Australia is being urged to test its defences in the north ($) amidst increasingly aggressive Chinese expansion and the US losing its “military primacy” in the Pacific, The Australian reports.
A new report by the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre warns of “serious threats emerging with disconcerting rapidity”. It says Australia needs to work with its allies to maintain deterrence, recommending it increase stockpiles and acquire land-based strike and denial capabilities, as well as diversify its network of allies. A separate report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, to be released today, calls for a simulated “stress test” ($) involving defence, intelligence and border security agencies to ensure the country is capable of defending itself.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will today reveal an “implementation road map” for the 54 recommendations from the financial services royal commission, with more than 50 to be implemented by or before mid-2020, the ABC reports.
The Australian reports that Frydenberg is calling it the “biggest shake-up” of the financial sector in three decades, saying “the speed with which [the recommendations] will be implemented is unprecedented”. The government, as the ABC points out, has been accused of dragging its feet in response to the commission. The government also says it will independently review the impact of the changes in three years’ time, with no reference to what expert or body might conduct the review.
RELIGIOUS DEBATE CLUB
Cabinet will debate new laws on religious discrimination this week, ahead of the release of a draft of the legislation, The New Daily reports.
Prime Minster Scott Morrison allegedly told a closed-door meeting of religious leaders that the government is discussing how to provide greater protection for workers in expressing their beliefs. Religious school leaders are reportedly seeking the right to refuse enrolment to students who are not of their faith, and the right to refuse jobs to workers who don’t “fit” with their religious values. Attorney-General Christian Porter said yesterday there was a “real issue” around corporate employers policing private lives outside of work hours.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
It’s not hugely surprising that a new government feeling its way is trying to control the agenda very cautiously, and I hope over time they have the confidence to participate in a public debate.
The Q&A host isn’t surprised ($) that the show has only had two Coalition ministers appear since the election.
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Language has also been central to governmental efforts to fortify inaction. In Australia, that could be watering down language (as was the case in Tuvalu), to muzzling reports or just not mentioning climate at all. In 2016, the Coalition government managed to get all references to Australia mysteriously removed from a UNESCO report about the climate change impacts on world heritage sites, arguing it would harm tourism to the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is a constant source of gymnastics — this week, Environment Minister Sussan Ley went snorkelling there, declaring the reef to be in good health. Half the reef is dead.”
“We are meant to take these indignities in our stride. The invisible contract we never knew we’d signed assigns humiliations like this as part of the price we pay for being permitted to exist. This is emotional abuse. To be expected to tacitly agree to being diminished and degraded again and again is coercive control on a mass scale. And, like so many trapped in the cycle of domestic abuse, for the most part we do play along because we know if we dare to challenge it, as Simmons did, we are only going to be punished more.”
“Seven years later, Josh Frydenberg, a treasurer as yet untested by major economic challenges and one with a curiously low, almost non-existent public profile, is in a similar situation. The government is “back in black”, he and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have repeatedly insisted, finally achieving the budget surplus that eluded the Gillard, Abbott and Turnbull governments. And Frydenberg has insisted that the surplus is the government’s primary economic objective, one that will not be sacrificed for anything else. But he too faces a weakening economy, with rising unemployment and, if anything, a global economic situation worse than in late 2012. At least Swan had no problems with wages and household income growth.”
Alan Jones, the perfect symbol for the fragility of the Australian ego – Jacqueline Maley (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Who better to represent to an international audience the exquisite fragility of the Australian ego than our own Alan Jones? A champion of the squawk-and-splutter; he is peerless in his ability to attack viciously those who make perfectly mild and reasonable points that incandesce him with rage, perhaps because they are so mild and reasonably made.”
We’ve been lucky so far, but time to focus on Darwin ($) – Alan Dupont (The Australian): “Defending a large country with a small population has always been Australia’s biggest strategic challenge. That we have successfully done so has been due to luck, great and powerful friends, our unique continental-island geography and the military technological edge we have enjoyed historically in our near region. But we may not remain a lucky country for much longer if US military power and our geographical and technological advantages continue to erode. We need to be smarter and more strategic in how to defend ourselves, starting with a better appreciation of the critical importance of northern Australia to defence and national security.”
Scott Morrison blasted by Pacific heat while trying to project calm on climate – Katharine Murphy (The Guardian): “To the coal communities, Morrison projects a disposition of “I’m on your side”. To moderate, rusted on, Liberal voters in the cities, Morrison regularly accepts the science of climate change, and signals he is not crazy retrograde on this stuff, like Tony Abbott was. His objective is to present as Mr Sensible; the pragmatist who will make a proportionate policy commitment and get it done. So there is no need for people to heed the (alleged) hyperventilations of activism, or have nightmares about melting Icelandic glaciers, burning permafrost in the Arctic, or tipping points – thresholds that, if passed, could send the Earth into a spiral of runaway climate change. It’s all under control, kiddos.
There’s just one problem with this.
Things are not under control.
Not here. Not elsewhere. Not even close.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
A Federal Court judgment will be handed down in Lemeki Navoto v Minister for Home Affairs, with Navoto fighting to have his visa cancellation revoked after almost strangling his partner to death.
ASIC will hold a public hearing ahead of updating its responsible lending guidance, with witnesses include NAB and ANZ representatives.
Corkman Irish Pub owners Stefce Kutlesovski, Raman Sahqiri and their company 160 Leicester Pty Ltd will appeal their $1.3 million fine for knocking the pub down illegally.
A case management hearing will be held in ABC v Martin Kane, AFP, as the broadcaster challenges the “Afghan Files” Ultimo office raids.
A crew from Drummoyne Fire Station, together with members of the public who helped detain the alleged Sydney CBD stabber, will be thanked by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Emergency Services Minister David Elliott, Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Paul Baxter and NSW police deputy commissioner Jeff Loy.
The annual Business Advantage Papua New Guinea Investment Conference will be held.
CEDA will host Vice Chancellors from the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and Flinders University, along with newly appointed TAFE SA Chief Executive David Coltman, to discuss the future of the higher education sector.
Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickel trial will hear the remainder of the general-purpose liquidators’ claims following major settlement reached earlier this month.