Boris Johnson brexit


The UK government has lost its working majority, after former justice minister Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats, The Guardian reports. Lee, who dramatically crossed the chamber as Boris Johnson was updating the Commons on the G7 summit, also released a statement accusing the PM of pursuing a “damaging Brexit” that could “put lives at risk”. 

It comes as parliament prepares to vote tonight on whether to stop the government from leaving the EU without an agreement, with Tory rebels expected to join opposition parties in temporarily seizing control. Johnson has sworn to seek a general election if they do so. Former British chancellor Philip Hammond has warned Johnson there are enough Tory rebels ($) to block a no-deal Brexit, as more and more Conservatives declare their intentions to do so.

Debate was continuing at time of publication.


Two NSW Liberal MPs are threatening to defect to the crossbench if the abortion bill passes without amendments, forcing premier Gladys Berejiklian into minority government, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies and Riverstone MP Kevin Connolly have warned the premier and deputy premier that they “will remove [themselves] from the party room” if certain changes are not made, with Davies one of the MPs leading the charge to ban “sex-selective­ abortions”. Berejiklian currently holds government by a margin of two seats.

The bill is set to return to the upper house September 17.


Australia’s skilled-migration occupation lists will be overhauled ($) in a bid to boost the slowing economy and meet demand in delivering the government’s $100 billion infrastructure plan, The Australian reports.

The skilled migration occupation review will focus on filling job vacancies in regional Australia. Nationals MPs and farming lobby groups are pressuring the government to implement a dedicated agriculture visa for temporary migrants. The government plans to conduct a labour market analysis and public consultation process before Employment Minister Michaelia Cash makes recommendations to Immigration Minister David Coleman. Coleman is expected to put together a final list by March 2020.


These people are having a go, Alan.

Anthony Albanese

Alan Jones and the opposition leader find themselves in total agreement in this extremely surreal exchange ($).


Attack at school in China leaves at least eight children dead

Lawyers call for legal reform to stop erosion of our freedoms ($)

Government facing multimillion-dollar refugee compensation claims

Assisted dying laws glide over first hurdle in WA, but major obstacles ahead

Economy set for weakest growth in nearly 20 years

Old Mate tourism ad backed by SA Premier, despite ageism claims

‘Demonised’ farmers rage against Reef regulations as parliament sits in Townsville

Tamil family’s allies: ‘Government backed us into a corner’

Hurricane Dorian edges ‘dangerously close’ to Florida after battering Bahamas

SMH, Age and AFR journalists condemn Liberal fundraiser hosted at Nine’s TV studios

Bill for bushfire safety program rises to almost $700 million

RBA eyes housing rebound as economic growth slows ($)

Minister told: Pyne conflict claim ‘not a Defence issue’ ($)

Top CSI scientist says police ignoring evidence flaws, jailing innocent


Flaw and order: the religious freedom bill is a godawful mess

“Produced out of a mix of political and media pressure, culture war priorities and cabin fever obsessiveness inside the conservative phalanx of the Coalition, the bill is the greatest surrender yet of a genuine liberalism to progressivism, and the same with the conservative dimension of politics. The importance of this is being missed: this is the final surrender of the Coalition to a progressivist worldview, in which the state perpetually advances its frontier into the conduct of everyday life.”

Do we need to cross all boundaries to protect our borders?

“Of course, it didn’t need to go this way. The Australian government had many options on how to handle the Biloela family starting in March last year — most of which did not involve institutional child abuse. Instead of a pre-dawn raid that ripped infants from their beds, the government could have left the family in their home while all legal avenues were explored. This would have saved taxpayers the more than $2 million that detaining them in Melbourne has cost (jet fuel and private plane charter costs not included). If the family had been left in their Biloela home while legal matters were on foot then their father Nades could have continued working and paying taxes, two-year-old Tharunicaa would have healthy baby teeth, and Priya would have had the surgery she required. All four of them would have incurred 100% less trauma from being removed from their community and held in internationally condemned detention facilities.”

Is this another death blow to press freedom in Australia?

