THE BILL OF MIGHTS
The climate bill enshrining a 43% reduction in emissions targets is set to pass Parliament, The Australian ($) reports, after the Greens met overnight reportedly to form a consensus to support it. The Greens want nearly double that reduction — 75% — and are torn about whether to take what it can get or stand firm. They also want the Labor government to ban all new fossil fuel projects as per the recommendation of the landmark IPCC report, but Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek have both said coal is an important part of our future, as Sky News reports, and banning it could make the climate crisis worse (some mental gymnastics are required to understand that argument, but basically it could cause our trading partners to turn to dirtier coal if we ghost them, as Guardian Australia reports).
The bill needs the support of the 12 Greens senators and one crossbencher to pass the Senate in September, and it’s shaping up to have it. The Greens and teal independent MPs Sophie Scamps, Kylea Tink, Kate Chaney and Helen Haines suggested amendments that are expected to be honoured, but Opposition Leader Peter Dutton formally rejected the bill yesterday in a move that surprised nobody, and said the Coalition would look into nuclear technologies instead. What could possibly go wrong? Bandt has slammed the Coalition for moving too extreme right after its historic election loss, The Age reports, but there’s not exactly goodwill between Labor and the Greens at the moment either. “Labor is now the party of the centre-right,” Bandt will reportedly tell the National Press Club today.
A MATTER OF INTEGRITY
The Victorian government has asked the corruption watchdog to determine whether Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and his former chief of staff who resigned yesterday committed a crime, The Age reports, after revelations about a proposed agreement between a Liberal donor and the latter’s marketing business. The agreement would have seen more than $100,000 funnelled into the marketing company, with some odd caveats — it would cease to exist if then chief of staff Mitch Caitlin resigned, and the payment would increase if the Liberals lost the state election. The Liberal donor, Jonathan Munz, told News Corp he “rejected” the agreement as soon as he got it. Guy tried to salvage things yesterday, telling the press scrum: “We didn’t do this. We didn’t agree to this. Nothing was signed.” But Labor says the IBAC should look into it.
To another state-based drama now and United Australia Party chair Clive Palmer and WA Premier Mark McGowan both defamed each other, Guardian Australia reports. So what’s this all about? It’s over McGowan’s decision to shutter the state’s border during the pandemic, and another squabble about a “breach” of an agreement with Palmer’s mining company. McGowan said Palmer was promoting hydroxychloroquine, and was a “dangerous” threat to WA, as ABC explains. Palmer hit back with claims McGowan lied to people about the reasons for the travel ban. The Federal Court awarded Palmer $5000 because the judge said he didn’t think the billionaire had suffered any “real or genuine hurt to feelings”, and McGowan was awarded $20,000 because his evidence of hurt feelings was “compelling”. The judge found Palmer “carried himself with the aura of a man assured of his own correctness” and gave evidence that was “fantastic — in the original but now secondary sense of that word”.
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Overseas now and China has banned Taiwanese biscuits after threatening “grave consequences” if US Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. Pelosi, who is second in line of succession to the US presidency, touched down last night. Hours later, China blacklisted 100 Taiwanese food companies, including pineapple cakes and Taiwan bear biscuits, The Australian ($) reports. So what’s the big deal? China’s government sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually rejoin the mainland, as BBC explains. But many Taiwanese consider their self-ruled island to be a separate nation, even without an official independence declared. Pelosi’s trip, although symbolic, is seen as support for Taiwan. And Pelosi has a long history of confronting Beijing, as Reuters continues — in 1991 she went to Tiananmen Square and held a banner reading “For those who died for democracy in China” to honour the dissidents killed in the 1989 protests. Then in 2015 she went to Tibet with a group of Democrats, the first visit since the unrest began nearly a decade before, and met with the Dalai Lama.
