BRIGHTON FALLOUT CONTINUES

On day three of the reaction to the Brighton terror incident, the focus has shifted to what the security and law enforcement agencies were doing in the lead up to the attack. The Age reports that the man who killed serviced apartments clerk Kai Hao on Monday, Yacqub Khayre, was recommended to be involved in deradicalisation programs in 2011, but this was rejected by law enforcement agencies. The AFP has denied this, stating it is a matter for the states. The Australian also reports this morning that ASIO had lost track of Khayre, and had to ask the Victorian parole board for his mobile number in May. It could be something to do with ASIO’s workload, which is at more than 400 cases at the moment (The Daily Telegraph has claimed this story as an exclusive, but Attorney-General George Brandis dropped the figure in an interview with 2GB yesterday).

The Daily Telegraph also reports that the NSW Government will today announce that 100 police officers in the riot squad in Sydney will be armed with M4 Colt Carbine weapons as part of the government’s first response to the Lindt cafe siege inquiry.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has also come out and suggested that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull‘s idea that the federal attorney-general should have the final say on parole would be “dangerous”.

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LET IT GO, LET IT GO

After a decade of war between the political parties over climate change, there are signs that there might be peace in our time. Maybe. Ahead of the release of the Finkel Report on the energy sector on Friday, Bluescope Steel CEO Paul O’Malley has told The Australian that the steel giant backs a Low Emissions Target, and follows opposition leader Bill Shorten signalling that Labor would be open to the idea of a well-constructed LET. But, like clockwork, former prime minister Tony Abbott has signaled he may be opposed to an LET, now that it looks like it might actually resolve the divisive political issue.

“The Liberal Party has got to be the party of cheap power, let Labor be the party of expensive power,” he said. Energy businesses want certainty on policy for investment, but it seems unlikely they’re about to get it if Abbott is planning to lead a backbench revolt.

There is also expected to be new rules for renewable energy projects like solar and wind farms, to require them to have storage or back-up energy supplies in the event that there isn’t enough being generated to support the network.

INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS VICTIMS OF ANTI-ADANI CAMPAIGN

Indigenous academic Marcia Langton has used the annual mining industry lecture in Melbourne to state that the Greens and environment groups have delayed the passage of native title reforms in parliament in order to use the current state of the laws in their campaign against the Adani coal mine. Langton says the green groups are presenting “small handful” of Indigenous activists as representing the whole, and often rely on flimsy evidence in their opposition to the project. It wasn’t just the Greens that have delayed the passage of the legislation. The government attempted to bring on the legislation for debate in the senate before the budget estimates period last month and extend the sitting until it was passed, but there were no negotiations with Labor before it made this move, so the vote to extend the sitting never got up. It will return to parliament next week.

ATO WANTS $1 BILLION FROM CHEVRON

Fairfax reports today that due to the interest associated with the $340 million transfer pricing case Chevron lost against the Australian Taxation Office in April, the ATO is claiming Chevron owes the Australian taxpayers over $1 billion in back taxes with interest.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Rushed changes to 457 visa laws are unlawful, say senior migration lawyers.

Man involved in car fire at Australian Christian Lobby HQ pleads not guilty due to mental impairment.

Bernardi calls for ABC to ditch Al Jazeera.

Housing prices the biggest threat to the economy.

WHAT’S ON FOR TODAY

SydneyDirections hearing for Adam Cranston, the son of deputy ATO Commissioner Michael Cranston over the $165 million tax fraud case.

Sydney: Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek to speak at Gerard Henderson‘s Sydney Institute this evening.

Canberra: Hearing for the parliamentary inquiry into research for cancers with low survival rates.

Melbourne: Rebel Wilson defamation trial continues.

St George: One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is at the Isolated Children’s Parents conference in Queensland.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Time fascists were victims instead — Andrew Bolt (Herald Sun $): “I hit the head of one so hard that my knuckles are still tender, and when he was down, legs sprawled apart, I kicked.”

Uluru proposals deserve better than a knee-jerk reaction — Fred Chany (The Age): “Is giving people a chance to be heard so radical? Surely it is a conservative position to want Parliament to look and listen before it makes yet another legislative leap?”

We have word for it: opportunity — Niki Savva (The Australian $): “Malcolm Turnbull will decide [on a reshuffle], but after the Islamist attacks in Manchester, before even London and Brighton, the mood was hardening against delay, with momentum building for action sooner rather than later.”

TODAY IN TRUMP

Former FBI chief James Comey has released a lengthy statement ahead of his highly anticipated testimony before Congress tomorrow. Comey alleges that President Donald Trump demanded his loyalty at one point, and in another meeting asked aides to leave before imploring Comey to drop an investigation into his former National Security advisor Michael Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go,” Trump allegedly said.

Trump also asked Comey to help lift “the cloud” of the FBI’s probe into his presidential campaign. Uncomfortable being left alone with the President, Comey recorded the interactions in a series of memos.

Trump has also announced his new pick for FBI director, unveiling Christopher Wray, a Bush-era Justice Department official who represented Chris Christie as he was investigated over the “Bridgegate” scandal. 

THE WORLD

Twin attacks in the Iranian capital Tehran have left 12 dead after suicide bombers and gunmen struck both the parliament and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini. The powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guards blamed Saudi Arabia for the attack, while the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Such attacks are rare in Iran, and the incident is likely to empower hardliners in the country, to the detriment of recently re-elected President Hassan Rouhani. — Reuters

Iraqi Kurds will hold an independence referendum on September 25. Quasi-official, the vote will be used to pressure the central Iraqi government if it is successful. — BBC

WHAT WE’RE READING

How Donald Trump shifted kids-cancer charity money into his business (Forbes): “In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free — that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.”

The radical crusade of Mike Pence (Rolling Stone): “Pence is the nation’s 48th vice president. Nine vice presidents have assumed the presidency as a result of death or resignation. That’s a 19 per cent ascendancy rate. Between Trump’s trigger-happy Twitter persona, the ethical nightmare of his business empire, his KFC addiction and possible entanglements with Vladimir Putin, I’d say the chances for Mike Pence are more than 50-50.”

Egypt: the new dictatorship (New York Review of Books): “Recent events in Egypt have raised the question of whether the tradeoff General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has offered the Egyptian public — keeping them safe in exchange for an authoritarian state and far-reaching restrictions on civil society — is working.”

The oldest human fossils ever discovered have stories to tell (The New Yorker): “In any case, there was a long period — two hundred thousand years, it now appears — during which ‘human culture’ involved only stone tools, as with pretty much every other Paleolithic hominin. Were we like them, or were they like us? “

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Peter Fray
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