SHORTEN’S UNION RAIDED
The Australian Federal Police has raided the Sydney and Melbourne offices of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) on behalf of the Registered Organisations Commission. The commission was set up by the Turnbull government as a union watchdog and said the raid was necessary because of information indicating documents relating to an investigation “may be being interfered” with.
The investigation relates to two donations made by the AWU: one to activist group GetUp and the other to Bill Shorten’s own 2007 federal election campaign. Shorten authorised both donations while head of the AWU and was on the board of GetUp at the time the $100,000 gift to the group was approved. Current AWU national secretary Daniel Walton told The Weekend Australian that the donations were approved in accordance with internal rules, a key question in the investigation.
Labor, union, and GetUp figures responded to the raids with fury. “It is clear the ROC has been established not to promote good governance, but to use taxpayer and police resources to muckrake through historic documents in an attempt to find anything that might smear a future Labor PM,” Walton said.
Opposition spokesman for employment and workplace relations Brendan O’Connor accused the government of using the police as “a play thing” and of “colluding with the commission”. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister hit back, calling the allegation a “hysterical smear” and calling the AFP “completely independent of government”.
The AWU is challenging the warrants for the raids in court.
The raids came as the Fair Work Commission ordered a Glencore subsidiary to stop using “clandestine and quasi-military” techniques to spy on CFMEU members in public and in their homes in Queensland.
CARBON PRICE: DEAD, BURIED, EXHUMED?
The Productivity Commission has delivered a report recommending major changes to the public sector and arguing in favour of a national carbon price. The report calls for a national, consistent scheme and recommends governments “stop the piecemeal and stop-start approach to emission reduction, and adopt a proper vehicle for reducing carbon emissions that puts a single effective price on carbon.”
With his national energy agreement being negotiated, Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg declined to comment on the recommendation.
The report also calls for greater efficiencies in healthcare and floats the idea of cutting back on pharmacists by having ATM-style machines dispense drugs directly. Australia ranks highly in terms of life expectancy, but the average Australian spends 11 years in “ill-health”, the third-worst result of any OECD country.
With employment for graduates becoming harder to find, the commission recommends universities give realistic employment advice to students when they start their degrees.
The commission also wants to see stamp duty scrapped.
Two men have been arrested in relation to the murder of Australian woman Gabrielle Maina.
Maina was shot and killed while returning to her home in Karen last week, a suburb of the Kenyan city Nairobi. Among the pair taken into custody was Maina’s estranged husband Cyrus Bernard Maina Njuguna.
It is not yet clear what the men have been charged with, but a lawyer representing them said they were not guilty of the killing.
“There is evidence that is capable of corroboration by many people, as many as 10, that Cyrus was in his office at the time that the murder took place,” the lawyer said. “Therefore, there is no way he can be placed at the scene.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Darwin: The North Australia Defence Summit begins. It features speakers including former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Canberra: Senate estimates continues with Social Services, Employment, Treasury, and Foreign Affairs up today.
Canberra: Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt speaks at the National Press Club.
Sydney: Day three of Chris Gayle’s defamation case against Fairfax. The woman he allegedly exposed himself to is due to give evidence.
Sydney: Lowitja Institute chair Pat Anderson will deliver the 2017 Charles Perkins oration, arguing the silence in response to the Uluru summit proves the need for an Indigenous advisory body in parliament.
Melbourne: The Federal Court continues to hear the “rate-rigging” trial against NAB and Westpac after ANZ and ASIC settled outside of court.
Productivity Commission clears the way for political shift to the centre — Laura Tingle (Australian Financial Review $): “The real change lies in the fact the Commission recognises, and effectively gives a blessing to, the fact that government services provided to the population are key factors in the search for a better productivity performance and, from that, higher growth and wages.”
As indebted graduates serve lattes, the nation needs a lesson — Stephen Parker and Julie Hare (The Australian $): “The uncapping of student places from 2010 onwards, while designed to improve equity constraints for our most disadvantaged students, created instead a convoluted mess of unintended consequences, including dramatically declining admission requirements as universities scrambled to get bums on seats.”
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