Friday, June 26, 2020

Australia, NZ to host World Cup

A joint bid from Australia and New Zealand has edged out Colombia to win the right to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s football World Cup. In the early hours of Friday, FIFA announced that Australia and New Zealand received 22 of the valid 35 votes from the organisation’s council. The tournament will take place between July and August 2023 across 12 cities, with the opening match to be played at Eden Park in Auckland and the final in Sydney. Lobbying for the event continued through to the final moments, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern personally hitting the phones to push the bid. Matildas star Sam Kerr responded by tweeting a gif of her celebrating a goal with a backflip – an image also projected onto the Sydney Opera House.  Australia and New Zealand’s bid had been assessed by FIFA’s technical committee as stronger on the grounds of commercial return, stadia, facilities, fan engagement and potential legacy of improving women's football. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will meet premiers for national cabinet today to discuss clamping down on localised outbreaks and hotel quarantine arrangements, with both issues linked to a rise in cases in Victoria. The state recorded 33 new cases on Thursday, sparking a testing blitz across 10 hotspot suburbs. Morrison will also push for agreement on a timetable to allow live entertainment, to complement a $250 million arts support package launched on Thursday. The package, which earmarked $90 million for concessional loans for new productions, received a mixed reaction from the sector. “This package is another slap in the face for the thousands of arts and entertainment workers who are not eligible for the JobKeeper income subsidy scheme,” Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy said.

Qantas is on track to make a small profit ($) in 2020, with 6000 jobs cut and a further 15,000 employees already stood down, reports The Australian. The airline was expected to record a loss of about $700 million in the second half of the 2020, seeing the airline break even for the full year or make a modest gain. ACTU national president Michele O’Neil described the cuts as “deplorable and premature” and accused airline chief executive Alan Joyce of prioritising profits over workers. Joyce said plans to resume significant numbers of overseas flights had been put back to the 2022 financial year, with grounded planes to be mothballed in the Mojave Desert in California. The Australian Financial Review reports the federal government ($) is working on another assistance package for airlines.

In response to a question on notice from crossbench senator Rex Patrick, the federal government revealed it has so far spent $2 million prosecuting lawyer Bernard Collaery and former intelligence officer Witness K. It is pursuing Collaery and Witness K over their role in exposing Australia’s bugging of Timor-Leste during oil and gas negotiations. “Perhaps the government doesn’t mind the cost of these proceedings ... in comparison to [the] value of the natural resources Australia ultimately took from the then newest and most impoverished country in the world,” Patrick told Guardian Australia. ACT Law Society chair Michael Kukulies-Smith said it was an “outrageous” amount of money to spend on a case still at the pre-trial stage.


“Fatma* is doing her best. But, as she asks, somewhat rhetorically, how do you feel as a parent when your daughter, 13 years old, comes home hungry from school, having emptied her meagre lunch box by morning recess? Or when your son, as identity conscious as any other 14-year-old, tells of his humiliation at his friends seeing him being presented with a box of food by a teacher? Or when you can’t give your children – she also has twin eight-year-olds – new shoes or the other stuff other kids have? ‘Sometimes I hate myself,’ she says, quietly.”


“These examples provide a perfect case study of how a real grassroots campaign – which has been able to mobilise more people than any other in recent history – can be subsumed into a reactionary cultural war. Where the big questions about how we can reimagine society free from the legacy of colonialism, racism and generational disadvantage are quickly narrowed to statues and TV shows. And the responsibility lies both with our political leaders and the media.”


“Then came Friday’s proposal that student fees for certain courses (humanities, law, management, communications and social sciences, which are generally cheaper for universities to provide) will dramatically increase and in some cases more than double, while fees for other courses (sciences, engineering, nursing, teaching, agriculture) will be reduced. The rationale is the price signal ... But if the tumultuous history of university fees provides any lessons at all, it’s that fees have never functioned as a price signal in this way.”


“Pine trees are bursting into flames. Boggy peatlands are tinderbox dry. And towns in northern Russia are sweltering under conditions more typical of the tropics.  Reports of record-breaking Arctic heat – registered at more than 38 Celsius in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk on June 20 – are still being verified ... extreme heat is fanning the unusual extent of wildfires across the remote, boreal forest and tundra that blankets northern Russia. Those blazes have in turn ignited normally waterlogged peatlands.”


“Australia's Reserve Bank has endorsed a warning that unless international climate policies are made drastically more ambitious, the disruption under the trajectory of climate change will cause global GDP to fall by 25 per cent by 2100 ... The Morrison government has committed to reach net zero emissions by the second half of the century, which is consistent with global action that would see global warming and weather impacts like the worst forecast by the coalition of central banks.”


“When I was about 6, my mind did something wondrous ... When I encountered the name of any day of the week, I automatically associated it with a color or a pattern, always the same one, as if the word embodied the shade. Sunday was dark maroon, Wednesday a sunshiny golden yellow, and Friday a deep green. Saturday was interestingly different. That day evoked in my mind’s eye a pattern of shifting and overlapping circular forms in shades of silver and gray, like bubbles in a glass of sparkling water.”

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