Simon Birmingham ASEAN pacific US China trade war trade deal
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)


Australia is leading secret trade talks in Melbourne, aimed at creating an EU-style mega deal that will eclipse the Trans Pacific Partnership and sideline the US, The Age reports.

The “highly secretive” negotiations involve China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India and all ASEAN member states. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham called it “one of the most economically significant trade agreements in the world”.

Scott Morrison will attend a high-powered working dinner” ($) with Donald Trump and senior members of his administration tonight on the eve of the G20 summit, after yesterday calling for a “truce” in the US-China trade war. He is expected to deliver a direct plea to the president to bring an end to the trade war, as well as lobbying him to join a global campaign to regulate social media giants.  


The Manus Island contract of controversial security company Paladin will not be renewed, The Age reports, with the Papua New Guinean government set to assume responsibility for service delivery.

New PNG Prime Minister James Marape yesterday called for an end to the contract, saying he did not want Paladin providing services that local companies could deliver. The Australian and PNG governments have agreed to a limited extension of the contract, the ABC reports, to allow time for the PNG government to conduct “an open market competitive procurement process”. 


Labor leaders remain firm on expelling John Setka from the party, The Age reports, after his wife Emma Walters revealed yesterday that she was the victim he pleaded guilty to harassing. Setka was charged with harassment by a carriage service and breaching a court order, fined $1000 and placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

Walters spoke to The New Daily yesterday, insisting her husband never hit her, despite “stomach turning” allegations revealed in an affidavit that was leaked to the media against her wishes. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter used the moment to slam the CFMMEU, warning it will likely be deregistered if it does not update internal procedures.


That’s interesting, an incumbent government, they seem to have done a good job on infrastructure and their local economy and [have] been returned by the people. And I thought ‘well that is a pretty compelling argument’.

Scott Morrison

Talking about his electoral strategy influences on Sky News’ Bad Blood, the Prime Minister suggests that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is, in fact, good?


‘Never thought I’d say this’: Alan Jones backs legal push to decriminalise ice

‘That is wrong in law’: Turnbull tried to bring in G-G in last-ditch act

Fake Aboriginal art wholesaler fined $2.3m

Christian leaders back Magda Szubanski’s counter-campaign bid to rival Israel Folau

Far right Identitarian leader searched on suspicion of forming terrorist group with Christchurch shooter

Assisted dying: doctors given updated legal advice over risk of breaching federal laws

Shocking photo of drowned father and daughter highlights migrants’ border peril

Dylan Voller joins chorus calling to change age of criminal culpability

No sign Notre-Dame fire was deliberate ($)

Former AFL coach Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson admits using ice, but denies dealing

Australian MH17 families reach confidential settlement with Malaysia Airlines

‘We can get there’: Crossbenchers to back $158 billion in tax cuts

McDonald’s demands super-size compensation for losing busiest city store

Labor hopeful Chris Minns took donation from developer

NAPLAN review calls for focus on improvement, not comparisons


Celibacy and obedience: life inside a seminary

“Laminated sheets of how to report child abuse are tacked to the wall at Missionary of God’s Love. Seminarians are encouraged to talk about their concerns and feelings daily. Psychosexual maturity is routinely discussed. At the same time, the seminary is bound by Vatican documents that dictate the way it is run and the moral code that must be taught. Despite scientific evidence of intersex people and Klinefelter syndrome, transgenderism, according to those documents, doesn’t exist. Homosexual acts are sinful. And celibacy is compulsory for Latin Rite seminarians.”

The failures of Iraq remain embedded in Australian politics

“Today, the government can still commit Australian forces to foreign missions, however illegal and misbegotten, without the approval of parliament or even parliamentary debate. Moreover, despite a push by Labor’s Left faction, that bipartisan position won’t change anytime soon, with Labor deputy and source for US diplomats Richard Marles an opponent of any change to the executive having “the sole prerogative” to send forces to invade other countries.”

