Australian footballer and Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi is expected to return home to Australia within hours after Thailand’s Attorney-General officially dropped Bahrain’s extradition case last night.
According to the ABC, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that the 25-year-old Pascoe Vale defender, who had spent more than two months in detention in Bangkok awaiting an extradition hearing, was last night on his way to Bangkok Airport for a flight home. Former Socceroos captain and public face of the #FreeHakeem movement Craig Foster has thanked Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for upholding the international rule of law and plans to meet al-Araibi when he flies into Melbourne today.
CROSSBENCH SOLD SHORT
Labor faces the first parliamentary sitting day of the year with a compromised position on Kerryn Phelps’ medical transfer legislation, after its caucus agreed to three negotiating principles last night ahead of a lower house vote today.
According to The Guardian, Labor agreed to broaden proposed ministerial discretion over medical transfers, reduce the Home Affairs minister’s 24-hour window to issue a decision, and ensure the procedures only apply to current detainees on Manus Island and Nauru. Labor leader Bill Shorten, who reportedly signalled plans with Labor’s caucus to clean up the last major backflip on encryption legislation, will have to renegotiate with the crossbench if it hopes to deliver the Coalition an historic loss in the House.
HEALTH SNUB PAYOUT FLUB
Former Queensland assistant health minister Chris Davis has been awarded more than $1.4 million in damages after he was overlooked for a senior position at Metro North Hospital and Health Service three months after his spectacular falling out with then-QLD premier Campbell Newman.
The Brisbane Times reports that Davis has argued in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal that he had been discriminated against when, despite being the only qualified geriatrician of two applicants, no recruitment procedure was established at the hospital and the role was ultimately withdrawn. Davis had earlier that year quit politics after being dumped from cabinet for speaking out against Newman’s doctor contracts and Crime and Misconduct Commission amendments.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
It’s for a parliamentary purpose which is to campaign against a piece of policy.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“When Scott Morrison skipped out the doors of the Property Council of Australia (PCA) in 1995, where he had spent six years cutting his teeth as a spinner, lobbyist and propagandist, he landed in the tourism sector. Specifically, the Tourism Task Force (now the Tourism and Transport Forum) — a lobby group that in many ways mirrored the PCA.”
“At the centre of one of recent history’s greatest extortion attempts is Australian Dylan Howard, a former Geelong Advertiser and Seven News journalist. The now-executive at AMI Media, publisher of US tabloid The National Enquirer, Howard is the author of an already-infamous letter to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos which threatened to publish intimate text messages unless he renounced a finding that the Enquirer’s exposure of his extra-marital affair had been politically motivated.”
“Previously, Crikey has kept an eye on the crises circling the Liberals, Labor and Nationals. However, it is not tokenism that gets the Greens a spot in our series; in many ways, the sense of calamity surrounding them often borders on the existential, and at times makes the other three parties’ crises look positively amateurish. “
READ ALL ABOUT IT
‘Blinky’ Bill Shorten forced to back-pedal in borders backdown ($) — Dennis Shanahan (The Australian): “Bill Shorten has blinked so hard on border protection he could have his eyes closed for days. The Opposition Leader was forced into a humiliating back-down on a bill Labor supported and voted for in the Senate in December when Scott Morrison called him out for undermining Australia’s offshore border protection policy and reopening the people-smuggler’s trade.”
What are the causes of Indigenous suicides? — Dr Tracy Westerman (IndigenousX): “My PhD research determined a different set of risk factors to Indigenous suicide finding, amongst other things, that up to 60% of suicide risk is accounted for by impulsivity. Mostly the impulsivity is a reaction to conflict; an absence of self-soothing capacity comes into play, alcohol and drugs are used as an enabler and then suicide attempt/death occurs. This pattern is often the case with those who have trauma and attachment related issues.”
China buys one-third of everything Australia exports so it’s time to set aside our differences ($) — Bob Carr (The Daily Telegraph): “Last year the Chinese people bought $134 billion worth of goods and services from Australia, double what our next largest customer, Japan, bought from us. That Chinese appetite for things made in Australia underpins 100,000s of jobs in mines, abattoirs, vineyards, canneries, sugar processing, hotels, cafes across Australia, in city and bush.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Both chambers of federal parliament will sit for the first time this year. Politicians including Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten are expected to attend a church service beforehand.
Day one of the two-day “Water Is Life” national gathering and protests at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
Scott Morrison is expected to announce support for South East Queensland’s “Future SEQ” campaign.
Brumbies player Tom Cusack and a number of health professionals will launch a “Concussions in Australian Sport” campaign at the Australian Institute of Sport.
The first evidence will be taken for the aged care royal commission.
Conservation Council SA will hold public meeting “Restoring Rigour to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan: What is needed to get the Plan back on track?”.
Managing Editor of The Interpreter Daniel Flitton and research fellow in west Asia Lydia Khalil will speak as part of the Lowy Institute lecture series.
The Grattan Institute host panel event “Summer blackouts: the new normal?” at the State Library with Paul Austin from the Australian Energy Market Operator and Suzanne Falvi from the Australian Energy Market Commission.
Citizen Lab founder Professor Ron Deibert and Sydney Cybersecurity Network co-founder Dr Aim Sinpeng will present “Tracking digital espionage” for the Sydney Ideas seminar series.
ABC Brisbane’s Rebecca Levingston will MC the Community Queensland event “Politics in the Pub: Masculinity”.
A pre-inquest hearing will be held into the Dianne trawler incident, in which six men died off the coast of Queensland in October 2017.
Gold Coast, Queensland
EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan will speak at Bond University on “Colloquium: Taking Provenance Seriously”, a discussion on what Australian producers should be allowed to call products with European origins (e.g. feta, parmesan, stilton) and how this impacts on current Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Events will be held across the country as part of Ochre Ribbon Day 2019, a national awareness-raising campaign aimed at reducing family violence in Indigenous communities.