Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Albanese takes aim at PM’s Trumpism

Labor leader Anthony Albanese will today claim Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s kowtowing to US President Donald Trump has damaged relations with the incoming Biden administration. On the final day of Trump’s presidency ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration, Albanese is set to deliver the accusations in a foreign policy speech at the USAsia Centre in Perth. The Opposition Leader will claim Morrison refused to directly criticise Trump over inciting the US Capitol mob because of “far-right extremist fringe dwellers who make up the bedrock of his personal support – and who he cultivates through the avatars of Trumpists and conspiracy theorists like [backbenchers] Craig Kelly and George Christensen.” Albanese will also say that Morrison’s lack of ambition on climate change will create tension with the US as Biden pursues more aggressive climate action. He will add that Australia needs to be more assertive in its relationship with the US, and could help shape Biden’s strategy in South-East Asia by expanding aid programs in the region.

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley has contradicted Victorian health officials who say two tennis players in Melbourne for the Australian Open have tested positive for Covid-19. An update from the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday said two players were among three new cases of Covid-19 connected to the event. Tiley subsequently denied that players were among the positive cases, reports The Age, suggesting at a press conference that some of the total of six cases connected to the event so far were not acute, but incidents of viral shedding. Of those six, plus one – which was the flight attendant – none of them are players. “[It's] player entourages," he said.

The federal government’s HomeBuilder program is now likely to cost around $2 billion, more than twice the initial budget expectations of a $920 million cost. The ABC reports applications have far exceeded the government’s forecasts, with 75,143 households to date applying for a $25,000 grant under the HomeBuilder scheme by the end of December. Housing Minister Michael Sukkar said the expanded uptake of the scheme was “great news” and that the full cost of the scheme would be published “at the time of the Budget”. The program, initially due to end in December, has been extended until March 31, but the size of grants reduced from $25,000 to $15,000. The Courier Mail reports that Queenslanders are facing delays of more than four months in accessing the grant.

India has defied the odds in a record-breaking final day chase of 328 with three wickets and just 19 balls remaining to win the Test against Australia by three wickets and the series 2-1. Shubman Gill set up the chase with a quickfire 91 before Rishabh Pant saw the visitors home with 89 not out. The Indian squad bounced back after losing as many as 11 players through injury and unavailability for the final Test, and from the embarrassment of being dismissed for just 36 to lose the opening match in Adelaide in mid-December.

Climate change will kill you, part three: sickness
From thunderstorm asthma to the increasing prevalence of infectious disease, a warming planet is already making us more sick. In the final part of this series, we investigate how climate change puts us more at risk of disease. Today, Climate change will kill you, part three: sickness.

“Harris is expected to play a significant role in the Covid-19 response, particularly in ensuring relief is provided to vulnerable communities. She is also likely to assist in criminal justice reform, including undoing some of the punitive measures that Biden supported as a senator in the 1980s and 1990s. Harris, too, has been forced to distance herself from some of the harsh positions that she supported as a former San Francisco prosecutor and as California’s attorney-general.”


“Sitting in the hot and humid Burketown hall at his father and community leader Phillip Yanner’s funeral in late 1991, Murrandoo Yanner felt the love: the love from the packed room of mourners for the great man that his father was; and the love of his father for family, community and country. In those moments, Murrandoo knew it was time to come home and take up the reins of bringing justice to his people ... But it wasn’t just love that propelled Murrandoo, it was also anger, and there was a lot to be angry about.”



“In 2020 reading nonfiction felt, to me, like an anchor to normalcy: reading about the big ideas and intimate dramas that were the stuff of our lives and the centre of our concerns before the pandemic reshaped our imaginations and our everyday, for month upon month upon month.”

“Most Australians think Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a duty to publicly denounce colleagues who post misinformation online, according to research released by the Australia Institute … In a breakdown of political preference, 77 per cent of Coalition voters, 81 per cent of Labor voters, 83 per cent of Greens voters, and 69 per cent of One Nation voters agreed that Morrison has a responsibility to criticise and correct the politician. While the think tank’s report did not mention any names, the survey question was referring to Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who has repeatedly shared misinformation on his social media accounts.”

“76 per cent of Australians want Prime Minister Scott Morrison to tell Craig Kelly to shut up. His refusal to do so is a defining failure of leadership and morality. That’s obvious. My question is whether it may also have legal consequences: could his government become liable for the resulting public harm?”

“‘I am a gaffe machine, but my God what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can’t tell the truth,’ Joe Biden said, and that was how he half-announced his third tilt at the Democratic nomination for president. Biden was at an event in Missoula, Montana, where even the moderator introduced him by reciting the former vice-president’s failings. He was too old. He would be insulted by Donald Trump. He didn’t have enough money. Questionable senatorial votes tarnished his past.”

“I often wonder how a right-wing, anti-science, QAnon worldview fits into the mytharc rubric. Is Donald Trump a Mulderian hero kicking against the Deep State pricks, while crooked Hillary Clinton stands in for the villainous Cigarette Smoking Man?”

Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.