Morning mail: energy wars, international students' anger, Australia win ODI series

Lauren Waldhuter
·6-min read
<span>Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP</span>
Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Good morning, this is Lauren Waldhuter bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Thursday 17 September.

Top stories

The Morrison government is preparing to divert renewable energy funding away from wind and solar. An overhaul of Australia’s renewable energy agency will be announced today. While baseline funding is set to remain about the same, its mandate will pivot dramatically, focusing more on hydrogen, carbon capture and energy efficiency. That’s expected to anger environmentalists but Scott Morrison says technologies like solar panels and windfarms are “clearly commercially viable” and don’t need as much government support. We’re also expecting more details about the “gas-fired recovery”. Will it make energy cheaper?

International students are struggling to survive while stranded during the pandemic, and many deeply resent Morrison’s message at the start of the crisis that it was “time to make your way home”. An extensive survey has found many are drowning in debt and relying on food banks, having been excluded from the jobseeker and jobkeeper schemes, and a large proportion reported they had been subject to racist abuse and social exclusions. A separate report has found that the planned cuts to jobkeeper could strip $9.9bn from Australia’s economy by Christmas.

The number of people under 50 admitted to hospital with Covid-19 is rising around the world, the World Health Organization has warned. France has reported one of its worst daily case load increases, but Sweden – criticised for its lax approach – seems to be avoiding Europe’s second surge. India’s battle is raging on as the virus spreads through the country’s rural areas and authorities say it’s “getting worse by the day”. But scientists believe the pandemic may have peaked earlier than expected in many African countries, “confounding” many.


A man looks at the indicator board at the ASX
Top executive positions in Australian companies are still overwhelmingly dominated by men. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

The number of women leading Australia’s top companies has fallen to just 5%. Only one of 25 people appointed as the chief executive of an ASX200 company in the past year was a woman.

Chinese Australians are scared to speak freely, fearing their family members in China will be targeted, a new paper says. Most would not report intimidation by the Communist party to Australian authorities, saying there was little they could do to protect them.

A report commissioned by the government to assess the impact of the closure of the Liddell coal-fired power plant has poured cold water on the Coalition’s claim that it needs to be replaced urgently with new electricity generation.

Fortescue Metals shareholders are angry the company has rejected their resolution for a moratorium on the desecration of Aboriginal heritage sites. That’s after relevant documents apparently arrived too late to be considered.

The world

Donald Trump and George Stephanopoulos
Donald Trump talks with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos during the town-hall style event. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump has faced a barrage of criticism from voters in a televised “town hall”-type event his campaign team may not be in a hurry to repeat.

Hurricane Sally has made landfall, battering the US states of Alabama and Florida with torrential rain and winds above 100mph. Life-threatening floods are expected with the category two storm set to continue for hours.

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von de Leyen, says Poland’s “LGBT-free zones” have no place in the EU, as tensions rise between the country’s rightwing nationalist government and Brussels.

Belarus authorities have charged the opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova with “undermining national security”. The charge is the latest move in a crackdown on opponents to the embattled president, Alexander Lukashenko.

Recommended reads

It’s the omnivore’s dilemma: can you be environmentally responsible while eating meat? Pastoralists like Charlie Arnott could be part of the climate solution. He changed his approach to managing his land after the millennium drought baked the life out of his farm. “I would see paddocks blowing away in the wind. That was confronting. Did I make that happen? Did decisions I make allow that topsoil to blow away?”

Not even a pandemic or a recession has sent Australian house prices tumbling. The market is a peculiar beast, writes Greg Jericho. Property prices fell by 1.8% in the June quarter, which might sound bad, but it wasn’t even the worst result of the last two years. It barely compares to other plummeting sectors of the economy. House prices are still well above what they were a year ago, but will it continue that way?

If you’re in television, it seems you should never work with children, animals or jetpacks. You’ll see why if you watch Mark Humphries’ top 10 funny moments from the internet.


Will social bubbles break the loneliness of living alone in Melbourne during lockdown? After 10 weeks of lockdown in Melbourne, single people living alone will now be allowed to spend time with others by forming a “social bubble”. While many people are excited about the prospect of being able to spend time with another person, others have questioned how practical some of the rules are.

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.


Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell
Alex Carey celebrates reaching his century with Glenn Maxwell as the pair put on a match-winning partnership of 212. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Whirlwind centuries from Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell have pulled the deciding one-day international out of the fire for Australia. Chasing a target of 303 to defeat England at Old Trafford, the visitors got home with two balls to spare, despite losing five early wickets.

Primoz Roglic has inched closer to victory in the Tour de France after extending his lead during a “brutal climb” to the summit of the Col de la Loze in the Savoie Alps.

Media roundup

The ABC continues its coverage of souring relations between Canberra and Beijing, reporting that an ex-diplomat has called for urgent action to protect Australians in China. There are concerns about post-operative complications in Victoria, the Age reports, as the state prepares to clear a huge backlog of patients waiting for elective surgery. The Financial Review writes that furious employer groups are refusing any further engagement with the Business Council of Australia over possible changes to the enterprise bargaining system.

Coming up

BHP and the Kimberley Land Council will give evidence at the Senate inquiry into the Juukan Gorge destruction.

The finalists for the Archibald prize will be announced today.

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