Tag: Australian Government


‘We are Nokia and the iPhone is coming’: Gunsberg likens coal-fired power to outdated tech on Q+A


Australia

On a night dedicated to finding solutions to climate change, Q+A eschewed politicians in favour of sustainability entrepreneurs, renewable energy experts and a business lobby group representative.

But it was a television host of a popular dating show who best captured the audience’s attention, raising a series of relatable analogies for Australia’s climate change position.

Osher Gunsberg, host of the Bachelor and Bachelorette programs, compared the push by some Government MPs for new coal-fired power stations to an electronics store selling outdated telephone technology.

“If they were selling us mobile phones, they’d be saying the Nokia 3210 is the only phone we’ll ever need,” he said.

“I’m telling you that we are — as a country exporting coal — we are Nokia with a 3210, thinking people will only ever want to play Snake forever. And the iPhone is coming.”

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As for Australia’s attempts to use carryover credits to meet its emission reduction targets, Mr Gunsberg compared it to doing housework in a past relationship.

“Trying to say the Kyoto credits work is like … saying to my current wife, ‘I did heaps of dishes in my first marriage, so I don’t need to do the dishes in this one’,” he said.

Too scared to have children

One audience member revealed climate change anxiety meant she was “too scared” to have children.

The audience member, Alice Trumble, said her studies in environmental and climate science had shaped her opinion on becoming a mother.



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Q&A audience member Alice Trumble revealed her experiences with climate anxiety, saying she did not want to bring children into the world. (ABC News)

“I came to the conclusion that it was unsafe, unethical probably and just a bad choice for me to make to bring children into the world,” she said.

“I would really like a family but I’m way too scared to do it.”

Mr Gunsberg said having a five-month-old son gave him hope, while small decisions, like driving an electric car and having an electric bike, gave him a sense of agency.

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“As someone who has suffered incredible climate anxiety, I had episodes of psychosis that manifested as paranoid delusions,” he said.

“I was on two different kinds of antipsychotics and was seeing things, it was horrible. I can say to you, you’re not alone and when you know what you know, it’s a completely ordinary normal reaction to have when you look at what is coming.

“Having Wolf in my life, with a baby in your life that is hope. That is absolute hope. What can we build for this child?”

He said the world needed parents who thought about climate action to bring children into the world and urged her to “please” reconsider.

External Link:

@QandA: Does the panel see a role for Australia’s brown coal reserves in the future? #QandA

The television host also said giving politicians space to change their positions towards climate change solutions might help develop a plan.

“You’re allowed to say, ‘I’ve got it wrong. Let’s do this instead’,” he said.

“Let’s just allow our politicians some room to move. If we go, ‘Aha, you said something else eight years ago’, they’re so tied into this idea of catching each other out, they’ve painted themselves into a corner.

“Even though it’s very clear, we stand on the cusp of economic abundance in this situation, they’re so terrified to move.”

Australia has ‘good story’ to tell

Jennifer Westacott, chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, said she thought climate anxiety was real but argued there was a collective responsibility to create a plan that gave people hope to want to have children.

“The point that people have been making is that in Australia particularly, we’ve got the technology, the skills to actually be a global superpower in exporting renewables, in exporting hydrogen and exporting lithium,” she said.

“This should be a good story for Australia if we get things right.

“And I think we’ve got an obligation or a responsibility to actually take control of this issue and paint a positive story for people.”

Ms Westacott said the Australian Government making a plan and sticking to it — such as agreeing to net-zero emissions by 2050 — might give young people faith.

External Link:

@QandA: How will the BCA support businesses in the resources and energy sectors to transition to a strong renewable energy market?

Martijn Wilder, chair of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, said he had similar discussions about bringing children into the world with his teenage children.

He said the debate was very different in other parts of the world and there were many exciting innovations in technology.

“One of the real issues is in Australia, in the US, climate is a toxic issue,” he said.

