The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has urged the federal government to do more to fight climate change, saying Australia is likely to miss its self-imposed carbon reduction targets. In its third annual environmental performance review, the OECD found that “Australia needs to intensify efforts to reach its Paris Agreement goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by between 26 and 28 per cent below its 2005 levels by 2030”. In a separate statement, the OECD highlighted Australia’s “fossil fuel consumption still benefiting from government support” and the fact that the “power sector – the country’s top emitting sector – is not subject to emission reduction constraints”.
Catholic schools will receive an extra $4.1 billion over the next decade under the federal government’s funding arrangements, documents have revealed. Department of Education projections published by Nine on Wednesday revealed that Catholic schools in New South Wales and Victoria would both receive more than $1 billion by 2029. The government’s education package was criticised by public education advocates when it was announced in September, with former NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli accusing the Catholic Church of “hoodwinking and bullying” the federal government.
New Zealand police minister Stuart Nash has hit out at Australian politicians who oppose drug testing at music festivals. Speaking to triple j’s Hack on Wednesday, Nash said “young people are taking drugs at festivals. If we bury our head in the sand and say they're not we'll end up like you guys with five deaths”. Saying that New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern thought pill testing was “a sensible way to go,” Nash urged his Australian counterparts to “get with the 21st century reality”. Federal and state governments have repeatedly ruled out legalising pill testing, despite five pill-related deaths at music festivals this summer. A sixth death, that of 18-year-old Sydney student Marli Cartmer-Congiu, was confirmed overnight.
And former Liberal MP-turned-independent Julia Banks has announced she would contest the Victorian seat of Flinders against federal health minister Greg Hunt at the federal election. Banks, who left the Liberal Party in November, currently holds the seat of Chisholm in Melbourne’s east. Banks told Nine newspapers she decided to contest Flinders, a blue-ribbon Liberal seat covering the Mornington Peninsula, as voters there were “particularly angered at Greg Hunt’s role in the leadership spill, in him being Peter Dutton’s wingman and wanting to oust Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop”. Hunt holds Flinders with a margin of more than 7 per cent.