DEAL OR NO DEAL
British MPs have today voted in favour of a bill blocking a no-deal Brexit, after yesterday seizing control of parliament, the ABC reports.
Parliament voted 327 to 299 to prevent Prime Minister Boris Johnson from taking the UK out of the EU without a deal, forcing him to ask for a three-month extension beyond the October 31 deadline. Johnson then pushed for a general election on October 15, which was again rejected by lawmakers.
Labour has previously said it would back the October 15 election date if the no-deal threat were contained, The Guardian reports. More than 100,000 people have applied to register to vote in 48 hours, with young people making up the bulk of applications.
SURPLUS DESPITE NO GROWTH
The government is poised to deliver the first budget surplus in a decade, despite the economy reaching its slowest growth rate since the GFC, the Nine papers report.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has accused economists and Labor of talking down the economy, declaring there had been a “major improvement” since the budget. Nine papers argue the government has been aided by surging commodity prices, while The Australian credits “federal and state government spending” ($). Figures show economic growth has fallen to 1.44% over the past financial year, the second worst result since the 1991 recession. Frydenberg has argued that the July tax cuts, rising house prices and interest rate cuts will lead to a growth revival in the September quarter, The Australian reports.
Inquiries are continuing after the AFP yesterday raided an intelligence official’s Canberra home, The New Daily reports.
Cameron Gill, an Australian Signals Directorate official and husband of the ambassador to Iraq ($), is believed to have advised Liberal ministers on cybercrime. The AFP would not confirm if the investigation is linked to raids at the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, who reported on a controversial plan to expand the ASD’s powers to spy on citizens. Home Affairs chief Mike Pezzullo has previously called for the leaker in that story to “go to jail”.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Call an election, you great big girl’s blouse.
Words believed to have been used by the UK prime minister today, challenging Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to support his plan for a October 15 election.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Costello was always a strange fit of a company that owned the iconic Fairfax newspaper mastheads given that, like many Liberals, he has had a long-running antipathy for the papers courtesy of their alleged left-wing bias. Indeed, that lack of respect is reflected in the fact that Costello delighted in leading Nine’s aggressive takeover push to pay a premium for Fairfax last year. He was able to assume the chair role and also dictate on questions such as the company name. The Fairfax brand was foolishly buried, which remains a bizarre decision given its reputation for quality and credibility was far stronger than Nine.”
“Their terrible dilemma is whether Johnson — whose performance at the dispatch today was dire, blustering and unfocused, worse than May, and establishing Jeremy Corbyn as statesmanlike — will go with his cabal and refuse to send the EU a delay request letter as instructed by a Commons vote. Any attempt to map current events onto precedent becomes wobbly indeed. There could be a no-deal crash-out and an election, with a Tory drubbing. Johnson, hailed as a hero last week, is now being measured for ‘shortest-term PM ever’. What then? Perhaps he will take up smoking. A man should have some occupation. British politics is now being played in earnest.”
“Any kid who grew up in Mackay in the 1980s will remember the cane fires. They were in the late afternoon, usually. Spectacular roaring infernos, sometimes right next to suburban blocks where the streets filled with children trying to catch slivers of ash that fell from the sky like black snow. Mothers raced into backyards to strip clean washing off the clothesline. The rhythm of local life was set to the sugar season, planned around busy harvest months or “the slack”. Things have changed a bit since then. Farmers don’t routinely burn the crop, for a start — harvesting green is more common. The town itself has become more of a high-vis hub for the booming coal mines in the Galilee Basin to the west. And the canefields that used to grow right at its doorstep have been replaced with “Cuttersfield Estate” — a residential development, full of four-bed-two-bath-two-car kit-homes forming a patchwork of Colorbond fences and fluffy turf lawns.”
Refugee rejection is more complex than a soundbite: why Tamil family should stay – Sara Dehm and Anthea Vogl (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Our research has highlighted that between 2015 and 2019, the IAA refused to find a person to be a refugee in 87 per cent of cases, including in more than 90 per cent of all protection claims from Sri Lanka. In contrast, the former Refugee Review Tribunal refused to find a person to be a refugee in about 65 to 70 per cent of appeals. This shift shows that the current high rate of refugee rejections is more the product of the inferior review system that applies only to people who have arrived by boat than the quality of the asylum claims themselves. As well, there is no longer funding for legal advice for those arriving by boat and community legal centres are operating with an overwhelming backlog of cases and in a funding crisis.”
Costello must know Nine’s broadcasting all the wrong signals ($) – Mark Day (The Australian): “There is no dispute that media outlets are entitled to hold political positions. The Nine newspapers editorialise daily about what they see as the rights and wrongs of political postures, as do their News Corp rivals. Individuals taking partisan positions — 2GB’s Alan Jones, Sky’s Paul Murray and Graham Richardson, for example — are also grist for the mill, but it is another thing entirely when the corporate body behind the mastheads or TV shows raises the flag on behalf of a political party. If Nine’s contributions to society were limited to, say, Married at First Sight, perhaps we would shrug. But when it also presents influential programs such as its nightly news and current affairs offerings, as well as the respected 60 Minutes, it is a different ball game.”
Cannabis prohibition doesn’t work anywhere. It’s New Zealand’s turn to legalise it – Helen Clark (The Guardian): “Without legalisation, major ethnic disparities in arrest, prosecution and conviction for cannabis-related offending are also likely to persist. Indeed, current practice in the New Zealand justice system with respect to drugs is profoundly unjust to the Indigenous people, Māori. They bear a disproportionate burden of the prosecutions, convictions and custodial sentences handed down for drug-related, and indeed other, offending. Māori make up around 15% of the population. Yet Māori aged 17 to 25 make up 37% of all convictions for drug possession. The current government is keen to reduce the numbers of prisoners in New Zealand and within that total to reduce the proportion of Māori incarcerated, to reflect their proportion of the population. Drug law reform, including the legalisation of cannabis, helps meet both those objectives.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne will appear at a Senate inquiry investigating their post-parliamentary careers, with their employers, Palladium and EY, also due to give evidence.
The ABS will publish its data on International Trade in Goods and Services for July.
NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman will make brief comments on the court’s decision to release murderer and serial paedophile Michael Guider.
Traditional Owners will speak on fracking of their traditional lands in the NT.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will launch the 2019 edition of the ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse report, providing a detailed examination of digital workforce trends.
An interlocutory hearing will take place between the Chief Commissioner of Police and Stuart Wright, who is suing the force for discrimination after it refused to let him take PTSD support dog Frankie to work.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will conduct a round table with NDIS participants.
The Adelaide Class frigate HMAS Melbourne will sail into Port Adelaide for her final port visit ahead of being decommissioned.
Energy industry leaders will speak at a small scale energy storage forum.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan will launch a new Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), setting the scene for exploring the most prospective new investors interested in tapping into northern Australia.
Transgender and gender diverse advocates will make cupcakes and champagne to celebrate a number of trans-friendly laws coming into effect in the state.