Attorney-General Christian Porter AAT scandal
Attorney-General Christian Porter (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

‘TROJAN HORSE OF HATE’

The Coalition’s religious discrimination draft bill is getting slammed from both sides, with religious leaders demanding extra safeguards ($) and LGBTIQ advocates calling it a “Trojan Horse for hate”. The legislation would shield religious ­institutions from discrimination claims and prevent workers from being sacked for expressing their beliefs.

Religious groups have complained of a “lack of consultation” ($) and “holes” in the proposed law, pointing to the fact the bill would not override state laws or prevent religious doctors from being compelled to provide abortion referrals, The Australian reports. LGBTIQ advocates have condemned bill, saying the new laws would give religious people superior rights that would allow them to discriminate, The Guardian reports. 

BREXIT SEEMS TO BE GOING WELL

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he will try to stop Boris Johnson’s attempt to prorogue parliament, which the Queen has approved, as anti-Brexit protests continue outside Downing Street and around the UK. Corbyn said parliament will “legislate rapidly” to prevent the suspension when it resumes on Tuesday, “with a parliamentary process in order to legislate to prevent a no-deal Brexit and … prevent him shutting down parliament during this utterly crucial period”.

Long-time Scottish Conservative leader and prominent remain campaigner Ruth Davidson has resigned as leader, citing Brexit conflicts and family time, although she backed Johnson’s strategy. SNP leader and first minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday said that Johnson’s conduct had made Scottish independence “almost inevitable”.

GUESS WHO’S BACK

Former Labor senator Sam Dastyari has called for a federal ICAC after appearing before the NSW inquiry into Labor donations, revealing what he knew of the allegedly illegal $100,000 donation from Chinese property developer Huang Xiangmo.

Now-suspended NSW secretary Kaila Murnain told ICAC that she had sought advice on the issue from Dastyari. Dastyari, who at the time was facing his own Chinese donation scandal, told the inquiry that he advised the then-assistant secretary to “cover your arse”, urging her to go to the party’s lawyers. If there was ever a case for a federal ICAC it’s certainly this,” Dastyari said as he left the inquiry.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

It is about what some of these [charities] are doing in enabling people to live a lifestyle without holding them accountable for their actions.

Jenny Hill

The Townsville mayor attacks charities for enabling the homeless “lifestyle” by feeding and providing laundry services for those sleeping rough.

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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Donations scandal: who is Labor lawyer Ian Robertson?

“Robertson can count among his clients former prime minister Julia Gillard — in 2013 he negotiated the terms of her memoirs and got her a $400,000 advance. In 2008 he was appointed deputy chair for Screen Australia and he was reputedly “a central figure” in the introduction of the producer offset tax rebate scheme. Donor disclosures published by the Australian Electoral Commission reveal that Holding Redlich donated $92,700 in 2015-16 — the year Robertson became national managing partner. While this was mainly in the direction of state and federal Labor branches, AFR points out that the firm’s ‘donations go back a number of years, criss-crossing the political divide’.”


Portrait of a one-newspaper town

“During the election campaign, the West took the same fiercely pro-Liberal line as the News Corp papers. Reports based on — in one case, fake — Liberal polling and drops from the Liberal Party made up the majority of coverage. It’s a sharp change from a paper that had prided itself on its strong federal politics coverage. Its Canberra reporter Andrew Probyn, now the ABC’s political editor, broke the 2016 ‘mediscare’ story for the West. As one current reporter lamented to INQ, ‘Suddenly in Perth, how do we know what’s going on in Canberra?’”


How to avoid donating a big illegal bag of cash

“While some are calling for the Aldi bag full of cash method to be retired entirely, it’s unlikely that this will be enough to dissuade abuse of the system. As such, Labor will only be accepting donations that observe the following rules:

  • Do not hand over your donation in a supermarket bag. This includes bags from any of the major chains or the little ones that seem like family-run businesses but turn out to be owned by Coles.
  • Please avoid donations contained in a big burlap sack with a dollar sign on the side. Similarly, avoid coin pouches, loose handfuls of coins or hefty bags overflowing with big clinky gold coins and jewelry.
  • Donations can no longer be accepted from known influence agents, spies, intelligence officers, mafia guys, burglars in masks and stripy tops, or big-bellied rail tycoons chomping on cigars and rubbing their hands together.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

