LABOR’S CITIZENSHIP DOWN

The government has introduced a raft of new treason and foreign donations laws as Labor feels the heat of the dual-citizenship crisis. 

Among the massive tranche of new laws unveiled by the government yesterday are measures to ban foreign donations to charities, unions, and other groups who campaign politically. 

The citizenship declaration forms of House MPs were also revealed yesterday evening, with a number of Labor’s members at risk of falling foul of the High Court’s strict interpretation of section 44 of the constitution. Chief among them is David Feeney, who was advised by party lawyers he was likely to have inherited British citizenship. Feeney said he had signed a citizenship renunciation form but does not have any evidence it was received or accepted. He holds the Melbourne seat of Batman by little more than a 1% margin over the Greens.

Fairfax reports that up to five MPs are facing the risk of referral to the High Court, potentially sparking a wave of byelections. Labor’s Justine Keay could be in trouble for failing to register her renunciation before the nomination date while Josh Wilson and Anne Aly received confirmation of renunciation after the date.

The curse of section 44 could yet prove a lucky charm for Malcolm Turnbull. Internal Liberal polling given to The Australian ($) shows former MP and candidate for Bennelong John Alexander ahead of Labor’s Kristina Keneally by eight points.

MUELLER FOLLOWS THE MONEY

Deutsche Bank has handed over Donald Trump’s banking records to investigators probing allegations of collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia.

The revelation comes after a busy couple of weeks for special prosecutor Robert Mueller‘s investigation, with former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn pleading guilty to allegations he misled the FBI over his contact with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak

German media reported that Deutsche Bank had been forced to hand the records over after being subpoenaed, confirming Mueller is looking closely at Trump and indicating the investigation could focus on more than just Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice in firing former FBI head James Comey.

The news comes as Trump has told leaders in the Middle East that he will move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, potentially provoking a massive backlash over the disputed status of the city.

IOC GOES COLD ON RUSSIA

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia’s team from the 2018 Winter Olympics over allegations of doping relating to the 2014 Sochi games.

Despite the ruling, the IOC will allow Russian athletes to compete so long as they prove they have not used banned substances, and they must compete under the Olympic flag, wearing a uniform that says “Olympic Athlete from Russia”.

READ ALL ABOUT IT 

Labor leader Bill Shorten declares ‘war’ on business and badmouths Australian Council of Trade Unions ($)

Andrew Robb’s secret China contract: money for nothing

WHAT’S ON TODAY 

Sydney: The annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA) will be held.

Sydney: Former A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack to be sentenced over child pornography charges.

Sydney: The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases the national accounts for September quarter. 

Canberra: The High Court publishes reasons for the Fiona Nash citizenship decision.

Perth: WA Premier Mark McGowan and other members of the government speak about the state’s economy at a State of the States discussion.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Section 44 compliance ‘extraordinarily difficult’ — George Williams (Sydney Morning Herald): “The declarations also fail to deal with every ground of section 44. Other members have already come to light who may be disqualified due to holding an “office of profit under the Crown” or a “direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth”. Yet, no process has been put toward to deal with these issues.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Could Dastyari help keep Keneally out of Bennelong? — Tony Walker: “It would be an understatement to say that behind the scenes anger over Dastyari’s behaviour is anything less than white hot, but Labor finds itself stuck with the former general secretary of the powerful New South Wales branch — for the time being.”

Helen Garner reflects on the essential contradiction of being a professional writer — Helen Garner: “Writers don’t know how they did it. They certainly don’t know how they’ll do it next time. And when they’re put into a group with three random strangers and called a panel, then given a topic and asked to discuss it in front of an audience, what they produce is some kind of strange heatshield, or smokescreen.”

At the Milo extravaganza it was hard to tell who was confused and who was just stupid — Guy Rundle: “Tziporah had been casting herself as a Milo fan, or Milo-curious, hours earlier, posting a pic of herself kissing his pic on her ‘access all areas’ pass. Now they wouldn’t let her in. Malkah and Lefty tottered back and forth between the entrances, but they’d been barred.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

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