‘Punitive’ public housing tenancies are pushing people into the streets 

“Sarah and her family are Noongar, the traditional custodians of the country Perth now sits on. She lives on the eastern edge of the city in a brick bungalow where she cares for three grandchildren, including a grandson with severe cerebral palsy who requires around the clock care. The children’s mother comes and goes. Although Aboriginal people represent just 3% of the state’s population, at least one in three homeless people in WA is Aboriginal. And, for many, finding housing doesn’t mark the end of this trouble. Sarah has lived in public housing since she was 18 without any problems. But when she moved to Perth from the wheatbelt six years ago, the housing authority put her on a series of short fixed-term tenancies. Previously Sarah had always held periodic tenancies, which require a court order to terminate. With fixed-term tenancies, however, Section 72 of the WA Residential Tenancies Act allows the landlord to terminate without reason when it expires. There’s no legal recourse, and no appeal. For Sarah, it took one failed inspection from a new housing officer.”


The USA is imprisoning people it finds undesirable. Australia has already lived this nightmareJason Wilson (The Guardian): “Australia’s camps are now baked into its national politics. They look set to remain as long as there are elections to win, focus groups to placate, and no outside agency truly capable of enforcing any consequences for its architects. The longer that they are in place in the US, Italy and elsewhere, the more likely it is that in those countries, too, they will become permanent features of the political landscape.”

We can never accept that journalism is an offence ($) – Michael Miller (The Australian): “First, we demand the right to contest any kind of search warrant on journalists or news organisations before the warrant is issued. Second, public sector whistleblowers must be adequately protected and the current laws need to change. Third, we need a new regime that limits which documents can be stamped secret. Fourth, we need a proper review of Freedom of Information laws. And finally, journalists must be exempted from the national security laws enacted over the last seven years that put can put them in jail for just doing their jobs.

All this can happen quickly without the need for a parliamentary inquiry. Prime Minister Morrison has said that if there is evidence that there is a need for improvement to press freedom laws then he is “open to it”. Prime Minister, the evidence is in.”

I’m gay and anti-Christian, but GoFundMe’s decision on Folau is a moral overreachJarryd Bartle (The Age/SMH): “Hate speech is usually defined as attacking or demeaning a particular group on the basis of some protected attribute such as gender, race or sexual orientation. Many people argue that Folau’s “sinner memes” shouldn’t be allowed because of the harm they cause to others. Reasonable constraints on speech are widely accepted: who can forget the old classic, you shouldn’t be able to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre? But what worries me about the hate speech label is that it relies too heavily on an assumed shared reaction by a protected group: in this case, gay people. Do I feel “attacked” or “demeaned” by Folau’s speech? Honestly, no. He just strikes me as a strange man with sexual hang-ups caused by religion.”


The Latest Headlines



  • The Confucius Institute at UWA, UWA Business School, and UWA Public Policy Institute will host “China in Conversation: Foreign Investment in Australia” with MLA Peter Tinley, Phil Thick and Professor Yanrui Wu.

  • The University of Western Australia will host “Charities: Their Nature and Purpose” presented by Professor David Gilchrist.


  • Mental as Anything will perform all their hits at Adelaide Casino.

  • The South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service will host a pre-application info session, providing an understanding of the role of the MFS and the skills and abilities needed as a firefighter.

  • Women in Innovation SA will kick off the 2019 “Winnovation Awards”, searching for South Australia’s most innovative women.


  • The country’s education ministers will meet to hear about problems with online NAPLAN testing.

  • Naked jogger and serial flasher Gabriel Ramonos will appear in the Magistrates Court.

  • ASIC Chair James Shipton will outline ASIC’s strategic priorities for the year ahead and offer an update on the post-financial services royal commission agenda.


  • Australian Defence Force members from Task Group Taji 8 will return home after successfully completing a training and advising mission in Iraq. 


  • Everything IoT will host a Food and Agriculture Forum, focused on showcasing Australian startup innovation in Agtech.

Peter Fray

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