Scott Morrison climate change
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Morrison’s free pass What exactly does Scott Morrison have to do before the press gallery will do its job and point out his failures on climate change?

Yesterday at his otherwise insipid (and, of course, heavily leaked) Press Club address, the climate denialist leader of a climate denialist government again refused to commit to the already-too-late 2050 target for net-zero emissions, allowing that he would like to do it. This was portrayed by at least one senior gallery journalist as evidence that Morrison was shifting to “a more ambitious climate change target”.

Hardly. Morrison’s government is committed to increasing fossil fuel use through a “gas-led recovery” policy written by the Liberals’ energy company donors. He is funding studies for more coal-fired power stations and is committed to wasting money on discredited carbon capture storage fantasies and more “soil magic” carbon sequestration grants for National Party supporters. Australia remains on track to miss even its hopelessly inadequate 2030 emissions targets.

How long will the press gallery — mostly made up of journalists from the official government mouthpiece News Corp, the Liberal donor/fundraiser Nine and the pathetically cowed ABC News division — let Morrison play them, and play them so easily, on climate inaction?

Every minor discussion of climate within Labor induces “beleaguered Albanese” and “Labor in turmoil” headlines, while Morrison steadfastly ignores basic physics with complete impunity from the media allegedly holding him to account.

Soap Cop-era Is the Queensland Police Union going on a publicity blitz? First, there’s the flurry of pieces in today’s Courier-Mail about the apparent youth crime crisis gripping the state (“Radical police plan: five ways to solve youth crime crisis” and “‘We’re not babysitters’: cops want GPS trackers on kid crims“). There was also a spot of bandwagoning from shadow police minister Dan Purdie on the same subject.

Then, even more absurdly, the police union (the one union that can guarantee uncritical coverage from the majority of media outlets in this country) has gotten into a tizz about a piece of work at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). The piece in question: a police helmet scrawled with various childlike drawings, including a flaming police car with the acronym “FTP” (fuck the police) dancing merrily above it.

Union boss Ian Leavers hit out at GOMA staff, labelling their defence of the artwork the kind of “wokest, tone deaf, and insulting virtue signalling we expect from people who live in a bubble”. The union went as far as to tell Channel Nine that the piece could “provoke violence against police”. Because we’re all familiar with the scourge of modern art-inspired acts of violence, yeah? Those thugs get themselves all riled up on the Centre Pompidou website and immediately turn into Alex and his droogs.

Surely there are more important things the union could be addressing? They could start with the proliferation of domestic violence accusations levelled at their members.

The Caravan moves on The Twitter account for one of India’s leading long-form investigative journalism magazines was withheld in India overnight, along with the accounts of various other government critics.

Twitter said this was “in response to a legal demand”. It’s not known who made this demand, but The Caravan is a frequent target of legal threats and even sedition charges from the Modi government. The account has now been quietly restored.

Interestingly when Donald Trump’s account was suspended there was lots of “concern” from Australian politicians about the chilling effect on freedom of speech. Yet Twitter shutting down a major publication’s feed based on opaque outside influences has passed without much comment.

When Lionel met Kevin Thanks to the tipster who got in contact to share the following delightful passage from The Powerful and the Damned: Private Diaries in Turbulent Times, the new book by former Financial Times editor Lionel Barber:


Kevin Rudd, Australia’s bumptious prime minister, wants to talk about the Copenhagen summit on climate change. We’ve had one phone call which was more than useful. Rudd sees himself as a grand strategist. He also has an unerring ability to talk down to people.

LB: I’ve just been talking to Gordon Brown. He passes on his best wishes.

KR: Really.

LB: I was thinking Gordon Brown is the only person in the world who spends more time looking at his approval ratings than you, Kevin.

KR: [pause] Well, I suppose that’s what happens when you wake up every morning and have to eat a shit sandwich.