Anthony Albanese Mark Butler
Labor leader Anthony Albanese and Labor climate spokesman Mark Butler (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

CLIMATE CHANGE

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Labor leader Anthony Albanese is set to drop long-time climate and energy spokesperson Mark Butler for health spokesperson and Labor Right member Chris Bowen.

Butler, who served as Australia’s last climate change minister after that portfolio was abolished by Tony Abbott, would then take on the health portfolio. However it is unclear what will happen to Labor’s plans for setting interim 2030 or 2035 emissions targets, especially when the Morrison government has no plans to budge on their relatively-laughable 2030 target or plan for anything post-2030.

The portfolio swap has been welcomed by former resources spokesperson Joel Fitzgibbon — who, faced with the loss of his now-marginal Hunter Valley seat, has chosen public stunts over the party’s climate policies — but comes as even former opposition leader Bill Shorten warns the party cannot head to a potential early election with a “tiny” agenda.

In a wide-ranging interview with 7.30, Albanese has dismissed rumblings his leadership is under threat, defended his policy platform, and confirmed a “stronger” shadow cabinet will be unveiled this weekend.

Coincidentally, former deputy leader and mooted replacement Tanya Plibersek has outlined a vision of Labor governing post-pandemic in The Australian ($), in which she urges the party to recapture the legacy of wartime prime minister Ben Chifley and create a platform focused on full employment, high wages and a dignified retirement.

PS: Because replacing Butler with an eight year policy vacuum was bound to have consequences, The Age reports that the newly-created Climate Targets Panel puts Australia on track to break our Paris carbon emission commitments for an upper limit of 2 degrees increase; this would require a 50% cut by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2045, while the more ambitious, wildly-more habitable goal of 1.5 degrees would require a 2030 target of 74% and net-zero emissions by 2035. See panel member and former Liberal leader John Hewson’s op-ed for more.

STUDENT INSPIRED BY CHRISTCHURCH MASSACRE ARRESTED

Singaporean authorities have announced that last month they detained without trial a 16-year-old student who, inspired by the Australian white supremacist behind the 2019 Christchurch attack, made detailed plans and preparations to launch “terrorist attacks” on two mosques with a machete on the massacre’s anniversary.

According to The Hindu, the student was self-radicalised against Islam, watched the live-stream video of the March 15, 2019 attack on the two mosques, and read the manifesto of the Christchurch terrorist.

In related news, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that roughly 40 neo-Nazis spent the Australia Day long weekend at a camping event in the Grampians National Park.

PS: It is worth noting Sky News is still giving regular speaking slots to far-right celebrity — and former proponent of the white supremacist “great replacement” theory, a conspiracy the Christchurch terrorist shared — Lauren Southern, who just last week was platformed to claim the attempted US coup came after the left “set precedent for violence” and the media is “covering it up”.

LEIFER RETURNS TO FACE CHARGES

Former Melbourne principal Malka Leifer has returned to Victoria to face charges of child sexual abuse, nearly 13 years after leaving the country and six years after an extradition request was first lodged to Israel.

According to the ABC, Leifer is accused of abusing three sisters during her time as headmistress of Elsternwick’s Adass Israel School from 2001 to 2008.

1800 Respect National Helpline: 1800 737 732; Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria: 1800 806 292.

GETTING THE CLIMATE IN ORDER

Finally, Joe Biden will today sign another flurry of executive orders, with CNBC reporting that the latest crop will focus on climate action and include, among other measures, establishing climate change as a national security priority, conserving at least 30% of federal land and oceans by 2030, and canceling new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters.

On the latest from Biden’s predecessor, CNN reports that just five Republicans voted against an attempt by the GOP Senator Rand Paul to label Donald Trump’s post-presidency impeachment unconstitutional, suggesting Democrats will not be able to find the 17 opposing votes required for a final conviction.

PPS: In an exasperating reminder that a clean energy future could actually mean more, not fewer, jobs, the AFR ($) today explains how Australian rare earth and other critical mineral companies are poised to benefit from Biden’s manufacturing plan, which will replace all federal vehicles with models powered by electric motors.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I take full responsibility for everything that the government has done. What I can tell you is that we truly did everything we could, and continue to do everything we can, to minimise loss of life and to minimise suffering.

