IT’S A LOCK
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has called it — October 18 is the (tentative) date that her state will reopen. It is reportedly at odds with the health advice from CHO Kerry Chant, according to The Australian ($), who report that Chant argued NSW wait until they are closer to 80-85% fully vaccinated to avoid more lockdowns. As of Tuesday, 42.7% of NSW residents were fully vaccinated, while 75.6% have been jabbed once. October 18 is reported to see hairdressers, gyms, restaurants, bars and retail reopen — but only to fully vaccinated people. Meanwhile, the regions will see the so-called “freedom day” a bit earlier — the SMH reports that the Riverina, New England, and North Coast could be out of lockdown by tomorrow. There were 1480 cases — and nine deaths — reported yesterday in NSW.
Meanwhile Australians could be headed overseas in November, the SMH reports, after federal cabinet reportedly discussed the changes last night. David Crowe reports that federal ministers want to bin the restriction as soon as the vaccination rate reaches 80% of over 16s. NSW and Victoria are on track to have vaccinated 80% by November, but Queensland and WA might not reach that until December based on their rates of vaccination. Trade Minister Dan Tehan said yesterday that Aussies could be flying to New Zealand, the Pacific, and Singapore at first, the paper reports.
A COAL NEW WORLD
Australia’s got to keep almost all of our coal in the ground from now on to have a shot at keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees, The Australian ($) says. The study, from University College London, found that 95% of Australia’s coal must not be mined by 2050, and comes after the UN said we have to end coal mining and retrain Australian miners within the next decade. UK PM Boris Johnson said he wanted the “developed world to kick the coal habit entirely by 2030”, adding the developing world should follow suit by 2040, ITV report.
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It comes as the fossil fuels industry is lobbying way harder against climate action than the net zero companies are for stronger climate action, ABC reports. A study into Australia’s biggest 50 companies found pro-Paris Agreement companies like the big four banks — NAB, Westpac, ANZ, and Commonwealth Bank — are “disengaged” with lobbying the government to commit to greener goals. But companies like Santos, Origin Energy, Woodside, and AGL Australia are loud voices in Canberra, lobbying for us to take a more limited approach.
Meanwhile in the US, the Biden administration on Wednesday released a plan to produce “almost half of the nation’s electricity from the sun by 2050”, The New York Times reports.
Kristina Keneally is leaving the Senate, ABC reports, placing her in prime position for Labor leadership (should it be vacated). The opposition deputy senate leader plans to switch chambers to the safe Lower House seat of Fowler in western Sydney in the federal election. It ends a lengthy factional battle over Labor’s NSW Senate ticket — there has long been bad blood between Keneally and right-leaning Deb O’Neill for the top spot, which basically guarantees security for the occupant, as the Oz ($) delved into last year. But Keneally’s new post, should she be elected, places her in prime position for the party leadership should Anthony Albanese lose next year, Guardian Australia says.
Speaking of bad blood — in South Australia, the Greens’ Tammy Franks has used parliamentary privilege to accuse former MP and now Independent Sam Duluk of sexual harassment, racism, and homophobia. Duluk was accused of slapping SA Best MP Connie Bonaros on the backside at a party but was acquitted of assault last month. Franks accused him of saying some fairly offensive things, ABC reports — among them, allegedly, that he wanted to have intercourse with a woman’s breasts, and — again, allegedly — that he claimed a colleague was “not a real Aboriginal”. Duluk denied the assertions, calling Franks “a long-term political adversary”. Yikes.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
There has been an incredible discovery of an inscribed ochre-red tablet in the historically-laden city of Cartagena, Spain, dating back to the third century. Upon it, a poem was painstakingly carved, offering a rare insight into the inner creative psyche of a person from that era. The rather huffy words essentially translate to “I don’t care what you think”.
The full text, The Guardian says, has a whiff of Taylor Swift’s pop anthem “Shake it Off”, where she concedes that haters will hate. Experts say the tablet reads “They say / What they like / Let them say it / I don’t care / Go on, love me / It does you good”. Props for self-confidence, anonymous ancient poet. Interestingly, expert Tim Whitmarsh pointed out that it uses a different form of metre than Greek poets like Homer usually did. It’s kind of jaunty and musical, Whitmarsh says, which might mean it’s the ancient equivalent of pop music. Or rock music, he muses, considering the anarchistic and self-aggrandising mood of it. The discovery and translation of the poem have caused waves in literary-historical circles — it actually pushes back the genesis of modern poetry by about 300 years, Whitmarsh says.
Hope it’s a relatively carefree day today, folks.
There’s a whole range of things I’ll be critical of, but on matters of his family, I never comment on those matters. That’s up to him, essentially. And I think that’s a good place to stay.
