Scott Morrison christmas island nauru manus asylum seekers
(Image:AAP/Lukas Coch)


Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce $500 million in funding for the Pacific region when he meets with leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum this week, The Guardian reports. The funding will help Pacific nations invest in renewable energy and climate resilience, as well as assisting ­recovery in climate disasters ($).

Australia faces a growing backlash in the Pacific over its emissions and coal production, with Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama yesterday using a speech at the forum’s climate conference to call on Australia “to more fully appreciate” the “existential threat” facing Pacific nations. Tuvalu PM Enele Sopoaga told The Guardian that the positive relationship with Australia could change if the future of his people were not taken seriously.


Infrastructure Australia has warned that governments need to do more than play “catch up” on roads and transport, with congested services under “unprecedented” pressure in an increasingly urbanised Australia.

The Australian reports that a landmark infrastructure audit found living standards will go backwards ($) unless the $200 billion put aside for projects over the next five years becomes the “new normal”. Infrastructure Australia Chairman Julieanne Alroe warned that further inaction will cost billions in congestion and lost time each year. Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge told the ABC that there was no doubt congestion was an issue, pointing to cuts in migration as part of the solution.


An inquiry into the regulation of building standards, quality and disputes in NSW has heard that the state’s most-fined certifier was behind building standards reform. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Lyall Dix, a private building certifier who has been fined more than any other in the state, was “primarily responsible” for privatising the supervision of building standards in the 1980s and ’90s.

The New Daily reports that an owner of a damaged Mascot Towers unit broke down before the inquiry. It was also revealed that no Australian insurer will touch the cracked Opal Tower apartments ($), forcing evacuated owners to look “offshore” for insurance and face a “tenfold” rise in premiums.


I think competition is healthy in politics and it’s always been thus and I don’t have a problem with that.

Gladys Berejiklian

The NSW Premier says she has no problem with ministers gunning for her job amid abortion bill backlash and speculation that Andrew Constance and Dominic Perrottet hold premiership ambitions.


Fijian court denies bail for husband charged with murder of Australian wife

‘Monumental backflip’: New Don Dale site to be built opposite adult prison

Teachers call to scrap school tests for children under eight in push for play-based learning

NRL launches investigation into racist abuse of Latrell Mitchell

Democrats slam Donald Trump over Epstein conspiracy tweet

Liberal senator says employers must be able to sack workers who are not ‘the right fit’

‘We are a part of this country’ Refugees protest in Sydney over temporary visas

ABC chair Ita Buttrose says her staff are ‘fragile, sensitive, in need of reassurance’

Hong Kong airport to resume flights in the morning after protests prompt cancellations 

Fiona Patten launches ‘surprise’ bid for investigation into Crown

EU gets tough on Australian name dropping of Feta, Gruyere

Chief Scientist says obsession with ATAR is leading students astray

Arts organisations hit by funding bad news

Myanmar landslide kills dozens


Indulgence of right-wing extremism will send us the way of the US

Events like CPAC, even if an import (like pretty much all right-wing rhetoric in Australia; the right may pledge patriotism but they invariably outsource to foreigners what passes for their intellectual substance), demonstrate the business model of exploiting white male rage. The main trick is to transform any potential questioning of white male privilege into an existential threat, granting the most privileged members of society the coveted status of victimhood. The attendees at CPAC thus believe they are not members of Australia’s elite. Speaking were a former PM, a former opposition leader, a former deputy PM, a former prime ministerial chief of staff, government MPs and columnists for the dominant media company in the country. It literally could not get any more elite unless Scott Morrison had showed up to publicly pray with them. Still, they believe they’re beleaguered victims of evil, unnatural forces conspiring to destroy them.

Long live the local pharmacist 

But there’s a wider sense in which independent pharmacists provide social capital, and that is simply as a continuity anchor. With the family GP — their whole career in one place — largely gone pharmacists provide a continuity because they have a commercial incentive to stay in the same area over decades. The unspoken truth is that independent pharmacists have a casual community role for the aged and lonely, the very ill and the beaten down. In my observation, pharmacists encountered socially tend to have a politics somewhere around that of General Rommel, but tend to treat the ill in their shops with kindness and consideration (yes, I know some of them are filling 15 scripts, but still). That doesn’t happen in a Chemist Warehouse.

When it comes to custody, kids should have a say

The Family Court must prioritise a child’s safety in their rulings — but judges also often stress the importance of an older provision: that children have a right to regular contact with both parents. The problem? Kids often aren’t asked about their safety. When it comes to family violence and custody decisions, research and experts agree that children are often ignored, misinterpreted, or placed in dangerous and uncomfortable situations with their alleged abuser.


As a Uniting church minister I think abortion can be a morally good choiceMargaret Mayman (The Guardian): “People of faith have as much, but no more, right as other people to engage in public deliberation on matters of law or ethics. As a Uniting church minister and teacher of ethics, I support the move from criminalisation to reproductive justice because it separates divisive questions of moral justification (for or against) from the law that applies to all citizens whatever their religious or ethical beliefs. The Uniting church acknowledges that its members have diverse views on abortion but holds that it is unjust to criminalise women or doctors for the act of abortion. It advocates a response based on compassion and sensitivity to the complex realities of human life. I contend that recognising the moral agency of women, the capacity of women to make good decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy, is crucial for human flourishing, which should be the goal of religion.”

We can close coal-fired plants without job losses – Germany didCorinne Schoch (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “The Global Compact Network Australia today calls on the federal government to establish the Just Transition Authority. We are the Australian contact point for the UN Global Compact Network, whose 13,500 business and organisation members globally want to advance corporate sustainability and the private sector’s contribution to sustainable development. We need a national authority to manage this industry’s decline, and others disrupted by technology and low carbon policies. Communities, business, unions, local and state governments are crying out for federal leadership, for clear, bipartisan policies, and a knowledge base of solutions. We already have a federal template in Infrastructure Australia. It took the politics out of national infrastructure, drawing in experts to assess and prioritise projects.

9/11 changed things, but we’ve overstepped the mark ($) – George Williams (The Australian): “Today marks the first public hearings of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and ­security’s inquiry into press freedom. Submissions to the inquiry show a deep-seated concern that laws have overstepped the mark. They suggest that the federal parliament has damaged our democracy, and even our national security, by undermining the work of journalists.”


The Latest Headlines



  • The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security will hold the first public hearing for its Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press.
  • RBA assistant governor Christopher Kent will give a speech at the Finance & Treasury Association Breakfast Event.
  • The Federal Court will hand down a decision in the ASIC v Westpac lending case.


  • La Trobe University’s Ideas and Society event will host Professor Gillian Triggs and Professor Greg Craven to discuss whether or not Australia needs a charter of human rights.
  • Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will hold a doorstop on the Australia-EU free trade agreement and launch of the Geographical Indications public consultation.
  • ACCC Chair Rod Sims will deliver the first major speech at the Melbourne Press Club since a landmark 18-month inquiry into digital platforms.
  • A full police honours funeral will be held for former chief commissioner Mick Miller.
  • Directions hearing will take place at the Federal Circuit Court for the unfair dismissal case between Israel Folau and Rugby Australia.
  • Victorian Chief Engineer Dr Collette Burke will share insights on Victoria’s Digital Asset Strategy, and the innovative ways we can use technology to enhance the performance of public infrastructure.


  • Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham will address Queensland Media Club, discussing the future for the resources and energy sector.


  • Exit International will hold a euthanasia workshop, with hundreds of euthanasia supporters taking part in “real time polling”, in an effort to broaden the criteria for people to use the state’s assisted dying law.
Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey