Tuesday, September 03, 2019

AMA declares climate health emergency

The Australian Medical Association has officially declared climate change a health emergency. According to Guardian Australia, AMA president Tony Bartone says that climate change will affect human health “by increasing the environment and situations in which infectious diseases can be transmitted, and through more extreme weather events, particularly heatwaves”. He added that climate change would cause food insecurity and higher incidences of mental health issues. The AMA called on the Morrison government to promote an active transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and develop a national strategy for health and climate change. The call comes as Australian tech firm Atlassian encourages its 3500 employees to join this month's global strike for climate action. Atlassian’s billionaire co-founder, Mike Cannon-Brookes, warned Australians could not rely on governments “at all” to address carbon emissions.

Speaking of which: The new lobbying firm of a former top adviser for Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been appointed to help secure state government approval for a controversial coalmine expansion, according to The Australian ($). Evan Moorhead, who left the premier’s office in May, owns half of Anacta Strategies, which is lobbying on behalf of the New Hope Group for state ­approval of its $900m expansion. This is triggering integrity concerns that Moorhead was involved in deliberations regarding the project while working in Palaszczuk’s office. The news comes ahead of a resources lunch in Brisbane today where federal resources minister Matt Canavan will say anti-coal protests ($) are “illegal” and “immoral”.

On the subject of conflicts of interest: Nine Entertainment has hosted a $10,000 a head corporate fundraiser for the Liberal party on Monday night at its historic TV studios in the Sydney suburb of Willoughby. Hosted by Nine chief executive Hugh Marks, with attendees including Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, the event raised at least $700,000 for the Liberals.

From the North Shore to West Papua: Four Australians are being deported from Indonesia after allegedly participating in a pro-West Papua independence demonstration. Tom Baxter, Cheryl Davidson, Danielle Hellyer and Ruth Cobbold are being forced to leave the country for taking part in a protest in the city of Sorong on August 27. The demonstration was part of a wave of political unrest across Indonesia in recent weeks, with protesters claiming six people were killed when police fired on peaceful demonstrators. In addition, three West Papuan students have reportedly been shot in their dormitories by militia, police have arrested 28 people for “damaging and burning properties, violence, provocation and looting”, internet has been cut in the region, and two Jakarta-based students have been arrested for treason.

Reporting the Panama Papers
The reporter behind the Panama Papers, Bastian Obermayer, on how he handled the leak and what he has found in Australia.


“One night, after a work event, ‘I got home and into the house and I actually thought, “Phew, I made it safely through that,”’ she recalls. ‘The next thing I knew was that he was inside my house.’ Her vision started to blur, and she couldn’t fight back. She is sure he drugged her. Then, he raped her. Imagine waking up the next morning, feeling violated and terrified, and knowing you can’t call the cops. Because the man who raped you is a cop. And so are you.”


“How similar are Morrison’s Quiet Australians to Howard’s battlers and Menzies’ Forgotten People? This question is about rhetoric as much as demography, about how Liberal leaders project their followers and the symbolic resources they draw on. Each is implicitly contrasted with noisy minorities who get all the attention. Quiet, ignored, forgotten: the message is the same. Also the same are their virtues as responsible people working hard to provide for their families, to ‘get ahead’ and to secure their well-deserved retirement. A neat fit is posited between their economic virtues and aspirations and the Liberals’ promise of smaller government, lower taxes and careful economic management, which was on full display in the recent campaign.”


“As an artist, when I look to the protests in Hong Kong, I notice the colour of the movement – how it changes as the situation develops. When the Umbrella Movement first started in 2014, demanding real democratic freedoms in Hong Kong, it was defined by the colourful memo notes used to create a Lennon Wall. Hong Kongers wrote their hopes for their city on Post-it notes, some 10,000 of them, and stuck them outside the Central Government Complex. Gradually, the colour turned to yellow, as protesters used their yellow umbrellas to shield themselves from the pepper spray and tear gas being used on them by the police. Yellow was a warning sign, the anxiety of a city worried for its future.”


“Lisa says she asked the police prosecutor to get orders preventing Bob from obtaining, saving, searching for or using her photos. She also requested random bi-annual checks to be done on Bob’s IP addresses to check he wasn’t continuing to commit his crime. She was told by police, she ‘could not ask for those orders’.”


“A new Chinese app called ZAO that lets users swap their faces with celebrities, sports stars or anyone else in a video clip, racked up millions of downloads on the weekend but swiftly drew fire over privacy issues. The app's surge in popularity and sudden backlash from some users highlights how artificial intelligence (AI) technologies bring about new concerns surrounding identity verification.”


“In 2010, the American with Disabilities Act was revised to recognize miniature horses, alongside dogs, as potential candidates for service certification. Foundations routinely train and deliver service horses to the blind (Ramouni herself occasionally does this), but functionally, equine guides remain in the minority compared to canines, and Ramouni is one of the very few tenders who has taken their mini horse onto a plane.”



Max Opray
is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.