TECH GIANTS TO GIVE SPIES ENCRYPTED DATA

The government will introduce new laws forcing tech giants to unlock and hand over encrypted messages to Australia’s spy agencies, The Daily Telegraph reports. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will announce the new laws today, which will compel companies including Apple, Google and Facebooks to give law enforcement and intelligence agencies messages from private conversations on platforms including WhatsApp and iMessage. The Tele reports the laws would be used in investigations of terrorists and child sex offenders, but not for mass surveillance.

ENERGY MINISTER TO CLASH AT COAG MEET

State and federal energy ministers are expected to clash today as they meet in Brisbane for an energy council meeting. Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg yesterday warned the states against going alone on a Clean Energy Target, as the Victorian government unveiled a $146 million commitment to clean energy, The Age reports. Industry leaders are pushing the federal government to take control, and Frydenberg will demand Victoria and the Northern Territory lift their bans on gas exploration, according to The Australian. The Australian Financial Review reports that states are divided over the creation of a new body to monitor energy market reliability and security issues — a recommendation of the Finkel review.

BARNABY JOYCE HITS BACK AT LIBERAL INFIGHTING

Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has hit out at his Liberal colleagues over their infighting. In an interview with Guardian Australia, Joyce said the internal arguments were unhelpful, pushing supporters towards One Nation and sending the message that the party was a “philosophers’ club”. Joyce will address the Liberal National Party convention in Queensland this weekend, and said he thought the sniping would hurt the party’s chances in the State.

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THE COMMENTARIAT

Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten stand for nothing but winning — John Hewson (The Age): “Turnbull is obviously struggling to improve his poll standing, but he won’t help it by a race to the bottom with Abbott… He could start by cleaning up politics – campaign funding, lobbying, parliament, party preselections, a national Independent Commission Against Corruption, and so on.”

Patriotic trolling: how governments endorse hate campaigns against critics — Carly Nyst (Guardian Australia): “The attack against Abdel-Magied resembles others we have documented against journalists in China, Finland and India; like the Australian writer, those journalists were likewise sent death threats, rape threats and videos of beheadings.”

How injecting rooms will save lives in Richmond and Abbotsford — Judy Ryan (Herald Sun $): “Locals don’t stigmatise and call people who use drugs ‘junkies’. We know these people. We talk to them. We hear about their lives, how unexpected life events have quickly taken them down an unexpected path. They are professionals, tradies, young people from supportive families.”

TODAY IN TRUMP

Donald Trump has left open the prospect that the US could rejoin the Paris climate accords. In a joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron, the US president gave a characteristically vague response to questions, saying: “Let’s see what happens.”

Following the pair’s meeting, Trump also defended his eldest son, Donald Jr, for taking a meeting after being promised dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of Russian efforts to support his campaign. “Most people would have taken that meeting,” Trump said.

Trump’s administration is also reported to be mulling a new round of sanctions on small Chinese banks that do business with North Korea, an effort to pressure both states over North Korea’s missile program.

THE WORLD

Chinese pro-democracy advocate, intellectual, and Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo has died at the age of 61, while still under military guard. Widely admired for his “no enemies” philosophy, Liu turned to activism at the time of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and was jailed after co-drafting a 2008 charter calling for an end to one-party rule in China. Friends and supporters hit out at the Chinese government and said it had failed to allow him access to adequate medical care. — The Guardian

Allegations of human rights violations are being raised against Iraqi soldiers as they clear the last Islamic State soldiers from Mosul. Iraq’s government is now investigating a video that purportedly shows soldiers throwing unarmed men off a cliff, while Human Rights Watch has alleged executions are being carried out with impunity. — BBC 

WHAT WE’RE READING

Liu Xiaobo’s death holds a message for China (The Economist): “Yet there are good reasons why Western leaders should speak out loudly for China’s dissidents all the same. For one thing, it is easy to exaggerate China’s ability to retaliate—especially if the West acts as one. The Chinese economy depends on trade. Even for little Norway, the economic impact of the spat was limited. For another, speaking out challenges Mr Xi in his belief that jailing peaceful dissenters is normal.”

Doomsday scenarios are as harmful as climate change denial (Washington Post): “The evidence that climate change is a serious challenge that we must tackle now is very clear. There is no need to overstate it, particularly when it feeds a paralyzing narrative of doom and hopelessness … fear does not motivate, and appealing to it is often counter-productive as it tends to distance people from the problem, leading them to disengage, doubt and even dismiss it.”

Why you will one day have a chip in your brain (Wired): “Implanting a microchip inside the brain to augment its mental powers has long been a science fiction trope. Now, the brain computer interface is suddenly the hot new thing in tech.”

Why society hates entrepreneurs (Reason): “Many Americans do not view wealth as something created by individuals, but as a naturally occurring, spontaneously generated resource unfairly hoarded by capitalists. Successful entrepreneurs are dark forces in this worldview, because they took so much more, presumably from other people. But you don’t build a prosperous society demonizing success.”

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Brisbane: Council of Australian Governments energy council will consider the Finkel report.

Melbourne: Miss World Australia national final/crowning ceremony

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Peter Fray

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