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.
New analysis shows an additional 330,000 welfare recipients will fall below the poverty line when the Morrison government reduces the coronavirus supplement at the end of the year. The Australian National University modelling shows the $100 cut would see the number of people living in poverty grow from 3.49 million to 3.82 million by January. Researcher Ben Phillips told Guardian Australia that his analysis defines the poverty line as $370 per week, which is 50 per cent of median income after housing costs. It comes as SBS reports a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday recommended a proposed expansion of the cashless debit card scheme pass parliament. The proposal would see almost 25,000 welfare recipients in the Northern Territory and Cape York permanently moved onto the cards, prompting concern from Labor and human rights groups. Recipients in other areas with significant Indigenous populations, including the East Kimberley and Goldfields in Western Australia, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay in Queensland, and South Australia’s Ceduna region, would also be lumped with the cards.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s deputy chief of staff Sabina Husic has resigned after an complaint was posted online that aired a series of uncorroborated claims against personnel in the federal opposition leader’s office. The anonymous document, which was posted on a specially created web page on Monday, was described by Albanese as “fake”. No one has claimed responsibility for the letter or revealed who wrote it. Husic resigned on Tuesday afternoon, claiming she had been “the subject of a malicious, false, fake and defamatory attack” on her character. “I have been on leave for the past three weeks to respond to my mental health needs,” she wrote to Mr Albanese’s chief of staff Tim Gartrell. Her brother Ed Husic is a western Sydney MP, who was recently returned to Labor’s front bench following the resignation of Joel Fitzgibbon.
The head of Australia’s special forces, Major General Adam Findlay, has been appointed to a special role advising the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, on how to implement the recommendations of the Brereton war crimes inquiry. Some anonymous former Special Air Service Regiment members told The Australian it was inappropriate to appoint someone from inside special forces command to the position, arguing there would be conflicts of interest when it came to implementing the inquiry findings. It comes as Hadi Marifat, the executive director of the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organisation, calls for a compensation scheme for the Afghan victims of alleged war crimes committed by Australian special forces. A public summary of the inquiry is set for release on Thursday.
Australia and Japan have signed an “in-principle agreement” paving the way for a defence pact in the face of rising tensions with China. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the move after holding their first face-to-face meeting in Tokyo. Japan has not struck a pact on a foreign military presence since the Status of Forces Agreement it signed with the United States 60 years ago. Morrison also held talks with energy company executives in Tokyo on Tuesday, laying out Australia’s plan to export hydrogen to Japan. He told them Australia shared Japan’s commitment to net zero emissions but that it was too early to commit to a 2050 target date.