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Australian Government cops criticism over $50 million gas fund

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Australia's government cops criticism over $50 million gas fund

The Australian Greens have taken aim at Labor’s decision to vote with the Liberals today in the Senate to spend public money opening up a $50 million gas fund

The Beetaloo plan forms part of the government’s proposed “gas-led recovery” to drive economic growth amid the ongoing pandemic.

The $50 million Beetaloo Co-operative Drilling Program has been championed by Nev Power, the former Fortescue executive, and Andrew Liveris, the former Dow Chemicals executive.

But the Greens say the fund is set to lead to a climate disaster – just as the world turns its focus on climate control following a report by the IPCC

What the Greens wanted:

The Greens had been hopeful that Labor would vote alongside them and the crossbench which would have seen the fund abolished, given the numbers in the Senate.

Labor is responsible for the continued existence of the $50 million Beetaloo Co-operative Drilling Program to open up new gas projects.

Reports suggest the Greens have vowed to revisit the issue when Parliament meets again in October, and off the back of the Labor party writing to the Auditor-General to investigate the fund they support, the Australian Greens have also written to the ANAO asking for this work to be completed before the next and final vote.

The $50 million grants program which was announced in December 2020, aims to expedite gas exploration in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young is one of many left disappointed with the vote:

Senate committee wants Beetaloo gas grants investigated as Labor refers matter to auditor general:

A Senate Inquiry earlier today found that Empire Energy’s “close financial and personal relationships” with the Liberal party warrant an investigation into the government’s decision to award it $21m in federal gas exploration grants.

According to reports, the company’s chairman, Paul Espie, is a frequent Liberal party donor. That was made public in the inquiry, and has been previously described in parliament as a “doyen” of the party.

Almost half of the $50 million funding has already been granted to a single recipient – Empire Energy.

Empire Energy shares connections with the Liberal party, according to the upper house inquiry.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

Ukraine Crisis

Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests break out in Russia

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Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests over Putin’s mobilisation plan break out in Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Zelensky says his nation just wants peace and believes Russia should be punished and ostracised for its actions.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people,” Zelensky said. “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory”.

In the powerful speech, the Ukrainian President also called for Russia to lose its U.N. veto power. Russia is currently one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

He is also seeking more military aid, pleading for more weapons to help liberate his country’s land.

Protests engulf major Russia cities

In Russia, police have arrested hundreds of protestors who are rallying against Vladimir Putin’s military mobilisation.

Human rights group OVD Info estimates more than 1,000 people have been taken into custody so far. The largest number of arrests were made in St Petersburg and Moscow.

As the Kremlin announced its intention to call up thousands of extra troops to fight the warn in Ukraine, flights departing Russia sold out almost immediately.

The mobilisation will likely see at least 300,000 military reservists drafted to bolster Russia’s forces.

In Moscow, the prosecutor’s office is warning that calls on the internet to join protests, or participation in these protests, could result in up to 15 years in jail time.

Russia’s disinformation laws about the war have made public demonstrations rare.

In his first national televised address since the war began, Putin said he will use “all available means” to protect Russian territory.

In theory, this could include nuclear weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance remains vigilant.

“We will make sure that there is no misunderstanding in Moscow about exactly how we will react. Of course it depends upon what kind of situation or what kind or weapons they may use. The most important thing is to prevent that from happening and that is why we have been so clear in our communications with Russia about the unprecedented consequences,” Stoltenberg said.

Meanwhile, Putin’s mobilisation follows weeks of heavy losses for Russia in Ukraine, with Kyiv recapturing a huge area just east of Kharkiv.

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Ukraine Crisis

U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future

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U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future, but there is a catch

The U.S. will provide tanks to Ukraine in the future, but issues with maintenance and training may delay the rollout.

Ukraine has received billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment, allowing the war-torn nation to defend itself against Putin’s regime.

Russian forces are continuing to “conduct airstrikes that are impacting civilian infrastructure”, most recently striking a “dam near Kryvyi Rih”, according to a top U.S. official.

“This disturbing pattern which includes strikes that hit power stations last week continues to show Russian forces’ disregard for civilian life,” the official added.

When it comes to further military aid, the offical confirmed tanks are “absolutely on the table”, but are not an option for the immediate battle.

Once training, maintenance and sustainment issues are addressed, the roll out is more likely.

This follows verified reports Ukraine has successfully shot down 55 Russian
fighter jets.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed there would be no let-up in fighting to regain
territory lost to Russia.

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Ukraine Crisis

Mass burial site discovered in Ukraine

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A mass grave with over 400 bodies has been found in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

The price of war is beginning to reveal itself in Ukraine as a mass grave, with over 400 bodies has been discovered in the recently liberated Kharkiv region.

The burial site was found in the city of Izyum, an area captured by Russian forces at the beginning of the war, and a victim to ultimate brutality.

Over recent days, Ukrainian forces have recaptured the area. So far, they have discovered over 1000 bodies in the city, with this number rising every day.

The mass grave site shows the extent of Russia’s atrocities, although Russia denies responsibility.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is launching an investigation and says “Russia leaves death everywhere and it must be held accountable for that.”

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