Andrew Hastie, Chair Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Encryption bill
Liberal MP Andrew Hastie


Parliament will debate anti-encryption, medical evacuation and energy legislation during its final sitting day of the year today, after legislation governing anti-discrimination in schools was sidelined yesterday.

iTnews reports that a bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security issued a report late last night recommending anti-encryption legislation “immediately” pass both houses today with 17 amendments. Notably, the report agrees to grant new powers to all law enforcement agencies except anti-corruption bodies, calls to explicitly protect parliamentary privilege and recommends further investigation only after the bill has actually passed. 

The Coalition is also set for a lower house win on its “big stick” energy package despite opposition from Labor, while The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the ALP, Greens and crossbenchers could successfully pass Migration Act amendments similar but separate to Dr Kerryn Phelps’ bill aimed at expediting medical transfers for people detained offshore.

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A Coalition-controlled committee into the 2016 federal election has called for voter identification laws, in a move Labor has criticised for both creating a “a pathway to voter suppression” and offering no proof of necessity.

According to The Guardian, committee chair and LNP senator James McGrath argued that ID or address requirements were needed at the next federal election to counter “mistrust of politicians” and democracy, while both Labor and the Greens offered dissenting views that ID requirements would negatively impact groups such as Indigenous Australians, family violence survivors, and people experiencing homelessness. Coalition members also hit out at GetUp! with (since rejected) accusations of contempt of parliament, and called to tighten requirements for new minor parties, increase penalties for non-voters, and broaden tax-deductibility for political donations.


The 60th annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards were dominated by Indigenous and LGBTIQ storytelling, with the Warwick Thornton-directed Sweet Country, 1970s queer miniseries Riot, conversion therapy film Boy Erased and Rachel Perkins-directed drama series Mystery Road all winning big.

The Guardian reports that Sweet Country, won six AACTAs, including best film, best director, best actor for newcomer Hamilton Morris, and best screenplay. Nicole Kidman, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair, Hannah Gadsby and Joel Edgerton also took out gongs, while Bryan Brown won the Longford Lyell Award.



Just because these selfish gits don’t have jobs doesn’t give them a right to deny jobs for Queenslanders. Parliament is for all Australians.

James McGrath

The LNP senator delivers a very normal assessment of anti-Adani protestors at Parliament House, most of whom appear to be school kids.


Why does Australia keep making such patently dumb decisions about tech laws?

“It’s Christmas come early this week for hackers, organised crime and terrorists, with Labor caving in and agreeing to pass the government’s encryption backdoor bill, with some modifications. It’s the same story that we’ve seen repeatedly in the last five years: the government demands the passage of outrageous abuses of basic rights and common sense that even the Howard government, in the wake of 9/11, never tried to introduce, and Labor, after an initial pretence of judicious consideration, agrees.”

Internal email reveals Border Force to cut jobs over Christmas

“Crikey has seen an email from a senior Border Force management figure to all Western Australia ‘intermittent and irregular employees [IIE]’ informing them of the cuts. It states that due to ‘significant budget pressure … I will only be able to afford around one third of the current level of IIE usage going forward. This measure will commence from 17 Dec.’”

Behold, the Great Milo Yiannopoulos Right-wing Cluster-fuck Email Dump!

“Scandals are like trams, in that they have flanged wheels and use an overhead electric power system. Also, three come at once after a long hiatus. Gliding in as the Lawyer X scandal powers up is the Great Milo Yiannopoulos Right-Wing Cluster-fuck Email Dump, which is a real Christmas treat. With Milo, Neil Erikson, Penthouse and a duo named the Spiller brothers involved, what’s not to like?”


