DROUGHT INCOMING

Parts of regional NSW could run out of water by November, with projections from WaterNSW warning of worst-case scenarios if there’s no rain or government intervention, The Guardian reports.

Dubbo, Cobar, Nyngan and Narromine are expected to be the first towns to lose water supply, with the Macquarie River forecast to soon run dry. NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey has described the situation as “critical”, saying the government is doing “everything humanly possible” to get the state through the drought. Deputy premier John Barilaro is calling for a “line in the sand moment”, suggesting NSW should sacrifice a surplus and limit community consultation ($) to build dams faster, The Daily Telegraph reports.

FOREIGN INFLUENCE SCARE CONTINUES

NSW Labor MLC Shaoquett Moselmane hired a staffer who once completed a propaganda training course in Beijing, The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting. Moselmane, who has taken nine privately-funded trips to China since entering parliament in 2009, recently hired John Zhang, who in 2013 completed a propaganda training course run by a branch of the Chinese State Council targeted at overseas Chinese community leaders.

MPs have scaled back the China junkets ($) amid concerns over foreign influence, The Australian reports. An audit of MPs’ sponsored travel between 2016 and now showed a significant drop in visits to China, with parliamentarians continuing to accept internationally funded “study tours” paid for by other foreign governments, including Taiwan, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco and Azerbaijan.

NATIONAL PRIORITIES

The Nationals have passed a motion in support of a national rollout of the cashless debit card for welfare recipients under 35, as well as restrictions on the labelling of non-dairy milk, The Guardian reports.

A meeting of the Nationals’ federal council on Saturday passed a motion calling on the Morrison government to pursue increasing welfare payments while also voting to expand the cashless debit card. The council also voted to lobby the federal government to change labelling requirements on vegan food, preventing soy milk and almond milk from being branded as milk. Former leader Barnaby Joyce auctioned off a lump of coal, which sold for $800, The New Daily notes.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

You don’t have to be a Catholic, you don’t have to be a Christian … you don’t have to believe in anything other than the basic decency of every other human being to think that we should never have infanticide on demand.

Tony Abbott

Speaking at an anti-abortion rally in Sydney, the former prime minister says that the NSW decriminalisation bill is “effectively infanticide on demand”.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Emergency warnings for NT bushfires downgraded

Boating tragedy in India’s Andhra Pradesh state kills 12, with 35 missing

Gladys Liu declines to explain her part in mysterious $105,000 donation

Labor flags complete overhaul of climate policy

Hong Kong protesters sing God Save the Queen and call on Britain to back them against Beijing

Julie Bishop offers to help with Iranian negotiations to free detained Australians

Berejiklian’s agenda risks getting stuck in legislative ‘graveyard’: MPs

Victoria’s chief commissioner investigated over alleged failure on bullying

End activist campaigns, CEOs warned ($)

US points finger at Iran over Saudi oil drone attack that could cause energy prices to spike

EU officials reject Boris Johnson claim of ‘huge progress’ in talks

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Porter elbows out Frydenberg to become Morrison’s most likely successor

“Where Porter’s ability is best seen is in his role as the government’s chief parliamentary tactician, the leader of the house. His score against his Labor counterpart, Tony Burke, is entirely lopsided, as his mastery of standing orders demonstrated during this week’s intense battle over Victorian Liberal backbencher Gladys Liu’s interviewing skills, political doings and fundraising. Even in this matter, Porter showed he was able to go on the attack without stepping in the bear traps all over the place. When Porter had to shut down a Labor move to debate the Liu matter, he used Liberal Party history for protection and ammunition.”


A nice lie down: on news exhaustion and rehabilitation

“People who previously lived and breathed politics and news reported a dramatic change. In the last few months, it seems progressives especially (though not exclusively) have been feeling helpless and lied to, and are taking a break for their own mental health. It was a good reminder that one of the best uses of social media is to grapple with the power of mainstream media. But it’s not just Twitter reacts that have given me pause. The reason I sent the tweet had a commercial interest. As an editor of Crikey, I had watched the audience numbers plummet on political content after May 19. All news outlets experience ups and downs, but suddenly it seemed nobody wanted to read hot takes on Scott Morrison’s latest announcement or an explainer on what tax cuts really mean.”


