Good morning, early birds. New allegations have emerged against former TV host Don Burke, and it looks like Australia could be getting that bank inquiry after all — with or without the Prime Minister. It’s the news you need to know, with Max Chalmers.

BREAKING THE BANKS

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull might have already lost the battle to prevent a commission of inquiry probing the banks with a second Nationals lower house MP now openly supporting the measure.

Llew O’Brien reportedly ($) told colleagues on Monday he would support the establishment of an inquiry with a broad focus on banks, insurance providers, and financial services. Labor and the crossbenchers need the support of two Nationals in order to get a commission of inquiry up. MP George Christensen is on side, meaning the 76 votes needed could now be in the bag.

A commission of inquiry would have similar powers to a royal commission but would be established by parliament, not the executive branch.

The Nationals will debate the inquiry in their party room meeting next week with leader Barnaby Joyce of the belief it will now be embraced, according to The Australian.

BURKE REJECTS NEW ALLEGATIONS

Television personality Don Burke has rejected allegations of sexual misconduct as new allegations come to light.

An ongoing joint Fairfax-ABC investigation has now been contacted by more than 200 people, including one woman who claims Burke lured her to Sydney with the promise of career advancement. She claims that, when she arrived, Burke took her to a hotel room where she had to physically push him to prevent his advances. Former Olympic swimmer Susie O’Neill has also gone on-the-record, saying that, when filming at her house, Burke pointed to a painting of a flower and asked: “Is your c— as big as that?”

Last night, Burke again denied the allegations and claimed he had undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome.

UNIONS UNITE

Two of the country’s largest unions have voted to join forces in a move that has angered and alarmed business groups ($).

The Australian reports the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and the Maritime Union of Australia voted overwhelmingly to join, in an alliance that will also include the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has vowed to sink the merger but there’s no sign yet of the promised legislation.

READ ALL ABOUT IT 

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Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle engaged, Prince Charles says

NBN warns of up to 9-month delay on HFC connections

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney: Findings due for inquest into the death of Robert Peihopa at Villawood Detention Centre in July 2013.

Sydney: Funeral for former AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young.

Sydney: The 2017 ARIA awards take place.

THE COMMENTARIAT

The Australian media industry operates a protection racket for men like Don Burke — Tracey Spicer (Sydney Morning Herald): “So far more than 500 women have come forward, naming 65 men. This is only the beginning of an investigation that will take years, until all workplaces are safe for those within their walls.”

Malcolm Turnbull putting out party fires with gasoline — David Crowe (The Australian $): “The vote on marriage will go ahead, but the infighting will never end. No sooner has one ­dispute been settled than a new one emerges.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Why has A Current Affair been giving Don Burke air time? — Glenn Dyer: “When I worked at Nine from 1986 to the start of 2004, Burke’s reputation was first as ‘good TV talent’. But, from the early 1990s, stories started circulating of some of his comments about women (of all ages). Women working at Nine, especially in the production and make-up areas were wary of being alone with Burke especially when he was at Nine for the taping of the final compilation of Burke’s Backyard.

Turnbull rattled over One Nation’s pull on conservatives — Bernard Keane: “When the LNP was two parties, the task was easier. The Nationals could concentrate on regional and rural issues and give disgruntled voters a sense that, even if the Nats were aligned with the Liberals, they were still a specifically sectoral party.”

Poll Bludger: Qld election results are disappointing for basically everyone — William Bowe: “Labor had factored in a few losses in the state’s economically floundering regions, but a casualty list of as many as four seats is more than they would have bargained for.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

 

Peter Fray

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