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Emma Elsworthy

NT minister staunch on alcohol investments


NT Deputy Leader Chansey Paech is refusing to resign over his shares in a company that distributes alcohol in Alice Springs, Sky News Australia reports, which he purchased two months before he was a driving force behind not extending alcohol restrictions in Indigenous towns last year. Paech divested his Metcash shares when then NT leader Natasha Fyles resigned over her mining share scandal. Meanwhile, the commander of Australia’s “most lethal warship” Kingsley Scarce was stood down because of an alleged drunken episode, according to reporting from Nine newspapers. Scarce departed the HMAS Brisbane in September after someone from the ADF lodged a serious complaint about him, making it around the time of Malabar, our naval exercise with the US, Japan and India. Alcohol is banned during operations and exercises, and limited to two drinks on national holidays during “non-war-like operations”.

Meanwhile, Coalition leaders Peter Dutton and David Littleproud have told Barnaby Joyce he should take some time off, the SMH reports, after he was filmed lying on the street, boozed and apparently affected by meds, swearing into his phone. His father-in-law told the Daily Mail that Joyce had received “some very bad family news”. Joyce hasn’t decided whether he’ll take leave yet. Meanwhile, Dutton owes NDIS Minister Bill Shorten $20, the latter writes for The West ($). He bet Dutton 10 bucks the Coalition would support the stage three tax cut reforms on the Today show on January 26, and a laughing opposition leader doubled the bet on live television. Eleven days later, the Coalition announced it wouldn’t stand in the way of the changes.


We could raise $100 billion in one year from a fossil fuel tax, according to former ACCC chair Rod Sims and Hawke-era economist Ross Garnaut, which we could spend on subsidising green iron, aluminium and fuel production. Here’s how: a carbon solution levy could be introduced in 2030-31 and set at Europe’s five-year average price of $90/tonne of carbon dioxide-equivalent, Guardian Australia explains. Not only does it set us on the path to becoming a renewable energy superpower, but it’d also raise productivity and living standards after a “decade of stagnation”, they’ll say today. Truly there are few countries better placed for the renewable era, considering we are the sunniest and among the windiest places on Earth. The rot is in the Commonwealth Parliament, Garnaut will say, because basically every state government and opposition support good climate and energy policy.

Meanwhile, it could take weeks to fully restore half a million homes without power in Victoria, The Age reports, in what state Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio described as “one of the largest outage events in the state’s history”. Coal boi Senator Matt Canavan tweeted “coal keeps the lights on!” in all capitals, but 6 News teen journalist Leonardo Puglisi pointed out the outage was caused by four generators going offline at Victoria’s largest coal-fired plant, Loy Yang A power station. Owned by a 16-year-old, another person noted. Extreme winds also blew over six transmission towers. It comes as Resources Minister Madeleine King is introducing new rules to clear the way for consultation on offshore gas developments, The West ($) reports. The amendment would allow the minister to bypass the existing process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.


Australia’s last Liberal Premier Jeremy Rockliff will call an election in Tasmania today, the ABC reports, after two former Liberal backbenchers quit the party, throwing it into minority. He said the early poll, which received “unanimous” support from his team, couldn’t wait until 2025 because independents were making Parliament unworkable for him. Lara Alexander and John Tucker have been supporting opposition motions, criticising Rockliff’s government, and helped send Energy Minister Guy Barnett to the privileges committee about dodging cost estimates. Tucker even threatened to “bring down the government” if he didn’t get mandatory CCTV in abattoirs and AFL high-performance centres. Yikes. All I can say is: save the critically endangered swift parrot, power-drunk Tassie crossbenchers!

And I’m not the only one — Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio posted to his 62 million Instagram followers that Australia is destroying the swift parrot’s habitat, The Guardian reports, even though there are just 750 left in the wild. We must “end native forest logging across Australia and Tasmania”, DiCaprio urged. Meanwhile, local conservationists are waiting to hear whether Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek will green-light an enormous large tailings dam that would destroy 500-year-old trees (!!!) in a rainforest at the southern edge of Tasmania’s Takayna. Global mining company MMG Ltd applied for the site, journalist and author Geraldine Brooks writes for the SMH, but there are other disposal methods — this is about saving some money. Plibersek met with mine officials in the area but refused a meeting with former Greens leader and environmentalist Bob Brown. Absolutely dismal. Help save the forest here.


Andrea, Calli, Breanna and Ernie were gliding along the Alaskan landscape on a train, with a running commentary coming from the only guy in the group. “Elevation: 20,308ft”, he told the women, “The Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, probably best experienced in the Airbus A340, though fun in a Cessna 180 if you didn’t fly over the top peak”. The trio smiled at each other, not minding one bit. Ernie is their 90-year-old grandpa, who they were on the trip of a lifetime with. He’d only been overseas once before — when he’d fibbed about his age and served in Korea — and although he’d saved up to return, his dream of flying over the mountains and glaciers again had become searching Google images that he’d show his family when they visited, or admiring their photos when they’d travel overseas, as Breanna wrote for SBS.

After Ernie had a hospital scare, Breanna went to her sisters. What if we took Pa on a holiday for his 90th birthday, all the way to Alaska where he’s always dreamed of going? Fourteen months later, they did just that, touching down in White Horse before boarding planes, trains, cars and a couple of boats to Juneau (they kept walking to a minimum). Pa was full of history about the Mendenhall Glacier, telling his granddaughters of the “countless” times he’d landed seaplanes on ice using his computer flight simulator. When the first flakes of winter landed on their coats, the trio were moved by their Pa’s reaction — it was his first snow since Korea. “The way his face lit up as he looked around at the powder falling was something special,” Breanna says. In his upturned face, awash with awe and wonder, she suddenly saw a glimpse of her Pa some 70 years in the past.

