Australia-China Huang Xiangmo Chinese lobbyist blocked communist party
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

AUSTRALIA’S BIG DILEMMA

Australia is facing “the most consequential changes in the global environment since WWII”, DFAT warns, with “populism, nationalism and authoritarianism” disrupting the global system.

Internal briefing documents, prepared for Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham, reveal concerns regarding the rise of China, “increasing illiberalism” and “democratic backsliding”. The papers — released to Nine under Freedom of Information laws, 80% redacted — argue for increased assistance in the Indo-Pacific, suggesting the need to “limit coercive power”. Hong Kong, meanwhile, is on the “brink of total breakdown”, police have warned, following a day of “unprecedented violence”.

BUSHFIRE THREATS

A number of bushfires are still burning at an emergency level, with crews battling blazes through the night and the army expected to be deployed to assist in the firefighting.

The “biggest firefront in the ­nation’s history” ($) has burnt out a million hectares of land, with NSW’s north coast copping the brunt of it ($). Firefighters fought 300 new fires on Tuesday, with early estimates that up to a dozen homes have been damaged or destroyed. The firefighting chief has warned that the worst is yet to come, with an intense dry spell across Australia set to persist into summer.

For the latest updates on the bushfires, visit the NSW RFS and Qld RFS websites.

TARGETING DISCRIMINATION

A suicide prevention summit will be held in Canberra today, bringing together mental health experts, bureaucrats and community leaders to help develop the government’s Towards Zero strategy, Nine reports.

National Mental Health Commission chief Christine Morgan, who was appointed by the prime minister to lead the strategy, says the forum will look to form connections in the delivery of services, as well as “seek and test” best practices from around the world. Morgan tells The Guardian that discrimination is the biggest barrier to suicide prevention, saying she has been shocked by the level of stigma — personal, societal and structural — that Australians face upon revealing they have attempted self-harm.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I acknowledge that the two people who died were most likely people who voted for the Green party.

Barnaby Joyce

The former deputy prime minister hypothesised the voting histories of two bushfire victims.

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Lord mayor backs a pill-testing trial but Andrews just says ‘no’

NSW Planning Minister rejects claims of mining lobby influence as bill delayed

Local councillors, candidates free to solicit big donations

Downer says Assange should not expect Australian intervention

Interest rate cuts causing pain for no substantial gain ($)

Angus Taylor: Minister to face grilling over doctored City of Sydney travel documents

Afghanistan: Taliban prisoners released in bid to free Australian and US kidnap victims

‘Declaration of war’: Violence flares after Israel kills Palestinian Islamic Jihad figures

UK election: Labour reveals it suffered large-scale cyber-attack

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Nationals’ climate hysteria exposes party’s fundamental flaw

“Why have Nationals MPs refused to shift with their own base to accept climate change exists and the need to address it? The answer lies in the reason the Nationals exist at all. They are unique in Australian politics in rejecting the idea of any kind of national interest as their raison d’être, instead existing purely to manipulate the democratic system to deliver rewards to a sectional interest, agricultural communities and, to a lesser extent, regional communities more broadly. National policy challenges — let alone international ones — are outside the Nationals’ remit; if it can’t be monetised into funding that can be handed to farmers then it doesn’t exist.”


War hero’s reputation fought on the media frontline

A former journalist for the West told Crikey the paper’s approach was heavy-handed. ‘The sheer level of pushback that the West did really early on was really extraordinary,’ they said. ‘Most of the people knew what the view would be … a lot didn’t want anything to do with it. Kerry Stokes was feral in defence of Roberts-Smith.’ But it’s no surprise the rhetoric took this turn — Seven West media boss Stokes is deeply interested in the Australian military. He’s bought medal sets of war heroes and is the chairman of the Australian War Memorial Council. Stokes works alongside former defense minister Brendan Nelson at the War Memorial, while former West editor Bob Cronin is on the board of Bravery Trust, a charity for veterans.”


What right does Gable Tostee have to protect his reputation?

“The point is that a search for the correct answer here is necessarily doomed. Whether viewed from the perspective of a victim of alleged wrongdoing, the alleged perpetrator of the alleged wrong, the hopefully impartial media trying to report something newsworthy, or bystanders who are seeking to extend a protective arc over future victims by sharing knowledge or suspicions of risk derived from what’s already transpired, it isn’t possible in any particular case to nail down with certainty which rights of which people should stand highest. What can be said is that, in Australia, the balance is not appropriately set. It favours reputation over speech and, more damagingly, over the right of a victim to be heard.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

‘This is our new normal’: Regional mayors on bushfires and climate changeMidCoast Council deputy mayor Claire Pontin (The Guardian): “Up on the New South Wales mid-north coast, we don’t have many inner-city greenies. What we do have is a community that’s battling the worst fire conditions we’ve ever seen, and looking down the barrel of what might be the hardest week we’ve had to face. As our magnificent fire service works hard to contain the blazes threatening local lives and properties, it is galling to hear the deputy prime minister condemning anyone who draws the link between bushfires and climate change. Frankly, he’s pretty out of touch with how many people in my community are feeling right now.”

Prayers aren’t enough Prime Minister Shiann Broderick (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Australia is on fire. The federal government must take urgent action on climate change. Scientists and firefighters have been warning about the consequences of doing nothing for so long. Surely now, with multiple fires burning throughout NSW and Queensland, Scott Morrison must realise that doing nothing is not an option any longer. I’m heartbroken at what’s happened but I’m also angry. I’m angry that the government is not adequately addressing the climate crisis. We thank you for your thoughts and prayers Prime Minister, but we need action.”

After the fires, we’ll have combustive issues to resolve ($) – Paul Kelly (The Australian): The Greens exist for the polit­ics of climate change, so manipul­ating the destruction of lives and property in this cause is no surprise. It is their core business and belief set. If people find it loathsome, the Greens will live with that. They ride an existential movement — the global lurch to extreme climate policy from the Green New Deal in the US to the Extinction Rebellion protesters in the cities of the West. The spat between senior Greens Richard Di Natale and Adam Bandt on one hand and Nationals leaders Michael McCormack and John Barilaro on the other is part of the battle for the political soul of regional Australia and how the nation should respond to the changing climate. This is about politics, not science. The science is used as a political weapon.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • The High Court will rule on whether disgraced cardinal George Pell can appeal his child sexual abuse conviction.

Melbourne

  • Coles will hold its inugural AGM as a singularly listed entity, with potential backlash from shareholders over accusations of labour abuses in fresh food supply chains.

  • The University of Melbourne will host Ross Garnaut and energy market experts Audrey Zibelman and Rod Sims to discuss Australia’s low-carbon opportunities.

  • A trial will start for former lawyer George Defteros, who is suing Google over unflattering search results linked to his time defending Melbourne underworld figures.

  • Special counsel at Lander & Rogers Amie Frydenberg (wife of Josh Frydenberg) will speak at a Future Women event about the challenges of juggling a demanding career while raising a young family.

Brisbane

  • CEDA chief economist Jarrod Ball and other experts will discuss their latest report on disrupting disadvantage by breaking the cycle at an early stage.

  • Reef Check Australia will release its South East Queensland Season Summary Report.

Adelaide

  • Former union boss Bill Kelty will deliver the annual Bob Hawke lecture, paying tribute to his long-time friend.

  • CEDA will welcome anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite to discuss the untapped potential of the ageing workforce.

Sydney

  • Gabrielle Suhr and Charles Peters will present a mixed-use, affordable, rental co-housing scheme at Architecture Street’s “Affordable Housing: Potential and Possibilities” event.

  • The Sydney Dementia Network will host its 2019 annual conference.