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Australian PM demands China apologise for 'repugnant' tweet with fake image of soldier - The Guardian
Scott Morrison says China should be ‘totally ashamed’ of digitally altered image depicting Australian soldier posted by foreign ministry
The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has demanded the Chinese government apologise and take down a repugnant foreign ministry tweet that depicted an Australian soldier cutting the throat of a civilian in Afghanistan. As the outrage over the digitally altered image threatened to sink already tense relations between the two countries to a new low, Morrison said on Monday the Chinese government should be totally ashamed of this post, which he said diminished Beijing on the world stage. He said his government which has been at odds with Beijing over a range of trade actions taken by China against Australian exports over the course of this year was conveying its outrage directly to the Chinese ambassador to Australia and would also contact Twitter to demand it take down the post in the interest of decency. Mondays tweet from Zhao Lijian, a spokesman with Chinas foreign ministry, seized on a recent report from a four-year-long official investigation into the conduct of Australian special forces soldiers in Afghanistan. Zhao wrote that he was shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers and he called for accountability. The tweet was accompanied by an inflammatory image that appears to depict an Australian soldier cutting the throat of a young civilian holding a sheep, together with the words Dont be afraid, we are coming to bring you peace! The digitally altered image also shows a large Australian flag behind the soldier covering what appears to be a number of body shapes. The Chinese government should be totally ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the worlds eyes, Morrison told reporters in Canberra. It is a false image and a terrible slur on our great defence forces and the men and women who have served in that uniform for over 100 years. There are undoubtably tensions that exist between China and Australia, but this is not how you deal with them. Morrison again called for a resumption of talks between Australian and Chinese government ministers, which have been frozen since earlier this year, after Beijing objected to the Morrison governments forthright calls for an independent global investigation into Covid-19 origins and handling. Morrison indicated he had also sought talks with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. He said he hoped this rather awful event might lead to the type of reset where this dialogue can be restarted, without condition that we can sit down and start talking sensibly. He said the dispute was not just about the two countries involved, but that other nations were watching how China was treating Australias efforts to protect its sovereignty and stand up for its values. Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of Chinas nationalistic state media outlet the Global Times, said Morrison had no right to feel angry over the use of this cartoon and the calls for an apology were ridiculous and shameless. It is a popular cartoon that condemns the Australian Special Forces s brutal murder of 39 Afghan civilians. On what ground does Morrison feel angry over the use of this cartoon by the spokesperson of Chinese FM? Its ridiculous and shameless that he demanded China to apologize. pic.twitter.com/QkBSXyf1uY — Hu Xijin (@HuXijin_GT) November 30, 2020 Comment has been sought from the Chinese embassy in Australia and the foreign ministry in Beijing. The latest intervention comes amid worsening trade tensions between China and Australia, with the Morrison government giving the strongest sign yet that it is planning to launch a complaint to the World Trade Organisation over hefty tariffs on Australian barley. Beijing has repeatedly objected in the past to the Australian government speaking up over the Chinese governments human rights record, including the mass incarceration of Uighurs in Xinjiang province. After a four-year inquiry, Maj Gen Paul Brereton found credible information to substantiate the alleged murder of 39 Afghans prisoners, farmers and other civilians by 25 Australian special forces soldiers, either as principals or accessories. The Australian government has set up an office of special investigator to build briefs for potential prosecution through Australian courts. Morrison said the Australian government was dealing with the allegations in accordance with the rule of law and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, but reaffirmed that the actions of a few do not reflect on the many thousands of others who had served in Afghanistan. Morrison said a decision had not yet been made on whether to revoke the meritorious unit citation awarded to special forces who served in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2013. The removal of this citation was a step that the defence force chief, Gen Angus Campbell, had previously said he would recommend to the governor general. The prime minister said the Australian defence force had earned the respect it was afforded and there can be no taking away from that - and that is certainly my view and the governments view. Governors general always took advice from the prime ministers, Morrison said. Zhou had raised the Brereton report at a regular press conference in Beijing last Friday, when he said: The facts revealed by this report fully exposed the hypocrisy of the human rights and freedom these western countries are always chanting. It is not the first time the image attached to Zhous tweet has been posted online. Someone who describes themselves as a China affiliated netizen posted the image on Twitter on 25 November as part of a tweet complaining about Australias previous criticism of the Chinese government over human rights. The Labor opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, backed Morrisons stand against the tweet, arguing the post was gratuitous, inflammatory and deeply offensive. Australias condemnation of this image is above politics, Albanese told the lower house of parliament. The Labor foreign affairs spokesperson, Penny Wong, told the Senate the tweet was not the behaviour of a responsible, mature international power.
