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Daily Bulletin

Product Of The Year Winners 2018 Announced

22-11-2017 Hits:4 News Rachel Stevenson - avatar Rachel Stevenson

Australian shoppers have had their voices counted and the most innovative new products of 2018 have been revealed in the 9th annual Product of the Year Awards.   Retail giants ALDI and Coles have battled for top spot, with ALDI edging ahead with ...

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Missouri girl, 14, faces social media bullying after shooting elk she mistook for buck

22-11-2017 Hits:15 Bing News Bing - avatar Bing

A 14-year-old Missouri girl spotted giant antlers and pulled the trigger, thinking she had just nabbed a white-tailed buck, only to discover the animal was an elk — an innocent mistake that some social media users have bullied her about, her fa...

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Mother files petition to claim damages in death of 15-year old son shot by police

22-11-2017 Hits:14 Bing News Bing - avatar Bing

The mother of a 15-year-old boy fatally shot by police in August filed a petition Friday to be able to collect damages in her son's death, court records show. Kemonte Cobbs, of Gary, died Aug. 2 after he was shot by a Gary police officer the day befo...

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2 adults, 4 children dead after fire engulfs home in Ogle County near Dixon

22-11-2017 Hits:14 Bing News Bing - avatar Bing

Four children and two adults, all members of the same family, died in a house fire early Tuesday in rural northern Illinois, Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said. Police received a 911 call just after midnight Tuesday reporting smoke in the basem...

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FBI examines Border Patrol agent's death as a 'potential assault'

22-11-2017 Hits:12 Bing News Bing - avatar Bing

EL PASO – The FBI said it is investigating the death of Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez as “a potential assault of a federal officer,” but the agency cautioned Tuesday it has not reached any conclusions as to what happened over...

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Colorado VA kept secret wait lists for vets' mental heath care, report finds

22-11-2017 Hits:13 Bing News Bing - avatar Bing

A new government watchdog group found that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Denver violated policy by keeping improper wait lists to track mental health care that veterans received. Investigators with the VA Office of Inspector Gen...

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Trump says Republican Roy Moore must be elected in Alabama

22-11-2017 Hits:18 Bing News Bing - avatar Bing

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Alabama voters must elect embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, to prevent "liberal" Democrat Doug Jones from winning next month. "I can tell...

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The Coast Guard’s ‘Floating Guantánamos’

22-11-2017 Hits:18 Bing News Bing - avatar Bing

In an expansion of the war on drugs, the U.S. Coast Guard is targeting low-level smugglers in international waters — shackling them on ships for weeks or even months before arraignment in American courts. On nights when the November rain poured...

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Uber hid cyberattack after hackers stole data off 57 million

22-11-2017 Hits:21 Bing News Bing - avatar Bing

The personal data of 50 million Uber customers was hacked last year, and the ride-hailing company tried to ride out the massive data breach in silence. Hackers made off with the names, email addresses and phone numbers of the unsuspecting Uber riders...

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  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra
  • Published in The Conversation

Speaking in a light and bright FM radio interview on Tuesday, Malcolm Turnbull said that in politics “just being chilled, calm is very important. A little bit of zen goes a long way.”

He was answering a question about himself. But those with a stake in energy policy might be feeling a rather desperate need to dip into their own zen reserves right now.

The government hates the suggestion its policy process looks chaotic, and insists there is “a plan”.

“The good news is that we have learned the lessons of the past, we know where we are going and we have a comprehensive plan to get there,” Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told the Australian Financial Review’s energy summit.

But what the core feature of the plan is has yet to be revealed, and this week has added to the public confusion.

The AFR’s two-day forum, which seemed to have everyone who is anyone in the field, provided a stage for the latest episode in the policy saga.

Frydenberg’s Monday speech was widely seen as the government walking away from the clean energy target (CET) proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel. The justification was the falling price of renewables, obviating the need for future subsidies.

No surprise perhaps, because despite some initial enthusiasm from Turnbull and Frydenberg, the crab-walk back, under the pressure of the naysayers in Coalition ranks, had been apparent for some time.

But here it was happening with Finkel himself in the room, as one of the conference speakers.

So Finkel was able to have his say immediately. He countered that the CET would still be “a useful tool” for managing the transition to reliable low-emissions energy, “even if there was an extreme rate of reduction of the price”.

Tony Wood, of the Grattan Institute, also a conference participant, has argued that the positions of the minister and Finkel are not as far apart as they appear.

But to many in the energy sector and business more widely the message was that the government had just piled on more uncertainty.

The Business Council of Australia pointed out that it had backed Finkel’s CET as a way to get a long term signal for investment - if the government didn’t want to embrace Finkel, what did it propose?

The answer to that is, one might say, still blowing in the wind.

Meanwhile half a world away, literally, Tony Abbott was being his old pre-prime ministerial self, with a full-on speech to a climate sceptics group.

No longer inhibited by the trammels of power, but also deeply motivated by having been stripped of that power, Abbott was attention-seeking, polemical - and sharply policy-focused.

He told his sympathetic audience: “There’s a veneer of rational calculation to emissions reduction but underneath it’s about ‘doing the right thing’.

"Environmentalism has managed to combine a post-socialist instinct for big government with a post-Christian nostalgia for making sacrifices in a good cause.

"Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods. We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect”.

He provocatively claimed: “At least so far, it’s climate change policy that’s doing harm; climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm”.

He pointed to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide “greening the planet” and helping lift agricultural yields. In most countries “far more people die in cold snaps than in heat waves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial”.

For Australia “the only rational choice is to put Australian jobs and Australia’s standard of living first, to get emissions down but only as far as we can without putting prices up”.

Just as Turnbull talks of the short, medium and long term in energy policy, so does Abbott.

In the short term, “we have to get mothballed or under-utilised gas back into the system”.

In the medium term, there must be no subsidies for renewables, and a freeze on the present RET; the government must build a coal-fired power station; the gas bans must go. Also “the ban on nuclear power must go too”.

In the longer term, “we need less theology and more common sense about emissions reduction. It matters but not more than everything else”.

Abbott gestured to what seems to be happening in government policy – but then set the bar higher.

“The government is now suggesting that there might not be a new clean energy target after all. There must not be – and we still need to deal with what’s yet to come under the existing target”.

Abbott’s harangue might be, as those in the government are putting it, “off the reservation”.

But it also highlighted how the Coalition hardliners, who extend in number well beyond the tiny Abbott clique, have constrained Turnbull in this fraught policy area.

As they chafe at the march of renewables, the hardliners are also determined to maximise the gulf between government and Labor on energy policy.

But business, with a longer perspective, is desperate for a position that minimises partisanship.

Turnbull knows that in policy terms, the latter is the superior way to go, while he is being driven towards the former by his troops and by the need for a battle ground on which to fight Labor.

But the thought that this could be superior territory for the Coalition could be deeply flawed.

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more http://theconversation.com/governments-energy-plan-still-under-wraps-while-abbott-shouts-his-from-afar-85496