Sunday, October 31, 2021

Scott Morrison to resist global coal ban pressure at G20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would resist pressure at the G20 summit to phase out fossil fuels like coal.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has landed in Rome ahead of the G20 summit, saying it is a “pivotal time” for the world’s largest economies to be focussing on the road ahead.

Decarbonising the world is a similar challenge to creating vaccines to end the Covid pandemic, Scott Morrison says, and he wants to prioritise working with other countries to develop new low emissions technologies to find solutions.

Speaking after touching down in Rome, the Prime Minister said Australia’s net zero plan was “crystal clear”, and that he would resist pressure at this weekend’s G20 talks and the Glasgow climate summit to phase out fossil fuels including coal. “Our policy is very clear - we’re not engaged in those sorts of mandates and bans,“ he said.

Mr Morrison also spoke about his call with French President Emmanuel Macron, saying his counterpart expressed “obvious disappointment which we respect and understand” about Australia’s cancellation of its $90bn submarine contract. “We’ve started the way back and I think that’s a positive thing,” he said.

Mr Morrison landed in Rome on Friday night ahead of the G20, during which he will also hold one-on-one talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to settle any concerns about Australia’s new plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

Key issues on the G20 agenda include locking in a new global minimum corporate tax rate, as well as emissions reduction ahead of next week’s Glasgow climate change summit.

The leaders will also discuss the economic and health recovery from Covid, with Mr Morrison pushing for enhanced disease surveillance and greater transparency to prevent a repeat of the Covid pandemic.

“When there are common accountabilities and obligations that run across multiple jurisdictions, we will see digital platform companies truly invest in making the online world safer,” Mr Morrison said.

The G20 talks, held amid tight security in the Italian capital, mark the first in-person meeting between the leaders since the pandemic began, although Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend.

Mr Morrison will continue to advocate for open trade and reforms to the World Trade Organisation, as Australia tackles China’s ongoing campaign of economic coercion.

US President Joe Biden also landed in Rome on Friday and was expected to hold his first face-to-face meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron since the AUKUS defence pact was unveiled and Australia ripped up its $90bn French submarines contract.

Mr Macron and Mr Morrison broke the ice on Thursday, with the French President saying Australia’s decision “broke the relationship of trust between our two countries”.

Italy wants a specific commitment to reduce methane emissions, but Mr Morrison has already rejected that to protect Australian farmers.


More Greenie obstructionism

They'll always find something to wail about. They get off on it

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has grilled South Australian government officials over a rocket-launching development "bang in the middle" of an environmentally sensitive site.

The senator, speaking at a Senate estimates hearing yesterday, said she was not in support of the controversial rocket launching development at Whalers Way, south of Port Lincoln, becoming a permanent fixture.

"I'm very concerned that this is right in the middle of a hotspot of some of our endangered little creatures in South Australia," she said. "It is an environmentally sensitive location.

"Why on earth would we have it right bang in the middle of what is already considered a heritage area under state protection?"

Southern Launch, which recently constructed a launchpad complex at the popular tourist site, has approval to test two launches by the end of the year and hopes to make the site a permanent launch complex early next year.

In September, the company made several attempts to test Taiwanese company TiSPACE's 10.2 metre Hapith-I rocket, which were unsuccessful as the rocket caught alight and disintegrated.

Senator Hanson-Young said she was concerned about the impact future rocket launches would have on vulnerable species.

"We've got the emu wren, that is already endangered, we have sea lions not far away on the coastal areas there that is threatened and endangered and, in fact, still waiting on a proper protection plan from the federal government," she said

A government official confirmed in the estimates hearing that 54 public comments had been received about the company's project, most of which focused on social and economic reasons against the development.

Senator Hanson-Young said she shared concerns with some locals who contacted her office about potential bushfire risks. "Our climate is drying, bushfire risk is getting more and more intense," she said.

"This poses a bushfire risk — a rocket launch in this area — for that reason the minister should rule that this is inappropriate."

Southern Launch CEO LLoyd Damp said the company had dedicated the past three years to developing a comprehensive 3,200-page environmental impact statement in consultation with a range of industry experts.

