While the Biden presidency pushes forward international climate action, both the Morrison government and its Labor opposition are fractured over emissions policy.After a hiatus caused by coronavirus, the twin issues of climate change and energy have resumed their place, secured over two decades, as the most intractable and dangerous in Australian politics.
Federal Labor will pursue the government this week over a lucrative offshore detention security contract awarded to the Paladin Group. The Australian Financial Review reported ($) last week that the government awarded Paladin the $423 million contract to provide security services on Manus Island and Nauru in a closed tender process, despite company founder Craig Thrupp being involved ($) in several failed business ventures across Asia. Speaking on Sunday, Insiders host Barrie Cassidy questioned federal attorney-general Christian Porter on why the government awarded the contract to a company whose registered headquarters is “a beach shack at the end of a dirt road” on Kangaroo Island.
The Queensland branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime and Energy Union has threatened to campaign against Labor candidates unless opposition leader Bill Shorten declares his support for major mining projects in the state. Speaking to The Australian ($), CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Steve Smyth said “if you want support for us, you pledge your support for the coal industry”, and that “if we have to, we will campaign against those MPs no matter which party they’re in, even if they’re perched up in the little cosy suburbs somewhere in the southeast drinking their lattes”. Shorten has refused to make a firm declaration either way on the controversial Carmichael coal mine project in central Queensland.
Shadow social services minister Linda Burney has indicated Labor would likely raise the Newstart allowance if it wins government at the next federal election. Speaking to Nine newspapers on Sunday, Burney said “I don't think that there is one person in our caucus, including our leader, who believes that Newstart is adequate”, but that “you've also got to win the argument in public” before raising the rate. Community service organisations and the Greens have criticised Labor’s refusal to commit to raising Newstart, which has not been raised in real terms since 1994.
And in the United States, state governments, progressive lobby groups and Democratic politicians have announced legal challenges president Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to fund construction of a wall along the Mexican border. Speaking on Friday, Trump seemingly undercut his own legal rationale for declaring an emergency, admitting “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this, but I would rather do it much faster”. American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony Romero called the move “a patently illegal power grab”, while several landowners in southern Texas filed suit on Friday, contesting the government’s likely seizure of their land. Congress repeatedly blocked Trump-endorsed attempts to fund a wall, leading to the longest government shutdown in US history and a dive in Trump’s approval rating.