Former NSW roads minister Duncan Gay
New South Wales transport consultancy firm MU Group is under fire after six government contracts, none of which went to public tender, were awarded to the company after it hired former state roads minister Duncan Gay.
The Daily Telegraph ($) reports that the firm has been awarded contracts from the Roads and Maritime Services agency worth over $4.46 million after hiring the former department head as an “executive adviser” just weeks after Gay left parliament in late 2017. The firm has reportedly hired at least 11 former Roads and Maritime Services staff members, including two as directors, however Gay says he has “not been involved in any RMS contracts that MU have won”.
The news follows revelations from a Senate inquiry that no environment department officials attended a meeting where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg organised a $443.8 million, non-tendered grant to the small but well-connected ($) charity, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
DUTTON FORCED TO TRANSFER SICK CHILD
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has again been ordered by the Federal Court to bring a dangerously sick girl from Nauru to Australia, after immigration representatives failed to block the move over claims she was not seriously sick.
The Guardian reports that Justice Alan Robertson ordered last Thursday that an adolescent girl be transferred for urgent medical care in Sydney, where she has since arrived with a family member, and found that “the applicant is at serious risk of permanent complications from her current medical situation”.
The decision reportedly follows more than a dozen similar, failed attempts from the government to block the transfer of sick and suicidal children throughout the year, as well as the Queensland coroner’s report released on Monday that asylum seeker Hamid Khazaei’s 2014 death from leg infection was “preventable”.
THE PRODIGY SON
Australian mathematics professor and former child prodigy Akshay Venkatesh is one of four winners of the Fields Medal, or what is colloquially known as the “Nobel Prize for mathematics”.
The ABC reports that the 36-year-old Venkatesh, who graduated the University of Western Australia with honours in pure mathematics at aged 16 and currently works as a Stanford University professor, took out the award for work that combines several different mathematics fields.
When asked exactly what this work entailed, a former classmate of Venkatesh’s and another mathematics professor said “if it was easy for me to explain, then he wouldn’t have received the Fields Medal”. Which, I mean, fair.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
You can’t regulate children playing.
The Brisbane City councillor responds to resident complaints about a noisy childcare centre and, following an investigation, finds that a lack of noise-related conditions in the centre’s development application means there actually is no way to regulate the children.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“It doesn’t get much more humiliating: a major backdown slipped out at 8.16pm, in effect acknowledging that what your critics have been saying, and what you fought so hard against, is entirely correct: ‘The Government will strengthen privacy provisions under the My Health Record Act, removing any doubt regarding Labor’s 2012 legislation,’ Greg Hunt admitted last night, after days of insisting, absurdly, that black (or at least black letter law) was white and that the absence of any warrant requirement in the health records legislation meant there was no warrant requirement for police, the ATO and other regulators to access your data.”
“The world’s first camera-phone went on sale more than 18 years ago, boasting the ability to store a maximum of 20 photos. Our use of these devices has changed at an astronomical pace since, but the legal framework regulating them has been kept, at best, at a hobble.”
“You’ve got to love the chutzpah of Mitch Fifield, the Arts Minister whose simple act of growing a beard made him heir to the entire genuine moderate tradition within the Liberal Party, and was his sole contribution to it (Chris Kenny has a beard too, but that’s because his chin was shot off in the culture war).”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Two senate inquiries will examine non-conforming building products and the selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia.
Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor will open a cyber training facility at UNSW Canberra.
Final day of Queensland budget estimates will hear from Minister for Education and Industrial Relations Grace Grace and Minister for Employment and Small Business; and Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman.
The Heart Foundation will launch Australian-first guidelines for a heart disorder linked to one in eleven deaths.
QUT Real World will hold their latest panel event, ‘Buses, Trains and Wired Brains’, a discussion of new transport infrastructure and technology around Brisbane.
Stormwater Queensland will hold a research event, ‘Microplastics and their Relationship with Stormwater and Wastewater – Research and Operations’, with local academics and applied chemists.
The University of Queensland will host the 2018 NAIDOC Music Culture Art Festival.
Paralympian Dylan Alcott and Victoria’s Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis will speak on the contribution of entrepreneurs with disabilities as part of Victoria’s Small Business Festival.
Federal Shadow Assistant Minister for Schools Andrew Giles will host a Victorian Labor forum with state MPs Lily D’Ambrosio, Jenny Mikakos, Colin Brooks, Danielle Green and Bronwyn Halfpenny.
Day one of the Melbourne Art Fair, running until Sunday August 5th, as well as The Other Art Fair.
Writer, journalist and Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani will remotely launch his new book, ‘No Friend But the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison’, at a UNSW event along with collaborator and translator Dr Omid Tofighian, writer Janet Galbraith, and translation consultant Moones Mansoubi.
Canadian professor of counselling Dr Allan Wade will present a keynote address at a Sydney domestic violence conference, with other speakers set to include New South Wales Attorney General Mark Speakman and Minister for Family & Community Services, Social Housing, and Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward.
Historian Mark McKenna will present on ‘History and Australia’s Future’ at Sutherland Library.
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority Royal Commission will continue public hearings.
University of Wollongong Emeritus Professor and ‘Australia’s Mother of Cryptology’ Jennifer Seberry and ANU cyber-privacy expert Dr Roger Clarke will speak on ‘Privacy and the Science of Cryptography at the University of South Australia.
The National Tertiary Education Union will hold a panel event, ‘Universities and the Future of Workers and Work’, with a range of local academics and unionists.
Holden will hold a Collision Repair Forum.
The month-long Modernist Adelaide photography exhibition will be launched as part of the 2018 SALA Festival.
Mathematics teacher and Australian Local Hero 2018 Eddie Woo will speak on ‘The Future of Maths in Schools’ at an EDfutures panel event.
REMIX Academy Perth will hold its latest summit event, ‘Culture, Technology, Entrepreneurship’.
The West Australian will help launch interactive fashion runway and retail event ‘WA Fashion Edit’.
Public servant Neville Jones will speak at the Northern Territory Archives Centre on ‘Transition to self-government and Aboriginal affairs’.
Business Tasmania will hold the public forum ‘A Cold Case – Tasmanian Antarctic research tackling climate change’.
Former ABC Grandstand commentator Peter Newlinds will launch his book ‘Around The Grounds’ at Fullers Bookstore.
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will resume work after her six-week maternity leave
NEG design signals pain ahead for partyroom ($) — Simon Benson (The Australian): “Malcolm Turnbull and his Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg may be heading for a world of Liberal partyroom pain with the release of the final design work for the national energy guarantee. It is already being framed by the government’s own critics as a Labor-lite climate change policy. This is a significant problem for the Coalition: what started as a plan to cut rising retail energy prices has become an ideological war over coal and renewables.”
Political courage gone to the dogs after switch on greyhound racing — Peter FitzSimons (Sydney Morning Herald): “From taking the position that this sport is so reprehensible we cannot allow it to continue – in line with broad public sentiment, and the growing view, worldwide, where the sport is either already banned or naturally dying – the same government now says, this sport is so important to us, we are going to use public monies to artificially prop it up!”