Jarryd Hayne tells rape trial alleged victim 'never said no’ - The Guardian
Former NRL star tells court he would have known if she was not consenting to sex and he would have respected her decision
Former NRL star Jarryd Hayne, who is accused of raping a woman in her bedroom, says he understands no means no. Questioned by crown prosecutor Brian Costello on Monday during his rape trial in the Newcastle district court, Hayne said that if the woman told him no, no Jarryd, Jarryd stop, he would have known she was not consenting and would have respected her decision. Hayne agreed that even if the woman had consented to some sexual activity at the start, she was entitled to tell him to stop at any time. She never said no, Hayne told the jury. None of that happened. Hayne agreed the woman never sent him messages specifically inviting him to come around to her house for sex but there were promising signs. Costello had earlier asked Hayne about his height and weight and how much he could bench press back in 2018, when he was playing for the Parramatta Eels before the alleged rape on the night of the NRL grand final. The complainant weighed 48kg and was 156cm tall. Hayne said he was 188cm tall, weighed between 103kg and 104kg and could bench press a maximum 110kg. He has told the jury he knew the woman did not want to have sex with him in her bedroom but he wanted to please her sexually. Hayne said the sexual activity was consensual and he believed he must have accidentally cut the womans vagina with his fingernail. Hayne, who had been celebrating a friends bucks party weekend in Newcastle, had paid a taxi driver $550 to take him to Sydney before asking her to stop at the womans house for a few minutes. Hayne had never met the woman but had been exchanging flirty messages for almost a fortnight after she sent him a message saying, You are absolutely gorgeous x. Costello has told the jury Hayne attacked the woman after she invited him to her house on the outskirts of Newcastle on 30 September 2018. The prosecutor said Hayne had arrived about 9pm and stayed for around 45 minutes, committed two sex acts on her and caused two separate injuries to her genitalia before leaving. The woman, now aged 28, said she became angry when she realised Hayne had a taxi waiting outside for him and was just expecting to have sex and leave. She said Hayne was drunk and tried to kiss and touch her but when she said no, he pushed her head into the pillow, pulled her pants off and attacked her, ignoring her pleas to stop. She said Hayne only stopped when there was blood everywhere, including on his hands and face. She also told the court that when she had a shower and told Hayne she was in a lot of pain, he told her he had to go. The court heard the woman later sent text messages to a girlfriend saying she thought Hayne had bitten her vagina and she felt violated after telling Hayne no and stop. Hayne, 32, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual assault inflicting actual bodily harm. The trial continues. In Australia, support is available at 1800Respect (1800 737 732). In the UK, Supportline can be reached on 01708 765200. In the US, Rainn offers support on 800-656-4673. Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html
Daniel Ricciardo disgusted with 'Hollywood' coverage of Grosjean's F1 crash - The Guardian
Renault’s Australian driver has blasted the decision to show replays of Romain Grosjean’s fiery Bahrain Grand Prix crash
Daniel Ricciardo blasted the Hollywood coverage of Romain Grosjeans fiery Bahrain Grand Prix crash on Sunday and said he was disgusted by Formula One showing endless replays while drivers were waiting for the race to restart. Grosjean was lucky to escape with his life after his Haas car speared through metal barriers, splitting in two and bursting into flames. Im disgusted and disappointed with Formula One for showing or choosing the way to show it as they did, and broadcast replays after replays after replays of the fire, and his car split in half, said Renaults Ricciardo. And then, like thats not enough, they go to his onboard. Why do we need to see this? Were competing again in an hour. His family has to keep watching that. All our families have to keep watching that ... Its really unfair. Its not entertainment. Ricciardo said Formula One, whose commercial rights are owned by US-based Liberty Media, was lucky it was not having to deal with a very different story. To show it like its something from Hollywood, its not cool. Choose to do that tomorrow, but not today, added the Australian driver. A Formula One spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Mercedes Valtteri Bottas agreed the replays had been disconcerting. I feel like people, spectators want to see it. But theres a limit as well, said the Finn. It could have been a fraction different, the shunt, and there would have been no way for him to get out of the car. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the images were frightening but if youre not transparent as an organisation, youre just taking the risk that somebody else shows stuff that is beyond your control. The race at Sakhir was halted and delayed for an hour and 20 minutes after the first lap crash with track workers having to remove the metal barrier and replace it. Haas said Grosjean was staying in hospital overnight after suffering burns on the back of his hands.
Queensland braces for record-breaking heatwave as Sydney enjoys short-lived reprieve - The Guardian
Towns west of Brisbane to swelter over next three days as western NSW continues to suffer and Sydney’s temperatures forecast to rise again on Tuesday
Queenslanders are in for a record-breaking hot day on Monday as Sydneysiders get a short-lived reprieve from the heat. Dean Narramore, a senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology, says much of southern Queensland will be experiencing an extreme heatwave over next three days. We will be tipping into severe to extreme heatwave conditions the extreme heatwave conditions will be west of Brisbane, more in the Darling Downs, Maranoa and Warrego, he said. Temperatures are expected in the low to mid-40s for those locations, probably peaking tomorrow [Tuesday]. Dalby, north-west of Toowoomba, has a record of 41.1C for this time of year, and temperatures are set to rise to 41C on Monday. Further inland, the town of Cunnamulla is expected to hit 44.6C on Monday, 0.6C above its previous November high. Fire danger warnings were forecast to rise to severe for the Channel Country, Maranoa and Warrego districts on Tuesday, with a number of other areas listed as very high. This heat is expected to remain until Thursday. Brisbane appears to have escaped the worst on Monday, with a maximum of 31C in the city. South of the border, Sydneysiders, and those along the New South Wales coast have been treated to a day of cooler temperatures, around 24C, after a gusty southerly arrived late on Sunday afternoon. But Helen Reid, a forecaster from the NSW BoM, said this would be short-lived. [Tuesday] we are expecting temperatures to head right back up again. Western Sydney were looking at getting around that 40-degree mark again. It wont be quite so horrendous along the coast, but itll still be definitely a good start to summer. Here it is! That sweet cool relief is finally making its way through Sydney. Airport just dropped from 35 degrees to 26 in 20 mins while Bellambi saw a 10 degree fall in 1 hour. Southerly now heading into western Syd & will push into Hunter in coming hours https://t.co/zw27uXcLXqpic.twitter.com/uFjZUNuPFA — Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) November 29, 2020 Reid said other parts of the state wont be as fortunate on Monday, with NSWs north-west still tipping 45C. The town of Bourke was forecast to reach 47C by Tuesday. The western part of the state is still sweltering, particularly in the north, and theyre about 10 to 12 above average for this time of year. But the heatwave was expected to ease by the end of the week. Wednesday for Sydney were saying a nice drop right across the city basin, about 24 along the coast, and about 28 or 29 in the west. The north-west parts of the states will still be hot, and they will start cooling down a little bit on Thursday, Reid said. Parts of Sydney including the city broke the 40C barrier for a second straight day on Sunday after swathes of western NSW, South Australia and northern Victoria baked through even higher Saturday temperatures approaching 45C. The mercury pushed past 40C in many Sydney suburbs, including Penrith, Canterbury, Bankstown and Holsworthy. Temperatures across the Hunter to the states north were also well in excess of 40C, hitting 41.9C at Cessnock airport. Total fire bans remained in place on Monday in NSWs northern slopes and north-western districts. NSW Rural Fire Service crews battled more than 60 bush and grass fires across the state on Sunday, including a blaze in the western Sydney suburb of Northmead which damaged a home.
