Scott Morrison drought relief fund


The government will today unveil a $1 billion drought stimulus package, with interest-free loans and funding for regional infrastructure projects, Nine reports.

Drought-stricken farmers will be given access to loans to help restructure debt, while small businesses dependent on agriculture will have access to loans of up to $500,000. The package will also allocate hundreds of millions to regional infrastructure projects — $200 million (redirected from the Building Better Regions Fund) for special drought projects, and $140 million for upgrades and maintenance of roads. This includes an extension of the controversial Drought Communities Program, offering an additional six councils $1 million, with an additional million for the 122 councils that have already received funding, the ABC reports.


Labor leader Anthony Albanese privately dressed down frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon last month over his call for the party to reach a “sensible settlement” on emissions targets, The New Daily reports. The two reportedly argued for 35 minutes, with Albanese telling Fitzgibbon his intervention was “unhelpful”, in one of multiple MP reprimands in recent months.

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Allies of former leader Bill Shorten plan to “retaliate publicly” if the party’s election post-mortem places too much blame on the former leader ($), The Australian reports. The review, led by Jay Weatherill and Craig ­Emerson, is due to be handed to the ALP national executive in Melbourne­ today.


Future generations will face rising sea levels and coastal inundations into the 2300s, even if governments meet climate commitments, research has found. Lag time between rising temperatures and rising sea levels mean that the world will now be dealing with an increase of about 20cm by the year 2300, even with prompt action on climate crisis, according to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Meanwhile, an ANU study looking at past Antarctic ice melt has revealed the potential for “extreme sea-level rises”, finding rises during the last major melt (130,000 years ago) were faster than previously believed — a pace expected to be exceeded under human-led climate change.


I have people stopping me in the street and asking me when their school is going to get an upgrade … I don’t have them stopping me in the street asking how is the ALP review going.

Tanya Plibersek

The former Labor deputy reckons it’s time to quit the navel-gazing and move on.


Native forest logging to be banned in Victoria by 2030

Medibank chief Craig Drummond lashes suppliers ($)

Tories off to bad start after Johnson visits Queen to dissolve Parliament

World leaders issue warning over Iran’s ‘explicit and blunt’ move away from nuclear deal

Liberal official admits Chinese language signs at polling booths were meant to look like they came from AEC

Ken Wyatt promises greater penalties for art dealers exploiting elderly Aboriginal artists

Underpay bosses face bans, says Christian Porter ($)

Victorian Liberals at war over early preselection plans

CFMMEU-funded independents helped Liberals steal two key seats

Bring forward tax cuts, nation’s biggest banks urge government

Extinction Rebellion wins court challenge against London police ban

Total fire ban for Sydney with strong winds, hot temperatures forecast


Welcome to Stasiland Down Under

“The learning experience continues at News Corp when it comes to government attacks on free speech. Having discovered that the national security laws it championed in recent years could be used to intimidate its own journalists, the company now realises, with a shock, that they can also be directed at its political allies and even prominent Liberals. Who’d have thought giving bureaucrats ever more draconian powers had a downside?”

The quest for a boycott ban leads the Liberals into deeply unliberal waters

“One thing that Morrison has established is that he’s not afraid of starting a pointless and divisive fight, purely for the purpose of exploiting the Labor Party’s agonising over how to upset fewer voters at the next election than it did last time. The key constituency, they’ve decided, is (you guessed it) the quiet one. This is not, therefore, about good law making. Nor is it about an appropriate balancing of human rights with the rule of law. It definitely has nothing to do with a concern for preserving the foundations of democratic society. It is, solely, an expression of Morrison’s unique combination of interests: politics as sport, and religion as politics. The meek (who have a go) shall inherit the earth (and get a go). Everyone else, shush. Or you’ll get pepper sprayed.”

Did Centrelink just admit its debt collectors have mandatory targets?

“It looks like the Department of Human Services (DHS) might have been caught out in a lie, if a recent job ad we spotted is anything to go by. The advertisement, posted by recruitment agency Chandler Macleod, called for applications for multiple ‘Debt Recovery Officers’ for its ‘Federal Government Client’. The ad strongly suggests Centrelink debt recovery officers are given set targets. It’s no secret that Chandler Macleod has been recruiting staff for the department: since 2017, DHS has awarded the agency several labour hire contracts, including one in 2017-18 worth $226 million. The successful applicant would be required to ‘raise debts and negotiate suitable recovery arrangements for customers and organisations’, and ‘research and examine evidence from customers and third parties for the purpose of assessing health and welfare payments’. Notably, the ad says applicants must be able to ‘work towards and reach daily KPI’s and targets’.”


More oil won’t fire this broken engine: the case for economic reform over stimulusDominic Perrottet (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Paul Keating recently likened the economy to a car idling at the lights and advocated large-scale infrastructure projects as one way to get the economy motoring. But delivering even further stimulus would be like oiling a broken engine. The problem isn’t the amount of oil – it’s the engine. One voice that’s stood out from the crowd in the debate is that of Peter Costello, Australia’s treasurer during the last great era of economic reform. In September, Costello cast doubt on the value of further interest rate cuts, and suggested the government focus more on productivity reform to stimulate wage growth.”

Doing nothing might be the best option for dealing with activists ($) – Niki Savva (The Australian): “Whatever the motive — and we should also consider the possibility it was a message about the potential traps in certain legislation — The Weekend Australian’s story of the pursuit of a former prime minister on such spurious grounds should send a loud warning to government about unintended consequences from the framing or enforcement of laws by bureaucrats or police that can shut down or frustrate legitimate dissent or free speech, entrench discrimination, add to conflict or become a tool to intimidate media and whistleblowers. Business leaders have mostly welcomed Scott Morrison’s intention to consider new laws cracking down on secondary boycotts by activists. They worry that the targeting of businesses will get worse, whether they be coalmines or Melbourne Cup lunches, but they urge caution, fearing new laws could come back to bite them all on the bum.”

We have utterly betrayed the Depression generation ($) –Terry Sweetman (The Daily Telegraph): “The awful truth being incrementally revealed is that we have created a society in which security and certainty are no longer the birthright of Australians, if ever they were. Those a generation or three behind me are confronted with a casualised labour market in which career paths are uncertain and salaries are insecure. Institutions we trusted, and sometimes loved, have betrayed us to satisfy the venal and carnal appetites of an unprincipled, unrestrained, vainglorious and cynical few.”


The Latest Headlines



  • Ex-military lawyer David McBride will appear in court for a directions hearing, after allegedly leaking classified documents to the ABC about Australian war crimes.

  • The 2020 WA Australian of the Year winners will be announced.


  • A meeting of all Australian environment ministers will be held, covering topics including plastic waste and environment law review.


  • Alan Jones will MC a tribute dinner for former PM Tony Abbott, with Scott Morrison, John Howard, Peter Dutton, Josh Frydenberg and Angus Taylor among those attending.

  • An inquest will hand down its findings on the suspected drug overdoses of young people at NSW music festivals.

  • Former Greens senator Scott Ludlam will face court after he was arrested during an Extinction Rebellion protest.

  • NSW building commissioner David Chandler will release an interim report to Mascot Towers owners with five recommendations regarding rehabitation.

  • BHP will hold its AGM, with the company expected to face pressure from shareholders over its actions on climate change.


  • The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme will undertake inquiries into the implementation and performance of the NDIS.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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