This is not a religious freedom bill, it’s a licence to hateRodney Croome (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “The Porter bill isn’t about religious freedom. It is about giving special legal privileges to prejudice. It’s about importing the American culture war that seeks to take rights away from LGBTI people and many other minorities in the name of “religious freedom”. It’s true that die-hard fans of this kind of “religious freedom” didn’t get what they most wanted from Porter – the entrenchment of an unlimited right to religious freedom into Australian law. But they have got something almost as good – the legitimisation of their belief that expressing a religious view or holding a religious belief is more important than other people’s right to be free from hate and discrimination.”

ICAC awash with innocent blood ($) – Graham Richardson (The Australian): Judging by the headlines of the past few days you could be forgiven for believing that Kaila Murnain, the general secretary of the NSW ALP, has been found guilty of a capital crime. Far from committing some heinous offence, the worst she has been accused of is being aware of a large cash donation allegedly sought and received by her predecessor, Jamie Clements. The real power of ICAC is in its ability to scare the innocent. You know if you are appearing at ICAC the cameras are waiting to form a rugby ruck around you as you arrive and as you leave. It is a daunting enough prospect to know that you will sit in a witness box with many of your basic rights removed.”

‘Rotten to the core’: Clean sweep needed at NSW Labor after rise and fall of Kaila Murnain Samantha Maiden (The New Daily): One look at the recent generation of NSW Labor bosses – including Mr Dastyari, who resigned from Parliament in disgrace after taking money from Chinese donors, Jamie Clements, who resigned after a sexual harassment scandal and was handed the $100,000 Aldi bag, and Ms Murnain who was suspended after admitting signing a misleading document about the $100,000 – tells you there is cancer in the NSW Labor Party. It’s difficult to see the Labor Party winning an election at a state or federal level unless it cleans out the NSW branch, which appears rotten to the core.”

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The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

East Timor

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be in Timor-Leste to attend celebrations of the country’s 20th anniversary of independence.

Sydney

  • The NSW Labor inquiry will resume for a truncated half-day hearing.

  • The inaugural NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello will outline priorities in his new portfolio and the NSW government’s approach to customer centric service delivery.

  • The NSW parliament will hold its budget estimates hearings.

  • The 2019 National Superannuation Conference will bring together regulators and leading practitioners from the legal, accounting, audit and financial advisory services fields.

  • Sandwich board activist Danny Lim will continue his challenge in the Downing Centre Local Court.

Melbourne

  • The AFL will announce the 2019 Rising Star.

  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will deliver a keynote address to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

  • Yarra Trams will come to a halt for four hours as drivers walk off the job to strike for better pay and conditions.

  • A case management hearing will be held in ASIC’s case against former Tennis Australia directors Harold Mitchell andStephen Healy over the awarding of Australian Open TV rights.

  • Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck will speak at the Health Metrics World Conference 2019.

  • Energy minister Angus Taylor will speak at the COSBOA Small Business National Summit.

Olympic Dam, South Australia

  • Premier Steven Marshall will visit BHP’s Olympic Dam mine for a major announcement.

Brisbane

  • A report into a $267,500 payment to a company directed by David Barbagallo, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s chief of staff, is expected to be completed today, with the opposition calling on the premier to release the findings.

  • Deputy coroner John Lock will hand down his findings into the deaths of teenagers William Fowell, Talieha Nebauer and Caitlin Whiticker.

  • Council leader Adrian Burragubba and a group of Wangan and Jagalingou people will protest the land handover to Adani, calling on the government to rule out transferring their land.

Cunnumulla, Queensland

  • The Cunnamulla Fella Festival will begin, with cowboys and bull riders, shearers and stockmen, foodies, travellers, music lovers and visitors experiencing the best of the outback lifestyle.

Perth

  • WA Minister for Asian Engagement Peter Tinley AM will outline the state government’s long-term strategic view to drive economic growth and diversification through Asia.

Hobart

  • Coronial inquest findings will be handed down into the deaths of four fishermen in a boating accident in 2016.