Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party is doubling down on its anti-Hanson campaign with a barrage of activity designed to draw former Pauline Hanson’s One Nation supporters to the new Palmer vehicle.

The Palmer’s prize acquisition of long time Hanson loyalist, Senator Brian Burston, to lead the UAP in the Senate — announced on June 18 – gave him an instant parliamentary party that has also led to an accelerated effort for candidate and member recruitment.

Burston formally split with One Nation following disputes with Pauline Hanson over the party view on corporate tax cuts, the conduct of the party’s New South Wales preselection processes and his removal as the party whip in the Senate.

Minutes of a staff meeting chaired by Burston on June 15 seen by Crikey confirm that Burston told his office staff that he was talking to the UAP leader about a possible move. The brief set of meeting minutes also notes that Burston met with Palmer twice in the lead up to his decision to move and that re-election chances would be enhanced with access to Palmer’s campaign resources.

The recruitment of Burston was the first key step in the UAP’s targeting of former One Nation candidates in order to prepare for the next federal election campaign. Former endorsed and disendorsed candidates are being called by a representative of the UAP and asked whether they are interested in running for Palmer’s minor party in the next federal election.

This move to recruit candidates from the pool of those disaffected with One Nation follows the recruitment by Burston of two former Hanson loyalists to handle policy and media/communications in his office.

Belinda Johnson, a former candidate for One Nation, holds a position as a senior adviser, and former One Nation secretary, Saraya Beric, is responsible for communications and marketing. Beric was one of several interviewees for a Four Corners program broadcast in April 2017.

While these two former Hanson backers were getting their feet under the desk, Burston added to his tally of staff departures by sacking yet another adviser earlier this month. Mary-Ann Oaten became the sixth staff member terminated since Burston was elected in July 2016. This makes her the eighth staff member that has parted ways with the Burston office over the past two years.

The five other staff members that had their employment terminated since Burston assumed the role of senator were Frank Salter, Brian Tucker, Nathan Ashby, Peter Kelly and former chief of staff, Peter Breen. Two other staff members, Diana Allen and former senator Malcolm Roberts, resigned their employment with the Burston office.

Burston joined other One Nation politicians who have switched allegiances. Queensland Senator Fraser Anning chose to drop his independent status by joining Katter’s Australia Party.

Former Senator Rod Culleton is gearing up for a return to the battle royale of politics with a new party called the Great Australia Party, or GAP. Culleton has enlisted former One Nation executive Ian Nelson to assist with developing the governance processes. Both Culleton and Nelson are named as contributors to the drafting of the GAP constitution.


US President Donald Trump has backtracked his comments on Russian interference in the 2016 election after facing a wave of bipartisan criticism of his Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin. Trump said he had “full faith” in US intelligence agencies, and claims he misspoke in his earlier press conference. “The sentence should have been… ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia’. Sort of a double negative.”

This comes after criticism from fellow Republicans such as Senator John McCain, House Speaker Paul Ryan and even ally Newt Gingrich, as well as a conflicting public statement from Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Trump’s subsequent admission is also at odds to his initial reaction: he characteristically hit out at the controversy as “fake news”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has tentatively supported evidence of Russian interference, and further criticised Putin’s response to the MH17 atrocity. However, he has rejected accusations that Trump is a traitor, instead labelling the President a “patriot”. 


Adani has almost secured funding for the final stage of its controversial supermassive coal mine in central Queensland, according to chief executive of the ports business Karan Adani.

The Courier-Mail ($) reports that Karan, son of own Guatum Adani, has claimed on Indian television that the company is just now closing financing for the $1.35 billion needed for the crucial rail project. It follows a major victory in refinancing the debt owed on its Abbot Point coal port with a South Korean company, but still requires federal government sign-off of a key groundwater issue.


South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has joined Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner in bucking the east-coast trend and calling for higher migration levels.

The Australian ($) reports that Marshall will lobby Canberra to grant South Australia “preferential migrant status’’ in order to attract foreign students and skilled workers. The news comes a day after Gunner welcomed the potential national inquiry into population growth ($), aimed at addressing alleged overpopulation in the east-coast cities, as an avenue for attracting people and businesses to the Northern Territory.


Reporter: Are you afraid to go out to restaurants in Melbourne?

Pyne: No, why? 

Reporter: Well the PM said this morning…

Pyne: [laughs] Should I be?

Reporter: …that colleagues from Victoria have told him that…

Pyne: Oh, because of the gangs, the violence! I’m sorry I wasn’t following you [laughs], I didn’t understand the question. Ah, perhaps you could ask me again.

Christopher Pyne

In a refreshing moment of honesty, the Minister for Defence Industry forgets to feign racial dog-whistling.


