The Andrews government cannot identify any legislation it needed to override, but experts say that is the point.When Daniel Andrews signed a declaration for a state of disaster in Victoria at 1.43pm on Sunday, it was a part of a final salvo in a battle to control a resurgent and invisible enemy.
New revelations have emerged about Liberal MP Gladys Liu's links to Chinese identities considered a security threat. The ABC understands that in February 2018 the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Director-General, Duncan Lewis, advised then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull not to attend a “meet and greet” for Chinese New Year organised by Liu, due to concerns about the guest list. The revelation comes as Liu confirmed she was an honorary member of a Chinese propaganda organisation between 2003 and 2015, something she had previously denied. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing calls from Labor to provide reassurances that Liu is a “fit and proper” person to be in Parliament. Liu, who was born in Hong Kong, said in a statement that people must not see “everything I do through the lens of my birthplace”. The scandal comes at a time of heightened tensions about Chinese government influence in Australia and racism, with Monash University cancelling a student election after foreigners were banned by the union from contesting, in a bid to prevent an expected victory by Chinese international students.
Climate policy questions: Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor has defended the government’s record on renewable energy, as Guardian Australia reports that investment in the sector is plummeting. With Australia having met the Renewable Energy Target before the 2020 target date, the industry is lobbying for an extension of the target, or implementation of an alternative. According to The Australian, Labor is reviewing its own climate targets, considering dropping its 2030 target to cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent, due to concerns a Labor government would not have time to achieve such a reduction if elected at the next opportunity in 2022. Instead, the party would focus on a net zero pollution target for 2050.
Australians jailed in Iran: An Australian university lecturer has been sentenced to 10 years' jail in the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. The British-Australian woman is in a prison where political prisoners are held. Family members are unable to visit. Another British-Australian woman and her Australian boyfriend were also arrested and detained in a separate incident, according to The Times ($), after taking photos while camping near a military precinct in Iran. Most media outlets are choosing not to reveal the identities of the three prisoners while Australia negotiates with Iran over their future. In August, a senior member of the Iranian government warned Australia's “reputation and prestige” would suffer because it joined a US-led military coalition to the Strait of Hormuz.
In sport: Australia has qualified for the men’s basketball World Cup semi-finals in China, after an 82-70 victory over the Czech Republic on Wednesday night. Patty Mills led the scoring with 24 points. The tournament is wide open after the hot favourite Team USA was upset by France in a quarter final earlier in the day, to the consternation of American media. Australia will face Spain while France will play Argentina, with both semi-finals scheduled for Friday.