Craig Kelly
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

SAVE SOME SCANDALS FOR THE REST OF US

In what feels like a fitting capper to 2018, state and federal Coalition parties are today facing three new political scandals.

First up, The Age reports that Victorian Liberal powerbroker Marcus Bastiaan ran persistent campaigns against senior federal and state MPs in reportedly aggressive moves for factional supporters. The news follows reports of racist and homophobic text exchanges between Bastiaan and fellow powerbroker Paul Mitchell, both of whom deny sending the texts.

Secondly, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that key Morrison confidant Scott Briggs offered Sutherland Shire councillor Kent Johns a $350,000 job in an attempt to ward off a preselection fight with Craig Kelly. And finally, The Herald-Sun ($) reports that the AFP is investigating a federal MP’s frequent trips to Southeast Asian neighbourhoods known for prostitution and drugs amid fears he could be ­exposed to blackmail.

Happy holidays Crikey readers, you’ve earned it!

THANKS, RENEWABLES

Energy prices in eastern Australia and South Australia are expected to dip as a slew of new renewable energy projects come online, according to a new report from government policy adviser, the Australian Energy Market Commission.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that most Australians will pay $28 less on their annual electricity bill over the next two years thanks in most part to the large-scale renewable energy target, which Energy Minister Angus Taylor recently announced the government would kill off after it expires in 2020.

However, prices are not expected to fall during this period in the ACT, Western Australia and the Northern Territory due to local factors, and, as The Australian ($) makes clear, the AEMC reports that displacement of investment in traditional firming technologies “may resul­t in a tighter supply-demand balance and lead to higher wholesale prices” in the long-term.

OYSTERDEMIC!

Blowtorch and hammer-wielding biosecurity experts are destroying feral oysters in Adelaide’s Port River to stop the spread of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) over summer.

The Advertiser ($) reports that South Australia’s state government has hired specialist team Aquatic Biosecurity to protect the state’s farmed oyster industry after POMS was discovered in the river in February. The disease, which does not affect humans, reportedly becomes more active in warmer water, spreads quickly and causes high mortality in Pacific oysters.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

We can beat Michael Daley, by opposing Scott Morrison.

Senior NSW Liberal

The Berejiklian government ramps up efforts to defeat their self-described “biggest threat”.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The 2018 Pollie of the Year is…

“As the government lurched through another self-inflicted disaster this week, another rotten opinion poll, another bout of self-indulgence and navel-gazing, Bill Shorten was presenting a strong, coherent and unified party at Labor’s delayed national conference. The contrast was deeper than just appearances, however potent they were.”


Who could replace Karl Stefanovic on Today?

“The network announced yesterday (while the morning TV host was still on his honeymoon with new wife Jasmine Yarbrough) that both management and Stefanovic had decided it was time to end his 14-year stint on the breakfast program. Thursday’s newspapers have turned immediately to speculation on who will be his replacement, with focus mainly on names from within the Nine network.”


NAB, ANZ, Westpac cop a hiding — so why didn’t the Commonwealth?

“Up to yesterday, Westpac’s 64.16% vote against its remuneration report last week was the largest ‘no’ vote against any company’s remuneration report since the 66% vote against that of the Sol Trujillo-era Telstra in 2007 — including the large holding of the Future Fund in Telstra. ANZ had taken a smaller, but still ‘first strike’ vote of 34% against its remuneration report. Then NAB blew away all previous records with an 88.1% vote against its report during a lengthy and angry annual meeting.”

THIS WEEK FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Join New York Times Op-Ed writer Bari Weiss on a group conference call with Australia bureau chief Damien Cave this Friday December 21 at 10am AEST. Register now for free.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Rob Oakeshott preparing to announce he will contest the 2019 election

Jeremy Buckingham quits NSW Greens in latest symptom of party’s bitter internal feud

Ken Vowles refuse to say if he has confidence in Chief Minister Michael Gunner ($)

Another senior Victorian Liberal to fall on his sword

GetUp’s $500,000 donation to change poll climate ($)

Hakeem al-Araibi: Australia pours cold water on citizenship bid for refugee footballer

Labor’s proposed negative gearing changes could cause soaring rents ($)

Coal powers record resources export income ($)

Border force review finds staff subject to ‘alarming’ levels of sexual harassment and bullying

‘Shocking, outrageous’: US charges Chinese hackers for industrial-scale theft

THE COMMENTARIAT

Once again, the Liberals find themselves on the wrong side of historyWaleed Aly (The Sydney Morning Herald): “It’s a remarkable thing to see a populist political stance transform into a liability in front of your eyes. So it is with the federal Coalition’s adventures in climate denialism. Consider the story arc commencing with Tony Abbott’s leadership: what was once perhaps the most potent stick an opposition leader has wielded – leaving both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard in its wreckage – this week disintegrated to the point that even the Coalition’s own colleagues in the NSW government have now abandoned them.”

More gas facilities vital to save manufacturing jobs ($) — Matt Canavan (The Daily Telegraph): “Earlier this year I visited the Qenos plastics manufacturing facility in the southern suburbs of Sydney at Botany. The factory supports more than 300 Sydney jobs and demonstrates that Australia can house world-class manufacturing facilities that provide high-paying and rewarding employment. That factory, and those jobs, are here in Australia because we traditionally have had secure access to resources such as gas, which is a key input for making plastics.”

The survivors of child sexual abuse deserve compensation before they die — Robert Llewellyn-Jones (The Guardian): “Adult survivors of child sexual abuse are receiving rough justice from offending institutions such as churches. At the same time that many churches are celebrating the innocence of childhood this Christmas, they are denying justice to survivors who were innocent children when their lives were damaged and, in some cases destroyed, by institutional sexual abuse.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne

  • The Federal Court will hand down its decision on Biloela family Priya and Kopika’s deportation appeal. A vigil is expected to be held outside during the announcement.

  • Jetstar pilots Captain Michael Santa and First Officer Jonathan Rudolph (real names) will fly together to Cairns and surprise kids checking in for their flight with presents from their wishlist.

Brisbane

  • Queensland barrister Alastair McDougall will front court for the first time after being charged with perjury by the CCC as a result of an investigation that netted four lawyers.

  • A Christmas vigil will be held at King George Square for the roughly 1200 people still detained on Manus Island and Nauru.

Sydney

  • The HMAS Hobart will return Sydney after more than three months overseas to test its state-of-the-art combat systems for the first time.