“For the media, the case is a reminder that if you publish investigative work about a rich, litigious subject, they can drag you into court and run a case that leaves you with literally no viable defence except the winner-takes-all play of arguing that the imputations they’re alleging didn’t arise at all. Winning that fight will mean you get your costs back, too, but the huge cost and risk of getting that far is a powerful disincentive from poking the bear in the first place. The ABC is already down hundreds of thousands in the Chau case with the main game yet to come. So, yes, it is another death blow. The need for defamation law reform gains urgency by the judgment.”


Breaking the rules for one family is unfair to everybody elseAmanda Vanstone (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Australians are a generous lot. These people were allowed into the community while they pursued their cases. They have made friends and got on with life. But are we wanting to set up a system that says if the courts have decided you’re not a refugee but some locals are fond of you we will overturn the independent decision maker and let you stay? And if you, I think stupidly, say yes to that … do you realise how vulnerable you make them all to bad people who always see an opportunity? “You pay me money or I’ll tell authorities any number of bad stories about you.” Are you happy for the not-so-likeable family to be given the flick? Will families with introverted dour parents and cross-eyed kids get less from us for that reason? It’s all got an ugly air of capriciousness about it. You risk reducing an orderly system down to the vagaries of public opinion, often in small towns. That isn’t a fair system.”

Tamil family should be allowed to stay after contributing so much to Australia ($) – Alan Jones (The Daily Telegraph)“Here is a family who have turned tragedy and trauma into triumph, only to have to confront trauma again at the hands of a Liberal government. These parents have brought two Australians into the world. They’ve paid their way. But over and above all of this, we elect governments to represent us, to listen to the people and to lead. Who is being represented by the pig-headed, hypocritical, inconsistent and heartless treatment of this family? In an ostensibly Christian society, it might be time for a bit of practical Christianity. Give the family a bit of “au pair” treatment. That might give the government some credibility on this issue. If your fiance, Prime Minister and Peter Dutton, was burnt alive, would you worry too much how you got out of the joint?”

Doctors don’t care about the politics of climate change. We focus on the facts – AMA President  Tony Bartone (The Guardian): “The serious direct and indirect health impacts of climate change include mortality and morbidity resulting from heat stress and extreme weather events; an increase in the transmission of vector-borne diseases; food insecurity; mental ill-health; and negative effects from adverse changes in air pollution. There is inequity in the distribution of these impacts both within and between countries. Although there is an acknowledgement of the environmental harms associated with climate change, the connection between climate change and human health is less understood. National leadership and national coordination are required to draw attention to this issue and to implement interventions to mitigate the health impacts of climate change.”


The Latest Headlines



  • The Senate inquiry into a national horse register will investigate the feasibility of a horse traceability register, with vets, racing officials and farmers all due to give evidence.

  • The senate inquiry into a 2017 Angel Flight crash will look into into the transport safety bureau’s response to the crash, with Angel Flight executives giving evidence along with officials from the ATSB and CASA.

  • A rally will be held for the Biloela Tamil family, with protesters putting the pressure on Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Immigration Minister David Coleman to use ministerial discretion to let them stay.

Wollongong, NSW

  • Thought leaders in health will discuss their vision for a person-centred health care system at the University of Wollongong Health Symposium.


  • The Federal Court will decide the fate of the Biloela Tamil family facing deportation after being found not to be refugees, with the injunction on their deportation extended until 4pm today.

  • The Global Table food summit, a three-day global agribusiness and food conference, will take place, with guests including John Kerry, Dr Howard Yana Shapiro, Shama Sukul Lee, and Pip Courtney.

  • The two-day Small Business: Big Vision conference will take place with Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar and Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell among the speakers.

  • A judgement will be delivered in ACCC v Ashley & Martin, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleging that the hair loss treatment group padded its contracts with unfair terms.

  • ACTU secretary Sally McManus will speak to the media in relation to the Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter‘s planned review of the Fair Work Act.


  • NT minister Natasha Fyles will be present as the first Indigenous toddler to receive a cochlear implant has the device turned on.


  • Premier Mark McGowan will give the keynote address at the Africa Down Under mining conference.

  • CEDA will host the  2019 Vice-Chancellor’s Panel, a discussion bringing together VCs to provide insights into ensuring we have a skilled workforce for the future.


  • Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne will attend the ministerial meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and meet with Bangladesh leaders, in the first visit to Bangladesh by an Australian Foreign Minister since 1998.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey