federal budget 2019 Josh Frydenberg
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

FLAT TAX FALLS FLAT

Costings by the Parliamentary Budget Office have found that the Coalition’s proposed 2024 “stage three” tax cuts for middle and high income earners will cost the country $30 billion a year and may push the budget back into deficit.

According to The Australian Financial Review ($) and SMH, Labor has released costings for the government’s stage three cuts, which would introduce a flat tax rate of 30% for everyone earning between $45,000 and $200,000. Labor has doubled down on its refusal to adopt the cuts. 

Meanwhile, a new Grattan Institute report finds the Coalition’s budget only projects surpluses post-stage three cuts because it assumes a steep fall in spending over the next five years. 

ROYAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

One of the disability royal commissioners announced by Scott Morrison last Friday is facing calls to stand aside over his role directing a NSW program linked to the deaths of two people with intellectual disabilities.

The Australian ($) reports that John Ryan, a former Liberal MLC and director of NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care, is likely to be called up in his own inquiry following the deaths of two people under an ADHC project aimed at transitioning people from large institutions into community-based accommodation. Disabled People’s Organisations Australia yesterday called for voluntary resignations from both Ryan and, over another potential conflict of interest, former social services’ official Barbara Bennett.

HUANG PARLIAMENT, PART TWO

Infamous political donor and Chinese Communist Party-aligned billionaire Huang Xiangmo once paid tens of thousands of dollars to political lobbyist and former Liberal minister Santo Santoro in an attempt to resolve his stalled citizenship request.

Following yesterday’s report on China’s political influence, The Sydney Morning Herald and Four Corners report that Santaro arranged a one-on-one meeting with then-immigration minister Peter Dutton in Sydney in 2016. While Huang was unsuccessful in his citizenship bid and ultimately banned from Australia by Home Affairs, Dutton did empower then-Labor senator Sam Dastyari — who resigned over links to Huang in December 2017 — to conduct a private citizenship ceremony for Huang’s wife and two children in 2015.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Ooh Stuart Robert! Now, some people say ‘will the grid be able to manage electric vehicles’? It will — unless Stuart Robert is downloading on his home internet.

Kristina Keneally

The Labor senator turns one question on electric vehicle charging stations into a three-minute-long roast.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

In political advertising, the Liberals have always looked after their mates

“So two big winners from Morrison’s dithering about the election will be the Murdochs and Kerry Stokes. Both are politically engaged Liberal Party supporters, and both regularly provide platforms for right-wing extremists in their media outlets. The other big winner is Nine — chaired, of course, by senior Liberal figure Peter Costello — which has a former Liberal staffer running its major papers and which owns over half of the Liberal Party propaganda outlet 2GB in Sydney.”


French report finds no campus free speech crisis, leaves conservatives dissatisfied

“The report, which came after a four month review, concluded that there is no systemic freedom of speech crisis on Australian university campuses. But the reporting on French’s conclusions has been wildly divergent — while the Nine papers reported that there was ‘no freedom of speech crisis’, The Australian focused on the fact that French endorsed a national code to protect freedom of speech.”


A step to the right: Lachlan Murdoch’s more conservative News Corp

“As the reception of the federal budget kicks off the 2019 election, we’re getting the chance to see in real time what Lachlan Murdoch’s News Corp is going to look like — and, yes, it already looks like it’s more right-wing than his father’s company.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Power grid not ready for spike in electric vehicles

Coalition senator’s reported threat to Environment Minister could spark Adani appeal, lawyers say

Election 2019: Research project targeted ‘heartless’ Liberal voters in Warringah to oust Tony Abbott ($)

Labor senator Kim Carr spent more than $117,000 with printing firm embroiled in IBAC probe ($)

Greens swing campaign from hipster north for yuppie south

Animal rights group Aussie Farms faces crackdown after nationwide protests

Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s brother under investigation for illegal land clearing

Shorten’s choice: fuel standards or refineries ($)

Travellers targeted in measles campaign as Health Minister urges check of immunisation history

‘High degree of acceptance’: Wind farm commissioner received just 8 complaints last year

THE COMMENTARIAT

Who will help us protect our farms and families? ($) — Fiona Simson (The Australian): “It’s time for action on anti-farm extremists. Yesterday we saw what could be the most widespread, co-ordinated attack on Australia’s food supply chain in our history. At least half a dozen processing facilities were broken into, with extremist protesters chaining themselves to equipment; it took hours for them to be removed.”

Melissa Price should not bow to pressure on AdaniTom Crothers (The Sydney Morning Herald): “In the shadow of the federal election campaign, Adani’s controversial groundwater plan has become a political football. But the public interest demands we shed light on the impacts of the Adani mega mine on Queensland’s water resources, because the process to date has been anything but transparent.”

The white genocide theory and Australian politics — Luke Pearson (IndigenousX): “While Anning is fairly straightforward with his support of the white genocide conspiracy theory, in that he has actually used the phrase on various occasions, it is not hard to see more mainstream support for elements within it. Opposition to non-white immigration (by any other name), fear campaigns about Australia losing its ‘way of life’, the alleged decline in support for ‘Western civilisation’, or Peter Dutton’s fervent desire to save white South African farmers.”

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.

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne

  • The State Library of Victoria will host a forum on racism in contemporary Australia, to include former race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, director of Centre for Independent Studies Tom Switzer, former opinion editor at The Australian Tasneem Chopra and UQ academic and Indigenous health advocate Dr Chelsea Bond.

  • Prosper Australia will launch their ninth “Speculative Vacancies” report, an investigation into the number of vacant properties across Melbourne.

  • The Immunisation Coalition will set up its annual Vaccination Cafe at Melbourne Town Hall to provide free influenza vaccines to the general public (18 years and older).

Canberra

  • Social researcher Rebecca Huntley will speak in-conversation with Shadow Assistant Treasurer Dr Andrew Leigh on her new Quarterly Essay “Australia Fair, Listening to the Nation” at an ANU/Canberra Times event.

Sydney

  • Independent Warringah candidate Zali Steggall will host a clean technology forum with Australian experts including Professor Tim Flannery, Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’ Tim Buckley and climatologist Dr Sophie Lewis.

Brisbane

  • Grattan Institute will host economics panel event “2019 Federal Budget: unpacking the economics and politics for Queensland and Australia” at the State Library of Queensland.

Adelaide

  • Day one of the SA Resources & Energy Investment Conference, with Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan to present a keynote today and shadow minister Tom Koutsantonis to speak tomorrow.