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What we know today, Monday May 30

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AGL Energy has ditched its plans to spin off its coal plants following strong opposition from tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes.

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AGL bins demerger plan

AGL Energy has ditched its plans to spin off its coal plants following strong opposition from tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes.

The energy giant said it didn’t believe the proposal would receive the required three-quarters vote at a shareholder meeting June 15.

AGL chairman Peter Botton and chief executive Graeme Hunt plan to resign as soon as replacements are found, as the energy giant looks for a path forward. Two non-executive directors are also out.

AGL had already spent $160 million planning the demerger but Mr Cannon-Brookes managed to torpedo it on climate grounds after acquiring an 11.28 per cent stake in the utility.

“Wow. A huge day for Australia,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said on Twitter, including a photo of a trail through the bush.

“Had to sit down & take it in. This live shot couldn’t be a better metaphor for a better, greener path ahead. We embrace the opportunities of decarbonisation with Aussie courage, tenacity & creativity.”

AGL had proposed splitting the company into an energy retailer, called AGL Australia, and a coal-fired electricity generator, called Accel Energy.

The new entities were to have targets to reduce emissions to net zero by 2040 and 2047, respectively, although AGL said on Monday that it believes the relevant dates for closure of coal-fired power stations will continue to be accelerated.

The board said it would report back to shareholders in September on a new strategic direction of the company. They will also look to replace non-executive director Jacqueline Hey, who has resigned effective as of Monday, and Diane Smith-Gander, who is resigning in August.

Slight fall in SA COVID-19 cases amid national surge

There have been 2220 new cases of COVID-19 reported in South Australia today, a slight fall from yesterday’s figure of 2312.

There are currently 20,322 active cases in South Australia and 216 people with COVID-19 in hospital, including 8 people in ICU.

Of those hospitalised, 103 people have received three or more vaccine doses and 88 people are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and 25 have an unknown vaccination status.

Nationally, COVID-19 deaths are again on the rise, with Australia recording 88 fatalities over the weekend and 363 in the past seven days.

By contrast, daily toll reports during April only once exceeded 50 and were often less than 25.

Victoria recorded 16 deaths on Sunday, Western Australia seven, NSW four, Queensland two and Tasmania one.

Australia’s active virus caseload remains above 300,000 and there are more than 2700 patients recovering in hospitals around the country.

Authorities have again extended emergency powers in Tasmania, where almost one-third of the state has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there have been almost 60 deaths this year.

Meanwhile, the Andrews government is set to announce free flu vaccinations for Victorians as the state grapples with a tough start to the season.

The announcement would bring it in line with SA, Queensland, NSW and WA, which are all offering free flu shots.

The Malinauskas Government announced yesterday that South Australians can receive a free flu jab in June in a bid to head off extra demand on hospitals as influenza cases rise ahead of a forecast winter peak.

Wild weather lashes Adelaide as big wet hits

A powerful cold front has swept across the state, bringing down trees and causing localised flooding, particularly in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

The SES responded to more than 100 incidents as Adelaide recorded more than 33mm of rain overnight – its wettest 24 hours since June 18 last year.

Up to 20mm more rain is expected across Adelaide today as the slow-moving system drifts east.

Northern suburbs motorists are expected to face delays this morning after a large tree fell onto Main North Rd at Salisbury East.

Police said localised flooding was also affecting traffic after a severe storm system came through the northern suburbs.

The BOM radar at 7am on Monday, May 30 after 30mm fell in Adelaide overnight and 60mm in the northern suburbs.

Parafield Airport has recorded 60mm, including 15mm between 4am and 5am while Banksia Park and Golden Grove were both doused with more than 30mm in just one hour roughly between 5am and 6am.

The Adelaide Hills received 45mm. Further afield, Nuriootpa recorded 29mm, Strathalbyn 23mm, Edithburgh 39mm, Clare 29mm and Ceduna 31mm.

The SES have made sandbags available for collection today at about 20 of its depots across the state.

Adelaide 500 tenders open as Govt reveals event cost

The State Budget will include $18 million for the return of the Adelaide 500 in December, the Malinauskas Government has announced, with a raft of tenders opening this week for the provision of infrastructure and services for the event.

The new government is facing a tight timeframe to bring back the scrapped motorsport event in six months’ time and has set aside an additional $3 million to buy back infrastructure auctioned off under the Marshall Government.

The race, which was held around Victoria Park since 1999 but scrapped in 2020, is scheduled to be run from December 1 to 4.

The tenders set to open this week include the provision of temporary grandstands, portable toilets, marquees, pedestrian overpasses, cleaning and waste management services, track resurfacing and civil works and security.

