Jackie Trad treaty
(Image AAP/Glenn Hunt)

TREATY TRACKS

The Queensland government launched a “Tracks to Treaty” commitment on Sunday, pledging to work towards a treaty with the state’s Indigenous people — but admitted it could be years before anything is finalised, the ABC reports.

Deputy premier Jackie Trad announced the commitment at a ceremony on the final day of NAIDOC Week, saying that a better relationship between the government and community was “fundamental to underpinning the success and the betterment of the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”. The government plans to establish a treaty working group, as well as appointing a panel co-chaired by the Aboriginal leader and academic Jackie Huggins and the former Keating government attorney-general Michael Lavarch, which will conduct a state-wide consultation in the second half of 2019, The Guardian reports. 

It comes less than a week after the Queensland government promised to pay $190 million in stolen wages to Indigenous workers.

DEEMING DEEMED INSUFFICIENT

Retirees and Labor are arguing the government’s $600 million deeming rate changes don’t go far enough, The New Daily reports, as it was confirmed that only seniors who own a family home will not qualify for the maximum additional amount of $804, or $30 a fortnight.

The government announced yesterday that it would lower the deeming rate from 1.75 to 1% for financial investments up to $51,800 for singles, and from 3.25 to 3% for balances over that amount, following a major deeming campaign from seniors organizations. But around 75% of aged pensioners will get nothing from the changes, because they don’t have investments in super, shares or bank deposits. National Seniors advocate Ian Henschke told The New Daily the changes will benefit women less, as they are less likely to have super or invest in the stock market.

BUILDING CONCERNS

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced plans to appoint a building services commissioner to resolve the state’s residential unit crisis, The Sydney Morning Herald reports, following the emergence of a third unit block that residents were forced to abandon over safety concerns in Zetland last year. The government plans to set up a new building industry compliance regime, and will provide extra resources for the position and plan, despite no money being allocated in the recent state budget.

Major business groups, meanwhile, are demanding federal government intervene to “fix the building industry, The Australian ($) reports, with a letter to Ministry for Industry Karen And­rews stressing the need to renew “public confidence” in the industry ahead of a meeting she will chair this week with state counterparts.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Friday’s tour showed vividly, to politicians and the media, how well run and clean the children’s detention centers are. Great reviews!

Donald Trump 

The US President, about to play a round of golf, tweets that the Texas detention centre visited by Vice-President Mike Pence was “clean but crowded”, contradicting media reports to the contrary

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Budget-led boost tipped to help the economy through rough trot

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‘They’re illegal for a reason’ Berejiklian sticks to drug abstinence stance when asked about over-policing at festivals

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The supreme hypocrisy and failure of a ‘zero suicide goal’

“That would be angering and galling enough, but there is an extra dimension to the stated aim of ‘towards zero suicide’ policies: it is deeply unserious, repellent, glib (and as m’colleague Bernard Keane has demonstrated, the right have no complication in using this issue to further their junk analysis). To suggest that suicide, this awful but intrinsic feature of modernity, could be anything other than — with great difficulty — mildly reduced, is to avoid the hard thinking required to actually reduce its occurrence. It is a fantasy born of the narcissism of power, the very unliberal, unconservative idea that the vicissitudes of human existence could be solved by government fiat.”


Why power likes to play the victim

“There is an Arab saying, Darabne wa baka, wa saba’ane wa shtaka, that translates literally to ‘He hit me and cried. Then he beat me to the complaint’ (trust that it’s far more poetic in Arabic). It’s an illustration of the tendency of perpetrators to make the first strike and then pre-emptively play the victim, leaving their hapless target with little recourse to do anything but lick their wounds amidst the unfair blame. In other words, it identifies powerlessness as a strategy performed by the powerful.”


