Liberals stack boards before election

A raft of Liberal politicians, staffers and resources lobbyists have been appointed to key roles on the eve of the election.

What we know:

  • A flurry of new judges, board members and organisation heads have been appointed before the federal government goes into caretaker mode (ABC); 
  • Former NSW Liberal minister Don Harwin, who quit state politics last month and was embroiled in scandal after visiting his holiday house during lockdown, secured a three-year term on the Australia Council board;
  • Former NSW minister Pru Goward, who in a column once disparagingly described the underprivileged as “proles”, secured a role worth up to $391,000 a year as a senior member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (The Age); 
  • Five other people with Liberal links were appointed to the AAT, including Ann Duffield, a former chief of staff to Scott Morrison (The Guardian); 
  • Oil and gas lobbyist Andrew McConville has been appointed as the next boss of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (ABC); 
  • Former LNP minister John McVeigh will chair a new water infrastructure study for the Murray-Darling Basin;
  • Former Victorian Liberal premier Denis Napthine was last week appointed to head the National Disability Insurance Agency board (7News);
  • Coal lobbyist Craig Doyle has been appointed as the new head of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
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Three years to curb emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions must peak within just three years to keep hopes alive of containing global warming to 1.5C, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

What we know:

  • The IPCC overnight released the third section of its comprehensive review of climate science, concentrating on methods to tackle the climate crisis;
  • Emissions must peak by 2025, before falling 43 per cent by 2030 on 2019 levels for a chance at achieving the 1.5C target – but global emissions rose by a record 5.5% in 2021 (The New Scientist); 
  • “It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unliveable world,” UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said;
  • Coal use must drop 95% by 2050 on 2019 levels, oil by 60% and gas 45% to meet the 1.5C goal;
  • The report found the target is achievable using a mix of ever-cheaper renewable energy, lower energy demand, changing diets and unproven methods to capture and store carbon emissions;
  • Publication of the report was delayed by a few hours as reluctant governments wrangled with scientists in marathon sessions over language about phasing out fossil fuels (The Guardian); 
  • It follows a federal budget by Australia that cut climate spending by 35% (Renew Economy); 
  • It comes as Australian resources minister Keith Pitt boasted that the country’s coal exports will exceed $100bn in value for the first time (Mining Weekly). 
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NZ forces testified against ADF troops

Secret documents reveal New Zealand special forces provided witness testimony that Australian soldiers shot wounded soldiers in East Timor and brutalised corpses.

The New Zealanders claimed an Australian SAS soldier brutalised the corpses of two pro-Indonesia militiamen in the aftermath of a firefight in East Timor in 1999 (ABC). 

The case was investigated as murder after it was agreed that two wounded men may have been shot at close range in an act of revenge after Australian soldiers had been wounded.

Eleven New Zealand soldiers provided witness statements that were never heard in court relating to the case.

One recounted how he had been told that one of the militiamen got up to try to flee, when the Australian soldier “'arced’ him up”, or shot him.

The incident prompted a New Zealand SAS officer to warn his soldiers against emulating the “cowboy” approach of the Australians.

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Tasmanian Premier calls time

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has announced his resignation from politics, claiming he has “nothing left in the tank”.

“I’ve focused on everyone else's family, I now want to spend some time focusing on my own,” he said at a press conference in Launceston on Monday afternoon (Examiner). 

The 57-year-old said he would remain Premier until the Liberal Party elected his replacement later this week.

Gutwein has led the Tasmanian Liberal government since Will Hodgman resigned in 2020.

During his time in power Gutwein guided Tasmania through the pandemic, set a closure date for  the Ashley Youth Detention Centre, committed to a pathway to treaty with Tasmanian Aboriginal people, and launched an inquiry into child sexual abuse (ABC). 

A recount will be held in his seat of Bass, which will result in another Liberal member for the seat.

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Biden calls for Putin trial

US President Joe Biden has said Russian leader Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes, as Ukrainian authorities claim to have discovered hundreds of civilian bodies.

The Russian pullout from areas around Kyiv revealed streets strewn with corpses of what appeared to be civilians, some of whom had seemingly been killed at close range (AP). 

“This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous,” Biden said of Putin, singling out one town where civilians were reportedly targeted.

Ukrainian officials said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in towns recaptured from Russian forces in recent days, but this number has not been independently verified.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky left Kyiv for his first reported trip since the war began nearly six weeks ago to visit Bucha, where he claimed dead people had been “found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the scenes outside Kyiv as a “stage-managed anti-Russian provocation”.

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A belief that violence is manly.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins tells the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide about the need for reform in the macho boys club that is the Australian Defence Force (Young Witness).

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Postscript: Big Agriculture Is Printing Children’s Books That Say Pesticides Are Great

The opening pages of A Berry Good Project have the feel of a typical children’s book. There’s an earnest fourth grader named Rowan who loves strawberries, a science teacher that the kids affectionately refer to as Mr. B., and an upcoming class project shrouded in mystery. But things get a bit weird when the fourth grade class visits a local strawberry field and learns that spider mites are threatening the berries (VICE).

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