TIME FOR DEFENSIVE ACTION
Ahead of US president Joe Biden’s climate summit this week, more than 30 current and former defence personnel have formed the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group, which argues the Australian government is lagging behind its allies in combating climate change, and is pushing for a whole-of-nation assessment of the security risks the climate emergency poses.
Former chief of defence Admiral Chris Barrie told the Nine papers “As ex-service members and experienced practitioners of national and international security who have witnessed up close the devastation of war and crisis, we recognise that climate change is a fundamental threat to the security and prosperity of all Australians. Yet Australia is ill prepared for climate impacts, with climate security risks not being fully assessed or understood in Australia.”
Given new Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s focus on improving morale by letting soldiers know the government “has their back”, we’re sure this group will be taken very seriously.
Meanwhile, The Australian reports that Prime Minister Scott Morrison today intends to announce $540 million in investment for developing hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage. His much hinted at suite of policies aimed at getting Australia to net zero emissions, we are told, continues to be developed.
PS: As Crikey has previously noted, even coal mining executives dismiss carbon capture and storage as “neither practical nor economic”.
SHOTS IN THE DARK
Ahead of the promised “big reset” of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program on Thursday, federal health department secretary Brendan Murphy has conceded there is still no way to offer a specific timetable for when the majority of Australians will be vaccinated.
“At the moment we are not in a position to give an updated time on when vaccinations will be completed, but all first ministers want it completed as soon as possible,” Murphy told a Senate inquiry yesterday.
“There are still a number of uncertainties, even with a recalibrated plan.”
The concession follows the National cabinet’s “in principle” agreement to bring forward the vaccine rollout, allowing Australians over 50 to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine — despite doctors reporting that patients are skipping vaccine appointments over fears due to rare instances of the vaccine causing blood clots.
IN THIS PAY AND WAGE
The Australian ($) reports there’s a minor storm brewing among Australia’s various employer representative bodies over the government’s abandoned wage theft penalties. Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) chair Mark McKenzie has argued that the government should try to legislate the penalties once more after they were ditched in March; an act he called “political bastardry”.
COSBOA chief executive Peter Strong added that the organisations members were “livid” at the prospect of competitors getting an unfair commercial advantage through underpaying staff.
The wage theft provisions were part of an industrial relations bill that the government had to largely abandon last month when it couldn’t secure the vote of Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff. The wage theft provision were tossed out in retribution, despite having the support of the crossbench.
Unsurprisingly, COSBOA’s stance has not impressed other employer associations, with Chamber of Commerce and Industry acting chief executive Jenny Lambert finding it “unbelievable that any business organisation would argue for higher fines and jail terms for businesses, especially small businesses, separate from the package of other reforms contained in the bill”.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
I’ll introduce the film in Melbourne in my birthday suit. Then I’ll be monitoring that everyone respects each other’s personal space.
“The department [of Education, Skills and Employment] previously said the program had been developed in conjunction with sexual violence advocacy group Our Watch and the Foundation for Young Australians, but both deny any involvement other than providing initial advice (which evidently was ignored).
Our Watch confirmed it was consulted during Liquid Interactive’s 2017-19 contract but wasn’t asked to use or endorse the materials and is open to working with the department to align the resources to the current evidence base.”
“Sneering, wine-quaffing elites v good honest working folk who know the meaning of hard yakka and doubtless enjoy a coldie at the end of the day, not a glass of unoaked chardy.
Morrison made these remarks to the Business Council of Australia’s annual dinner and we couldn’t think of a better venue to urge the blue-collar workers of Australia to see off the pretensions of inner-city elitists. It was held in the grand ballroom of the Fullerton Hotel in Martin Place — Sydney’s largest pillarless ballroom, apparently — where you can ‘discover luxury and heritage in the heart of the city’; ‘a home away from home for corporate travellers’ from which you can ‘feel the pulse of the city and enjoy the proximity to iconic landmarks’.”
“An internal ‘activism’ manual published in October last year was recently leaked online. The 112-page manual lays out the group’s strategies to achieve its goal of growing its membership in pursuit of creating a ‘white ethnostate’ — a violent and racist end goal.
Key to achieving these goals is leveraging the attention and outrage of others through traditional media and social media.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Two leaders, two speeches, same target audience — Phillip Coorey (The Australian Financial Review): “To avoid the fate of Malcolm Turnbull and keep the Coalition intact, Morrison is taking small steps, with the view that the last one will be a baby step rather than a heroic leap. In climate change terms, the advances are minuscule. In terms of shifting the Coalition, they are seismic. And in some cases, so is the language.”
Milkshake video the final straw in consent discontent — Katrina Marson (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Some have compared it to the ubiquitous tea video, arguably a simpler presentation of the same message. However, this trend of relying on food analogies to explain consent is odd: sexual experiences are unique in our framework of social interactions. There are social norms, attitudes, myths and power dynamics that operate in the sexual context that are simply not replicated elsewhere, least of all in the dining context. Young people want, and are entitled to, accurate information about sex, sexuality, their bodies and relationships.”
US to pledge new target but few followers ahead of Glasgow — Graham Lloyd (The Australian): “Forget net-zero by 2050 the new climate mantra is set to become halfway by 2030. This is the target — a 50% cut to emissions by the end of this decade — that US President Joe Biden is expected to announce on a zoom meeting with 40 world leaders scheduled for Thursday. Mr Biden and his climate envoy, John Kerry, has managed to get Japan and Canada on board with a similar declaration, and possibly South Korea at a later date, but beyond that the biggest challenge for the summit is to manage down expectations.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
New South Wales MP John Sidoti to face a second day of questions at ICAC.
A public hearing for the inquiry into Australia’s skilled migration program.
Victorian parliament’s inquiry into the use of cannabis in the state is holding a public hearing.
The Chinese Embassy to Australia’s deputy head of mission, Wang Xining, joins the ANU’s Australian Centre on China in the World director Jane Golley to launch the new China Story Yearbook 2020: Crisis.