LIBERAL WENTWORTH BYELECTION PRESELECTION
Dave Sharma and Katherine O'Regan. (Image credit: AAP/Brendan Esposito)

PM’S PICK LOSES PRESELECTION

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been overruled as the NSW Liberals rebuffed his pick of Katherine O’Regan to run in Wentworth. The Libs instead voted last night for former ambassador Dave Sharma to run in next month’s byelection.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, despite starting out as a frontrunner with Morrison pushing for a female candidate, O’Regan was knocked out in an early round of voting, following news that former prime ministers John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull personally backed Sharma.

The blow comes as Morrison faces a turbulent few weeks, with two Liberal MPs telling The Herald Sun ($) last night that they may join former deputy Julie Bishop in potentially referring Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to the High Court. Bishop has also hit out at possibly “illegal” internal bullying during the leadership saga, and Morrison has called for a detente with Turnbull supporters ($) over leaks and the High Court campaign.

REFORM AFTER BOWRAVILLE?

The NSW government has flagged a potential change to double jeopardy laws after losing an appeal to bring a man to trial over the murder of three Indigenous children in Bowraville 28 years ago.

The Australian ($) reports that NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has echoed the “devastation and disappointment and distress of the Bowraville families” over the latest delay, reportedly down to unclear requirements for “fresh evidence” in legislation concerning whether a person can be tried over the same crime twice. Speakman will now seek advice on a potential High Court appeal as well as raising with cabinet a potential change to the law, while protests are planned outside state parliament next week.

SCHIZOPHRENIA BREAKTHROUGH

Australians scientists have found that the brain’s otherwise supportive, “macrophage” immune cells can affect neurons, damage tissue and potentially contribute to schizophrenia. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a Neuroscience Research Australia study has identified the presence of macrophage cells, which normally digest cellular debris and foreign substances, in the brain tissue of people with “high inflammation” schizophrenia. While no single cause of the illness has been identified, the finding is significant.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

The full lyrics of the song used in my earlier video from QT today were just not OK. When I found out, I asked the team to take it down. Apologies.

Scott Morrison

The Prime Minister apologises for tweeting a mashup of Question Time x “Be Faithful” by Fatman Scoop, which has thankfully been preserved here for eternity.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

“While Attorney-General Christian Porter was preening in his finery ahead of the press gallery’s Midwinter Ball last night, lawyers for the men he has launched a malicious and politically motivated prosecution at were standing up in a crowded Canberra courtroom to begin their defence.”

“Queensland’s current abortion law was introduced in 1899, in an era that preceded antibiotics, when surgery and anaesthesia were risky, when safe, effective drugs for abortion had yet to be invented and when pregnancy tests involving two blue lines in the privacy of one’s own bathroom were unknown.”

“Sure, confusion is common at the birth of any movement. But, this is not confusion. It’s reluctance disguised as awe. This is not confusion, but a place to park your questions. Better to say that it’s too powerful to predict than suggest it’s too fundamentally powerless to move.”

This week from the New York Times

Martina Navratilova: what Serena got wrong

Can anyone stop Australia’s slut shaming?

Lady of the Rings: Jacinda rules

China is detaining Muslims in vast numbers. The goal: ‘transformation’

A spy story: Sergei Skripal was a little fish. He had a big enemy.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Australia deports Iraqi asylum seeker whose appeal was due next week

Labor candidate steps away from council job amid outsourcing controversy

ACT becomes first in Australia to join UN’s Powering Past Coal Alliance

Tasmanian Public Health officials say 15-year-old boy in Launceston is state’s ninth meningococcal case ($)

O’Dwyer seeks advice on casual worker ‘double-dipping’ decision

Adani ditches plan to build rail line for Carmichael coalmine

‘OMG … I want results’: TAL hired investigator to dig dirt on nurse

Prison sex bombshell: six guards off to CCC for ‘inappropriate relationships’

‘They will be like headless chooks’: 7-Eleven to face inquiry over bribery claims

Trade Minister flies into global storm, urges against inflaming war

Australia ‘moving in the wrong direction’, says Frank Lowy

Donald Trump disputes Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria death toll, blames Democrats

THE COMMENTARIAT

Linking infrastructure with migration the solution to congestion ($) — Michael Sukkar (The Australian): “In Melbourne, Australia’s second most congested city, commuters spend on average an additional 34 minutes a day in traffic than they would in ideal conditions. Sydney remains Australia’s most congested city, with drivers spending on average an additional 41 minutes a day on the road. Considering New York City has a population almost double that of Sydney or Melbourne but commuters spend the same or less time in traffic (34 minutes), it’s clear our policymakers have failed us.”

