‘DISINCLINED’ TO PROSECUTE
Attorney-General Christian Porter has said he would be “seriously disinclined to approve the prosecution” of journalists over the publishing of leaks “except in the most exceptional circumstances”, The Age and SMH report. The AFP has previously refused to rule out prosecuting journalists found to have violated increasingly stringent whistleblowing laws.
Porter said he “would pay particular attention to whether a journalist was simply operating according to the generally accepted principles of public interest journalism”. Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus called for further clarity and a more concrete guarantee, asking why the Attorney-General is “contradicting the federal police as to whether these journalists are a target in the first place”.
EUTHANASIA BECOMES LEGAL
Victoria’s historic voluntary assisted dying laws come into effect today, making it the first jurisdiction in Australia to legalise euthanasia. Terminally ill adults who have only six months to live and meet other strict criteria will now be granted access to a lethal substance. The SMH reports that Margaret Radmore, a retired nurse with terminal cancer, is expected to be among the first Victorians to apply.
Four Victorian bishops have released a letter of opposition today, urging doctors against using the scheme. Faith-based healthcare providers may decline to facilitate the process through a conscientious objector loophole, forcing patients in Catholic-run hospitals and hospices wanting to end their lives to move elsewhere.
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The government has directed immigration officials to open the door to more South American refugees amid a humanitarian crisis that has seen an estimated 3 million flee Venezuela. It is “the largest exodus in the recent history of Latin America”, according to UN High Commission for Refugees.
Immigration Minister David Coleman prepared the new plan before the election, marking a significant shift in Australia’s annual humanitarian intake, which has previously focused on Africa, Asia and the Middle East, The Age reports. No target has been set, but it is expected to amount to several hundred people, making Venezuela one of our top 10 countries for humanitarian visas.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
G’day! As much as we appreciate the shout-out, we think you meant @ABC?
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“If media reports, police allegations and his past behaviour are any guide, John Setka appears to have little interest in the basic rights of other people. Not those of the families of Australian Building and Construction Comission (ABCC) officials. Not those of the woman he is alleged to have harassed, abused and assaulted. Not those of the staff and lawyers of his union branch and its national office, whom he wants put through a potentially illegal surveillance operation to identify who has leaked against him. And perhaps not even those of construction workers.”
“On Sunday afternoon a strawberry cheesecake was denied entry to the Melbourne Immigration Detention Centre (MITA). The cake’s destination was the visiting room where would-be recipient Tharunicaa was excitedly waiting to celebrate her second birthday. The same day, Peter Dutton appeared on Insiders saying he had ‘got all children out of detention here in Australia’. Tharunicaa has been held at the detention centre with her parents and four-year-old sister Kopika after they were taken from their Biloela home in a pre-dawn raid by Border Force over 15 months ago.”
“That the Great Barrier Reef is dead is now a certainty. That the mine will be one of the greatest environmental disasters in a great age of environmental disasters, a given. That its approval was an inevitable result of modern Australia’s propensity to churn out horrors both existential and banal on a near weekly basis, a sure bet. Adani is death.
It’s a dramatic statement only if you actively deny the climate catastrophe that is currently unfolding, and willfully flagellate yourself with mutterings of jobs, ‘clean coal’ and promises of Valhalla. What Adani and similar projects signal is the decision of an elite few to tacitly sign off on the end of the world. Death is hard to grok, annihilation more so.”
Northern Territory’s youth justice system is a theatre of the absurd and Australia’s great shame – John B Lawrence (The Guardian): “Since the royal commission, little change has occurred either in law, the facilities or the culture. That is astonishing and symptomatic. The broken system will remain broken. It is immutable. How can this be? It’s a combination of reasons. Permeating this whole situation is racism: systemic, direct, indirect and historical. It’s all there. The simple fact is there is no way in the world this could happen to white Australian children. And if it had happened, and was later discovered by a royal commission, it would have been fixed and replaced within months.”
We must never deny the sick a dignified death ($) – Susie O’Brien (The Herald Sun): “What’s going to happen to those who are treated in Victoria’s 26 Catholic hospitals and 89 aged care, hospice and palliative care facilities? Those faith-based healthcare providers are declining to either “provide or facilitate” Voluntary Assisted Dying even when it becomes legal on Wednesday. I don’t support the conscientious objector loophole in the legislation that allows such organisations to opt-out, but accept it was crucial in getting the law through parliament. I am worried, however, that Catholic organisations will foster a culture that will encourage their staff to hamper the right of their patients to access lethal VAD drugs from other doctors.”
Australia turned blind eye to deeply offensive threat from China – Chris Uhlmann (The Age): “What is it that terrifies the people of Hong Kong about the Chinese Communist Party that eludes so many pliant Australian academics, business leaders and ex-politicians? In the same breath, some local cognoscenti lament the Australian government’s weakness in barely mentioning the troubles in the Chinese territory before returning to their rote gripe that Canberra’s national security establishment is too hawkish.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Victoria will become the first jurisdiction in Australia with legalised euthanasia, with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 coming into effect.
Jeffrey Richard O’Donnell will appear in the Magistrates Court, accused of lying to the anti-corruption watchdog over Labor’s alleged cash-for-stacks scandal.
New Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate and Melbourne Business School Dean Ian Harper will discuss automation and what it means for policymakers, employers and educators.
The Parliamentary Budget Office will table its federal election costings analysis, looking at the budget impact of election campaign policies by the coalition, Labor and the Greens.
The High Court will hand down its judgment in the case of sperm donor Robert Masson (pseudonym) over whether he should be considered the legal father of a girl born through artificial insemination.
The Auditor-General will release a report into the effectiveness of the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation’s management of the Terrorism Reinsurance Scheme.
The Department of Jobs and Small Business will release the Internet Vacancy Index for May, with vacancies having fallen for four successive months — the weakest growth rate in five years.
StudyNT will hold one of two international student focus groups, to better understand international students’ perception of the Territory as a study destination and find ways to improve the experience.
David Burke from the Human Rights Law Centre will give a public seminar exploring the legal and ethical issues that led to the passage of the Medivac bill.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in Broome will hold a community forum, focusing on aged care for indigenous Australians, person-centred care and the delivery of aged care in remote locations.
Queensland treasurer Jackie Trad will address the Townsville business community about the budget she handed down last week.
An inquest will be held into the disappearance of Matthew James Bale, last seen on Rottnest Island in 2016.
Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
The Joint Investigation Team into the downing of MH17 will outline developments at a briefing in the Netherlands. It will also be live-streamed here.