anthony albanese labor
Labor leader Anthony Albanese (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

LOOKING A LITTLE GREEN

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will reportedly commit to between a 40-43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when he unveils Labor’s long-awaited climate policy today, the SMH’s Rob Harris says. Albo is getting together with the shadow cabinet to sign off on the new policy today, and unnamed sources reportedly told Harris they expect the party to agree to the target. Guardian Australia reports the policy will also have plans to electrify transport, and invest “low billions” in renewable jobs and hydrogen. But it won’t have a pledge on fuel standards — Labor is pre-empting a Morrison scare campaign about rising petrol prices, the paper says.

Meanwhile, moderate Liberal Dave Sharma is in hot water over some grandstanding in his local paper. He told the Wentworth Courier ($) he’d delivered “an upgraded 2030 emissions reduction target” while rebuffing his opponent Allegra Spender’s comments he hadn’t done squat for the climate. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has repeatedly said he wouldn’t officially increase their existing target of 26-28%, as The Conversation reported, because we’re on track to “meet and beat” it, so what’s the point? Rather specious reasoning there. Sharma says he wants a 40-45% cut in emissions — climate playing a key part of his fight for Wentworth’s seat.

So why the medium-term emission target from Labor? Well, Labor got pummelled last federal election in Queensland over ambitious climate policy, as ABC delved into — last week shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers says the target has to keep up with job and industry investment in the regions, applauding sunshine state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Gladstone and Townsville hydrogen projects as a good example.

TUDGE STEPS ASIDE

Education Minister Alan Tudge has stood aside after a staffer he had a consensual affair with alleged Tudge was emotionally abusive and on one occasion kicked her, ABC reports. Rachelle Miller, Tudge’s former media adviser, told a media conference yesterday that the pair were in bed together in 2017 when her phone rang — a work call — she says. She alleged Tudge “continued to kick me until I fell off the side of the bed and ended up on the floor” and claimed he was “furious” about being woken up, Guardian Australia continues. Tudge denies this — he says he already fessed up to the affair which led to the dissolution of his marriage, and said he “completely and utterly” rejected Miller’s allegations of physical abuse. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who described the claims as “deeply concerning”, asked Tudge to stand aside while an independent review looks into it, The Australian ($) reports.

The blows kept coming for Morrison on the last sitting day of the year — former Liberal and now independent Natalie Baini has told Guardian Australia that she was in a consensual relationship with MP Craig Laundy, then a minister for small and family business. She claimed Laundy told her he was separated from his wife, but wasn’t. She ended the relationship, complained to the party and says she was then overlooked for preselection for her seat. The revelations from the women come amid a tumultuous week which saw the landmark Kate Jenkins report lift the lid on the toxic workplace culture in Parliament.

HOUSE RULES

Victoria’s highly contentious pandemic bill — which sparked violent protests in Melbourne — have passed in the upper house, meaning they could become the first state or territory to implement their own pandemic laws. A quick recap — the legislation gives the premier and health minister the power to declare a pandemic, which would let them enforce orders like lockdowns, mask-wearing, vaccine mandates and quarantine rules, The New Daily explains. There were a few dodgy lines in there — an early look at the bill stipulated that “classes of people” can be locked down based on “characteristics”. Hmm.

The Age has an interesting comparison between NSW and Victoria’s pandemic laws (if the bill passes) — among them, all health orders in Victoria have to be in line with the state’s human rights charter (NSW doesn’t have one), the Ombudsman can look into complaints (NSW’s doesn’t have that specific ability) and health orders can only be issued if a pandemic is declared (NSW’s Health Minister Brad Hazzard can issue them without first calling a state of emergency, as long as he thinks there’s a fair public health risk).

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

An armoured dinosaur with a battleaxe tail — like that of an Aztec warrior — has blown scientists away, The New York Times reports. The bones were actually unearthed back in 2018 at the most southern point of Chile, and paleontologists confirmed the new species of ankylosaur yesterday. They experienced a sprained ankle, a broken rib and risked hypothermia to get the bones back to the lab, but it was worth it — incredibly, paleontologists collected 80% of the skeleton, including some vertebrae and even part of the skull. Folks, we’re talking bones that date back as far as 83.5 million years.

There were actually loads of ankylosaurs roaming all over Laurasia (that’s what the supercontinent of North America and Asia is called) and they were quite a sight — they had rows of tooth-breaking armour trailing the length of their hides, though most had no tail at all. A cousin of the stegosaurs, ankylosaurs were about six feet long and have been found in Australia and Antarctica too. They’re known for their armour, but the evolution of the weapon-like tail has baffled and excited experts. They say the lethal tail was probably stiffened vertebrae covered in keratin — that thing that makes our hair shiny. But it was anything but soft — a smack of the tail would’ve been like being whacked in the shins by a battleaxe, paleontologist James Kirkland described. Yikes.

Hope you experience a little awe today folks, and have a restful weekend ahead.

SAY WHAT?

Their big problem with me, as prime minister … is apparently I go home for Father’s Day, I have a holiday with my family, and I go to church on a Sunday. Get over it, a lot of Australians do.