But it seems Beijing thinks it’s succeeded in intimidating the US — the state media Global Times reported “Pelosi would never be as stealthy as she is now if not for fear of the [People’s Liberation Army]”, adding she would have “strut” to Taiwan. Biscuits aside, should we brace for “grave consequences”? Former prime minister and Asia Society CEO Kevin Rudd told CNN we can expect a “colourful response”, continuing he personally finds it “unwise” for Pelosi to go there. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was also interviewed by CNN, and said although we support the “One China” policy that says Taiwan is not a separate state from China, we want the status quo to remain, as the Daily Mail reports. Basically — stay calm and carry on. It comes just days after Australia was urged to intervene in a Chinese state-owned company attempt to buy a World War II airstrip and Solomon Islands port.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Patrick, a Shetland pony who was elected mayor of the town of Cocklington a week ago, has been banned from the local pub. Residents in the British village are livid about the ban, which came about after someone complained about the pint-sized equine standing around at The Drum Inn. Patrick, who is about the size of a big dog, even had his own pony-sized bar within the bar, where he drinks Guinness alongside the boozers. But officials said their hands are tied — they need planning permission for Patrick to “graze in the garden and sip his little beers”, as the Metro tells it. Really, officials say, the whole pub needs to be categorised as grazing land for all t’s to be crossed and i’s to be dotted.
But the residents cannot bleedin’ believe it, slamming the council as “petty”, and local MP Kevin Forster said he was astounded the council was taking a “hard line” about a “a pony pen at a pub”. This is bureaucracy and red tape gone mad, an abuse of power and privilege. Plus: “Things like Patrick going in the pub generate interest in Cocklington who are less likely to visit it for a cream tea.” (I’m not sure what a cream tea is.) Patrick’s humans claim they are “traumatised”. He’s the new mayor, for Christ’s sake, and even participates in pony therapy at the local hospitals. He’s earned his pint. The pub’s owners say it was a “very emotional afternoon” taking down Patrick’s interaction pen fencing near the bar. But it’s not over yet, folks — locals are building signatures on a petition to return Patrick to his local haunt once and for all.
Wishing you the steely determination of British folks who just want a pony to drink his beer in peace.
Can the minister please explain how he proposes to manage the oncoming national significant burden of disability and chronic illness — PUT YOUR MASKS ON! — from repeated infection of COVID-19?
The independent who toppled former treasurer Josh Frydenberg says looking around Parliament you’d think wearing a mask was a political statement, not a health measure, considering most Coalition MPs are not wearing one compared with most Labor, Greens and crossbenchers who are. Ryan, who is a former paediatric neurologist, was asking how the government planned to handle long COVID when opposition MPs heckled and jeered her mid-question. Not missing a beat, Ryan barked at them to mask up, before finishing her question.
How dare we use historically accurate terms like ‘coloniser’ for… the Queen of England and a bunch of other countries
“Greens Senator and DjabWurrung, Gunnai and Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe continues to set out her stall as the new Parliament’s chief conservative baiter. Today she wrangled a front page on The Australian with her black power salute after being forced to take a second oath of allegiance after describing the Queen as “colonising” in her first attempt. It made news around the world and prompted an entirely predictable flurry of outrage, such as from Jacinta Price, Pauline Hanson and Ben Fordham.
“It’s unfair to say that Dominic Perrottet is using the standards of the Morrison ministry in deciding if a minister should be sacked. After all, he sacked Eleni Petinos over allegations — which she denies — of bullying and abuse of her staff. Stuart Ayres, however, remains a minister, to the growing consternation and confusion of his colleagues, insisting everything about his role in the Barilaro scandal was above board.
“Having been shown to have misled Parliament, and misled the public, over his very hands-on role in the selection of Barilaro, and seemingly to have misled his premier too, is as yet insufficient for Perrottet. It’s interesting how what is deemed politically acceptable is changing. It’s now common for ministers to mislead Parliament with impunity — Scott Morrison blatantly misled Parliament (his UK counterpart too) without batting an eyelid.”