The launch of ticket sales and selection of live music acts for the event are the next announcements looming, the government says.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said the release of tenders is “yet another tangible sign the race is coming back”.

“This is also a great opportunity for local businesses to tender for work, which will help support jobs and generate local economic activity,” he said in a statement.

“That’s why this event is so much more than a car race – it’s a generator of jobs and a driver of economic activity.”

The Malinauskas Government is still yet to pass legislation re-establishing the South Australian Motorsport Board.

The nine-member board will be in charge of ensuring the Adelaide 500’s return. The Bill for its re-establishment has been adjourned on its second reading.

Nats to hold leadership ballot, Labor to reveal frontbench

Barnaby Joyce faces a ballot to decide whether he’ll stay Deputy Prime Minister in the next parliament. Photo: Lukas Coch/AAP

The Nationals will today decide whether to keep Barnaby Joyce as their party’s leader while the Labor Party is set to determine the makeup of the new Albanese Government’s cabinet, as four seats remain in doubt more than a week after the federal election.

Labor needs 76 seats to gain a majority in the lower house of federal parliament, with the party sitting on 75, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.

The AEC considers three seats as in doubt – Deakin in Victoria, Lyons in Tasmania and Gilmore in NSW.

The Victorian seat of Macnamara also remains close in a three-way contest, with Labor MP Josh Burns taking a slight lead over Greens rival Steph Hodgins-May and Liberal candidate Colleen Harkin.

Liberal MPs will gather in Canberra on Monday and are expected to endorse Peter Dutton and Sussan Ley as the new leadership team.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he would not underestimate Dutton as opposition leader.

“I never underestimate my opponents,” he told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

“I’ve been underestimated my whole life. I think there are some people who are regretting underestimating me over the last three years.”

The Nationals leadership is less clear, with its party facing a three-corner contest.

Current leader Barnaby Joyce will face off against his deputy David Littleproud, who threw his hat in the ring at the weekend, and former veterans’ affairs minister Darren Chester.

On Tuesday, the factions of the victorious Labor Party will meet in Canberra to thrash out who will sit on the government frontbench, and those ministers will be sworn in by the governor-general on Wednesday.

Former Liberal minister Michael Sukkar is 655 votes ahead of Labor’s candidate Matt Gregg in Victoria’s Deakin electorate, according to the AEC.

In NSW, sitting Labor MP Fiona Phillips is 214 votes behind Liberal candidate Andrew Constance in Gilmore, with postal votes slightly favouring the former state minister.

Labor incumbent for Lyons, Brian Mitchell, is ahead by 678 votes against Liberal candidate Susie Bower.

ABC election analyst Anthony Green said AEC staff were processing declaration envelopes to be ready for a big count on Monday, which should clarify the final result unless seats remain ultra-close.

COVID-19 deaths rise across Australia

COVID-19 deaths are again on the rise with Australia recording 88 fatalities over the weekend and 363 in the past seven days.

By contrast, daily toll reports during April only once exceeded 50 and were often less than 25.

Victoria recorded 16 deaths on Sunday, Western Australia seven, NSW four, Queensland two and Tasmania one.

South Australia recorded no COVID-19 deaths over the weekend. There are currently 217 people in hospital with the virus across the state, and nine people in ICU.

The Malinauskas Government announced over the weekend it would be making flu vaccines free in June in a bid to ease pressure on the hospital system amid fears about a winter peak in flu cases.

Australia’s active COVID-19 caseload remains above 300,000 and there are more than 2700 patients recovering in hospitals around the country.

Authorities have again extended emergency powers in Tasmania, where almost one-third of the state has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there have been almost 60 deaths this year.

Tasmanian Director of Public Health Mark Veitch expects it will be for the last time but says vigilance is vital.

“Although we expect to transition out of the state of Public Health Emergency by 30 June, this does not mean that COVID-19 will be over,” he said on Sunday.

“For the time being, existing emergency directions remain in place.”

South Australia’s major emergency declaration was revoked last Tuesday after 793 days in force.

US Govt to review slow police response to Uvalde school shooting

US VP calls for assault weapons ban

10 News First Adelaide – Disclaimer

Channel Ten

The US Government will review law enforcement’s slow response to the deadly school shooting in Uvalde last week, as President Joe Biden travelled to the small Texas town to grieve with locals.

Fury has mounted over the decision by law enforcement agencies in Uvalde to allow the shooter to remain in a classroom for nearly an hour while officers waited in the hallway and children inside the room made panicked 911 calls for help.

The President and First Lady Jill Biden wiped away tears as they visited memorials at the Robb Elementary School where the gunman killed 19 students and two teachers, laying white roses and paying respects to makeshift shrines to the victims.