As criminal acts of banks are revealed Scott Morrison decides to target unions — Sally McManus (The Guardian): “At a time when banks and corporate financial institutions are admitting to tens of thousands of breaches, the banking royal commission (which Morrison voted against 26 times and called ‘a populist whinge’) is uncovering crimes, unethical conduct and not enough integrity left in the banks to hide their own shame, Morrison’s priority is to give his former merchant banking industrial relations minister the power to knock off member elected union leaders and shut down their unions. No such rules are proposed to be established for the banks or corporations.” 

‘It makes us all sick’: I don’t care what you think, and neither should you Glynn Greensmith (WAToday): “Was Mark Knight’s cartoon racist? Yes. Based on the evidence, yes. Your opinion isn’t required on that part, and neither is mine. If you don’t ‘think’ it’s racist, it’s because — like Knight himself — you never bothered looking at the evidence. Does publishing this racist cartoon make Knight a racist? No. In order to form that opinion I’d have to go back through what other evidence there might be.” 

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • The Greens will move a motion calling on the government to cancel its plans to centralise the Bureau of Meteorology’s regional forecasting teams.

  • Day one of the ANU Indonesia Project’s 2018 Indonesia Update Conference, to run on the theme of “Contentious Belonging: The Place of Minorities in Indonesia”.

  • The National Museum of Australia will present virtual reality experience “Collisions”, a journey to the land of Indigenous elder Nyarri Nyarri Morgan and WA’s remote Martu tribe directed by filmmaker Lynette Wallworth.

Melbourne

  • A TAL executive will continue to give evidence to the banking royal commission’s insurance hearing, including over a case where the insurer hired a private investigator.

  • Victorian Treasurer and Resources Minister Tim Pallas will speak as part of a business election luncheon series by the Victorian Chamber.

  • Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Dr Gillian Sparkes will present on an interim report ahead of Victoria’s five-yearly, “State of the Environment Report” due early 2019.

  • More than 300 riders will take off on the ninth annual Wall to Wall Ride for Remembrance to commemorate police who have died on duty.

  • Day one of the three-day Global Ideas Forum 2018, to run on the theme of “Achieving health equity in the age of digital disruption”.

Sydney

  • NewsMediaWorks will host the Inform News Media Summit, with speakers set to include Nine CEO Hugh Marks and The Australian’s editor-in-chief Paul Whittaker.

  • Structural engineer and author of Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures Roma Agrawal will present “An engineering idol: Emily Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge” at UNSW.

  • Leader of the Australian Research Council Linkage Project’s “Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons: Rethinking the Gateways (2017-2020)” Professor Juan Francisco Salazar will present “Life in Antarctica: mediations, speculations, ethnographies” at the University of Sydney.

  • Dermatologist Dr. Alex Varol will speak on “Skin Care: In the Sun and Over Time” at Randwick City Library.

Brisbane

  • Miss Hawaii USA 2018 Julie Chu will speak at MPERS International’s Domestic Violence Fundraiser Dinner & LIVE Auction, along with a number of domestic violence experts and advocates.

  • QUT Creative Enterprise Australia will host their annual industry event Creative3.

  • The Centre for Integrative Health will hold their annual Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week Gala.

  • Day one of the three-day Brisbane Eco Expo 2018.

Adelaide

  • The Adelaide Sustainable Building Network will host their Sustainable House Day Showcase 2018.

  • The Australian Information Security Association and French-Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry will hold a Collaborative Half-Day Information Security Conference.

Perth

  • Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and nine other local homeowners and architects will showcase sustainable home project as part of the weekend-long Freo Sustainable Home Expo.

  • Woodside Energy’s Executive Vice President of Development Dr. Robert Edwardes will present as part of the African Professionals of Australia Leadership Series.

Hobart

  • Regional Australia Institute CEO Jack Archer will discuss Hobart’s business ecosystem at an NBN business breakfast.

  • The University of Tasmania will host the local leg of the Run Nation Film Festival 2018.

  • Studio 65 will host Art Battle Hobart 2018.

Darwin

  • Day one of two-day music festival Litchfield Beats.

New Delhi, India

  • 2008 hit-and-run driver Puneet Puneet will face a court deciding whether he should be extradited to Melbourne to face sentencing.

Graz, Austria

  • Day one of the Davis Cup three-day world group playoffs for Australia vs Austria.