“In 60 bland words, the most powerful figure in US intelligence overnight rebuked his own president about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, making clear that Donald Trump’s ready acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russia was entirely innocent was wrong.”

“I am delighted to tell you that yesterday I was able to meet the young New Zealander, H, who had been held in adult immigration detention in Melbourne; the boy I have been writing about and talking to as often as I could for the last month. I was able to meet him in person because he was released, granted a visa, and has now returned to NSW to live with his family.”

“The ABC has quietly released a review into ‘analysis and opinion’ — five months after a piece by economics correspondent Emma Alberici was pulled for not meeting editorial standards. The review, from editorial director Alan Sunderland, was prompted by Alberici’s analysis of corporate tax, which management said immediately had breached impartiality standards, and which was confirmed by an investigation by the complaints division.”


Wallaroo man arrested at gunpoint after wide manhunt

Legal battle looms between tree lopping company and iconic luxury lodge, more than three years on from horrific workplace accident ($)

ACT won’t back NEG in current form, despite intense pressure

Guard tells inquest he thought David Dungay was faking inability to breathe

Terror accused’s wife banned from wearing niqab in court

‘It’s an absolute joke’: Plan to ban all surfers from North Bondi

LNP’s Longman candidate Trevor Ruthenberg is unfit for election, according to medal recipient ($)

Government left red-faced by health privacy commissioner’s website bungle

Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC bigger than ever ($)

Dobbed in: ASIC reports rise in ‘bad apple’ financial advisers



  • Second and final day of the ACTU Congress.

  • Intermedium will host “Queensland Briefing: Taking the Digital Pulse for 2018-19”.

  • Cartoonist Michael Leunig will speak at the finale of St John’s Cathedral’s Abundant Justice & Prophetic Imagination event.

  • Public servant Sir Leo Hielscher will deliver “Queensland: Where From, Where At, Where To” for the Australian Institute for Progress’ Fourth McIlwraith Lecture.


  • Former prime minister Kevin Rudd will deliver a speech on regional and global security to the Asia Society.

  • Senator Penny Wong will speak on the future of US influence in Asia at the United States Studies Centre, to be followed by conversation with the Centre’s Foreign Policy and Defence Programs director Ashley Townshend.

  • ICAC’s Senior Corruption Prevention Officer Dr Ben Marx will present “Factors that exacerbate the risk of corruption” with the Corruption Prevention Network NSW.

  • Head of Clinical Psychology at Bielefeld University Professor Frank Neuner will deliver “Beyond survival: How storytelling can treat trauma in refugees” as part of the UNSW Grand Challenges program & Refugee Trauma and Recovery program.


  • Public hearings will begin for the upper house privileges committee’s inquiry into Victorian Labor’s misuse of parliamentary allowances to partially-fund its successful 2014 election campaign.

  • Crikey contributor Shakira Hussein will deliver “Navigating the binary between speech and silence: Muslim women in post-9/11 Australia” as part of the Rai Gaita Wednesday Lectures.

  • Media preview for Mandela My Life: The Official Exhibition ahead of an official launch at the Melbourne Museum.

  • Victoria’s pork producers will begin donating 250kg a week of excess supply to not-for-profit group FareShare, making about 2000 meals a week until Christmas.


  • The Murray-Darling Basin royal commission will continue public hearings.

  • Former Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie will hold a community forum in Mount Compass ahead of the Super Saturday byelection.

  • ElectraNet will hold a SA Energy Transformation Update public forum.

  • Adelaide Sustainability Connect will hold a panel discussion on “What happens to my waste?!”.


  • Day one of the two-day digital skills training event Google Digital Garage, with WA Premier Mark McGowan to attend tomorrow.

  • Final night of the Revelation Perth International Film Festival.

  • The Public Transport Authority will host a construction industry briefing.


  • Official opening of A Territory Story Exhibition at the Northern Territory Library.


AEMO’s new electricity plan is neither a death knell nor a shot in the arm for coalLucy Percival and Tony Wood (The Conversation): “Beholders of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Integrated System Plan (ISP) see different futures for coal-fired generation: it’s either on the way out; or it’s going to be needed for decades; or perhaps even new coal plants should be built. The report does have important implications for the future of all electricity technologies, including coal. But none of these simplistic perspectives captures the full flavour of the plan.”

Beyond NAIDOC 2018: Our responsibility to elevate and celebrate the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women — Antoinette Braybrook (IndigenousX): “This year’s NAIDOC week encourages us to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women all around Australia. ‘Because of Her, We Can!’ conjures up images of the strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have been pioneers, activists, politicians. It makes us think of the few women who have been able to break into the spotlight to make our voices heard. It is a time to reflect on the journey we have taken to get here and to celebrate successes.”


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