Queensland stolen wages
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (AAP/Glenn Hunt)

STOLEN WAGES RETURNED

The Queensland government has agreed to pay $190 million in stolen wages to Indigenous workers. The agreement settles a long-running dispute with lawyers representing about 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had their pay given to the state under the Protection Act.

Lead applicant Hans Pearson, who was seeking to recover unpaid wages earned as a stockman in the 50s and 60s, told the ABC that “justice has been done”, but lamented the fact that his wife and brothers died before they got to see a proper settlement. The Australian calls the case “the new Mabo” ($), with the precedent-setting deal likely to put pressure on NSW, Western Australia and the Northern Territory to strike simila­r settlements. It is Australia’s fifth-largest class action settlement.

 

MURRAY-DARLING DEMANDS

There are fresh calls for an independent inquiry into the Murray-Darling Basin plan, following a Four Corners investigation into the billions of taxpayer dollars handed to corporate irrigators to plant crops which then required vast amounts of water.

Richard Beasley SC, the counsel assisting the South Australian Murray-Darling royal commission, told The Guardian there needs to be a national commission established to answer serious questions about how taxpayer money was being spent. Senator Sarah Hanson-Young attended a protest on Tuesday, saying, “This isn’t a debate anymore about the environment versus farming. This is about big business versus everybody else.”

 

LITTLE SUPPORT

A Guardian Essential poll has found that less than half of Coalition voters want stronger religious freedom laws to protect people who express their religious views in public.

Conservative MPs’ push for a religious freedom bill is out of step with the broader community, with only 44% of Coalition voters and 38% of voters in general backing the idea (and only 16% strongly). A majority of respondents — 58% — don’t want employers to be able to dictate what employees say outside of work, but around two-thirds agree that “it is only right that people consider how what they say can affect others” and that “people should not be able to argue religious freedoms to abuse others”. 

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I want to put a positive spin on it.

 Luke Howarth

The Assistant Community Housing Minister wants us to look on the bright side of the fact that 116,000 Australians are homeless.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

‘Drug of the moment’: 5% of year 10 students have tried MDMA, expert says

Glacial melting in Antarctica may become irreversible

Queensland will abolish rape defence loophole if law reform experts recommend it

Flagship First Nations-owned solar project gets green light

DFAT rejects request to help Australian citizen’s wife leave China

Strike for climate movement wants workers to down tools and demand emergency action

Deeming rate won’t match interest rates, Frydenberg warns

Hong Kong leader scraps contentious extradition bill

Opposition to lockout laws dominates submissions to inquiry

Cashed-up sky rail managers allegedly ordered rorts

Eight more containers of ‘toxic’ rubbish to be sent back to Australia

Trump can’t ban critics from his Twitter account, court rules

HELP debts hit a record $66.7 billion, new ATO stats show ($)

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The new frontier

“Far from the red dirt of the Pilbara and the goldfields of Kalgoorlie is Kolwezi, a small, dusty town — rich with cobalt and copper reserves — near the southern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It might not look like it, but Kolwezi is at the frontier of Australia’s newest mining boom. Australia has more mining operations across Africa than any other country according to reliable estimates, with at least 170 Australian-listed companies participating in what some have called a ‘Golden Age’ of Australian-African relations. They operate more than 400 projects across 35 countries, with a potential value calculated at more than $40 billion.”


This Australian spying agency’s tell-all should make a good read

“Any proper account of the ASD should explore how the agency’s national security role has been a cover for extensive commercial espionage aimed at helping companies in Australia and in our Five Eyes partners, often at the expense of the economic interests of our regional partners — and exactly the kind of espionage the Chinese government is routinely (and correctly) accused of by the Australian government. ASD is regarded as fighting a losing battle against Chinese hackers infiltrating major Australian companies and institutions such as universities.”


