It’s been a long time coming, but Eddie Obeid has spent his first night in jail. Yesterday the corrupt former Labor powerbroker was sentenced to five years’ jail with a three-year non-parole period for misconduct in public office.

Who else should you read on this but the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Walkley award-winning team that exposed the story?

“Among the most crooked politicians in NSW history, Obeid featured prominently in a string of corruption inquiries exposing a complex web of business dealings. But it was, as Justice Beech-Jones observed in a lengthy judgment, ‘effectively … a single telephone call’ to a senior bureaucrat in August 2007 that saw him jailed on Thursday.”

The Australian writes:

“At 1pm yesterday, Edward Moses Obeid took off his watch, emptied his pockets and stepped from the court dock into custody — completing a descent from godfather of NSW politics, replete with north shore mansion, to resident of a remand cell at Sydney’s ­Silverwater jail.”


Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has chastised China (without naming the country) after new images show China appears to have placed weapons on several of the man-made islands in the South China Sea. Bishop said: “The building of artificial islands and the possible militarisation is creating an environment of tension and mistrust between claimants and other regional states,” after the Centre for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative released satellite the images, which appear to be anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapons.


Could an Australian republic become a reality? Fairfax reports today that a minimum of 81 members of the House of Representatives and 40 members of the Senate are in favour of becoming a republic, and that opposition leader Bill Shorten has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the issue. Turnbull is due to address the Australian Republican Movement’s 25th anniversary dinner tomorrow night, and the new figures come from the ARM. Shorten wrote to Turnbull: “It’s time you and I started talking about how we can lay out a clear process and timetable for success.” Even conservative MPs like George Christensen, Kevin Andrews and Michael Sukkar have expressed support for a republic, but with caveats. ARM claims just 11 MPs and 15 senators are monarachists (58 MPs and 21 senators are undeclared), which doesn’t help claims by the Australian Monarchist League that Turnbull’s speech was going to divide Parliament.


Australians may struggle to illegally download Game of Thrones next year after the Federal Court ruled that file-sharing sites such as the Pirate Bay should be blocked, in accordance with the requests of requests by copyright holders. Crikey‘s Josh Taylor will have more on the judgment later today.


Perth: Coroner Ros Fogliani will hand down her findings into the death in custody of Yamatji woman Ms Dhu and the application for the release of the CCTV footage of her last hours in custody. It’s been a long wait for the findings to be handed down, writes The Guardian‘s Calla Wahlquist, in a compelling account of Ms Dhu’s death and the struggle for justice over Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Melbourne: The ANZ bank AGM is today.

Sydney: A judgment is expected in the appeal of convicted insider trader Oliver Curtis. The high-profile banker has appealed his conviction for insider trading and is hoping to be out of jail by Christmas.

Adelaide: South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis will hand down the state government’s mid-year budget review.

Brisbane: Day two of the first Test between Australia and Pakistan, and the Aussies will begin the day in a good position after finishing yesterday at 3-288 with Steve Smith on 110 not out and Peter Handscomb on 64 not out.


Pushing Turnbull to the Right would hurt the Coalition — David Crowe (The Australian $): “The eagerness to chatter about secondary issues, especially the ones that galvanise the social conservatives, tells voters the government is consumed by ideological squabbles. Shorten exploits this with barely any effort.”

Big issues out of Malcolm Turnbull’s reach — Michelle Grattan (The Conversation): “The republic, same-sex marriage and Indigenous recognition are all causes in which Turnbull believes. Yet each remains out of his reach.”

Good debt? Hopefully this means the end of the dumbest economic narrative of our times — Greg Jericho (Guardian Australia): “For now all sides operate within an environment where debt is essentially a black hole able to be labelled as good or bad depending on political whims. Our economic debate would be much better served if – as with annual government expenditure – we were able to break down what the government debt is for and what the annual debt repayments are paying off.”

To succeed with Bowraville retrial, crown must overturn legal cornerstone — Dan Box (The Australian $): “Prosecution lawyers must now argue they have this evidence, then ask the court to do something it has not done before: overturn an ­acquittal for murder — not once, but twice in the same day. It will not be an easy fight.”


A planned evacuation of the ever-shrinking rebel-held section of Aleppo has taken place, with a convoy of buses and ambulances removing at least 1000 people. Rebels and their families have been allowed to flee to Idlib, an area dominated by Islamist rebel groups. — Reuters

The European Union will extend its sanctions against Russia for a further six months. The sanctions were initiated in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea and then backed separatist rebels. The decision is reportedly not related to Russia’s role in the Syrian conflict. — New York Times / AP

Facebook will pair with independent fact-checking outlets to help stop the spread of “fake news” across its platform. The company was criticised during the 2016 US election for allowing false stories, often favouring Donald Trump, to reach massive audiences. The site will now work with third-party groups to identify potentially false news stories, label them “disputed”, and then reduce their prominence. — Vox

India’s highest court has banned the sale of alcohol along public highways in an effort to remove “temptation” and limit drink driving. More than 146,000 people die in traffic accidents in India each year, though just 5% of accidents were caused by the use of drugs or alcohol. — BBC


How Clinton lost Michigan — and blew the election (Politico): “Michigan operatives relay stories like one about an older woman in Flint who showed up at a Clinton campaign office, asking for a lawn sign and offering to canvass, being told these were not ‘scientifically’ significant ways of increasing the vote, and leaving, never to return. A crew of building trade workers showed up at another office looking to canvass, but, confused after being told there was no literature to hand out like in most campaigns, also left and never looked back.”

Uber said it protects you from spying. Security sources say otherwise (Reveal News): “For anyone who’s snagged a ride with Uber, Ward Spangenberg has a warning: Your personal information is not safe.”



Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey