labour market reform
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

BANK ON IT

The government is launching a new inquiry into the power of the big banks, amid frustration over repeat failures to pass on the Reserve Bank’s full interest rate cuts, Nine reports. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will direct the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate the pricing of residential mortgages, escalating pressure on the banks to pass on cuts. Frydenberg has said that their conduct “leaves them exposed to the charge that they are putting their profits before their customers.”

Small banks and non-bank lenders will also be included, but the focus will be on ANZ, NAB, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank ($), The Australian reports. 

ISIS BREAKOUT

Around 750 people with suspected ISIS links have fled a displacement camp in northern Syria following Turkish attacks on Kurdish territory, The Guardian reports. The Kurdish-led administration says a riot broke out at the Ain Eissa camp after Turkish shelling struck close to the area. The escape intensifies fears that the US withdrawal and subsequent Turkish offensive could lead to ISIS regaining strength in the area

Labor has continued calls for the repatriation of Australian relatives of ISIS fighters. Sixty-six Australian women and children are being held at the al-Hawl refugee camp, outside the area Turkey plans to capture and control, The New Daily reports.

CONGESTION BUST

The Grattan Institute is calling for all major Australian cities to impose a congestion charge for driving in the CBD during peak hours, the ABC reports. The new report, authored by transport program director Marion Terrill, says a charge would be easy, cheap and speed up traffic, encouraging people to catch public transport, walk, or ride bikes instead. The idea already has support of Melbourne City Council, the Productivity Commission, Infrastructure NSW, and Infrastructure Victoria.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says a congestion tax is not on the state’s agenda, while NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has ruled out applying a congestion charge to Sydney’s CBD.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

People are expecting more than what they put in. Some of the people coming in for interviews, their expectation of what they should be paid versus how much they’re expected to work is just crazy.

John Winning

The millennial CEO, a fourth generation boss who took over his dad’s company, thinks millennials workers are lazy and entitled.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Barnaby Joyce joins calls to stop extradition of Assange to US

Doctors unite to defend Medevac, fight mandatory detention of refugees

Medevac bill: Jacqui Lambie rules out horse-trading her vote

Leaders told to lead and stop passing the buck to bureaucrats ($)

Call to promote Australian culture ($)

Prime Minister and NSW Premier announce $1b funding for Wyangala, Dungowan dam projects

‘Crown is a law unto itself’: Demands for royal commission as new whistleblower speaks out

Aged care workers stretched and cutting corners, survey finds

Typhoon Hagibis leaves trail of death and destruction in Japan

Trump impeachment: Defence chief indicates Pentagon will co-operate with inquiry

Brexit: EU ready to grant extension in run-up to key summit

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Is this the new normal?

“It’s worth pausing on what the police considered necessary conditions to be placed on peaceful climate activists: a ban on going anywhere within 2.5km of the Sydney CBD (meaning that even turning up to court would put them in breach) and a prohibition from “going near” or speaking to other Extinction Rebellion members, anywhere. This was a protest that involved committing nothing more than summary offences which could attract, at worst, a fine. It’s fair to conclude that the police, in this instance, have been compromised by a political agenda that has corrupted their objectivity in assessing the public safety considerations that should be their only concern.”


The most progressive place in Australia

“ACT had the first female head of government in 1989; the first female majority in 2016; and the first female Liberal leader, Kate Carnell, in 1993. ‘We’ve actually never had a conservative government in Canberra,’ Barr says. ‘Liberal, but not conservative.’ Policies are often pushed through faster in the ACT than in other regions because there’s just one level of politics. ‘One advantage of a city-state government is we can move quickly on a range of regulatory tax and social policy issues, which can be more challenging in jurisdictions with more levels of governance,’ Barr said.”