“In the rest of the world we don’t have this debate. The rest of the world is moving very fast. A completely different story and narrative.”

‘Pretty much everyone wants’ a solution

The episode also heard from people employed in the energy sector in the La Trobe Valley and farmers wanting to use new, environmentally friendly practices.

Chef and farmer Matthew Evans said there was a broad spectrum of people wanting a solution.

“The farmers want it. The people want it. The businesses want it. Pretty much everyone wants it. It’s just the tiny [minority] of federal politicians who seem to be in the way,” Mr Evans said.

Watch the full episode of Q+A on iview or enjoy the replay by watching it again on Facebook.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Australians are still stuck in Wuhan with another evacuation flight possible


China

Australians still trapped in the city of Wuhan have said they feel left behind and frustrated with the Government’s lack of communication about further evacuation plans.

Key points

  • Australian authorities are working towards another evacuation flight from Wuhan
  • Australian citizens remaining in the city say embassy officials have not kept them updated on evacuation plans
  • Brian, a 30-year-old Australian citizen still in Wuhan, has called for transparency in the selection criteria for evacuation

Two flights have now evacuated the Chinese city of Australians, while the city remains locked down to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

Most of those already evacuated are now waiting out a 14-day quarantine period on Christmas Island.

Brian, a 30-year-old Australian data analyst who lives in Melbourne, was in Wuhan visiting family when the city first went into lockdown.

He claimed he registered interest in being evacuated several times but received no notification from Australian authorities about whether he met the relevant criteria.

Instead, he said he found out about the two recent evacuation flights from friends, family and the media.

“It’s been disappointing that family and friends found out about the evacuation first as opposed to myself,” he told the ABC’s PM program.



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Brian, who lives in Melbourne, said he learned about the flight taking Australians to New Zealand from friends and family.

According to Brian, when he contacted the Australian embassy after hearing about Australians being placed on a second flight heading to New Zealand, he was told only the people who were selected were being told about the flight.

“Just a really simple communication would go a long way,” he said.

“Instead of being kept in the dark over the whole evacuation.”

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Another Australian in Wuhan, Drew, said he had only been contacted by the Australian Government once asking to confirm if he was interested in leaving on an evacuation flight.

“After I replied to the email, I never got any follow up, so I decided to call them,” he said.

“I called three times and every time they told me nothing was confirmed and I’ll know when to leave.”

When pressed about the Air New Zealand flight, Drew was told by authorities nothing had been planned.

“After I told them I have a friend that’s leaving tomorrow morning [the spokesperson] just told me that there’s no flight planned yet after this one but they will try their best.”

Another evacuation flight possible

Earlier today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said diplomatic officials were “working closely” with their Chinese counterparts to develop options for the departure of the Australians who remain in Wuhan and the greater Hubei province.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said isolated and vulnerable Australians are a priority and that the Government is working towards another “assisted departure”, hopefully later this week.

The ABC understands remaining Australians seeking to leave Hubei province have been asked to register interest for another possible flight.

Brian admitted he was not among the most vulnerable Australians in Wuhan, with no dependents and the ability to stay with family in Wuhan.

But he called for transparency in the selection criteria for evacuation.

“What they’ve been telling everyone else is that there are no flights, which is not entirely correct,” he said.

“Obviously there have been a couple of flights with a third one planned.”

“I’m not really sure what the rationale is behind selection criteria because there have been people who have been evacuated who would not be classified as vulnerable.”

More on the coronavirus outbreak:

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Coronavirus evacuation form not authorised by DFAT


China

Chinese-Australians in Wuhan have been advised that an online evacuation “notification” form circulating on social media has not been authorised or issued by the Australian Government.

