COP26 Boris Johnson Narendra Modi Scott Morrison Andrew Holness
(Image: Phil Noble/PA Wire via AAP)

OH NO, TOO SLOW

The first official draft of the Glasgow COP26 agreement has been released, urging countries to phase out fossil fuels and commit to 2030 emissions reductions targets by next November in line with the Paris Agreement, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Australia only committed to net zero emissions by 2050 in the days before the summit. Any new commitment will likely come after Australia’s federal election.

As The Australian reports, the document is “clearly directed” at Australia, China, India, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, putting us in bad climate company. The report also calls for additional funding for wealthy nations to help developing countries deal with the effects of climate change.

As The Guardian revealed, Australia is attempting to lobby UNESCO to keep the impact of climate change on world heritage-listed places like the Great Barrier Reef under wraps. Keeping up the prideful work, the government is also trying to block a UN recommendation that countries should try to keep global heating to 1.5C to protect these heritage sites. As The New York Times reports, the Earth is currently on track to warm about 2.5 degrees under current pledges.

Coalition backbenchers have threatened to cross the floor and vote against Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s 2050 net zero emissions commitment, meaning the government will need Labor’s support to establish a $1 billion low-emissions technology fund, The Australian reports.

‘CAN-DO CAPITALISM’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has laid down the battle lines for the election. In a speech at the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday, Morrison declared an end to big government, pushing for “can-do capitalism” and freedom of choices for Australians, The Australian reports.

As Sky News reports, Morrison declared that “[Freedoms] must never be taken from us again”, pointing to the “heartache” and “frustration” of extreme lockdowns, pointing to Melbourne’s struggles. The new freedoms are likely to include a wider opening of the international border, and a push for a corporate-led response to climate change without prescriptive deadlines.

It’s a bold move from the PM following two years of abiding by health regulations — and one that might be premature. COVID-19 cases are surging internationally, with The Guardian reporting Germany will close its famous Christmas markets amid virus outbreaks.

Morrison is also framing opposition leader Anthony Albanese as a man who wants to deny Australians a choice, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. He’ll have to address scare campaigns, such as misinformation that Labor will introduce electric car mandates, in order to push back against Morrison’s rhetoric.

BUILDING TENSION

An inflation pop has seen US consumer prices rise at the fastest pace in more than three decades as demand for products surges as nations reopen, the AFR reports. So-called core inflation has increased by 4.2% since last year, the largest annual increase since 1991. Price hikes have affected food costs, fuel, electricity, and shelter costs, the The New York Times reports.

In Australia, building costs have surged too amid huge demand for home renovations and new dwellings combined with major material shortages. Costs rose 3.8% in two months and are expected to rise further in the coming months, The Australian reports — though it’s good news for homeowners, with household liquid assets like cash, deposits, and equities rising in relation to income, creating resilience in the household sector.

Also in The Australian, property developers are jumping on the building bandwagon, investing up to $7.8 billion in new office projects in Sydney, ­Melbourne, and Brisbane.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

The Age’s art critic Robert Nelson completely missed the point of a Melbourne ACCA one day art exhibition, failing to notice two life-size grey candles slowly melting to the ground were of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.

The review featured multiple pictures of the sculptures, called Father and Son by English artist Jeremy Dellerand, ran in print and online on Sunday, and called the exhibit a “spooky installation in a deconsecrated church in Collingwood”.

While Nelson pointed out his mistake late on Tuesday, the blunder started making waves online yesterday with some on Twitter writing their own reviews for famous artwork like The Last Supper.

As The Guardian‘s Amanda Meade pointed out, social media users gave Nelson an easy exit, deliberating whether he made a “conscious decision” to suppress the Murdoch name.

“Sometimes the eyes aren’t enough,” Nelson wrote when pointing out his mistake. “At other times, you might need a whole text to understand the work; but this dependence becomes uncomfortable because you have put your interpretation in somebody else’s hands.”

I hope you take time to notice the little things today, folks.

SAY WHAT?

[ABC’s Insiders] is a kind of peekaboo show for insomniacs.

Paul Keating

Former Australian prime minister Paul Keating made the remarks at a National Press Club appearance in Canberra on Wednesday, saying — among other things — that our submarine deal will be like “throwing a handful of toothpicks at the mountain”.

CRIKEY RECAP

The ‘everything bubble’ is going to burst, and the detritus will be very messy

“The pandemic has exacerbated underlying problems in the global economy. The EU and US (not to mention Australia) cranked up the virtual printing presses to fund shutting down their economies during COVID. Regardless of your view on the global pandemic response, the direct effect has been to create the greatest asset bubble the world has ever seen. This has served to massively enlarge the fortunes of the rich, who own almost all Australia’s stocks and property.

“Case in point: the total wealth of the The Australian Financial Review’s annual rich list has increased from $283 billion in 2021. That’s right. Australia’s richest 200 people have almost doubled their wealth in the past three years alone. During that period Australia’s GDP has barely increased. So the rich have got far richer, and that means everyone else has got poorer (they just don’t realise it yet because house prices are nominally higher).”