“When it comes to the millionaires’ factory at Macquarie Group, the $70 billion global behemoth has a unique way of going about its business. Whether it’s the long-standing model to base more than 80% of employee pay on the profit-share scheme, the global push to become the world’s biggest manager of infrastructure, or the conduct of its annual general meeting (AGM), things always seem to be different at Macquarie.
“No other Australian bank has dared to appoint as chairman of its board a former Reserve Bank governor, but that’s what Macquarie did in May this year. And at last Thursday’s AGM, Glenn Stevens was put to the test for the first time as a big bank chairman. How did he go? About six out of 10, the biggest problem being a failure to directly answer questions or deal with skeletons in the closet.”
Entrenching race in constitution drives us further apart — Tony Abbott (The Australian) ($): “I’m all in favour of recognising Indigenous people in our constitution, but not if it means making a race-based body part of our Parliament and not if it means changing our system of government. The problem with entrenching in the constitution an Indigenous Voice to the Parliament is not just that it makes race an element in who can vote and who can stand for election, but also that it unavoidably changes the way our government works — because a particular group will have an unspecified say over unspecified topics with unspecified ramifications.
“Good on Anthony Albanese for wanting to do the right thing by Aboriginal people. We all do. We all lament the ugly fact Indigenous people, on average, die younger and live worse than the rest of us. But it’s no mystery why this is so. People with much worse educational outcomes, with much lower prospects for employment and living far away from the services most Australians take for granted are always going to have shorter, poorer lives than those in better circumstances, regardless of race … But a Voice to the Parliament would not actually be power — unless it turns out to be much more than just an advisory body. Close consultation with Indigenous people, sometimes through legislated (and elected) bodies such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and sometimes through executive action such as the Indigenous Advisory Council that I appointed as prime minister, has been happening for decades.”
It’s not just Beyoncé and Lizzo — culture is full of painful ableism that’s too often ignored — Katheryn Bromwich (The Guardian): “It has been an exhausting summer to be disabled. Every day there seems to be a news story. The Lizzo ableist slur, followed by the Beyoncé ableist slur — the exact same one — mere weeks later. The model whose prosthetic leg was edited out of a celebratory ‘beach bodies’ advert. The virulent bullying of the deaf Love Island contestant Tasha Ghouri, both on social media and in the villa.
“Some of the slights have been more subtle, woven into the fabric of the work surrounding them so seamlessly that they could, and probably will, be explained to me by able-bodied people as being perfectly fine, actually. But it was disappointing to see the final episode of Derry Girls — lauded as ‘a triumph’ by reviewers — using a disabled cast member as shorthand for a party not being as cool as it first appeared. The Oscar-winning film Coda, although well-meaning, centres on the struggles of an able-bodied person overcoming the great impediment of having a disabled family. In her medieval fable Lapvona, Ottessa Moshfegh, usually an incredible and fearless writer, uses her characters’ disabilities — their ‘clawed hand’, ‘unseemly disproportion’, being ‘misshapen’ — as a way of evoking eeriness and discomfort. Able-bodied writers lazily turning to disability for horror is a time-honoured literary tradition, but perhaps we ought to move on.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
British Airways halts ticket sales on domestic, European Heathrow routes (The Wall Street Journal) ($)
Kuwait formally dissolves Parliament: state media (Al Jazeera)
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
First Nations leaders Pat Anderson and Megan Davis will speak about the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its three objectives: a Voice to Parliament, treaty and truth in a webinar held by the Australia Institute.
Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)
Carbon Market Institute’s John Connor, Footprint News’ Murray Griffin, Grattan Institute’s Alison Reeve, Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s Bianca Sylvester, and Ndevr Environmental’s Matt Drum will speak on a panel about our carbon future.
Greens Leader Adam Bandt will speak to the National Press Club about the Greens and the 47th Parliament.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will speak to Australian National University (ANU) students and participate in a Q&A.