China US trade war
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A majority of Australians want to see the US alliance put ahead of our relationship with China ($), according to the latest Newspoll.

If one diplomatic relationship has to be prioritized, 56% of voters think that it should be the US that takes precedence, compared to only a quarter of voters believing it should be China. It comes as Labor ups its attacks on Prime Minister Scott Morrison over his handling of Beijing, with Labor deputy leader Richard Marles, fresh from a visit to China, telling ABC’s Insiders that the state of our relationship is “terrible”, and accusing Morrison of “taking pot shots at our largest trading partner”. In response, Foreign Minister Marise Payne has attacked Labor’s position on China and trade rules, describing it as “confused” ($).


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has fed speculation that he is planning to ignore the Brexit delay law, while also denying he gave money to alleged mistress Jennifer Arcuri while he was London mayor, The Guardian reports.

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Speaking on the first day of the Conservative Party conference, Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the UK can still leave on October 31, despite the passing of the Benn Act, which aimed to prevent a no-deal Brexit by forcing Johnson to seek an extension. He also denied allegations, published by The Sunday Times, that he gave Arcuri $228,946 in public money and privileged access to three foreign trade missions.


The Australian Medical Association and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation will today launch a joint campaign, with doctors and nurses calling for immediate action to fix the aged care system, the Nine papers report.

The group will call for a significant increase in federal government funding, matched with tighter regulations, home-care packages, 24-hour on-site nurses and staff-to-patient ratios. They will argue the issue cannot wait until November 2020, when the Aged Care Royal Commission — which has heard extensive evidence of neglect and mistreatment — hands down its findings.


I will simply extend the invitation to Mr Morrison that if he is prepared to swear the same allegiance he can have his choice of position next year.

Peter Gordon

The Western Bulldogs president offers to welcome the prime minister back into the fold, along with a spot on the field, as Strewth investigates the PM’s lack of AFL loyalty ($).


Australia now the world’s second biggest weapons importer: analysts

Clean energy projects win state support

RBA poised to cut rates again even as house prices surge

US public ‘now backs impeachment inquiry’

Hong Kong police attack protesters on eve of China anniversary

Legal loophole leaves migrant workers with thousands of dollars in unpaid wages

NSW Police rack up $1.5m legal bill defending controversial top cop

Young Liberals divided over how to work with Chinese students

Costs balloon in surge of NDIS services ($)

NSW Rural Fire Service cancels emergency warning for bushfire at Tenterfield 


Greta Thunberg and the cult of rational thinking

“That Thunberg’s global role has developed cult-like aspects is both inevitable and not hugely important. Cults are worrying when they spring from simple myth — that humans are trillion-year-old spirits released from an exploding volcano, or that priests should get legal immunity because a God became his own son in human form 2000 years ago — but in this case the movement Thunberg represents is the rational side, based on science. Paradoxically, what draws people to Thunberg, and various comparable figures, from Martin Luther King Jr to Jesus, is that what she says is simple, rational and forensic in precisely the way that politicians should be.”

How Tony Abbott made sure the AAT would never come under scrutiny

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? ‘Who guards the guards?’ was the Roman poet Juvenal’s famous question. In the case of Australia’s vast legal octopus, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the answer is very simple: nemo — nobody. The stacking of the AAT with political cronies has carried on unabated because there is no active official body with the power to raise the alarm over a government’s appointments.

Actually such a body — with specific power to keep a check on the credentials of AAT members and the overall integrity of the tribunal — does exist in the AAT’s legislation. The only problem is it ceased to function after the Abbott government removed its funding.”

How Canberra became the weed capital of Australia

“While Victoria is often referred to as Australia’s most progressive state or territory, the ACT has quietly been passing revolutionary legislation for decades. It was the second place to decriminalise homosexuality, one year after South Australia in 1975, and was the first jurisdiction to completely remove abortion from criminal law. A report from the Australia Institute calls Canberra a ‘forward thinking’ and ‘progressive’ city, citing the government’s plan to phase out stamp duty and insurance taxes, its target of 100% renewable energy, its ban on billboards larger than two square metres, its public holiday for reconciliation, and its assisted dying laws. And now, it’s the first jurisdiction to let its residents light up.”


The Witness K case and government secrecy ($) – Clinton Fernandes  (The Saturday Paper): “It’s been asserted that Collaery and Witness K can’t be allowed to act on individual judgements about the morality of their work. That would weaken the intelligence services by encouraging others to follow their lead. But by the same argument, obedience to immoral or illegal orders also encourages others to toe the line meekly and, worse, increases the likelihood that the government will resort to lies and deceit behind the veil of national security. The government has not been held to account for ordering the espionage operation in Timor-Leste in 2004. This trial, in a sense, is about what is more dangerous to Australia – the refusal of citizens to obey immoral or illegal orders, or the use of state power to imprison them while the media are intimidated into silence. Everyone must decide.”

Time for an ABC ‘TV tax’?Eryk Bagshaw (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “The dilemma faced by Milne and Shier was as old as credit. Inevitably, an ABC executive will be confronted with it again. Does it have to be this way? More than 20 countries have adopted a licence fee for its public broadcasters, asking households to pay directly for their services rather than funding it out of the budget. The people fund the broadcasters, not the state. The BBC has this model. Australia did once too. Up until 1974 when Gough Whitlam’s Labor government abolished it households had to pay $12 for an Australian Television Licence on a punch card and would be fined $200 if they did not.”

Digital titans’ success comes at our expense ($) – Michael Miller (The Australian): “We should be clear from the outset: no one has damaged journalism and Australians’ ability to receive trusted, reliable information more than the big tech platforms. Their extraordinary profits are based on their unfair commercial exploitation of other people’s content — and powerful legislative changes are needed to correct this imbalance. Platforms like Google should be banned from using content produced by publishers and the data generated from it until they negotiate a fair price for their use with publishers. News Corporation has made this point strongly in its submission to Treasury, which is currently considering the government’s response to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s digital platforms inquiry.”


The Latest Headlines



  • The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria will host the AgriBusiness Leaders Luncheon 2019, with Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie to deliver the keynote speech.

  • A contest mention will take place for 37 vegan activists who took part in a protest that blocked part of Flinders and Swanston streets in April.


  • The Reserve Bank will hold its monthly board meeting to decide on the cash rate.

  • Police Minister David Elliott and NSW Police deputy commissioners Dave Hudson and Jeff Loy will launch a new London Police-inspired crime prevention tactic called Project Servator.


  • Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey will open an expanded park ‘n’ ride facility.


  • NT Health will host Healthy Conversations, with CEO Catherine Stoddart discussing how NT Health and NGOs can work better together to improve health outcomes.


  • The South Australian Space Industry Centre will host the 8th Space Forum, a biannual event to stimulate ideas, share information about emerging technologies and industry trends.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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