NSW Gladys Berejiklian abortion bill leadership spill
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (Image: AAP /Mick Tsikas)

OTHER GLADYS BESIEGED

Three rebel Liberal MPs will this morning move a spill motion against NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian over her “shameful” handling of the abortion bill, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Tanya Davies, Matthew Mason-Cox and Lou Amato announced their intention in a statement last night, after their “key amendments” were rejected in negotiations with health minister Brad Hazzard. Davies had previously threatened to defect to the crossbench if the bill was not amended, but said she had decided to call for a spill instead. Key Coalition figures have tweeted their support for Berejiklian, including Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet. Fewer than 10 members ($) of the 46-member party room are expected to vote for the spill.

ABUSE ‘CLUSTERS’

An investigation by The Age has revealed how paedophile priests in Victoria worked together to share victims, passing on details of vulnerable targets and working together to conceal their crimes.

The paper has documented a number of “clusters”, or cases where there was either participation, collaboration, knowledge or influence between alleged offenders. The report finds that Melbourne seminary Corpus Christi was at the centre of a number of such networks, with at least 75 convicted and alleged sex offenders emerging from the seminary, including George Pell and Gerald Ridsdale.

Survivors of abuse can find support by calling Bravehearts at 1800 272 831 or the Blue Knot Foundation at 1300 657 380. The Kids Helpline is 1800 55 1800.

BIG STICK BACKLASH

The government is facing backbench backlash over its proposed energy company break-up powers, with some conservatives slamming the “draconian” plan as a breach of Liberal Party philosophy, the Nine papers report.

Members of the Liberals’ backbench economics committee yesterday aired concerns with the law’s intervention in the free market, although ultimately signed off on the “big stick” package, with a promise that any major amendments be returned to the committee for approval, The Guardian reports. The policy, which contains the power to break up energy companies that engage in price gouging, has led to concerns the powers could be extended economy-wide, something Centre Alliance intends to push for in the Senate. The draft will today go to the Coalition partyroom for approval.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I assure you there are a lot more politicians doing drugs than there are people on Newstart.

Sam Dastyari

The former senator received a round of applause on Q&A for suggesting drugs were more prevalent ($) among politicians than welfare recipients.

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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Australian media has an asylum seeker problem

“We’re now 18 years on from that moment when MV Tampa steamed into our public debate and re-made Australian politics. Yet, as we saw with the reporting of the Biloela asylum seeker family’s threatened deportation, journalism is struggling to make a practical difference to the policy residue left in Tampa’s wake. It’s not for want of trying. There’s been some terrific reporting, including by asylum seeker and journalist Behrouz Boochani. But the lack of impact is because the media’s offering on asylum seekers is falling flat with the ageing white demographic — the ‘grumpy old men’ cohort that both consumes traditional media and has delivered government to the conservatives in most elections since Tampa.”


The US wines and dines Morrison, and the media eats it up

“Australia was still only invited to a smattering of state dinners even before this decline. This is despite the key alliance between Australia and the US, with constant rhetoric around the countries’ ‘shared values’, ‘bonds of friendship’ and significant defence strategy.  Really, the only major difference between a state dinner and a regular visit is word ‘official’. That, apparently, and champagne-jelly salmon. But if they really are so important — and if our relationship with the US is really as special as we’re led to believe — why hasn’t Australia been invited to more?”


What can a movie about Brexit tell us about Scott Morrison’s Australia?

“What makes Morrison stand out of from any of his predecessors is his belief in the constant campaign. We hear politicians talk about it, but they usually pay it no more than lip service until the looming election nears. Morrison is not going to follow that playbook. It’s why his political strategy is to do the most basic of government activity — literally just building stuff on the infrastructure front and cutting taxes — while he plays hardball with his opponents. This is the thinking behind his relentless foot-on-the-throat approach to Labor, outlining a series of ‘tests’ (or wedges) for the ALP. It’s so unsophisticated the opposition hasn’t realised what’s really happening.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Why NSW is still fighting about abortionMeredith Burgmann (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “As conservative MPs argue for ‘more time’ to discuss the issue, old feminists feel their hackles rising. This issue has been contested in the NSW Parliament since Labor MP George Petersen’s decriminalisation efforts in the early seventies. The main problem for NSW is that it is quite significantly more religious than other states. The 2016 Census figures show us that NSW is the most Catholic state in Australia (24.1 per cent identified as Catholic compared with, say, South Australia on 17.9 per cent) and is also the most religious generally with 65.3 per cent nominating a religion as opposed to 60 per cent in Australia.”

Win or lose the vote, Gladys Berejiklian faces turmoil ($) – Andrew Clennell (The Australian): What her handling of the abortion bill has shown again is that she might be good at management when it comes to infrastructure projects but she is not much good at the politics, despite her intense self-belief that she is. The Premier tried to rush the bill through, claiming it was an independent MP’s bill so she had no say, and essentially tried to quell debate. She said she was for it and voted for it, then said she would be happy to take any amendments, and declined to speak on it in the parliament. The Premier has been all over the shop, showing again that the March election victory was more Labor leader Michael Daley’s loss than a sign of any brilliant politics from her.”

No public appetite for Liberal leadership spill drama ($) – Anna Caldwell (The Daily Telegraph): “Senior government ministers were last night scoffing at the absurdity of three rebel MPs trying to take down a premier who just won an election. And yet, they also were fully aware of just how serious their problem was. The public has no appetite for this kind of political theatre. Berejiklian should have never let it come to this and has shown a lack of strategic nous through the abortion debate, allowing the party to split violently down the middle. The Premier may get through Tuesday’s spill — but don’t mistake just how much skin will have been lost.”

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The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney

  • Chief Climate Councillor Tim Flannery and lead report author Lesley Hughes will launch a new Climate Council report about the Australian wildlife at risk of warming temperatures.

  • The UNSW Graduate Research School will host its Three Minute Thesis Competition, with PhD candidates pitching their world-changing ideas in three minutes or less.

Melbourne

  • Veteran broadcaster Jon Faine will deliver the State Library’s 2019 Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lecture.

  • The Australian Technology Network Solar Car Team will unveil its new custom-built electric car, to compete in this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

  • A police inspector will appear in court, charged with one count of disclosing information without authority, following an investigation by Professional Standards Command.

Bacchus Marsh, Victoria

  • AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and AFL general manager Game Development Andrew Dillon will make a special announcement.

Adelaide

  • Premier Steven Marshall will unveil a plaque honouring former premier Tom Price (1852-1909) the stonecutter who rose to become a much-loved statesman.

  • The Federal Court will hold a case management hearing for a discrimination action between senior Anglicans, with a senior clergyman allegedly bullied out of a job by a bishop.

Clermont, Queensland

  • A man will appear in court accused of dangerous operation of a vehicle, after riding his horse through an anti-Adani protest and injuring a woman.

Peter Fray

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