CAN WE GET THE BILL?
Liberal MP Bridget Archer says she could cross the floor to support Labor’s 43% emissions target, Guardian Australia reports, despite Opposition Leader Peter Dutton declaring the Coalition would oppose it. The outspoken Archer thinks Anthony Albanese needs to stop going for the Greens’ jugular, though, saying him pointing the finger at the minor party for a decade of inaction (will they ever live down the CPRS saga?) “smacks of ideology”. Labor doesn’t actually need to enshrine the target in law, but the government wants to, and it needs Greens support in the Senate to get it through. But it’s looking less likely — Nine newspapers report that journalists have seen a “leaked draft of the climate change bill” and Greens leader Adam Bandt said it shows there’s a “legal ceiling” on the target as well as allowing “future climate-wrecking governments to announce lower targets” (no doubt thinking of a prime minister Peter Dutton scenario).
Overseas now and Australia has officially acknowledged a climate emergency for the first time, AFR reports. Albanese joined forces with Pacific Island leaders to say the rise in global temperatures needs to be limited to 1.5 degrees to avoid catastrophic consequences. But — again with the symbolism — the paper continues that the Albanese government will not shut down coal mining and gas extraction, again stressing that we would phase it out. Climate expert Wesley Morgan put it plainly, however: to stay under 1.5 degrees, “Australia needs to go much higher than [43%] with a 75% cut this decade”.
ALL WORK, NO SAY
Anthony Albanese has called an emergency meeting of state and territory leaders, The Age reports, after the controversial decision to bin the $750-a-week isolation payment as of June 30. It’s a money thing, Health Minister Mark Butler said, but leaders from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT were all like, what? Won’t this just mean symptomatic casual workers face a choice between making rent/eating and doing the right thing by isolating? And it’s not like we don’t know how this ends up — in 2020, ABC wrote that Victoria showed COVID is a “pandemic of casual, insecure work”.
Speaking of — a Victorian jobseeker has been told to travel 60 kilometres to ensure his welfare payments continue. It’s all part of this new points-based welfare scheme called Workforce Australia, Guardian Australia explains, which replaces the jobactive scheme. As part of the rebrand, the government contracted a bunch of new job agencies — but the new fleet has big gaps. For instance, in Orbost, where about 440 people are on the jobseeker payment, there is now no government-contracted welfare agency — people have to travel about an hour away to attend their meeting.
OPEN AND CLOSED CASE
Josh Frydenberg has received $350,000 in legal costs after Melbourne climate activist Michael Staindl alleged the former treasurer had Hungarian citizenship. The conflict dates back to the section 44 saga, as The Conversation reports, where a bunch of MPs had to resign over a little-known rule that they can’t have dual citizenship. But Frydenberg repeatedly said his mother came to Australia after WWII as a stateless person after surviving the Holocaust. After Staindl “failed to substantiate his case”, The Australian ($) writes, he lost, and was ordered to pay $410,000. The SMH continues that Frydenberg dropped the case after Staindl said he couldn’t afford to pay — yesterday the Bankruptcy Court saw the treasurer receive $350,000 after he agreed to not say anything bad about Staindl. That didn’t stop Frydenberg from calling the case a “disgraceful action”, however.
To another high profile pollie case now and former attorney-general Christian Porter has lost an appeal against a Federal Court decision that barred him from using his barrister, Guardian Australia reports. Cast your mind back and you might recall Porter enlisting silk Sue Chrysanthou in his defamation case against the ABC — it was in relation to a historic rape allegation, which he denied. Jo Dyer, a friend of the woman who accused Porter, was shocked — she had chatted to Chrysanthou months prior about something different, but “confidential information” about Porter’s case had been exchanged between the women. The court sided with Dyer and blocked Chrysanthou from acting for Porter. He binned his defamation case against the broadcaster, but launched an appeal about his barrister anyway (this week’s decision will likely “cost Porter hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs”, The Guardian adds).
Speaking of attorneys-general, Mark Dreyfus will not drop charges against former ATO public servant turned whistleblower Richard Boyle, who is set to face trial later this month. ABC reports Boyle spoke up about unethical debt-recovery practices at the ATO.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
A brother and sister have found each other again more than 80 years after they were separated as children. Bill and Beryl’s mother died when they were very young, and then their father was killed in WWII after the SS Iron Crown ship was torpedoed by the Japanese. The newly orphaned kids were sent to different homes in Adelaide to grow up, because it was believed keeping siblings in contact was a bad idea — a “fresh start”, supposedly, was better for them. Bill says he remembers throwing his arms around his sister during their last goodbye, crying his eyes out. As adults, they tried to find each other again, as ABC tells it, but the orphanage records were scant. Bill, who had ended up in Sydney, went back to Adelaide every year to look for Beryl, while she tried for years to find a scrap of information about his whereabouts.
When the ghostly remains of the SS Iron Crown were found in 2019, descendants gathered for a memorial event. It was here Bill, now 91 years old, met a woman who would change everything — Kylie Watson was a distant relative and somewhat of a sleuth, deducing that Beryl was likely still living in the City of Churches. So Kylie and Bill placed an ad in the local newspapers, and then it was a waiting game. The same day, however, Bill’s granddaughter phoned him. “Beryl is going to call in 10 minutes”, she told her grandpa. Beryl says she sobbed when she heard her “Billy” was alive. “It was an unbelievable voice that I never thought I would hear again,” she says. When the brother and sister reunited in person, they just hugged and hugged. Bill and Beryl speak on the phone every day now — Beryl says her life used to be full of longing and wanting, but “now that Bill is back in my life, I just don’t want it to ever end”.
