LET’S MAKE A DEAL

The Coalition has reportedly locked in the final vote needed to pass its full tax cut plan, with Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie expected to join Centre Alliance and Cory Bernardi in voting for the cuts without amendment in the Senate today.

Lambie agreed to support the government’s tax cuts if it wipes Tasmania’s $157 million social housing debt, tweeting, “before we talk tax relief for rich people let’s talk about debt relief for Tassie”. According to an interview with The Mercury, Lambie does not have any firm guarantee, telling the paper, “I expect that out of goodwill they will come through”. The government is not planning to forgive the entire debt because of the precedent it will set, but plans to provide an alternative, addressing homelessness and affordable housing, The New Daily reports.

CHOKED BY A MOTION

Labor plans to move a motion in the Senate today, calling on Scott Morrison to take action against Christopher Pyne and Julie Bishop for taking commercial appointments immediately after leaving politics. The Guardian reports that the motion will ask when Morrison became aware that his former colleagues had accepted roles with EY and Palladium, and what action he took in response.

Centre Alliance, meanwhile, is seeking to establish a separate inquiry into compliance with ministerial standards. The Australian aid sector is reportedly concerned about Palladium, one of a handful of powerful private contractors increasingly dominating the sector, The Guardian reports.

NUCLEAR REACTION

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned that Tehran will increase its uranium enrichment to “any amount we want” beginning this weekend, as US-Iran tensions mount. 

The Associated Press reports that this will narrow the one-year window it would need to produce enough material for a nuclear weapon, something 2015’s nuclear accord sought to prevent. US President Donald Trump, who withdrew from the deal in 2018, has warned that Iran is “playing with fire”.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

The gaudy red, white and blue jacket emblazoned with the word ‘Australia’. How good was that? Sadly they don’t make prime ministerial jackets like that anymore.

Scott Morrison 

The prime minister invokes his overused catchphrase to compliment Bob Hawke’s iconic blazer (sadly, they don’t make prime ministers like that anymore).

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Beijing conducts ‘concerning’ anti-ship ballistic missile testing in contested waters

Government to look into covering cost of stillbirth autopsies

Sweden holds off on questioning Assange

Dutton’s bid to cancel wife killer’s visa overturned in Federal Court

Teachers not preachers: Federal union backs ban on church-taught gospel from all public schools

Coalition Party room meeting raises prospect of four-year federal terms

Build roads, states urge PM States urge Morrison to build roads to national economic prosperity ($)

Lower deeming rates ‘long overdue ($)

Obesity rivals smoking as cause of cancer, UK charity warns

‘Australia is close to my heart’: Tory grandee takes up new Britain-Australia role

Trump airs concern at surge in Aussie aluminium exports

Review of Supreme and District Courts to consider ‘limiting jury use’

Facebook, Google prepare for defamation inquiry showdown against news outlets

Visy Recycling behind ‘toxic’ plastic waste container in Indonesia

Sky rail cash allegedly siphoned for home renos, caravan and a boat

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The commercial bet on obesity designed to ‘create the market’

“Bets. Betting. Creating a market. It’s the kind of language that plays well with financial markets and makes sense coming from a CEO (and trained health economist) who’s responsible to shareholders. It’s also the language of a man under pressure.  Novo Nordisk has a lot riding on its obesity gamble. No one has yet come up with a magic-bullet obesity drug, one that takes off significant amounts of weight and does so without serious side-effects. This includes the company’s own drug Saxenda.”


The government can still end Australia’s lost years of economic growth

“This is the other challenge facing the economy: we’re deep in a productivity and innovation hole, as the Productivity Commission pointed out recently. That is, not merely is the economy growing sluggishly despite massive monetary policy stimulus, but its capacity to grow has been eroded by years of policy drift in Canberra. That’s despite Malcolm Turnbull’s brief flurry of interest in innovation — abandoned because it scared Queensland farmers, apparently — and despite Scott Morrison specifically asking the Productivity Commission to provide a shopping list of suggestions for lifting productivity, which it happily did. Morrison ignored that list entirely in favour of industrial relations and deregulation pabulum in his recent venture into economic reform territory.”


What’s the point of a religious discrimination act? 

“Religious discrimination laws in Australia are best described as a seesaw. There are so many acts, charters and laws around discrimination that while one law could protect against discrimination, another could be interpreted to permit it. There are no nationally consistent rules around religious discrimination.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Australia’s unique opportunity for an infrastructure revolutionJohn Hewson (The Age/SMH): “It is a national embarrassment when we consider how unbelievably long it takes to initiate and complete major infrastructure projects. The broader community endures huge costs from traffic congestion, especially in the three major capitals, and from inadequate schools, hospitals, aged care facilities, energy and water supply. The big infrastructure opportunities such as very fast trains, water transport and desalination schemes, large-scale renewable energy export, energy storage projects, innovation, space and science hubs seem to go no further than limited imagination.”

Truth and freedom of speech are not the same thing ($) – Andy Marks (The Daily Telegraph): “Freedom of speech and academic freedom are being conflated. The ­latter depends on a dialogue based in evidence. The former means: hang the facts, anything goes. Despite the minister’s concerns that ‘some students at universities’ are ‘self-censoring out of fear they’ll be shouted down’, the review found ‘no evidence of a free speech crisis’ on Australian campuses. Still, Justice French recommended the adoption of a code that, among other things, promotes ‘the duty to foster the wellbeing of staff and ­students’ free of “discrimination” on the basis of ‘race, gender, sexuality, religion or political belief’. This framework would likely draw into question an attempt by a ‘visiting external speaker’ seeking to, for ­instance, pit sexuality against religion without any recourse to facts.’

It’s no time for Aboriginal elation, but nor for despairAnne Dennis (The Age/SMH): “The composition of this Parliament and the candidates who sought to be a part of it is a reminder that the diversity of opinion across Aboriginal Australia matches that of the broader community. There is no ‘natural party of government’ for Aboriginal people. Both the Labor and Liberal parties can point to significant achievements in Aboriginal affairs as well as times when they have horribly failed our people … The task for Aboriginal organisations is to work across the aisle to secure the best long-term deal for our people, regardless of who is in power.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will introduce new anti-terror laws to the House of Representatives and attempt to repeal asylum seeker medical transfer laws.

  • Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter will introduce laws aimed at breaking up unions and banning officials who misbehave.

Melbourne

  • The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will hold a public hearing exploring prevention and early intervention, with witnesses including Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman, Prof David Forbes, and World Psychiatric Association president Helen Herrman.

Sydney

  • The 2019 RoboCup World Champion title will take place, with over 260 teams and 2,000 participants competing across a number of leagues, including robotic soccer, urban search and rescue missions, manufacturing and logistics, and home assistance challenges. 

  • One of the three men arrested in Monday’s anti-terror raids will appear in court, charged with having made early-stage preparations and expressed an intention to carry out a terrorist attack.

Brisbane

  • The Queensland Parliamentary Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee will hold a public hearing into aged care, end-of-life and palliative care and voluntary assisted dying.

Darwin

  • The Northern Territory Archives Centre will launch the Storm Dog exhibition, an immersive virtual reality experience imagining a climate change future in Darwin.