Treasurer Josh Frydenberg divestment competition policy
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (Image: AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

B-DAY FOR COALITION

Tax cuts favouring low and middle income earners will be brought forward in Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s first federal budget, which is also set to include infrastructure, cash payments and superannuation pledges.

According to the ABC, the Coalition aims to bring forward cuts for the roughly 10 million Australians on incomes between $37,000 and $126,000, on top of already-legislated phase one tax cuts for the 4.4 million earning between $48,000 and $90,000 to begin in July. Phase two’s major reform, the increase of the 32.5% tax bracket from $90,000 to $120,000, will remain on track for July 2022. The news follows modelling from ACOSS that found bringing forward the entire phase two package would give high-income earners an extra $104 a week compared to between 50 cents to $4 a week for low-income earners.

HOME AFFAIRS IS BACK, BABY

Leaked confidential documents have revealed that Home Affairs officials took part in evaluating security bids for a new Papua New Guinea detention centre, contrary to department claims that they were not involved in the process and that the contract was a matter solely for the PNG government.

According to The Age, a leaked minute written by the operations manager of Port Moreseby’s new Bomana Immigration Centre, which is funded by Australia, describes officials from Home Affairs, Border Force and consultant KPMG as members of the tender evaluation committee. The news comes after Auditor-General Grant Hehir announced that a probe into the controversial Paladin contracts will be expanded to cover all security and welfare contracts for Manus Island and Nauru detention centres since 2017.

CLIMATE PLAN SLAMMED

Both the Coalition and the Greens have knocked back federal Labor’s plan to let heavy polluters purchase international carbon permits, while industry bodies announce a range of early impressions..

In what could turn out to be a repeat of Kevin Rudd’s failed 2009 scheme, The Guardian reports that the Greens have slammed international offsets for delaying climate action in Australia while the Coalition has unsurprisingly resurrected the carbon tax scare campaign. Bodies such as the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Food and Grocery Council ($) have offered lukewarm warnings about the potential cost to businesses, while NRMA and the Electric Vehicle Council have welcomed Labor’s electric vehicle policy.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

[To actor Jim Carrey] You are a bastard.

Alessandra Mussolini

The granddaughter of Benito Mussolini responds to Jim Carrey’s political cartoon of the Italian dictator’s 1945 public execution, because that’s just where 2019 is at right now.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Labor’s patchwork climate policy a retreat from past bravery

“There’s no emissions trading scheme here, at least not a meaningful one. Labor proposes to extend the government’s pissweak (to be generous) ‘Safeguard Mechanism’ which purports to threaten a tiny number of companies with absolutely no consequences if they exceed the ridiculously high average industry emission levels. Labor will increase the number of companies affected — from its current number of around 140 — by lowering the emissions threshold at which it applies, but will also allow them to carry over credits for undershooting the industry average, sell those to firms that overshoot, and allow the latter to buy cheap international credits.”


Resentment brews against a Brexit border in Northern Ireland

“In Ireland, like it or not, a border makes a lot of difference. On the bridge as we passed, thirty or so people were already forming up, setting up a small stage on the side of the bridge, putting out a strikingly socialist-realist sign — Border Communities Against Brexit, with a Stalin-ishly muscled overalled worker smashing a wall with a hammer — and a few kids painting their faces in EU blue-and-yellow.”


How did the lucky country end up with an energy crisis?

“When it comes to energy, it has been a while since Australia was the lucky country. There have been rolling blackouts in Victoria, warnings of natural gas shortages, extortionate gas and electricity prices; and this has all happened as we swelter through the hottest summer on record.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

ABC inquiry critical of ‘captain’s pick’ board appointments

Australian Muslims describe how Christchurch has changed their lives

SA irrigators brace for 50 per cent cuts in water allocation as Murray- Darling crisis hits home ($)

Sydney councillors referred to corruption watchgdog over China trip

Gobbo’s police handler admits to ‘episode of physical intimacy’ with her

Australia swelters through the warmest March on record

Fiona Martin to replace Craig Laundy in Reid ($)

Behrouz Boochani’s mission to change offshore detention laws using a smuggled mobile phone

Intelligence report appeared to endorse view leftwing protesters were ‘terrorists’

THE COMMENTARIAT

Frydenberg’s big budget moment  in limbo ($) — Troy Bramston (The Australian): “When Josh Frydenberg stands at the despatch box in the House of Representatives tonight, he will be only the third treasurer in the past half-century to announce the delivery of a budget surplus, or a credible path to one, in the next ­financial year.”

A randomised route to better governmentAndrew Leigh (The Sydney Morning Herald): “That’s why a Shorten Labor government will establish an evaluator-general in the Treasury, tasked with carrying out high-quality evaluations across government. From taxation to social policy, good evaluation allows us to scale up the most effective programs and close down those that don’t work.”

No other party has taken the hammer to our gun laws like this one — Samantha Lee (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Last Friday the leader of the Shooter, Fishers and Farmers Party, Robert Borsak, headed a press conference seeking to distance his party from One Nation. Borsak claimed his parties’ gun policies are not as extreme as One Nation’s and are more ‘dead centre’.”

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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

Canberra

  • Both houses of parliament resume for the final time before the May election. The parliamentary committee report on implementation of national redress scheme is also due to be tabled.

  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will hand down the Morrison government’s 2019/2020 federal budget at approximately 7.30pm (AEDT).

  • The Australian Education Union will rally outside Parliament House as part of its “Fair Funding Now!” school funding campaign, with Bill Shorten expected to attend.

  • International relations expert Dr Sara E. Davies will launch her book Containing Contagion: The Politics of Disease Outbreaks in Southeast Asia at the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security.

Sydney

  • Day one of the two-day Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition 2019, to include speeches from former journalist Alan Kohler, Greens leader Christine Milne, Warringah candidate Zali Steggall, state representatives and more.

  • Author of the Quarterly Essay Listening to the Nation Rebecca Huntley will speak in conversation with Labor candidate for Warringah Dean Harris.

  • Day one of two-day city council event Smart City Expo 2019.

  • Writing NSW will host Indigenous writing forum “Talking Writing: International Year of Indigenous Languages”.

Melbourne

  • The City of Melbourne will hold a Future Melbourne Committee meeting.

  • The Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau will present over 120 Australia Day honours at an investiture ceremony at Government House.

  • Former race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane and journalist Santilla Chingaipe will discuss the rise in Australian nationalism on The Fifth Estate podcast at the Wheeler Centre.

  • Former Trade Minister Andrew Robb will present a keynote at Australia China Business Council forum “Latin America – The New Frontier for Australian and Chinese Business Opportunities”.

Brisbane

  • The Local Government Association of Queensland will meet for councils to pass judgement on moves to introduce compulsory preferential voting in all councils, proportional representation in undivided councils and public funding of election campaigns.

  • Launch night for the fourth Welcoming Cities Symposium, to run tomorrow with keynotes from QLD Minister for Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchliffe, writer Anita Heiss, former Deputy Secretary at the Department of Immigration Abul Rizvi and more.

Perth

  • Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Geophysics at the University of Cambridge Herbert Huppert will present “Will the Earth become too hot for your grandchildren to handle? The science and politics of carbon emissions and storage” for the Australian Academy of Science Selby Lecture at UWA.