Lawyer X had sexual relationship with policeman in oversight role

WA Labor MP Pierre Yang served aboard suspected China spy ship ($)

Coalition scuppers Greens, Labor efforts to block new coal

Chris Dawson, subject of Teacher’s Pet podcast, set to be charged with former wife’s murder

Queensland political parties united in opposition to PM’s new electricity asset sales threats ($)

One-year delay to Labor’s negative gearing changes ($)

‘My wife is not involved’: Darwin Lord Mayor denies conflict of interest over China agreement

Police officer accused of viciously kicking subdued teen in head ($)

Tanya Day got on a train to Melbourne. She never made it home

‘Stalemate’: UK government’s secret legal advice reveals Brexit fears


GDP figures don’t show real strength of economy ($) — Josh Frydenberg (Australian Financial Review): “The Australian economy continues to perform well. At 5 per cent, the unemployment rate has fallen to a six-year low and over 1.1 million jobs have been created. Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank of Australia noted that business conditions are positive. Consumer confidence is above the long-run average. Australia’s AAA credit rating has been reaffirmed and, next year, the Liberal and National Government will deliver the first budget surplus in more than a decade.”

A directionless, self-obsessed rabble: Liberal brand is damaged goods — John Hewson (Sydney Morning Herald): “The Liberal Party is totally consumed by itself. It is an unfortunate combination of selfishness, ignorance and pure arrogance to ignore what has happened to the standing of the party in the Longman and Wentworth byelections, and the Victorian state election and, even worse, to deny any lessons, simply offering spurious and fallacious excuses blaming everything and everybody else.”

The scandal that finished Foley hasn’t damaged LaborAlexandra Smith (Sydney Morning Herald): “Just a month earlier, to mark six months until the election, a Herald poll had Labor and the Coalition neck and neck and Foley just in front of Gladys Berejiklian as preferred premier. But a sexual harassment scandal four months from the state election against the backdrop of the international #MeToo movement seemed damaging at best, lethal at worst.”


The Latest Headlines



  • Former prime minister and “Indigenous Envoy” Tony Abbot will deliver his blueprint for Indigenous education changes, reportedly relating to university debt for outback teachers, in Parliament.

  • The National Press Club will hold Q&A forum “Defining Moments of 2018: Events that shaped our world” with ANU experts.


  • Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service will hold a smoking ceremony and press conference with CEO Wayne Muir and the family of Aunty Tanya Day, who died after allegedly sustaining an injury in police custody.

  • A march will be held commemorating the 80th anniversary of Yorta Yorta man William Cooper’s march on the German consulate in Melbourne back in 1938, the only private protest in Australia against the Nazi regime and its atrocities against Germany’s Jewish community.

  • American Trotskyist David North will present a keynote on the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Fourth International at a Socialist Equality Party event.

  • The Victoria Energy Policy Centre will hold forum event “Does renewable electricity generation reduce electricity prices?” with science writer Dr Hugh Saddler and research fellows.


  • President of the International Commission of Jurists Australia John Dowd will deliver the United Nations Association of Australia’s 2018 Human Rights Lecture at the State Library of NSW.

  • Deloitte will launch an updated report on the Opera House’s economic, cultural and digital value, taking into account significant changes over the past five years.

  • Writer Jane Caro will speak on her potential run at contesting Warringah at the next federal election at a Voices of Warringah event.

  • Spiked Online editor Brendan O’Neill will speak on “Political correctness and its discontents” at the Centre for Independent Studies.


  • Brisbane ferry drivers will continue a 48 hour strike demanding better pay and greater job security.

  • The Australian Human Rights Commission’s national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces will hold consultations with Brisbane HR managers.


  • WA Premier Mark McGowan will deliver the State of the State address.

  • Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest and Virgin Galactic Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses will speak at the West Tech Fest 2018.

  • An anti-fracking rally will be held at Parliament House after the McGowan government last week lifted its moratorium.


  • The first test for Australia vs India will begin at Adelaide Oval.

  • The Centre for Crop and Disease Management will hold the 2018 Crop Protection Forum.


  • Representatives from the Insurance Council of Australia and the Institute for the Study of Social Change are due to give evidence at Tasmania’s Legislative Council Select Committee on Short Stay Accommodation.

  • The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch will protest in a bid for better pay.

Gold Coast, Queensland

  • The Queensland Coroner will resume an inquest into the 2016 deaths of four people at Dreamworld, with today’s session to run until tomorrow.

Shepparton, Victoria

  • Ten critical firefighting aircraft will be stationed across the region to prepare for the peak bushfire season.

Townsville, Queensland

  • A state funeral will be held for Indigenous rights activist Bonita Mabo.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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