Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has reportedly been urging Liberal MPs throughout the week to refer Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s ongoing childcare saga to the High Court.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Turnbull has been texting and calling former colleagues to have the government refer directly, or to cross the floor and vote with Labor to force a referral of Dutton’s constitutional case. A Dutton supporter has since hit back at the communications, calling it “desperate nonsense”. “He has no regard for the prime minister and no regard for the Liberal Party.”
Turnbull cast a deciding vote against an earlier motion from Labor the day before losing the leadership — a much larger saga The Australian ($) explores today in an in-depth investigation. The former PM has this morning confirmed contacting Morrison and colleagues and said that, “given the uncertainty around Peter Dutton’s eligibility, acknowledged by the Solicitor General, he should be referred to the High Court, as Barnaby was, to clarify the matter”.
CONCERNS FOR YOUNG REFUGEE
Doctors have warned the Australian Border Force that a suicidal 12-year-old girl will die if she is not removed from Nauru. The Guardian reports that the unnamed refugee has made repeated suicide attempts, including by self-immolation, is suffering both PTSD and a major depressive disorder, and is currently eating “almost nothing”.
The news follows revelations from BuzzFeed Australia that government lawyers argued that a woman couldn’t come to Australia from Nauru for an abortion because of the size of her vaginal opening, and allegations from Iranian journalist and Manus detainee Behrouz Boochani that a man was prevented from suicide on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, politicians around the country are today expected to advocate for mental health support for “R U OK? Day”.
Lifeline: 13 11 14.
CANBERRA’S NIGHT OF NIGHTS
Fairfax photojournalist Alex Ellinghausen has been named as Press Gallery Journalist of the Year at last night’s Press Gallery Mid-Winter Ball in Canberra.
The Daily Telegraph ($) reports that the ball, the 19th annual politician/journalist/star-studded event, raised $275,000 for charity, with prizes including a curry dinner for four with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Media colleagues were also quick to congratulate Ellinghausen for being named the first photojournalist to take out the award, as well as Guardian Australia’s Lisa Martin and BuzzFeed’s Alice Workman for taking out “Highly Commended”. Workman declined to attend as she “[doesn’t] believe an event hosted by journalists for politicians (but also business people, diplomats, lobbyists, staff) should be off the record”.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Shame on her parents for using her as a political pawn. Stop the silly protest and stand and sing proudly your National Anthem. Refusing to stand disrespects our country and our veterans. Suspension should follow if she continues to act like a brat.
The Liberal National Party MP flips out over a nine-year-old peaceful protestor.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Liberal preselectors for the blue ribbon seat of Wentworth are furious about the withdrawal of frontrunner Andrew Bragg just three days before Thursday’s vote, throwing the party into fresh turmoil.”
“Mark Knight seems to think he’ll busk his way through what has now become a global storm. He may be right. News Corp execs seem to want to turn it into a culture war battle, which they think they’ll win. They may be right. But the doubling-down on it shows the dilemmas that News Corp Australia faces. It’s a redneck outlier in the News Corp empire, which is seeking to shift to a centre-right position elsewhere.”
“The name ‘Bougainville’ rests uneasily in the Australian subconscious, but many Australians may not be able to recall exactly why. A quick refresher is in order, because we’re about to hear a lot more about the place. And, just for a change, some of the news is good.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Neither wealthy nor on welfare – middle Australia is the big target ($) — David Uren (The Australian): “All aspirants to national leadership make a pitch to middle Australia. Scott Morrison presents himself as everyman, with his baseball cap, Cronulla Sharks, and his ‘I’m on your side’ slogan. Peter Dutton played to the insecurities of those worried about African gangs and the impact of migration on cities and society. Malcolm Turnbull unsuccessfully sought to excite middle Australia about the technological revolution, while Bill Shorten identifies with its struggles as people try to make ends meet.”
After Turnbull’s visit, Tennant Creek had hope. Will Abbott keep promises made? — Jack Latimore (The Guardian): “A fortnight ago, First Nations peoples around the country were stumped by the sheer gall of the decision by current Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to appoint Tony Abbott as a ‘special envoy’ to his office on Indigenous affairs. Roundly interpreted by blackfellas as a clear indication of the new PM’s predisposition to paternalism, the controversy over Abbott’s appointment has reoriented – at least within Aboriginal community organisations – to concerns over the continuity of Morrison’s administration with former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s readiness to listen in the months leading up to the 24 August leadership spill.”