Curiously, the opposition leader — not usually one to miss an opportunity to stick the boot into Prime Minister Scott Morrison — declined to criticise him for flying to Sydney on a RAAF jet to see his family for Father’s Day, despite the NSW and ACT lockdowns preventing others from doing so.
“One big difference? Although all three generations grew up in lives of privilege, the older men built their careers from the outside in — Sir Keith rising up from the editorial floor of Melbourne newspapers, Rupert with Adelaide’s afternoon newspaper. They were shaped by a still-colonial Australia, remote from the centre of empire.
“Lachlan was born, raised and educated at the heart of the US imperial vanity fair in the late 20th century billionaire class with unimaginable privilege … Sometimes it seems Lachlan’s major achievement is, like Prince Charles, simply surviving as heir-apparent in his parent’s court. It seems to have taught a withdrawn caution. Maybe that’s the skill News Corp needs as its industry declines.”
“During the press conference, [Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece] Kershaw talked up the AFP’s role in the operation but in response to two questions about whether it had created the app as reported in the media, he deflected. The AFP later confirmed that Australian police were brought in after the app was created, and provided capacity to decrypt messages sent through it.
“But preparation materials for press conference obtained under freedom of information laws reveal that the AFP had planned to be upfront about its smaller role — despite Kershaw’s reluctance to say as much when the lights were on.”
“Morrison’s obsession with keeping the public in the dark may have worked in his favour in the past, but with a nation under huge amounts of stress it’s starting to backfire … The electorate has a long memory when it comes to cover-ups and politicians acting above everyone else. Morrison’s lowest approval rating was after the black summer bushfires when he made his ‘I don’t hold a hose, mate’ comments about his secret trip to Hawaii.
“Whether the Father’s Day outrage will leave the same mark is yet to be seen. But it has certainly hit Morrison where it hurts — in his carefully crafted image as a dad who believes in fatherhood (perhaps at the expense of others).”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Afghan women to be banned from playing sport, Taliban say (The Guardian)
How the N.Y.P.D. is using post-9/11 tools on everyday New Yorkers (The New York Times)
ASX closes 0.2% lower, Macquarie hits high, iron ore futures falter (The Australian) ($)
How CSIRO will turn $150m into $20b to help Aussie farmers fight drought (The Australian) ($)
Morrison is wary of COVID ‘vaccine passports’, but he won’t stand in the way of Australia’s new reality — David Speers (ABC): “There’s clearly a need here for national coordination and leadership. Indeed, in an ideal world, Australia would have just one vaccine certificate system operating across the nation. The Commonwealth, however, appears content to leave this to the states. The prime minister is talking to the premiers about ‘integrating’ their various systems, but he’s not weighing in on which businesses should be allowed to do what. It’s the same approach on workplace vaccination mandates …
“Equally, there’s a need for some coordination on how the economy should operate once businesses and borders can re-open. Who knows, a clear set of national rules about the freedoms available to the vaccinated might even encourage a few of the hesitant to roll up their sleeves. Whether you call it a vaccine passport or some other catchy title, these digital certificates are about to become a big part of life.”
The trolls will no longer have to be held to account — Chris Merritt (The Australian) ($): “The most objectionable aspect of the High Court’s decision in the Dylan Voller defamation case is that it undermines the law’s ability to hold online trolls to account. Instead, everyone who has a Facebook page is now considered to be the publisher of defamatory comments that are left on those pages without their knowledge or consent.
“That means the High Court has exposed individuals and community groups with Facebook pages to an unknown potential liability for damage inflicted by online trolls. This defies common sense, runs counter to the goal of cleaning up social media and cannot be allowed to stand. It is an affront to the principle that everyone is responsible for their own actions — not those of others. State attorneys-general can expect to be deluged with demands for this decision to be reversed so everyone with a Facebook page is only answerable for material they intended to publish.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
R U OK? Day will host a virtual event, with their CEO Katherine Newton, radio host Sam McMillian, and psychologist Ann-Marie Fardell Hartley to speak.
Historian Wayne Murdoch will discuss his book, The Mystery of the Handsome Man, which delves into the double life of John Lampriere Irvine, via webinar.
Whadjuk Noongar Country (also known as Perth)
UWA Public Policy Institute will host a talk called “Fortress Australia: How long can we stay closed?” with speakers including CEO of Perth Airport Kevin Brown and President of the Australian Medical Association Omar Khorshid. You can also catch this one online.
OURCFO’s Greg Smargiass, human behaviourist Kanwar Trevisan-Singh, and business consultant Sarab Singh will speak at a business growth event held by District32.