Monday, December 17, 2018

Shorten pleads his case

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has laid out his pitch to voters at Labor’s national conference. Speaking in Adelaide on Sunday, Shorten promised a future Labor government would pass a federal Environment Act, offer incentives to finance construction of 250,000 affordable homes and promote investment in renewable energy and battery manufacturing. Shorten’s speech was interrupted by activists protesting Labor’s refusal to oppose the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland, as well as its support for offshore detention.

Representatives from almost 200 countries have agreed on a set of rules to cut global carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. Representatives at the United Nations climate change conference in the Polish city of Katowice agreed on consistent carbon measuring and reporting standards, allowing countries to be held accountable to their commitments. Disagreements prompted the delay of resolutions on emissions trading systems and setting more ambitious carbon reduction targets, with Brazil, the United States and Australia criticised for seeking more lenient rules and promoting coal at the conference.

Muslim nations have criticised the federal government’s decision to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Speaking on Saturday, prime minister Scott Morrison said the government would establish an interim trade and defence office in the city, and would move “our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of and after, final status determination”. The department of foreign affairs and trade issued a travel warning to Australians in Indonesia, advising that “demonstrations have been held in recent weeks around the Australian embassy in Jakarta and the Australian consulate-general in Surabaya” against the government’s Israel policy change that had been flagged for several weeks. In a statement, Malaysia’s ministry of foreign affairs described the decision as “a humiliation to the Palestinians and their struggle for their right to self-determination”.

And New South Wales governor David Hurley will be Australia’s next governor-general. Speaking on Sunday, prime minister Scott Morrison said Hurley was his “first and only choice” to replace current governor-general Peter Cosgrove, who will step down before the federal election next year. Shadow finance minister Jim Chalmers criticised the fact that opposition leader Bill Shorten was not consulted on the appointment, saying “ideally, so close to the election, the Opposition would have been properly consulted on this appointment, which is so important to Australia”.



“In the hours after you learn your child has been murdered, you are exiled to another world. Nothing can prepare you for it. It is a world of unreality. It has no linear time, and its atmosphere is made of vaporous glue. Its currency is magical thinking, and its material composition – your house, street, neighbourhood – is denuded of meaning but for its resonance with the dead. It is the world of profound shock, and it’s near hopeless to describe. But it is to the occupants of this world that the police family liaison officer must speak.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14


“The novel traces the splintered past of Gustavo, the narrator, who was imprisoned and tortured during the Brazilian military dictatorship, which followed the 1964 coup and ended in 1985. Through Gustavo’s drifting retrospections the novel portrays the shattering weight of torture and the impact of lingering military violence on an individual.”


“It’s not just that we don’t have a climate policy or an energy policy or an immigration policy or a population policy or a water policy. Nor is anyone able to say exactly what is our economic policy. Or our environmental policy. The truth is, there are so many policy deficits in Canberra, it is difficult to know if there are any established, well-based and effective policies still in existence.”


“Single mothers are paying up to 70 per cent of their income on rent, with new research showing rental affordability is at crisis levels for low-income families in Australia ... The latest Rental Affordability Index found while rental prices have improved marginally in some cities, these gains have not flowed through to low-income households struggling to make ends meet.”


“Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has put housing affordability at the heart of his pitch to the party faithful, announcing a multi-billion-dollar plan to subsidise rents for low- and middle-income earners ... Under the 10-year, $6.6-billion scheme, investors who build new properties would get a subsidy of $8,500 a year, on the condition they keep the rent at 20 per cent below market rates.”



“From Barnaby Joyce, to bitcoin to blood moons and ball tampering, Aussies were in a search of some big answers this year. Many of us wanted to know how to opt out of the government’s new My Health Record while some of us just wanted to know ‘how to win Powerball’. Not a bad question, to be honest.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.