MURKY WATERS

MPs born outside Australia are rushing to prove that they have renounced their citizenship of other countries after the Greens’ remaining co-deputy leader Larissa Waters resigned due to holding Canadian citizenship. The Queensland senator told reporters yesterday that she only found out she was a Canadian citizen after her colleague Scott Ludlam resigned after finding he was ineligible to hold office under section 44 of the constituion, which rules out dual citizens.

Waters was born in Canada to Australian parents and said she believed Canadian citizenship was opt-in instead of opt-out. “I had not renounced since I was unaware that I was a dual citizen. Obviously this is something that I should have sought advice on when I first nominated for the Senate in 2007, and I take full responsibility for this grave mistake and oversight,” she said.

Former PM Tony Abbott released his renunciation documents last Friday, and Labor Senator Sam Dastyari said on social media that he had engaged expensive lawyers to renounce his Iranian citizenship. The Australian has this list of foreign-born MPs, with the dates they renounced their citizenship of other countries. Senator Derryn Hinch, who was born in New Zealand, will make an announcement about his citizenship in Crikey today.

It is expected that former Democrat Andrew Bartlett will replace Waters in the Senate.

TROUBLE AT HOME?

The long-awaited announcement that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will introduce a new mega-department styled after the UK’s Home Office, to be helmed by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, has been met with doubts and questions by experts in the area. ASIO and the AFP will move to Dutton’s new department, while Attorney-General George Brandis will retain the power to sign off on ASIO warrants.

Dennis Richardson, who until recently was head of the Defence Department and has previously headed ASIO, told Fairfax merging the agencies “could give some marginal improvements in relation to what information immigration [officials] might bring”.

“Jury’s out” on the plan, reads the headline in the Australian Financial Review, in which ANU professor John Blaxland called the move “a recipe for mistakes and gross errors”.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER

“He’s just determined to pursue anyone who should be putting their hand in their pocket. He’s had the shits since the election.” That’s an unnamed source, telling the AFR‘s Phillip Coorey that a dinner between PM Malcolm Turnbull and top business figures in Sydney on Monday got quite tense. According to the report the PM lectured those present about not being supportive enough of the government’s agenda — both through vocal support and donations to the Liberal Party. He was reportedly told in turn that the government’s agenda wasn’t all that great for business.

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney: A commemoration for Australian woman Justine Damond, shot dead by a police officer in Minneapolis this week, will be held at Freshwater Beach.

Sydney: Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association will meet again today to try to nut out a new pay deal for the country’s players. How did we get to this point? Here’s our explainer.

Perth: The manslaughter trial for the man accused of killing Kalgoorlie teenager Elijah Doughty by running him down with his ute, sparking a riot, continues today. The accused, who cannot be named, told the court yesterday he “wished” he had not gone looking for stolen motorbikes that day.

Sydney: Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will address the NSW Farmers’ Annual Conference.

Vigils will be held across Australia today, marking four years since then-PM Kevin Rudd announced that no asylum seeker arriving in Australia by boat would settle in Australia. 

THE COMMENTARIAT

Super ministry is a security risk — Michael Wesley (The Australian $): “Britain, the US, France and Belgium have chosen more centralised structures, and the evidence is that their systems do not work as well as ours. Bringing our highly effective agencies into a super-department cannot help but disrupt their inner structures and cultures.

Greens party room dynamics now the issue after citizenship debacle — Laura Tingle (Australian Financial Review $): “The risk for the Greens now is that the splintering in the party’s organisation – particularly around the long-standing and bitter brawls with its NSW wing – increasingly affect its parliamentary wing.”

The neoliberalism of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan has run its course — Ross Gittins (The Age): “Here, you see it in Malcolm Turnbull’s reaction to the failed reform of the national electricity market, with his willingness to impose export restrictions on gas companies, buy Snowy Mountains hydro back from the states and contemplate federal construction of new coal-fired power stations.”

Imran’s story: arriving on Manus was ‘one of the most excruciating days in my life’ — Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque (The Age): “What I remember most is pulling the blanket over my head that first night and crying. I was just 19, I had been separated from my family in Myanmar for four years and I had no idea what was to come.”

A black cop killed an Australian white woman. How does that fit the Black Lives Matter narrative? — Miranda Devine (The Daily Telegraph $): “America’s first black president Barack Obama, was complicit. He and his black attorneys-general Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch and the rest of the American left, encouraged the backlash against police.”

TODAY IN TRUMP

A cornerstone promise of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign lies in ruins today, as Senate Republicans were forced to abandon their current efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reforms. A bill intended to do so has not been able to find enough support in the Republican-majority Senate, and Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s “plan C” — which would repeal Obamacare now and replace it later — also appears dead in the water. — New York Times

THE WORLD

Almost 500 children suffered physical abuse while scores more endured sexual assaults over a six-decade period at a Catholic choir in Germany, a new report has alleged. The Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir was overseen by Georg Ratzinger, the elder brother of former Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger denies wrongdoing but has been accused of turning a blind eye to abuse. — BBC

Hungarian leader Viktor Orban has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vowing to “protect” Jews living in Hungary. Orban has been criticised for praising Hungarian Nazi-collaborators and running a ferocious campaign against billionaire Jewish philanthropist George Soros. While Netanyahu’s representatives in Hungary initially criticised Orban for the Soros campaign, they retracted their comments after an intervention by Netanyahu. — The Guardian

Saudi police have arrested a woman after a viral video depicting her walking around an archaeological site wearing a short skirt and forgoing a cover over her hair provoked intense debate on social media. Though not required to wear the full niqab, Saudi women are forced to cover their hair. — The Telegraph

WHAT WE’RE READING

Barnaby Joyce comes out swinging in GQ interview: ‘Bill Shorten is my greatest enemy’ (GQ): “I have 28 stitches in my head from those days. And yes, I got my front teeth removed by a bloke called Craig Morgan.”

Catalonia’s muted anti-independence voices (Politico): “If you’re not in favor of independence, you’re a traitor and a fascist; that’s the least they call you,” said Josep Borrell, a former candidate for prime minister for Spain’s Socialists. “You probably won’t notice anything in Barcelona, but if you go to a small village in the interior and you’re not pro-independence, you’d better shut up.”

The robots will make the best fake news (Bloomberg): “Technology can create negative externalities– an economics term for harm caused to third parties. When those externalities outweigh the usefulness of the technology itself, invention actually makes the world worse instead of better — at least for a while.”

The biggest threat to journalism isn’t Donald Trump. It’s declining revenues (The Guardian): “Financial woes pose a far greater threat to the news industry than anything Trump says or does. Journalism today is dying because no one has really figured out how to financially support it in a winner-take-all capitalist system.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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