Hoping no adventure is too far away, today and always.


I couldn’t tell him that we had completed the agreement [with the US and Britain] because we hadn’t. I mean, this thing could all still go pear-shaped.

Scott Morrison

The former PM continued that French president Emmanuel Macron would have “scuttled the entire [AUKUS] deal” by deploying the “entire French diplomatic corps to Washington”. The whole French exit has more than a whiff of a guy lining up a girlfriend before leaving his wife.


Can you replace News Corp’s columnists with AI?

Rita Panahi, Andrew Bolt and Peta Credlin (Image: Private Media/Zennie)

“The prompt: ‘You are Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt. Write a 150-word opinion piece in the style of Andrew Bolt against workers’ rights to disconnect from their employer after hours.’

“In our modern world, the concept of “work-life balance” has become a rallying cry for those who seek to undermine the very essence of productivity. The latest fad? Workers’ rights to disconnect from their employers after hours. It’s as if they believe that once the clock strikes five, they can simply unplug from their responsibilities and float away on a cloud of leisure. Let me set the record straight: this is nothing more than a dangerous delusion …”

All the Morrison-era scandals that Nemesis didn’t have time for


“You wouldn’t know it from the amiable figure who appeared in Nemesis, but then energy minister Angus Taylor had a very busy 2019, on his way to one of the most convincing wins Crikey’s Arsehat of the Year award has ever seen: there was Grassgate, which necessitated a Department of Environment investigation into the clearing of critically endangered grasslands at a property owned by the Taylor family.

“Watergate. Deploying forged documents against Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, which necessitated an embarrassing and ultimately inconclusive police investigation. And, of course, in the lead-up to the 2019 election, Taylor defined the art of getting caught posting from an alt, when he wrote ‘Fantastic. Great move. Well done Angus’ on his own Facebook post.”

Please stop using Slack, Microsoft Teams, email or any work device to banter with colleagues


“That’s assuming it reaches the level of official sanction. But there are ways to make your life hell without going that far. Missed promotions, isolation and bullying are all consequences of a nosey boss who looks through what you’ve been emailing without you knowing. Good luck proving it even if you know it’s happening.

“You might be thinking to yourself that this will never happen with your boss who is so cool and lets you leave early on Fridays. But when you’re suddenly angling for a pay rise or overperforming at work and making them look bad, things can change.”


Iran simulates strike on Israeli base as it showcases naval force (Al Jazeera)

[New Zealand] Woolworths Everyday Rewards members can have licence plates, video, audio and IP addresses recorded (NZ Herald)

Global defence spending rises 9% to record $2.2tn (The Guardian)

Facing a severe physician shortage, [Canada]  feds offer loan forgiveness for some doctors, nurses (CBC)

Senate passes $95 billion package with aid for Ukraine and Israel, setting up showdown with the House (CNN)

Threats to US federal judges double since 2021, driven by politics (Reuters)

Russia puts Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on ‘wanted’ list (euronews)

Swiss antisemitism shock at Davos shop sign saying no skis for Jews (BBC)


Barnaby Joyce may be an idiot and drink too much but he shouldn’t resign from parliamentDennis Shanahan (The Australian) ($): “Some of Joyce’s election wins in New England have occurred after implosions in his personal life, promotions and demotions in office and even after he was found to be guilty of being a New Zealander. Not even Parliament still has the power to remove an MP which was used only once since Federation. Since Parliament began there has been some political advantage in being a ‘loveable larrikin’, disposed to scandal, adultery and drunkenness for some MPs, particularly in the bush, who have looked more at home in an ancient Dad and Dave episode on Parliament and are in touch with the ‘grassroots’ of their electorate.

“Australia’s first prime minister, Edmund Barton, was accused of being ‘snoringly drunk’ in the NSW legislative assembly before he became PM, John Curtin, our great wartime leader, was an alcoholic who took periods off to ‘dry out’, an inebriated John Gorton vomited on a RAAF plane and Bob Hawke was notorious for drinking, adultery and carousing before he became prime minister. I know of a former NSW state minister who was found in an alcoholic coma in his office but who was supported by friends, reformed and served the people of NSW honestly and well for years. I have also been told of an instance of a late-night division in Canberra’s House of Representatives when a senior MP was so drunk they couldn’t walk to the chamber and a wheelchair was organised so the vote was not missed.”

Barnaby Joyce’s drunken behaviour raises questions about political culture and double standards in CanberraPatricia Karvelas (ABC): “Greens leader Adam Bandt argues the incident highlights a double standard and that if a woman politician had found themselves in a similar situation there would be widespread condemnation. He was of course referring to the incident involving Lidia Thorpe and her tirade at a Melbourne strip club … This is a widespread view in the Parliament. That there are different rules according to who you are. One female MP who didn’t want to be named told me her career would be over if she did the same thing.

“One argument of course is he wasn’t doing anything to hurt anyone, that it was a breach of his privacy that someone filmed him without his knowledge and then given to the press. But everyone now has an iPhone in their pocket and public figures are on notice — Barnaby Joyce knows this. All politicians do. Barnaby Joyce is the ultimate comeback kid — he has survived scandal before and it’s hard to see Nationals leader David Littleproud taking the risk of removing him and creating a bigger rift inside the party. But regardless of what you think of Barnaby Joyce, the question around who is forgiven and who is not will continue to plague the Parliament while those inside and outside of it think it’s stacked against some more than others.”



Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

  • Writer Adele Dumont will talk about her new book, The Pulling, at Better Read Than Dead bookshop.

  • The Financial Times’s Gideon Rachman and the Lowy Institute’s Michael Fullilove will talk about wars, summits, and elections in 2024 in a webinar for the institute.

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