Scott Morrison Gladys Berejiklian
(Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

MUSICAL CHAIRS

Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly lobbied fallen premier Gladys Berejiklian to take a tilt toward the federal seat of Warringah last week — even though the jury is still out on whether she was corrupt as leader of NSW. The Australian ($) says Morrison phoned her last Wednesday about it, even reportedly delaying preselection nominations to mid-January (they were supposed to close last Friday). Morrison was a little more demure yesterday, telling reporters that she’d be “very welcome” if she wants to join the team, ABC reports, and said “Gladys was put in a position of actually having to stand down and there were no findings of anything” during the ICAC investigation — which he called “a pile on” and “awful”. I guess we’ll know more when, you know, the actual findings are handed down next year.

Independent MP Zali Steggall, who took the blue ribbon seat from former PM Tony Abbott, said Morrison needs to stop with the ICAC attacks — she called it “extraordinary and wrong” for the leader of the country to pour water on a corruption watchdog, Guardian Australia reports, adding that her constituents of Warringah are sick of hearing that trust and truth in politics doesn’t matter. Abbott has also backed Berejiklian for his legacy seat, the SMH reports, claiming she was the best premier at resisting lockdowns and virus panic — though to be fair, perhaps a little more panic might’ve seen a different Ruby Princess outcome.

SEEING GREEN

Climate spokesperson Chris Bowen has vowed Labor will not buckle on their 43% emissions reduction target to get the Greens on board — if Labor is elected, that is — the SMH reports. Bowen put it frankly by saying either vote it down or pass it — there would be no negotiating with the minor party.

So what’s with Bowen staunching the Greens? Could be two things — cast your mind back to 2009 and you may remember the Greens vetoing Labor’s emissions trading scheme because they wanted more. The Conversation says the CPRS was bad policy that would’ve left corporations richer at the expense of the public dollar, and would not have really dented our emissions. But Labor maintains we would have seen 200 fewer tonnes of emissions if the Greens had taken what they could get, Guardian Australia reports. The other thing likely fresh in Bowen’s mind is the sheer furore after then-PM Julia Gillard backtracked on an election promise and introduced a carbon tax after striking a deal with the Greens (and independents).

Anyway — Labor says they’ll go to the UN with the 43% target to make it our country’s formal commitment. It’ll actually be in line with the Glasgow Pact of 45% on 2010 levels, which would do some good in resuscitating our worldwide reputation for climate inaction. Though our most populous state isn’t helping things — the NSW government has overruled a decision to block a mine expansion near Wollongong, even though it could damage Sydney’s drinking water and release gas, Guardian Australia reports. The Independent Planning Commission (IPC) blocked mining company South32 from extending the life of its coalmine last February, but Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Planning Minister Rob Stokes have said it’ll go ahead.

TESTING LIMITS

Perth will no longer host the lucrative Ashes Test, Cricket Australia confirmed, after a stalemate over WA’s hardline border stance. ESPN reports the series finale of the Test between Australia and England will probably be held in Hobart or Melbourne instead. It’s a major blow for cricket fans in the west, particularly considering it was set to be the first-ever Test at their new Optus Stadium.

The decision wasn’t without a fight — Premier Mark McGowan floated the idea of tweaking the 14-day quarantine requirement for the teams, but considering so many are separated from their families across borders, public backlash was harsh. Indeed The Australian ($) reports WA was looking at loosening the rules for the sports stars while rejecting pleas from people wanting to visit sick and dying family members in Perth, an awkward juxtaposition. Plus, Sky News points out, it’s not just the cricketers who’ll run into the quarantine roadblock — there are scores of broadcaster employees, match officials, and support staff affected by the rule too.

Then on Sunday, WA Sports Minister Tony Buti tried to get the second Test held in Perth instead — a swapsies with Adelaide — but it didn’t work. In the end, Cricket Australia said, they just couldn’t align the priorities of WA cricket, the WA Government, and itself, ABC reports. McGowan posted on Facebook that he was gutted, but said the same rules needed to be followed by everyone.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

A French climber was trudging through the icy slopes of Mont Blanc in 2013 when he stumbled upon something odd. A box, lodged in the landscape, battered with age and the elements lay before him. He managed to crack the box open and was met with an incredible treasure — the box was filled with precious gems and stones, later deemed to be worth around half a million dollars, BBC reports. The climber, observing a French law, dutifully handed the box over to the local cops in Chamonix, in the far east of France.

Experts analysed the sparkling loot, concluding that it must be the spoils of a traveller who was on board a doomed Indian plane bound for New York — a carrier that smashed into the mountain in 1966, killing 117 people on board. It’s not the first time something has been recovered from the tragic crash — in 2012 a bag of diplomatic mail from the flight was found, with newspapers, calendars and a letter. But this discovery was arguably more precious, and a years-long search ensued for any family of the owner. It proved fruitless, so local authorities decided to give the French climber half of the gleaming treasure — about $240,000 worth — and the local government kept the other half. Chamonix mayor Eric Fournier said the prize was in recognition of the integrity it takes to part with such a lucrative find and do the right thing instead.

Wishing you a little good fortune today, too.

SAY WHAT?

