Scott Morrison Josh Frydenberg fiscal policy

NINE TO FIVE

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will today announce a new drive to get older Australians to work longer, pushing for re-training options to keep over-60s in the jobs market to boost the economy, Nine reports.

Frydenberg will deliver the 2019 CEDA Annual Dinner address, reviewing the past year, the state of the economy and the government’s priorities for the year ahead. He is expected to use the address to argue for new policies to address Australia’s ageing population and ensure the economic heavy-lifting is not left to a diminishing number of younger people ($). The government will release the latest intergenerational report by March 2020, with many of the promises underpinning Joe Hockey’s 2014 report having since been ditched, Nine notes.

PROTESTERS BESIEGED

Hundreds of activists remain trapped by police inside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, with a police spokesman saying surrender is their only option, The Guardian reports. Police are ignoring calls from parents and principals to allow the student protesters to leave safely, firing tear gas both at activists trying to escape and those trying to reach them from outside. Authorities say they have allowed Red Cross medics inside the campus to treat the injured, with those requiring hospitalisation permitted to leave. Protesters who are arrested risk being charged with rioting, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

The Chinese ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming has accused “some western countries” of supporting “extreme violent offenders”, singling out Britain as taking sides.

PIN IT ON PAULINE

Poor leadership on the extreme right may have saved Australia from an outbreak of right-wing populism, a Senate nationhood inquiry has heard. 

Academic experts Glenn Kefford and Duncan McDonnell argued that “radical right populism” has remained a “marginal force” in Australian politics due to “leadership problems” rather than to a lack of demand for it, noting “Australia may be like countries such as Finland and Sweden where, once an effective populist leader of a well-organised party emerged, radical right populism quickly flourished in societies where experts had previously thought it would not”. The major parties have been urged to put populist parties last on their how-to-vote cards, “as happened, until recently, with One Nation”. The inquiry has been criticised by the Greens for soliciting submissions on extremism on both the right and the left.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

From my point of view, the politics was something I had to do in order to get into a position to deliver on the policy outcomes and on the good government, but for some people it is an end in itself.

Malcolm Turnbull

The former prime minister separates himself from those who enjoy the “politics of politics” ($).

READ ALL ABOUT IT

‘Cold peace’: Tony Abbott, Paul Keating at odds over approach to China

Jacinda Ardern says she was kept in the dark over arrival of Manus refugee Behrouz Boochani

Strip-searches: NSW police commissioner ‘shrill and misleading’ for linking searches to knife crime

Scientist says rightwing thinktank misrepresented her Great Barrier Reef study

Gender pay gap: Employer secrecy around staff pay is fuelling inequality, says expert

Blackouts risk to force states’ hand on coal ($)

Infrastructure projects to be rolled out earlier ($)

Prison computer ‘not suitable’ for Julian Assange, court told

‘Don’t do what the UK did’: Aussies sound warning at Dutton’s visa plan

‘Take him out’: Police radio calls reveal panic to stop Bourke Street driver

‘Uncle Craig’s been cranky’: McLachlan kissed, groped performers, court told

Another total fire ban day for Sydney as mercury climbs, winds shift

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

PM defied his own expert panel during apology speech to child sex abuse survivors

“Documents obtained by Inq, as well as interviews we’ve conducted with key players, show that the prime minister departed from a tightly choreographed set of actions and words, several months in the planning, when he used the term ‘ritual sex abuse’ to refer to the institutional sex abuse uncovered by the McClellan royal commission. The term normally refers to satanic ritual abuse, an extremely rare practice for which there is little evidence. Inq has previously revealed that Morrison family friend and leading Australian promoter of the extremist US-based QAnon conspiracy movement, Tim Stewart, had been pushing for the words ‘ritual abuse’ to be included in the prime minister’s speech, as part of QAnon’s agenda to expose Luciferian or Satan-worshipping paedophiles who they believe secretly run the world.”


