TRUST IN FAIRNESS
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is expected to announce new tax policies at the NSW Labor conference this weekend, including changing tax on family trusts. The Australian is warning that Labor risks sparking a war with small businesses who use family trusts to manage their income. The Australian Financial Review meanwhile found that 13 of the 22 Turnbull government ministers are either a beneficiary or trustee of a family or business trust, while only four shadow ministers were in a similar situation. Treasurer Scott Morrison — who is a trustee of an inactive trust — said the Labor proposal would lead to higher taxes for small businesses and farmers. Morrison has accused the opposition of “giving up on growth“, and rejected Labor’s current pitch that inequality is growing in Australia.
HE REALLY SAID THAT
“And it will be spun, whether it is [true] or not, because you’ll have people smugglers who will go, ‘Right, here’s something that has a grain of truth, there’s been a change in minister for example, we can spin this that he’s a really nice guy, he’s left-leaning, like the Greens or whatever, and he’ll invite us’.” – Vice Marshal and Operation Sovereign Borders commander Stephen Osborne.
This has been reported in the News Corp paper as though the commander is suggesting that if Labor won the next election people-smuggling boats would restart, but Osborne points out that the “chatter” from people smugglers also began again when Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister, and when the $70 million in compensation was paid to asylum seekers on Manus Island.
It comes as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said yesterday that as part of the agreement between Australia and the United States to settle refugees from Nauru and Manus Island in the US, Australia had agreed to allow some of the refugees with ties to Australia to be resettled in Australia. The offer was made over the course of several meetings, including with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, Fairfax reports. Grandi said that Australian had recently rescinded this offer. Dutton has denied this allegation. Grandi said that while the UN endorsed policies to save lives at sea, the government’s offshore detention program undermined this policy.
“There is a fundamental contradiction in saving people at sea, only to mistreat and neglect them on land,” he said.
YES, THEY KNOW WHO YOU ARE
Former Labor MP Belinda Neal — most remembered for a dispute with staff at Iguana’s bar on the Central Coast in 2008 where she allegedly dropped the “don’t you know who I am?” line — has been expelled from the Labor Party after the Internal Appeals Tribunal within the party recommended her expulsion over claims she went to a Labor Party member’s home several times and sought her signature for the Woy Woy branch books — in contravention of Labor policy. Fairfax reports that at the time, Neal was seeking Labor preselection for the seat of Robertson at the 2016 election. Neal then sought preselection for the state seat of Gosford, and most recently the Central Coast Council.
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Launceston: The National Broadband Network parliamentary committee will hold a hearing in Tasmania.
Wodonga: The parliamentary committee examining the government’s education funding will meet in Victoria
Melbourne: Another hearing on family law and support for those affected by family violence will be held in Melbourne.
Con job: four-year terms good only for pollies — Paul Kelly (The Australian $): “This proposal is a sham. It means more power for politicians and less for the people. It means less accountability for governments and politicians and less democracy. It means bad governments spend longer in office doing more damage and denying the public the chance to remove them. “
ABC foyer closed to public after controversial Quadrant article — Jenna Price (The Age): “Franklin’s still writing drivel and he himself was absent from any apology made by Quadrant’s editor-in-chief Keith Windschuttle (who was my journalism lecturer last century). Quadrant itself is a shadow of its former self and it lists patrons who are no longer among us.”
TODAY IN TRUMP
Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has denied collusion with Russia after giving a closed-door interview to congressional investigators. Kushner has come under scrutiny for meeting with the Russian ambassador and a Russian banker before Trump’s inauguration and has admitted to trying to set up a direct line to Vladimir Putin.
Even as he sought to clear his name today, Kushner found himself under renewed pressure, this time in relation to a real estate deal for the former New York Times office building with alleged Russian mogul Lev Leviev. Leviev’s company has been pursued for alleged money laundering by US officials.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that left 25 dead in Lahore. The attack was carried out in a park at the centre of the city. — Reuters
In a surprise move, Polish president Andrzej Duda has announced he will veto controversial laws that would have undermined the independence of the country’s supreme court. Duda has generally supported legislation proposed by the right-wing Law and Justice Party but appears to have backed off this measure after nationwide protests. — The Guardian
WHAT WE’RE READING
Should you feel sorry for Sean Spicer? Nope. Absolutely not (Politico): “Spicer never failed to fib when a fib would serve the president. Had Spicer’s White House Briefing Room comments been sworn testimony, he would face so many years in prison for perjury that a dozen Trump pardons couldn’t secure his freedom. Had his nose grown with every Pinocchio he uttered, it would have reached the moon.”
A key White House post remains unfilled: First Pet (The Economist): “Theodore Roosevelt had by far the most impressive menagerie: while in office, the famed outdoorsman and conservationist cared for some 50 animals, including a badger, a barn owl and a one-legged rooster. Although animals are beloved by Americans of all political stripes, their appeal in the Oval Office has not been quite so bipartisan: Democratic presidents have averaged six pets each compared with nine for Republican ones.”
The power and passion of union boss Sally McManus (Guardian Australia): “McManus’s relationship with Labor is evolving. She is not a small talker, not a schmoozer. She knows Shorten well, and he understands the union movement, but there are hints that some within Labor are unsure about how to read McManus.”
How Putin hacked world football (Victory Journal): “The World Cup will be staged in Russia’s 11 biggest cities and host millions of visitors and hundreds of media from the world, but more importantly populated by most of Russia’s voters. It will not just be a sporting event; it will be the ultimate demonstration of Putin’s efforts to bring prosperity to the Russian people. Putin merely needs to achieve the effect of global reverence and relevance in order to bolster his position.”
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