Welcome to the new normal: partisan government advertising all year round

“Andrew Hughes, a lecturer at the College of Business & Economics at Australian National University said that as the use of departments for politicised advertising was a bipartisan pursuit, it was unsurprising the campaign passed the legal framework, even if it failed the ‘reasonable person test’. ‘And you know what will happen, as soon as Labor get in, we’ll see the same thing from them, they’ll say “the Libs have had their turn, and now it’s ours”,’ he said. ‘So as much as I’d like to see reform in this area, I won’t hold my breath, because it benefits both parties to have it this way.’”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Why going green is the best way to fire up Australia’s economyRosalind Dixon and Richard Holden  (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald):  “We have suggested before that one way to address the problem of shovel readiness is with “green stimulus”. This would involve Treasury working with the states to compile a list of significant environmental expenditures — from tree planting to waterway clean-ups, and cycle-path construction to dune repair — that could be implemented quickly when fiscal stimulus is needed. The difficulty Australia faces, however, is that we have not done much of the planning to roll-out a full-scale green stimulus package of this kind. There may still be time for federal and state governments to develop such a plan. But in the meantime, the emphasis should be on finding projects that are socially worthwhile and shovel ready. That means prioritising green projects that can get done well and fast, not that are necessarily the best long-term investments. The hope, if the economy turns around, is that we will then have both the time and money needed to plan those projects.”

It’s not racist to call out politicians over their links to foreign interests ($) – Chris Mitchell (The Australian): Some journalists remembered the importance of facts over feelings. The AFR on Friday reported the Chinese donor alleged to be at the centre of the Aldi bag $100,000 donation, Huang Xiangmo, had given $20,000 to the 2016 Liberal campaign of Michael Sukkar in the federal seat of Deakin. Liu played a role in Sukkar’s campaign. The Herald Sun reported Liu had failed to declare to the Electoral Commission a $39,675 donation made in 2015-16 and had links with a group that in 2016 held a rally against The Hague’s decision to block China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. No wonder she did not answer Bolt on the issue. Hastie has nailed it: Xi’s view of the future is one where capitalism will be eclipsed and ‘the consolidation of and development of the socialist system will require its own long period of history … it will require the tireless struggle of generations …’ The media does not yet know the truth about Liu’s involvement with Beijing. Its duty is to find that truth and ignore undergraduate cries of racism.”

From Manus Island to Port Moresby ($) – Shaminda Kanapathi (The Saturday Paper): “I feel broken seeing these men – whom I came to know as my brothers on Manus – in this state. I cannot process what I am seeing or the inhuman treatment of innocent vulnerable people that has caused such an unwinding in them. When these men first attempted to come to Australia, when they arrived on Christmas Island, they were young, strong, active and healthy. Even in the early stages on Manus they tried to remain involved in activities and sport. Now, after going through all the hardships of this never-ending torture of medical neglect, forced transfers, the powerlessness and dehumanisation of arbitrary indefinite detention, they have been completely worn down. They are broken men.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Nationwide

  • Dementia Australia will launch Dementia Action Week, a nationwide awareness-raising campaign. A launch event will be held at the Sydney Opera House, including a panel discussion with Ita Buttrose, Maggie Beer, Shaynna Blaze and Phil Hazell.

Melbourne

  • Olivia Newton-John will speak with Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre executive director Professor Grant McArthur at the VCCCs research conference 2019.

  • Voting will open for the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria, with the assembly to replace the Treaty Advancement Commission and work with the government to prepare for negotiations.

  • Henry Hammond will appear in court for a committal mention, charged with murdering Courtney Herron in Royal Park on May 25.

Sydney

  • World-leading researchers will discuss the role that inflammation plays in human health and disease at the 14th World Congress on Inflammation.

Darwin, Alice Springs

  • Prince Edward will attend events in Alice Springs and Darwin to celebrate 60 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Australia.

Brisbane

  • The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will hold its first public sitting.

Adelaide

  • Flinders Automotive Solar Team will launch Investigator Mark III solar car ahead of the World Solar Challenge.