How to get a lenient life sentence

“Make friends with the judge and enemies with the media: carefully cultivating relationships could be key to a reduced sentence. ‘Courts are guided by the principle of proportionality,’ Anderson says. ‘The sentence needs to be subjective to the harm caused.’ If an offender was particularly young, had a deprived upbringing or was a victim of the cycle of abuse, the judge may take this into consideration when setting a non-parole period. Making enemies in the media can also reduce sentences, with judges taking into account how widespread and negative punishment affects the offender. Coverage which damages professional reputation presents a risk in prison, and which impedes recovery and rehabilitation can be seen as punishment in itself, prompting leniency.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Victoria’s role in Murray-Darling river rorts deserves scrutinyJono La Nauze (The Age/SMH): “The state governments will have nothing to fear and everything to gain from a full independent audit of spending and environmental outcomes. Without it, the public will continue to lose confidence in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and the ability of our governments to act in the public interest when it comes to caring for our rivers.”

Neighbours will take China road if we’re not careful ($) – Lavina Lee (The Australian): “For Australia, Southeast Asia is a key battleground. Given limited diplomatic and economic res­ources, priority should be given to increasing the effectiveness and resilience of democratic governance in Indonesia, The Philippines and Thailand. These countries already have some democratic institutions in place and a relatively vibrant independent middle class and civil ­society, and a free press. All profess to be democracies, meaning they are likelier to welcome additional assistance from Australia to strengthen their governance systems. Supporting self-proclaimed democracies is consistent with the principle that we should not impose our principles on others in a heavy-handed manner.”

As the outrage around Israel Folau peaks, let’s turn the volume down a notchPeter Lewis (The Guardian): “The Folau brouhaha is a case study in post-media media; a whirlpool of emotion that drives protagonists into the safety of their filter bubbles where they can whip up a frenzy, driving clicks in the legacy media and engagement on social platforms. And as the outrage peaks to 11, the Morrison government dusts off laws purporting to deal with the ‘crisis’ of religious freedom, which will surely fuel the next cycle of escalating outrage. What’s missing from the whole thing, sadly, is a public square equipped to deal with the complexity of an issue that presents in many shades of grey. In a series of questions in this week’s Essential Report, the public appears to be displaying a degree of nuance sorely lacking in the shoutiness of the current debate.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

National

  • NAIDOC Week runs from July 7 to July 14, celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. A full list of events can be found here.

  • The Council of Financial Regulators, made up of APRA, ASIC, Treasury and the RBA, will publish its next Quarterly Statement.

Canberra

  • Ken Wyatt, Australia’s first indigenous minister for Indigenous Australians, will deliver a speech at the National Press Club.

Melbourne

  • Victorian governor Linda Dessau will host a reception to mark NAIDOC Week 2019 at Government House.

  • Victoria Police will launch a new drone scheme, with drones being used to monitor major public events.

  • MatchWorks will host its annual NAIDOC community event, featuring Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner Jill Gallagher, Olympian and Indigenous mentor Kyle Vander-Kuyp, Aunty Irene Morris, and hip hop group Yung Warriors featuring DJ Kidd Benny.

Ballarat

  • Minister for Road Safety Jaala Pulford will announce Towards Zero round in the AFL Goldfields region, as well as previewing a road safety forum.

Adelaide

  • The Regional Australia Institute will host Regions Rising 2019, with Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone launching RAI’s migration toolkit Steps to Settlement Success.

  • Ku Arts and ACE Open will host a NAIDOC panel discussion, featuring Jack Buckskin, Clayton Cruse, Sharon Meagher and Dr Jared Thomas.

Brisbane

  • The Astronomical Society of Australia will host a lecture “65,000 years — the rich history of Aboriginal Astronomy”, presented by UNSW physics graduate and proud Wiradjuri woman, Kirsten Banks.

  • MyQ State wide Leadership Council will host the Youth Matters Forum 2019, raising attention to matters that are currently affecting young people from migrant and refugee background in Queensland.

Sydney

  • Settlement Services International (SSI), in partnership with Kinchela Boys Home, will celebrate NAIDOC at the Community Kitchen, fostering understanding and curiosity between Aboriginal and newcomer communities.

  • Georges River Council will host an Aboriginal Cultural Bush Tour, suitable for children and adults.

London

  • Foreign Minister Marise Payne will be attending the 19th Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting and the Global Conference for Media Freedom.

Peter Fray

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