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.
A recently completed investigation by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force will see allegations directed at an estimated 10 Australian Special Air Services Regiment (SAS) veterans being referred to authorities, according to The Age. A public summary of the investigation, conducted by senior judge Paul Brereton, is set to be released by Defence Force Chief Angus Campbell next week, but will not name soldiers. Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith, reportedly one of the SAS figures under scrutiny, welcomed the establishment of a special investigator’s office and dismissed the Brereton inquiry as founded in “rumours”. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who announced the plan for a special counsel on Thursday, also announced the establishment of a new panel to drive cultural change inside the SAS.
Prosecutors have formally withdrawn 13 charges against News Corp staff and publications over their coverage of Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse convictions. The backdown comes just four days into a Victorian Supreme Court contempt trial where a range of individuals and outlets face charges of breaching suppression orders. Crown prosecutor Lisa De Ferrari has argued some of the publications, in the days after the guilty verdicts, encouraged the public to seek out international news reports which freely named Cardinal Pell and were not subject to the Australian suppression orders. Defence lawyers effectively countered that claim by noting some of the articles referred to were published after the Australian stories.
Australia has already experienced 1.44 degrees Celsius of warming since 1910, plus or minus 0.24C, according to the latest State of the Climate Report. The Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO report says the rise in temperatures has resulted in increased extreme heat days, heatwaves and raised fire danger. Although 2019 was the hottest year on record, CSIRO research director Dr Jaci Brown says that soon it will not be seen as unusual. “In fact, we think of this decade being hot, but this decade will be one of the coolest in the next hundred years,” she said.
More than 180,000 people have been evacuated, at least six people have died, and 10 others are missing after Typhoon Vamco made landfall in the Philippines on Wednesday night. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the impact of the storm in central Luzon was particularly damaging as it hit the same communities devastated by the Category 5 Typhoon Goni, the strongest storm this year, just 10 days earlier. “The Red Cross holds particularly grave concerns for more than 240,000 people who lost their homes to Typhoon Goni, especially those who are living in makeshift shelters along the coast as this latest storm hits,” the organisation said in a statement, adding that emergency response funds had been depleted by the coronavirus pandemic.