Wagners verdict shows the likes of Alan Jones can be called out — Madonna King (Brisbane Times): “Amen. Yesterday’s defamation verdict against Alan Jones doesn’t only polish the reputation of a Queensland family who should never have been tarnished. It also goes to show how big-city musers struggle to understand the life of others, particularly those in rural and regional Australia, like Toowoomba.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Rick Houenipwela will meet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison as part of a private visit to Australia.
Actsmart will host its annual business sustainability expo.
Day one of the International Poetry Studies Institute’s four-day poetry festival “Poetry on the Move 2018: Inhabiting Language”.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will deliver a state of the region (Western Sydney) address in Warwick Farm.
NSW Minister for Mental Health, Women and Ageing Tanya Davies will speak at an “R U OK? Day” event, with Former NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Jeff Jarratt to speak at a separate event.
Sir Frank Lowy will deliver the 2018 Lowy Lecture, a reflection on Australia’s place in the world.
Day one of the two-day National GST Intensive program, to include a keynote speech from Roderick Cordara QC/SC.
ThoughtWorks Technical Director James Lewis will present “Betting on Evolutionary Architectures – Software Architecture as Code” as part of a tech-talk series.
CommInsure boss Helen Troup will continue giving evidence to the banking royal commission’s insurance hearing.
Medical technology company Medibio will launch “Ilumen”, a biometric platform for measuring mental health, to coincide with “R U OK? Day”.
Justice Paul Coghlan will speak on “Bail reform in Victoria – Managing risk” in a lecture at the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Neuropathology professor Colin Masters AO, Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe, and Dementia Australia ambassadors Mark Seymour, Denis Walter,and Takaya Honda will launch Dementia Awareness Month event “Small actions big difference”.
Lawyer and human rights advocate Julian Burnside QC will speak on “Threats to multiculturalism in Australia” for the ECCV 2018 Walter Lippmann Memorial Oration.
Food Innovation Australia will host a “Woolworths Meet the Buyer” forum event.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centre for Evaluation and Research will host a one-day Innovate for Impact Symposium.
Queensland Labor MP Joe Kelly will host an in-conversation ALP event with Queensland Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Protestors will deliver a stop work notice to Adani’s Brisbane HQ amid claims the mining company has conducted illegal work at its Carmichael coal mine site.
XXXX workers will hold a community rally outside the brewery amidst claims they have not been invited to the company’s 140th birthday event.
Biological sciences Honorary Associate Professor Anne Goldizen will present “Spying on animals: unravelling the social systems of wild animals” for the ninth Annual Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture.
Day one of the Australian Institute of Theological Education’s two-day religious education symposium.
Howard Smith Wharves CEO Luke Fraser will present as part of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s “Emerging Queensland” seminar series.
Fleet commander Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead will speak at a press conference to close the navy’s Exercise Kakadu.
Opening day for the Darwin International Film Festival, to run until Sunday September 23.
Architect Lawrence Nield will present “Heat and Darwin’s public spaces” at the Northern Territory Archives Centre.
Transport Minister Stephan Knoll will speak at a CEDA lunch.
The French-Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry will hold a business briefing exploring current trends and challenges in the Australian renewable energy sector.
US teacher and author of The Book Whisperer Donalyn Miller will present a keynote speech at an inaugural Scholastic Reading Leaders event.
ABC journalists Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb will speak at a Women in Mining and Resources WA fundraiser for Solaris Cancer Care and Indigenous netball group Shooting Stars.
Organisational psychology professor Robert Wood will speak as part of the Curtin University Future of Work Institute’s leadership series.
Industry safety group Safer Together WA/NT will hold its inaugural forum event.
City of Canning Libraries will hold a Women in Canning Forum, with representatives from groups such as Sister Kate’s Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation, Women’s Council for Domestic & Family Violence Services, and Curtin University.
An expert panel will debate whether surgery is the best therapy for osteoarthritis for the University of Tasmania Menzies Institute for Medical Research’s 2018 Menzies Debate.
Refugee advocate Anne Moon will present “5 Years on Manus: The inside story” at a Rural Australians for Refugees event.
Today is Australia’s 10th annual “R U OK? Day”, with dozens of events planned around the country.
Myer Holdings will deliver their full-year earnings report.
Australia plays Qatar for the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.