WTO complaint ‘next step’ in tariff dispute between Australia and China, trade minister says - The Guardian
Trade conflicts threaten global confidence as world economy struggles to recover from pandemic, Simon Birmingham says
The Australian government is continuing its tough talk against Beijings trade impositions, with the trade minister Simon Birmingham giving the strongest indication yet that Canberra will take its complaints to the World Trade Organization. China first announced it believed Australian wine was being dumped in China in August and last week the Chinese ministry of commerce announced tariffs on Australian wine products that would double or triple prices making export trade unviable. The wine export blow came after tariffs on Australian barley were announced in May. At least 60 ships laden with coal from Australian producers have also been denied permission to enter Chinese ports leaving them waiting off the coast while Australian authorities attempt to find a resolution to the standoff. Birmingham said on Sunday the trade conflicts were not just harming Australia but threatened global trade confidence, as the world economy struggled to recover from the Covid pandemic. The minister did not label the Chinese governments actions as coercion when asked on ABCs Insiders program if that was happening. But he said that after attempting to resolve the issues through the Chinese Communist partys domestic processes, taking the barley issue to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was the next step. I expect that will be the outcome, he said. We are working through exactly when and making sure we have the evidence lined up. Last week, through the trading goods committee at the WTO, Australia outlined seriously our range of concerns in terms of this accumulation of instances from China of adverse trade decisions against Australia. We do see those as a very concerning development. We are calling them out through the WTO, while also still using all of those processes in the Chinese system to try to resolve them, but ultimately, these are Chinese decisions, China has chosen to apply them on Australia, and only China can choose to reverse them. The wine decision would not be part of any immediate complaint to the WTO, Birmigham said, as it was still being described as an interim application of tariffs and Chinas domestic processes needed to be worked through. The federal treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, said later on Sunday that Australias trade had helped the Chinese economy grow but only one side had changed the rules. We have not changed our position. China has become more assertive and this has created real challenges on the trade front, he said. But we will continue to make our case to the Chinese government about the importance of this two-way trading relationship and we are always ready to engage in respectful and mutually beneficial dialogue. The prime minister has made that point and I have made that point continuously. Frydenberg said where Australias national interest needed to be defended we make no apologies for various actions that we have taken on a number of fronts including having a foreign investment framework that ensures the national interest is protected. Birmingham said the CCP had become more assertive as its economy grew and Australia wanted to see that assertiveness channelled into good, into engaging in ways with the rest of the world, that helps to drive economic growth rather than dampens it.
Argentina moved by All Blacks' Tri-Nations tribute to Diego Maradona - The Guardian
As Pumas players waited for the Haka to begin, New Zealand captain Sam Cane laid down a No 10 jersey bearing Maradona’s name
The All Blacks have been widely lauded and thanked by opponents Argentina for their touching Tri-Nations pre-match tribute to Diego Maradona. Captain Sam Cane laid a New Zealand jersey on the field before the start of their 38-0 Tri-Nations Test win over over the Pumas in Newcastle on Saturday. As the All Blacks lined up to perform the Haka, Cane stepped out, walked toward midfield and presented the shirt bearing Maradonas name and his famous No 10. It was a gesture, a token, of paying our respects to an Argentine legend, a world legend in his field as well, Cane said after the match. Argentine players, wearing black armbands in memory of their countryman and football great, looked on, some nodding in acknowledgment. I didnt know [about the tribute] until I did the coin toss with Sam Cane and he told me about it, Pumas captain Pablo Matera said. Im really thankful for that. Diego Maradona was obviously huge for Argentina, so Im really thankful for that gesture from the All Blacks. Great to see the @AllBlacks brothers show respect to the sporting legend that was Maradona — Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) November 28, 2020 Cane said the idea had come from All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara. Rugby is a game first and foremost that is built on respect I believe, and it was the respectful and right thing to do, Cane said. Social media soon lit up with praise for the classy gesture. Maradona died on Wednesday, aged 60, of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he had been recovering from a brain operation 3 November. During the week, Pumas coach Mario Ledesma had expressed how important Maradona was to Argentinian sport. He had an attraction, like the world stopped when he was there, Ledesma said. It was like magic and he was an example of how you should play for this jersey, and to be fair he was passionate about every team. He would go and watch tennis, hockey, rugby, football, everything. Whenever there was an Argentinian jersey he was there and he united people in Argentina, and in Argentina sometimes its difficult to unite people who think different. Ledesma is now firmly focused on the Wallabies, who Argentina face again next week, and the coach said they look to go out with a bang at Bankwest Stadium. The Pumas had followed their first Test win over New Zealand with a draw against the Wallabies but their hopes of a first southern hemisphere Test championship title were effectively ended by a 38-0 loss to the All Blacks on Saturday. Australia on Saturday will be their fourth Test in four weeks, arduous for any team but especially one that had not played an international rugby for more than a year and spent much of the season training in lockdown. Its been a big effort to come over here and its a lot of sacrifice not to finish the way we deserve to finish, Ledesma said in Newcastle after the loss to the All Blacks. Well go out there and try to have a great game.
