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.
Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg has backed a proposed inquiry chaired by Coalition climate sceptic George Christensen that would interrogate banks refusing to finance coal investments. Christensen, the proposed chair of the parliamentary probe, would question banks such as ANZ that are refusing to finance new coal projects and insisting clients begin to decarbonise. Frydenberg gave his approval for federal resources minister Keith Pitt to request the inquiry through the Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Global ratings agency Moody’s on Tuesday warned $4.5 trillion of debt was at very high or high risk because of environmental concerns, with coal mining and coal terminals at greatest risk. It comes as the Morrison government warns China’s ban on Australian coal may breach World Trade Organisation obligations and the China-Australia Free-Trade Agreement. Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested China’s carbon emissions would be worse due to the loss of Australia’s “cleaner” coal.
Former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer looks set for extradition to Australia in order to face charges of child sex abuse after Israel’s Supreme Court threw out an appeal. “With the issuance of our judgement, all the arguments are closed and the declaration of extradition takes final effect,” a justice ministry ruling said. Justice minister Avi Nissenkorn tweeted he welcomed the ruling and would sign off on the extradition order “without delay”. Three sisters say they were abused during their time at the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel school more than a decade ago. Leifer has denied the allegations against her.
The soldier pictured drinking from a prosthetic leg of a Taliban insurgent has stood aside from the most senior special forces position in the military, reports The Australian. Warrant Officer John Letch, the command sergeant major and right-hand man to the Special Operations Commander of Australia, has given up his position and is considering his options. Photos are believed to exist showing other soldiers and officers drinking from the leg. Special Air Service Regiment and Special Operations Task Group commander Jono Beesley meanwhile has left the army following the publication of the Brereton war crimes report last month. Beesley was Special Operations Task Group commander in Afghanistan from January to July 2013, during which time the group severed the hands of dead Afghans to identify them.
United States Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has finally acknowledged Joe Biden’s election victory and referred to him as President-elect, after the Electoral College made the win official on Monday. “The Electoral College has spoken,” the Republican party senator McConnell said from the Senate floor, adding, “Today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden.” Many senior Republicans still refuse to acknowledge Biden’s clear victory, including House minority leader Kevin McCarthy. Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin said “the fact that it took six weeks for my colleagues to recognise reality and stop undermining our Democratic process is sad and disappointing”. Incumbent US President Donald Trump continues to baselessly claim that the election was rigged.