Division over News Corp ‘greenwashing’

News Corp’s campaign to support a net zero emissions target has divided climate activists, while the media giant’s own commentator Andrew Bolt has slammed the move as “rubbish”.

What we know:

  • News Corp, which has led opposition to climate action in Australia, this week launched a campaign to promote the economic opportunities of a 2050 net zero target;
  • Bolt railed against the shift on News Corp’s Sky News, noting it contradicted years of campaigning against climate action and urging his audience to “forget all that stuff we used to say, that it would ruin us” (The Guardian); 
  • “Scott Morrison will actually be delighted because he can now have the Malcolm Turnbull-type policy ... and take it to the next big global warming conference in Glasgow in November, knowing that he has the backing of the Murdoch media,” Bolt said;
  • Executive chairman of News Corp Australasia Michael Miller last month said his conservative commentators wouldn’t be “muzzled” despite the editorial shift;
  • Australian Conservation Foundation boss Kelly O’Shanassy declined to officially endorse the campaign but said she was pleased to be offered News Corp’s sizeable platform to promote climate action;
  • “News Corp has now joined the long list of scientists, environmentalists, business and community leaders calling for climate action. That’s welcome and we would welcome Andrew Bolt making that shift too,” O’Shanassy said;
  • Climate writer Ketan Joshi dismissed the campaign as a greenwashing effort that amplifies climate-delay talking points and provides cover for Australia’s worst polluters (The Guardian); 
  • Former prime minister Kevin Rudd tweeted News Corp were “liars and hypocrites” in now promoting action after lashing Labor’s net zero plans.
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Taiwan seeks Australian trade support

A Taiwan official has asked Australia to support its bid to join a key trade pact, at a time of heightening regional tensions with China.

What we know:

  • Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia representative Elliott Charng told a parliamentary inquiry in Canberra that Taiwan’s membership of the CPTPP pan-Pacific trade pact would be of mutual benefit (The Mandarin); 
  • Charng said Australia was already Taiwan’s third-largest source of wheat, barley, beef and meat products and admission to the trade pact would further strengthen trade;
  • China has launched its own rival bid to join the 11-nation trade pact, and is expected to lobby against Taiwan’s inclusion (Reuters); 
  • “China will use every way to avoid Taiwan participating in any international organisations," Charng said;
  • It comes as China lodges stern words with Australia over “inappropriate” comments by former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott in a speech in Taiwan;
  • Abbott on Friday warned that “fear of upsetting China” could see Taiwan excluded from the trade deal; 
  • China in recent days has escalated military flyovers over Taiwan (Vox). 
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Local rover off to the moon

Australia will build a lunar rover to land on the moon, as part of a NASA space mission this decade.

The semi-autonomous vehicle will land on the moon and collect lunar soil – known as regolith – as soon as 2026 (The New Daily). 

“Using separate equipment that will be sent to the moon with the rover, NASA will aim to extract oxygen from the regolith – a key step towards establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon, as well supporting future missions to Mars,” the Australian Space Agency said.

The federal government announced it will contribute $50m in funding from its moon to Mars initiative, drawing from a grant scheme that is yet to open for applications.

The Morrison government, which is attempting to develop a domestic space industry, says more than 480 businesses in Australia could participate in the moon rover build.

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Tributes for Holocaust survivor

Holocaust survivor and author Eddie Jaku has died aged 101, sparking a wave of tributes across Australia’s Jewish communities.

Born in Germany, Jaku was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp by the Nazis and then on to Auschwitz, where his parents were killed in the gas chambers (ABC). 

After surviving that ordeal, Jaku moved to Australia in the 1950s, where he dedicated himself to speaking out against intolerance.

In 2020, Jaku published his popular autobiography The Happiest Man on Earth, becoming one of Australia’s oldest authors.

In the book, Jaku said he vowed to smile every day after having survived the horrors of the Holocaust.

“You know happiness doesn’t fall from the sky. It’s in your hands. You want to be happy? You can be happy,” he wrote.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies said Jaku had been “a beacon of light and hope”.

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Budget airline plans to fill gap

A new domestic airline plans to take off in Australia early next year offering budget flights.

US private investment firm 777 Partners will launch Bonza airlines at the beginning of 2022, provided it secures regulatory approval.

Australia is the only country out of the top 15 domestic aviation markets without a low-cost independent airline, which has been the case since the closure of Tigerair Australia in September 2020 (Traveller.com.au). 

Bonza will target regional routes with a fleet of new Boeing 737-8 aircraft rather than concentrating on Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“We’re for the everyday Australian … we won’t have the bells and whistles offering with lounges and frequent flyer programs,” Bonza chief Tim Jordan said.

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We need national leadership on net zero emissions, but we get zero leadership and zero action from Scott Morrison and the LNP.

As Queensland formally backs a 2050 target, the state’s environment minister Meaghan Scanlon observes that the prime minister seems to have somewhat misunderstood the call for him to exhibit net zero leadership (news.com.au).

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Postscript: Join The Facebook Apologies Team

The Facebook Apologies team is at the forefront of navigating a wide array of global atonements. As a member of the Apologies team, you’ll find innovative ways to respond to, justify and ultimately apologise for many of Facebook’s actions around the world. We’re looking for candidates who thrive on regularly cultivating creative language to defuse situations with the right level of emotional reserve (total) and the proper distance from confession (as far away as possible) (McSweeney’s).

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Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.