GUTHRIE’S $500K PAY DAY
The ABC agreed to pay former managing director Michelle Guthrie around half a million dollars in a reported attempt to drop her unfair dismissal lawsuit before the appointment of new chair Ita Buttrose. The money comes on top of an original $800,000 termination settlement.
A legal source at The Australian Financial Review ($) reports that the settlement — which was delayed by last minute hitches until Friday, after Scott Morrison announced that Buttrose would take the role — centred on claims Guthrie was forced out for resisting political pressure and reportedly included non-disparagement agreements at Guthrie’s request. ABC sources have hinted that the extra payment could have been even higher than $500,000.
The news comes ahead of a parliamentary inquiry into alleged political interference at the ABC today.
OUT OF THE FRYDENBERG AND INTO THE BURNSIDE
Prominent human rights lawyer and refugee activist Julian Burnside has joined the Greens and will run against Treasurer Josh Fyrdenberg for the Melbourne seat of Kooyong.
Both The Age and The Australian ($) report that Burnside, who acted as counsel in the ongoing Manus and Nauru class action lawsuits, will today break a longstanding vow to avoid politics and announce his candidacy for the federal election. Like Fyrdenberg’s other prominent rival, Independent candidate and former CEFC chief Oliver Yates, Burnside will also campaign on climate change and clean energy.
DEBATE TO REPATRIATE
The Kurdish leaders of a Syrian coalition fighting the disintegrating Islamic State have called on the Morrison government to end its ban on foreign fighters and instead repatriate and prosecute captured Australian terrorists.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a representative for the US-backed YPG has confirmed the group has Australian former IS fighters in its custody and signalled it is negotiating with the Morrison government for deportation. The call for repatriation, which flies in the face of a bipartisan citizenship crackdown that started in 2014, was echoed last month by Donald Trump but seemingly rebuffed by Peter Dutton who remains “determined to deal with these people as far from our shores as possible”.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Without a decision to locate the hospital at Kings Forest I will not be commencing residential development.
The billionaire developer takes an unusual bargaining tactic against the NSW government and holds a 4500-unit development hostage.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Empty of policies, led by a man empty of ideas, the Morrison government is increasingly empty of actual ministers. At least Labor’s mass exodus was all done and dusted in the immediate aftermath of Kevin Rudd’s return. For Scott Morrison, it’s been a drip-by-drip emptying (in the case of Nigel Scullion and Steve Ciobo, actual drips). The mates are leaving the barbie, despite the blandishments of the bloke in the ‘World’s Greatest PM’ apron wielding the tongs.”
“With a great flourish, Prime Minster Scott Morrison has announced on Monday morning the new $5.3 billion western Sydney airport will be named after aviation pioneer and ‘angel of the outback’ Nancy-Bird Walton. Morrison said she was the ‘natural choice’.”
“The news of the death of journalist Mike Willesee late last week, following the announced appointment of journalist Ita Buttrose as ABC Board chair, tells us something big about the 20th century Australian media: ‘there were giants in the earth in those days’.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Law lifts bar on human rights ($) — George Williams (The Australian): “It has been a long journey, but Queensland has finally enacted a Human Rights Act to safeguard fundamental rights and liberties. The journey began in 1959 when the Country-Liberal coalition led by premier Frank Nicklin sought support for a new law to protect democratic rights. The law failed to pass, and debate stalled for decades.”
Time’s up for the Home Affairs experiment — Paddy Gourley (Inside Story/Sydney Morning Herald): “In knocking off the Malaysian solution, Morrison may have effectively allowed about 30,000 asylum seekers to arrive by boat. As Menadue has written, Morrison (and Abbott) didn’t want to stop the boats; they wanted to stop Labor from stopping the boats. When be became a minister, Morrison adopted Rudd’s policies, added boat turn-backs and the supply of asylum seekers continued to decline – as it almost certainly would have without him. In large part, Morrison’s operation sovereign borders was a publicity stunt.”
Why banks have largely escaped the Hayne pain ($) — Karen Maley (The Australian Financial Review): “It’s a cruel irony that the Hayne royal commission was set up in response to dwindling confidence in the banks – and its revelations certainly vindicated this loss of faith – but the banks themselves have successfully avoided the commission’s harshest punishment, at least in financial terms.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Scott Morrison will open the two-day AFR Business Summit, to hear from Bill Shorten tomorrow.
A Senate inquiry will investigate political interference in the ABC.
The RBA board will meet today for a cash rate decision. The ABS will also release the National Account Figures for the December quarter.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud will open the two-day Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences conference.
Human rights activist Khadija Gbla will present “Invisible women, invisible violence in the Australian human rights landscape” for the ANU 2019 Pamela Denoon Lecture.
ACT Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Shane Rattenbury will open the Canberra Institute of Technology’s two-day industry forum “Zero CO2”.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will present the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards.
The Heart Foundation, the George Institute for Global Health and Vic Health will release a report into the salt content in fast food kids’ meals as a part of World Salt Awareness Week.
Djirra CEO Antoinette Braybrook, writer Celeste Liddle and former Greens MP Lidia Thorpe will speak at Women’s Health West event “International Women’s Day 2019: Equity and justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women”.
The Grattan Institute will host “Filling the dental gap: meeting unmet oral health needs” with Chair of Dental Health Services Victoria Zoe Wainer at the State Library.
Managing Director of Golden Rim Resources Craig Mackay will present at the Melbourne Mining Club.
Julie Bishop will present a keynote at the Frankly Women Leadership Forum.
A 95th anniversary celebration will be held for the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science will host research symposium “Biodiversity, Conservation & Australia’s Environment Laws” at the University of Queensland.
Meningie, South Australia
SA Environment Minister David Speirs and federal MP Tony Pasin will launch the Our Coorong program to help protect the local habitat.
A hearing will be held into the Greens’ proposed Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill 2018.