BRIGHTON SIEGE PUTS FOCUS ON PAROLE
“How was he on parole?” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said of Yacqub Khayre, the Somalian refugee shot dead by police in Brighton, Victoria yesterday after taking a sex worker hostage and killing the receptionist who worked in the serviced apartments. The Herald Sun reports that Khayre had a long history of thefts and assaults, and setting fire to prisons. The Age reports that Khayre was charged and acquitted over plans for a suicide attack on the Holsworthy army barracks, and he was considered a “peripheral player” in an anti-terror investigation. He was released on parole in December 2016, despite reportedly little belief he could be rehabilitated.
The Victorian opposition is calling on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to resign over the incident, but Andrews accused them of grandstanding, pointing out that Khayre was sentenced under the former Liberal state government. Turnbull has said that parole laws would be a focus of Friday’s Council of Australian Governments meeting, and The Australian reports that the PM will push for uniform parole laws across Australia.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten focused his attention on internet giants Twitter, Google, and Facebook, calling for “big internet” to step in and fight terrorism online.
ADANI GETS NOD, NEEDS CASH
The $16.5 billion Adani coal mine in Queensland has the green light after seven years of court cases and approvals processes. The Courier-Mail reports that some of those alleged thousands of jobs that the project will bring to the region will come very soon, with Downer Group and AECOM commencing mine development and the rail link, and Adani’s regional headquarters to be set up in Townsville.
There is still a $3.3 billion funding hole that Adani will need to fill before the first stage of the mine is complete, including the $1 billion the mining giant wants from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund. Environment groups have told The Australian they will amp up pressure to sway the NAIF against giving the loan to Adani. NAIF should make its decision before the end of this year.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was fired up after being inundated with questions by a journalist at an event yesterday over Labor Senator Sam Dastyari‘s lobbying on the behalf of a Chinese donor to the Labor party. Shorten said Dastyari had paid the price over his “indiscretion” last year in resigning from the shadow ministry. Turnbull said that Dastyari still had questions to answer, while 4 Corners also revealed that former Coalition minister Andrew Robb walked out from parliament into an $880,000-per year part time consulting job with a Chinese billionaire. Both Labor and the Coalition support a ban on foreign political donations, but the government has yet to introduce any legislation into parliament to support this policy since Turnbull announced it at the National Press Club at the start of this year.
Part of what still needs to be worked out will be whether foreign donations will be banned for third party organisations — like GetUp, or environment groups, or the Institute of Public Affairs — as well as political parties.
THE NUMBER TO REMEMBER: $18.29
That’s the new hourly rate for the minimum wage. The Fair Work Commission yesterday ordered a 3.3% rise in the minimum wage of $0.59 per hour to $18.29 per hour — or $22.20 extra per week. It is much less than the $45 per week sought by unions, and the Fair Work Commission said that research has said that modest and regular increases in wages do not increase unemployment, and yet some are still crying poor, claiming that the increase will cost jobs. One expert quoted in the AFR suggests that the Fair Work Commission is engaged in “magic pudding talk“. ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said that the decision showed the system was broken and would keep people who are working in poverty.
HE REALLY SAID THAT
“Well, Islamophobia hasn’t killed anyone. Islamist terrorism has now killed tens of thousands of people, that’s why it is absolutely critical that there be the strongest possible response at every level.” — Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Security agencies have said the former PM should know better, and it comes just after Islamophobia resulted in the murder of two men on a train in Portland.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
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Xenophon urges GetUp deputy chair to quit Press Council.
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Sydney: Prince Harry is in Sydney to launch the Invictus Games.
Sydney: The final day of Eddie Obeid‘s appeal hearing will be held.
Canberra: Former US Director of Intelligence James Clapper to deliver a speech at the National Press Club.
Melbourne: Education minister Simon Birmingham to deliver a speech at the Parent Engagement Conference.
Brisbane: A protest by doctors and students against CBA investing in the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine is planned.
Perth: AMEC Mining Conference gets underway.
Adani’s trick of the ‘green light’ — Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review $): “My concern is that the economics of this mine and rail project appear to be so shaky that the two proponents (yes, there are two) require direct taxpayer funding in the form of a large, long, low-cost loan from the Commonwealth and a generous, cash-flow sustaining, royalty concession by the state.”
Fair Work Commission shows caution on minimum wage ruling — Ewin Hannan (The Australian $): “Neither unions nor employers are happy at the commission continuing its practice of splitting the difference between their competing claims.”
If major party politicians want to avoid oblivion they will embrace donation reform — Nick O’Malley (The Age): “Each year the same handful of industries and interest groups — developers, gambling, unions, resources, tobacco and pharmaceuticals chief among them — pour buckets of money over our politicians while they continue to insist it has no affect on how they run their diaries or departments.”
Faux Muslim leaders worse than no leaders at all — Janet Albrechtsen (The Australian $): “If you’re not familiar with Khan, picture Waleed Aly.”
TODAY IN TRUMP
Donald Trump has bragged about his role in moving Saudi Arabia to diplomatically isolate US ally Qatar. “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” he tweeted. “Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!”
The brag has put Trump at odds with his Secretaries of State and Defence, as well as the Pentagon, which has a key airbase in the now isolated Gulf country from which attacks on the Islamic State are launched. Qatar has often been accused of funding violent Islamist groups in the region — but so too has Saudi Arabia.
A man has been shot by police outside Notre Dame cathedral in Paris after hitting an officer with a hammer and yelling “this is for Syria”. Holidaying families were forced to shelter inside the building as the incident took place. French prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation. — Reuters
A 25-year-old American has been charged after allegedly leaking documents to news website The Intercept. Reality Leigh Winner was arrested before the website published the resulting story, which detailed an attack by Russian hackers targeting US election officials. It is the first leak prosecution since Donald Trump became president. — Washington Post
“Rideshare” service Uber has fired more than 20 staff after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. The company has been on the defensive since a blog post aired allegations about poor treatment of women in the workplace. Senior executives are thought to be among those dismissed. — Bloomberg
WHAT WE’RE READING
Top-secret NSA report details Russian hacking effort days before 2016 election (The Intercept): “The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into US voting systems than was previously understood.”
Qatar crisis: This is why Saudi Arabia and its allies have suddenly cut ties to their Sunni Arab neighbour (The Independent): “Under Mr Trump, the degree of protection it can expect from the US is uncertain and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, eager to secure his own path to the Saudi throne, cannot afford a failure. He may even want to go the limit and eliminate Qatar as an independent state, the first time this has happened in the Gulf since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.”
We found Mike Flynn’s secret Twitter account (Daily Beast): “In March 2015, zulutym tweeted a picture at Flynn Jr. ‘The ability to speak multiple languages is an asset, but the ability to keep your mouth shut in any language is priceless,’ the image’s caption read.”
Popular people live longer (New York Times): “Research suggests that despite the great temptations to gain status, those who achieve it ultimately experience greater unhappiness and dissatisfaction, while those who are likable have far greater satisfaction and success.”
How being a news junkie makes you racist (Ozy): “We all have that racist aunt, or that friend who says questionable things about the news without really understanding what’s going on. But staying well-informed helps the masses understand nuance and avoid the prejudices of ignorance, right? Not so fast. Recent research suggests that the more news you watch, the more Islamophobic you become.”
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