FOREIGN FIGHTER LAWS
Industry Minister Karen Andrews has called for legislation temporarily preventing Australian citizens with terrorist links from heading home from war zones ($), with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton planning to push the Counter Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Bill 2019 through both houses of parliament this week.
It comes as The Sunday Telegraph reports that around 40 Australians who joined extremist military groups in Syria and Iraq are already back ($) — some of whom pose a “significant” security concern — while The Guardian reports that the Coalition has been accused of ignoring relevant recommendations from the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. Labor and crossbenchers have indicated that they support the bill in principle, but say they have serious concerns about aspects of it, with the Senate expected to debate amendments.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says her government remains willing to accept 150 refugees with approved refugee status from Manus Island and Nauru, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age report. “We’ve consistently made it. The Australian government knows that it’s there,” she said.
The offer, which was first made in 2013, was accepted by the Gillard government, but later rejected by the Abbott and Turnbull governments. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously argued that accepting New Zealand’s offer would weaken national security, pushing for a “lifetime ban” to prevent refugees using New Zealand resettlement as a backdoor to gain entry to Australia (a suggestion Manus Island detainee and journalist Behrouz Boochani has called “stupid”).
BACKBENCH SUPER REVOLT
Several Coalition backbenchers are urging treasurer Josh Frydenberg to ditch the superannuation guarantee increase ($), calling it unfair and inefficient, The Australian reports. The government is preparing to launch a far-reaching review, with a mind to increase the guarantee from 9.5% to 12%.
Andrew Hastie, Jason Falinski, Amanda Stoker, and Gerard Rennick all oppose the increase, with some even advocating decreasing it for low-income workers. Hastie told The Australian that he would prefer more people retired owning their homes. “I’d rather have people have more of their own money to pay down their existing debt such as their mortgage and ease the cost of living now,” he said.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Sense of humour or diplomatic incident?
The fiance of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern takes issue with a Melbourne hotel inviting him to indulge in “traditional Australian dessert” pavlova (New Zealand has long tried to claim it invented the pav).
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Historically, law and society have drawn a clear distinction between crime as popularly understood, and crime as perpetrated by people with white collars. Defrauding your employer for millions has not until recent years exposed you to anything near the consequences you’d get for robbing a servo. The higher up the food chain the theft goes, the wider that distinction becomes. As we vividly recall, the GFC was caused by rampant fraud and other white-collar crime, and yet few people received prison sentences for it. Our own banking royal commission uncovered, yes, institutional fraud, and some bankers lost their bonuses.”
“Abdul Aziz, a 23-year-old Afghani asylum seeker had died suddenly late Friday night at the detention facility, Melbourne Immigration Transit Accomodation (MITA), where he was being held. Initial reports were confused, and almost everyone I spoke to from his unit was sleep deprived and in some degree of shock after watching the Serco and then medical staff attempt and fail to resuscitate him. Another asylum seeker had collapsed watching Abdul being worked on and was hospitalised the same night. Later on Saturday Abdul’s roommate explained to me how he had heard Abdul fall out of his bunk and attempted to assist him, before realising it was very serious and calling guards.”
“Oldest observatory in the world: Nestled in the mountains north of Geelong is the sacred Wurdi Youang site. A team of archeologists believe an egg-shaped ring of stones, 50 metres wide and containing more than 100 dark mineral boulders, helped track the movement of the stars. Areas of the egg point to where the sun sets at winter and summer solstice, and during the equinox. While the area hasn’t yet been dated, other archaeological sites go back 11,000 to 14,000 years, says Hamacher. This could make the formation older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza.”
The Robbins Island wind farm debate – Bob Brown (The Saturday Paper): “Labor’s Rebecca White and Anthony Albanese followed the right-wing in accusing me of hypocrisy. Breathlessly, Guy Barnett said it was “breathtaking hypocrisy”. It is true that I have advocated renewable energy for years and there are more than 80 wind farms in Australia, with two more under way in Tasmania. None of the 80 was built without any social or environmental cost. All are part of the world’s dire need to replace burning fossil fuels with renewable energy in our era of climate emergency. Nevertheless, it seems to me that Robbins Island is on the wrong side of the ledger and I look forward to independent studies of all its costs and benefits.”
Labor must lead the fight to increase Newstart. Otherwise, what’s the point of it? – Greg Jericho (The Guardian): “People on Newstart live in poverty. So it really is odd that the ALP are not going full-throated on this issue. Now sure, we are three years from another election and it is rather idiotic to suggest the ALP should have its policies all outlined. But a continuation of the policy to raise Newstart is a pretty easy one to keep and it is an argument that is absolutely there to be made. And yet they seem stymied by their usual hatred of the Greens.”
Sort out fuzzy referendum rules before next vote ($) – George Williams (The Australian): “Australia is not ready to hold a referendum. The rules are in a poor state and are not fit for the coming vote. Getting the rules right is essential to a fair process, and to ensuring that people accept the result. As Brexit shows, a poorly constructed referendum can fuel community anger and division, and even feed long-term political instability.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
- Federal parliament will return for a two-week sitting period.
- The National Suicide Prevention Conference will be held, with former PM and Beyond Blue chair Julia Gillard to address the conference.
- The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System will hold public hearings exploring suicide prevention.
- Professor Timothy Denison will give the 2019 Graeme Clark Oration, on the subject “Towards an Electronic Prescription?” exploring interfacing electrical and biological circuits for the treatment of disease.
- The 2019 Graeme Clark Oration Women in STEMM Lunch will hold a panel, featuring Dr Michelle Perugini; Professor Mimi Tang; Dr Tracey Brown; and moderator Anette Hicks.
- A trial will begin for Eathan Cruse, suing the state for police brutality during a 2015 counter-terror raid.
- Former NSW Labor ministers Ian Macdonald and Eddie Obeid will go on trial, accused of conspiring for Macdonald to grant a coal mining exploration licence for Obeid family land between 2007 and 2009.
- The Australian Clean Energy Summit will explore “Energy Policy for a Renewable Future”, as speakers Dr Alan Finkel, Rachel Watson (CEO Pacific Hydro), Matthew Kean (Minister for Energy and Environment), Robyn Denholm (Tesla), and Kane Thornton (Clean Energy Council) discuss the void in Australia’s energy policy.
- Hepatitis NSW will launch Hepatitis Awareness Week 2019, with keynote speaker Dr Kerry Chant, Deputy Secretary of Population and Public Health in the Ministry of Health.
- UNSW Law will host a public seminar on “crimmigration,” recognising the growing convergence of criminal law and immigration law.
- The CSIRO will host an ON Innovation Information Session, explaining how researchers can increase their chance of having real world impact with their research.
- Defence personnel from Australia, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom will be conducting a training activity as a part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.
- The Sociology of Emotion & Affect Thematic Study Group will host the lecture “Decolonising Multiculturalism: What happens to emotions when English takes a step back?”
- The Maurice O’Shea Award Dinner, the most prestigious event on the wine industry calendar, will be held.