MAY PLEDGES TO STEP DOWN
Theresa May has told Conservative Party MPs that she will resign the UK prime ministership if they support her Brexit deal, in yet another chaotic day of negotiations that saw eight options for indicative votes tabled at the House of Commons. Voting was still ongoing at time of writing.
The BBC reports that May understands she has lost the support of Tory MPs who do not want her leading the next phase of Brexit negotiations. While she did not name a date for her resignation, May said it was the party’s “historic duty to deliver on the decision of the British people and leave the European Union with a smooth and orderly exit”.
Former secretary for foreign affairs and prominent Leaver Boris Johnson will reportedly now back the plan.
SHORTEN IN ANTI-RACISM PUSH
Labor leader Bill Shorten has called on Scott Morrison to endorse a parliamentary code of “race ethics” amidst escalating One Nation scandals.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Shorten has written to Morrison invoking fallout from Christchurch — specifically Senator Fraser Anning’s widely criticised response — as an opportunity for the Coalition to rethink a 2016 decision not to endorse Labor’s proposed code of conduct on race and cultural ethics. The opposition leader has also called on unions to campaign on a “One Nation last” platform, while The New Daily reports that Morrison faces similar calls from Victorian Liberals following dire Trades Hall polling.
BUDGET SPECULATIONS FLY
The Commonwealth Bank has released budget analysis revealing that combined surpluses between 2019-20 and 2021-22 will reach almost $60 billion, in a $23 billion improvement on December’s mid-year budget update that adds to growing expectations of an early, vaunted budget surplus.
By The Australian’s count ($), those figures, plus $9.3 billion in banked tax cuts and $1 billion in additional spending in the MYEFO, mean the Coalition could have a war chest of up to $70 billion at next Tuesday’s budget announcement, and add to speculation over increase tax cuts. The Australian Financial Review ($) also reports that a failure by the NDIS to adequately pay providers could prop up the budget by an estimated $2.5 billion in unspent money, although this is expected to be partially reduced after Morrison stepped in to demand payment reform.
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THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
An MP said it would actually take a massacre in Tasmania to change the gun laws in Australia … Those shots, they were precision shots … I read a book on it, on Port Arthur. A lot of questions there.
The One Nation leader and actual Australian senator appears to question the legitimacy of the Port Arthur massacre.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“In the days after the Christchurch shooting, a nasty trope began to emerge in the far-right online sludge. On a website dedicated to prominent British Islamophobe Tommy Robinson, a local right wing extremist wrote an article arguing that the Greens and other outspoken voices on the left somehow bore responsibility for the terrorist attack through their cultivation of so-called ‘anti-white racism’.”
“The Morrison government’s shortlist of new power projects is an unusual form of pork-barrelling. It started off as an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommendation to fund the entry of new dispatchable power into the east coast energy market to undermine the dominance of the three big power companies — i.e. having been told of the virtues of privatisation and markets in electricity for decades, taxpayers now have to fork out to fund a new entrant to provide some of the competition they’d been promised originally.”
“Last week Carlton AFLW player Tayla Harris was subjected to sexually violent, transphobic and misogynistic comments on social media, in response to a spectacular photo of her kicking for goal. In a failure of digital management by Channel Seven (the league’s free-to-air broadcaster) the post was deleted off social media entirely, and by doing so the station played into the hands of the abusers.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Australia’s gun lobby and its political donations laid bare — Bill Browne (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Most people have heard of the NRA, but few have heard about the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia. SIFA is not for shooting enthusiasts; it is the peak group for Australia’s five largest firearms suppliers, and our research finds parallels between its and the NRA’s tactics and advertising strategies, as well as between their political donations.”
Surplus would be lucky, but it’s also good management ($) — David Uren (The Australian): “Pundits have suggested the government would direct every last spare dollar towards electorally vulnerable demographics such as pensioners or parents, with cash handouts ahead of June 30 rather than bringing forward the surplus that Treasury had forecast would arrive in 2019-20. They argue that the punters don’t care about the budget’s underlying cash balance as much as they do money in their pocket.”
A national living wage is on the table. Now let’s talk about a global living wage — Shelley Marshall (The Conversation): “A century on, Australia’s industrial relations system has long abandoned the central premise of the living wage. Around the world being paid enough to live on remains elusive. We are all intimately connected to many of these workers. They have assembled the phones we handle. They have sewn our clothes.”
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PRACTICE BY GUY RUNDLE
Practice distils Guy Rundle’s best writing on politics, culture, class and more. In it, he roves the campaign trails of Obama and Trump, Rudd and Abbott; rides the Greyhound around a desolate America; bails up Bob Katter and Pauline Hanson; and excavates the deeper meanings of everything from Nirvana to Anzac Day.
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The UTS Centre for Business and Social Innovation will host forum event “Bahrain: Buried Behind Bars – targeting sportspeople” with Bahraini-Australian footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi, former Socceroos captain Craig Foster, Human Rights Watch’s Elaine Pearson and more.
All seven state Greens MPs will meet with an independent mediator following a near-split last year.
Microsoft president Brad Smith will present on artificial intelligence, ethics, facial recognition and governance at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre.
Ecologist Dr Brian Walker will launch his new book Finding Resilience at ANU.
The World Naturopathic Federation will host its general assembly and launch an initiative aimed at addressing antimicrobial resistance.
The National Mental Health Commission will host two-day event Equally Well 2019 Symposium.
Lockheed Martin Australia will announce investment in an R&D initiative for the Future Submarine Program.
Scott Morrison will speak at the West Leadership Matters breakfast.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale will launch a climate policy calling for 100% renewables and a phasing-out of coal exports by 2030.