It has been revealed that Eastern Australia Agriculture, one of the beneficiaries of the controversial Murray-Darling Basin water contracts signed off by then-agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce, made donations totalling $55,000 to the NSW Liberal Party across 2012 and 2013 — the first of which The Herald-Sun ($) reports occurred while current Energy Minister Angus Taylor was listed as a director of Cayman Islands-based parent company Eastern Australia Irrigation.
According to The Courier-Mail ($), the Palaszczuk government did write to Joyce in 2015 asking him to buy the water from EAA. The New Daily reports on alleged links to superannuation group Future Fund. In an explosive ABC interview, Joyce dodged the still-unanswered question of ultimate ownership.
TWO AUSTRALIANS AMONG DEAD IN SRI LANKA
Two Australians have been named among the 290 people killed in Sunday’s terror attacks in Sri Lanka, while Prime Minister Maithripala Sirisena has declared a national emergency following the discovery, and reportedly harmless explosion, of another bomb yesterday.
According to SBS, Australian-Sinhalese businesswoman Manik Suriyaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexendria were mourned at a Melbourne vigil yesterday, while The Guardian’s liveblog reports that at least 24 people have been arrested in Sri Lanka and that the government has identified little-known Islamist terrorist group National Thowheeth Jamaath as primarily responsible.
A Newspoll of four marginal seats across the country has found a surge in support for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, suggesting that a $30 million advertising campaign could put the embattled billionaire and former MP in a kingmaker position for both party preferences and the Senate.
The Australian ($) reports that UAP has scored between 5 and 14% of primary votes in the knife-edge seats of Herbert, Lindsay, Deakin and Pearce, while senior Liberals are in advanced discussions to secure preferences.
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THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Labor, Labor, Labor, Labor!
The former Agriculture Minister channels his inner Jan Brady (look it up!) in a truly hectic 30 minute interview.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“A show of hands under a pergola in Jacaranda Park reveals that several people who had come to door knock for GetUp that Saturday had never done it before. Even fewer actually lived in Dickson, the Queensland electorate Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has held onto for 18 years, and the seat they’re desperate to shift.”
“After an obsessive focus on health for white Australians in the first week of its election campaign, Labor has finally released its Indigenous health policy: a $115 million package ‘that will put First Australians at the centre of decision-making’.”
“In an election campaign that has brought us Captain GetUp, stupidity is always likely to be well to the fore. But while big-ticket items like Advance Australia’s bafflingly offensive superhero get all the attention, there’s plenty of idiocy on the bubble at the fringes too. In fact, all in all, this might turn out to be the stupidest election Australia has ever had, and that’s saying something.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Why Labor just can’t help penalising small business ($) — Judith Sloan (The Australian): “But Shorten has no time to lose when it comes to the reimposition of penalty rates. He wants, by recalling parliament as soon as possible after the election, to direct the independent umpire, the Fair Work Commission, to insert the old rates in the relevant awards. In this way, there is a chance the old Senate will wave through the radical instruction.”
Can $55 million get Clive Palmer back into parliamentary game? — Michelle Grattan (The Conversation): “The UAP has already expended some $31.7 million in the seven months to mid-April, according to Nielsen figures reported in The Australian. Palmer’s billboards are prominent in the southern states as well as in the north.”
Election 2019: Vanity Project — The Piping Shrike (Meanjin): “What is the point of elections? Given how this campaign has begun, it seems a reasonable question to ask. Recent history has not provided much of an answer. Elections in the last decade accounted for only one of the last five changes in Prime Ministers. The other two elections were so inconclusive that voters almost immediately turned on the government that hung on, leaving it to spend the rest of the term in miserable minority.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Scott Morrison will announce a $1b, five-year federal SME growth fund aimed at creating 250,000 new businesses.
Bill Shorten will announce Labor’s $100 million marine and reef science pledge for Northern Australia, as well as a plan to replace the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility with a new fund for gas links across QLD and the NT. Shorten will also pledge a federal overhaul of 457 visas aimed at stopping employers from replacing local workers with cheap foreign labour.
Menzies candidates will speak at a climate election forum, including Liberal MP Kevin Andrews, Stella Yee (Labor), Robert Humphreys (GRN) and Brett Fuller (UAP).
Wills candidates will speak at a refugee forum, including Labor MP Peter Khalil, Adam Pulford (Greens), Sue Bolton (Victorian Socialists) and others.
Opening week of the Sydney Comedy Festival, which will run until May 19th.
Day one of the two-day Crown Prosecutors Conference 2019.
Metro bus drivers will strike for four hours over a pay dispute.
Former manager of state-owned Horizon Power Paul Mitchell Thomas and contractor Anthony Darren Raspa will face corruption charges following a CCC investigation.
Agriculture and Water Minister David Littleproud and Drought Envoy Barnaby Joyce will speak at a Nationals community drought forum.
Nominations for House of Representatives and Senate candidates will close at exactly midday.