Morrison’s mates’ lucrative business opportunity pays off

“According to a limited tender published on October 15, the Department of Home Affairs paid Briggs’ lobby group DPG Advisory Group $79,950 to advise the government on the scheme over two months. Interestingly, it’s just short of the $80,000 threshold that would warrant the tender more scrutiny …

“Briggs’ political access has gotten him into trouble in the past. The lobbyist was behind the consortium to bid for the government’s controversial outsourced $1 billion visa processing system last year. He ended up bowing out of the scheme amid conflict of interest concerns. It was another tender being run out of the Department of Home Affairs. Briggs is also the president of Morrison’s federal electoral conference in his Sydney electorate of Cook.”


The payoff: how KPMG scored big from NSW Treasury after dumping Brendan Lyon

“In September this year, Treasury revealed the contract had expanded still further to $1.9 million, with a scheduled completion date of the end of October.

“At no stage did Treasury put the variations out to tender — the original contract wasn’t put to tender by Treasury either …

“It demonstrates exactly how much power governments wield in making sure they get the advice they want, backed by the reputation of a big-four firm. When [Mike] Pratt emailed the senior partners of KPMG — with Transport secretary Rodd Staples having been removed the day before — stating his expectation that they would ‘take action’ about [Brendan] Lyon, he didn’t need to remind them of the stakes involved.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

There’s a humanitarian crisis unfolding at the Belarus-Poland border. Here’s what you need to know (SBS)

Draft COP26 agreement text calls on countries to strengthen 2030 targets by next year (ABC)

Judge rejects Trump’s bid to keep papers secret in January 6 inquiry (The New York Times)

‘There are bodies here’: survivors braced as search begins at Canada’s oldest residential school (The Guardian)

Moderna and US at odds over vaccine patent rights (The New York Times)

‘Zoe’s Law’ introduced to NSW Parliament to increase penalties for crimes that kill unborn children (SBS)

The US and Europe have finally reconnected, but they’re moving in different directions on COVID-19 (CNN)

India’s Yamuna River is covered in chemical foam yet residents are bathing in it to celebrate Chhath Puja (ABC)

US consumer prices rise at fastest pace in 31 years as labor market tightens (Reuters)

Earth’s peatlands store twice as much carbon as its forests. So will they be a ‘carbon bomb’ or a climate solution? (The Washington Post)

THE COMMENTARIAT

Keating the word-picture man, his canvas the entire worldTony Wright (The Sydney Morning Herald): “And here was Keating back at the press club on Wednesday, his canvas now the entire world, his word-picture landscape the globe as he sees it, complete with wicked illustrations of the places and events that do not meet his approval.

“Australia, he declared, had lost its way by failing to understand — as he had done years ago — that its great gift was its geographical position as a part of the Asian region, and to be happy about it.”

Andrew Bolt: ScoMo’s climate schemes risk making him look stupidAndrew Bolt (Herald Sun): “Pardon? You actually thought the prime minister’s schemes were meant to change the climate? Ha ha ha ha …

“It’s the same let’s pretend with Morrison’s latest promise to spend $500 million to finance private projects to develop clean energy technologies, including carbon capture and hydrogen schemes — projects Morrison said were too ‘risky’ for private investors but were somehow a ‘good bet’ if government backed them.”

Loss of belief in the Australian project threatens our futurePeta Credlin (The Australian): “How do decent, easygoing people defend themselves against fanatics without succumbing to fanaticism? How do the tolerant defend themselves against the intolerant without sacrificing their tolerance? Because it’s that selfsame Enlightenment liberalism that, from its heyday, has given us a world that is still more free, more prosperous and more peaceful than at any other time. It’s a challenge that earlier generations have managed but this generation is struggling with — hence the sense that we’re managing our decline, even though modern Australia (and the wider West) has never been less racist or more sensitive to difference; never been more environmentally aware; and never been more generous to the disadvantaged.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • The Economics References Committee will hold a public hearing about the Australian manufacturing industry.

  • The Finance and Public Administration References Committee will hold a public hearing about the administration and expenditure of funding under the Urban Congestion Fund.

  • The Community Affairs Legislation Committee will hold a public hearing about amendments to the National Disability Insurance Scheme Participant Service Guarantee and Other Measures Bill 2021.

Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • IBAC will recommence a public hearing into allegations of serious corrupt conduct involving Victorian public officers, including members of Parliament.

Kaurna Country (also known as South Australia)

  • Free public forums featuring South Australia’s Australian of the Year recipients Dr James Muecke AM, Tanya Hosch, Isobel Marshall, and Richard Bruggemann will take place across Port Pirie, Port Augusta, and Whyalla.

Australia

  • Griffith Review will launch its 74th edition with contributors Sally Breen, Jodie Lea Martire, and Megan McGrath as they read from their work. Held online.

Eora Nation (also known as Sydney)

  • The 68th Sydney film festival continues, with premieres, red-carpet openings, and panel discussions of independent and international films.