South Australians urged to get Covid tests after man with virus goes 'out and about' in Adelaide - The Guardian
Flinders University and three other locations considered ‘high risk’ after Covid-19-positive man breaks home quarantine
South Australian health authorities are urging anyone who visited Flinders University and three other high-risk locations to get tested for coronavirus immediately after a Covid-19-positive man broke his required home quarantine and wandered out and about in Adelaide. While there were no new coronavirus cases to announce on Sunday, SAs chief health officer, Prof Nicola Spurrier, revealed the concerning turn of events at a press conference. She said anyone who attended the Intensive English Language Institute at Flinders University between 13 and 28 November needed to get tested, regardless of whether they had symptoms, and self-isolate until they received their result. Authorities were also asking anybody who visited the Flinders University Sturt campus over the same time to get tested as soon as possible. The directive also applied to anyone who visited Big W Brickworks in Torrensville on 22 November between 12.15-12.50pm; Foodland in Norwood on 22 November between 1.20-2pm; and Kmart at Kurralta Park on 22 November between 2.45-3.10pm. The warning came after contact tracers interviewing a man in his 30s one of two new Covid-19 announced on Saturday learned that he broke his home quarantine requirement on 22 November to visit the locations. The man contracted the virus while attending a class at the language institute earlier in November. Saturdays other case was a child who was from the original family at the centre of the Parafield outbreak. The man was a casual contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case, and because of SAs tough measures to quash the Parafield cluster, was supposed to be one of at least 4,000 residents quarantining at home. When I spoke yesterday my initial understanding was that the case was in quarantine and certainly they were considered a casual contact at the Intensive English Language Institute, Spurrier said on Sunday. Unfortunately, they did not spend the whole time in quarantine and at one point were out and about on a day. We want you to get tested immediately even if you have no symptoms ... those four locations we are considering at high risk and we want anyone whos been there at those times and dates to get tested. South Australian chief health officer Nicola Spurrier. Photograph: Kelly Barnes/Getty Images On Sunday, the Parafield cluster stood at 33 cases, with 17 active cases of coronavirus in the state. Spurrier said she was concerned about the low number of tests conducted on Saturday 3,425 but said this was likely due to people remaining at home due to hot weather. She also explained the number of South Australians required to quarantine at home had dropped to about 1,900 close contacts or contacts of contacts of confirmed cases, as Saturday marked more than 14 days after a large number of Covid-19 alerts forced contacts into home quarantine. Elsewhere in Australia, restrictions in Victoria will ease further after the state recorded its 30th consecutive day without a locally acquired Covid-19 case. From 11:59pm on Sunday, workplaces currently working from home, such as offices in the CBD, can return for up to 25% of their workforce per site, while standard workplace requirements, including density limits, continue to apply. The changes mean businesses with fewer than 40 staff can have 10 staff onsite subject to density quotients, however public service workers will continue to work from home if they are able to. Face coverings are mandatory indoors under the new arrangements, including on public transport, in ride shares, hospitals, care facilities and shopping. Masks arent required outdoors, except where physical distancing cant be maintained, and Victorians are still required to carry face masks at all times. On Sunday New South Wales recorded no new local cases for the 30th day in a row, and four new cases in hotel quarantine. Queensland recorded two new cases in hotel quarantine, and Western Australia recorded one.
Former journalist charged with planning terrorist attack in Queensland - The Guardian
James Waugh faced court on Saturday charged with ‘planning to undertake a terrorist act in the Bundaberg region’
A former journalist has been charged with allegedly planning a terrorist attack in the regional Queensland city of Bundaberg. James Waugh faced a Brisbane court on Saturday after he was charged by police on Friday with planning a terrorist act for the Bundaberg region. Police also allege the 29-year-old had sought firearms training. A Queensland joint counter-terrorism team allegedly found a number of electronic devices and a notebook when officers searched Waughs Kepnock address on 3 November after he allegedly threatened a member of the public. Australian federal police and Queensland police in a joint statement said the seized documents indicated a desire to undertake acts of violent extremism. AFP assistant commissioner Scott Lee said the decision to charge Waugh was made to prevent a terrorist attack in Australia and to protect the community. Cheryl Scanlon, a Queensland police assistant commissioner, said the arrest was a credit to the hard work and commitment to community safety of law enforcement agencies. Waugh did not apply for bail when he faced Brisbane arrest court on Saturday, according to Nine News. He is due to face court again in December on the terrorism charge that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Waugh previously worked for several different news outlets, including the Queanbeyan Age and Canberra Chronicle, the ABC reported.
