EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT: THE ESSENDON PLANE CRASH

The five people killed in a fiery plane crash at Essendon airport yesterday have been identified as Australian pilot Max Quartermain and four American tourists heading to King Island on a golf trip.

  • Three of the four Americans have been named as Greg DeHaven, Glenn Garland and Russell Munsch.
  • The final moments of the Beechcraft B200 King Air have been mapped by the Herald Sun, with the plane shown to have sent out a mayday alert one minute after take-off, before turning and crashing into the DFO shopping centre. Authorities say the aircraft suffered a “catastrophic engine failure”.
  • The Age reports pilot Quartermain was under investigation from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau over a “near collision” at Mount Hotham in 2015. He has also been remembered as a “true gentleman” and had 40 years of flying experience.
  • The crash has also raised concerns about development around suburban airports, with an aviation expert saying if the DFO weren’t on airport land the plane “would have come down on the airport estate”. 

LABOR TO GO WITH BUFFETT RULE?

Labor Left is pushing for high-income earners to pay more tax, The Sydney Morning Herald reports today. The idea, which has been labelled a “Buffett rule” after US rich lister Warren Buffett, is said to be an answer to populist parties like One Nation. Mandatory minimum tax rates for high earners could mean that people above a certain annual income pay more tax than they currently do. Heath Aston writes:

“The Buffett rule, which is designed to end the relentless pursuit of tax loopholes by corporate advisers on behalf of wealthy clients, is named after American tycoon Warren Buffett who once remarked that it was a nonsense that his secretary paid a higher percentage of income tax than him simply because he could afford better accounting advice.”

It’s not a done deal though; the idea has opposition within the ranks of Labor Right.

AMBER HARRISON CASE

Seven’s injunction against former employee Amber Harrison was extended by Justice Robert McDougall yesterday, even after media companies teamed up to get the gag order quashed. The court heard Harrison, who says she was unfairly targeted by the company after having an affair with CEO Tim Worner, made email threats to “destroy” Worner. The Guardian‘s Amanda Meade writes:

“According to emails produced by Seven sent by Harrison after the affair with Worner was over, Harrison said she would unleash a ‘reign of terror’ aimed at ‘finishing’ Worner, a married man with four children.”

The injunction was extended until March 3, although Seven asked for an permanent ban on Harrison releasing documents on Twitter.

MEDICAL CANNABIS LEGAL TO SELL

The sale of medical cannabis to assist Australians with severe illnesses will be legalised, Health Minister Greg Hunt will announce today. The Daily Telegraph reports in an exclusive that companies will be able to legally sell cannabis oils and medications, meaning waiting times for those in severe pain will be slashed. Although the use of medical cannabis for those with illnesses such as cancer and motor neurone disease was legalised last year, without a legal local market, those with prescriptions to access the drug had to import the products or use the black market. Hunt said: “We have listened to the concerns of patients and their families that are having difficulty accessing the product while domestic production becomes available.”

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Australia today, holding bilateral talks with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Kirribilli House. Turnbull will be hoping Netanyahu opens a copy of The Australian while he’s here; our PM has criticised the United Nations over the body’s resolutions on Israel, writing:

“My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticising Israel of the kind recently adopted by the UN Security Council and we deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimise the Jewish state.”

Sydney: Fairfax will release its half-yearly financial results this morning, after the company went in to a trading halt yesterday in preparation for an announcement today about real estate arm Domain. The move to sell off Domain has been received well by some major investors, the Oz reports (“Wait, didn’t you say this yesterday?” I hear you asking. Yes I did — I was just too keen and went a day early. Sometimes you can love reporting season too much.)

Washington: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will meet with Vice President Mike Pence.

Sydney: Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe will address the Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum.

Sydney: Woolworths and Coca-Cola Amatil are among companies releasing their hair-yearly financial results.

Adelaide: Final T20 between Australia and Sri Lanka.

THE COMMENTARIAT  

Welcome, Mr Netanyahu: the first Israeli PM to visit Australia — Malcolm Turnbull (The Australian $): “Israel is a miraculous nation. It has flourished despite invasion, conflict and an almost complete lack of natural resources, other than the determination and genius of its people.”