Passion and principle: Penny Wong is far from done

“The obvious point for this book to end on would be the 2019 election, forcing us to reflect on the sadness of a figure like Wong. What was it all for, the compromise, the endless slogging and preparation, the exacting questions in estimates, taking homophobic and racist abuse on the one hand and being told off for her party’s capitulations to the conservatives on the other? All that, only to be marooned once more in opposition. Wong concedes the election disappointment struck at her very core, at her understanding of the meaning of her life. So it at first seems odd that the story continues for a chapter after the election, dissecting Wong’s influences and philosophy of foreign affairs. By the end it is clear that, to Simons, Wong — a talented, principled and canny politician, comfortable with competing identities yet not defined by any of them, hit by the peculiar tragedy of Australian politics in the last decade, but not destroyed by it — is far from done.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

Congestion charging fears are overblown Marion Terrill (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Critics may argue that congestion charging seems unfair: that it could hurt people who can least afford it, or that they’d feel as though they were being punished for driving when they had no choice, or that they’re already paying too much to the government. But these fears are overblown. People who drive to the city each day for work are more than twice as likely to earn a six-figure salary as other workers; the median income for a Melbourne driver to the CBD is nearly $2000 a week – about $650 more than the median income of a full-time worker across all of Melbourne. Nor is it true that people have no choices; the CBD is well-serviced by public transport, which is how most people get there. The charges would only apply during peak periods. And commercial traffic can expect to pass the costs through to their customers, because their competitors would be paying the same charges. In the end, if particular roads are in high demand, it’s fairer that heavy users pay more than those who rarely or never use them.”

There’s precious little science in this political takeover ($) – Peter van Onselen (The Australian): “Reports of the death of Australian studies are anything but exaggerated. And it’s the academic system killing it. Any country should put the study of its history, culture and institutional frameworks front and centre. Doing so shouldn’t be a culture wars debate. In my field of political science, the top Australian scholarly journal — the Australian Journal of Political Science — barely rates a mention in international rankings. It should be the obvious first choice for the highest calibre of research on Australian politics, but it isn’t because academics are encouraged to publish in the highest-ranking journals. For anyone looking to rise from lecturer to professor, publishing in AusJPS is now of marginal value. As such, they adjust their research to win favour in overseas journals: drifting into comparative studies or, worse, international relations. As a result, Australian political studies is dying.”

Stripping people of citizenship makes the world less safe, not moreBen Doherty (The Guardian): Australia has denationalised 17 citizens since 2015; the UK has revoked the citizenship of about 120 people since 2016. At almost every occasion, denationalisation is argued by governments as strengthening a country’s citizenship by removing people who, by their beliefs or actions, never truly belonged anyway or are in some way undeserving of the “privilege” of nationality. In truth, denationalisation weakens the citizenship of all, by making the fundamental right of having a nation to which to belong precarious and contingent on behaviour.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Both houses of federal parliament will sit.

  • Independent MPs Helen Haines and Zali Steggall and Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie will hold a crossbench press conference on agriculture and climate, calling for the government to develop a robust national strategy.

  • The Australian Institute of International Affairs will hold its national conference, with speakers including Alex Hawke, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and Penny Wong, shadow minister for foreign affairs.

Melbourne

  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists will host its annual scientific meeting, with more than 1000 obstetricians and gynaecologists gathering to discuss women’s health.

  • Former ABC News Breakfast presenter Virginia Trioli will take up her position hosting the Mornings weekday radio show after the departure of John Faine.

  • The Victorian Homelessness Conference will begin, with Australia to learn from the Canadian approach to ending homelessness.

  • The aged care royal commission will hold a public hearing into the aged care workforce.

Sydney

  • The NSW ICAC’s Operation Ember public inquiry will continue, looking into allegations concerning roads and maritime services employees and how they awarded contracts.

Wollongong, NSW

  • The Disability Trust will host the inaugural Your Voice Your Choice Self Advocacy Conference for people with a disability, parents, carers and service providers.

Hobart

  • The PTSD: Mental Health Matters Conference will take place, with WorkCover board member Dr Rob Walters addressing the attendees.