AUSTRALIANS CAUGHT UP IN LONDON ATTACK, MPS REACT

An Australian woman was one of dozens injured in a terror attack in London yesterday, which resulted in seven people killed and three of the terrorists shot dead by police. A total of 12 people were arrested by police yesterday in association with the attack near London Bridge.

It’s the third time in less than three months Britain has experienced a deadly terror incident, and Prime Minister Theresa May said “there is — to be frank — far too much tolerance of extremism in our country” and that “it is time to say ‘enough is enough'”. She used the incident to call for “international agreements that regulate cyberspace”.

In spite of the attack, a concert raising money for the victims of the Manchester bombing went ahead at the Old Trafford cricket ground. The event was headlined by Ariana Grande, who returned to the city less than two weeks after the suicide bombing of her Manchester Arena show, and included some of the world’s biggest pop acts.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari — who is in London on a (self-funded) trip to help UK Labour’s election campaign — was dining with Labour officials in Borough when he heard screaming.

“We heard screaming — you could obviously tell there was an incident and someone starts running past, obviously covered in blood, kind of down the street,” Dastyari told ABC News.

The latest incident has prompted former prime minister Tony Abbott to call for an amendment to the Defence Act to allow the military to take the lead in terrorist incidents, and for more legal protection for shoot-to-kill policies in such incidents. Abbott has joined Liberal colleagues David Fawcett and Andrew Hastie in making the call. Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin last week said he was open to the idea, but said that most terrorist incidents were over in 15 minutes, and the current arrangement was working effectively

CANBERRA RAIDERS FIND SPY FILES

Ahead of tonight’s joint Fairfax-ABC 4 Corners special, Fairfax papers this morning report that when ASIO raided the apartment of Australian-Chinese socialite Sheri Yan in 2015, they found a cache of classified Australian government documents, with allegations that Yan — now in jail over bribery charges — is a spy for the Chinese government. The apartment raided by ASIO was shared with Yan’s partner, former ONA official and diplomat Roger Uren. Fairfax alleges the documents found may have been taken by Uren when he left the ONA in 2001.

HANSON TAPES

The highly damaging leaks of recorded conversations held by the top officials of One Nation has its leader Pauline Hanson setting her sights on the ABC. The Australian reports that Hanson has asked Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to get the Australian Communications and Media Authority to investigate whether the ABC using the tapes is legal, as the party prepares to seek a court injunction to prevent the ABC from reporting any more. Hanson wants evidence that the ABC considered the legality of publishing the recordings. Under legislation in Queensland — where the tapes were recorded — it is legal to record as long as one of the parties to the conversation consents, and it is legal to publish if it is considered to be in the public interest.

NATS, BUSINESS BACK LOW EMISSIONS TARGET

Ahead of the Friday release of chief scientist Alan Finkel‘s report on the state of energy security in Australia,  the Australian Financial Review reports that business groups and the Nationals leadership are backing a Low Emissions Target to replace the Renewable Energy Target. The LET would allow the target to be met by not only renewable energy, but by gas and “ultra clean-coal” powered stations. Business groups want an emissions intensity scheme, but that — along with an emissions reduction scheme — have both been ruled out by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

BUSINESS CONFIDENT ON 457 CHANGES

There may be concessions on the way to ensure CEOs on 457s — like NBN CEO Bill Morrow — will be exempt from the changes to the visa system. Industry groups across the board are making the case for the government to exempt their workers from the more than 400 jobs excluded under the new visa scheme. The concessions are expected to be announced at the end of this month.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Remains found in the Royal National Park in Waterfall confirmed to be that of Matthew Leveson, who disappeared in 2007.

The PM suggests 36,000 jobs could be created in Western Sydney as a result of infrastructure projects such as the second airport at Badgery’s Creek.

Anti-gay controversial tennis great Margaret Court a guest at Liberal Party fundraiser in Melbourne.

Grieving widow denied visa to visit Australia for husband’s funeral.

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney: US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis are in Sydney for the annual AUSMIN talks with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne.

Canberra: Independent and Catholic schools, principals, and the Department of Education will appear before a senate committee looking into the government’s schools funding package.

Melbourne: Rebel Wilson’s defamation trial continues.

Melbourne: Former senator Natasha Stott-Despoja and Chloe Shorten are expected to jointly announce two new projects associated with Our Watch.

Ballarat: A bronze bust of Tony Abbott will be unveiled today. The former PM will be there for the launch at Prime Minister’s Avenue.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Malcolm Turnbull condemns China but has no alternative plan — Hugh White (Australian Financial Review $): “No regional leader — not even Japan’s bellicose PM Shinzo Abe — has ever gone this far before. Turnbull deserves credit for describing the stark challenge that China now poses. And he deserves credit for making clear how much is at stake, and how bad it could be if we end up living under Beijing’s thumb. But he deserves no credit at all for his ideas about how to respond.”

Lower threshold for use of lethal force in terrorist situations — David Fawcett (The Australian $): “Where our agencies have reasonable grounds to believe that they are responding to an act of terror, we should empower them to act proactively and prevent ­unnecessary harm and loss of life, even if this requires the use of ­lethal force.”

Uncertain waters ahead for the Australian economy — Jessica Irvine (The Age): “Perhaps the darkest shadow over the Australian economy is the record low growth in wages, which weighs increasingly on the minds of Australian workers and families. Their homes may be worth more on paper, but there is not a lot of new income coming in the front door.”

Britain has imported the start of a civil war — Andrew Bolt (The Daily Telegraph $): “Britain — like bloodied France — is a warning to us. Yes, we must reach out to the very many law-abiding Muslims who join us in rejecting terrorism. We must not demonise the innocent in our fear of the few. But above all, we must shut the gate.”

TODAY IN TRUMP

Donald Trump has responded to the attack in London by criticising the city’s Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter. “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’,” Trump Tweeted. Khan’s full quote was: “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. No reason to be alarmed.”

WHAT WE’RE READING

Climate change: Why isn’t Nicaragua in the Paris agreement? (BBC): “The country already gets more than half of its energy from renewable resources, and plans to bump that up to 90% by 2020.”

America’s CEOs fall out of love with Trump (Politico): “The relationship between corporate America and Donald Trump’s White House has chilled. The regular parades of business titans into the West Wing are gone … as CEOs grow skittish about public association with a leader who likes to describe himself as the most business-friendly president to ever sit in the Oval Office.”

Welcome to the Machine: inside the secretive world of RT (Moscow Times): “Founded in 2005 as Russia Today, the network was intended to give Western audiences the ‘Russian perspective.’ In 2009, the network rebranded as RT. The renaming broadly coincided with a shift in focus — from promoting Russian news narratives to undermining Western ones. No expense was spared in positioning the channel as an alternative to mainstream media.”

Murrawah Johnson and the Indigenous fight against Adani (The Saturday Paper): “To understand how Murrawah Johnson and the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners’ Council became the strongest barrier against one of the world’s largest coalmines, you have to understand the decision that led Johnson’s grandfather to the edge of the Wondai rubbish tip 60 years ago.”

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Peter Fray
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