Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)


Retiring independent MP Cathy McGowan could spare the Coalition government a humiliating parliamentary defeat after declaring she is not yet sure whether to support a bill to fast-track medical treatment for sick refugees and asylum seekers detained on Manus Island and Nauru.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that McGowan, who will meet Prime Minister Scott Morrison today to discuss regional issues, has announced she will not make a final decision on the bill until it comes to a vote in February. The legislation would limit ministerial discretion in rejecting recommended medical transfers. The likelihood of its passing, which would issue the first serious defeat of a sitting government in the House of Representatives in 90 years, lead to the frankly cartoonish final sitting day of 2018.


South Australian police have confirmed that a 12-year-own girl living near Adelaide died by suicide last Friday, making her the fifth Indigenous girl in the country to have suicided in a period of only nine days.

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The Australian ($) reports that her death follows three cases in Western Australia and one in Queensland. The news has led to predictions that Indigenous Australians could soon represent as much as half of all youth suicides, up from 30%. Head of the federal government’s Indigenous critical response team Gerry Georgatos has listed poverty, lack of education and sexual predation as major general factors in suicidal ideation among young Indigenous children.

Anyone seeking help can reach Lifeline on 13 11 14, and Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. Headspace and ReachOut have useful mental health resources for young people.


British tennis player Andy Murray has bowed out of what could be his final Australian Open match, after fighting a five-set first-round loss to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut last night.

The ABC reports that Murray, who has announced prior to the tournament that it could be his last after years of living with a chronic hip injury, said it would take a “big operation” and miraculous recovery in order to return. His likely final match came as Australians Ashleigh Barty and Alex de Minaur advanced to the second round, with Bernard Tomic dropping out yesterday.


We need to have a conversation about decriminalisation or legalisation … Imagine if we could divert the resources we’re spending on enforcement to public health campaigns.

Campbell Newman

The former Queensland LNP premier best known for anti-association laws offers a decidedly mature response to drug-related deaths ($).


Crikey’s updated pocket guide to the far-right (yes, there are more)

“Early last year, Crikey began a series of pocket guides to the far-right in Australia. Unfortunately recent events including a January 5 rally in St Kilda — where more than 150 people expressed racist rhetoric against Africans, including some who performed Nazi salutes and carried SS helmets — have rendered the series depressingly out of date.”

How the states will shape a landslide Coalition loss

“Universally accepted propositions are a rare commodity in politics these days, but there is one point on which Australian political observers can surely agree: the newly dawned election year will be the Coalition government’s last.”

Will Stan survive the global streaming wars?

“Nine’s 2019 success is likely riding on the outcome of the video-on-demand streaming wars and, as major US producers Disney and Warner Media ready themselves for battle with Netflix, Nine must pick a side.”


No criminal charges for anyone implicated in leaking information in AWU raids case

Teachers must now pass mandatory literacy, numeracy tests

Ports and mine targeted in CFMEU strike hit ($)

Australians do not want any more migrants: ANU poll

Behind the promises Clive Palmer texted to one-third of voters

Future Fund tender plan for superannuation ($)

Calls growing to let victims of sex crime speak out ($)

Booming solar market triples in 2018, set to deliver “Hazelwood + Liddell” by 2020

Search for oil and gas deposits approved by NOPSEMA ($)

World’s highest petrol price prompts strike in Zimbabwe


This fish kill is a tragedy – but it is no surprise — Quentin Grafton, Emma Carmody, Matthew Colloff and John Williams (The Guardian): “Some 1,200 billion litres of water were extracted for irrigation in 2014-15 in the Northern Basin (according to the latest data available) yet only a tiny fraction, or about 35 billion litres, actually arrived at Bourke from upstream in the past year. This is about a failure of water reform and a dereliction of duty – the drought is simply the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Work together and we can super-boost Australia ($) — Jane Hume (The Australian): “Because of the unholy trinity of industry funds, unions and Labor, the ALP finds it impossible to put aside vested interests and reform superannuation with policy priority given to the member. Industry funds will no longer be able to protect their dysfunctional sub-scale siblings behind the carapace of the performance of larger, well-run funds.”

How a dream turned around our worst state — Michael Pascoe (The New Daily): “There it was again, tucked away in a set of statistics, Tasmania doing markedly better than the rest of the nation. That’s Tasmania – Australia’s perennial basket case. This time it was international tourist numbers with Tasmania boasting by far the nation’s fastest growth rate, up 15 per cent in the year to September compared with 5.6 for the nation.”


The Latest Headlines



  • The Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales Health, NSW Police Force and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service will hold a joint media conference regarding high intensity heatwaves in New South Wales and the ACT.

  • Children’s education charity The Smith Family will launch its 2019 Back to School Appeal with a large yellow school bus at Darling Harbour, in order to raise awareness of the one in six Australian children living in poverty.


  • Victoria’s acting chief health officer Brett Sutton will join young swimmers for an education campaign to stop illnesses being spread at public swimming pools.

  • Day one of the 13th National Conference of Socialist Alliance and Activist Summer School, to run until Sunday January 20.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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