Brexit
(Image: House of Commons/PA Wire)

NO DEAL, BUT NO EXTENSION

The BBC is reporting that UK Parliament has narrowly voted to approve amendments rejecting a “no deal” Brexit under any circumstances, by a thin margin of 312 to 308. A no deal Brexit would have seen Britain legislate to leave the EU with no withdrawal agreement or framework in place.

However, in a spirited day in parliament, MPs subsequently voted to reject amendments allowing an extension to the Brexit negotiation process past March 29, this time by the more emphatic margin of 374 votes to 164.

The Guardian reports that, while PM Theresa May outlined fairly terrifying tariff scenarios of the no deal outcome — and while May herself reportedly voted against no deal — the defeat is seen as a loss for the government.

HOME AFFAIRS TO REVIEW HOME AFFAIRS

Home Affairs has called on internal auditors Ernst & Young to investigate how controversial security group Paladin was awarded $423 million of closed-tender service contracts for the Manus Island detention centre.

The Australian Financial Review ($) reports that, while Home Affairs allegedly maintains “good corporate governance practices”, a review of the closed procurement process has been added to the internal audit program. The news comes after Labor called on the auditor-general to conduct an urgent review, and amounts to the first official acknowledgement of potential problems after defending the contract at Senate estimates last month.

WA STILL LOVES MINING

Western Australian Energy Minister Bill Johnston has rebuffed calls from the Environmental Protection Authority for a state-based emissions trading scheme, while publicly backing the Adani-Carmichael coal mine in a speech at Australia’s largest oil and gas conference.

The Australian Financial Review ($) reports that the Labor energy minister endorsed Adani, coal-fired power stations and the local gas industry at the Australasian Oil and Gas conference in Perth, which also saw about 30 protesters storm the stage prior to keynotes by Woodside Petroleum and Chevron executives. The comments come as the WA government prepares to meet with the state’s gas producers today, and follows a separate decision to terminate a $16 million wave farm contract over issues with the company Carnegie.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

The best opportunities anyone can have is to be at school and learn and it really concerns me that the alternate premier to the state would think missing school is acceptable.

Gladys Berejiklian

The NSW Premier is “appalled” at the Opposition Leader supporting children’s right to strike for a liveable planet.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The unreality of Pell’s sentencing

“It’s not quite the madness you might have expected. At the directions hearing, back in July 2017, I had arrived to see a great snaking line of people who had started arriving at dawn — and his arrival was a state of frenzied bedlam. All that had been for a 10-minute hearing; you’d think the actual sentencing of the highest ranking Catholic to ever be convicted of child sex offences would be several magnitudes more crowded. But it’s not.”


West Papua is this generation’s Timor-Leste

“Last week, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham was in Jakarta to sign Australia’s long-awaited free trade deal with Indonesia. Already our most important security ally in the region, Indonesia is now set to become a trade partner of comparable significance. But throughout the eight months of negotiations, violence has escalated in the Indonesian province of West Papua, with allegations surfacing that the Indonesian National Armed Forces (aka Tentara Nasional Indonesia or TNI) deployed a chemical weapon, white phosphorous, on civilians.”


What the Reserve Bank did — and didn’t — say about climate change

“Deputy Reserve Bank governor Guy Debelle’s speech on climate change last night generated some stark headlines. But it’s worth focusing on what exactly he said, which was less pointed, but perhaps more important in the long term, than some media reports suggested (especially those that portrayed it as some sort of call to arms).”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

‘I was angry inside’: being at George Pell sentencing was hard, father of victim says

‘Troubling and regressive’: Indigenous peak bodies condemn changes to NSW Adoption Act

Call to freeze wages for low-paid as Labor pushes controversial agenda ($)

Labor pledges $200 million for hundreds of new social housing properties

GetUp! has Greg Hunt’s Victorian seat in its sights

WA slaps down EPA amid calls for ‘reckless’ carbon rule to be rescinded ($)

MFS equal opportunity report reveals bullying and harassment of female firefighters

High Court awards Timber Creek native title holders $2.5m, partly for ‘spiritual harm’

Actress Felicity Huffman awoke to FBI agents with guns drawn at her LA home

Nine dead, including 5 children, in Brazil school shooting

THE COMMENTARIAT

High Court’s Timber Creek ruling the biggest native title decision since Mabo ($) — Michael Pelly (The Australian Financial Review): “The Timber Creek decision is the most significant native title decision since Mabo. The Ngaliwurru and Nungali peoples may have lost $800,000 since the initial trial verdict in the Federal Court, but Indigenous people would realise they gained something of much greater lasting value – the imprimatur of the High Court on cultural loss.”

Why wait for the Brexit fog to clear? Australian, British and multinational businesses are moving on — Gabriele Suder (The Conversation): “Many corporations, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and suppliers, have been preparing for Brexit (many for a ‘hard Brexit’) for some time. That’s because, as the global financial crisis showed all too clearly, uncertainty leads to consumers cutting back on spending, businesses streamlining, closing or at least partially relocating; and financial markets demanding greater risk premia to lend.”

We need a law against risky goods (that’s right, we don’t have one)Rod Sims (The Sydney Morning Herald): “It not against the law to sell unsafe products in Australia. Unlike Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Singapore, and Malaysia, there isn’t legislation preventing the supply of dangerous products on our shelves. Most Australians are shocked to learn of this. They expect the products they buy not to cause them harm.

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney

  • Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Sarah Mitchell will announce $55 million over five years to upgrade infrastructure and improve living standards in Aboriginal communities.

  • More than 2100 people are expected at a Sydney Town Hall Assembly on living costs. NSW state election forums will also be held in Illawarra and Parramatta.

  • Day one of the four-day festival The Other Art Fair.

  • The program for the 2019 Sydney Writers’ Festival, to run from April 29 to May 5, will be announced.

Melbourne

  • New Minister for Priority Precincts Gavin Jennings will deliver keynote address “Unlocking innovation and jobs for Melbourne” at a CEDA conference.

  • Treaty Advancement Commissioner Jill Gallagher, Parliamentary Secretary for Treaty Natalie Hutchins MP, and Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Shireen Morris will speak at treaty panel event at the Victorian Local Governance Association.

  • Day one of the four-day Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2019, where the Australian Defence Force is expected to present aerial shows.

Canberra

  • The Auditor-General will table a report in federal parliament into the efficiency of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s investigation of transport accidents and safety occurrences.

Brisbane

  • Anna Palmer will appear in the Federal Court to answer questions over the closing of her husband Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickel refinery.

  • Queensland Futures Institute will hold an “Importance of Regional Queensland” policy forum with regional councillors and representatives at Customs House.

Perth

  • The WA government will host a roundtable discussion with all WA LNG companies, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association on the EPA’s recommended (and rejected) state-based emissions trading scheme.

  • Day one of WAFarmers’ two-day annual conference “Trending Ag 2019”.