Having outperformed the world in containing coronavirus, Australia’s lack of action on climate change will precipitate a much greater crisis.If the Morrison government were really answerable to the Australian people rather than vested interests, it already would have agreed to a more ambitious climate response. That’s what the overwhelming majority of people have long wanted.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will today announce ($) plans to scrap responsible lending laws for banks, relaxing credit rules to permit easier loan approvals during the recession. In a shift from “lender beware” to “borrower beware”, the government would effectively abandon the responsible lending law imposed by the Rudd Labor government in 2009, reports The Australian Financial Review. The Hayne banking royal commission recommended the simplification of regulation, but consumer groups are expected to scrutinise whether these changes reflect the recommendations and protect Australians burdened with loans. Master Builders Australia welcomed the proposal, saying it could speed up decisions for Australians trying to buy their own homes. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission would no longer review responsible lending obligations also assessed by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, ending what the federal government argues is regulatory duplication.
A new inquiry has been launched into land purchased at more than ten times its value by the federal government for a planned airport in western Sydney, although officials refuse to name the investigators. The Department of Infrastructure purchased the land from Liberal Party donors Tony and Ron Perich's Leppington Pastoral Company in 2018 for $32.8 million, despite the property only being valued at about $3 million. Backlash over the deal in recent days has prompted the Infrastructure Department to appoint an unnamed independent investigator and auditor to assess the deal, the conduct of its officers, and to “ensure any further problems in departmental processes are identified and addressed”, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Australian Workers' Union national secretary Daniel Walton has called on Labor to embrace gas rather than “continuing to impotently hedge” on climate policy. Writing in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Walton said any more equivocating from Labor on gas was “not just morally indefensible, it's strategically moronic”. It comes as Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus branded fellow shadow cabinet member Joel Fitzgibbon “the idiot for Hunter” in a heated caucus meeting over the latter’s support for fossil fuels, as the party debates how to frame its climate policies for the next election.
The cricket world is in mourning after former Australian batsman Dean Jones died of a heart attack in India aged 59. Jones was in the country to commentate on the Indian Premier League, with Indian TV network Star Sports, which announced his death in a statement yesterday. Cricket Australia chair Earl Eddings said Jones would be remembered as a cricket great. “Anyone who watched cricket in the 1980s and 1990s will fondly recall his cavalier approach at the crease and the incredible energy and passion he brought to every game he played,” he said. Tributes poured in from around the world, with Indian great Sachin Tendulkur describing the news as “absolutely heartbreaking”.