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Crikey Worm

Oct 3, 2017

Crikey Worm: mass murder in Las Vegas, marriage equality numbers due today

Almost 60 people have been killed in a mass shooting Las Vegas, and marriage equality won't change family law in Australia. It's the news you need to know, by Max Chalmers.

US ENDURES LARGEST MASS SHOOTING

At least 58 people have been killed and more than 500 injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, after a gunman fired repeatedly on a crowd gathered for an open-air country music festival in Las Vegas. 

The alleged shooter has been identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old from Nevada who had no significant prior offences. Paddock was found dead alongside at least 10 rifles in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, and police said he had killed himself.

The FBI said Paddock had no connection to any international terror group. While the Islamic State group issued a statement claiming the attack, such claims have become less and less reliable over the past year as the group has lost territory in Iraq and Syria.

Paddock’s partner, Marilou Danley, an Australian who lives in Las Vegas, was questioned by police but is not believed to have been involved in the shooting, though the hotel room where Paddock was staying was booked in her name.

US President Donald Trump called the shooting an “act of pure evil”. Trump’s former opponent Hillary Clinton tweeted: “Our grief isn’t enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.”

FAMILY LAW WON’T CHANGE

Family Court Chief Justice Diana Bryant has made a highly unusual intervention into a public debate, going on the record with The Australian to argue marriage equality would not impact the administration of family law in Australia. The Chief Justice added that the sex of a child’s parents were not relevant to its welfare. “What you don’t want children to have is to be living in a confected, dysfunctional relationship — whether it is two parents of the same sex, or two heterosexual people,” she said.

Two separate polls were released yesterday, both indicating high turnout in the marriage survey. In one poll, ReachTell found 64% of those reached had returned their vote with a Yes while just 15.5% had already voted No.

Given the uncertain nature of the voluntary survey these numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, and we’re likely to know more today when the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases an update on how many survey forms it has received.

NEW MISSILE DEFENCE

Australia will build a new series of frigates decked out with US made Aegis anti-missile systems. PM Malcolm Turnbull will announce the plans today, with nine frigates to be armed with the technology and construction to begin in 2020.

The inclusion of the anti-missile system will allow the frigates to hit targets on land or at sea, and comes in response to the growing missile threat from You Know Who.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

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Catalan referendum: Spain region ‘not seeking traumatic split’

Sydney house prices fall in September, for the first time since 2015

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra: PM Malcolm Turnbull meets with gas companies Santos, Shell and Origin Energy to finalise gas supply agreement.

Brisbane: The Reserve Bank of Australia will meet and is expected to keep interest rates at a record low of 1.5%.

Canberra: The Australian Bureau of Statistics will provide data regarding the marriage postal survey.

Melbourne: Operations cease at Toyota’s Altona plant, where 2600 jobs will be lost.

SydneySulayman Khalid will be sentenced over a planned terror attack.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Australia can’t ignore China’s move to a national ETS — Ben Potter (Australian Financial Review $): “The more countries that price carbon and link their carbon markets, and the deeper and more the market for carbon credits is, the more effective and low cost Australia’s climate mitigation will be. But that can’t happen without action from Canberra.”

Australia’s refugee policy is a failure. This is not the time to shirk responsibility — Thomas Albrecht (Guardian Australia): “I understand why those who originally supported offshore processing were moved by the tragic drownings of men, women and children who were trying desperately to reach Australia’s shores, to embrace policies and practices seeking to end the boats. But there is a false and disingenuous logic in saving people at sea, only to then mistreat and neglect them on land.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Taking out the trash: the bad news released under the cloak of the grand finals — Sally Whyte: “Friday’s full-time appointees [to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal] include Colin Edwardes, former adviser to former WA Premier Colin Barnett and husband to former Liberal MP Cheryl Edwardes. Barrister and wife of Labor MP Michael Danby Amanda Mendes Da Costa was also made a full-time member.”

And the Wankley goes to … The Sunday Telegraph, for making up a rainbow flag ban — Emily Watkins: “It didn’t take long for the NRL and ANZ Stadium to shoot down the story. Yesterday morning, the venue put out a statement saying there had been no ban on rainbow flags that meet the standard requirements, and the NRL told Nine that rainbow flags were only banned if they exceeded the size requirements. But the story remains online as it was.”

Will enough people ever pay for journalism? — Christopher Warren: “The glass-half-full says that these Australian ratios show that the Australian media are out-performing the US media in converting casual online readers into paying subscribers. The glass-half-empty says the better you’re doing now, the harder it is to keep growing. Do these figures show we’ve started at a higher floor? Or do they show that the Australian media subscriptions are just closer to the ceiling?”

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