Boris Johnson

The UK prime minister apologises for the nation’s death toll hitting 100,000. Note: this is the same prime minister who took until March 2020 to attend a crisis COVID-19 meeting with intelligence officials; initially opted for a wildly dangerous, vaccine dependent “herd immunity” strategy that amounted to just kind of letting the virus rip; later implemented such tough-but-fair mid-pandemic policies as 10pm closing time for pubs and “eat out to help out” restaurant discounts; and is only now getting around to mandatory quarantine.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

New Zealand: two new COVID cases emerge in people who had left quarantine

Indonesia’s beef with Australian cattle

Calls for change following allegations Indigenous woman was stripsearched in front of other inmates at Canberra’s jail

Google’s ad dominance under fire ($)

Redland community rallies to find missing dog belonging to Alexandra Hills couple killed by car

WA Liberals candidate Andrea Tokaji quits after being linked to 5G COVID-19 conspiracy theory ($)

Steel import delays causing more headaches on West Gate Tunnel project ($)

Jewish MP demands union dump academic over swastika

Families of Wuhan Covid dead say chat group deleted by authorities

Indonesian volcano unleashes river of lava and gases in new eruption

Israel military revising operational plans against Iran: General

UN global climate poll: ‘The people’s voice is clear — they want action’

Philippines files protest over China’s new coastguard laws in South China Sea

CRIKEY RECAP

Murdoch’s Australia Day award — brought to you by miners and bankers

“There’s no faulting the Australia Day awards for throwing up some real doozies but lost in the Margaret Court drama this year has been a so-called lifetime achievement award for Rupert Murdoch from the Australia Day Foundation.

“On the face of it it looks to be an extraordinary decision: a prestigious honour bestowed on the media mogul whose recent hits in the United States include helping fan an insurrection against democracy via Fox News and in Australia leading the way on climate change denialism in cahoots with the Morrison government it supports.”


By keeping schtum, Morrison sows dangerous seeds — and lets right-wing extremism flourish

“The prime minister’s inability to discipline backbenchers, News Corp’s extremism-based business model, and complacency are increasing the risk of right-wing terrorism in Australia as we fail to learn the lessons emerging in the United States about what drives extremists to violence.

“President Joe Biden identified the challenge of right-wing terrorism in his inaugural address, saying ‘we must confront and we will defeat’ it. One of his early actions was to ask US security agencies to evaluate the threat of domestic terrorism.”


Xi sends a message the world can’t ignore. Here’s how it has been interpreted

“Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned global leaders about the prospects of a ‘new Cold War’ that could “drive the world to division and even conflict”.

“In a clear message to the Biden administration and its allies, he rebuked western critics of Beijing: ‘We should respect and accommodate differences, avoid meddling in other countries’ internal affairs and resolve disagreements through consultation and dialogue.’”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Barnaby Joyce shows why a Coalition government may never embrace climate actionSophie Vorrath (RenewEconomy): “For all the uncertainty cast by unprecedented global pandemics and unpredictable election results, some things never change. You can rely, for example, on the National Party of Australia to remain stubbornly and inexplicably opposed to renewable energy (give or take a few enlightened young MPs). And you can set your watch by LNP elder Barnaby Joyce’s inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims that renewable energy is behind every glitch in the national electricity market.”

Anthony Albanese threat is real but challengers keeping powder dry ($) — Simon Benson (The Australian): “The risk to Anthony Albanese’s leadership is very real, but whether it is realised is another question. There is clearly widespread despair within the caucus. But with no factional grouping able to decide on a candidate and no candidate prepared to take up the cudgels, chances are that the party will stick with him for the time being. A frontbench reshuffle at the weekend will in part be designed to end the internal rumblings.”

Gamestop, memestocks, and the revenge of the retail traderAlex Wilhelm and Jonathan Shieber (YahooNews): “Being a retail trader is mostly being a sucker, hoping to best the markets while lacking the infrastructure, access, and information that professionals enjoy. Hell, most professional fund managers that regular folks can invest in fail to beat the market. That’s one reason why index funds and other passive investments that merely track aggregate performance have grown so much in recent years; why pay more to have someone make you less money than simply making the same returns as the S&P 500?”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • The Senate inquiry into COVID-19 policies will hear from AMA, RACP, Pharmacy Guild, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Health secretary Brendan Murphy, and Therapeutic Goods Administration CEO John Skerritt.

Peter Fray

Don’t get Zucked. Get news straight from the source.

They weren’t bluffing. Facebook flicked the switch and Australia woke up to a newsfeed without news.

So where do you come to understand and talk about the news now? Come to our place.

Get a year of Crikey for just $99 — usually $199 — when you subscribe today with the promocode DONTGETZUCKED.

Hurry offer ends midnight this Sunday.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW