Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal has applied for a mining lease and environmental assessment to build a coalmine four times the size of Adani’s Carmichael mine in the Queensland Galilee Basin, reports Guardian Australia. If burned, coal in the west Queensland seam alone could shift the earth’s climate a third of the way to 2 degrees of warming. Palmer, who spent upwards of $60m in political advertising in the run up to the federal election, is also planning to build a coal-fired power station in the state. The news comes as Senator Malcolm Roberts accuses the Bureau of Meteorology of removing a graph that “goes against the narrative of the climate extremists” in a Senate estimates hearing. In the hearing Greens Senator Hanson-Young asked if the Morrison government had been briefed regarding “the climate emergency”. Climate Change and Energy Innovation deputy secretary Jo Evans replied that she does not use such terminology, preferring to “stick to a factual description”.
Assange denied: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has had his application denied to delay a hearing on his prospective extradition to the United States on espionage charges. In his first public appearance in months, Assange reportedly appeared gaunt and unwell, and struggled to recall his name and age. His legal team requested a delay to the hearing, scheduled for February 2020, to consider the Spanish National Court’s new investigation into allegations that a Spanish security firm had spied on Assange’s quarters in the Ecuadorian embassy, on behalf of US intelligence agencies.
Whistleblower concerns: More than 50 senior academics have signed an open letter calling on Murdoch University to drop its case against a whistleblower who raised concerns about the welfare of international students. According to the ABC, Murdoch University claims international student numbers have dropped due to the allegations made by Associate Professor Gerd Schroder-Turk and two other academics. The open letter states that the case sets a “dangerous precedent for all Australian universities”. In other whistleblower news, “Witness K” lawyer Bernard Collaery has called for the establishment of a new independent parliamentary body for defence and intelligence whistleblowers. Collaery helped expose Australia’s bugging of Timor-Leste during oil and gas negotiations in 2006.
Music festivals threaten to leave: Some of the biggest music festivals in New South Wales are threatening to leave the state as the Berejiklian government pushes ahead with legislation for an “unworkable” safety regime. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Laneway Festival and Groovin the Moo are among the festivals threatening to leave over the lack of a music industry roundtable as part of the proposed new laws. The news comes as the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission heard there were 143 strip searches at Splendour in the Grass in 2018, including seven young people. A 16-year-old girl forced to strip in front of police after a false detection by a sniffer dog told an inquiry she “could not stop crying”.