Hong Kong
Hong Kong's 2014 'Umbrella Movement' protests (Image: Studio Incendo)

HONG KONG CHAOS

At least fifty people have been rushed to hospital in Hong Kong after protesters broke into the Legislative Council to demand a complete withdrawal of the controversial China extradition bill.

Hundreds of police officers used tear gas to clear demonstrators, who had smashed their way into parliament and raised the colonial flag in the chamber to mark the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, The Age reports. There was no mention of the riots in mainland China’s state-controlled media, according to Associated Press.

TAX FLIP FLOP

Labor is prepared to back the Coalition’s full $158 billion tax cut package this week, The Age reports. Labor MPs have reportedly been instructed to stay in Canberra on Thursday night to allow for extra parliamentary sittings on Friday. Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said Labor would try first for amendments in the Senate, but said “all of the alternatives are available to us if they fail”.

Labor frontbenchers fear the party is “politically dead” if it blocks tax cuts, and are urging Anthony Albanese to “regain the faith” of tradies by backing them, The New Daily reports. Scott Morrison confirmed last night that he would not split the bills, saying the legislation would be introduced on Tuesday evening.

RELIGIOUS PROTECTIONS

Scott Morrison has promised to introduce a religious discrimination act to parliament before the end of the year, telling 7.30 that he will consult with Labor on its design.

The Prime Minister refused to comment on whether such a law would shield someone like Israel Folau from being sacked, but said there was “a gap” in existing laws. “I think it’s important, ultimately, that employers have reasonable expectations of their employees, and that they don’t impinge on their areas of private practice and private belief or private activity,’’ he told 7.30.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

It was like he was playing ABC opinion bingo card.

James Paterson

The Liberal senator uses his Q&A appearance to take on Kerry O’Brien and the ABC.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Australia warned to rethink defence spending to counter China’s dominance

Hong Kong protests leaves more than 50 injured as police storm legislature

UN watchdog confirms Iran has breached nuclear deal stockpile limit

Coalition accused of ‘cruelty for cruelty’s sake’ over refugees

PM’s department backs down on bid to keep navy chief’s diary secret

Cyprus struck by stray missile thought to have come from Syria

Labor demands government do more to protect Aboriginal flag

Christopher Pyne may face Senate inquiry into compliance with ministerial standards

Sky rail racket: Tradies ‘renovate boss’ house on taxpayer dollar

New Governor-General vows to support those who help nation’s most vulnerable

Franking credit campaign forced to destroy information

NSW set to fall short of climate targets but Victoria on track

‘Grateful for his blessing’: MP to be sworn in using Christchurch survivor’s Koran

US ambassador’s message for Morrison: ‘embrace power role in Pacific’ ($)

Alleged killer ‘asked for help’ before Darwin shootings ($)

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Obesity, politics, money and a company called Novo Nordisk

“Welcome to the conflicted world of obesity politics, obesity jargon and obesity economics. And welcome to the world of Novo Nordisk, a huge multinational Danish-headquartered pharmaceutical corporation with a hunger to change the way Australians think about obesity and an appetite to convince the Australian government that obesity is a disease that should be treated by a taxpayer-subsidised drug.

And for whoever finally cracks the obesity drug market, a fortune awaits. Almost a third of Australians are classified as obese with that number set to grow as we become obese at a younger age.” 


How good is a mandate?

“Plainly, they have no legal basis. There is nothing in Australia’s constitution, or elsewhere in the country’s laws, requiring parliament to pass the government’s bills. At the end of the day, the government either has the numbers in parliament or it doesn’t. Similarly, there is no established convention that parliament should implement a new government’s election policies. The idea of an electoral mandate does not have the consistent support of either the Coalition or Labor. The attitude of the major parties changes depending on whether they’re in government or not. In any event, an electoral mandate would make a nonsense of both the Senate’s review role and the different electoral rules that apply to the House of Representatives and the Senate.”


The pros and cons of selling Australia’s education to the world

Contrary to NESA’s report which states ‘Australia is at the forefront of international education … The quality of Australian education is highly regarded’, UNICEF’s latest Innocenti Report Card ranks Australian secondary education at the bottom third of high-income OECD countries, ranking 38 out of 41 for quality education. Reading rates have been in decline according to the PISA reading rate scale, with students struggling with phonetics.   Australian high school students have some of the highest schoolwork-related anxiety in the world, according to a PISA wellness report, with 46.9% saying they feel ‘very tense’ when they study compared to an international average of 36.6%.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Are you for Israel Folau or against? We love a simple answer but this is not a binary caseGillian Triggs (The Guardian): “It is ironic the Folau case has exposed the gaps in Australia’s protections for fundamental freedoms just as the government is about to introduce a new bill to increase protections for religious freedoms. When considering the need for additional religious protections, it might help if we review the existing legal principles that underpin our freedoms to inform an increasingly complex and divisive national discussion.”

Time for Albanese to really show who’s calling Labor’s shots ($) – Simon Benson (The Australian): “Albanese and Labor have no means by which they can move forward until they write a new narrative around which the new caucus can gravitate. But the reconstruction can’t begin until the tax issue is resolved and it is the tax issue that will define what Labor’s new narrative will be. So far Albanese has gambled that the politics of threatening to block the Coalition’s tax cuts plays better for Labor’s base than a complete capitulation.”

A rush to join but do political parties want new members?Jenna Price (The Age/SMH): “In the wake of what one insider described as a ‘catastrophic’ federal election loss, the Labor Party is experiencing what it thinks is good news, a massive influx of members, particularly in NSW, where NSW ALP secretary Kaila Murnain has been on a recruitment drive. Murnain has not previously covered herself in glory as NSW party leader – but these figures matter. Wayne Swan, the ALP’s national president, says 2500 new NSW members have joined since the election (and that’s on top of the 11,000 rank-and-file members who we know voted in the NSW leadership ballot).”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Australia’s 46th Parliament sits for the first time, with an official opening at 10:30 AEST.

  • The Morrison government will introduce its tax cut bill to parliament late in the day.

Darwin

  • Flinders University will hold a Reconciliation Action Plan consultation workshop, facilitating discussion of the Flinders University vision for reconciliation.

Melbourne

  • The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will hold its opening day of public hearings, with witnesses including mental health advocate Wayne Schwass and former federal trade minister Andrew Robb.

  • Moussa Hamka will appear in the Magistrates Court for a hearing, charged in connection to the fatal shooting at Love Machine.

Sydney

  • The shortlist for the prestigious Miles Franklin literary award to be announced, with the winner to be revealed on July 30.

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia will hold its monthly board meeting, and is expected to cut the cash rate for the second month in a row.

  • Blacktown nurses and midwives will rally over unsafe staffing concerns. Blacktown MP Stephen Bali will also attend.

Perth

  • The Coroner’s Court of WA will hold an inquest into the death of indigenous playwright Jimmy Chi.