Religious freedom divides conservatives along a neoliberal line

“Why the sudden push from religious conservatives? The primary narrative is the impact of the marriage equality plebiscite, as a result of which, however irrationally, religious-minded homophobes feel constrained in their capacity to, literally, demonise LGBTI people, with the case of devout sportsballer Israel Folau demonstrating, as Monty Python put it, the violence inherent in the system. I’d argue something deeper is at work. Religious freedom, like other forms of tribalism of varying degrees of legitimacy that have re-asserted themselves in the political sphere in recent years — nationalism, hostility to open borders, ethnocentrism, white supremacism, men’s rights — is a response to neoliberalism.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

There’s a better way to protect religious speech and other freedomsTony Walker (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “We would have saved ourselves a lot of trouble if we had got round to legislating a Charter of Rights that would amount to an omnibus protection of core rights and freedoms including freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The last serious attempt to introduce an Australian bill of rights foundered in 2009 during the Kevin Rudd government. This leaves Australia as the only significant Western democracy without an omnibus freedom charter. There is no logical reason why Australia should be without such a unifying document instead of piecemeal legislation that risks overlap and confusion.”

Why picking the right military partner matters ($) – Christopher Pyne (The Advertiser): “All of these reasons make the current exercise, Talisman Sabre, noteworthy. We should be proud of our Australian military and their capability. It’s on display right now and it will once again impress our friends and neighbours. In a world where the global rules based order is being challenged, we need to make sure it does.”

Canberra has the answers – just not where you might expect them Ben Oquist (The Guardian): “Progressivism depends on a certain faith in people and our polity. We do not need collapse or catastrophe before our ideas are palatable to the public. The democratic exercise of power is not inherently corrupting or degrading. Politics can be done well. But if we are going to do politics better, ensure power is exercised cleanly and convince the public of our ideas, we need to learn from places and moments when politics has been done well. The Australian Capital Territory is such a place, and now is such a moment. Canberra’s Labor–Greens government under successive chief ministers, most recently Andrew Barr, has implemented a suite of progressive, bold policies, and won re-election after doing so.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne

  • The 19th annual Helpmann Awards for the Australian theatre and live entertainment industry will be presented at the Princess Theatre

  • Lord Mayor Sally Capp will announce this year’s Melbourne Fashion Week (August 28-September 5) program and reveal a well-known, international supermodel as the 2019 ambassador.

  • A 15-day VCAT hearing will begin, with former employee Summer Salvato alleging sex discrimination against real estate agents Darren Dean, Dean Johnson, and Wayne Sweeney.

  • The Victorian Aboriginal and Child Care Agency will hold its 2019 “Mid Year In-Service,” celebrate its teams’ work and to support the realisation of Self-Determination.

  • Worksmith will host “What actually happens when a restaurant closes?”, with Creative Director of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Pat Nourse and Peter “Kimchi Pete” Jo of restaurant Shik discussing something that happens to the majority of independent restaurants within a year of opening.

Maryborough 

  • The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will hold public hearings in Maryborough, exploring issues associated with the accessibility and delivery of services to rural areas.

Adelaide

  • Domenic Perre will appear in the Magistrates Court charged with murder over the bombing of the NCA office in Adelaide in 1994. 

  • The City of Burnside will host an Aboriginal T-shirt design and shoe painting activity, presented by Indigenous Arts and Crafts Cultural Centre Marra Dreaming.

Sydney

  • CEPAR’s Australia-China Population Ageing Research Hub at the UNSW Business School will host a workshop on Population Ageing and the Chinese Economy, bringing together academic experts, policymakers and industry practitioners.

  • The Federal Court will hold a case management hearing in the Nationwide News v Geoffrey Rush defamation appeal.

Brisbane

  • The Department of Health will host “Talkin up the System”, with Jermaine Isua, Aunty Flo Watson, Uncle Milton Walit, Ali Drummond and Julie Rogers reflecting on the 2019 NAIDOC theme and its impact on the Queensland health system.

  • Brisbane School of Theology will host an open lecture, “Education and Memory from Plato to Paul”, with Dr John Dickson, Distinguished Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Public Christianity, Ridley College.

  • The University of Queensland’s Centre for Policy Futures will host “Getting Research into Policy and Practice”, a training workshop to help researchers navigate Australia’s policy landscape, showcasing a number of successful “science-to-policy” case studies and exploring what evidence-based policy means in practice.

Cairns

  • The Aged Care Royal Commission will hold three days of hearings in Cairns.