Scott Morrison has announced a change to Liberal Party rules to ensure elected prime ministers serve a full term unless voted down by a two-thirds majority of the party room. He obtained endorsement for the change at a late-night, unscheduled party meeting.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the new rules can only be changed by another two-thirds majority, do not apply to opposition leaders, and follows consultation with former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, but not Malcolm Turnbull. The Australian ($) reports that the announcement constitutes a deliberate attempt to reassert Morrison’s authority over the party. Notably, it comes after Morrison successfully pressured NSW executives to employ “emergency powers” to save far-right MP Craig Kelly from preselection defeat, dismissing a last-minute intervention by Turnbull that reportedly sparked internal backlash ($).
ROYAL COMMISSION INTO INFORMANT USE
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a royal commission into the use of a criminal defence lawyer as a police informant during Melbourne’s gangland trials, with new court documents potentially jeopardising the conviction of underworld figure Tony Mokbel, amongst others.
The ABC reports that suppression orders were lifted yesterday on a November High Court case involving Victoria Police, the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions and the unnamed lawyer, “Informer 3838”. 3838 claims in documents to have helped police in as many as 386 cases between 2005 and 2009 and to have been motivated by “altruism”. However The Age reports that the revelations threaten multiple convictions, have been slammed as “reprehensible” by the High Court, and raise questions over current Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton’s role overseeing several major investigations with the informant.
THE BRONCOS ARE REVOLTING
The Brisbane Broncos were reportedly facing a player revolt when they dropped star coach Wayne Bennett on Sunday.
The Daily Telegraph ($) reports that (unnamed) members of the Broncos’ leadership group contacted club executives about reports Bennett had been secretly collaborating with Rabbitohs players and staff ahead of an official coach swap. The executives would not confirm if player concerns swayed their decision, but either way Bennett leaves with $300,000 of his $1 million contract and a new job in Sydney.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
I despise violence… but what is the violence of all these people and burned luxurious cars, compared to the structural violence of the French — and global — elites?
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Morrison’s desire to cling on to power for a couple more months and go to the polls in May will ensure that NSW voters go to the state poll in March with baseball bats at the ready. The result may well be the destruction of a government that has delivered more for NSW than any since Nick Greiner ended the torpid, corrupt Labor years and brought Sydney into the late-20th century.”
“Nine will cut 144 jobs as it completes its takeover of Fairfax Media. Fairfax’s last day of trading under its own brand was on Friday, and the new media business will be one from next Monday. Nine CEO Hugh Marks emailed staff this morning announcing the job cuts and a new corporate structure, saying the roles were going due to ‘duplication’ between the two companies. ‘By the end of the coming week, we will have completed most of the work needed in relation to ‘synergies, including redundancies,’ Marks said.”
“After years of apocalyptic headlines and government intransigence on climate change, the sight of thousands of high school students packing Sydney’s Martin Place last Friday provided a jolt of much-needed hope for the future. Armed with loudspeakers, and some incredibly creative posters, the strike — which also took place in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Coffs Harbour, Bendigo and other city centres — represented part of a global surge of student-led climate change protests.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
View from The Hill: Craig Kelly triumphs in the ‘outwit, outplay, outlast’ game of Survivor — Michelle Grattan (The Conversation): “Rebel right wing Liberal Craig Kelly is a paradox – a man who chronically lacks the numbers but possesses the power to force prime ministers to protect him. On Monday, fresh from a G20 where he was less than feted, Scott Morrison heavied a few moderates on the NSW Liberal executive. A wobbly cross-factional deal to preserve Kelly held together.”
Forget federal chaos, Gladys will lose seats regardless ($) — Andrew Clennell (The Australian): “Research shows that all over the state, the blowout in the delayed light rail project is hitting home for the NSW government — and that Berejiklian, who was transport minister at the time it was announced, is being personally blamed for it. The research shows the light rail debacle — Berejiklian announced it would cost $1.6 billion; it has blown out to $2.1 billion; and now contractor Acciona is suing for a further $1.2bn — has raised questions of competence about the NSW government’s infrastructure program.”
The day Informer 3838 leapt for joy — John Silvester (The Age): “Most police informers change sides out of naked self-interest. Faced with overwhelming evidence they turn on their colleagues in order to get a reduced sentence and a new start. So why would a barrister, who was much in demand with a certain type of client, become informer 3838 – an action so unethical she would be struck off the Bar if exposed as a double agent?”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Labor energy spokesperson Mark Butler and former Liberal leader Dr John Hewson will launch a report into Australia’s biofuels industry.
Forest and Wood Products Australia will hold a presentation, “Densifying our cities: the role of wood in midrise and high rise construction”, at Parliament House, to be followed by a Parliamentary Friends of Forestry & Forest Products Christmas event organised by Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon and Liberal MP Tony Pasin.
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin, and energy transition specialist Simon Holmes a Court will speak at the NSW Smart Energy Summit.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore and NSW Police Acting Commissioner Karen McCarthy will launch Sydney’s 2018 New Year’s Eve plans.
Deputy Leader of the NSW Nationals and Trade Minister Niall Blair will deliver a keynote at the 2018 Australia-China Trade Summit.
ANROWS and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services will hold for a symposium on implications for policy and practice from the new ANROWS report “Invisible Practices: Intervention with fathers who use violence”.
Anti-racism educator Dr Robin DiAngelo will present on “White Fragility”, a term she coined in 2011, for Sydney Ideas.
Economist and lawyer Allan Fels will present a keynote speech, “Mental Health and the Economy”, based on a 18-month inquiry being conducted by the Productivity Commission.
The Scanlon Foundation will launch the Mapping Social Cohesion Report 2018, to feature a keynote address from social researcher Hugh Mackay.
The Grattan Institute will launch their annual Summer Reading List for the Prime Minister at the State Library Victoria, with speakers to include journalist Madeleine Morris and Grattan CEO John Daley.
The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute will host one-day conference “Disrupting the housing market”, to discuss the impact of technologies such as Airbnb on housing policy.
A new MONA ferry will be launched by the Hobart art gallery.
Coca Cola will officially shut down its Adelaide bottling line.
Two men who sparked a six-hour siege in inner-Brisbane yesterday, after allegedly firing a shot at police, are expected to face court.
The National Workplace Sexual Harassment Inquiry will hold a Brisbane policy consultation.
A public hearing will be held for the Queensland government’s proposed human rights bill, to reportedly be introduced later this week.
Victoria’s Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville and Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio will join Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp to launch a summer emergency aircraft fleet.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to take questions in a Facebook live event at 17:30 AEST.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics will release a quarterly national crop report.