Scott Morrison's climate language has shifted – but actions speak louder than words - The Guardian
Analysis: The PM changed tone as soon as Joe Biden was projected likely next US president. Will a policy pivot follow?
Scott Morrisons language about Australia adopting an emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050, and about climate action more generally, is starting to warm up. The recent shift in the prime ministers language invites two questions: is there a pivot under way, and is the shift real? The story so far We know the Coalitions history on climate policy. The Abbott government repealed Labors climate price, attempted to gut the Renewable Energy Target and abolish agencies driving a transition to low-emissions energy. Morrison while treasurer brandished a lump of coal in the parliament, telling his opponents not to be scared. For much of this year, the Coalition has ignored persistent entreaties from environmentalists and major business groups to adopt a target of net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, and to use the economic recovery from Covid-19 to lock in the transition to low emissions. Morrison has never ruled out adopting a net zero target but has created the impression the government wasnt interested an impression reinforced by the governments declaration that it would pursue a gas-led recovery after the pandemic. When and why did the language change? In the couple of weeks before the US presidential election on 3 November, Japan, China and South Korea adopted pledges taking them closer to net zero. Morrison also had a private conversation with the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, in which net zero was raised. Leaders were anticipating the likely election of Joe Biden. The Democrat had promised to end the backsliding of the Trump era and revitalise international climate negotiations, starting with bringing the US back into the Paris deal. Bidens appointment of John Kerry as his climate envoy after winning the election is a further signal of seriousness. From the moment Biden was projected as the likely winner, Morrisons language began to change. It became noticeably warmer. Morrison now says Australia wants to reach net zero emissions as quickly as possible. What about 2030? Before we get to 2050, Australia has an emissions-reduction target for 2030, and the government will be under pressure to update that commitment with a higher level of ambition in the next round of international climate talks. Australias current target is a 26%-28% cut below 2005 levels, and the government has been planning to meet that (not very ambitious) target using carryover credits from the Kyoto period. Official government emissions projections released in December last year found Australia was not on track to meet the 2030 target unless it used the credits. Australias use of the Kyoto-era concessions has been strongly opposed by a large number of nations in international climate discussions, and experts say there is no legal basis for their use under the Paris agreement. After Bidens victory, Morrison used a speech to business leaders to signal, hey presto, magic happens: Australia might not deploy the accounting trick to help meet the 2030 target after all. The prime minister said: My ambition is that we will not need them and we are working to this as our goal, consistent with our record of over-delivering. The hint from Morrison was that new projections, expected to be released in December, will show Australia is on track to meet the promised cut without carryovers. How can that happen? In part, because the Australian government has not been great at forecasting future emissions and tends to substantially change its estimates each year. Estimating future emissions is difficult. Each year, officials make assumptions about what will happen in 50 areas of the economy and come up with projections of how much will be emitted. For more than a decade, they have significantly overestimated how much CO2 the country will emit in the years ahead before revising down the projections, sometimes significantly. The biggest miscalculation has been in electricity generation. Renewable energy has come into the grid much faster than the government expected the national 2020 renewable energy target was met ahead of time, state targets in Victoria and Queensland have started to have an impact and the cost of solar and wind energy continues to drop, making investment more attractive. Officials also overestimated how much grid electricity the country would use demand has fallen, in part due to nearly a third of homes now having solar panels. For reasons that are not clear, the official projections have assumed there would be less renewable energy in the system than the models used by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which runs the power grid. Addressing this will bring future projections down. There are other anomalies. The projections do not factor in drought, which in recent years has reduced emissions from agriculture as farmers have had to substantially reduce cattle and sheep numbers. Officials last year revised down the emissions forecast for the next decade by 344m tonnes. If a similar readjustment were to happen this year, it could lead to the government saying it was now on track to meet its modest 2030 target without the carryover credits. Has anything else changed that could affect the projections? The only new policy of note from the Morrison government this year has been its low-emissions technology roadmap. Released in September, it claimed developing five new technologies could avoid 250m tonnes of emissions a year by 2040. There was been no explanation of how that number was reached, and with the arguable exception of clean hydrogen, the government has not yet committed significant new funding to develop the technologies. It is unclear how this policy could reasonably change the projections in a meaningful way. More noteworthy is that, while the federal government has tried to slow the influx of solar and wind by neither continuing nor replacing the renewable energy target, the states keep stepping in to fill the gap. The big one is the NSW plan to underwrite 12 gigawatts of new wind and solar over the next decade a development that will be banked by Canberra as progress in terms of projected national emissions reductions, but also criticised by the federal energy minister, Angus Taylor, because it might bring forward the closure of coal plants, which is of course a necessary development if you are a government now wanting to trumpet a downward trend in emissions. You know it makes sense. Would a lower-emissions forecast be good news? Lower emissions would, of course, be great. But if it happens it isnt something we should get too excited about, for two reasons. The first should be pretty obvious the government will not have actually done anything yet. These are projections, not actual emissions. Before Covid-19 hit, Australias national emissions remained stubbornly flat under