Climate denialism is bought and paid for by a rotten political system

“Climate denialism and the unwillingness of Australian politicians to devise effective climate action policies is no fluke, any more than the long-term willingness of the Liberal Party to defend the big banks and enable their misconduct was a fluke. It was the result of millions in donations, the influence of industry figures at both staffer and political levels, and the capacity of mining companies to offer politicians lucrative jobs after they leave public office. That’s how power works in Australia, and it happens out of sight, courtesy of a near-complete lack of transparency about how influence is wielded — and the strange reluctance of the media to explain it.”


Is Facebook really committed to combating fake news?

“Facebook has made some pretty conflicting statements around combating fake news. It has said it’s ‘working to fight the spread of false news’; a grave responsibility ‘[it takes] seriously’. But at the same time, the social media giant’s managers don’t want to be ‘arbiters of truth’. Removing fake news during the Australian election, they claimed, ‘not our role’. So perhaps it comes as no surprise when fake posts — which first started appearing before the election — reared their ugly heads again, Facebook has once more declined to step in.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

What would I know about hellfire? I’m just a koala Warwick McFadyen/a koala (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “My fur is singed. It gives off the lingering stench of fire. There is smoke through my skin, dust coats my frame. I have not had moisture for days. My food is ash. I am lucky, picked out from the debris; many others did not survive. Why did this happen to me? Why us? One of you says the fire is a judgment from God. He, Israel Folau, says this land is full of a wickedness that goes against his truths. The droughts, the fires, they are the spears of his power that strike at the heart of darkness. Now, I am fearful of locusts. Though perhaps locusts should also be fearful. The wrath of his God is indiscriminate. It is random, and thus being so, strikes at all creatures, great and small. It is not just fires, but actions of men and women, all must be razed to ground zero, smouldering, scorched, until the one true way to his ideal is met. I carry his words like a chain around my emaciated neck. The dead carry his words on their bones.”

There’s no point in homing in on Age Pension asset test ($) – Judith Sloan (The Australian): “Read my lips: this government will not include the value of the family home — even part of its value — in the Age Pension asset test. Neither will the next government, nor the one after that. We can talk about it, but it is not going to happen anytime soon. The case put by some, mainly younger commentators, is it’s ­unfair to allow older people with valuable homes to receive the Age Pension, even if it’s a part pension. They should monetise the value of their homes in some way to provide for their retirements. It’s essentially a value statement rather than one about sensible retirement incomes policy or fiscal sustainability.”

Israel Folau is the Greta Thunberg of ChristianityJames Morrow (The Daily Telegraph): “Greta Thunberg and Israel Folau are both apocalyptic preachers of doom who warn that we will all burn unless we repent and change what they say are our sinful, materialist, pleasure-seeking ways. Both use information – be it Bible verses or snippets of IPCC reports – selectively to warn us that the End Times are near. And both are surely as deeply sincere as they are monumentally misguided. Yet on the one hand, Folau’s preaching is quickly dismissed by 99 per cent of those who hear it, with only the grumpiest of Twitter atheists suggesting that it is any way an accurate reflection of Christian doctrine But on the other, the very same people who tell us to ‘trust the experts’ will, when the moment is right, pivot on their heel sand take the word of a teenage media sensation who has never spent a moment crunching temperature data or taking ice core samples or even diving a reef.”

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The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney

  • The NDIS joint standing committee will undertake inquiries into supported independent living.

  • The Bureau of Meteorology and NSW Health will together hold a media conference to inform the community of developing heatwave conditions.

  • The Reserve Bank will release the minutes from its monthly board meeting, offering some detail of the reasoning behind its cash rate decision.

Melbourne

  • Ten puppies will help launch stage two of a program helping veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder, led by La Trobe University and funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Adelaide

  • Key government, business and community leaders will look at growth opportunities and disruptions facing South Australia at CEDA’s 2019 “State of SA”.

Fremantle

  • Sport Minister Mick Murray and Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk will join players from the Fremantle Dockers Women to announce plans to increase opportunities for women in sports leadership.

  • The fifth Sumbarine, Science, Technology and Engineering Conference will be held.

Southport, Queensland

  • The standing committee on communications and the arts will hold a public hearing for its inquiry into the deployment, adoption and application of 5G in Australia.