Australia defies COP26 agreement

The Morrison government has declared it has no intention of changing its 2030 climate target, hours after signing the COP26 pledge for countries to strengthen their 2030 goals by next year.

What we know:

  • Australia’s lobbying efforts failed to prevent a resolution in the final text of the Glasgow agreement for countries to strengthen their 2030 targets by 2022 (Quartz); 
  • Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne nevertheless said Australia’s 2030 target is “fixed” (AFR); 
  • Australia’s bid to water down language on fossil fuels was more successful, after a last-minute intervention led by India saw the final agreement promise a “phasing out” of coal to “phasing down” (Renew Economy); 
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed the word change as not important, declaring the Glasgow climate deal sounds “the death knell for coal power” (BBC); 
  • New projections show even if all COP26 pledges are met, the planet is on track to warm by 2.1C (Climate Action Tracker); 
  • Australia’s belated release of its net zero by 2050 modelling had climate experts describe the assessment as “comically flawed” (SBS); 
  • The modelling was reviewed for the Morrison government by Brian Fisher, who secretly collaborated with Taylor on “independent” modelling used against Labor in the 2019 election (The Saturday Paper). 
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Independents take on Taylor and Kelly

Independent candidates have launched campaigns to challenge energy minister Angus Taylor and United Australia Party leader Craig Kelly.

What we know:

  • The Voices of Hume campaign has put forward Goulburn teacher Penny Ackery to contest Taylor’s seat in the 2022 election with a focus on sustainable development, better roads and reliable internet (Goulburn Post); 
  • Local consultant Linda Seymour meanwhile has launched her We Are Hughes campaign to challenge Kelly in his seat, pushing for climate action and a federal anti-corruption body (Northern Beaches Review); 
  • The campaigns are part of a growing movement modelled on the successful 2013 independent campaign of Cathy McGowan in Indi;
  • Former corporate lawyer Georgia Steele is also running as a progressive independent in Hughes, and has the backing of Simon Holmes à Court’s Climate 200 fund;
  • Climate 200 has already raised more than $2m from 2000 donors, and will provide support to up to a dozen independent candidates committed to addressing climate change (Croakey); 
  • A group of Liberal backbenchers facing election challenges from independent candidates have called for a more ambitious 2035 emissions reduction target (ABC). 
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Women plan to sue Qatar for assault

Seven Australian women hauled off a plane and forced to undergo invasive examinations at Doha airport last year are threatening legal action.

The women say they are yet to receive a formal apology from Qatari authorities and also expressed anger over the Australian government’s inadequate advocacy and support (SMH).

Qatari authorities grounded planes in Doha after a baby was found abandoned in a bathroom.

Armed guards boarded planes and ordered all women of child-bearing age into ambulances for physical examinations to determine if they were the mother.

One of the Australian women, who was flying back home with her five-month-old son, said it was “ a humiliation” and “a breach of my human rights”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended the federal government’s advocacy, arguing “there was an investigation, there has been a conviction, and there’s been a significant change to airport processes in Qatar”.

The women said they had had no communication from the Australian government about changes to airport processes at Doha.

One police officer charged with carrying out the operation was hit with a $3500 fine and a six-month suspended sentence.

Marque Lawyers partner Damian Sturzaker has written to state-owned Qatar Airways, the Qatar Embassy in Canberra and Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, accusing them of assault, battery and deprivation of the women’s liberty.

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AFL player retires before vaccine deadline

AFL player Liam Jones has announced his retirement, days after it was revealed that he had not been vaccinated ahead of a league deadline.

The Carlton footballer, who had one year remaining on his contract, didn’t divulge specifically why he’d made the call, adding: “I hope that people respect my decision and privacy – neither myself or my management team will be making any further comment on the matter” (Fox Sports). 

All players and football program staff in Victoria must be fully vaccinated by November 26 to attend their clubs.

AFLW player Deni Varnhagen was stood down last week from the Adelaide team for refusing the vaccine (7News).

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Aussies collect maiden T20 World Cup

Australia has won its first men's T20 World Cup title after beating New Zealand by eight wickets in the final at the Dubai International Stadium.

Mitchell Marsh and David Warner scored half-centuries to chase down New Zealand’s 173/4 with eight wickets and seven balls to spare (Cricinfo). 

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson led the way for the losing team, scoring 85 off 45 balls.

After Trent Boult dismissed Aaron Finch in the third over to leave the Australians in early trouble, Marsh changed the complexion of the match with three boundaries from his first three balls, finishing on 77 from 50.

Australia will defend its title as hosts of the T20 World Cup in 2022.

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This is an act of political interference designed to intimidate the ABC ... if politicians determine the operation of the national broadcaster’s complaints system, they can influence what is reported.

As a Liberal-led inquiry examines how the public broadcaster handles complaints, ABC chair Ita Buttrose has a complaint of her own she would like to file (The New Daily).

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Postscript: Hello darkness, my old friend — eight of the best sunsets in literature

Sunset is the saddest light there is. We rode a long time in the glow of it, everything silent except for the crickets and the frogs who were revving up for twilight. I stared through the windshield as the burned lights took over the sky (LitHub).

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