the Coalition, having dipped only about 2% in the more than six years since it was elected. They will be lower this year due to the pandemic, but that is not something the government can claim credit for, and it may not continue. The second reason is, as mentioned above, Australias target is nothing to crow about. It was a fudge from the beginning. The size of the cut 26%-28% was just a lift of the US commitment under the Paris agreement, with one notable difference the Obama administration promised that target for 2025, while the Australian government pushed it back to 2030. Getting to net zero emissions, as scientists say is necessary, isnt just about the end goal. Its about how much you emit as you get there. To play its fair part in meeting the goals of the Paris agreement, Australia can only emit so much over the next three decades. Advice to the government in 2015 suggested playing its part would require a cut equivalent to between 45% and 65% by 2030. A recent analysis by analysts at the Climate Action Tracker found Australias fair share over that timeframe was 66%. The current target does not get the job done. So will the government do more on climate? It is not impossible, but it is far from guaranteed. There will be pressure on Australia over the next year not only to set a target of net zero by 2050, but to go further by 2030 than promised. The US under Biden will be required to set a new target for that date and other major countries are expected to do the same. Dropping the plan to use carryover credits will not be enough to satisfy their expectations. Apart from saying we can meet our (lowball) 2030 target without a Kyoto-era accounting trick (cue applause) theres no sign at the moment the government is working up a higher 2030 target. It is working on a long-term climate strategy, which was a commitment under the Paris agreement. It was due this year, but has been pushed back to before the next major climate summit in Glasgow late next year. It is expected, but not guaranteed, to include modelling of what future action on climate will mean for Australia. There are a couple of other policies in the works. The government has dumped a long-promised electric vehicle strategy and replaced it with the promise of a future fuels plan on hydrogen, electric and bio-fuelled vehicles, but it is not expected to deliver significant new commitments to accelerate an emissions cut. Potentially more significantly, it has also said it will look at the safeguard mechanism, a Tony Abbott-era policy that was supposed to limit emissions from big industrial sites. So far, the scheme has barely justified its existence. Companies have mostly just been allowed to increase their CO2 limit, known as a baseline, and pollute more. Presumably recognising this is not sustainable, the government earlier this year said it accepted a recommendation from a review headed by former Business Council of Australia president Grant King that the mechanism should be changed so that companies would be rewarded for cutting emissions below their baseline if they were undertaking transformative projects and not just producing less or shutting down. It sounds like a step back towards carbon pricing rewarding cuts and, if the Coalition can stomach it, finally penalising increases in emissions. Would the government go back to carbon pricing? Morrison should use his political capital and his internal authority to drive a substantive change but he wont want to lose his job over it. Part of whats going on with Morrisons shift in language is the prime minister testing how much he can get away with: how positive can he sound about emissions reduction before the right of the Liberal party starts having a tantrum, or before the National party has a public meltdown because someone has whispered coal is not good for humanity after all? Think of Morrison as inching along a dimly lit ledge several stories above the ground. But the rest of the world isnt waiting for the Coalition to get its act together. Action on emissions is picking up elsewhere and at some point Australia will have to deal with rising CO2 from big industry and transport. In the meantime, as the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO recently reported, climate change is already here and extreme weather events are getting worse.
'They don't have brakes, the tyres are gone': food delivery companies accused of bike safety failures - The Guardian
Some riders have said that their company did not check their bike or even if they could ride before approving them to work
Food delivery companies such as Uber Eats do not check whether their delivery riders have working bikes or can even ride a bike before approving them to work, according to multiple workers. Five delivery riders have been killed in road crashes in Australia since 27 September, an average of one every 11 days. In Sydney, Uber Eats rider Bijoy Paul was killed on Saturday, and another Uber Eats deliverer was killed on Monday. A spokesman for Uber did not respond on Friday when asked if they knew the identity of the man who died on Monday. Andre Silva, the manager of Sydney Ebike Rentals, says he has seen many deliverers using poorly maintained bikes where the tyres and breaks are gone, because the food delivery companies do not check on their workers equipment. Silva told Guardian Australia he has refused to rent bikes to people approved to deliver food because it was clear they could not properly ride a bike. Some riders, they are not a 100% confident riding a bike, he says. Here in the shop we can see them riding, we tell them Hey man, sorry we cant rent to you. It is dangerous. That has happened before. We see the customer has no balance. We say, Sorry, we cant rent to you. It is not easy. You are riding with a big bag, with food. You are likely to get tired after riding for four or five hours. If they start the delivery job, and the only thing they have to do is open an account, [the companies] dont see them riding a bike, so it is hard to tell if they are able to ride a bike. Silva says staff at his store, which frequently sells and rents bikes to deliverers, have noticed the poor quality of bikes that their customers were previously using. Maybe they are purchasing bikes from people who post bikes on Facebook, without making a proper service on it, he says. They do not follow up on maintenance and do not give guidance to riders on how they should ride. We have some customers who have rented from someone else, and they dont have brakes, the tyres are gone. We need more bike lanes of course Food delivery is increasing a lot, we are having a lot of extra deliverers on the street. They [had] this video about the basics of riding a bike, keep on the left lane, wear a helmet, be careful when its raining Bruna Correa, a 26-year-old former deliverer for Uber Eats, says the company never checked whether she had a working bike, whether her bike was in good condition, or if she could properly ride one. They didnt check, she says. Mine was OK. But nobody