FALINSKI FRANKRAISER UNDER FIRE.
Liberal MP Jason Falinski has used the taxpayer-funded inquiry into Labor’s franking credits policy to help raise funds for the Liberal Party. It caps off a controversial week for the inquiry in which committee chair Tim Wilson has also been in the firing line.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the house economics committee member wrote to SMSF trustees spruiking a $25-a-head Liberal Party fundraising dinner with Wilson and candidate Dave Sharma at Sydney’s Dee Why RSL, the same venue as the inquiry. News of Falinksi’s letter comes amidst a marketing blitz by the Coalition and, along with several related controversies surrounding the inquiry, reports that Liberal candidate Robert Gunning potentially broke electoral laws by orchestrating a “grassroots” retiree movement against the policy.
AUSTRALIA REJECTS BLAME
The Australian government has rejected allegations from the Thai Foreign Ministry that Canberra issued an Interpol red notice for the arrest of footballer and refugee Hakeem al-Araibi, who faces the prospect of another six months in prison as the Thai Criminal Court assesses Bahrain’s extradition request.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian embassy in Bangkok has issued a statement claiming that, while Canberra is “reviewing its procedures” following al-Araibi’s detention and had alerted Bangkok that the 25-year-old would be arriving, it was Bahrain that had issued the red notice. The war of words comes as al-Araibi speaks out ahead of an April court session and as the Australian Olympic Committee’s athletes commission ($) joins the local push for his return.
NEIN DANKE, FACEBOOK
A German court has ordered Facebook to redesign data collection practices after finding that the social media giant abused its market dominance to source user data without issuing alerts or seeking permission.
Reuters reports that the Cartel Office objected specifically to how Facebook, which investigators found has a 95% market share in Germany, assigns data from its third-party apps and even tracks non-users through “like” and “share” buttons. The tech giant has been told to stop collecting data without user and non-user consent, but has announced it will appeal and argues the court misapplied anti-trust laws.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Abbott: [Scott Morrison] looked like he was starting to tear up. The PM shouldn’t get teary in public.
Benson: … The only people who give a shit about the kids on Nauru are in Kooyong and Wentworth.
Tony Abbott and Simon Benson (according to an anonymous Canberra eavesdropper)
If today’s Rear Window ($) is anything to go by, The Australian’s national affairs editor and the former prime minister have an unsurprisingly candid relationship.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“The idea that, because it had become a minority government, the Coalition would just dump a whole bunch of parliamentary sitting days in order to avoid being embarrassed in the lead-up to the election had half-smart written all over it. It’s not as if (rightly or wrongly) voters are already convinced politicians work hard; ‘the part-time parliament’ charge was always going to resonate with the electorate.”
“One of the more neglected elements of climate change, often forgotten in the face of a rising tide, is the fact that large swaths of the planet currently inhabited will be condemned to destruction through severe drought and heat. This is most often addressed by politicians’ ‘won’t someone think of the farmers!’ rhetoric, but farmers aren’t the only ones on the frontline. Around 10% of Australians live in small towns, and current projections suggest that many of their communities could very well be rendered uninhabitable.”
“Volunteers at School Strike 4 Climate — which last year grew from one Swedish teenager’s strikes to 15,000 protesters marching across Australia — have started the year by calling unions and politicians, running state-based training courses for new volunteers, running social media campaigns, appearing on Q&A, and organising individual protests (the next one of which is set for tomorrow, so watch out Bill Shorten).”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Banking royal commission: two executives down, the rest lucky to keep their jobs ($) — Adam Creighton (The Australian): “The rest of the nation’s bank chairmen and executives would have counted themselves lucky last night after they learned that National Australia Bank’s Ken Henry and Andrew Thorburn had been punted from two of the plushest gigs in corporate Australia.”
Australia can’t be allowed to play politics with refugees’ lives any more — Freya Dinshaw (The Guardian): “I have seen up close how six years of abject hopelessness can viciously conquer a person’s body and mind to the point where they are a shadow of a human being. A man, barely in his 30s, left catatonic, unable to speak, unable to eat, wasting away in a bed. A woman attempting to take her own life, disengaged from the world, so weak she can’t lift her head or stand upright.”
Why democracy in NSW will survive Mark Latham — Andy Marks (Sydney Morning Herald): “Make no mistake, the former Labor, then Liberal Democrat, now One Nation loyalist will be elected to the upper house on March 23. And he will be front-and-centre among the swollen ranks of crossbenchers who’ll decide the fate of many policy deliberations until, wait for it, 2027.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
ACTU secretary Sally McManus will speak at the Melbourne Press Club on stagnant wages, gender pay inequity and insecure work.
School Strike 4 Climate protesters will rally outside Bill Shorten’s electorate office calling on Labor to commit to #StopAdani by the federal election.
Actor Craig McLachlan will appear for a filing hearing on charges of alleged common law assault, eight counts of indecent assault and one count of attempted indecent assault in relation to the Rocky Horror Picture Show in 2014.
Professor Karlheinz Peter from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute will hold a press conference on a new approach to targeting and destroying difficult-to-treat cancer cells.
Energy advisor Simon Holmes à Court, former deputy premier John Thwaites and others will present for “The Great Debate: Last Chance Disruption” at the National Sustainable Living Festival, which runs until February 28.
The NSW Federal Court will issue an appeal decision on Professor Jenny Hocking’s long-running legal action against the National Archives of Australia, seeking the release of the secret “Palace Letters” about Gough Whitlam’s dismissal.
The parliamentary franking inquiry will run hearings in Chatswood.
Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale and Senator for Tasmania Nick McKim will make an emergency services policy announcement.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner will deliver his annual Year Ahead speech, set to include an extension of the government’s first-home buyers incentive scheme.
Geological Society of Australia president Dr Jo Parr will present “Exploring the ocean floor — The last frontier” at the Northern Territory Division Annual Dinner.
Cutting-edge “Smart Beaches” technology will be launched at Redhead Beach Surf Club with Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Lake Macquarie City Council, Northern Beaches Council, and the University of Technology Sydney amongst other supporters.
Gold Coast, Queensland
Day one of the two-day Eurovision – Australia Decides Jury Preview Show.