WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will address the National Press Club today, pushing the government’s plan to cut the company tax rate and a new plan to change the childcare rebate. In previews of the speech released to the media, Turnbull says:

“Years of research — much of it commissioned by the previous Labor government – has revealed a less obvious but very important truth: company tax is overwhelmingly a tax on workers and their salaries.That is why, if we had a 25% business tax rate today, full-time workers on average weekly earnings would have an extra $750 in their pockets each and every year.”

Turnbull will also accuse Labor of wanting to increase electricity prices.

Canberra: The Australian Electoral Commission will today release the donations declarations for the major federal political parties for the 2015-16 financial year, revealing what donations were made during last year’s election campaign. The big question is how much of his personal wealth Turnbull tipped into Liberal Party coffers, but any donations made in the final days of the campaign — the disclosures cover up until June 30, and the election was on July 2 — will stay out of public view for another year. If the system sounds flawed to you, that’s because it is — Crikey‘s Bernard Keane explains why here.

Western Australia: The writs in the WA state election, scheduled for March 11, will be issued. Liberal Premier Colin Barnett will be attempting to hold onto government in the face of concerted efforts by Labor and One Nation.

Melbourne: The AFL will launch the new women’s competition today, ahead of the opening match of the inaugural season on Friday night.

PREGNANT REFUGEE’S CONDITION WORSENS

A pregnant refugee on Nauru is in further danger by continuing her pregnancy after being diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, BuzzFeed reports. Doctors have recommended the 37-year-old Kuwaiti woman, known as Dee (not her real name), who is 37 weeks pregnant, be transferred to Australia for an emergency cesarean section, as her baby is in the breech position and she has a large fibroid on the wall of her uterus. Labor, the Greens and Doctors for Refugees have all called for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to move the woman to Australia without delay, but the Department says it doesn’t comment on individual cases. The woman has been told she should prepare to give birth on Nauru.

ONE NATION CANDIDATE: SINGLE MUMS ‘TOO LAZY’

Yet another One Nation candidate has been shown to have some skeletons in the closet. This time the ABC’s Joseph Dunstan has revealed the party’s candidate for the Pilbara David Archibald in 2015 called for welfare to single mothers to be ended, because they were “too lazy to attract and hold a mate”:

“These are women too lazy to attract and hold a mate, undoing the work of possibly 3 million years of evolutionary pressure.

“This will result in a rapid rise in the portion of the population that is lazy and ugly.

“We know what causes pregnancy these days, so everyone who gets pregnant outside of marriage is a volunteer. This is an easy one for defunding.”

Labor MP Anthony Albanese told the ABC he found the comments personally offensive. The seat of Pilbara is held by Nationals’ leader Brendon Grylls, and Crikey‘s William Bowe wrote last week the seat is one of One Nation’s best hopes to snatch a lower house seat.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Turnbull’s dilemma is a dream script for Shorten — Paul Kelly (The Australian $): “Trump is going to take Australian conservatism to the killing ground at the same time as our deluded conservatives, intoxicated by Trump euphoria, think they are riding high and their saviour’s impact will sweep across this country.”

Donald Trump’s ban puts Turnbull in a bind over refugees — Elaine Pearson (The Age): “If Turnbull doesn’t want to let Australia’s foreign policy be continually hijacked by immigration concerns, then the best way is to treat all refugees and asylum seekers humanely and according to law – that means ending offshore processing and not relying on the goodwill of other countries.”

How to make the company tax cut plan achievable — Innes Willox (Australian Financial Review $): “Rather than persisting with legislating the full plan, only the initial tranche could be put to the Parliament. This would see the 27.5 per cent phase in only for micro, small and medium-sized companies.”

THE WORLD

European Council President Donald Tusk has warned fellow leaders of the European Union that Donald Trump poses a threat to their organisation, along with Russia, China and radical Islam. Tusk said the EU was facing the greatest challenge in its history at a forum where members will debate how the EU should engage with the new US administration. Some members have privately expressed the need for caution in order to avoid alienating a key ally. — Reuters 

Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, has been charged with six counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder after allegedly opening fire at a mosque in Quebec City during evening prayer. Bissonnette is yet to enter a plea, but a profile of him is slowly emerging as young man with right-wing and ultra nationalist views who supported politicians like Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen. “Make no mistake,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday, “this was a terrorist attack.” — The Guardian

The crisis facing French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has escalated after police raided his parliamentary office and further claims emerged about the alleged impropriety of his wife. Picked by the centre-right Republican Party as their candidate in this year’s election, Fillon has lost ground after allegedly employing his wife as a parliamentary staff member in spite of the fact she did not perform work for him. That has allowed far-right candidate Marine Le Pen to jump into the lead in the polls, with centrist Emmanuel Macron drawing level with Fillon. It is expected Macron either would beat Le Pen in a final round run-off. — BBC

WHAT WE’RE READING

When gangs killed gay men for sport: Australia reviews 88 deaths (New York Times): “During the 1980s and 1990s, the Australian authorities now say, gangs of teenagers in Sydney hunted gay men for sport, sometimes forcing them off the cliffs to their deaths. But the police, many of whom had a reputation for hostility toward gay men, often carried out perfunctory investigations that overlooked the possibility of homicide, former officials and police officers say.”

The psychology of why 94 deaths from terrorism are scarier than 301,797 deaths from guns (Quartz): “The blanket coverage of the Sept. 11th attacks successfully seared the images of terrorism on our brains; shootings, which happen every day and—with the exception of a few mass shootings—are largely ignored, have less of an effect.”

You can fool some of the people (Meanjin): “Why, ultimately, would sections of the populace plump for a man who many others believe could bring the world to the brink of nuclear war? Because many such people believe, with good reason, that the world is out to kill them as a class.”

Glamorous, intelligent Ivanka Trump is a mitigating agent for a sadistic, fascist regime (Slate): “Ivanka spent her glamorous Saturday night at the annual dinner of the Alfalfa Club, an organization founded to commemorate the birthday of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. She represented her father’s administration at the gala while lawyers spent all night fighting for clients who were unlawfully detained.”

Steve Bannon’s long love affair with war (The Daily Beast): “’This is literally the most terrifying thing that’s ever happened,’ a former Hollywood associate of Bannon’s (who requested anonymity for fear of retribution, describing Bannon as “vindictive”) told The Daily Beast when discussing the new national-security position.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

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