PM faces party pressure over energy target

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is facing pressure within governments ranks over a report by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel which includes a key proposal for a clean energy target.


Government MPs on Tuesday evening left a second party room meeting after more than three hours of discussion, which had followed on from an earlier presentation from Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg.

It’s understood about 30-odd MPs spoke up, with one-third including Tony Abbott expressed misgivings.

Another third were broadly supportive, while the remainder were non-committal but asked questions.

The former prime minister reiterated his concerns about power price affordability and the future prospects of coal usage.

Other MPs spoke about the gas market and the use of renewable energy.

The tone of the meeting was described as “inquiring”, “business-like” and with “no unpleasantness”.

Mr Frydenberg played down suggestions of a backlash.

“It was only right that we went to the party room today and had a full and frank discussion about what is happening in our electricity market, why we are facing higher prices, why there has been increased instability, all in the context, too, of our international agreements and targets,” he told ABC TV.

“There was an overwhelming feeling among those in the party room tonight that business-as-usual is not an option.”

The Finkel report released last Friday advocated a clean energy target which would require a proportion of electricity to come from generation below a set emissions level.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the clean energy target should be taken seriously by the coalition, and Mr Turnbull had again “failed on climate change”.

“Just when Australians thought that the climate change wars were over, it looks like a new civil war in the Liberal Party has taken it up to a new level,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Earlier, Mr Shorten asked the prime minister in parliament whether the government would work with the opposition to address a doubling in wholesale power prices, a rise in pollution and a fall in renewable energy jobs.

Mr Turnbull said Labor’s plan had “unrealistic targets, a 50 per cent reduction in emissions … and no idea of how to get there”.

Labor frontbencher Mark Butler asked the prime minister whether he supported Dr Finkel’s comment that “it would be surprising if governments were to endorse a scheme that incentivised” coal.

Mr Turnbull said the Finkel plan would not stop new coal-fired power stations being built.

“What he seeks to do there is to provide incentives for lower emission technologies including but not exclusively renewables,” Mr Turnbull said.

The government will need Labor or the crossbench’s support in the Senate to pass any laws to implement the Finkel plan.

May meets Northern Irish ‘kingmakers’

British Prime Minister Theresa May has sought to strike a deal with a Northern Irish Protestant party to save her premiership as she came under intense pressure to soften her approach to Brexit days before formal EU divorce talks.


May’s botched election gamble, which saw her lose her parliamentary majority, left her so weakened that supporters of closer ties with the European Union publicly demanded she take a more consensual and business friendly approach to Brexit.

In an attempt to avoid a second election that could deepen the worst political turmoil in Britain since last June’s shock vote to leave the European Union, May apologised to her Conservative Party’s MPs, who said they would leave her in power – for now.

“She said: ‘I’m the person who got us into this mess and I’m the one who is going to get us out of it’,” said one Conservative politician who attended Monday’s meeting. “She said she will serve us as long as we want her.”

To stay in government, May must strike a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a small eurosceptic Northern Irish party with 10 parliamentary seats.

DUP leader Arlene Foster arrived for talks with May. She waved but did not say anything as she went into Downing Street. She looked at her watch and ignored a question from a reporter who asked: “What is your price?”

“The deal will be done,” said Jon Tonge, professor of politics at Liverpool University. “Basically it will be Theresa May signing cheques for the foreseeable future or a monthly direct debit, as it were, into Northern Ireland’s coffers.”

But a deal with the DUP would risk destabilising the political balance in Northern Ireland by increasing the influence of pro-British unionists who have struggled for years with Irish Catholic nationalists who want Northern Ireland to join a united Ireland.

While the DUP are deeply eurosceptic, they have baulked at some of the practical implications of a so-call hard Brexit – including a potential loss of a “frictionless border” with the Republic of Ireland – and talks will touch on efforts to minimise the potential damage to Northern Ireland.

During the campaign, May cast herself as the only leader competent enough to navigate the tortuous Brexit negotiations that will shape the future of the United Kingdom and its $US2.5 trillion ($A3.3 trillion) economy.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, which saw its number of parliamentary seats and share of the vote increase, said there could be another election this year or early in 2018 after Thursday’s vote produced no clear winner.

May, who ahead of the June referendum supported remaining in the EU, has promised to start the formal Brexit talks next week.

Tomic back on winners list in Stuttgart

Bernard Tomic has ended a three-tournament run of first round exits with an opening round victory in Stuttgart, the German city where he was born.


