NSW GIVEN A LIFT
After three and a half months of stay at home orders, lockdown lifted in NSW at 12.01 this morning with new freedoms available for fully vaccinated people, the SMH reports. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has brought forward aspects of the state-wide roadmap to reopening as well as increasing the number of people allowed in private homes, outdoors, and at weddings and funerals. ABC has a useful guide to all your new freedoms if you’re two jabs down.
Fully vaccinated Sydney-siders will be welcomed back into cafes, restaurants, bars, and clubs (many of which opened at 12.01 on the dot this morning, the SMH reports) after over 100 days of takeaway only. It’s all part of the economic rebound that NSW is going to lead, according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who told The Australian ($) that there must be no turning back from exiting this lockdown as, “businesses need the confidence to plan for their future — not the uncertainty of being in and out of lockdown”. But there are signs things may be off to a clunky start with The New Daily reporting that the state government’s much-vaunted vaccine passport “VaxPass” won’t be available for another week.
Meanwhile, Victoria recorded Australia’s highest COVID case count in a single day over the weekend with 1965 local COVID cases on Saturday and five further deaths, Guardian Australia reports. But Premier Daniel Andrews did announce some upcoming freedoms for Victorians — 10,000 fully vaccinated people will be able to attend the Melbourne Cup on November 2 as the Victorian government prepares to slowly open up the state, The Age reports.
SAY HI TO HYDROGEN
Central Queensland will soon be home to the world’s largest green energy hydrogen manufacturing facility under plans announced by chairman of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest on Sunday, ABC reports. The mining billionaire revealed the plan alongside Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who said it would boost the state’s credentials as an “emerging superpower” in renewable hydrogen. The plan is expected to double the world’s green hydrogen production capacity, with the first electrolysers to be produced and ready to be exported by 2023, the ABC says.
While hydrogen projects are in the works in other states, the AFR explains that what makes this one significant is that money is being committed to a specific project. The first stage of the project is a $115 million manufacturing facility set to be built in Aldoga, west of Gladstone, and Brisbane Times reports that it’s expected to bring 120 construction jobs and 53 operations jobs, with thousands more expected in the years to come.
The news comes as Australia’s peak farming lobby, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), will demand today that Nationals MPs ensure the federal government gives farmers a dedicated income stream from sequestered carbon if the Coalition agrees to a new emissions reduction policy ahead of the Cop26, Guardian Australia reports.
ABBOTT V CHINA
Former prime minister Tony Abbott has talked his way into very hot water with China after delivering a provocative keynote address to the Yushan Forum in Taipai on Friday morning in which he accused China of displaying “growing belligerence to Taiwan” and warned China could “lash out disastrously” at Taiwan very soon, The Conversation reports. China’s embassy in Canberra responded over the weekend, denouncing Abbott as “a failed and pitiful politician” for what it labelled a “despicable and insane performance in Taiwan”, The Guardian reports.
It’s a big turnaround for a politician who led negotiations over a China-Australia free trade deal while he was prime minister between 2013 and 2015, but Abbott has doubled down on his message in an op-ed in the Australian ($) this morning. The former PM writes, “We have to assume that China is preparing to take Taiwan, as President Xi Jinping himself has said, by force if necessary, even though Taiwan has never been part of communist China and hasn’t really been ruled from Beijing since 1895.” He goes on to warn of a series of events that would lead to divided camps worldwide, “essentially the democracies versus the dictatorships”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed last week that Abbott was travelling as a “private citizen” and is not passing on any government messages, ABC reports.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Ultimately, unless you are going to really turn yourself into a hermit kingdom, like we’ll have North Korea and a kind of anther hermit kingdom on the west coast of Australia, then COVID is going to arrive.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan got into a very grown up war of words over McGowan’s policy to keep WA’s borders shut. McGowan in turn hit back — and very quickly — with a Facebook post where he said, “Barnaby Joyce doesn’t have the experience of managing and dealing with COVID and is an embarrassment to the Australian Parliament”.
“On paper, Morrison and Perrottet seem very similar: both deeply religious men who have spent decades knowing nothing other than the machinery of the Liberal Party. But that history has meant they fall on different sides of arcane, simmering factional divides in the right of the NSW Liberals …
“None of this means Morrison and Perrottet won’t get on… But there’s history and layers to the relationship. If Perrottet botches the reopening and leaves Morrison to fight an election against the backdrop of a groaning hospital system, rolling restrictions, and a further fractured federation, it might start to unravel.”
“Crikey’s list of criteria for determining Australia’s worst climate culprits encompasses their role in setting climate policy, the level of emissions they’re responsible for, how much political influence their companies wield to undermine climate action, and how they can influence public debate and political reactions …
“Matt Canavan: the coal-addicted National backbencher lacks direct power but is the hard-charging mascot of the denialist rump of the Liberal National Party, which wags the dog of the National Party, which in turn can dictate climate policy to the Liberals.”
“From Washington to Beijing to Canberra and Sydney, there’s a thread through events of the last week linked to one of the bigger geopolitical conflicts of our time.
“In Canberra [last week], Scott Morrison threatened, in words sopping wet with hypocrisy, to regulate anonymous ‘cowards’ on social media. ‘You can expect us to be leaning even further into this,’ he warned.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Nationals show their hand on net-zero: big bucks for the bush (The Australian) ($)
How private management consultants took over the public service (The Saturday Paper) ($)
Barnaby Joyce blasts Mark McGowan over border policy, likens WA to North Korea (The West Australian)
16 killed as parachuting flight crashes in Russia’s Tatarstan region (The Washington Post)
Can China contain the Evergrande crisis? (AFR) ($)
Nuclear submarines will not deter China from conflict with Taiwan, but Australia has an alternative arsenal — Jonathan Pearlman (Guardian Australia): “As the gap between China’s military and Australia’s widens, it is unlikely that Australia’s capability — even with a fleet of nuclear submarines, supplied by its AUKUS partners — will determine the balance of military power in the Indo-Pacific. Despite being the world’s 12th biggest-military spender, Australia’s annual defence budget is now just 10% of China’s …
“Yet, on the other battlefield, Australia’s capabilities are more imposing. In the arena of international trade and diplomacy, Australia, which is the world’s 13th largest economy and — historically — a committed supporter of strong international institutions, has genuine clout … Australia should deploy its clout in the international arena carefully.”
The towns where people will have fewer freedoms after ‘freedom day’ — Vivienne Pearson (The SMH): “Now the 70% double vaccination milestone has been reached in NSW, life will be two-tiered. Those who are double-vaccinated will be able to do things that those who are not fully vaccinated won’t.
“The change is understandably welcomed in areas under extended stay-at-home orders but, for regional and rural regions that are not in lockdown, the new rules do not make sense. It is city-centric policy that will take regional areas backwards rather than forwards.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Employment Minister Stuart Robert, CEDA chief economist Jarrod Ball, and Community Services Industry Alliance CEO Belinda Drew will discuss the battle for talent in the care economy and how it will impact workforces in the health, ageing, and social services sectors in an event held online.
Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)
The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee is holding a public hearing as part of its inquiry into Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan.
Wurundjeri Country (also known as Melbourne)
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) will hold public hearings into allegations of serious corrupt conduct involving Victorian public officers, including MPs.
Nipaluna Country (also know as Hobart)
Dr Dana Bergstrom will deliver the 28th Richard Jones Memorial Lecture: Why is Antarctica important? Catch this online too.