ever checked anything. Before I signed up, they [had] this video about the basics of riding a bike, keep on the left lane, wear a helmet, be careful when its raining. Its just that basically, just a video. It is not really a training. Correa, who is from Brazil, says she broke her arm while delivering for Uber Eats during the pandemic, and had to have surgery on the injury. It was the only job I could get because it was the beginning of the lockdown, she says. I didnt have any experience on bikes. I never rode bikes on the street. [Whenever] I rode bikes it was somewhere not very far. I was pretty nervous when I started. In the beginning I didnt really know what to do. Mariano, another Uber Eats rider in Sydney, says the company did not check on the condition of his bike either before he started or during his work. Guillerme, a Deliveroo rider in Sydney from Brazil, says the companys safety training involved telling riders about road laws. You have to study all the safety laws, he says. For example, you cannot ride on the footpath, you cannot cross a red light of course. Basic things, use the front lights, the rear lights. Stay behind the cars. There is no need to have experience riding bikes. An Uber spokesman did not answer questions about whether the company checked riders bikes or their ability to ride a bike before approving them to work. Delivery partners provide their own vehicle, he said. He said the company provided bike riders with safety videos and wet weather riding tips. During the onboarding process, bicycle delivery partners are required to complete a safety module, which consists of a series of videos and a state-specific knowledge check that has been developed in partnership with Bicycle Queensland. It is a requirement to complete this test annually, and access to delivering with Uber Eats is restricted until delivery partners do so. A spokeswoman for Deliveroo also did not answer questions about whether the company checked riders bikes or ability to ride a bike before approving them to work. As independent contractors, food delivery workers provide their tools of trade, including a mobile phone and mode of transport, she said. The company said that the agreement to work stipulates that their vehicle must meet the roadworthy requirements of the state where they work. As part of the onboarding process all riders must complete health and safety online learning modules according to their nominated vehicle type, it said. The modules include safety videos for motorised vehicles and bicycles and road safety information relevant to their location We believe we offer the most comprehensive onboarding process. Food delivery companies say their riders use their own vehicle but are provided with safety videos and wet weather riding tips. Photograph: Speed Media/Rex/Shutterstock A spokeswoman for Door Dash declined to answer any questions. She said the company was committed to helping ensure a safe and healthy work environment for Dashers. Uber Eats rider Guillerme says the companies should pressure the government to strengthen protections for cyclists. They could involve the government to put some laws on the roads, drivers for example can respect us more, he says. Most of the time, it is not us. The cars, especially the trucks, do not respect us. If you go over to Marrickville, it is full of trucks over there, they dont respect you. Most of the time, we are in danger because of them. Silva says drivers need to be more respectful of cyclists. The number of riders is increasing a lot, he says. The car drivers are not that used to it and we dont have enough bike lanes. Maybe the city is not 100% prepared for it.
New super rules: how Coalition changes will wrap industry funds in red tape - The Guardian
Analysis: ‘Your future, your super’ reforms would require all decisions to come with documentary evidence of how they benefit members financially
In October this year, an industry superannuation fund joined with fund managers to use its $1tn portfolio for good. Hesta, working with some of Australias biggest investor funds, including IFM Investors and BlackRock Australia, started the 40:40 Vision project, which asks the 200 largest companies on Australias stock exchange to pledge to have at least 40% of their executive roles filled by women by 2030. Why? The industry fund for the health and community service sectors has about 860,000 members, 80% of which are women. It makes sense that the fund that manages the retirement incomes of a majority female client base would want to see women making decisions in the companies that affect their investments. That would surely count as being in the best interest of members. But would it be in the best financial interest? And could, when asked, a quantifiable benefit be proved? Probably not. And under proposed changes to how superannuation funds are run presented as your future, your super the Hesta initiative, could, in theory, see its board dragged in front of a government-run parliamentary committee demanding to see robust quantitive and qualitative evidence to support their actions. Also out advertising and lobbying, with boards unable to green light members funds to be used for either. Products such as the New Daily, an online publication launched in 2013, first owned by three super funds and now funded by Industry Super Holdings, would also be in question. Retail funds those run by banks and financial institutions, which have shareholders and therefore must return those profits to shareholders and investors, who offer MySuper products will also be privy to these new burdens. But the overwhelming target of the rule changes is industry super funds which, as the name suggests, started life as funds run for workers in particular industries, and which, as of the last quarter, now control more than $760bn worth of assets $163bn more than retail funds. The tide in Australian super investment changed during the banking royal commission, the results of which saw Australians shift about $11bn from retail funds to industry super funds. With industry funds most of which have union involvement growing in financial power, and member influence, there has been a renewed interest from the government in how super funds spend their money. Andrew Bragg and Tim Wilson, both backbenchers with big aspirations, have made their names in the Coalition by taking on super funds mostly targeting industry funds with a goal to control how those funds spend members money. The first step was allowing people financially impacted by Covid to access up to $20,000 of their superannuation savings. More than $60bn was withdrawn from superannuation funds, in a move that will cost a member in their 20s up to $100,000 by the time they reach retirement age. The campaign to allow members to use their superannuation for a home deposit, which proponents, including Bragg and Wilson and colleagues Jason Falinski and Dave Sharma, say would help young Australians buy their first home, is also under way in earnest. The retirement income review