"Southern Launch has very comprehensive environmental and emergency plans — we try and cover off any and every eventuality," he said.

Mr Damp said during the last attempt a small shrub was singed, as was some nearby grass.

He said that the company was planning to set up its own first-responder team to cover any fire, medical or other emergencies in the event that the site was approved for permanent use.


'World's greenest residential building' reduced to 20 storeys after Brisbane City Council questions size

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A planned 32-storey apartment tower touted as the "world's greenest residential building" has been significantly scaled back after Brisbane City Council expressed concerns about its size.

Lodged in July last year, Aria Property Group's Urban Forest development originally proposed a 32-storey, 382-unit apartment tower on Glenelg Street in South Brisbane.

Designed by Koichi Takada Architects, the application received international attention for its promise to be a tower covered in greenery including trees and shrubs, hiding much of the building structure under plants.

The tower was designed to have nearly 300 per cent green coverage and aims to secure a 5-star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia on the back of its subtropical design.

The original assessment report lodged with the council for the tower last year said the design's "unprecedented level of landscaping" would create a striking building on the city skyline.

However, the plan generated concern from locals who feared the tower was oversized and would permanently change the inner-city suburb's character.

Concerns about its impact on a neighbouring heritage-listed church, a local school, and the number of apartments were also raised in submissions.

More than a year later, the application is still being assessed by Brisbane City Council.

Earlier this year, at the council's request, Aria reduced the size of the tower to 24 storeys, but the council was not satisfied.

In August a council planner requested further reduction of its size to fit the neighbourhood plan.

"The overall proposed building height and number of storeys is required to be reduced in response to ... the South Brisbane riverside neighbourhood plan code," the officer wrote.

The planning code covering that area of South Brisbane has a height limit of 12 storeys, which many residents in submissions on the development insist should be heeded.


Police officer Mark Follington jailed over assault of trannie in Liverpool pub

Bigotry against trannies highly likely to have been involved. Cops do it hard in jail so big efforts will be made to get him off

A NSW police officer who violently assaulted a woman and then falsified evidence related to the event will spend at least 18 months behind bars.

Senior Constable Mark Follington unlawfully arrested Anya Bradford at a pub in Liverpool in Sydney's west in May 2019 while he and another officer were checking IDs as part of an anti-drug crackdown.

Ms Bradford, who was sitting in the gaming room, declined to show her identification and attempted to leave the premises.

CCTV footage played in court showed Follington grabbing Ms Bradford's arm and slamming her head into an ATM, before following her into the lobby of a parole office and continuing to attack her.

Another officer, Constable Mark Brown, used a pepper spray and taser on her.

Later that day, Follington lied in a police report, claiming that Ms Bradford had assaulted him. The CCTV footage contradicted his story.

He pleaded not guilty to two charges of common assault, one count of tampering with evidence with intent to mislead a judicial tribunal, acting with intent to pervert the course of justice and modifying restricted data, but was found guilty in May this year.

At the sentencing hearing at Sydney's Downing Centre on Wednesday, Magistrate Michael Crompton sentenced Follington to 30 months behind bars with a non-parole period of 18 months.

He said the crime of falsifying information "struck at the very heart of the criminal justice system" and warranted a sentence that would significantly deter others.

He described the assaults as "quite violent" and "in the mid-to-high range of objective seriousness for assault of that kind".

He said the crime was aggravated by Follington abusing his position of trust and authority and noted his not guilty pleas. "On the evidence before me there is no evidence of remorse," he said.

Ms Bradford was not present in court but In a victim impact statement said the assaults had left her mentally and emotionally scarred. "I spent a night in pain in a jail cell," the statement said, adding that she regularly experienced traumatic flashbacks and no longer trusted police.

His lawyer argued that Follington, who had been suspended from his role without pay, was likely to have a more arduous time behind bars than an ordinary citizen.

"Once a police officer goes into the four walls of any institution… history has shown that police officers, because of their position, are the subject of assaults, serious assaults", he said.

Follington's legal team confirmed he will appeal against the verdict




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