DETAILS EMERGE ON TERRORIST PLANE PLOT
Fairfax Media reports that that the four Sydney men behind an alleged “sophisticated and elaborate” plot to use use a homemade bomb disguised as a kitchen mincer to either blow up or gas a commercial plane bound for the Middle East were talking to foreign fighters in Syria — although, as the Herald Sun points out, there is no suggestion they had trained overseas — and had links to the aviation industry. The four men are two Lebanese-Australian fathers and sons, linked by marriage. Fairfax notes that a separate son, not arrested or facing charges, studied aviation management at the University of New South Wales.
The Oz reports that tightened airport security will likely become the “new normal” in the aftermath of a series of raids — brought forward after Australian security agencies were notified of communications picked up by allied intelligence agencies — on homes in the Sydney suburbs of Surry Hills, Punchbowl, Wiley Park and Lakemba. The Hun further reports that tougher rules, such as the requirement for travelers to produce photo ID on domestic flights has been considered by the government for months. Meanwhile, it’s a good thing we had allies feeding us intelligence on the Sydney plot, as according to International Cyber Policy Centre director Fergus Hanson, speaking to the Tele, vetting delays and lower wages were driving Australian intelligence workers away from national security roles toward private security firms or tech giants like Google.
HAIDER DEATH UNAVOIDABLE : CORONER
Victorian Coroner John Olle has concluded that police had no option but to use lethal force in the fatal shooting of Numan Haider after he stabbed a Victoria Police officer and his AFP counterpart outside the Endeavour Hills police station in September of 2014. The coronial inquest further found a glitch meant that a phone call during which Haider bragged to a friend about his plans to stab a police officer was missed and that the police believed the teenager may have been planning an assassination attempt on then-prime minister Tony Abbott due to an ASIO briefing that revealed Haider had been searching into Abbott’s schedule.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY PUSH RAMPS UP
The push for a conscience vote on marriage equality from within the Liberal Party has increased in intensity, with five backbenchers — Warren Entsch, Trevor Evans, Tim Wilson, Jason Wood and Trent Zimmerman — publicly indicating their support for walking away from the Coalition policy of a plebiscite. The public push leaves Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with the options of allowing a conscience vote, or facing a potential flurry of MPs crossing the floor on the matter. Crucially, the number of Liberals now putting their names to backing marriage equality gives the push — assuming support from Labor, the Greens and supportive crossbenchers — a slim majority in the House of Representatives. It is understood that the group has been meeting to discuss Liberal Senator Dean Smith’s private members bill on the subject. Smith wrote about his support for marriage equality by parliamentary vote in both the Oz and The Australian Financial Review yesterday. The Australian reports the issue as a “test of Mr Turnbull’s authority” but Fairfax finds him in a philosophical mood:
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“In our party, backbenchers have always had the right to cross the floor. In the Labor Party, you get expelled for doing that. It’s always been a fundamental principle in the Liberal Party and indeed, the National Party. So it’s a very different political culture to the very authoritarian Labor Party.”
Perhaps he is among those within the Liberal party who simply feels the issue must be put to bed one way or another — as one unnamed MP told the Herald Sun: “It has to be resolved within the next week because it’s starving the government of talking about legislation.”
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Perth: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has another day in Perth, visiting the swing seat of Swan with local MP Steve Irons
Sydney: Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) board meeting to make a decision on interest rates.
Sydney: The Australian Human Rights Commission report into university sex assaults will be released at a media conference with Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, Chair of Universities Australia Professor Margaret Gardner and President of the National Union of Students Sophie Johnston.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Why Labor is right on taxes and trusts — Craig Emerson (Australian Financial Review $): “An ordinary wage or salary earner, who has tax automatically taken out of his or her pay packet each fortnight, has only one tax-free threshold, whereas a professional can gain access to four or five tax-free thresholds through the concessionary tax treatment of trusts.”
Labor’s train wreck of a tax policy to hit middle class hardest — Judith Sloan (The Australian $): “Rather than recognise what are legitimate and efficient deductions which encourage investment, risk-taking and hard work, Labor seeks to describe them as loopholes to be closed.”
Coal mine halt will bolster Australia’s influence in crucial Pacific region — Greg Colton (The Canberra Times): “The link between influence in the South Pacific and Australia’s national security seems to have been missed by other departments in the government.”
TODAY IN TRUMP
Having served a full 10 days in the position, Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci has been ousted as White House communications director. Scaramucci’s arrival caused immediate reverberations, with press secretary Sean Spicer resigning and chief-of-staff Reince Priebus also departing, the latter after Scaramucci unloaded on his colleagues to a journalist at The New Yorker.
With Priebus — who Scaramucci called “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic” — departing, Trump tapped Homeland Security secretary John Kelly to take over the chief-of-staff job. It seems Scaramucci was finally brought down by the series of resignations and sackings he began, with Kelly and others around Donald Trump encouraging the President to drop The Mooch. It is not yet clear whether he will have any role in the White House from here.
The US government has placed Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro under sanction, barring US firms from doing business with the embattled socialist leader. Maduro has claimed victory after national elections for a new constitutional assembly but opposition groups boycotted the poll and are warning the country is moving in the direction of a dictatorship. — BBC
The push for Catalonian independence has been stalled after Spain’s Constitutional Court agreed to hear a legal challenge to a planned referendum. The Catalonian government had wanted to host a binding referendum to leave Spain on October 1 but that could now be delayed for months. — Reuters
WHAT WE’RE READING
Trump, “Mooch,” and the rise of the New York douchebag (New Republic): “The New York douchebag is keenly aware of hierarchy. As he claws his way up the ladder, he’s keeping one eye below, and will kick anyone who comes too close. If Scaramucci does get booted out of the White House, it won’t be for making crude comments about his coworkers. It’ll be for getting more press than the president.”
Spain’s long economic nightmare is finally over (New York Times): “The sense of revival is palpable along the Barcelona waterfront, where stevedores work the arms of giant cranes hoisting containers full of factory wares onto giant vessels bound for points across Europe and Asia. It infuses a crop of start-up companies filling up the forlorn office spaces in major Spanish cities. It permeates even the vineyards, where a crop of young entrepreneurs is capturing spoils by reimagining family businesses, exporting classic wines in new bottles.”
About a Boy: A transgender teen at the tipping point (Part 1) (The Oregonian):”He avoided mirrors, but his reflection found him anyway. There were mirrors in the hallway and next to the kitchen table. Turned off, the flat-screen TV was a black projection of the body he tried to hide. Even the coffee table, a glass-top smeared with after-school snacks, caught his form.”
A GOP staffer sourced an anti-Clinton resolution from Reddit (Wired): “Thursday night, three Twitter users discovered that a staffer for one of the resolution’s sponsors attempted to crowdsource a number of the resolution’s salient points from r/The_Donald, a subreddit notorious for playing host to unfounded conspiracy theories and anti-Islam tendencies.”
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