TRUMPED?

Democrats have unveiled articles of impeachment against US President Donald Trump, setting the stage for him to be impeached by the House of Representatives next week.

House judiciary chair Jerry Nadler, speaker Nancy Pelosi, intelligence chair Adam Schiff and other members of the Democratic leadership team have announced two articles of impeachment against Trump, one accusing him of abusing his presidential power and the other of obstructing Congress’s attempts to investigate his dealings with Ukraine. Leaders decided against including a third article relating to obstruction of justice based on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian election interference. Trump is likely to become the third president in US history to be impeached, although he is unlikely to be convicted and removed from office by the Senate.

YOU THINK?

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean says this is not normal” as smoke-covered Sydney’s air quality reaches levels 11 times worse than “hazardous”.

Buildings across Sydney are being regularly evacuated as fire alarms are triggered at random, while face masks have become a regular feature on the streets. Speaking at the Smart Energy Summit in Sydney, Kean said “no one can deny” that climate change is to blame for the conditions, saying it is “exactly what the scientists have warned us would happen”. Energy Minister Angus Taylor has addressed the UN Climate Change conference in Madrid, claiming Australia is backing an “unprecedented wave of clean energy investment($), while trade analyst Hervé Lemahieu warns Australia’s reputation and relationship with the EU is being damaged by the perception it’s “weaselling out” of its climate commitments.

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION LIMITED

A second draft of the religious discrimination bill has been released with tightened conscientious objection rules, Nine reports.

The government has defined “conscientious objection”, making it clear health workers will not have the right to discriminate against patients based on gender, sexuality or other characteristics, and limiting the protection to nurses, midwives, doctors, psychologists and pharmacists. Conscientious objectors must also be consistent in their denial of service, ensuring they object “to a procedure, not a person”. Religious charities will now also be able to hire staff based on their faith. Consultation is open until the end of January, with the government hoping to introduce the bill early next year. Meanwhile, head of Australia’s royal commission into child sex abuse Justice Peter McClellan has spoken publicly for the first time, condemning Catholic leaders for failing to recognise the sexual assault of children as a crime.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Obviously I look a plonker now. I was a smart alec — too clever by half.

Jonathan Ashworth

UK Labour’s shadow health minister admits he is a plonker, following an embarrassing leaked recording of him telling a friend why his party would lose.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

‘Questions to answer’: Death toll rises as probe launched into White Island tragedy

Government unveils new online safety law to force tech sector to ‘step up’

ASIC investigating large companies’ climate change risk management

Marise Payne hits out at China’s human rights record in veiled swipe

COAG review calls for funding certainty for preschool education

Westpac retail capital raising smashes target despite scandal

Bill Shorten loyalists shown the door as Anthony Albanese builds new team ($)

UK election: Labour win a ‘major risk’ as Johnson tumbles in polls ($)

Highest levels of police knew of Nicola Gobbo’s informing so I didn’t question it, Graham Ashton says

Chile Air Force searches for Antarctica-bound cargo plane which crashed with 38 onboard

Voluntary euthanasia becomes law in emotional scenes at WA Parliament

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Agriculture is our big productivity success story. So why aren’t we celebrating?

“Amidst a shocking drought, we should be celebrating the remarkable productivity of Australian agriculture, and the key role water trading has played in it. At a time when even the government admits that Australia’s productivity has slumped on its watch, we could be learning from one of our great productivity success stories — or realising that maybe productivity is not all it’s cracked up to be if you look at it from a different perspective.”


News Corp’s reports on Mexican drug cartels don’t tell the full story

“We don’t know for sure that the methamphetamine that’s sold and bought in Australian cities and towns has its provenance in Mexico, and we certainly don’t know the intended destination of the meth made in News Corp’s jungle lab. The News Corp story actually makes this pretty clear: its authoritative map of how meth may or may not travel from Sinaloa to Sydney suggests that the drug arrives via three ports on three different continents. For a monstrous mixture that is apparently being specifically sent to ‘target Australia’, the aim of this dangerous enemy seems… rather wide.”


Lest we forget George Christensen’s selective approach to free speech

“2017: During the Yassmin Abdel-Magied “LEST. WE. FORGET.” saga, free speech hard man Christensen surprised everyone by getting really offended, and calling for Abdel-Magied to be sacked because of something she said. This was a month after he approvingly tweeted a Noam Chomsky quote about free speech having to include speech you find abhorrent.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Scott Morrison is fiddling as Australia burnsKatharine Murphy (The Guardian“Ultimately, we get the politics we deserve. The obfuscation, the false comfort, the changing of the subject, the head-patting, will keep happening as long as we let it. It will keep happening as long as soft and hard denialism is enabled in mainstream media outlets, as long as journalists prioritise other lines of inquiry over rigorously pursuing accountability on this issue, and as long as Australian voters abdicate responsibility by telling themselves all political parties are as bad as each other so it doesn’t matter who you vote for. The only way things will change is if we choose, as a country, to do something else. To take responsibility. To demand something better. Because, ultimately, this, the future, is on us.”

The mystery of the missing tax refunds Shane Wright (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald):  “The world is full of mysteries. Why did the crew of the Mary Celeste abandon the ship? Do big cats reside in parts of Victoria and NSW? What do people see in the music of Nickelback? And here’s another one — what’s become of the tax refunds deposited in the bank accounts of millions of Australians since the start of the new financial year? The low- and middle-income tax offset, the centrepiece of the Josh Frydenberg’s first budget, promised people earning between $50,000 and almost $90,000 tax relief worth $1080. Millions of others would also get some respite.

Who listens to the radio? Far too few in the Pacific ($) – Annmaree O’Keeffe (The Australian): “The aid budget has hit a record high, defence engagement has been enhanced and diplomatic posts are being opened in the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue, Palau and Marshall Islands. But Australia’s well-respected broadcasting voice into the region, Radio Australia, has been stepped down. While the government acknowledges that Australia’s future is deeply intertwined with the Pacific, it has failed to include in its tools of engagement its international public broadcaster, which for 80 years has been Australia’s looked-to voice of credible news and information.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Witness K lawyer Bernard Collaery is due to appear before the ACT Supreme Court.

  • Communications Minister Paul Fletcher will address the National Press Club on keeping Australians safe online and the role of the eSafety commissioner.

Melbourne

  • The Lawyer X informer royal commission will hear evidence from Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton.

Sydney

  • The Sydney is Choking Climate Emergency rally will protest government inaction.

  • Emergency service, insurance, local government and union officials will be among those appearing at a public hearing into flammable cladding on NSW buildings.

  • A number of unions will attend a global rally protesting the horrific killing and arrest of trade union leaders in the Philippines.

Griffith, New South Wales

  • A public hearing will be held into the management and execution of the Murray Darling Basin plan.

Brisbane

  • John Shipton, the father of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, will hold a press conference.

  • Climate protesters will shut down the Go Between toll bridge, dressed in red and orange to symbolise the fires that are uncontrollably burning across the continent.

Emerald, Queensland

  • Labor leader Anthony Albanese will continue his tour of regional Queensland with a visit to the Ensham coal mine.

Darwin

  • The alleged Darwin mass shooter will face court.

Israel

  • An Israeli court will assess whether former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer is mentally fit to face an extradition trial on child sex abuse charges.