Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he is open to discussing a national security law review following this week’s media raids, The Age reports
Speaking this morning from the UK, Morrison said he was “absolutely committed to freedom of the press”, adding that “part of that freedom ensures that we all operate according to the rule of law”. He backed up Peter Dutton’s denial that the government was involved in the raids.
The whistleblower at the centre of yesterday’s ABC raids has also spoken out, standing by his “Afghan files” leak. In an interview with The New Daily, former military lawyer David William McBride, who is facing 60 years in prison over the leak, maintained that he was acting in the public interest, saying he was compelled to act after his attempts to complain to the Department of Defence and police were ignored. He also told The Australian that he “did the right thing” ($) in leaking the material to the ABC.
Convicted sex offender George Pell’s appeal began yesterday, with his habit of greeting parishioners after mass being used as alibi, according to The Age.
Pell’s new lawyer Bret Walker SC is urging the Victorian Court of Appeal to quash the convictions, submitting 13 key points as to why the jury should have held “reasonable doubt” when deliberating, including questions over the alleged dates of offending. Prosecutors will argue today that the verdicts were sound, unimpeachable and should stand. The appeal is expected to close today, with a judgment not expected for several weeks. An Age op-ed suggests it may succeed on the grounds that the verdict was “unsafe”.
“YOUNG AND FREE”
NRL players from both sides of the State of Origin boycotted the national anthem before the 2019 opener in Brisbane last night.
According to The Guardian, 11 players appeared not to sing along to “Advance Australia Fair”, something Indigenous players Cody Walker, Josh Addo-Carr and Will Chambers had spoken about extensively in the lead-up to the match. Walker began the movement at February’s Indigenous All Stars match.
The players are hoping to prompt a national conversation about the anthem and how Indigenous Australians feel about it, particularly the lyrics “young and free.” Liberal MP Craig Kelly has backed a re-wording. Tanya Plibersek and Anthony Albanese appear to be “out of tune” on the issue, The Australian notes, with the former advocating changing it and the latter saying leave politics out of it.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
As an electrical engineer I can tell you solar panels don’t work in the dark. We can’t have the entire Australian economy be reliant on the weather. Otherwise you’d only be working between 11am and 3pm in the afternoon if it’s just on solar.
Nationals MP Keith Pitt
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“The AFP insists that the raid relates to “an extremely serious matter that has the potential to undermine Australia’s national security”. That’s a flagrant lie — it relates merely to the embarrassment of Mike Pezzullo, Greg Moriarty, Peter Dutton and national security bureaucrats who crafted a power-grab in secret and are furious at being subjected to scrutiny. The use of the term “national security” is generally intended to shut down any scrutiny or discussion that might embarrass governments, and to block media questions about any crimes or corrupt conduct committed by them.”
“News Corp has been the single biggest advocate for the radical expansion of the police state in Australia that has occurred in the last six years under the Coalition. The Australian has repeatedly smeared Edward Snowden, often getting basic facts about him wrong. It attacked the ABC for running a story based on Snowden documents that was clearly in the national interest. And News Corp sat silent when NBN Co had the AFP — accompanied, scandalously, by an NBN staffer — raid Conroy and his staff in 2016, including when they went looking in the basement of Parliament House, with the approval of the Liberal President of the Senate, for emails that had been sent to News Corp’s own journalists by Labor staffers. The only person in News Corp who criticised those appalling raids was Andrew Bolt. As it turned out, the raids were a breach of parliamentary privilege, and the AFP had to hand back every single document it stole. Still, nothing could get in the way of News Corp’s enemy being attacked.”
“If anything, it seems that Labour’s message was marginally well received, or at least benign, in the wealthy electorates. On average, Labor received a swing of 1.54% towards them while the wealthy swung away from the LNP by 2.24%. The Coalition only managed to gain at the expense of Labor in four of the 20 seats, in Reid, Mackellar, Cook and Mitchell. Arguably, Labor’s platform, message and leadership didn’t scare off voters in these affluent areas.”
The AFP media raids aim to suppress the truth. Without it we head into the darkness of oppression – Richard Flanagan (The Guardian): “This is a new government uninhibited, and it would now seem, unhinged. It does seem extraordinary that two cases, each of long standing, would immediately after an election, suddenly be activated to this level of public attention without ministerial knowledge. And yet, we have Dutton’s word it is not so. And were a news organisation subsequently to report, based on government documents, that the truth is otherwise, who knows who might come knocking on their door in the interest of national security?”
Press raids are proof Australians deserve more scrutiny of their government, not less – David Crowe (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Conflict is guaranteed when a free media investigates a government. Politicians bristle at awkward investigations, officials obfuscate and departments spend a small fortune on ways to block questions. But police raids take this natural tension to an extraordinary level that should worry all Australians. The raids betray the thinking of those in power. First, that they are above scrutiny. Second, that they can and will retaliate against those who question them.”
Media must challenge to protect our freedom($) – Chris Merritt (The Australian): “Instead of merely expressing outrage, the media industry should consider running a constitutional challenge aimed at striking down the legal basis for the search warrants authorising both raids. Media lawyer Justin Quill, who provides legal advice to The Australian, explains the logic for such a challenge: restrictions on the dissemination of information are vulnerable unless they are appropriate and adapted to the constitutional implication that the community should be informed about political and electoral information.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Today marks the official 75th anniversary of the June 6 1944 D-Day landings on beaches of Normandy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will attend an annual leaders meeting with Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. Foreign Minister Marise Payne will also attend.
The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria will hold a forum focusing on the harms of gambling on culturally-diverse communities.
Capgemini will unveil its new cybersecurity centre, the Satellite Security Operations Centre, designed to help businesses grow their cybersecurity expertise.
The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee will hold the Victorian Budget Estimates with all the parliament’s presiding officers, including assistant treasurer Robin Scott, and Planning, Housing, and Multicultural Affairs Minister Richard Wynne.
Codey Herrmann will face court for a committal mention on rape and murder charges over the death of international student Aiia Maasarwe.
The first ever Climate Week Queensland continues, aimed at identifying urgent and effective actions to protect the environment and culture.
William McDonald, the owner of a central Queensland quarry where a young man died in a workplace incident, will be sentenced.
Public Sector Commissioner Sharyn O’Neill will speak at the “Women in Leadership series: diversity in the public sector,” alongside WA Department of Communities director Michelle Andrews.