The win over French journeyman Stephane Robert, was not simple for the struggling Australian however.

Tomic eventually prevailed over the world No.139 6-1 5-7 6-2 but not before blowing a seemingly unassailable lead in spectacular fashion.

Tomic was leading Robert 6-1 5-1 when unforced errors and possibly nerves kicked in, allowing the Frenchman to reel off six straight games and send the match to a deciding set.

Thankfully for Tomic – who had just five wins and 12 losses this year coming into the match, including one to then world No.140 Darian King – he steadied himself and hit a series of forehand winners to close out the match in the third.

The win on his favourite grasscourt surface has put the Australian, now ranked 48 in the world, after slipping from 26 at the start of the year, into the second round where he will face Tomas Berdych.

Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon finalist and current world No.14 had a first round bye.

Also recording an enjoyable win was German veteran Tommy Haas, who advanced to the second round with a 6-3 4-6 7-5 win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert to book a farewell tour match with top seed Roger Federer.

The duo have played some exciting matches on grass over the years with 35-year-old Federer holding a 4-1 edge over 39-year-old Haas on the surface.

“We’ve had a lot of great battles in the past,” Haas said.

“The next match excites me, but I’ll have to play better than today … I’m a very happy person, I’m pleased with this result.”

The two had practised together earlier in the week in a promotional appearance for the tournament.

Also recording wins were grasscourt specialist Feliciano Lopez, who sent French seventh seed Giilles Simon out 6-3 6-3 and Benoit Paire who upset eighth seed Viktor Troicki 6-4 6-4.

Victorian terror teens face prison terms

Terror suspects as young as 14 could be locked up for up to two weeks without charge as Victoria deals with the fallout from the Brighton siege.


Terrorist Yacqub Khayre, 29, killed one man and injured three police officers in Brighton on June 5, telling a TV station he was doing it for Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

Premier Daniel Andrews said he had spoken to police about the “gaps” in dealing with teen terror suspects who pose an unacceptable risk.

“Now it is time to look at additional powers. We will make changes that will not be universally popular because it is our judgement that is what is needed,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“We will have proper oversight. It will be a responsible package of measures and we will have more to say on that soon.

The proposal follows similar laws to those introduced in NSW in 2016, which the Islamic Council of Victoria slammed in a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into religious freedom in May.

The council has already warned against locking up radicalised youths, saying it has a dampening effect on Australian Muslims’ freedom of religion.”

The ICV, which did not respond to AAP’s requests for comment on Tuesday, says Muslim communities “shoulder a heavier burden of proof and endure more intrusion than others”.

“While only a few children might come under the spotlight, the damage the legislation will do is enormous to the multicultural and multi-faith communities,” its May submission reads.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said he supported the proposed changes to the law to manage security and safety, and called for a policy of mandatory sentencing and bail reform.

Saad hitting his AFL highs during Ramadan

He’s not eating, he’s not drinking but Gold Coast’s Adam Saad is in career best AFL form.


Saad, a practising Muslim, is observing the holy month of Ramadan which stretches from May 26 to June 24 and requires him to fast during daylight hours.

Saad has been fasting during Ramadan since his teens but in 2017, as the Suns chase the AFL top eight, he is especially keen to shrug off the effect the month usually has on him.

Starting his day at 4:30am Saad wakes before sunrise and eats toast, cereal, fruit and smoothies and will then rest for a few hours before training with the Suns.

“We finish around 11:30 then I’ll go home, play the Playstation, then I’ll sleep for a couple of hours. Then once I break fast I come back and do weights,” Saad said.

Saad has been heavily encouraged to partake in Ramadan by the Suns, with their back-room staff developing specific dietary and physical plans to best supplement his changed habits.

And for Saad Ramadan this year has coincided with his rise as a more versatile footballer.

Saad has always been known for his electric pace and run and carry but he says a renewed focus on his defensive efforts and conditioning has led to his improvement in 2017.

He has worked closely with Suns co-captain Steven May on his defensive positioning and repeat efforts this season.

And it paid dividends on the weekend against Hawthorn when he won a one-on-two contest in the first quarter as the Suns fought hard for their fifth win of the season.

The 22-year-old has also played all 11 of the Suns matches this year after suffering soft tissue problems in his first two years at the club.

His pre-season also featured training with four-time Olympic 5000m runner Craig Mottram, who he credited for his improved endurance.

“I feel like it’s helped my game massive amounts, I’ve improved my endurance… we were going for 35, 40 minute runs which is something I’ve never done before,” Saad said.