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.
The Senate has voted in favour of establishing an inquiry into media diversity in Australia, after more than 500,000 people signed a petition calling for a royal commission into the dominance of the Murdoch media. Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who moved the motion that secured the support of Labor and some of the crossbench, will chair the inquiry into the influence of media concentration on democracy and challenges faced by news outlets in the digital landscape due to the impact of global platforms Google, Facebook and Twitter. Hanson-Young said the popularity of the petition highlighted the increasing concern of Australians about media diversity. “The cosy relationship between the Coalition government and News Corp should be scrutinised,” she said. Rudd welcomed the move on Twitter but did not mention the Greens, noting that “Labor and the minor parties” had taken a “useful first step to a full Royal Commission.” The inquiry will report back by March next year.
The Senate on Wednesday evening passed a bill to establish the Morrison government’s $4 billion JobMaker hiring credit scheme, after One Nation abandoned support for protections added to the legislation despite voting for them a day earlier. The program gives employers $200 a week for employing a jobless person under 30 and $100 for hiring those aged 30 to 35. The safeguards would have disqualified employers found to have sacked a worker in order to get the payment, and imposed transparent reporting requirements. One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had presented the minor party with unemployment data for people under and over 35 that had changed the party’s stance. Labor and the Greens accused Senator Hanson of selling out older Australians.
Hong Kong’s 15 pro-democracy legislators have pledged to all quit in protest, after four opposition members of the chamber were disqualified by the city government. The disqualification of the four politicians came after China’s parliament adopted a resolution allowing the city’s government to expel legislators deemed to be supporting Hong Kong independence, colluding with foreign forces or threatening national security, without having to go through the courts. The move will result in the legislature being occupied only by pro-Beijing politicians.
The US state of Georgia’s chief election official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, has announced that the state will conduct a recount by hand of every ballot cast in the presidential race. Raffensperger said Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump currently stands at 14,111 votes. Raffensperger has been the target of significant criticism from fellow Georgia Republicans in recent days, with senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler calling for his resignation over unfounded claims of voter fraud promoted by Trump. The senators both face crucial run-off elections that will decide which party controls the senate.
New South Wales has bounced back from a game one State of Origin loss with a 34-10 belting of Queensland at Sydney’s Olympic stadium to level the series. The Blues conceded the first try of the match, but then controlled proceedings in scoring six tries to one. The result keeps the series alive going into the decider at Brisbane’s Lang Park next week.