FINA bans trans swimmers

Swimming’s world governing body has voted to effectively ban the participation of transgender women in elite women’s competitions.

What we know:

  • FINA’s new policy will require transgender competitors to have completed their transition by age 12 or stage two of male puberty — whichever is earlier — to be able to compete in women’s competitions (ESPN); 
  • That is younger than the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s recommended minimum age for starting gender transition hormone treatment, which was recently lowered to 14 (AP); 
  • The policy was passed with a roughly 71% majority at FINA's extraordinary general congress on the sideline of the world championships in Budapest, Hungary;
  • FINA’s new 24-page policy also includes proposals for a new “open competition” category for swimmers whose gender identity is different than their birth sex;
  • The body claimed there are currently no transgender women competing in elite levels of swimming, however American college swimmer Lia Thomas had hoped to compete for a place at the Olympics;
  • LGBTQI+ advocacy group Athlete Ally called the new policy “discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with the 2021 IOC principles”;
  • The ruling applies to eligibility for elite competitions such as the world championships and the Olympic Games, as well as for setting world records;
  • It follows the International Cycling Union last week tightening its rules on transgender participation, increasing the transition period on low testosterone to two years (Reuters).
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Plan to let states back fossil fuels

The Energy Security Board has proposed allowing states to pay coal and gas power plants to stay in business to bolster the stability of the electricity grid.

What we know:

  • In a high-level draft plan, the oversight body recommends giving states the right to decide whether coal and gas will be eligible for a new scheme to pay for energy capacity rather than generation (The Age); 
  • It would allow states to pick their own technologies, with NSW pushing to allow gas generators to be eligible, while Victoria and the ACT oppose paying fossil fuel generators to stay open (The Guardian); 
  • The body says Australia needs to build the equivalent of 50 times the original Snowy Hydro scheme by 2050;
  • Electricity demand could at least double by 2050, partly due to the transition from fossil fuels to electric vehicles and heating;
  • The board warns capacity needs to be rolled out quickly, with power suppliers forecasting the closure of 5GW of coal capacity by 2030, which could increase to 14GW;
  • Federal energy minister Chris Bowen wants to discuss the ESB proposal at a meeting next month with state and territory energy ministers;
  • It comes as the new Labor government grapples with an energy crisis that it says is the result of “a decade of neglect” under the Coalition (The Saturday Paper). 
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Police raid climate protest camp

NSW police raided a property in north-west Sydney on Sunday, alleging that a climate group was planning “extreme forms” of protest.

Police deployed significant numbers to a property at Colo where they clashed with Blockade Australia protesters and arrested two people, with more arrests planned (The Guardian). 

Police say they were investigating the group as it prepared for protests, and demonstrators acted aggressively to officers in an unmarked car, and either slashed or let down the tyres.

Blockade Australia accused the police of “insane overreach”.
“Groups of cops in cammo (sic) gear with guns surrounded our camp this morning — dog squad, riot police, helicopters and fully militarised police are all over us,” the group said in a statement.

“This is how a system based on climate destruction responds to a movement of nonviolent climate defenders.”

Police established a dedicated strike force after earlier protests by Blockade Australia prompted the NSW parliament to introduce new laws targeting demonstrations that block roads and ports.

The protesters hope to disrupt and draw attention to Australia’s vast fossil fuel exports, which are driving runaway climate change.

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Labor runs with Coalition dole plan

Employment Minister Tony Burke claims it is “too late” to scrap controversial changes to unemployment benefits due to be introduced next month.

The new scheme, called Workforce Australia, will require jobseekers to earn 100 points a month by applying for jobs, sitting for interviews and undergoing training (ABC). 

Burke said while the new scheme is flawed, he would look to reform rather than scrap it, claiming there is not enough time to prevent it rolling out.

Burke backed the expansion of “mutual obligations” beyond job applications, but said he would look to modify the scheme’s proposed automated messages to people warning them they risk missing payments, and the formula used to award points.

Some community advocates say the new scheme has been poorly communicated and could be more difficult to work under than the existing one, leading to fear and confusion.

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Hamish Blake picks up Gold Logie

Lego Masters host Hamish Blake was awarded the Gold Logie for most popular personality at the the 62nd Logie awards on Sunday night.

Blake joked that the award “counts for three” due to the hiatus of the event since 2019 due to the pandemic (news.com.au). 

The comedian also won the Bert Newton Award for most popular presenter, while Lego Masters secured the Logie for most outstanding entertainment or comedy program.

Kitty Flanagan won best actress for ABC comedy Fisk, while Guy Pearce was recognised as best actor for his role in drama Jack Irish, also on the national broadcaster.

The Graham Kennedy Award For Most Popular New Talent went to Barranbinya man Tony Armstrong of the ABC (NITV). 

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I want to openly address the relentless pursuit and persecution of athletes by the media to create an uneducated, bias and ill-informed narrative that has gone too far.

AFL player Jordan De Goey has a giant sook about the media daring to cover his latest incident of questionable behaviour towards women in a nightclub. Imagine how upset the Collingwood footballer would be if he faced some actual consequences for once (7News).

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Postscript: Man has shoes tattooed onto his feet because he’s ‘tired of paying’ for new ones

The man told his tattoo artist he was “tired of paying” for new shoes so had him permanently ink his favourite Nike trainers onto his feet as a “conversation starter” (Mirror).

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