Monday, January 25, 2021

ABC draws ‘Invasion Day’ ire

The ABC has defended a social media post and article referring to “Australia Day/Invasion Day”, as News Corp publications frame use of the dual terminology as divisive. The Australian, Sky News and the News Corp tabloids published comments from a range of parties critical of the terminology used in an ABC article outlining January 26 events, including Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt, One Nation’s Mark Latham, and the Institute of Public Affairs. An ABC spokesperson said that while “Australia Day” remained the preferred terminology “we also recognise and respect that community members use other terms for the event, including ‘26 January’, ‘Invasion Day’ and ‘Survival Day’, so our reporting and coverage reflect that.” NSW Police Minister David Elliott told The Daily Telegraph he was concerned the national broadcaster was promoting Invasion Day protests that he expected to breach COVID-19 gathering rules. He expressed no concern about Australia Day celebration plans. 

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has unveiled a $1 billion investment in long-range missile technology. The spending spree will provide the Royal Australian Navy with long-range anti-ship missiles, extended range surface-to-air missiles, advanced lightweight torpedoes and land strike capabilities. "These new capabilities will provide a strong, credible deterrent that will ensure stability and security in the region," Senator Reynolds said in a statement on Monday. The weapons will have ranges exceeding 370 kilometres for anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles and 1500km for maritime land strike missiles. The investment is part of a wider $24 billion project for maritime guided weapons for the navy, to be rolled out over the next two decades.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to enlist his predecessors John Howard and Kevin Rudd to help end the trade war with China, reports The Australian Financial Review. With little progress in easing tensions, Albanese has written to Morrison suggesting the enlistment of Howard and Rudd, both of whom have links with China, to help end the stand-off. It comes as new Trade Minister Dan Tehan reveals in his first interview since being appointed to the post that he will pursue a reset in trade ties. Tehan says his appointment – along with that of a new Chinese counterpart – offers the opportunity to reach a détente.

Up to 40,000 workers in the travel sector are set to be left unemployed when JobKeeper expires in March, according to a Small Business Australia survey of 700 travel agents. The survey found just one in 10 will survive beyond April 1 without targeted assistance, reports the Herald Sun. Continuing border closures have seen 95 per cent of businesses lose between 70 and 90 per cent of revenue. About 65 per cent of agents said they missed out on a federal government rescue package aimed at keeping the struggling sector afloat because of its complicated structure.

How Trump changed Australian politics forever
As Joe Biden takes the reins in the US, the legacy of Donald Trump continues to cast a shadow across the world. Today, Richard Cooke on how the ideas and policies that came to define Trump found a welcome home in Australia.

“This weekend, scores of staff at Australia’s drug regulator are poring over last-batch data from manufacturer Pfizer. It is expected they will approve the pharmaceutical company’s coronavirus vaccine this week. The clearance will be welcomed, but there is growing angst within state and territory governments about how the rollout will be handled and whether Scott Morrison has thrown premiers a hospital pass.”

“Kelly and Christensen form a kind of Facebook Uncle Caucus within the Coalition, occupying strong social media presences that draw on Trumpian themes. By most measures, Kelly is the top-performing Australian politician on Facebook and, like the former US president, he has endorsed a series of unproven treatments for Covid-19 ... Both Kelly and Christensen have backed variations on Trump’s claim that the 2020 US presidential election was ‘stolen’.”

“A message from Virendrasinh Bhosale pops up on my phone: ‘Free, I feel free like a bird. Soon I’ll embrace my son in my arms.’ Bhosale is one of 23 Indian sailors stranded onboard the Jag Anand, which has been anchored in Chinese waters for six months with Australian coal in its hull. The bulk carrier was finally given the green light to divert to Japan for a crew change on January 10. For many of the men, the seafarers caught in the crosshairs of China’s trade stoush with Australia, it’s the first time they will be able to stand on solid earth in 21 months.”

“The decision to award Margaret Court the nation's highest honour — an Order of Australia — is facing more controversy today with Australia's Shadow Minister for Health, Chris Bowen, asking for ‘justification’ for her nomination. Mr Bowen's comments come amid a wave of backlash after it revealed the tennis great would be recognised in the 2021 Australia Day honours list despite the controversy over her views on same-sex marriage and homosexuality.”

“A Canberra doctor has handed back her Order of Australia Medal in protest against the awarding of the nation's highest honour to tennis great Margaret Court. Clara Tuck Meng Soo has now written to Governor-General David Hurley informing him that she no longer wants her OAM. ‘I do not want to be seen as supporting the values that the Council for the Order of Australia seem to be supporting with this promotion of Mrs Margaret Court,’ she said.”

“The United States also needs to make sound choices on where, when and how it chooses to apply its power. After almost two decades of overreliance on the military — from the global War on Terror to the South China Sea — it is time for a major reconsideration of the role that military force plays in US foreign policy.”

“While their findings didn’t include the subject’s highly sought-after identity, they did reveal that the grey backdrop is actually a dark green curtain and that the figure has eyelashes only visible with magnification. Thanks to Emilien Leonhardt and Vincent Sabatier, of Hirox Europe, we all can study the intricacies of Vermeer’s elusive work and peer directly into the paint cracks with an interactive 10-billion pixel panorama.”

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