DREAMING OF A SAFE CHRISTMAS
Lawyers are optimistic about challenging the Morrison government’s decision to transfer sick asylum seekers from offshore detention to Christmas Island, on the basis that local medical facilities are insufficient.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, after the president of the Christmas Island council confirmed that the hospital has only six beds and residents often need to fly to Perth for treatment, lawyers from the Human Rights Law Centre and the National Justice Project believe it will be easier to mount a case for transferring patients to mainland facilities.
The news comes after Tanya Plibersek questioned the cost of reopening the Christmas Island facility, which has a comparable history to Manus and Nauru.
GREENS IN ON BANKS, LABOR OUT
Labor has reportedly backed away from one of banking royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s more controversial recommendations over mortgage brokers, on the same day the Greens have announced calls to triple the bank levy.
The Australian Financial Review ($) reports that Labor, under pressure from the Coalition, brokers and small lenders, has canvassed compromise proposals that land somewhere between the government’s status quo approach and Hayne’s recommendation that borrowers pay upfront fees.
Meanwhile, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Greens are calling to increase the tax-deductible bank levy from 0.015% to 0.05%. The move, according to independent Parliamentary Budget Office advice, would raise almost $10 billion over the next three years and more than $40 billion over a decade.
A former key climate policy adviser of the Hawke, Keating and Howard governments has released research claiming that Labor’s 2030 emissions-reduction target would increase electricity prices by 50%.
The Australian ($) reports that economy-wide modelling authored by Brian Fisher, a former head of the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics, also found that Labor’s target would wipe $472 billion from the Australian economy over the next decade, while the Coalition’s target of 26-28% would cost the economy $70 billion. At first glance his modelling, which is still being peer-reviewed, contrasts with recent trajectories modelled by Frontier that claim a shift to renewables would not drive up power prices.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
It is unclear why Mr Riminton did not include these important details in his report or why he referred to Mr Anees as a whistle-blower [sic] instead of a convicted criminal and liar.
The Home Affairs minister responds to a 10 Daily report into allegations of cash-for-visas with false allegations, premature judgements about an ongoing Home Affairs investigation, and apparent confusion that people can be more than one thing at once.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“This morning’s ABC radio news had two stories that caught my attention. The first was the entirely predictable news that the Mathias Cormann ‘Helloworld’ tickets scandal had already expanded. US ambassador Joe Hockey apparently instructed embassy staff to meet with the Helloworld CEO, who’s a personal friend, when Helloworld was seeking a government tender. The second is that Melbourne has been judged the ‘heroin capital of Australia’, after an analysis of sewer outflows.”
“Yesterday, The Australian reported that rebates given to solar panels would cost households across the country an additional $200 per year. The government’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) provides up-front rebates for consumers who install solar panels. The cost of these rebates are then carried by all electricity users.”
“Surely something has to give in the scandal of Michaelia Cash and the leaking of politically motivated raids on the AWU to the media. When Cash came out of hiding and finally appeared at Senate estimates last night, she in effect accused senior Australian Federal Police of misleading parliament in their evidence to the same committee on Monday.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Libs hope Shorten may yet get that sinking feeling ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “Regardless of whether the Ipsos poll was right or wrong, it served many purposes. It re-energised the Liberals after months of self-flagellation. It gave them heart to keep fighting. It helped quell a revolt by the Nationals who were planning to take a big stick to the energy bills. It reminded Labor that boats can sink them, that complacency is as great an enemy as those who sit opposite, and to win it has to fight smarter and harder.”
The Paladin affair is no joke and key questions remain unanswered ($) — Jonathan Shapiro, Lisa Murray and Angus Grigg (The Australian Financial Review): “In three hours of questioning about the closed tender process and whether Home Affairs was aware a director and the largest shareholder of Paladin, Craig Thrupp, could not enter Papua New Guinea, department officials failed to disclose one very large fact. In September of last year, the department had formally written to Thrupp demanding he not have further involvement in the project to provide services to refugees on Manus Island in PNG.”
Ministerial responsibility in Canberra appears to have all but decayed to no responsibility — Tony Wright (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Ministerial responsibility has rarely been defined satisfactorily. John Howard tried early in his term and lost seven ministers in less than a year for various sins relating to conflicts of interest and expenses and travel rorts. The current Australian government, however, has turned the concept on its head.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Senate estimates will hear from Defence; Social Services; Treasury and Industry; Education and Training; and Foreign Affairs and Trade.
UNSW education professor and former NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli and The Front Project’s Dr Stacey Fox will launch “Launch into Learning” at the National Press Club.
Senators Michaelia Cash and Jim Molan will open the Australian Government Small Business Fair Queanbeyan.
A listing hearing will be held for the Wendy Dent v Don Burke defamation case, where journalist Dent is suing Burke after he denied asking her to audition topless for Burke’s Backyard.
Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society will host two-day Shark Conservation Summit to the launch the new multi-year conservation campaign “Shark Champions”.
The Australia China Business Council NSW will hold its 2019 Chinese New Year Dinner.
A “Don’t Kill Live Music” rally will be held against state government drug and alcohol policy at Hyde Park.
Victorian Greens health spokesman Tim Read and representatives from Students for Sensible Drug Policy will address the media ahead of the party introducing legislation for pill testing.
Eddie McGuire will host the Melbourne Racing Club’s Foundation Blue Diamond Ball.
Opening night of both the 2019 Melbourne Women in Film Festival and the sustainability-focused Transitions Film Festival.
WA Parliament will table a report into mining at Pinjin Station, including the information on the granting of mining licences to Hawthorn Resources and allegations of intimidation, abuse and racial discrimination towards the Indigenous owners of a neighbouring pastoral station.
The Queensland Futures Institute will hold a QLD Policy Leaders public forum with state department heads.
Flood-affected shires of Richmond, Cloncurry, McKinlay, Winton and Flinders will release the “Carcass Disposal Strategic Master Plan”, which coordinates the time-critical requirement of livestock carcass disposal.