A real friend of Israel would stand up for Palestinian rights — Stuart Rees (The Age): “The Australian and Israeli governments have much in common. Each seems determined to not care much for international law and to care even less about the suffering of Palestinians.”

The difference between Malcolm Turnbull and Justin Trudeau — Jennifer Hewett (Australian Financial Review $): “Despite the same loss of manufacturing jobs, sluggish growth, growing deficits and a resource-based economy, Trudeau remains popular – if with a few more dints on his shiny image.”

We need to stamp out ‘tanking’ in business — Andrew Leigh (The Age): “The spread of phoenix activity throughout Australia hurts decent small businesses. It hurts the people who worked for the failed company and the suppliers and subcontractors who worked with them. It also hurts honest taxpayers, who have to shell out more when some people don’t pay their fair share.”

TODAY IN TRUMP

The Department of Homeland Security has released the first details on how Donald Trump‘s anti-immigration positions will be converted into public policy. Undocumented immigrants with any criminal conviction will now be prioritised for removal, as will those who have been in the country for less than two years. Previously, only serious criminals had been prioritised for removal.

Trump has spoken out against anti-Semitism today after failing to mention Jews in remarks on International Holocaust Day and berating a reporter from a Jewish newspaper who tried to ask a question about anti-Semitism. Trump said recent anti-Semitic threats targeting Jewish community centres were “a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil”.

THE WORLD

The CIA has temporarily suspended support to a number of rebel groups in Syria. The decision came in the wake of Islamist attacks on rebel groups in the northwest of the country and is thought to have been caused by concerns that weapons and ammunition could fall into the wrong hands. — Reuters

An Israeli soldier who was caught on camera shooting an incapacitated Palestinian has received the lightest possible sentence and will serve 18 months in prison. Elor Azaria was charged with manslaughter after he killed an injured Palestinian man who had just stabbed a fellow Israeli soldier. The case has proved highly divisive in Israel, with far-right politicians calling for Azaria to be pardoned. — Haaretz

Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has cancelled a meeting with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti after refusing to wear a headscarf. While Le Pen insisted she had not realised she would be asked to wear one in advance, a spokesperson for the Grand Mufti said this was not true. — CNN

Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe has marked his 93rd birthday by vowing to cling to power and praising US President Donald Trump. Despite laughing off reports of his poor health the nonagenarian is thought to be grooming his 51-year-old wife, Grace, to succeed him. — The Guardian

WHAT WE’RE READING 

This century is broken (New York Times): “The 21st century is looking much nastier and bumpier: rising ethnic nationalism, falling faith in democracy, a dissolving world order.”

A journey through Assad’s Syria (Spiegel Online): “There is a Syrian saying: If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth. A trip through Syria, accompanied by Bashar Assad‘s minders, shows that the true opinions of many Syrians are hidden behind fear, and that the suffering of the other side is being ignored. It shows that the Assad regime may be able to win the war, but that it is creating little room for reconciliation.”

Canada is betting on a universal basic income to help cities gutted by manufacturing job loss (Quartz): “Of all the ideas to pull people out of poverty, one of the more contentious is also the simplest: governments should just hand out monthly checks to the poor, no strings attached. That’s exactly what the Canadian province of Ontario plans to do, and it’s already causing a ruckus.”

Trump & the press: a murder-suicide pact (Medium): “Am I giving up on journalism and democracy? No, damnit, not yet. I am giving up on mass media. The internet wounded it; Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump finally killed it.”

The secret U.S. army study that targets Moscow (Politico): “A decade ago, McMaster fought a pitched battle inside the Pentagon for a new concept of warfare to address the threat from Islamist terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan, Iraq and other trouble spots. Now, his new mission is more focused. Target: Moscow.”

 Correction: Yesterday we wrote former US national security adviser Mike Flynn had been forced out of his job following accusations of domestic violence. This was incorrect — the accusation was of lying to the Vice-President about a phone call with Russian officials. 

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

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