Shorten budget reply speech


While today Bill Shorten will unveil another aspect of Labor’s health package — a $250 million pledge to fix elective surgery waiting lists — health experts are warning both major parties against adopting infrastructure-style election announcements and suggest they should instead focus on a more cohesive strategy, worked out in cooperation with the states. 

The Age reports that, with Labor and the Coalition committing a combined $4 billion in public funds to health services in key seats, Grattan Institute health economist Stephen Duckett has flagged Labor’s proposed National Health Reform Commission as a better body to manage big picture strategic health priorities instead of “announcements coming out of the blue” and promises being made on an electorate-by-electorate basis.


The latest Newspoll ($) has One Nation’s primary support down from 6% to 4% in the aftermath of Al Jazeera’s How To Sell A Massacre investigation. Both major parties, however, lifted slightly to 39 points each, and Labor is again leading 52-48 on two-party preferred.

The Australian ($) also reports that Pauline Hanson has largely dismissed her lowest result in three years while confirming that One Nation will abandon its 2016 strategy of preferencing against sitting MPs in a move set to benefit Queensland’s LNP. 


New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has backed a bodega-run boycott of the New York Post, after the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper published a front page attack on Somali-American congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

According to Haaretz, Ocasio-Cortez has cited similar local action over Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban” in her support for the boycott, which was initiated by the Yemeni American Merchants Association (YAMA). YAMA argues that the New York Post front page fosters Islamophobia by misrepresenting comments from Omar, suggesting she had downplayed the seriousness of 9/11.


Some of the most important and consequential political conversations take place in the streets with our friends and neighbours and away from the noise of the media and vested interests.

Tony Abbott

In a since deleted tweet, the member for Warringah highlights the importance of conversing with humble, salt-of-the-earth Sydney folks such as News Corp columnist and “Team Tony” campaigner Piers Akerman.


Is the Coalition (spectacularly) missing the point on tax?

“Ahead of the election, the Coalition’s first big barrage against Labor  — one presumably carefully prepared and timed with the intention of shaping the campaign within 24 hours of launching proceedings — is a claim that Labor will be a big-taxing government.”

Rush judgment a crushing blow for Me Too

“The bare facts of Geoffrey Rush’s vindication are these: In Federal Court yesterday Justice Michael Wigney found in Rush’s favour on all counts. He found that The Daily Telegraph, in two front-page articles in 2017, defamed Rush by suggesting he was a pervert, sexual predator and perpetrator of sexual assault on the young actress Eryn Jean Norvill, during a Sydney Theatre Company run of King Lear.”

Free hugs and fatigue: Christchurch one month after a tragedy

“Yesterday I asked Wilson how they are going at Haeata as we approach the one month mark. ‘We have some very tired young people and staff here. We still have a lot to process and there is still a feeling of shock and helplessness. We have looked at giving our staff the gift of time and pulled back on meetings and shifted some school events until next term. For us the support is personalised, people need different things’.”


‘Our approach is to remove the hard right’: GetUp raises $12m in effort to oust conservatives

China takes Australia’s Huawei 5G ban to global trade umpire

Thousands gather across Australia for Palm Sunday refugee rallies

Secret report: Lynas told of Malaysia risks in 2011

Secret intelligence reports left at Wickham Point Detention Centre ($)

Australia’s recycling crisis worsens as industry demands urgent federal action

Melbourne shooting outside Prahran nightclub Love Machine leaves one man dead

Firefighters demand crackdown on toxic dump ‘death traps’

Sudan protesters call for civilian rule in talks with military leaders

Trump blocked renomination of Obama-era UN racism official, won’t pick a replacement: report


Political parties split on implementing Hayne recommendations ($) — Adele Ferguson (Australian Financial Review): “When it comes to whistleblowers, there are also noticeable differences. Labor has promised a suite of reforms to whistleblower protections if it wins office, including introducing a United States-style whistleblower reward system. Other reforms include a protection authority, the appointment of a special prosecutor to go after corporate crooks and an overhaul of the current whistleblower laws into a single act.”

Australia needs stronger laws to deal with hate speech — Gillian Triggs and Julian Burnside (Sydney Morning Herald): “A 28-year-old Australian has been charged with 50 murders. He had earlier written and distributed a rambling manifesto, which included the vilest sort of hate speech against migrants, white supremacist rhetoric and approving references to terrorist attacks committed by far-right extremists such as Anders Breivik who, in 2011, brutally murdered 78 people in and around Oslo.”

Brands desperate to cash in on the GoT mystique for final time ($) — Mark Ritson (The Australian): “First off the tracks was White Walker, a special edition of Johnnie Walker whisky in which the eponymous walking Johnnie was transposed to a ‘Winter is Coming’ packaging and made to look like the Night King from the series. In a nice product twist the whisky is best served direct from the freezer and for only $55 a bottle you can drink and shiver your way through Series 8.”


The Latest Headlines



  • The Accountability Round Table will host National Integrity Forum ‘Our Choices’ at Parliament House, to include a keynote from former WA premier Geoff Gallop and parliamentary responses from Shadow Treasurer Mark Dreyfus, Liberal senator Amanda Stoker, Greens senator Larissa Waters and Independent senator Tim Storer.

  • Author Sisonke Msimang will be in-conversation with journalist Chris Wallace on her new book The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela at an ANU/Canberra Times event.


  • Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen will address social services representatives at the ACOSS federal election breakfast.

  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will speak at the launch of a new book on Liberal prime minister, Robert Menzies.

  • The University of Sydney will host forum event “The EU for Journalists: Media Reporting of the EU in Australia” with ANU’s Mark Kenny, Politico Europe’s Zoya Sheftalovich, SBS’s Davide Schiappapietra, and EU delegate to Australia Fabio Spadi.


  • A three-day registration hearing will be held over whether to put Federation Square on the Victorian Heritage Register.


  • Representatives from the School Strike 4 Climate group will speak at a Griffith #ClimateElection Forum, with local politicians invited to attend. St Andrews Anglican Church will also host a Ryan Candidates Climate Forum.


  • The First Nations Deaths in Custody Watch Committee WA will host an annual forum marking the 28th anniversary of the royal commission’s recommendations, to include a keynote from Sisters Inside Debbie Kilroy.