The rest of the free world, please stand with us, please support us, and every time we see people out there protesting, whether it be in front of an embassy or elsewhere, protesting for our rights in Australia, it really does embolden the patriots, the people who are for freedom in our country to stand up.

George Christensen

The outgoing backbencher appeared on a far-right conspiracy theorist’s podcast and urged listeners to protest our COVID restrictions outside Australian embassies. Christensen also reportedly laughed when the host compared our quarantine facilities to Auschwitz because they both had “big fences”.

CRIKEY RECAP

I made $42.75 buying crypto. Now I don’t know how to cash it out

“Boosters are happy to skim over the dark side of cryptocurrencies. There are scams, endemic wild speculation and profiteering, and catastrophic environmental impact. These issues aren’t unique to cryptocurrencies, but I reckon that something held up as “the answer” needs to answer a few more questions.

“The difference in opinion between the boosters and the cynics can be easily explained: the former believe in the promise, the latter look at the reality of what we have now. Cryptocurrency promoters believe that many of the critiques are transient and not permanent. Critics disagree.”


Keeping up with the Jones: Christensen appears on far-right conspiracy theorist’s show

Jones has spent decades broadcasting conspiracy theories and misinformation including anti-vaccine ideas, ‘Pizzagate’ and QAnon, in addition to claiming that events such as 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Charlottesville car attack were hoaxes or ‘false flag’ operations.

“Just this month, a Connecticut judge ruled that Jones would be liable for costs in the defamation case brought by the parents of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting after the host repeatedly called the attack a hoax.”


Gladys Berejiklian will need to sign up to climate denialism to run in Warringah

“She’d have to argue that Morrison’s target of just half NSW’s was appropriate, and that Labor’s target of 43% would be catastrophic and jobs-destroying, despite all the jobs she claimed would derive from a 50% target …

Berejiklian would have to ditch any suggestion that active policies by the federal government could help deliver net zero by 2050 — despite her own suite of policies designed in NSW to do just that.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Aung San Suu Kyi falls, but Myanmar’s democratic hopes move on (The New York Times)

Biden administration expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics this week (CNN)

Lynched Sri Lankan man’s family seeks justice from Pakistan (Al Jazeera)

China nears a reckoning as property firms [Evergrande and Kaisa] face tough deadlines (The New York Times)

Qatar, Turkey to work together on stabilising Afghanistan (Al Jazeera)

The testimony of Elizabeth Holmes: regret, revelations and deflections (The Wall Street Journal)

‘National disgrace’ — Government COVID response panned at Waitangi Tribunal (NZ Herald)

Medivac asylum seekers forced to wait years for medical treatment, report finds (SBS)

New York to mandate COVID vaccines for all private sector workers (CNN)

A Toronto politician says the housing market is ‘insane.’ He wants a speculation tax (CBC)

In Armenia, why are just 15% fully vaccinated? (Al Jazeera)

Far-right French presidential candidate grabbed at rally (BBC)

THE COMMENTARIAT

Inflation is here to stay, and rates can only go one wayAdrian Blundell-Wignall (The AFR): “An important aspect of this realignment is the ex-ante saving-investment imbalance. Infrastructure investment is required just as budget deficits are high in the Western world following the pandemic. Deployment of Chinese investment will become increasingly absent in the West. Real interest rates have only one way to go, and investors need to build that into their portfolio thinking right now.

“US real 10-year bonds rose from 1.5% to 2.8% over 2008-2009. In October this year, the real rate was -2.5%. The Fed and central banks elsewhere need to stop influencing real interest rates away from those required by the current real saving and investment pressures. They are very late to do so.”

The case of the confident dog that developed PTSDGill Straker, Jacqui Winship (Guardian Australia): “However, the next time Jacqui ventured out with her, Darling immediately became agitated and afraid, and when they approached the corner where the incident had occurred, she froze. Her body quivered, her ears flattened back and her breathing became rapid. She was clearly experiencing primal and paralysing panic in relation to what she now associated with the setting.

“Darling was displaying classic symptoms of acute traumatic stress, along with an associated instinct to avoid the trigger for her fear. Treatment has involved gradual exposure to the source of trauma (the road near the coffee shop), along with a lot of reassurance that she is safe and attempts to give her positive experiences there so that she can delink the setting from the traumatic experience.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Australia

  • Lowy Institute’s Natasha Kassam will speak to Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang about their journey from an activist and civic hacker to a senior minister, and how digital democracy and innovation helped Taiwan navigate the spread of disinformation and tensions with China. Catch this one online.

  • Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy is in conversation with writer Jess Hill discussing the latter’s Quarterly Essay: The Reckoning. How #MeToo is Changing Australia, held online.

Eora Nation (also known as Sydney)

  • NSW Skills and Tertiary Minister Geoff Lee, Federal Member for Reid Fiona Martin, and world surfing champion Tom Carroll will launch the new URBNSURF wave pool.

Whadjuk Noongar Country (also known as Perth)

  • Extinction Rebellion will occupy Woodside Energy’s headquarters to protest the Scarborough gas field, holding a vigil for victims of the climate crisis.

Kaurna Country (also known as Adelaide)

  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Jeremy Douglas, and SA Health Drug and Alcohol Services’ Marina Bowshall are among those speaking on policy responses of use of crystal methamphetamine.