Scott Morrison

The PM owned himself when he brought up in question time that time he flew home to Sydney to see his family on Father’s Day during a strict lockdown earlier this year when most had been dismally separated from their families for weeks. Morrison’s travel might’ve been technically okay under an exemption (though driving the three hours would’ve cost the taxpayer a lot less), but ACT leader Andrew Barr said it was “not a particularly good look” for the PM. On the other hand, Morrison’s family trip to Hawaii, taken during possibly the country’s worst-ever bushfire crisis, was bad any way you look at it.

CRIKEY RECAP

‘An unfiltered voice’: Vale Christian Kerr

“A corporate lobbyist, [Christian] Kerr joined Stephen Mayne to make the early Crikey what it became best known for — a gossipy shit sheet (his own words) that dished on anyone and everyone from inside the building and became the highlight of the day for its many subscribers within Parliament House.

“In doing so, they created an entirely new form of political journalism, delivered by what was still, at that time, the wonder technology of email. It’s fair to say Christian didn’t exactly approve of what Crikey became after his tenure, and he was unabashed in letting us know. But that doesn’t change how crucial he was to our early success.”


Ambition without judgment: in Porter and Hunt, a tale of two failures

“There was certainly no limit to Christian Porter’s willingness to inflict damage on Witness K and Bernard Collaery, driving an honourable, patriotic man who had served his nation in dangerous circumstances for decades to plead guilty to a vexatious charge of conspiracy, and stretching Collaery’s trial out to absurd lengths.

“Along the way, Porter abandoned the requirement for the attorney-general to be a model litigant, instead engaging in so much delay that three different magistrates criticised his legal representatives.”


Et tu, Rupert? New questions on PM’s business mates and a quarantine deal

“Sky News reported fresh information that Home Affairs head Mike Pezzullo said ‘words to the effect’ that the quarantine project was ‘a really important project for the PM, the treasurer and the government’. Pezzullo reportedly made the comments on a conference call with Briggs and members of the Business Council of Australia.

“The claim contradicts evidence which Pezzullo gave to a Senate hearing in October when he said he was unaware of that QSA was owned by DPG Advisory. Crikey contacted the Department of Home Affairs for a response. We were directed to Pezzullo’s comments at Senate estimates.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Diesel crisis threatens to crash supply chain (The Australian) ($)

Belarus set up fake accounts to inflame migrants: Facebook’s Meta (Al Jazeera)

‘It was like a circus’: Australian deportees escape isolation, seen crying and drunk (NZ Herald)

Lalibela, the World Heritage Site caught in Ethiopia’s war (Al Jazeera)

Supreme Court seems poised to uphold Mississippi’s abortion law (The New York Times)

School bullies to face jail under law approved by French MPs (The Guardian)

Germany announces nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated (CNN)

Meghan wins ruling in Mail on Sunday privacy fight (BBC)

US to tighten rules for travellers over Omicron concerns (The Wall Street Journal)

Barbados just got rid of the Queen — should Canada follow suit? (CBC)

Russia warns of military confrontation nightmare (BBC)

THE COMMENTARIAT

We saw Omicron coming, but we didn’t think to actWaleed Aly (The Age): “We cannot pretend we weren’t warned. In September, a group of 137 international scientific organisations published a paper in Science, detailing several COVID-19 variants sloshing around Africa, and raising the possibility that some might eventually evade our vaccines. Three months on, it remains the least-vaccinated continent on Earth, and here we are …

“What’s interesting is that we’ve done so little to avoid this entirely predictable situation. It started with wealthy countries stockpiling, even denying access to each other, which is why Australia struggled to get supply from the European Union. Partly as a result, the global initiative to distribute vaccines around the world, called COVAX, found itself about half a billion doses short.”

Labor’s path to victory at the election is narrowPhillip Coorey (The AFR): “Politics is ruthless and this election campaign is shaping up to be especially so. The numbers are tight, both sides expect a close result and, more than ever, every seat matters. Including Pearce. When Scott Morrison decides to pull the trigger for the election, the government will start the campaign with a notional 76 seats and Labor 69. This takes into account the effect of electoral redistributions and gives Craig Kelly’s seat of Hughes to the Liberals.

“To govern in their own right, the winner will need a minimum 76 seats. Although Labor has a strong lead in the polls and Morrison has claimed underdog status, pundits poring over the electoral map daily all reach the same conclusion — the minimum net seven seats Labor must win to form government are not easily identifiable … This time, three Coalition seats in WA are deemed vulnerable — Pearce, Hasluck and Swan.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Australia

  • Business of Cities’ Tim Moonen and HSBC’s Greg Clark will discuss Sydney’s performance against global cities and what’s in store for 2022. Catch this one online.

Eora Nation (also known as Sydney)

  • LGBTIQ activists will protest the religious discrimination bill by marching through Cronulla, finishing at Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office.

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small & Family Business Stuart Robert will discuss the machinery of government at the National Convention Centre.

Wurundjeri Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • University of Melbourne’s Vedi Hadiz, Monash University’s Sharyn Davies, and Australian National University’s Ed Aspinall will speak about the future of the study of Indonesia in Australia.