Attorney-General Christian Porter AAT scandal
Attorney-General Christian Porter (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

UNSAFEGUARD

Australia’s peak legal body has raised concerns over Attorney-General Christian Porter’s press freedom “safeguard”, saying it will pressure journalists to keep the government onside and jeopardise journalistic independence, the ABC reports.

Law Council of Australia president Arthur Moses SC said Porter’s directive — that prosecutors need his formal approval before charging journalists — would not help solve the “legitimate concerns raised” by May’s AFP raids because it puts a politician in charge of authorising prosecutions of journalists who may have written stories critical of the government. Marcus Strom of the media union MEAA agreed the measure could act as a safeguard but said it was the wrong approach which did not solve the problem of journalism being “effectively criminalised” in Australia.

DISUNITY GOVERNMENT

UK opposition parties have started planning for a national unity government to prevent a no-deal Brexit, with a vote of no confidence in the government expected this week, The Guardian reports.

Following cross-party talks, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson told reporters that the parties have agreed to start discussing who could lead a temporary government, but insisted it would not be led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Labour disagrees, with party officials saying Corbyn is the only viable candidate. Labour is calling instead for a “strictly time-limited caretaker administration” to be formed by Labour with support from other parties, with its only business being to secure a Brexit extension before being dissolved via an election.

DON’T FORGET

Chinese ambassador Cheng ­Jingye says Australia owes China for much of its economic success, urging greater “mutual respect” and fewer “prejudices and suspicions” between the two countries ($), The Australian reports. 

In a wide-ranging interview to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s communist revolution, Cheng said that Australia’s relationship with the US should not come “at the expense” of China, and hit out at “unfounded” allegations of Chinese interference in Australia’s domestic affairs. He also said it might take ­another 30 years before China is considered “developed”, rejecting Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s claims that the country no longer deserves “developing nation” status under international trade rules.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

They’re all silly people who have never negotiated a single wage increase in their life. They’ve got zero ideas about how anything works.

Bill Kelty

The architect of Australia’s modern superannuation scheme slams the government’s “terrible” voluntary super push, telling The New Daily there is no guarantee employers will grant workers a 9.5% pay rise as compensation.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Doubt grows on tax refund stimulus as Australians shun accountants

More organisations agree to sign on to child abuse redress scheme

Anning ‘justified in using taxpayer funds to go to far-right rallies’

‘Not interested in bipartisanship’: Labor attacks appointment of franking credit campaigner

Almost half young adults now overweight or obese, ABS data shows

Second cross-city tunnel trumps Suburban Rail Loop: experts

Sydney lockout laws expected to be scrapped by the end of the year

US president has put whistleblower in danger, lawyers say

Another RBA rate cut could do more harm ($)

Vegan activists who shut down Melbourne streets ordered to donate to animal sanctuary

Government used wrong data to award $1m in drought relief to waterlogged shire

NSW Labor MP to hand back more than $10,000 in donations after Icac evidence

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Australian media: apoplectic and unapologetic

“If there’s one thing that has distinguished the Australian conservative media over the past week, it’s been the ferocity of its willingness to speak truth to power — when that power is a 16-year-old Swedish school girl, and that ‘truth’ comes from climate denial talking points. In the US, the Fox network had to walk back the claim by one of its guest commentators that Greta Thunberg was ‘mentally ill’, but News Corp’s Australian cadres have refused to allow their freedom of speech to be so constrained.”


Is Scott Morrison’s rhetoric stopping refugees from getting jobs?

“Unemployment rates of humanitarian migrants remain high. According to a Deloitte report from August of this year, 31.9% of refugees don’t have a job within five years of arriving in Australia. That rate decreases to 18.8% for those who arrived five to 10 years ago, dropping only by 0.8% for those who have been here for 10 to 15 years. Second generation refugees have unemployment rates similar to the rest of Australia. Many struggle to find work, citing issues with English, discrimination, and “a lack of Australian experience”. Despite these pitfalls, refugees are more entrepreneurial than your average Aussie, showing higher-than-average engagement in small and medium-sized business.


