Labor Senator Sam Dastyari warned businessman and political donor Huang Xiangmo his phone may be tapped in a face-to-face meeting, according to a report published in Fairfax papers this morning.

The meeting took place last year, just weeks after Dastyari was forced to step down from the frontbench, in part due to revelations that Huang, a major donor to the Labor party, had covered a legal bill for him. Huang has drawn the attention of ASIO thanks to what The Sydney Morning Herald describes as his “opaque links to the Chinese government”. Dastyari also received criticism for an earlier press conference with Huang at which he contradicted Labor’s position on the South China Sea, running a line closer to Beijing’s position.

Dastyari says he was meeting with Huang in order to severe their relationship. “I spoke to Mr Huang to tell him that I did not think it was appropriate that we have future contact,” he told Fairfax. “I thought it was a matter of common courtesy to say this face to face.”

That hasn’t stopped Attorney-General George Brandis laying in the boot.

“Of the 226 Australians elected at the 2016 federal election, the person whose allegiance to Australia is most in question is Sam Dastyari,” he said.


Uhuru Kenyatta has been sworn in for a second term as Kenya’s President as the country’s political standoff continues to fester.

Kenyatta’s road to inauguration was long: he won an initial ballot earlier this year only for the result to be overturned by the country’s Supreme Court on the basis of irregularities. He then won a second campaign in October after chief rival Raila Odinga decided to boycott the poll. Odinga continues to fight for power and has said he will hold his own swearing-in next month.

The political crisis has shaken Kenya for months with more than 70 Odinga supporters killed by security forces and police. The killings have heightened the focus on corruption and police brutality, both of which Kenyatta has been accused of ignoring.


North Korea appears to have tested its first missile since September when a ballistic missile was fired over Japan.

News of the missile’s launch broke in the South Korean press this morning, with US officials confirming the story, though declining to provide substantive details.


University students dropping out in record numbers, Federal Government says

How ASIO agents tried to recruit terror plot accused Ali Khalif Shire Ali ($)

Bank inquiry must tackle executive pay, says ex-APRA culture boss ($)

Multiculturalism celebrated in Australia despite reports of discrimination, especially in regions

The Senate Just Voted Down All The Conservative Amendments To The Same-Sex Marriage Bill


Melbourne: New Victorian state Greens MP Lidia Thorpe makes her maiden speech. She is the first Aboriginal woman elected to the parliament.

Canberra: Treasurer Scott Morrison gives the keynote at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry annual dinner.

Canberra: Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel delivers a keynote on the national electricity market at the ANU Energy Update 2017.

Canberra: Actor Magda Szubanski speaks at the National Press Club.

Sydney: Appeal attempting to bring re-trial of a man previously cleared of killing three Aboriginal children in Bowraville set to begin.

Brisbane: The 2017 Walkley awards are held.


Sleepwalking off the electoral cliff is not leadership — Dennis Shanahan (The Australian $): “There is an air of despair and a fatal paralysis where doing nothing is becoming the default position.” 


The ‘reputable’ practice of anti-Chinese racism — Helen Razer: “Sure, Four Corners should investigate the matter of foreign (by which we mean Chinese) influence in Australian elections, but one wonders if they’d add such a sinister soundtrack if questioning more global (by which we mean US) corporations.”

Tracy Grimshaw v Don Burke: tabloid host shows her mettle — Emily Watkins and Glenn Dyer: “At times during the interview Grimshaw seemed exasperated with Burke’s denials, including repeated references to the stories as “rumours”. She also put a story she’d heard herself about Burke from a woman, confirmed by a crew, which he denied.”

Stolen wages: reparation schemes continue to under-compensate and ignore victims — Charlie Lewis: “In the middle of this year, a huge class-action lawsuit was initiated against the Queensland government on behalf of thousands of Indigenous workers who had been covered by the policy. John Bottoms of BELaw, the firm leading the action, says there are many issues with the government’s scheme, not least of all the requirement that any recipients sign a deed of release, exonerating the government from any further claims.”


Peter Fray

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