Tuesday, September 24, 2019

‘How dare you’: Thunberg slams world leaders

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has delivered a scathing speech at the United Nations Climate Action summit in New York on Monday, warning her generation will never forgive world leaders if they fail to cut carbon emissions. “People are dying,” the 16-year-old said. “Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” Thunberg and 15 other children filed a complaint alleging that the five largest carbon emitters that are also signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child have failed to uphold their obligations under the treaty. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was absent from the climate summit, but planned to attend an event at the UN headquarters on violent extremism the same day. Andrew Highman, the chief executive of global climate action lobby group Mission 2020, said Australia's lack of participation at the climate event had been noted. “Everyone is well aware that Australia has not made good on its promises in Paris to scale up its commitment to climate action,” he said. In a speech at the Chicago Institute for Global Affairs on Monday, Morrison argued for China to take greater responsibility for global environmental challenges, and urged for action on recycling ($). 

Cashless welfare: Labor has pledged to support the Morrison government’s legislation to expand the cashless welfare card system only if it is made voluntary. Labor shadow minister for families and social services, Linda Burney, said “the amendments Labor will propose directly address concerns raised by the government itself”. The promise comes as a range of critiques were levelled at income management systems at a Senate hearing in Darwin on Monday.

Blindfolded Uighurs: Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has described video of hundreds of Uighur men shackled and blindfolded in China as “deeply disturbing”. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg backed her comments regarding mistreatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in China. The Chinese Embassy in Australia told SBS News it deplores Australia's response. The news comes as the US prepares to host a UN event on the issue on Tuesday on the back of estimates that at least 1 million Uighurs and other minority groups have been held in camps in Xinjiang province. 

In sport: AFL star Nat Fyfe has won the 2019 Brownlow Medal, with the Fremantle captain polling 33 votes, ahead of a fast-finishing Patrick Dangerfield of Geelong, who notched 27. Fyfe won the medal for a second time despite only playing 20 full games in the 22-game season. Meanwhile, Israel Folau is attempting to return to international sport by playing rugby league for Tonga later this year, after being sacked from another code by Rugby Australia in June for inflammatory social media posts. Although Tonga has announced Folau would play, international officials denied that his registration has been approved.

Death of the speech
The death of Graham Freudenberg comes at a time when politics has all but abandoned speech making. Don Watson on how the loss of big narratives denies us the possibility of bold policy.


“The average debt asserted by Centrelink was a little under $2200, so that tots up to about $370 million erroneously – some would say falsely – demanded from people who owed nothing. If such demands were made by another organisation – a bank or another corporate, for example – it might be called a scam. But this is Centrelink, operating in line with the plan implemented by the Coalition government three years ago.” 


“Her daughter, Georgie Stone, was assigned male at birth, but from a very young age asserted her true identity, that of a girl. In About a Girl, Robertson writes about her journey as a mother who was thrown into the unknown. A situation that required her to fight fiercely for the rights of her child.”


“From Australia to Germany, colloquial epithets such as ‘rapefugees’ find currency. These words have a lineage. They betray more than just antipathy towards migrants: they are a callback to the practice of securing national borders by policing racial boundaries. Historically, ‘protecting’ white women was a euphemism for sequestering their bodies to prevent men of colour from ingratiating themselves into white society – and threatening the dominance of the white male.”


“The Ballarat diocese and Christian Brothers were doing more: they were also exporting known paedophiles to the US under the guise of ‘treatment’. And there, according to law suits only recently lodged in Connecticut, dozens more victims are seeking their own redress over the predations of Victoria’s Catholic clerics. Notorious paedophile priests Gerald Ridsdale and Paul David Ryan, who molested boys at the same Warrnambool school as McGlade, were also sent to the US between the 1970s and early 2000s.”


“A court in Israel has further delayed the extradition of a former Melbourne school principal accused of sexually assaulting her pupils. The Jerusalem District Court has ordered an expert panel of psychiatrists to assess Malka Leifer to see if she is mentally fit to be extradited to Australia. Victoria Police has charged the former principal of the Adass Israel School with 74 counts of child sexual assault. Malka Leifer left Melbourne in the middle of the night when the allegations against her surfaced in 2008.”



“Thirty years ago, Wally Conron was asked to breed a non-shedding guide dog. Looking back, he worries that he created a monster. ‘I bred the labradoodle for a blind lady whose husband was allergic to dog hair,’ he says. ‘Why people are breeding them today, I haven't got a clue.’”



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