SINO THE TIMES

Australia should guard against protectionism and forge closer ties with countries like Japan, India, South Korea, Indonesia and the United States, according to the first foreign policy white paper in 14 years. The paper will be launched today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

China, and questions arising from the country’s ongoing economic and military dominance, loom large. The paper encourages Australia to take a greater role in the Indo-Pacific region in response to the nation’s ongoing rise, while warning ($) disputed territory in the South China Sea represents a “major fault line”. In this context, it envisages an ongoing US presence in the region and raises the prospect of a greater US military presence in Darwin.

“We need to be clear about our differences and manage them carefully and do what we can to encourage China to use its growing influence to act in ways that help stabilise the region,” Bishop told The Australian Financial Review.

Beyond China, the paper points to North Korea’s missile program as a pressing threat, and warns of cyber attacks, terrorism, and “misinformation” campaigns.

BUTCHER JAILBIRD

The former chief-of-staff of the Bosnian Serb forces during the Yugoslavian civil wars of the 1990s, Ratko Mladic, has been convicted of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The charges related to attempts to wipe out Bosnian Muslims, a campaign that resulted in the Srebrenica massacre, which left around 8000 Muslim Bosniaks dead.

Long a fugitive, Mladic will now spend the rest of his life in prison after the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague found him guilty on multiple counts. Known as “The Butcher of Bosnia”, Mladic heckled during the proceedings and was eventually escorted out.

The conviction of genocide related specifically to crimes against Muslims in the Srebrenica area. Mladic was found not guilty on a broader charge of genocide pertaining to the treatment of Muslims across Bosnia.

Mladic’s case heard evidence from 600 people.

BANK ON IT

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has played down the prospect of backflipping on a banking inquiry.

A leak to News Corp yesterday indicated cabinet had discussed reversing its position on an inquiry, with Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan working on a bill to do so in the wake of conservative anger over the progress of marriage equality laws.

But a Fairfax report today cites cabinet members denying the issue led to a major rupture, saying it was merely discussed in the context of O’Sullivan’s moves. The leak, they hypothesised, was designed to harm Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton.

READ ALL ABOUT IT 

Skye Kakoschke-Moore to resign from Senate over dual citizenship

Voluntary assisted dying bill passes Victoria’s Upper House, state set to make history

Liberal Party Victoria branch sues biggest donor, Cormack Foundation ($)

Uber boss says a data breach exposed 57m users’ data and the company didn’t tell anyone

Barnaby Joyce goes where Turnbull fears to tread – north of the Gympie line ($)

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Brisbane: Queensland unionists rally outside the Federal Court to protest One Nation’s and the Turnbull government’s domestic violence policies.

Brisbane: The men’s Ashes series begins at the Gabba.

Melbourne: The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy speak at a Victorian business summit at Parliament House.

Melbourne: The case involving Cardinal George Pell returns to court for an admin hearing.

Sydney: Close of nominations for the Bennelong byelection.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Challenges ahead in the rise of our dynamic region’s key players — Julie Bishop (The Australian $): “Even though the US is likely to remain the world’s only superpower in the decade ahead, we have never been in an era where there has been a powerful China, Japan and India at the same time.”

Bill Shorten gets a leg-up again as conservatives unravel — Niki Savva (The Australian $): “If any Liberal in the aptly named coward’s castle, or a Nat who fancies himself a modern-day John McEwen capable of vetoing liberal leaders, defects to destroy Turnbull, it would guarantee ­defeat and precipitate a fracture.”

Discipline has left the building and Malcolm Turnbull is in danger of leaving too — Mark Kenny (Sydney Morning Herald): “Liberals now face a Hobson’s choice. Whether to sit pat or take the chance that a new prime minister could rescue the government and therefore their jobs.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Who’s behind the wages drought? — Bernard Keane & Glenn Dyer: “It is in fact a grim irony that in the name of maximising investment returns to boost savings for their retirements that millions of Australian workers are seeing their wages compressed or cut at a time.”

Trouble In Paradise: Iron snake dreaming — Guy Rundle: “Reader, they hustled me out. I let them. It had been a long day, long week.”

Smooth operators: Crikey’s top five all-Aussie political anthems — Charlie Lewis: “Vote for Henry is our clear No. 1. A glorious, ecstatic rush of melodic rock and roll, reaching back through Britpop, The Smiths and The Buzzcocks, to every group of melodically minded youngsters who thought a great hook could change the world.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

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