SPARK IT UP
Business leaders are calling on the government to step up its fiscal efforts, demanding financial stimulus to “spark” Australia’s lagging economy, Nine reports.
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox called the IMF’s latest outlook — which saw Australia’s growth forecast slashed from 2.8% to 1.7% — “disturbing”, calling for tax cuts and infrastructure projects to be brought forward, sentiments echoed by Labor. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed to keep his “cool” on the economy ($), The Australian reports, standing by his belief that tax and interest rate cuts should do it, and claiming the planned surplus will shield Australia from “uncertain times”.
BIT OF A STRETCH
A “stretched” ASIO ($) has warned the government that it is overworked and underfunded, falling short in intelligence gathering and providing advice to security partners on foreign interference threats, The Australian reports.
Former director-general Duncan Lewis used the 2018-19 report, tabled in parliament on Wednesday, to argue the agency lacks sufficient funding, with an elevated terrorist threat and “unprecedented” foreign interference increasing its workload. The report also found that the threat from extreme right-wing groups had increased, with such groups “more cohesive and organised than they have been in previous years”, The Guardian notes.
MORE ADF SCRUTINY
An Afghan human rights report leaked to the ABC contains new and disturbing allegations of violence against unarmed civilians by Australian special forces.
The report into a March 2012 raid on a farming community in southern Afghanistan found that two villagers were shot and killed. Various other villagers were “roughed up” and injured, including a four-year-old boy. An Australian investigation found that the two dead men were combatants and that the raid was justified, but Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission claims otherwise, finding that all the dead and injured were unarmed civilians.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
My view has always been that politics is a beauty contest where the least ugly contestant wins.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Had Greens MPs or trade unionists been caught associating with a politician who traffics in stereotypes about Jewish financiers, Australia’s conservative media would have been — quite rightly — incandescent with rage. Why, then, haven’t the Liberals been pursued with the same ferocity over Orbán’s Australian cheer squad? The answer illuminates something about the evolution of modern racism. Orbán is an unabashed ethno-chauvinist who openly seeks to maintain ethnic homogeneity on the basis that ‘life has proven that too much mixing causes trouble’. Even while attacking Muslims and Africans as a Soros-inspired existential menace, Orbán explains that Hungary would ‘let in true refugees: Germans, Dutch, French and Italians … who here in Hungary want to find the Europe they have lost in their homelands’.”
“Labor’s difficulty in pivoting to the centre and the ‘burbs has been perfectly illustrated by the ISIS foreign fighter family issue. The party’s Right suits recently spent a few days doing what passes for debate on the right: grunting the word ‘aspirational’ at each other. This will get them out of the inner-city ghetto! Then Kristina Keneally launched an assault on the government from the liberal-Left, concerning the rights of such Australian citizens abroad, and Labor were back on Brunswick Street again.”
“More and more jobs and services are being outsourced to the gig economy. A 2019 study undertaken by Queensland University of Technology found that about 7% of Australians found work through the gig economy, with about 100 platforms to choose from. While food delivery and ride-share are the biggest contributors, other forms of gigging include web design, computer programming and even care work. And, Makkar said, these gig economy operators are increasingly using rating systems as a replacement for human resource services, which has created a loophole. ‘The responsibilities are less on [the companies] and more on the customers and contractors; this rating system is helping the company to manage people less. They’re using people to manage people.’”
Enough talk about job equality. Just do it, bosses – Pru Goward (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “But wait. Diversity is not rocket science. You want more women as executives, board members, construction hands, Telstra technicians or air traffic controllers? You want more ethnicity? You want more kids from public schools? Do what the books say: first, you measure what you have so there is a benchmark. What gets measured gets done. Then you do it. If the chief executive or board chair wants more women in the team, they should say so. Make it an instruction. Ditto race; make sure the number of freckle-faces around the room reflects the community you’re serving. Ditto disabilities, notwithstanding a job’s physical requirements. Ditto –and here is a big unmentionable elephant in the room – class. ”
HSC exams reduce children’s education history to a meaningless number ($) – Louise Roberts (The Daily Telegraph): “Every year in NSW we take a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds and reduce them to a number, their lifetime of achievement to date boiled down to a mere statistic. And this week — as the first HSC exam begins and those teen moods lurch with anxiety — we’re doing it again. It’s the closest thing we have to a rite of passage that pretty much everyone takes part in, a coming of age ritual that we hope will launch them into adulthood. Is this really the best we can offer young people? Yes, of course, this year as every year we hear the calls that the HSC is ‘not the be all and end all’, and that even with a less than stellar result, happiness and career success can still be on the cards. Well, up to a point.”
Dear Scott Morrison, I am so scared my ex-husband will kill me I keep a notebook marked ‘for the coroner’ ($) – Anonymous (The Guardian): “I do not need sympathy or hollow words, and nor do the other victims of domestic violence across our country. I need to know that my government cares enough about my life and the lives of my children to act now to implement what you already know needs to be done. It may very well be the case that the terms of reference of your new inquiry are important to many, but they should not undermine the safety of children and families who need you to act now. My concern about the fact of this inquiry is amplified by the appointment of senator Pauline Hanson as co-chair. Hanson has demonstrated through her own words that she is incapable of exercising impartiality in relation to these issues and is therefore an unsuitable choice to lead this piece of work. She has made it clear that she believes that women like me routinely lie about domestic violence. I can assure you, prime minister, that I have not lied, and I am genuinely distressed by Hanson’s comments. I am fearful that my abuser will take confidence from Hanson’s rhetoric and that I will be even less safe than I was before she so publicly called me, and other women like me, a liar.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack will join farmers to launch a new fitness program to improve health in rural and regional communities.
Witness K lawyer Bernard Collaery will return to the ACT Supreme Court for a pre-trial application.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell will host a press conference on the first day of this year’s HSC for students.
The Australasian Sleep Association Conference will host more than 800 sleep experts to reveal the latest research into sleep problems like insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, jet lag and snoring
World Animal Protection will hold a media doorstop at NSW Parliament House, ahead of an inquiry into the use of battery cages.
David Jones first standalone food store will be unveiled by ambassador Jessica Gomes.
A directions hearing will be held into death of an Indigenous man who died in a car crash during a police chase.
The World Solar Challenge will end, after starting in Darwin and travelling 3000km, crossing the finish line in Victoria Square.
Queensland Summer of Cricket will hold a launch featuring special guests including Glenn McGrath, Darren Lehmann, Chris Lynn, and Beth Mooney.