While the Biden presidency pushes forward international climate action, both the Morrison government and its Labor opposition are fractured over emissions policy.After a hiatus caused by coronavirus, the twin issues of climate change and energy have resumed their place, secured over two decades, as the most intractable and dangerous in Australian politics.
An investigation has uncovered concerns of inappropriate behaviour towards women by federal Attorney-General Christian Porter and Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge. The Four Corners report, which the federal government attempted to quash before its airing, found that former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s 2018 “bonk ban” was aimed at the pair in addition to former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce. The investigation uncovered allegations that Porter made unwanted advances on women and sexist remarks across his career, and was seen with a young female employee of another cabinet minister at Canberra's Public Bar, which prompted a warning from Turnbull at the time. Tudge, meanwhile, was having an affair with female staffer Rachelle Miller, who told the ABC there was a significant power imbalance between the two, and that Tudge would pressure her to “war-game” answers to media if their relationship was uncovered. Porter said many of the claims on Four Corners were defamatory and that he “will be considering legal options.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will extend ($) JobSeeker coronavirus payments beyond the planned cut-off date of December 31 until the end of March, but at a reduced rate. The Australian reports that cabinet’s expenditure review committee signed off last week on the extension, but at a lower rate than the current $250 supplement and subject to final tick-off by cabinet. It is understood that one tapered rate being considered was $150 a fortnight.
The Queensland Government will take a $150 million stake in a central Queensland coal port and underpin a $1.2 billion expansion of the asset and further coal mine development. The Queensland Investment Corporation will take a 9.9 per cent stake in the float of the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, which InQueensland reports marks a significant shift in attitude by the state government since Cameron Dick took over as treasurer from Jackie Trad.
President Donald Trump’s administration has yet to sign off on documentation needed to formally begin the transition process, as he ramps up efforts to contest the election result. Trump-appointed General Services Administration administrator Emily W. Murphy needs to sign a letter to release funds to the Biden transition team. This would give access to national security tools for background checks of incoming staff and funds for training and payroll. It comes as Trump tweeted that he has fired Mark Esper as defense secretary, and has reportedly told advisers he’s thinking about running for president again in 2024 if plans for upcoming rallies fail to make the case for overturning the election results.