Chris Crewther section 44 Dunkley
Chris Crewther, Liberal member for Dunkley (IMAGE CREDIT: AAP/ LUKAS COCH)

SECTION 44 FOREVER

News of a federal backbencher’s pharmaceutical investment could see the Coalition lose yet another MP and forced into a byelection thanks to Australian politics’ favourite trapdoor, Section 44.

The Herald Sun ($) reports that Victorian MP Chris ­Crewther could face a parliamentary vote referring him to the High Court over shares in Gretals Australia, which is a beneficiary of an Australian Research Council linkage grant and could therefore create a pecuniary interest risk. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is also likely to face a fresh attempt from Labor after the government lost its majority at the Wentworth byelection.

The news follows a bizarre day of conflicting versions as to why former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was sent on a diplomatic mission to Indonesia, with Scott Morrison forced to walk back claims trade relations were “not really” part of the (post-Israeli embassy announcement) brief.

DUTTON KNOCKS BACK NZ DEAL, AGAIN

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has again rebuffed New Zealand’s offer to accept people seeking asylum from Manus Island and Nauru, despite suggestions from Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the Wentworh byelection that the deal could be accepted in return for a lifetime ban.

Dutton stated in a Sky News interview that New Zealand would be a “pull factor” for people seeking asylum by boat and that the government’s unofficial plan to evacuate children from Nauru was based on economic, not humanitarian, reasons. Department lawyers will today challenge another evacuation attempt at the Federal Court.

Elsewhere, the Home Affairs minister claimed in a Daily Telegraph ($) interview that over 70 people detained on Nauru have rejected US resettlement in an effort to suggest they are not “genuine”. Dutton stated people transferred for medical reasons will not be resettled in Australia, a point largely agreed upon by Shadow Minister Shayne Neumann on Radio National but with the intention of accepting New Zealand’s offer. 

NSW LAUNCHES VIRTUAL POWER PLANT

NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin has announced plans to turn a network of hospitals and schools into a 13-megawatt virtual power plant using both solar panels and batteries.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the NSW government will spend $20 million to install up to 900 batteries on government buildings in an effort to cut participants’ bills by up to $40,000 a year. The news comes as Snowy Hydro announces a deal to replace coal with wind and solar power for its pumped hydro storage system.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Apologies for any confusion. Of course, I’m requesting the Ministers for Home Affairs and Citizenship & Immigration cancel the visa of Tommy Robinson, dangerous extremist and former leader of the English Defence League, not Tony Robinson, children’s author & star of Blackadder.

Richard Di Natale

A simple typo from the Greens leader leads to about a day’s worth of Blackadder references.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

“The US has been battered by far right violence in the last week. The shadow of the numbing, deadly antisemitic attack in Pittsburgh dimmed the focus on the inept attempts to bomb high-profile critics of Donald Trump and all but covered the murder of two black people by a white supremacist in Kentucky.”

“The semi-regular rumblings of legal action against Daily Mail Australia for ‘plagiarising’ have been stirring again. Two News Corp journalists tweeted about the Daily Mail rewriting their stories earlier this week, prompting Marque Lawyers and the ABC’s Media Watch to call out for examples.”

“The upper echelons of Australia’s judiciary are overwhelmingly dominated by the products of private education and sandstone universities, data shows. Analysis of the educational background of judges across the nation’s top courts points to a profound lack of educational diversity on the bench, putting these powerful and cloistered institutions out of touch with the demographic realities of modern Australia.”

THIS WEEK FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

What are the real-world consequences of the politics of fear? Sign up to the New York Times’ On Politics newsletter, your essential guide to the US elections.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

ABC reporter suspended for two months after complaint by Alex Turnbull to chairman

Presbyterian Church warns Morrison on gender discrimination laws ($)

Macquarie link to investor accused of major Danish tax fraud

‘Bloody devastated’: Family members of aviation pioneer have citizenship challenged

Teenage girls at Don Dale forced to shower while under constant surveillance, Parliament hears ($)

Tassie regions take over the mantle as leaders of nation’s property boom

Richard Harris named SA Australian of the year, for his role in the Thailand cave rescue ($)

Donald Trump criticised for ad linking illegal immigrant killer to Democrats

Google workers stage walkout over company’s handling of sexual harassment

THE COMMENTARIAT

What women feel when they read about EJ Norvill and Geoffrey Rush — Jenna Price (Sydney Morning Herald): “Whatever happens in the Geoffrey Rush defamation case, there are two clear outcomes. The women I know are sad, sad and broken and angry, as they read Eryn Jean Norvill’s testimony. Why? Because they know and understand how she felt, feels. And two, whatever happened, whatever the court decides, men across Australia – and some women – are now on notice.”

Labor’s dividend plan will smash mum-and-dad shareholders ($) — Geoff Wilson (Australian Financial Review): “In markets and in politics, retail investors are often overlooked, and their voices are rarely heard. Labor’s plan to scrap full tax refunds will cause misery and suffering to low-income earners and modest retirees who have worked, saved and invested under a fair system that should be respected and safeguarded by all sides of politics.”

There’s room to grow, but we need breathing space ($) — Dominic Perrottet (The Australian): “When Premier Gladys Berejiklian called for a pause in NSW’s immigration intake a few weeks ago, the response featured more knee-jerks and foot-stomping than Riverdance. A sensible consensus on immigration is difficult to find. Mere mention of the topic provokes extreme reactions aligning with specific interests.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney

  • A federal inquiry into the Australian music industry will hear from Sounds Australia, the Association of Artist Managers, and Australia Council for the Arts amongst others.

  • An Australia21 national report exposing health and social harms from Australia’s current drug laws will be launched at the conclusion of a 15-day, collective 400km walk from Dubbo to Sydney, meant to demonstrate the extreme distances people in rural areas must travel to get help for drug treatment.

  • Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will launch their 2019 program.

Melbourne

  • Lawyers for the federal government will present at the Federal Court in a challenge against a child’s transfer from Nauru for medical care.

  • Victoria Police and VRC Chief Executive Neil Wilson will speak on preparations at Flemington ahead of Derby Day.

Perth

  • A WA Future in the Lithium Battery Value Chain event will hear from Treasurer Ben Wyatt, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia CEO Chris Rodwell, and Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA CEO Paul Everingham.

  • Day one of West Australian Music’s two-day conference WAMCon 2018.

Hobart

  • A Tasmanian upper house committee will hear evidence from Airbnb as part of a series of public hearings on short-stay accommodation.

  • The Tasmanian Climate Change Office will hold a public forum on amending the Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008.

Brisbane

  • Former Justice of the High Court of Australia Michael Kirby will present a keynote address at the Pride in Law one year anniversary, to centre on “The Rainbow over Asia: Logjam and achievements of sexuality law reform in Australia’s region.”

Canberra

  • ACT’s Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate will host a “What might Canberra be like in 2032?” forum at the Renewables Innovation Hub.

Adelaide

  • SA Health Minister Stephen Wade will help open Robinson Research Institute’s 2018 SA Vaccinology Update conference.

Shepparton, Victoria

  • Victorian Nationals MP Tim McCurdy will face a directions hearing before standing trial on ten fraud-related charges alleging he wrongly pocketed real estate commissions.

New South Wales

  • A total fire ban has been issued across Sydney and three other coastal NSW regions comes as temperatures are predicted to exceed 35 degrees and winds are forecast to exceed 35 km/h.