PELL EYES APPEAL
Multiple outlets are reporting that George Pell’s legal team is reviewing whether there are grounds for appeal in the High Court ($) after the Victorian Court of Appeal yesterday upheld his child sex abuse conviction.
The 200-page dissent to the ruling by Justice Mark Weinberg has been invoked by conservative media, with The Australian quoting legal experts ($) labelling the judge a “powerhouse” and “more experienced in this area than the two judges who formed the majority”.
Both the Vatican and the Governor-General have invoked Pell’s “right to appeal”, refusing to revoke his membership to the College of Cardinals and Order of Australia, respectively, until his legal bids have “run their course”. Pell’s lawyers have 28 days to decide whether to appeal, while the High Court would likely decide whether to accept the case by the end of this year.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Australia has confirmed it will deploy around 200 troops to the Middle East, joining a US-led “maritime security mission” enforcing safe passage of ships through the Strait of Hormuz. Australia was formally requested to join the efforts during bilateral talks earlier this month, The Age/Sydney Morning Herald report.
Speaking at Parliament House on Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison labelled Iran’s harassment of commercial oil tankers a “threat to our economy” ($), accusing the country of “destabilising behaviour”, while conceding that the commitment may extend beyond the initial six-month deployment. Pakistan and Korea are reportedly still deciding whether to join Australia, the US and UK in the international mission.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has condemned Australia for acting like a “condescending master” towards Pacific island nations, claiming island leaders do not share Australia’s fear of Chinese influence in the Pacific, The Guardian reports.
Speaking in Beijing, Geng accused Australia of a cold war mentality, saying it was “spreading the China threat fallacy among island countries”, while also accusing us of insulting climate-vulnerable nations. Scott Morrison is expected to discuss to contentious South China Sea with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc this week, in the first stand-alone trip to Vietnam by an Australian prime minister since 1994.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Ms Le Couteur’s motion, as written, would kill me.
The ACT Labor MLA, who is allergic to fruit and vegetables, challenges Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur’s call for a shift to more plant-based food options.
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“The growth in foreign student numbers also makes a mockery of government claims that it is reducing permanent migration to reduce pressure on infrastructure in Sydney and Melbourne: instead, the rapid rise in student numbers has added to congestion on key transport routes and put further pressure on urban housing markets. The presence of large numbers of Chinese students, and the thirst of universities for foreign funding, has also provided a mechanism for the Chinese regime to exert its malignant influence in Australia, both directly via Confucius Institutes and other platforms for propaganda and academic intimidation, and via intimidation and surveillance of Chinese students in Australia — especially those tempted to take advantage of university traditions like free speech and protest.”
“Self-aggrandisement isn’t Women, Men and The Whole Damn Thing’s only problem. Across the 300-page book Leser documents the history of male violence and female persecution from the days of Ancient Greece through to the Geoffrey Rush trial, the murder of Eurydice Dixon, Aziz Ansari and the viral New Yorker short story “Cat Person”. While Leser acknowledges the knottiness of these cases, he never offers any answers. As such, re-treading this ground so soon after it all happened feels pretty pointless. Who is this dossier of male awfulness for? What does it achieve?”
“There are yards of this stuff, all the same, all of it revelatory of an unwillingness to ask hard questions about the strategic situation we’re in. The endless verbiage is a way of maintaining elite dominance, of interlocking think tanks, institutes, universities, and the ambitious organisation types who move through them. It disguises decades of ignoring hard questions. This is made all the more visible by the treatment of Hugh White’s recent publication, How To Defend Australia, which has been treated as if it were an act of unforgivable gaucherie, for actually thinking out loud about the potential for invasion from the north, the highly provisional reliability of US assistance in such a case, and whether that demands the building up of our forces, both conventional and nuclear.”
At the verdict George Pell didn’t flinch; he just pursed his lips a little. He was going back to jail – David Marr (The Guardian): “What now for Pell’s defenders? Do they enrol Ferguson and Maxwell among all the other conspirators, the journalists and police they accuse of being in cahoots to turn Pell into a figure so hated no jury could ever fairly judge him? Surely not. But some will no doubt try. Around the world they argued the real jury was the first jury, not the one that convicted him but the one that couldn’t make up its mind. Now they have already begun dismissing the majority decision of the court of appeal in favour of Weinberg’s dissent – the real verdict that would have set Pell free. Their faith in this man is depthless, proof against any evidence that might be brought to bear against him. Many of Pell’s supporters stood outside the court after the verdict looking shellshocked in the sunlight. This was not as they – or indeed so many in the court – imagined things would turn out.”
Pell’s failed appeal an opportunity for the Catholic Church ($) – Michelle James (The Daily Telegraph/Herald Sun): “Today’s decision provides once more an opportunity for the Church to show that it does at last accept the extent of the harm caused to abuse survivors, both here in Australia and more widely. It is an opportunity too for the Church to show that it is genuine in its commitment to do the right thing by survivors of abuse. Those efforts could start with a proper attempt to ensure that the Catholic Church legitimately joins the National Redress Scheme instead of the piecemeal approach that has been taken so far where the Church’s own internal dysfunction has continued to allow some Dioceses and Orders to get away with not joining the scheme to date.”
As a witness at George Pell’s trial, I saw first-hand the strength of his victim – Louise Milligan (ABC): “As the only journalist who has met J and other complainants against George Pell, and who wrote about these allegations in my book, Cardinal, The Rise and Fall of George Pell, I do not speak for J as he is fiercely private. But I can comfortably say that their Honours’ finding is not a surprise to me. I have never had any reason to believe that J is not telling the truth. Indeed, I have often said I would defy anyone who had met him to find any reason why this young man would invent this story and to go through what has been a four-year ordeal through the police investigation and a court case.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will make a two-day visit to Hanoi.
Bernard Collaery, lawyer for ex-spy and whistleblower Witness K , will face charges in the Supreme Court.
Former military lawyer David McBride will re-appear at the Supreme Court over leaking sensitive documents to the ABC.
The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council will release a final report on community-based sentencing orders, imprisonment and parole options, with QSAC Chair John Robertson to hold a press conference.
The Gold Coast
Three men and two women will appear in court charged with fraud and money laundering over a $3 million cryptocurrency scam run out of the Gold Coast.
An application will be heard for actor Craig McLachlan who is facing indecent assault charges.
Tony Mokbel will appeal his drug trafficking conviction in the Court of Appeal, on the basis of his barrister Nicola Gobbo’s police informing.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare will release a report on dementia rates.