Key points:

  • An online form asking Australians trapped in Wuhan for their personal information was not authorised by the Australian government.
  • Chinese-Australians in Wuhan are not able to leave because the city is in lockdown
  • Australia’s Foreign Minister says it is unclear how many Australians are in the city

A link to the registration form has been widely shared on WeChat, titled Chinese Australian in Wuhan, with the accompanying text:

“Please share this as much as you can, let Chinese-Australian citizens and permanent residents fill out this form as soon as possible. Although the epidemic situation is now under control, the situation remains grim. All the information collected is only used for notification purposes of the epidemic situation and the evacuation for overseas Chinese Australians. The information will be destroyed immediately after the epidemic situation is over and will not be retained.”

China’s coronavirus lockdown
Chinese cities covering more than 20 million people have been placed into lockdown.

In a statement to the ABC, a DFAT spokesperson confirmed the form was not an official document.

They advised Australians to monitor the Smart Traveller website for updates, or call the department’s consular emergency line on 1300 555 135 (+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas).

Moko Yong — an Australian citizen currently stranded in Wuchang, a district of Wuhan — told the ABC he had authored the form.

“The original intention of setting up this form was to contact people quickly and count the number of Chinese Australians when evacuating,” Mr Yong said.

“When I heard that Australia had the intention to evacuate overseas Chinese, I was very excited, but I didn’t know how to register, which organisation to find, and how to solve some specific problems.”

He said the form was only to “prepare” the evacuation of Australians in the city, and said the information would be “destroyed immediately” after an evacuation.

Mr Yong said the data would be “destroyed immediately after the evacuation and the epidemic situation is over without any backup, storage and transfer”.

When asked about criticism that his form risked people’s privacy, he claimed it did not “obtain any information related to privacy” as did not require the input of an ID number, birthday, or Australian address.

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He told the ABC he intended to pass the information onto the Australian consulate in Sichuan province.

“All the work done is voluntary and I won’t benefit from it.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned that in general people should be cautious about providing personal information online as it could be a precursor to hacking and identity theft.

However the ABC is not suggesting the purpose of this online evacuation form was to trick people into giving up personal information or perpetrate identity theft or hacking.

Number of Australians in Wuhan remains unclear



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Writing on the registration form translates to: Chinese-Australian in Wuhan. (WeChat)

China has reported 25 more deaths in the coronavirus outbreak as the toll rises to at least 106. The total number of confirmed cases has climbed to more than 4,200 worldwide.

The ABC has confirmed more than 100 Australian children are currently trapped in the area, including Melbourne father Yi Xu and his six-month-old daughter.

Children stuck in Wuhan
The ABC has confirmed that over 100 Australian children are currently trapped in Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Many like him are desperate to go back home, he told the ABC.

“I don’t know how many people have filled in that form, but it’s understandable because parents are anxious and eager to evacuate their children with the help of DFAT,” he said.

“Everybody is trying their best to find ways to make that happen.”

‘Never been this scared’ Wuhan residents trapped in the locked-down city say they are too scared to leave their homes, comparing the experience to living in a horror movie.

Speaking to Melbourne radio station 3AW yesterday, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the number of Australians in Wuhan was still unclear.

“We don’t have a definitive number on the number of Australians in Wuhan or in Hubei province, because it will include a significant number of dual nationals, some of who may not have travelled on Australian passports,” she said.

“If we are able to support Australians to travel, if they wish to leave, then we would like to do that.”

Chinese authorities have implemented harsh new lockdown policies in the Wuhan area, including a ban on using private vehicles from the weekend.

China’s Beijing Public Transport Group said it would suspend the majority of bus services into neighbouring Hebei province starting on Tuesday (local time) to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to a statement on its official Weibo account.

Editor’s Note — January 30, 2020: An early version of this story incorrectly referred to the evacuation form as an “online scam”. It has been amended to reflect Mr Yong’s explanation that his motives were only to assist Australian authorities identify Australians in Wuhan.



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There have been reports of misinformation circulating online about the coronavirus response. (ABC News: Brant Cumming)

More on the coronavirus outbreak:

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news




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