AUSTRALIA WOOS NEIGHBOURS
Australia is setting up an expeditionary Pacific training force ($) for key regional neighbours, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu, in an attempt to cement its status as the “security partner of choice” for Pacific nations. The Australian reports that packages could include engineering, communications, surveillance, maritime security and medical training, with the ADF consulting each nation on their military training needs.
The Pacific Support Force is being established in Brisbane as part of the army’s 1st Division, according to a heavily redacted government defence brief obtained under freedom of information laws. It also reveals the ADF is “considering options for a dedicated vessel” to increase engagement with regional navies, as China lifts its presence in the region with a new deal with Cambodia.
An Iranian intelligence official announced that the government had arrested 17 Iranian nationals, allegedly recruited by the CIA to spy on the country’s nuclear and military sites, with some of them already having been sentenced to death. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to address specifics of the arrests, adding that “the Iranian regime has a long history of lying”.
Britain, meanwhile, will create a European-led maritime protection mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized a British-flagged vessel in the strait on Friday. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the initiative was not connected to the US’ push against Iran.
PYNE AND BISHOP
The Senate will hold an inquiry into the new careers of former Coalition ministers Christopher Pyne and Julie Bishop, after the government lost a vote on a motion brought by Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick.
Labor, the Greens and the whole crossbench voted with Patrick. The move comes after an investigation by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet found Pyne and Bishop hadn’t breached ministerial standards by taking up the new jobs with industry groups EY and Palladium, respectively. Liberal MP Russell Broadbent said on Afternoon Briefing that he trusts that the former ministers will do the right thing and doesn’t believe there needs to be stricter standards.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
That thing he did the other day with the four congresswomen of colour. Hitler was doing that stuff. I’m not saying he’s going to go out and kill six million people. I’m saying the seeds of fascism are being sown.
The former adviser to Tony Blair compares Trump to Hitler on last night’s Q&A.
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Gaming the system has proven remarkably simple in a country that proudly parades its “tough-on-borders” credentials to the world. Raymond is happy to show INQ how it’s done. He opens his phone and taps into a private Facebook group run by a man called Jebat Joe, a Malaysian national who oversees the Australian end of a labour recruitment syndicate. Jebat Joe has nine tips on how to get through customs for anyone who arrives on a tourist visa at an Australian airport and hopes to stay permanently:
- Don’t bring big suitcases and say you are only in Australia for one week’s holiday. Travel light.
- Don’t appear nervous or scared.
- Wear neat clothing. Don’t look messy.
- Delete all data and contacts in your phone regarding work in Australia.”
“Me Too has changed everything, but accountability for wage theft is nowhere near as strong. If Calombaris had sexually harassed a female chef, he would be out the door in a flash; yet it seems stealing millions from restaurant workers is okay, even when the power imbalance is huge courtesy of 457 visas and the de-unionisation of the hospitality industry. The ethical challenge for Ten is not entirely unlike the call the Packer family made, over many years, to keep Don Burke on the Nine Network’s payroll despite numerous complaints of harassment and abuse. This decision was surely made because his gardening program, Burke’s Backyard, made them so much money. This culture needs to change.”
“Despite thorough debate and scrutiny, all these bills passed. Youth Parliament has a government and opposition, but participants don’t vote along party lines. The aim is to work together to pass legislation which will benefit our state, and the rest of the country. Research shows young people today are less engaged in electoral and party politics. In both Youth Parliament and my life, that rings true; but it doesn’t mean young people aren’t political. They are hugely engaged with the issues, just not always with the system.
Maybe it’s the system, rather than young people, that’s the problem.”
Horton shouldn’t have to shake the hand of a man he doesn’t respect – Peter FitzSimons (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “For there is a noble precedent in Australian sporting history when it comes to taking a stand on the winners’ podium. On a hot summer’s night in the 1968 Mexico Olympics after the 200m was run, the silver medallist from Australia, Peter Norman, wore a badge in support of the two black American athletes who stood with their fists raised in the famous black power salute, to protest the treatment of blacks in America. At the time, they were sent home in disgrace, and Norman was severely criticised. But successive generations of history have judged the two Americans and Norman himself ever more admirable as it became ever more obvious that they were right. History judged it be extremely admirable for individuals to use that valuable bit of real estate atop the podium and the momentary limelight that comes with it to make a stand for the greater good. And I’ll bet whatever happens right now, history will be equally kind to Horton.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s first priority: Blame everything on Labor – Paul Bongiorno (The New Daily): “Mr Morrison is spoiling for a fight even if he has to manufacture it by ignoring the unanimous views of the bipartisan but Liberal-dominated Parliamentary Joint Committee for Intelligence and Security. The question is how long will he be able to get away with blaming Labor for his failure to have an agenda that is any more than political wedges and stunts? The answer is for as long as Labor lets him do it and for as long as his authority holds over his two-seat majority government.”
Peter Greste: Without press freedom, all that remains is government propaganda ($) – Peter Greste (The Daily Telegraph): “Those who live in dictatorships understand something fundamental that seems to have been lost in our own debates around press freedom since the Australian Federal Police raided journalists from two news organisations back in June. Without it, all people are left with is government propaganda. Press freedom is not so much about protecting the rights of a handful of privileged journalists to stick their noses into the guts of government. It is about protecting the right of ordinary citizens to have a source of information about their government and the powerful that isn’t state-sanctioned puffery.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
RBA assistant governor for financial markets Christopher Kent will speak at a Bloomberg event.
NSW Farmers holds its annual conference, with the theme “Healthy Farms, Healthy Businesses and Healthy Farmers”, with speakers include NSW state ministers, deputy premier John Barilaro and opposition leader Jodi McKay.
Amber Paige Holt will be sentenced for assault after she tried to egg Prime Minister Scott Morrison during an election campaign event in Albury.
A trial into the collapse of Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickel refinery will continue.
Phillip Galea, an alleged extremist charged with plotting a terrorist attack targeting the Melbourne Anarchist’s Club, the Resistance Centre and Trades Hall, will appear in the Supreme Court.
Dylan Alcott, Paralympic gold medallist and founder of the Dylan Alcott Foundation, to launch “Remove the Barrier” initiative calling for workplaces to remove the employment barrier for people with disability.