ROLLING THE HIGH ROLLERS
Aided by leaked documents, the Nine outlets revealed Crown Resorts’ business partnership with Tom Zhou, an international fugitive and alleged crime boss. Crown reportedly gave Zhou access to private jets and hotel suites, as well as helping his associates get Australian visas, with former Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg telling 60 Minutes he was encouraged by MPs to fast-track Chinese high-roller visa applications.
Australia will lead a global push to tackle online child exploitation ($), The Australian reports, working with the Five Eyes intelligence network to shut down international paedophile networks.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will today meet with his counterparts from other Five Eyes member countries — the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand — to discuss how best to tackle the issue. Dutton is expected to push for increased pressure on Google, Facebook and Twitter to clamp down on live-streaming.
In news closer to home, The Age reports that Geelong College sent a letter to its community last week, warning it to expect “a small number of cases” to follow a civil trial launched by an alleged victim of historic child sex abuse, set to begin in the Supreme Court today.
NSW ABORTION PLAN
NSW is set to decriminalise abortion this week, with a private member’s bill with bipartisan support set to remove pregnancy termination from the Crimes Act, The Guardian reports.
The Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019 will be introduced to parliament by independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich. It was developed by a cross-party working group including the Nationals’ Trevor Khan and Labor’s Penny Sharpe and Jo Haylen, with the oversight of health minister Brad Hazzard. The group anticipates staunch opposition and “robust debate”, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
“It’s not that I’m not getting money it’s just that it’s spread so thin. I’m just saying these circumstances have made me more vastly attuned … it’s just a great exercise in humility going from deputy prime minister to watching every dollar you get.”
The former deputy prime minister and father of six tells The Courier-Mail that he is “skint” ($), opening up about his money struggles to explain why he has broken ranks to call for an increase to Newstart.
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“But ticking off the boxes of ways in which Trump and Johnson compare — hair, check; incompetence, check; bigot, check — isn’t overly useful. What is more productive is to identify what has produced them, for that is something they exactly have in common. Johnson and Trump are the prime examples of a phenomenon of the last five years across the West: wealthy establishment figures who opportunistically attack the very system that created them, declaring themselves to be aligned with the interests of those who are victims of the system.”
“Now, Scott Morrison and Cosgrove will be receiving their invitations to the spectacle of Timor-Leste’s referendum day celebrations (it’s rumoured 100 heads of state are invited). They’ll be welcomed warmly in Dili, arrive keen to valorise the INTERFET assistance, and to reinforce Australia’s role as Timor-Leste’s largest foreign aid donor; on paper, a close neighbour keen to see the nation thrive. But Witness K and Collaery are trapped in protracted and obfuscated legal proceedings with jail time hanging over their heads. That bitterly-won boundary treaty remains unratified by our parliament, and until it is, we continue to rake in millions of dollars per month from the Timor Sea that we’ve already agreed don’t belong to us. Conservatively estimated at $60 million, the amount we’ve taken may rival the $95.7 million in foreign aid we’ve pledged to Timor-Leste between 2018 and 2019.”
“I pointed out to staff in the shop that Nomads is a very dangerous book to have on display and for sale, particularly in Adelaide and because its subject matter — the secret and sacred knowledge of the Pitjantjara people, given to Mountford in confidence during fieldwork in the 1940s — was the subject not only of a strongly worded caveat by the author, but also a 1976 judgement by Justice James Muirhead of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. This judgement restrained the book’s sale, display or distribution in the Northern Territory.”
Should our PM meet Trump? Discuss (even if the mere question sounds absurd) – Sean Kelly (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Should our Prime Minister be meeting with this man? Will Morrison praise Trump again? I know that for many people who work in politics, or around politics, this will seem absurd. The American alliance is foundational. Even to ask such questions is taken as a sign of radical crackpottery. And so, if you are one of those people, ask yourself this instead: at what point will you think it is OK to ask those questions?”
Morrison’s still waiting for a policy spark but some colleagues have plenty of ideas – Katharine Murphy (The Guardian): “The prime minister used one of his early picture opportunities to engage in some vigorous-sounding talk about congestion-busting in the bureaucracy, and setting clear performance targets – the clear instruction being to get your service delivery to the public right, and crack on with implementing our agenda. I wondered at the time whether any of the senior officials lined up for their public remonstrance had the temerity to ask Morrison, once the summoned television cameras had left the cabinet suite: ‘Well, what agenda are we implementing prime minister? Did you happen to bring it with you?’”
Super: PM knows too many are still missing out ($) – Jim Chalmers (The Australian): “On behalf of the government, the Treasurer needs to give a far more definitive statement in support of the legislated increases to the superannuation guarantee on the current timeframe. Anything less risks a repeat of the national energy guarantee debacle, when extremists on his own backbench forced him into a humiliating retreat and proved that in the Liberal Party the tail wags the Treasurer. Australia’s retirement savings system is the envy of the world. It has its imperfections, but lifting the guarantee rate to 12 per cent by 2025 is not one of them. When the adequacy of retirement incomes is a pressing challenge, and when our ageing population puts pressure on pensions, Australians need more super, not less.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Parliament will sit for its final sitting week before the long winter break.
Hundreds of holders and applicants of temporary protection and safe haven enterprise visas will hold a protest on the lawns of Parliament House.
CommSec will release its latest State of the States report, with Victoria taking the sole economic top spot from NSW.
Zhiling Ma, charged with importing $20 million of amphetamine mistakenly delivered to an elderly Hoppers Crossing couple, will appear in the Magistrates Court.
Dale Ewins and Zita Sukys will launch their case in the Supreme Court, suing the state for damages after they were shot at a fancy-dress Saints and Sinners ball at Inflation nightclub in 2017.
Coles and Commissioner of Taxation will appear in court, with Coles suing the ATO to try to get back some of the $40 million it spent on tax for fuel lost through evaporation or leakage before it could be sold.
Author and literary reviewer Michael McGirr will give a talk on his new work, Books that saved my life, as part of the Boroondara Literary Festival.
The Centre for Projection Art will host the Gertrude Street Projection Festival, with works from more than 20 artists.
The Aged Care Royal Commission will hold public hearing in Mildura, focusing on the needs of family, informal and unpaid carers.
A Stop Adani rally will be held, the first in a national week of action held at engineering and construction company GHD’s offices around Australia.
Sarah Jane Chisholm Rogers, partner of former ABF boss Roman Quaedvlieg, will be sentenced for lying under oath to a federal integrity inquiry.
Sydney-based doctor Sharif Fattah will be sentenced after being found guilty of 18 sex offences including sexual intercourse without the consent of female patients.
Cult leader James Salerno, who operated a cult from a historic mansion in the Adelaide Hills, will be sentenced, after being found guilty of eight counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a child.
A NSW coroner will hand down findings on the death of pregnant Aboriginal woman Naomi Williams who presented around 50 times to medical service providers in the year before she died in Tumut hospital.
Australia Zoo will mark International Tiger Day with newest tiger cub, Nelson, enjoying his first appearance in the cub yard. Down in Melbourne, Tigers will meet tigers, with Richmond players Nick Vlastuin, Jack Graham and Shane Edwards at Melbourne Zoo’s Sumatran Tiger Exhibit to raise awareness for tiger conservation.