NO REFUNDS

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will today pledge to end refunds for excess imputation credits for individuals and superannuation funds, in a crackdown forecasted to save $11.4 billion over the forward estimates.

According to The Guardian, a future Labor government would restore Paul Keating’s original dividend system, introduced in 1987 to prevent the taxation of dividends as both company profits and personal income, and end John Howard and Peter Costello‘s enhanced scheme that allows individuals and super funds to claim cash refunds for any excess imputation credits not used to offset tax liabilities.

TURNBULL TALKS UP TAX CUTS

On the other end of the political spectrum, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has once again spruiked tax cuts as a federal budget measure, this time taking the clippers to income tax for middle-income earners.

In last night’s 7.30 interview with Leigh Sales, Turnbull confirmed cuts to income tax will be included in the May budget proposal. The exchange also touched on Australia’s exemption from US trade tariffs and Turnbull’s rejection of the “30 Newspolls in a row” threshold, which he once cited in his challenge to Tony Abbott‘s leadership, now that the Prime Minister is only weeks away from hitting the same score.

NORFOLK ISLAND FIGHTS BACK

Norfolk Island residents have brought their legal fight against Canberra’s 2015 takeover of the Pacific island to the UN’s human rights committee, appointing noted civil rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson as a legal representative.

According to The Australian ($), the president of Norfolk Island’s Council of Elders, Albert Buffett, has lodged the UN complaint in Geneva. Residents are arguing that Australia’s 2015 reforms, which heralded the end of the island’s traditional self-governance, and established federal responsibility for funding and delivering services, has “disenfranchised” people whose families have lived on the island for over 150 years.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

“It’s exactly like slave trading.”

— Renowned Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, in Australia to launch works during Sydney’s Biennale, describes the controversial US-Australia refugee swap.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

‘Staggering’: $90 billion lost in resources tax

Our $500,000 bill for accused pedophile Peter Scully ($)

Rabada leads South Africa to series-levelling win but set for ban

Shorten backs Wayne Swan for ALP presidency ($)

Knights boss warns players to behave after off-field incidents

Stadium overhaul to supercharge Sydney’s bids for big global contests ($)

British PM Theresa May says Russia highly likely to be behind Skripal poisoning

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne: Banking royal commission begins first round of public hearings, set to focus on inappropriate lending in home loans, car loans and credit cards.

Melbourne: Maribyrnong Truck Action Group will hold a rally calling for the Victorian government to include Williamstown Road in the West Gate Tunnel Project’s truck ban.

Melbourne: The Sustainable Development Goals forum will cover Australia’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with guests including Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, MP Mark Dreyfus, senior politicians and representatives from the business, public and civil sectors.

Canberra: The Senate committee inquiry into a child sexual abuse redress scheme is due to report.

Perth: A parliament house rally against the Western Australian government’s decision to close Moora Residential College, set to feature a truck convoy.

Adelaide: State Liberal leader Steven Marshall will speak at Australia-Israel chamber of commerce lunch.

Adelaide: Adelaide Uni lecture “Machine Rising” to look at machine learning and robots of the future.

Melbourne: Protest at Point Park in Docklands against a proposed tram bridge over the Yarra, which will reportedly affect property prices and impact the YE Marina by stopping 71 larger boats and yachts arriving at the existing berths.

Melbourne: Batman Candidates’ Forum on Australian Aid will feature Labor’s Ged Kearney and the Greens’ Alex Bhathal discussing Australia’s role in fighting global inequality, climate change and humanitarian disasters, as well as an introduction from Campaign for Australian Aid co-chair Tim Costello.

Melbourne: Human Rights lawyer, author and broadcaster Geoffrey Robertson will speak at the Wheeler Centre.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Climate change is a disaster foretold, just like the first world warJeff Sparrow (The Guardian): “The cultural historian Paul Fussell once identified the catastrophe of the first world war with the distinctive sensibility of modernity, noting how 20th century history had ‘domesticate[d] the fantastic and normalize[d] the unspeakable.’ Consider, then, the work of climate change. In February, for instance, scientists recorded temperatures 35 degrees above the historical average in Siberia, a phenomenon that apparently corresponded with the unprecedented cold snap across Europe.”

Donald Trump’s tough guy theatrics no match for China’s economic weaponsPeter Hartcher (Sydney Morning Herald): “In today’s economic warfare between the US and China, America’s President has reached for an ancient weapon suited for another era, the tariff, a weapon favoured in the 17th century campaigns fought in the name of mercantilism. He’s brandishing it theatrically and the world media and markets are watching breathlessly.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Trump tariffs trade-off sheds some light on old liesBernard Keane: “There are a couple of theories of how Australia got an exemption from Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. The government’s preferred narrative is that a century of ‘mateship’ (their word) between Australia and the US and Malcolm Turnbull’s close relationship with Trump — helped by Australia’s very own Trump Whisperer, Greg Norman — secured the exemption.”

Legally Binding: regarding your awful childrenLorin Clarke: “‘Incessant or obnoxious’ conduct for the purposes of this area of law covers a range of behaviours but includes: Discussions regarding ‘the best schools’; The deployment of the phrase ‘very advanced’ without obvious ironic intent; Referring to one’s child as ‘Mister Two’, ‘Little Miss Four’ or, collectively, ‘the rascals’ with an affectionate eye-roll which seems to say ‘they are actually very advanced and going to the best schools’.”

Investigation into AWU comes down to Labor’s factional unease — Guy Rundle: “How tempestuous are Labor’s internal wars going to get? News that the Australian Workers Union is being investigated by the Registered Organisations Commission for inflated membership lists, had a chorus of ‘attacks on the workers’ ringing out. And it is, kinda, but more proximately, it’s the great Labor factional war being fought out using external powers.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

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