PHELPS SCORES TRANSFERS
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has conceded to a key demand in Dr Kerryn Phelps’ offshore medical transfer bill allowing an independent panel of doctors to review Home Affairs’ decisions over asylum seeker medivacs, ahead of a potentially historic loss over similar legislation in parliament next week.
The Australian ($) reports that Morrison will establish the review panel but, with Labor reportedly planning to threaten the Coalition with a snap election, will today write to opposition leader Bill Shorten warning that Phelps’ system would “take the final decision of who comes to Australia out of the hands of the elected government” — an inaccurate summation considering the bill keeps ultimate discretion with the Home Affairs minister. The news comes as suicide attempts become a near daily occurrence on Manus Island and the final four child detainees on Nauru prepare to leave for the US.
BANKS BRACE FOR HAYNE PAIN
Australia’s banks and financial industry figures will be sweating the final recommendations of Kenneth Hayne’s banking royal commission, which, after 12 months and more than 10,000 public submissions, is expected to propose civil and criminal prosecutions and tougher watchdog oversight under a final report to be released today at 4.10pm.
After a weekend media lockup with the report (that Crikey was strangely barred from), The Australian Financial Review ($) lists potential casualties as NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn, former AMP chairman Catherine Brenner and Commonwealth Bank chairman Catherine Livingstone. The Australian ($) reports that current AMP chairman David Murray and former Bendigo Bank chief executive Mike Hirst have called for clearer laws and an overhaul of banker remuneration, respectively.
TOWNSVILLE FLOODS, AUSTRALIA BURNS
Townsville’s dam gates have been opened to their full setting as a seven-day rainfall record creates a flood emergency, while bushfires continue to ravage through most Australian states.
The ABC reports that flooding from the Ross River Dam’s spillway, which released about 1,900 cubic metres of water per second but was at 247% capacity at midnight, has created unprecedented flooding, shut down the local airport and could impact a total 21 suburbs including Townsville City. The floods follow Australia’s hottest month on record, and come as dozens of bushfires rage across central Victoria, Western Australia, parts of Brisbane’s south west ($) and Tasmania.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Literally hundreds of thousands of people visit Manly Beach every year. They need better facilities than this. And this will be one of the things I’ll be fighting for in the build up to this election.
The former prime minister and Manly’s local member for 25 years begs somebody, anybody in a position of power to fix the beach club’s portaloo situation.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“South Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission has once again shone a light on one of the biggest rorts in Commonwealth history: the waste of billions of dollars in handouts to irrigators, agricultural groups and farmers under the guise of grants for infrastructure efficiency.”
“In April 2009, as Australian treasurer I attended the G20 Leader’s Summit in London in response to the Global Financial Crisis. The expansionary economic policies promoted at that meeting helped prevent the great recession caused by the GFC from metastasising into a second Great Depression. The summit proved that global economic cooperation can succeed, even in the face of the most severe crises.”
“The subject of BuzzFeed’s profitability (or otherwise) has been coming up increasingly in industry media over the past couple of years, as the website has chopped and changed its offerings and business strategies. Despite its enormous traffic, it hasn’t met all expectations; it missed its revenue targets by 15-20% in 2017. “
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Why the government should accept all the recommendations of the royal commission, come what may — Paula Matthewson (The New Daily): “If the Prime Minister and his strategists can navigate the political minefield created by the inquiry, which is almost entirely of their own making, they will have robbed Labor of a potent weapon that would have been deployed during the upcoming election campaign.”
Comic-book Marxism, but not as funny as Mick Gatto ($) — Nick Cater (The Australian): “Adler’s valedictory offering, On Fairness by Sally McManus, is a work in similar vein, though somewhat shorter than Gatto’s, and nowhere near as funny. McManus, like Gatto, thumbs her nose at the law in defending comments she made on the ABC’s 7.30 in March 2017.”
Tasmania’s gambling election shows Australia needs tougher rules on money in politics — Danielle Wood, Carmela Chivers and Kate Griffiths (The Conversation): “With most states now operating far more transparent regimes, the only conceivable explanation for the current Commonwealth system is that our political leaders don’t want us to see where the money is coming from.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The final report for the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry will be made public following the weekend media lockup.
Shadow federal treasurer Chris Bowen will deliver the inaugural Chifley Oration at Labor think-tank the Chifley Research Centre.
A state commemoration will be held to mark 10 years since Victoria’s black Saturday bushfires.
Public hearings are set to begin for IBAC’s investigation into allegations that Victoria Police officers committed serious misconduct while investigating the murders of Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller.
Victorian Legal Aid will launch a report indicating that the justice system is struggling to meet the needs of the Latrobe Valley community.
Foster care provider Anglicare Victoria will launch charity event “Altitude Shift”, which will see over 200 citizens abseil down 27 floors in Melbourne’s CBD from February 29 to March 30.
The High Court will resume sittings.
The Country Liberal Party will seek expressions of interest to replace retiring Senator Nigel Scullion from today.
Public hearings will continue into Labor’s franking credits policy.
Melbourne-based refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi will face an extradition hearing for refoulement to Bahrain.
The New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will compete in Super Bowl LII (set to begin 10.30am AEDT).