What happened today, Thursday 12 November
Chinese embassy tells Australia to 'stop interfering' on Hong Kong
The Chinese embassy has told the Morrison government to “stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs”, arguing the qualification of members of the region’s parliament is “purely an internal affair of China”.
The comments come after the foreign minister, Marise Payne, raised alarm that Beijing’s “disqualification of duly elected legislative council lawmakers seriously undermines Hong Kong’s democratic processes and institutions”. Four lawmakers were disqualified yesterday straight after the new measure came into effect, prompting the entire pro-democracy caucus to announce their resignation.
In a statement emailed to Guardian Australia and other media this afternoon, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy said:
We strongly deplore Australian foreign minister’s statement on Hong Kong on 12 November 2020.
The spokesperson said the decision on the qualifications of members of Hong Kong’s legislative council (LegCo) was “a necessary step to uphold and improve the ‘one country, two systems’, implement the basic law and the Hong Kong national security law and maintain the rule of law and constitutional order”.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and the qualification of HKSAR LegCo members is purely an internal affair of China. No other country has the right to make irresponsible remarks or intervene in the matter. We urge the Australian side to abide by international law and basic norms of international relations, and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs.
The roll call of organisations committed to having net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 continues to expand, with AustralianSuper – the country’s biggest fund – having set that target for its investment portfolio.
Andrew Gray, its director for ESG and stewardship, said it was in members’ best interests that the fund head in this direction.
This is in line with global market expectations and consistent with our goal of maximising members’ long-term investment returns.
Institutional investors and banks are increasingly, though not uniformly, backing the mid-century goal amid concerns that fossil fuel investments will lose value as governments and companies take steps to cut emissions.
AustralianSuper manages more than $180bn in savings on behalf of more than 2.2m members.
It has promised to invest $1bn in renewable energy by the end of next year and says it has been monitoring the carbon intensity of its investments since 2013.
More than 70 countries have set a 2050 net zero target. Once Joe Biden becomes US president it will include all members of the G7. China says it plans to reach that goal before 2060. Countries are expected to explain how they will get there in long-term strategies due before next year’s Glasgow climate summit.
In Australia, the 2050 target is backed by all states, federal Labor, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation, the ACTU and the Australian Council of Social Service, but has been resisted by the Morrison government.
Reaction is rolling in to the government’s announcement of new structures to deal with the fallout from next week’s report into alleged war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
Labor has offered its support to the proposed new office of the special \investigator, saying it’s important that Brereton inquiry “is treated with the seriousness it warrants”.
The defence spokesperson, Richard Marles, and the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, also backed the establishment of an expert panel to oversee implementation of cultural and organisation reforms across the ADF.
We must have confidence in the behaviour, standing and culture within the ranks of those who wear our nation’s uniform.
Senator Jordon Steele-John, the Greens’ spokesperson for peace and disarmament, called for the Brereton inquiry report to “be made public in full and not redacted to within an inch of being read by the public in any meaningful way” because “Australians deserve to know the truth”.
This is clearly not just a couple of isolated incidents within a single SAS unit by a couple of rogue soldiers; these alleged incidents are the symptom of a much deeper cultural problem within the SAS.
After rejecting a senate inquiry into a bill to change Australia’s environment laws three times, the government has today agreed for the bill to be put to a committee after all in an inquiry that will last just two weeks.
The Labor referral to committee passed this morning but the push for a full inquiry into the legislation that would report back in the new year was rejected.
Instead, the committee will hold a single hearing on 23 November and will report back on 27 November. Anyone who wants to make a submission has to do so by Wednesday. Labor and the Greens have called it a “bogus inquiry” and “a sham”.
Labor’s environment spokeswoman Terri Butler said:
They have rehashed Tony Abbott’s failed extreme environment bill from 2014, they rammed the bill through the lower house, gagged debate, then let the bill wallow in the senate for months without action
Now, after running away from scrutiny of this bill in the senate, previously rejecting an inquiry three times, they have supported a bogus inquiry that will have a solitary day of hearings.
The Greens environment spokeswoman, Sarah Hanson-Young, called it “a sham inquiry”.
The Greens moved multiple times weeks ago for an inquiry and the government refused.
If anyone considers the senate’s job of examining this bill to be done in this way they’re a fool.
Any inquiry should be given the proper time and attention it deserves for legislation that has enormous consequences for our environment and the future of our wildlife.
The government has been under pressure over its bill, which will clear the way for the transfer of federal environmental approval powers to the states and territories.
Labor, the Greens and crossbench have raised concerns about the bill, which was drafted before the government received an interim report from a statutory review of Australia’s environmental laws, was put to the parliament in advance of the yet-to-be-released final report, and contains no reference to national environmental standards that were recommended by the review.
The interim report of the review found Australia’s environment is in unsustainable decline.