Sending you a big hug too — and have a restful weekend ahead.
He said it’s the one time in PNG that everything stops. Everything stops throughout the entire country. They are very passionate and it would be a great thing for such an event to occur.
The PM has revealed he’s in talks with the NRL and Peter V’Landys about taking the State of Origin to the Pacific Islands. Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape told Albanese his country absolutely loved the game when the pair watched the decider together this week.
“Here’s a taste of what was in the tape: ‘The Democrats — more of our people vote early that count. Theirs voted mail. And so they’re gonna have a natural disadvantage and Trump’s gonna take advantage of it — that’s our strategy. He’s gonna declare himself a winner. So when you wake up Wednesday morning, it’s gonna be a firestorm. You’re going to have Antifa crazy, the media crazy, the courts are crazy. And Trump’s gonna be sitting there mocking, tweeting shit out, ‘You lose. [Hoots of laughter from Bannon’s captive audience] I’m the winner. I’m the king.’
“’And he’ll be all over it. He’ll be, he’ll be going, ‘Where’s Hunter? Is Hunter on a crack pipe?’ I mean, no, he’ll be — because then it doesn’t matter. Remember, here’s the thing. After then, Trump never has to go to a voter again. He’s going to fire Wray the FBI director [Bannon, clearly overexcited, bumbles something unintelligible]. He’s going to say, ‘Fuck you. How about that?’”
“On top of this, having never dealt with our own outbreak before, it’s hard to know how quickly we could eradicate the virus. While vaccines could assist with livestock, the disease could easily get into Australia’s feral animal population, which would be incredibly difficult to control.
“Australia’s Agriculture Minister Murray Watt left for Jakarta yesterday to assess Indonesia’s response to the disease and to offer assistance, according to The Australian Financial Review, and last week biosecurity measures were strengthened across all Australian airports, including detector dogs operating in Darwin and Cairns. Nationals leader David Littleproud has called for disease-killing chemical foot baths to be set up for Australians returning home, but Watt rejected his calls.”
“Both dual US-UK citizen Todd Chamberlain and UK citizen Mike Perkins said they were recruited by contacts of the Ukrainian Army to train Ukrainian soldiers. Chamberlain said he was given the title of major, while Perkins was his first lieutenant. Crikey first met Perkins at Europe’s large border crossing in Medyka, Poland, while on assignment covering the Ukrainian refugee crisis in April and has sighted Chamberlain’s passport…
“A letter written by Chamberlain stated that the pair were to travel to Ukraine to select and train five to 10 soldiers who spoke English and Ukrainian in driving armoured vehicles, including the Russian-built T-72 vehicles, before then going on to train other soldiers. Chamberlain planned to stay until July 25 and Perkins until July 8.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Mon dieu! No mustard. France stews without its beloved condiment (The New York Times)
Ex-CIA engineer convicted in biggest theft ever of agency secrets (The New York Times)
Albanese needs to step up (and mask up) to help create a new mindset to meet the COVID crisis — Michelle Grattan (The Conversation): “Given current public opinion, the mandating of mask wearing will stay limited. But in view of their place in the anti-COVID tool box, it would be helpful if politicians remembered to lead the way when appropriate. We have reached a hinge point in the pandemic, and the weeks ahead present a huge challenge for political leaders. The community has moved on from COVID. But COVID has not moved on from the community. It has dug in. A mind reset is needed. But that’s hampered by many in the public and in the political class being unwilling to accept that we haven’t ‘pushed through’ to ‘live with COVID’ in a safe sort of way.
“To the extent we are ‘living with COVID’ we are accepting a crisis in the hospital system and a level of deaths that, if it had occurred in 2021, would have generated a massive reaction. The earlier wisdom was that when the population was highly vaccinated, the situation would be under control. But it hasn’t worked out like that. Vaccination is limiting the seriousness of the illness for most; it cuts deaths in relative terms. But it hasn’t been successful against transmission, which means the virus is spreading like wildfire (currently hundreds of thousands have it). In absolute numbers, many people are getting quite sick, and there will be a good deal of ‘long COVID’.”
Trump, Johnson, Morrison: is the era of leaders of bad character behind us at last? — Brigid Delaney (Guardian Australia): “To elect leaders so nakedly devoid of character — men who parade bad character as a virtue — signals society-wide nihilism. It’s saying that being good doesn’t matter. (And maybe it doesn’t when what’s come before is hypocritical). Leaders being darkly entertaining, being fun, being able to stick it to the liberals, going hard, shitposting, trolling the snowflakes — that’s what matters. Here we are now, entertain us.
“It’s easy to say that the other side voted for them, that it’s the other side that created the conditions that reward corroded characters — but it’s not. Progressives, like everyone else, have done little to create an environment where the sort of dialogue and action that create virtue is allowed to flourish. Stuck in forever-culture wars, the fight has been ugly. Conversations about character, about treating everyone with integrity, empathy, justice and compassion, have not been a feature of public life for a long time. We want there to be virtue in leadership but we don’t do anything in society to create virtuous people. We just expect people to come to leadership fully formed. But I’m hopeful that things are changing.
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)
ACT Liberal Leader Elizabeth Lee, Councillor for Liverpool Charishma Kaliyanda, Greens MP Jenny Leong, and Labor MP Anne Aly will all speak at CAAL In Conversation: Navigating Australian Politics as a Woman of Colour, held at the J G Crawford Building.
Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)
Writer Claire G Coleman will chat about her latest novel, Enclave, at Avid Reader bookshop. You can also catch this one online.