Thursday, September 26, 2019

Australian coast faces extreme flooding every year

Sea levels are rising faster than previously thought, with a new UN report warning Australia's coastal communities are set to face massive disruptions from climate change unless rapid action is taken to cut carbon emissions. The report, compiled by more than 100 scientists, shows that accelerating melting of glaciers and ice sheets from Greenland to Antarctica means sea levels will likely rise by 10cm more than previously projected in 2100, to up to 1.1m, potentially impacting hundreds of millions of people around the world. Report co-author Associate Professor Nerilie Abram from the Australian National University said that once-in-a-century extreme flooding events in Australia would happen at “at least once every year by the middle of this century”. Abram said the worst impacts can still be avoided, but that plans to adapt should also be developed. “There are a range of possible options, from building barriers to planned relocation, to protecting the coral reefs and mangroves that provide natural coastal defences," she said. The report release comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered his first address ($) to the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, focusing on environmental issues beyond climate change. He said: “We need to take action on ­climate change, but there are actually issues like plastics in our oceans, which present even more immediate threats.”

Church child abuse: The Age reports that the Catholic Church is facing at least 800 new legal actions for child sexual abuse in Victoria, after the introduction of laws that allow victims to sue the church and revisit unfair settlements. The lawsuits include compensation sought for abuse by convicted paedophile priests, including Gerald Ridsdale and Paul David Ryan. At least one legal action has been filed against George Pell, who is seeking to appeal to the High Court against his conviction of abusing a choirboy. The lawsuits will have significant financial implications for the church, which is sacking staff and restructuring its head office in Melbourne, but also mean significant delays in processing the claims of victims. 

Abortion decriminalisation: The New South Wales Upper House has passed a bill to decriminalise abortion following a debate that lasted nearly 40 hours. The bill passed 26 votes to 14 on Wednesday night, with the Lower House now to consider the amendments to the original legislation as the first order of business on Thursday, including a ban on sex-selective abortions and stricter regulation of late-term abortions. Independent MP Alex Greenwich, who first introduced the bill, said in a statement: “With the passage of this bill abortion will be decriminalised in NSW – I am sorry that has taken us so long.”

Trump impeachment: US President Donald Trump has authorised the release of a transcript summary of his phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The memo reveals that Trump urged Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden over the employment of Biden’s son Hunter with a Ukrainian gas company. Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry over allegations that Trump used the office of the presidency to attempt to damage a political rival, and that he withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to prompt an investigation into Biden. Trump had a one-on-one with Zelensky on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, where the US President credited his Ukrainian counterpart for “strongly looking into all sorts of corruption”.

Convicting a Newcastle priest
When former Anglican dean Graeme Lawrence was found guilty of child sexual abuse, his victim, Ben Giggins, made the unusual decision to request that the court name him publicly. Anne Manne on child abuse in the Newcastle Anglican diocese.


“Dr Nugent, a veteran of the corporate world, was a Macquarie director for 14 years but stepped down in 2014. She was hand-selected to chair the NDIA board in 2017 by then Social Services minister Christian Porter. By that point, Nugent had no employment relationship with Macquarie Group – she still does not – but almost immediately she began to use the financial firm’s email account to speak directly with NDIA staff, The Saturday Paper can reveal.” 


“Mailman says television can change hearts and minds in ‘profound’ ways. In creating this role of a black female politician, Mailman hopes her work might prompt positive discussion about incarceration rates, land rights and constitutional recognition of Indigenous people. ‘It would be great if it moved the conversation quicker than it has been. The fact that nothing has moved, or [that so much] still seems to be unchanged – this is the conversation we can have as artists, bring the narrative to a wider audience.’”


“The hills of Yorkshire, England, will next weekend determine the 2019 world champions ... Spratt’s status among the favourites in Yorkshire is evidence that she is now one of the best female riders in the peloton. The junior world title medals to her name might suggest it was always destined to be so. But her path to the top was not quite so straightforward.”


“Taxpayers spent $2,600 for Barnaby Joyce to charter a flight between Melbourne and Horsham to spend three hours at a regional show alongside Nationals candidate Anne Webster in the lead-up to the election, according to figures obtained from the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority. The flight, for a 299km trip each way, was claimed as part of Joyce’s work as special envoy for the drought when he went to regional Victoria for a day trip to open the Wimmera Machinery Field Day.”


“ACT Parliament has passed laws to legalise the possession and cultivation of cannabis for personal use. The bill - with amendments - was passed on Wednesday afternoon with the support of Labor and the Greens. It allows people to possess up to 50 grams of dry cannabis, or 150 grams of ‘fresh cannabis’, and grow two plants. Each household could grow a maximum of four plants but hydroponic growing would still be illegal.”


“The diehard Tigers fans among Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community will be strictly observing the Sabbath, which prohibits them from attending the match or watching on TV ...  David Werdiger, an Orthodox Jew and mad Richmond fan, calls it ‘lockdown’. On Saturday afternoon, he will host 15 or so people at his house in Caulfield to shut out the world so they can watch the match without knowing the result when Sabbath is over at 7pm. Not being allowed to use technology means maintaining a media blackout is relatively straightforward.”


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