Scott Morrison Peter Dutton immigration
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)


The Coalition and Labor are on track to pass the government’s controversial, world-first encryption bill, as parliament heads towards its final two sitting days of the year.

The Guardian reports that Labor has given in-principle support to granting law enforcement agencies access to encrypted communication, through a process Crikey’s Bernard Keane calls forcing tech companies to plant bureaucrat-designed malware onto computers and phones, in return for limiting investigative powers to “serious offences” as well as new safeguards. The opposition’s backflip on laws they had panned just last week comes as Attorney-General Christian Porter declares the “door is now open for a resolution” ($) on Labor’s anti-discrimination education bill, which the government hopes to amend with faith-based exemptions and will be debated in the Senate today.


FOI documents have revealed how a secret government body determined medical transfers for people in offshore detention and considered, amongst other issues, watering down medical standards, avoiding “close scrutiny” of a high profile case, and whether “compassion” should play a role in decision making.

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Investigations by both the ABC and BuzzFeed have revealed that a task force comprised largely of senior Home Affairs bureaucrats, the Transitory Persons Committee, discussed removing references to the “Australian Standard” in healthcare contracts with private company International Health and Medical Services and considered “reputational risks” to the department as part of assessments. The news comes as Independent MP Dr Kerryn Phelps seeks support for streamlined transfers in the Urgent Medical Treatment Bill, and follows two damning reports into ongoing mental health crises on Nauru and Manus Island.


A getaway driver serving 20 years for allegedly killing a gangland figure will be the first convicted murderer to appeal over the Lawyer X scandal.

The Age reports that Faruk Orman, who pleaded not guilty and failed in previous challenges to the Court of Appeals and the High Court, will prepare a plea of mercy after being sentenced in 2009 to a minimum of 14 years over the 2002 murder. The news comes as the state government backs Commissioner Graham Ashton in the face of the royal commission.


I don’t think we’re profiting off the royal commission at all … there’ll be other issues that will be discussed.

Stuart Robert

The Assistant Treasurer strongly disputes claims a flyer promising donor access to “what ramifications may arise for the Finance Industry from the Royal Commission” is in any way exploitative.


The ‘Lawyer X’ scandal is an astounding snapshot of Melbourne’s gangland past

Informer 3838’s name is still unable to be published for legal reasons, though everyone in Melbourne even tangentially connected with the law, media etc, knows who she is. Anyone using the information in her published letter to The Age — such as her having a stroke in 2004 — can work out who she is. And of course the criminals inside and outside of prison sure as hell know who she is. So why isn’t her name circulating?”

No, Julia Banks is not a saviour for women, or anybody

“Not only do I have little in common politically with Banks and her magical suit, my fellows have little to gain from her neoliberal unconcern for the many. She is a former businessperson who believes her assets and CV were solely gained by hard work and that those who do not have these things were simply not trying hard enough. This view has all the contours of sexism. It is structurally identical to sexism. It’s no better than sexism for despising the poor instead of the female.”

Canberra Times shafted in Nine’s reorganisation of Fairfax

“Under the new Nine regime for Fairfax Media, The Canberra Times will move back into Fairfax’s community media division and away from bigger mastheads The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age and the Australian Financial Review. Staff were told yesterday the decision was made by Nine (Fairfax’s new owner), and weren’t given an in-depth explanation as to why Canberra’s daily newspaper was moving back to a group with regional, community and New Zealand publications.”


Morrison seeks help from wiser heads on Jerusalem embassy minefield

Live export industry imposes summer ban in wake of backlash over animal deaths

Labor backs Greens plan to block Coalition from underwriting coal power

Aurizon launches Supreme Court legal action against anti-coal activists ($)

‘Sold down the river’: Leaked emails show Liberal Party moderates under fire for saving Craig Kelly

Teens awarded payout after suing NT Government over mistreatment and teargassing in Don Dale ordered to pay government’s legal costs ($)

Adani faces new hurdle over huge water plan in drought-ravaged Queensland

Gladys Berejiklian’s high speed train project may cost $100 billion ($)

Amnesty International calls for Thailand to release Australian refugee footballer wanted in Bahrain

UK can cancel Brexit without asking permission, EU court adviser rules


Australia can’t run away from a carbon price any longer ($) — Warwick McKibbin (Australian Financial Review): “Climate policies being proposed by Australian politicians have become increasingly flawed because no-one is willing to countenance the idea of a price on carbon. In fact, the attempts to avoid the idea of pricing carbon have become so absurd that it now might be possible to start again with a design that is based on science and expertise rather than the nonsense that has passed as political debate driven by political cowardice.”

