AH, COME ON, PAULINE
Attorney-General Christian Porter appears close to winning crossbench support for his union-busting Ensuring Integrity Bill, having agreed to additional amendments proposed by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, Nine reports.
Under the amendments, which Hanson says she drafted “after listening to the unions and their members who took the time to consult with my office”, only officials convicted of criminal offences or fined over significant workplace law breaches can be disqualified. The government needs the support of either One Nation or Jacqui Lambie to pass the bill, which it has listed for Monday’s Senate program. The PM, meanwhile, used last night’s speech to the Business Council of Australia to flag plans to simplify enterprise bargaining and the national award system, in a “fresh look” at industrial relations.
Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer does not intend to resign, despite the bank being accused of breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws 23 million times over, Nine reports.
Financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC launched legal action against the bank yesterday, alleging “systemic non-compliance” with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. Hartzer has apologised, saying he is “disgusted and appalled”, but rejected claims senior management was indifferent to the risks that triggered the breach. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is also “appalled”, and has reiterated calls for the banking sector to fix its processes and procedures ($), The Australian reports. Westpac shares dropped 3.3% ($) yesterday, wiping more than $3.1 billion from its market value, as it faces penalties of up to $3.7 billion.
DISGUSTED AND APPALLED
The world is on track to produce 50% more fossil fuels than can be burned without increasing global temperatures beyond a safe climate limit, The Guardian reports. Currently planned coal, oil and gas output will make the Paris climate goal impossible, with fossil fuel production in 2030 estimated at 50% more than is consistent with 2°C, and 120% more than that for 1.5°C.
Australia’s bushfire threat has spread to Victoria, with emergency services declaring the first code red since 2010. And in South Australia, catastrophic conditions and record heat yesterday saw a property lost, as the CFS battled 45 fires across the state.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Yeah, I believe in God. Sure. It’s very dangerous not to … (crowd laughs) Never know what could happen!
The attorney-general offers up what The Australian calls “an accidental insight into life under the Messiah from the Shire” ($).
READ ALL ABOUT IT
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“Things are about to get messy for Australia’s international relationships. The decision by Swedish prosecutors to close their long-running investigation of Julian Assange (for a second time; the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm dismissed all but one of the allegations in 2010, before political figures intervened) leaves the Australian government with less and less room to hide on the key question of whether it will object to the prosecution of an Australian for his journalism.”
“Inq understands AAT president Justice David Thomas and the attorney-general came under pressure to act after Inq’s revelations of rampant political stacking of the AAT — a quasi-judicial body which, in its own words, is meant to conduct ‘independent’ merit reviews of migration, refugee, social security and other decisions by government ministers, departments and agencies. Our investigation revealed that, in the last six years, the government has refashioned the membership of the AAT, turning over 70% of members in the name of reflecting ‘community values’.”
“Israel Folau is a good… well… a Christian man, so he will not be surprised to see that his erstwhile supporters on the right have vanished. The Gethsemane moment came after he preached at his church that the current bushfires were divine punishment for same-sex marriage and abortion legalisation. The Guardian and Nine reported on it, and The Australian gave it a mention when the big banana Alan Jones came out to chide him for, you know, saying and believing exactly the same things he was hitherto defended for. But of course Folau had said that LGBTQ people (I’m not sure of his position on ‘I’, intersex folk) would burn in hell. Now he’s saying they’ll burn in New South Wales.”
The white system gets in the way of our law – and now we are scared of our sons being shot – Theresa Alice and Amelia Turner (The Guardian): “We are two grandmothers who work as traditional healers at the Akeyulerre Healing Centre in Alice Springs. We can’t sit down; we all need to stand up and be united. This is not just one nation suffering. As Aboriginal people we are all suffering. We are giving the Yuendumu families our support. They took away a life that was so young. People want to know the truth. As a mother you feel hurt and as a grandmother. Our spirits are crying – it is affecting his family but it is affecting everyone. When you read it in the newspaper it is the police’s story, but talking to the families we hear a different story. Everyone has bad experiences of the police coming to our family homes, making people feel scared. Our young people are being stopped just walking down the street. They are harassed and are not safe. We are watching our families going into paddy wagons, courts and prison. We feel as if we are suffocating. The law is suffocating us. Our voices are being stopped.”
Morrison is right about one thing – we’re sick of the drama – Jessica Irvine (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): “Overall, Morrison strikes a chord when he diagnoses that Australians are sick of the ‘drama’. But that doesn’t mean they don’t also want solutions to the more pressing challenges of our time, including climate change, a shifting taxation base and missing real wages growth. Forgive me if I read some deeper meaning in Morrison’s commentary that he is, indeed, serious about overseeing a return to a more rigorous policymaking environment, one in which policy problems are clearly identified and explained to the public, competing solutions are canvassed in consultation with interested parties, and an agreed solution is landed upon, clearly explained and implemented. Following such a process is no guarantee of ultimate policy success – just look at carbon pricing. But policymaking is almost guaranteed to fail if you don’t at least try it.”
Learning Mandarin would help Australians know the Chinese better ($) – Chinese embassy charge d’affaires Wang Xining (The Australian): “Over the past six months since I assumed my post in Canberra it has been shocking to learn that so much attention has been fixed on China by fellow Australians. It was equally shocking to find that so much distortion had occurred in the local portrait of my homeland. According to the descriptions by some Aussies and media reports, China seems to me an alien country, not the place where I grew up over the past half a century. One of the major reasons for this disparity in understanding China is that the Chinese perspective, the views of ordinary Chinese citizens, has seldom surfaced in this corner of the world. People indulge themselves in a self-righteous cognitive universe structured by ideologically censored or linguistically filtered information.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
The economics committee will scrutinise the superannuation sector.
At a CEDA event, North East Link CEO Duncan Elliott will outline progress on the massive Victorian infrastructure project.
The Victorian Farmers Federation will hold a gala dinner to celebrate its 40th birthday.
A directions hearing will take place in the Josh Frydenberg citizenship challenge.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore will announce the 2019 Sydney Christmas program.
The Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research and UNSW School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering will host the Off-Earth Mining Forum.
Deborah Mailman will host the 13th annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Traditional owners from South Australia will continue their opposition to an underground coal gasification project at Leigh Creek Energy’s AGM.
WA Minister for Energy Bill Johnston will speak at the 2019 Clean Energy Forum.
Drought-affected farmers and growers are invited to meet with federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud in Meekatharra and Kalgoorlie.