released by the government urged Australians to consider their home as part of their retirement savings, while also pointing out home owners maintained an acceptable quality of life in retirement, while renters suffered financial stress. The debate has set up a false binary choice between home ownership and retirement with super funds (and members retirement stability) at the centre. The increase to the superannuation guarantee, which was to raise compulsory super saving from 9.5% to 12% by 2025, also looks like being scrapped under the Coalition government. The latest salvo is the your future, your super changes, which aim to wrap super funds and their trustees in red tape, requiring all decisions to come with documentary evidence of how actions such as advertisements, lobbying and initiatives serve members financially. Super funds and their advocates have said they will examine the legislation before making comment. Labor is expected to stand against the latest changes, with the crossbench once again the deciding factor. The explanatory notes attached to the legislation detail the necessitation of the changes because numerous reports and hearings in recent years have highlighted the extent of spending by superannuation funds on discretionary items like advertising, sponsorships and corporate entertainment. Inappropriate expenditure on these items risks compromising member outcomes and eroding retirement incomes. During the banking royal commission (which was opposed by the government 26 times) it was retail funds in the spotlight. Wilson argues the government-led parliamentary committee tasked with keeping the financial sector in check has found industry super wanting. Yet weve exposed them charging fees for no service and even changed the law to stop them, as well as pushing dodgy information to the public square and @asicmedia & @APRAinfo are now doing a joint investigation into the potential for insider trading, among others ... — Tim Wilson MP (@TimWilsonMP) November 26, 2020 The parliamentary committee doesnt have punitive powers itself but can make recommendations, including for legislative change, which would allow regulators the power to enforce the desired outcomes. Under the changes, super funds must be able to prove how any action will yield financial benefits to the beneficiaries of the superannuation entity. The identification of a quantifiable financial benefit to members is a threshold consideration for trustees in assessing whether the proposed exercise of their power will fulfil the requirements of the duty, the explanatory notes report. Trustees will need to have robust quantitative and qualitative evidence to support their expenditures. But it will be done on a case by case basis and the onus is on the trustees of the super fund to be prepared to answer for their actions at any time. So long as the expenditure is essential to the prudent operation of a superannuation entity, and reporting and monitoring frameworks for such expenditure are put in place by trustees to ensure that the expenditure is necessary and competitively priced (and any ongoing expenditure continues to achieve its intended outcomes), then the expenditure decision would likely be regarded to be in the best financial interests of the beneficiaries. Whether the expenditure ultimately is or is not in the best financial interests of beneficiaries will of course depend on all of the circumstances of the relevant case. And it wont be as easy as outsourcing actions to a third party. Third-party payments would also be subject to the new rules, which would put the New Daily publication, a favourite question topic for Coalition senators, under the microscope. As with the existing best interests duty, the new best financial interests duty will continue to apply to an exercise of a trustees powers in making payments to third parties by, or on behalf of the entity or fund. The amendments specifically clarify this as third-party payments tend to be particularly subject to abuse. These actions by a trustee must be in the best financial interests of beneficiaries. The trustee should be able to produce evidence supporting its decision, and have oversight that monies paid are being used by third parties for the intended purpose. Trustees cannot hide behind unjustifiable claims that they are ignorant of what they are purchasing. Trustees should reasonably know what they are purchasing, and such purchases should be in the best financial interests of beneficiaries. Which, in essence, means prove that every action you take as a fund benefits members financially. Something like Hestas 40:40 Vision project would be harder to justify as a quantifiable financial benefit, despite its obvious benefit to members and society at large. It all depends on where the government wants to draw the line. And under these changes, right now, it is wherever it wants to.
Sydney Thunder cruise to WBBL title against Melbourne Stars - The Guardian
Sydney Thunder hammered Melbourne Stars by seven wickets in the WBBL06 final to secure their second title
Sydney Thunder claimed their second WBBL title after they stunned the Melbourne Stars by seven wickets in the final at North Sydney Oval. Chasing 87 for victory, Heather Knight (26 off 19) finished the job in emphatic fashion with a six over long off to win with 38 balls to spare. But the damage was done early in the night by quicks Shabnim Ismail and Sammy-Jo Johnson. After almost two months in a bubble, the minor-premier Stars shot at a maiden title was realistically gone inside 37 balls. Ismail was superb, removing dangerous openers Elyse Villani and Meg Lanning at the start of the innings. The South African - who also had Lanning dropped second ball finished with 2-12 from her four overs. After Villani (1) fell driving on the up at cover, Ismail got Lanning (13) with the first ball of the seventh over caught behind with one that stayed a little low. The speedy right-armer was well rewarded, becoming the first overseas player to be named player of a mens or womens Big Bash final. Johnson was just as good with 2-11. Her opening two-over spell of 1-2 had the ball seaming and swinging late, regularly beating the outside of the bat and trapping Mignon du Preez lbw on 4. She later returned to claim the wicket of former international Erin Osborne (6) when she skied one to cover. By the time they had fallen to 5-37, it marked the Stars worst start to a game with the bat in the tournaments six-year history. And from there, it was hard to recover as they succumbed to the lowest ever score in a WBBL decider. Only Katherine Brunt (22 from 27) and Annabel Sutherland (20 from 20), offered any real resistance amidst a steady flow of wickets. In reply, the Thunders pursuit never really looked in doubt after Rachel Treneman (23) and Tammy Beaumont (16) started fast and Rachael Haynes finished 21no. The win marks the Thunders first trophy since the inaugural tournament in 2015-16, with only captain Haynes left from the team that beat the Sixers four years ago.