Monday, April 01, 2019

Labor boosts green credentials

Federal Labor has announced it would ban plastic microbeads, single-use plastic bags and trade in ivory if the party wins government at the next election. In a statement on Sunday, opposition leader Bill Shorten said the party would ban single-use plastics by 2021 because “plastic has a devastating impact on our natural environment”. While single-use plastic bags have been banned in every state and territory except New South Wales, Labor’s policy would also introduce a national container deposit scheme and funding to help producers use recyclable materials. The announcements came as Labor prepares this week to release its policy on climate change, with Shorten ruling out using carryover carbon credits from the Kyoto Protocol to reduce Australia’s carbon reduction obligations.

A tradesman-turned Islamic State devotee has pleaded to be allowed to return with his family to Australia. Mohammed Noor Masri, 26, told Nine newspapers on Sunday that he was willing to accept a lengthy prison sentence for travelling to Syria and joining IS in 2015, because he wanted to give his young children a life in Australia. “It’s not my kids’ fault. They’re just babies. They don’t even know what life is”, he said. Masri claimed he never fought for IS, instead working at a hospital in Raqqa. The federal government has refused a United States plea for allies to “take responsibility” for domestically born foreign fighters now held captive, with home affairs minister Peter Dutton saying the government was “determined to deal with these people as far from our shores as possible”.

Social services groups have criticised federal Labor’s decision not to increase the Newstart welfare payment or scrap the ParentsNext pre-employment program if it wins government. Speaking to ABC Radio Tasmania last week, Labor senator Penny Wong said “we recognise it’s too low [but] we’re not in a position to make a quantum commitment” on raising the Newstart rate. Despite acknowledging that ParentsNext “caused parents and their children great distress”, Labor employment services spokesperson Terri Butler said on Friday that “parents will still be required to participate in the program when they first become eligible for it”. Speaking last week, Australian Council of Social Services chief executive Cassandra Goldie said “an urgent $75 per week rise in Newstart and a substantial rise in minimum wages are the fundamental steps we must take in any serious effort to reducing poverty”. Welfare groups also criticised the federal government’s decision to exclude Newstart recipients from a $285 million plan to help low-income households with one-off payments to offset energy charges.

And the Adelaide Crows have won the 2019 AFL Women’s grand final, beating Carlton 10.3 (63) to 2.6 (19). Before a record crowd at Adelaide Oval, the Crows put on a dominant performance despite losing star co-captain Erin Phillips in the third quarter to a knee injury. Phillips was named the game’s best player, the second time she has steered the Crows to a premiership flag since the inaugural AFLW season in 2017. The 53,034 spectators more than doubled the AFL’s estimates of 25,000 people, easily surpassing the previous AFLW attendance record of 41,975.



“She is a great political act. Killer Queen to some, Evil Sister to others, she’s a never-ending drama of near scrapes, silly stunts and men who done her wrong: John Pasquarelli, David Oldfield, David Ettridge, Brian Burston, Fraser Anning, Malcolm Roberts. All have either been dumped or a disappointment. And now her sole senate colleague, West Australian Peter Georgiou, faces relegation from the No. 1 spot on the ticket as Perth party room heavies try to limit the Al Jazeera damage.”


“Two Fridays ago I was standing amid a crowd of thousands outside the Sydney Town Hall, listening to a succession of teenagers describe the moral urgency of climate change. ‘We will rise!’ they promised. Whoops of enthusiasm broke over our heads like waves upon a shore. I glimpsed a handmade sign that read ‘GEN X SUPPORTS THE CLIMATE STRIKE’, and wondered if I should go stand beneath it.”


“The last serious debate in parliament on the republic was in 1998, on human rights in 2001, on the environment in 2009. Neither major party will debate a fresh approach to the issue of how we treat refugees and asylum seekers – leaving it to independents or the Greens to initiate action, as with the medivac vote, possible only due to the lack of a government majority in both houses.”


“A Liberal vying to become the party’s candidate for Craig Laundy’s old seat has delivered an astonishing condemnation of the closed-door selection process, just as Scott Morrison prepares to name his captain’s pick for the hotly contested Sydney electorate. Controversial psychiatrist and writer Tanveer Ahmed – who is among a number of people under consideration for the job – slammed the process as unfair and undemocratic, arguing he had been denied the opportunity to confront his challengers.”


“The psychiatrist and columnist Tanveer Ahmed has been sacked by the Australian for plagiarism – just two years after being dropped by the Sydney Morning Herald for a series of similar cases. Ahmed was exposed by ABC TV’s Media Watch in 2012 and consequently lost his regular spot as a commentator for Fairfax Media.”


“Little Sandrine’s experience with measles won’t be tainted by some doctor in a sterile office environment. She’ll pick up the disease that the CDC claims is ‘a lethal and highly contagious pathogen’, naturally, in the open air on a playground or bouncy castle. The virus will work its way out of her system and into the rest of her pre-K class on its own – as nature intended.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.