Thursday, January 31, 2019

OECD scolds Australia’s climate inaction

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.



“Rubeun Yorkshire was on his way to meet his biological father for the first time at Perth’s Scarborough Beach when he was stopped by police officers on January 2 this year. The officers ran a name check on the 27-year-old actor, dancer and Noongar man and discovered he had about $1700 in unpaid court fines dating back to 2013. Last year, Yorkshire fell behind in his repayment plan, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.”


“Unlike the National Party’s deputy leader, Bridget McKenzie, our prime minister presumably knows that James Cook and Arthur Phillip were not the same person. They may both be dead white male sailors who served the mad King George III, but they did so in different times and different places. Even Scott Morrison learnt that much at school.”


“She chose Alfonso’s Cafe for its quietness, but when I arrive there’s a group of old men singing opera. Their voices sound beyond the large serving window into a residential street tucked at the bottom of a lush hill in Sydney’s Avalon. The cafe is narrow, lodged between a small strip of suburban shops. Next door are a hairdresser, a dog groomer and a local grocer, complete with bait and tackle for the bay fisherman.”


“The Rainbow Serpent music festival faces an ultimatum to clean up its act or be barred from going ahead by local authorities. This year’s festival has seen seven hospitalisations, with two young people fighting for their lives, along with more than 20 serious drug arrests. The mayor of the local council in which the festival is held says there will be ‘serious consideration’ of the festival’s future if drug issues at the event become ‘out of control’.”


“A group of Sydneysiders will instigate a new push to stop party boats from mooring in the harbour, claiming revellers have poured onto commercial boats since the lockout laws. Residential group ‘The Friends of Sydney Harbour’ will meet with Roads and Maritime Services, as well as the North Sydney and Mosman mayors on Friday, to discuss the ‘unbearable’ noise levels they say have worsened since the lockout laws were put in place in early 2014.”


“This is our country. I own a lot of it – much, much more of it than you. However, I call it ‘our’ country because my net worth is equal to 60,000 Americans’ yearly salaries, so I understand its turbulent state 60,000 times better than the median American. We are in this fight together.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.