t axe Defence Minister Linda Reynolds ($)

Three reasons meeting climate targets and dumping Kyoto credits won’t salvage Australia’s international reputation

State government proposes changes to bail laws to look after child sex victims after death of Annaliesse Ugle ($)

On record day for COVID-19 deaths, Trump falsely says at packed party he will ‘win this election’

Adem Somyurek accuses Daniel Andrews of branch stacking ($)

Beirut port explosion prosecutor charges Lebanon’s outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab, three ex-ministers with negligence

THE COMMENTARIAT

Who would have thought John Setka could be such a unifying force? Michelle Grattan (The Conversation): “You didn’t need Nostradamus to predict the Labor and union blasts when the government released its industrial relations reforms this week. But who — except the few in the know — would have foreseen the government-union-Labor unity ticket to land a massive ‘hit’ on very bad boy John Setka?”

What Bidenomics means for Australia ($) — Ross Garnaut (The Australian Financial Review): “President-elect Biden is committed to much more fiscal expansion, and will get a substantial part of his way. Massive expenditures on the climate and energy transition will follow. The US will move towards full employment, much more strongly than after the GFC. The expenditure increases will support much more employment growth than the same budget deficits from tax cuts. The expansion has to be hauled back after the emergence of inflation signals the arrival of full employment.”

How robodebt killed vulnerable people like mePatrick Marlborough (VICE): “In 2018 a friend of mine, K, called me to say he was going to kill himself that weekend. This was not the first time we had had this conversation, but it was the first time he’d given me a specific reason other than the day-to-day travails of trauma, poverty, and illness. He’d had a time of it, he told me, with Centrelink.”

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will deliver the 2020 Annual Investment Statement.

Australia

  • Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood will host webinar “What now for retirement incomes”.

Peter Fray

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