OBAMA, CLINTON AND CNN SENT SUSPICIOUS PACKAGES

The US Secret Services has announced that suspicious packages have been sent to former US president Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, with another package sent to the Time Warner Building in New York, which houses CNN, resulting in mass evacuations late last night (AEST),

The ABC reports that Clinton and Obama’s parcels were respectively picked up during routine mail screenings Tuesday night/Wednesday morning local time, with The New York Times reporting Clinton’s package as an explosive device. A small bomb, similar to the one sent to Clinton, was also found earlier this week at the New York home of liberal donor George Soros.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has condemned the “terrorising acts”, and authorities have confirmed neither Obama nor Clinton were at risk at the time and are currently investigating.

GOVERNMENT CHALLENGES CHILD EVACUATION

The government has challenged the Federal Court’s ability to order humanitarian evacuations for dangerously sick refugee children, creating the potential to slow down further evacuations from Nauru.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, in a case last week, over an 11 year old Iranian girl who had not eaten for over a fortnight and experts warned faced “imminent death”, lawyers acting for Home Affairs argued that the Migration Act precludes the Federal Court from any jurisdiction over “transitory persons”. The Federal Court will now hold a special hearing to clarify its power and, if the government’s argument is successful, future cases may then need to be escalated to the High Court, which advocates fear could result in unwanted delays and bureaucratic hoops.

Elsewhere, former Home Affairs official Shaun Hanns has quit the department over the current policy and, in a paper sent to all federal parliamentarians, argued that all Manus Island and Nauru detainees could be resettled in Australia without creating an out-of-control number of people seeking asylum by boat.

CROSSBENCH RAISES COAL CONCERNS

Key crossbenchers have raised alarms over the Coalition’s plan to introduce both new divestment powers and underwrite “firming” generation, which could potentially go towards new or extended coal-fired power plants.

With the Coalition no longer controlling either house but specifically needing the support of nine of 11 senators, The Sydney Morning Herald reports the plan for potential new coal subsidies has been criticised by independent Senator Tim Storer and Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff. Similar concerns have been raised about proposed divestment powers, however the plan for a default energy price appears to have sufficient support.

The news comes as an alliance of business and community groups pressure the Coalition over global warming and long-term energy investment signals, and the latest Director Sentiment Index puts climate change (and the impact of Coalition inaction on consumer confidence) as the top concern for company directors ($).

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

So tell me then what does Mr Ciobo actually have responsibility for?

Senator Penny Wong

News that that not even defence officials know what Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo does was greeted by none other than Foreign Affairs Minister (and former defence minister) Marise Payne, who could be heard whispering between responses, “Fair to say I’m enjoying this”.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

“Seven is cementing itself as Australia’s most racist television network, this time by providing talking points for One Nation’s Pauline Hanson with a Facebook poll. Shortly after the Australian Senate only narrowly voted down Hanson’s motion denouncing ‘anti-white racism’, Seven News Sydney’s Facebook account posted a poll calling for opinions on whether such a thing was ‘on the rise’.”

“Yesterday’s energy policy announced by Scott Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor — the latter presumably flown in from the undisclosed location he is normally hidden in — is what happens when a government gripped by wide-eyed political panic confronts the collapse of neoliberalism and rampant climate denialism.”

“A couple of weeks back, in the Scott Morrison honeymoon period, your correspondent argued that our new PM’s religiosity, as an enthusiastic evangelical Christian, was not of the manner of Tony Abbott’s apocalyptic Catholicism, but of the suburban manner in which happy-clappydom is taken up these days: as an insta-value system, a one-stop theo-shop, providing a literal and specific idea of a God, with firm views about everything, and an interest in your career, health of your children, your speech to the regional sales conference, etc.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Luke Foley in firestorm over harassment allegation

Australia abandoned plans for Taiwanese free trade agreement after warning from China

‘Yes, Senator’: Defence chief would have liked to be briefed on controversial Jerusalem plan before the media

First homebuyer lending at high point but Millennials cause national apartment boom and bust ($)

Police frustration grows amid claims of red shirts probe interference

Police DNA-test north Queensland beach community after woman’s body found

Treasury in warning on household savings raid ($)

Poor nations castigate Australia for abandoning global climate fund

Derryn Hinch’s preference whisperer faces cash-for-votes complaint

Hawaiian island erased by powerful hurricane: ‘the loss is a huge blow’

THE COMMENTARIAT

Coalition wrong to blame Turnbull for lossJohn Hewson (The Sydney Morning Herald): “There is little point in changing the jockey if it is the horse that’s crook. Shifting from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison certainly hasn’t made much difference to the declining electoral fortunes of the Liberal Party. Indeed, the self-absorbed contests between these three men have been a significant further negative, on top of the electorate’s loss of faith and confidence in them due to policy drift and failure to govern.”