It’s crunch time for the Australian economy

“Would you be alarmed if the Reserve Bank (RBA) starting flooding the country with money to buy government bonds? We’re talking about billions of dollars. And it would be a big drop — kind of like opening the window and throwing cash into the street. The technical term is ‘quantitative easing’. It’s a practice that hasn’t been used in Australia since the 1930s even though the central banks in the US, Britain and many European nations have been doing it since the Great Recession. It’s been talked about here since the middle of the year, when it was all too apparent the succession of official interest rate cuts by the RBA wasn’t stimulating economic activity or boosting wages. Now it’s crunch time.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Morrison a ‘bad dad’ for denigrating young climate protesters Steve Biddulph (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “I was out among those young people. They are the generation raised while I was this country’s leading voice on child-rearing, and I was so proud of them it brought me to tears. They struck me as the mature ones in the whole picture, their speeches were wonderful, their manner dignified and their demands (no new coal, cutting exports and fair treatment of workers) were moderate and thoughtful. They were the prefects, sports kids, and the thoughtful nerdy ones who get their facts right. And their parents and grandparents were supporting them. And here is the thing – many of their placards referenced Scott Morrison in person, as the one they were asking desperately to help. In response, Morrison accused them of being stooges for the unspecified aims of others. That’s hugely disrespectful, and it doesn’t begin to understand the nature of teenagers, which is in every generation to ask awkward questions we really need to answer.”

It’s about time we lived in the age of pension reason ($) – Judith Sloan (The Australian): The reality is that we have muddled on for more than a quarter of a century since compulsory superannuation was introduced. Rules and taxation arrangements have been made up on the run; the superannuation contribution rate has been jacked up across time, although the latest series of in­creases were delayed in 2014 to start again in 2021; and the conditions attached to the Age Pension have been constantly tweaked. The most fundamental question is whether compulsory superannuation improves the wellbeing of most retirees, given that these retirees have to forgo wage increases (and therefore current consumption) during their working lives. If the answer for a worker on median earnings, for instance, is negative, it may be time to end compulsory superannuation and rethink the entire system.”

How can justice flow in the Northern Territory when Aboriginal lives are treated with callous indifference?  – Thalia Anthony (The Guardian): “The aim to reduce imprisonment does not gel with the law and order stance of the NT Government. Policies such as mandatory sentencing, paperless arrests and diminished rights to bail remain intact. All these policies have discriminatory impacts of Aboriginal people and fly in the face of the AJA objective. These populist policies, along with increased police powers since the NT intervention, have contributed to the rapid increase in NT incarceration since 2007. Stemming the punitive tide in the NT is not going to be light work given the amount of ammunition successive NT governments have committed to its swell.”

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne

  • La Trobe Asia will host “The Surprising Success of Chinese Communism: The PRC at 70”, with some of Australia’s leading China experts reviewing the highs and lows of the past 70 years.

  • The royal commission into police use of informants will continue, hearing from current and former police officers.

Sydney

  • The Reserve Bank will hold its monthly board meeting, where it is expected to cut interest rates to a new record low.

  • The Australian Film Television and Radio School will host a TV Talk on “Jumping Genres”, hearing from industry professionals who have made the move.

Brisbane

  • The Brisbane Open House will celebrate its 10th year with a special exhibition of drawings of key buildings relevant to the opera house.

  • The Power of Country Alliance will host an event as part of its “Power of Country Tour”, with a First Nations panel discussing the fight against fracking.

Darwin

  • Charles Darwin University and the Council on the Ageing NT will present findings from the 2018 COTA Survey, with Fiona Shalley and Sigurd Dyrting.

Adelaide

  • SA Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade will give a speech, detailing the current focus of the Marshall Government on health and well-being.