Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Australia gets an energy policy

The federal government has unveiled its long-awaited energy policy, ditching the Clean Energy Target recommended by the Finkel review and requiring electricity retailers to source a certain portion of energy from baseload power sources such as coal and gas. While the government claims the new National Energy Guarantee will reduce carbon emissions, lower electricity prices and provide energy security, it provided few details of how the NEG will meet those requirements. Chief scientist Alan Finkel cautiously endorsed the new policy, saying “there's always more than one way to skin a cat”, but Greens leader Richard Di Natale and several Labor Premiers have already come out strongly against it. Pointing to former prime minister Tony Abbott’s tweet that the policy shift signalled “progress”, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Australia has “now got Tony Abbott as chief scientist”, while Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey reiterated the Queensland government’s commitment to be running on 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

A 23-year-old Aboriginal woman in Western Australia says she is being threatened with jail over unpaid fines, under the same laws that saw 22-year-old Yamatji woman Ms Dhu die in police custody in 2014. The pregnant single mother told NITV she is being harassed by police over $4123 in unpaid fines, claiming police have been “banging on my back door with their torches” late at night, threatening to jail her for six days if she does not pay at least $1000 of her debt and causing her to fear authorities will take away her young son. While WA attorney-general John Quigley has pledged ($) to scrap jail-for-fines laws, a 35-year-old Nyoongar woman was jailed in September over $3900 in unpaid fines. Jail-for-fines laws were identified as contributing to Indigenous over-incarceration by the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Victorian parliament has begun debating proposed laws that would legalise assisted dying. While the bill has government backing, all MPs have been granted a conscience vote, and parliamentary debate has already seen MPs share personal and emotionally charged stories. Deputy premier James Merlino spoke out against the reform, saying it was “state-sanctioned suicide”, while Andrews emphasised the bill’s many safeguards and said that terminally ill people were already ending their lives, sometimes in horrific ways. Debate is expected to continue until Friday.

And New South Wales high school students have been exposed abusing a poet whose work appeared in the HSC English exam. Ellen van Neerven, whose poem Mango was used as a writing prompt in Monday’s exam, has been the subject of racist posts and abusive private messages from students. The abuse has drawn condemnation from organisers of prominent literary award The Stella Prize, Australian Poetry and prominent authors and poets, as well as calls for the NSW Education Standards Authority to revise its policy of including works in HSC exams without artists’ prior consent. Despite numerous Australian writers detailing similar instances of harassment after their works were included in exams, a NESA spokesperson told Junkee the authority had no plans to changes its practices as doing so would create “issues of confidentiality”.

Open Quotemarks

Soon the monarch butterfly will emerge.

Close Quotemarks

The news you need. Delivered free to your inbox. 7am weekdays.


The spy who overthrew Macedonia’s government

“For long-serving spy Gjorgi Lazarevski, a 2010 raid on one of Macedonia’s few remaining independent TV stations was the last straw. For two years, he had watched his country slip into what he thought was a dictatorship. Then the engineer, who had been working for the secret service for 25 years, threw himself into a quest that was much more likely to get him arrested than to overthrow the government. Eventually, it did both.” organized crime and corruption reporting project

The danger of President Pence

“During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. ‘You see?’ Trump asked Pence. ‘You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway’. When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, ‘Don’t ask that guy – he wants to hang them all!’ ” the new yorker

Nicki Minaj, always in control

“Onika Tanya Maraj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, in 1982, and immigrated to Queens, N.Y., with her family at the age of 5. She began her music career singing with various rappers and working odd jobs. When she waitressed, she wrote lyrics constantly on the notepad she used to take orders ... Since then, her career has been a checklist of milestones. In March 2017, Minaj surpassed Aretha Franklin for the most appearances (76) by a woman on the Billboard Hot 100, a record Franklin had held for almost 40 years.” the new york times style magazine



What’s it like working at the Daily Mail?

“Every year, MailOnline recruit the brightest young journalists in the country to join their graduate reporting scheme. But this year, 10 of the 16 trainees who started in 2016 have allegedly already quit. So what exactly is driving these talented reporters to leave a job at the most-read English website in the world after just months of working there? ... ‘What you actually do all day is take an article from a news agency, and copy and paste it over to your article, and then add bullet points and captions. That’s about it really.’ ”   the tab


Explains stellar reporting like this:

“Making himself at home! Chris Hemsworth goes BAREFOOT at exclusive Japanese restaurant during promotional tour for Thor: Ragnarok ... A beauty in black! Margot Robbie showcases her cleavage and slim waist in a racy cut-out dress as she attends Women in Hollywood bash ... PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Lisa Wilkinson emerges from her Sydney home for the first time since quitting Channel Nine for The Project as she goes for coffee with husband Peter FitzSimons.”  daily mail australia


and finally:

Auspol Tho: A Chrome extension

If you are tired of seeing Tony Abbott constantly popping up in your news feed, this Chrome extension from University of Technology, Sydney student Alicia Child will redirect every mention of Abbott to this video. Thank you for your public service, Alicia. chrome


‘Artists in Conversation’

Readers in Victoria can register for free tickets to artist conversations as part of Melbourne Festival, led by the editorial team of The Saturday Paper and The Monthly.

The conversations will feature Melbourne Festival's artistic director, Jonathan Holloway, and artists from the festival program, to discuss their work and its place in the world. The final session is taking place at the Forum Theatre on Saturdays from 12.30pm.

To register, simply click on the title below and enter your details in the form provided. More details on the conversations can be found here.

Saturday, October 21 - "A Chronicle of Life"
Hosted by Nick Feik, editor of the Monthly, Jonathan Holloway, and artists from Germinal and EVER.