Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Albanese seeks energy policy truce

Labor leader Anthony Albanese will today offer the Morrison government bipartisan support to design a new energy policy, including potential backing of controversial carbon capture and storage technologies. In a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra today, Albanese will push for a new policy mechanism that features scalable emissions reduction targets, so future governments can either increase or decrease goals “in the context of future scientific advice”. He is prepared to support development of carbon capture technologies to aid the coal sector, on the proviso they are not funded by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation or the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which Labor endorses for continued funding. Albanese is prepared to walk away from a Clean Energy Target but remains opposed to the Coalition’s Emissions Reductions Fund and nuclear energy. “We have an opportunity to move past partisan approaches to energy policy, to draw on the community’s clear desire for more bipartisan approaches to difficult policy areas,” he wrote in the letter to Morrison.    

Former high court justice Dyson Heydon was known as “Handsy Heydon” due to his behaviour towards young female students when teaching at Oxford University. Following revelations that an independent inquiry by the high court found Heydon had sexually harassed six associates, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Heydon was accused of inappropriate touching in 2014 while teaching in England. Oxford University decided not to renew Mr Heydon’s visiting professorship, although heavily redacted documents obscured the reasons why. It comes as Arthur Moses, SC, former president of the Law Council of Australia, has called for a federal judicial commission to deal with complaints of predatory behaviour in the profession.

ABC managing director David Anderson will today unveil a “Five Year Plan” expected to include 250 job cuts and an overhaul of the ABC Life website. The cuts come in response to a federal government funding freeze expected to cost the broadcaster a further $84 million over three years. The ABC board will take a pay cut for six months, receiving consent from the Remuneration Tribunal to cut its fees by 10 per cent.

World No. 1 men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic has tested positive for Covid-19 after organising a controversial tennis exhibition series in Serbia and Croatia. The Serbian player is the fourth player to test positive for the virus after competing in the tournament, which featured packed crowds and little social distancing. Djokovic’s wife Jelena also tested positive, but their children tested negative. “I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm,” he wrote. “Everything the organisers and I did the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions.”


“The distressing video shows an Aboriginal man – Noel Henry – being held down by three police officers in the Adelaide suburb of Kilburn. His face is pressed against a concrete ledge. Witnesses in the background can be heard yelling: ‘Get off his head! Let him get up!’ As the footage continues, a cop repeatedly strikes him. That night, Rule was immediately concerned about the man’s welfare … And then they thought: ‘Where is this man now?’”


The Trials of Portnoy (Scribe), tells the true story of how Portnoy’s Complaint was declared illegal throughout the Commonwealth, and how, eventually, it became a book we were allowed to own and read. Mullins is shrewd about the whole long history of Australian over-censorship, and why we, predominantly a group of white Britons down the bottom of Asia, were so obsessed with staying ‘clean’, and so frightened of losing social and sexual control ... Mullins also shows how we started to say, more and more: please, let literature free.”


“The preppers – who earn their name for always being prepared for calamity, and who have a right to feel smug in these frightening times – like to pack sachets of dried food in their survival supplies. There are noodles and commando biscuits and nutritious rusks. There is a booming business, I am told, in joyless eating. But I was squeezing food plants into every available corner before it became a lockdown response to crisis. So I have been pulling out, mulching over and swearing at chickweed and mallow for many years. I cannot imagine an apocalypse without them.”


“Woolworths Group Ltd said on Tuesday it had underpaid employees at its pub and hotels group ALH Hotels, deepening a wage scandal that has affected some of Australia’s biggest companies … Woolworths said it now expected total remediation costs for underpayment of staff across the group, including salaried ALH staff who were underpaid in 2018 and 2019, to be about $390 million.”


“Around 700 jobs will be lost as Woolworths automates key logistics facilities in Sydney and Melbourne. There are currently about 1,350 people employed at warehouses in Minchinbury and Yennora in Sydney, and Mulgrave in Melbourne. All three centres will be closed in 2025. Woolworths said that less than half those workers — just 650 staff — would be needed to run its new automated and semi-automated distribution centres.”


“In the #bakersagainstracism Instagram hashtag, a surreal, very 2020 phenomenon emerged: white-run accounts previously dedicated to burnished sourdough or cookies with animal faces are now decorating their wares with revolutionary Black Power fists.”

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