Destructive decision will disable Indigenous self-help ($) — Tony Abbott (The Australian): “Thereafter, there was always bipartisan support for the work local Aboriginal elders did as part of the FRC to tackle family dysfunction, to stop sly-grogging and to encourage children to go to school. Until now. Only it’s not the ­Coalition government in Canberra that’s pulling the rug out from under the FRC; it’s the Labor ­government in Queensland, which apparently thinks that ­restricting some of people’s welfare payments to the necess­ities of life is a ‘punishment ­agenda’ rather than an attempt by local elders to bring decent value­s to their communities.”

Tumblr crackdown needlessly suppresses women, LGBT community — Alice Clarke (Sydney Morning Herald): “As always with these kinds of crackdowns, innocent posts about people in the LGBT community are being flagged as ‘adult’ and hidden from view. This is what happened with the ‘safe filter incident”‘in February, when even some of my very SFW blog posts talking about my wedding to my wife were flagged as sensitive content. And, while pictures of heterosexual couples kissing aren’t being flagged now, two men kissing or two fully clothed women in a bed are.”


The Latest Headlines



  • British High Commissioner to Australia Menna Rawlings will deliver “Sharp power, soft power, girl power: My Australian diplomatic journey” at the National Press Club.

  • CHOICE, National Shelter and The National Association of Tenant Organisations will launch new research at Parliament House into the experience of renting in Australia.

  • ABC’s Richard Fidler will hold a panel discussion on Ancient Rome at the National Museum of Australia with former NSW premier Bob Carr, British Museum curator Richard Hobbs and co-host of the podcast Emperors of Rome Dr Rhiannon Evans.


  • The 8th annual AACTA awards celebrating the Australian screen industry will be presented at The Star Event Centre.

  • Premier Gladys Berejiklian will speak at a Christmas event hosted by the Sydney Catholic Archidiocese.

  • UTS’ Centre for Media Transition will host forum event “Public Broadcasting Under Review: What is going on? What needs to happen?” with ABC news director Gaven Morris, The Australian’s contributing economics editor Judith Sloan, communications law expert Angela Flannery and digital content specialist Louise McElvogue.

  • A Tesla/Neoen presentation will be held on how the SA battery has performed over the past year.

  • Artist Ken Done will launch the book Australian Homes 70 Years Well Lived, celebrating 70 years of Australian House & Garden Magazine.


  • ABC journalist Stan Grant will deliver the 2018 Swinburne Annual Reconciliation Lecture on day one of the two-day National Reconciliation Action Plan Conference, with author Dr Jackie Huggins and co-chair of Reconciliation Australia Tom Calma to present keynotes.

  • Iranian journalist, refugee and Manus detainee Behrouz Boochani will present “Manus Prison Theory” at RMIT University.


  • Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham will deliver a keynote at the 2018 Queensland Exploration Council Breakfast.


  • SA Premier Steven Marshall will open the 6th South Australia Space Forum, to include an address from federal Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews.

  • A case management hearing will be held at the Federal Court for Kimba Council v Barngarla people, in which traditional owners are seeking to vote in a poll on whether a nuclear waste dump should be established near Kimba.

  • Greens’ founder Bob Brown and his partner Paul Thomas will launch their new book Green Nomads Wild Places.

Rockhampton, Queensland

  • Caszuo Wesley Selwyn Dennis Conlon, 27, will face court on accusations of lighting a grass fire during the recent bushfire crisis in central Queensland.

Washington, D.C.

  • A state funeral will be held for US President George H. W. Bush.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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