High time for the Coalition to gear up and attack ($) — Dennis Shanahan (The Australian):Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison are confident Labor’s negative gearing policy is ‘cutting through’ to the public and creating some political angst for the ALP. After three years, three prime ministers, three treasurers, three budgets, a general election and eight by-elections, you’d bloody well hope so if you were a Coalition supporter.”

Directors’ doom and gloom should be wake-up call for Canberra — Elizabeth Knight (Sydney Morning Herald): “The latest Australian Institute of Company Directors report on sentiment should be a wake-up call for Canberra. Well over half of board directors are increasingly pessimistic about the impact the government’s performance (read the coalition government) is having on their business decision-making.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Legislation protecting LGBTIQ school students from discrimination is expected to be introduced.

  • Senate estimate committees will hold hearings into Social Services, Treasury, Education and Training, Foreign Affairs and Trade.

  • Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell and Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo will speak at the Women in National Security conference.

  • The Festival of Ambitious Ideas’ event “Interesting People Doing Interesting Things” will see a range of Canberra speakers deliver five minute presentations, including a speech from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Dr Sarah Pearson on the Global Innovation Fund.

  • Commentator Kerry-Anne Walsh will discuss her new book, Hoodwinked: How Pauline Hanson Fooled A Nation in-conversation with Karen Middleton for an ANU/Canberra Times event.

Sydney

  • The UNSW Centre for Ideas will host “After the Crash: Australia in the world ten years on from the GFC” with former PM Kevin Rudd, former secretary of the Department of the Treasury Ken Henry, economics professor Richard Holden, former secretary of the Department of the Environment and Energy Andrew Charlton and chair and columnist Jennifer Hewett.

  • The NRMA will unveil the next stage in the expansion of its ferry services with a major acquisition announcement.

  • NSW Vice-Chancellors will speak at a CEDA event on higher education funding, policy priorities, the international sector and engagement with industry.

Adelaide

  • ACTU President Michele O’Brien and SA Unions Secretary Joe Szakacs will speak at a “Change the Rules” rally.

  • SA Minister for Trade Tourism & Investment David Ridgway will help launch the industry-led, peer-to-peer ageing well network “Ageing Well International”.

Melbourne

  • La Trobe University will hold panel discussion “Is democracy broken?” with Liberal strategist Mark Textor, Labor adviser Geoff Walsh, Guardian Australia political editor Katharine Murphy, Roy Morgan pollster Michele Levine and MC and journalist Tony Walker.

  • The Centre for Urban Research will launch “Urban Futures Policy Briefs” for a number of priority topics facing Victoria.

  • Writer and leading feminist Dr Anne Summers will discuss her memoir “Unfettered and Alive” in-conversation with Dr Susan Carland at the Wheeler Centre.

Brisbane

  • Guardian journalist Gabrielle Chan will deliver “Why Country Australia is Fed Up – A perspective on Politics, Media and the Economy” at a Crescent Institute event.

Perth

  • The WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety will present the Resources Sector Awards for Excellence 2018.

Hobart

  • Day one of the three-day Royal Hobart Show.

Port Hedland, Western Australia

  • A watch and act alert has been issued for the Yandeyarra Community south of Port Hedland in WA’s Pilbara region, with authorities warning a deliberately-lit bushfire is moving fast.

Euroa, Victoria

  • Australia’s fastest electric vehicle charging stations will be launched in Victoria, along with a prototype for Audi’s first electric vehicle.

Washington DC, USA

  • Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos will testify to the US Congress over the role former Australian high commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer, had in sparking the FBI probe into Russia’s role in Trump’s victory.