Hakeem al-Araibi border force refugee Thailand
Hakeem al-Araibi (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

MEA CULPA

Head of Australian Border Force Michael Outram has apologised for an individual officer who forgot to send an email alerting authorities to footballer Hakeem al-Araibi’s refugee status before his almost three-month detention in Thailand.

According to The Age, Outram told Senate estimates yesterday that an officer failed to send “true match notification advice” that would have alerted AFP to al-Araibi’s visa status, of which both the the AFP and Australian Interpol were unaware until al-Araibi’s detention. This information would have stopped Interpol from issuing a “red notice” over al-Araibi at the request of Bahrain.

CORMANN OH MAN

A travel booking service controlled by Liberal Party Treasurer Andrew Burnes, Helloworld, reportedly paid for Finance Minister Mathias Cormann’s flights for a family holiday to Singapore only weeks after winning a $1 billion Finance Department tender.

Following an investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald, Cormann has said he had “no idea” the company booked his January 2018 flights, which cost  $2780, under a “staff and family travel” account, nor that his credit card had not been charged. Burnes has described the flights as “absolutely an internal administrative oversight”. Cormann has additionally argued that he had no influence over Finance’s tender process that led to Helloworld being recontracted by the Australian government.

PALADIN WATCH

Under-siege security contractor Paladin follows a heated day of Senate estimates with reports that the company operates a secret Canberra office and that it pipped multinational giant Toll Holdings to the controversial $423 million Manus Island security contracts.

New reports from The Australian Financial Review show Paladin is operating out of an unmarked Kingston office space ($) — separate to the reportedly phoneless Barton space it registered with regulators just last week. The news comes after Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo defended the Manus Island contracts as rushed due to Papua New Guinea allegedly reneging on previous signals to provide service, while the PNG government has since distanced itself from service provision.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

If you read down the column it was transparently apparent it was from the department and drew on, in part, advice from ASIO.

Mike Pezzullo

The Home Affairs Secretary corrects ASIO for complaining that The Australian’s front page story, “Phelps bill a security risk: ASIO” could in some way be read as ASIO believing Kerryn Phelps’ bill to be a security risk.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

No, this isn’t Morrison’s ‘Tampa moment’

“The contours of the culture wars were sharply in evidence last week in commentary on the government’s parliamentary defeat on asylum seekers — not just in terms of the issue’s moral dimensions, but also in its electoral impact.”


Home Affairs lets Paladin self-report on whether it is meeting its obligations

“The company at the centre of the latest Home Affairs contract scandal, Paladin, will be allowed to self-report on whether it is meeting the performance requirements of its vast contract to provide services for offshore asylum seekers — in direct defiance of Audit Office criticism of self-reporting by the company’s predecessors.”


‘The government can’t arrest them all’: a look at journalism under Duterte

“On February 13, the CEO of Philippine news website Rappler, Maria Ressa, was arrested and charged with cyber libel crimes for a 2012 story that was published four months before the law she is said to have breached was enacted.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Labor accuses Coalition of relying on ‘hope’ to meet Paris emissions targets

Nine minutes to flee: Parramatta’s ‘catastrophic’ flash-flooding warning

‘Five Eyes’ security group in global hunt for hackers ($)

‘Practical benefits’ and possible compensation on the table for NT treaty: Commissioner Mick Dodson

‘Complete disgrace’: Liberal women slam blokey culture

Premier Will Hodgman silent on Chinese ambassador’s visit ($)

Fears grow for drought-affected kids as UNICEF report reveals mental health impact ($)

Win for GetUp! as Electoral Commission rules it’s not formally linked to Labor or the Greens

Labour centrists quit party, recalling failed 80s experiment

THE COMMENTARIAT

Suspicion for parliamentary hack must fall on China ($) — Peter Jennings (The Australian): “Chinese intelligence tradecraft seeks out big data holdings such as the Marriott booking records, and Beijing has a pressing interest in trying to halt the international contagion after Australia’s decision to block Chinese companies from the 5G mobile network. More broadly, agents of the Chinese Communist Party have been seeking to suborn Australian political parties through donations and otherwise engaging in bullying tactics to shut opponents up.”

The corporate regulator is getting a taste for bank blood — Elizabeth Knight (Sydney Morning Herald): “ASIC was unhappy with the outcome of a case decided in the Federal Court last year and will appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court. It did notch up a partial win after Justice Jacqueline Gleeson agreed that Westpac breached an aspect of the Corporations Act by failing to do all things necessary to ensure it provided financial services efficiently, honestly and fairly.”

Coalition’s last minute energy policy continues to unravel before its eyesNicky Ison (The Guardian): “The Coalition’s “big stick” energy policy last week turned out to be nothing more than a twig. This latest, in a string of energy policy failures, demonstrates the Liberal party’s chronic inability to modernise our ageing, polluting and inefficient power system.”

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The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Senate estimates will hear from Communications and Arts, Finance, Agriculture and Water, and Attorney-General portfolios.

  • DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson will launch the two-day 2019 Australasian Aid Conference.

  • The Australia China Business Council ACT will hold a Year of The Pig event, with a keynote address from Aspen Medical co-founder Glenn Keys.

Sydney

  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia and Dancewize will launch #BeHeardNotHarmed with Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann, Labor MP Jo Haylen and a number of health professionals.

  • Day one of the two-day 2019 Times Higher Education Research Excellence Summit: Asia-Pacific, to include a panel discussion led by Chief Scientist Dr. Alan Finkel on the future of renewable and energy policy.

  • The Grattan Institute will hold a NSW election event with budget, energy, and transport and cities experts.

  • Daily Telegraph opinion editor James Morrow will moderate Liberal forum “Reconnecting Menzies’ “Forgotten People” with the Liberal base” with panellists John Ruddick, David Flint, and Ross Cameron.

  • National Parks Association of NSW will host a Willoughby & North Shore NSW election forum on environmental issues.

Melbourne

  • A court mention will be held for United Patriots Front leader and neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell to appeal his 2017 hate speech conviction.

  • DFAT First Assistant Secretary Catherine Raper will present “ASEM: Building cooperation and partnerships between Asia and Europe” at RMIT.

Brisbane

  • Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will address the Queensland Media Club.

  • Adani Australia CEO Lucas Dow will present a briefing on the Adani Carmichael mine at a Mining and Energy Services Council of Australia event.

  • Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch will open “Challenging Plastics: The PVC Forum” at the University of Queensland.

Darwin

  • A special commemorative service will be held for the 77th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Museum will also conduct two historic-aircraft formation flypasts in Melbourne to mark the event.

Adelaide

  • Day one of the two-day Refugee Alternatives Conference 2019.