DISCOVERY SHOWS ABORIGINAL PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA LONGER THAN FIRST THOUGHT

The timeline of Aboriginal life in Australia has been altered after archaeologists in Jabiru in the Northern Territory found evidence that shows Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for 65,000 years, longer than previously thought. The discovery of stone axes also shows how sophisticated Australia’s indigenous people were compared to other communities around the world at that time.

The findings from the discovery of 11,000 artefacts at the site in Kakadu national park are published in the Nature journal today, and lead author Chris Clarkson, associate professor at the University of Queensland, says in The Guardian the discovery changes many assumptions scientists had about Aboriginal people in Australia.

“People got here much earlier than we thought, which means of course they must also have left Africa much earlier to have traveled on their long journey through Asia and south-east Asia to Australia.”

LAWYER: COPS COULD HAVE FEARED AMBUSH BEFORE SHOOTING JUSTINE

Questions remain around the death of Australian woman Justine Damond, who was shot dead by police officer Mohamed Noor in the US city of Minneapolis earlier this week. The transcript of the 911 call Damond made has been released, showing that she called authorities out of fear someone was being assaulted in the laneway outside her house. The officer who fired he shots has refused to give a statement, but lawyer Fred Bruno, who represents the other officer who answered the call, Matthew Harrity, says it is reasonable for officers to worry that they could be ambushed when answering a 911 call. “It was only a few weeks ago when a female NYPD cop and mother of twins was executed in her car in a very similar scenario,” he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Other reports say the police officers were “startled by a loud sound” as Damond approached the car, wearing her pyjamas and holding her mobile phone.

SCOMO: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME

Treasurer Scott Morrison will tell a conference today that Australia’s economy is doing well and that confidence is rising in Australia’s businesses. 

“There is clear momentum starting to build again within our economy, a sign that confidence is rising within boardrooms, on shop floors and around kitchen tables across the country,” an advance copy of the speech says. He will also defend his May budget against accusations that government spending is too high (Crikey‘s Alan Austin has written this week that ScoMo is a worse treasurer than Joe Hockey).

“Since we were first elected, and over the budget and forward estimates, our annual average spending growth is less than 2% (after allowing for inflation),” he will say.

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will address the Economic and Social Outlook Conference at the University of Melbourne. Social Services Minister Christian Porter, Treasurer Scott Morrison and Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg are also speaking at the conference.

Melbourne: The State Coroner Judge Sara Hinchey will open the inquest into the deaths of six people killed when a car was driven through Bourke Street Mall this year.

Broome: The hearings investigating a spate of youth suicides in the Aboriginal community in the Kimberley continues today.

Sydney: Unemployment figures for June are due to be released today.

Derby, England: Australia’s women’s cricket team takes on India in the semi-final for the Cricket World Cup to decide who will take on England in the final. Broadcast of the match starts at 7.30pm AEST on 9Go.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Barnaby Joyce, Peter Dutton pin their hopes on Turnbull — Niki Savva (The Australian $): “Joyce is in there up to his armpits defending Turnbull and urging the restless warriors to shut up and get a grip, because he knows if Turnbull goes down they all do. That puts him in the vanguard of the wagons circling to protect the Prime Minister. So is Peter Dutton, and for roughly the same reason. Dutton’s own leadership prospects are also best served by Turnbull’s survival and a Coalition victory in 2019.”

Losing Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters no joke for the Greens — Judith Ireland (The Age): “The Greens have a preference for delegating responsibility to portfolio holders, but this decentralised model may no longer work with a reduced talent pool.”

Section 44 of Constitution must change after Larissa Waters, Scott Ludlam resign — Ian Holland (The Age): “The insignificance of citizenship as an influence on loyalty is obvious from Australia’s own history. Those times when foreign influence might have posed any threat to the integrity of our politics, it has been entirely home-grown.”

Giving Peter Dutton control of security agencies seems to be about keeping Malcolm Turnbull in power — Andrew Bolt (The Daily Telegraph $): “Liberals may be sorry one day. What if the minister in charge of every big security agency, hogging the information, is not Dutton but Labor’s Tanya Plibersek?”

TODAY IN TRUMP

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump had a second, previously unreported private conversation during the G20, at which only a Russian translator was present. The interaction took place at a leaders’ dinner and lasted as long as an hour. While it is not known what was discussed, the White House has characterised the exchange as “pleasantries and small talk”.

THE WORLD

A Thai court has handed down convictions for dozens of people linked to the human trafficking rings that left migrants buried in shallow graves and held them captive in the jungle. The discovery of mass graves in 2015 sparked a crackdown, initially led by General Paween Pongsirin before he fled and claimed asylum in Australia. Among the 102 tried in Thailand to date, 21 were government officials, and 62 have so far been convicted. — The Guardian

The first week of Brexit negotiations have not produced any major breakthroughs. British Brexit Minister David Davis and his team have had their first meetings with Europe’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier. One early point of contention is money, with both sides agreeing to establish a common mechanism to decide how much they owe the other. — Reuters

WHAT WE’RE READING

Addiction and intrigue: Inside the Saudi palace coup (Reuters): “There, according to a source close to MbN, as he is known, the king ordered him to step aside in favor of the king’s favorite son, Mohammed bin Salman. The reason: an addiction to painkilling drugs was clouding MbN’s judgment.”

How do you make a responsible move about anorexia (The New Yorker): “Realistic detail in a story about anorexia is tricky. It’s artistically fundamental and at the same time seen as morally troubling, even medically inadvisable for some viewers. (There’s a content warning before “To the Bone” begins.) This is the difficulty in trying to make art about socially contagious afflictions like anorexia and suicide, which tend to be glamorized and stigmatized at the same time. “

Anger and mistrust in Gaza as Hamas hunts for Israel ‘collaborators’ (The Guardian): “The man they were accused of helping to kill was shot at point-blank range using a gun fitted with a silencer in the garage of his home in Gaza City in March. Such a close-quarters, high-profile assassination inside Gaza is unusual – and audacious. Hamas took the unprecedented step of sealing its own borders and setting checkpoints up across Gaza as it hunted the culprits.”

Trial and terror (The Intercept): “Since the 9/11 attacks, most of the 806 terrorism defendants prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice have been charged with material support for terrorism, criminal conspiracy, immigration violations, or making false statements — vague, nonviolent offenses that give prosecutors wide latitude for scoring quick convictions or plea bargains. 526 defendants have pleaded guilty to charges, while the courts found 176 guilty at trial. Just 2 have been acquitted and 3 have seen their charges dropped or dismissed, giving the Justice Department a near-perfect record of conviction in terrorism cases.”

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Peter Fray
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