Feeling the heat

As the Coalition tries to delay the transition to renewables, Sky News rubbishes heat concerns as ‘soft and woke’

The Coalition is ramping up its anti-renewables, anti-EV, anti-science crusade, as it does whatever it can to keep fossil fuels alive. No amount of experts pointing out that nuclear doesn’t stack up here, that it is “by far” the most expensive energy, that it will be many years before it is ready, has been able to dim Peter Dutton’s nuclear fervour, with the Opposition leader using a speech to today’s AFR business summit to announce he will soon reveal six “potential host sites” for plants (curiously, none will be in Tasmania, where an election is imminent). There’s no doubt this is about slowing the transition to renewables; an “alibi for inaction”, as the PM put it yesterday, as he compared nuclear to the modern Liberal Party. With heat records continuing to tumble, it’s astounding that the Coalition is still trying to delay climate action, still pushing ludicrous lines about “ute taxes” over fuel efficiency standards that will save drivers money, especially in the outer suburbs. And what are we told when we face an unseasonably hot March weekend, a harbinger of the dangerous warming to come? That being worried about heat is “soft and woke”, a “leftist” claim from those trying to spread climate alarmism.

That is the latest bizarre opinion from Liberal adviser turned Sky News commentator Peta Credlin, who yesterday slammed Melbourne City Council for cancelling a parade due to the record-breaking heatwave over south-east Australia. The Moomba parade was called off to “ensure the health and safety” of spectators and performers, with participants otherwise spending several hours in hot, heavy costumes. But according to Credlin, 38 degrees is nothing! And she reeled off various instances of Victoria’s weather being hotter than that to prove it (never mind that the heatwave broke several records, both for minimum and maximum temperatures). “This is a leftist council trying to reinforce notions of climate catastrophe,” she argued. “My conclusion from all of this is less that Melbourne’s getting hot, more that the city council’s going soft and woke.” Perhaps she would like to tell that to distressed revellers who attended the chaotic Pitch music festival over the weekend, which was not called off until Sunday, despite soaring temperatures and warnings from the Country Fire Authority.

This isn’t the first time the right has tried to rubbish severe heat concerns. Who could forget News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt’s “warming is good for us” claims (claims roundly rejected by the climate scientist he relied upon to make them)? But the fact that Credlin, one of the voices most fervently championing the Coalition’s nuclear plan, now wants to dismiss concerns about heat safety as “woke” (News Corp’s preferred insult) is deeply alarming. As scientists keep pointing out, heatwaves are Australia’s deadliest natural disaster, disproportionately affecting people with a disability, and global heat-related deaths are predicted to increase almost fivefold by 2050. The weekend’s record night temperatures were particularly concerning, the ABC reports, as studies show hot nights can significantly increase mortality risk. A young man did die at Pitch over the weekend, although his cause of death has yet to be established. But according to Credlin, it is “soft” to be worried about heat-related harm.

It is some relief to note that the Albanese government is concerned about risks, with Labor today releasing the first stage of a national climate risk assessment, which will inform its adaptation plan (though it would of course be helpful if they could push a little harder on the mitigation front). The report lists health as a key area of concern, and notes the harm that increased heat will do to mental health and wellbeing. But we can surely expect more pooh-poohing of these risks from the right, as the Coalition re-heats its climate denial in the form of heat risk denial. Dutton has sought to dress up his nuclear distraction as something constructive, implying that this is about supporting the transition to renewables. But the fact his media acolytes are still denying heat concerns as “woke” says it all, as they seek to convince voters not to be alarmed by harsh temperatures that are set to do far worse than rain on people’s parades.

“With all the other horrors of the Gaza war now compounded by the prospect of mass starvation, and the available evidence of fault by UNRWA being as slight as it is, it’s time for us to get off the fence, and fast.”

Former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans urges the government to immediately reinstate funding to UNRWA, as Canada and Sweden have done. The government is currently “getting advice” on restoring the funding, but is expecting backlash from pro-Israel advocates for doing so.

“Their analysis suggests that the answer to Labor’s housing crisis is simply to have fewer first home buyers, while so many can’t gather a deposit for a first home.”

Opposition housing spokesperson Michael Sukkar rubbishes analysis showing the Coalition’s super-for-housing policy would increase prices by 9 per cent, leading to higher mortgages for all buyers. The Coalition’s answer is to have first home buyers paying even more, while decimating their retirement savings.

$4 billion

The cost of a new remote housing package for the Northern Territory, which will see up to 2700 homes built over a decade. The scheme will be jointly funded by the federal and NT governments, and run in conjunction with Indigenous land councils and Aboriginal Housing NT.

Taskforce recommends the wealthy pay more for aged care

The federal government has ruled out a new levy or tax to pay for rising aged care costs, after a taskforce recommended that wealthy older Australians pay more for their aged care. The taskforce found that asking a shrinking working-age population to fund these services creates intergenerational equity issues, and service providers agree, saying this is the “fairest way” to deliver extra funding.

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