“Do something,” a crowd chanted outside Sacred Heart Catholic Church as Biden exited after attending mass.

“We will,” he answered.

The Bidens are also visiting with victims’ families and survivors for several hours before later meeting with first responders.

Police say the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, entered the school on Tuesday with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle after earlier shooting his grandmother, who survived.

Official accounts of how police responded to the shooting have flip-flopped wildly.

The US Department of Justice on Sunday said it would review the local law enforcement response at the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin.

Julian Moreno, a former pastor at Primera Iglesia Bautista and great-grandfather of one of the girls killed, said police made a huge error but that he felt “sorry for them because they have to live with that mistake of just standing by”.

The Uvalde shooting has once again put gun control at the top of the agenda in the US, months ahead of the November midterm elections, with supporters of stronger gun laws arguing that the latest bloodshed represents a tipping point.

Biden has repeatedly called for major reforms to the country’s gun laws but has been powerless to stop mass shootings or convince Republicans that stricter controls could stem the carnage.

The Texas visit is Biden’s third presidential trip to a mass shooting site, including earlier this month when he visited Buffalo, New York, after a gunman killed 10 Black people in a Saturday afternoon attack at a grocery store.

Cricket Australia reveals packed 2022/23 fixture

Adelaide Oval will again host its traditional day-night test on December 8, 2022. Photo Dave Hunt/AAP

Two years of COVID postponements and a Twenty20 World Cup have handed Australia’s cricketers the busiest summer in the country’s history, with Cricket Australia revealing a record 27 men’s fixtures – including an Adelaide Oval pink-ball Test against the West Indies.

Early-season cricket will be played in Townsville and Cairns against Zimbabwe and New Zealand before Australia leave for a three-match Twenty20 series in India.

West Indies and South Africa will visit for a Test series, while the former will join New Zealand and Zimbabwe to play a catch-up white-ball series before the home T20 World Cup that was originally slated for 2020.

Australia then play West Indies and England in a white-ball series either side of the October-November Twenty20 World Cup, with the English to be coached by Australia’s former women’s mentor Matthew Mott.

Notably, the Test summer begins in Perth on November 30 against West Indies, before a pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 8.

Brisbane then hosts the first Test against South Africa on December 17, before Melbourne and Sydney hold the traditional Boxing Day and New Years’ Tests.

The schedule makes for a shift away from the Gabba hosting the first Test of the summer, but means the first two Tests are beamed into the east coast in evening prime-time before the Christmas period begins.

“We are hosting a record six touring nations to Australia this season, in addition to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup,” CA CEO Nick Hockley said.

“We are delighted that Test cricket is coming back to Perth Stadium for the first Test of the summer versus the West Indies, after almost three years without international cricket.

“And we look forward to hosting South Africa over Boxing Day and New Year for the first time since 2008.”

The figure of 27 matches for the men does not include any T20 World Cup warm-up fixtures, or finals games if the defending champions qualify.

The summer therefore easily tops the previous record of 24 matches in 2014-15, which also included a home World Cup in the one-day format.

Meanwhile, Australia’s women play three ODIs and T20s against Pakistan in January, with no Test on the agenda.

They will also tour India for five T20s in December, ahead of the short-form World Cup in South Africa in February.

Australian summer of cricket schedule 2022/23

MEN’S:

ODIs v Zimbabwe:

August 28, 31 and September 3 at Riverway Stadium, Townsville.

ODIs v New Zealand:

September 6, 8 and 11 at Cazalys Stadium, Cairns.

T20s v West Indies:

October 5 and 7 at Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast.

T20s v England:

October 9 at The Gabba, Brisbane; October 12 and 14 at Manuka Oval, Canberra.

ICC T20 World Cup

October 22 v New Zealand at SCG; October 25 v TBA at Perth Stadium; October 28 v England at MCG; October 31 v TBA at The Gabba, Brisbane; November 4 v Afghanistan at Adelaide Oval.

ODIs v England (D/N)

November 17 at Adelaide Oval; November 19 at SCG; November 22 at MCG.

Tests v West Indies

November 30 – December 4 at Perth Stadium; December 8 – December 12 at Adelaide Oval (D/N).

Tests v South Africa

December 17 – December 21: The Gabba, Brisbane; December 26 – December 30 at MCG; January 4 – January 8 at SCG.

ODIs v South Africa

January 12 at Blundstone Arena, Hobart; January 14 at SCG; January 17 at Perth Stadium.

WOMEN’S

ODIs v Pakistan

January 16 and 18 at Allan Border Field, Brisbane; January 21 at North Sydney.

T20s v Pakistan

January 24 at North Sydney; January 27 and 29 at Manuka Oval, Canberra.

– With AAP and Reuters

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