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TRIAL AND ERRORS

In a matter of hours, Donald Trump is all but certain to become the third president in United States history to be impeached.

While Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives are ready to approve the two impeachment charges, their Republican counterparts are going to extreme lengths to defend the president’s honour, arguing Jesus had a fairer trial, and this impeachment will set the bar so low that every future president will be impeached too.

Trump is expected to face a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate next month, and it is unlikely they will vote to remove him from office.

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Trump sent a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the eve of the vote, arguing he had been treated worse than “those accused in the Salem witch trials”.

BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY, STILL ON FIRE THE NEXT

After Australia’s hottest day on record, the weather bureau warns things are likely to get worse by the end of the week, with towns in northern Victoria and southern NSW tipped to break ­December records.

All of which is terrible news for bushfire-ravaged NSW, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian warning of “very unpredictable fire conditions” when the heatwave combines with forecast 100km/h winds, threatening to worsen bushfires already burning out of control.

On Tuesday, the national average temperature was 40.9 degrees, beating the previous record of 40.3 degrees from January 2013. On Wednesday, Adelaide hit 43.7 degrees, Melbourne 40.1 degrees and Canberra 38.8 degrees. ­Meanwhile, Perth broke its all-time December record for the most consecutive days over 40 degrees last week and experienced record-breaking bushfire risks.

WESTPAC IS ALL CLASS ACTION

Westpac has been served with a shareholder class-action lawsuit over transactions AUSTRAC allege were used to finance child exploitation material.

Law firm Phi Finney McDonald has filed a suit in the Federal Court of Australia, seeking damages on behalf of investors who bought shares in the bank between December 2013 and November 2019.

The suit alleges Westpac deceived investors by failing to disclose the extent of AUSTRAC’s risk management concerns, and that the bank failed to properly assess its money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

“A part of the concern about Scott Morrison’s undeclared holiday could stem from the fact that the country is being led by a person who two-thirds of Australians have never heard of.”

The Australia Insistute

Turns out, only 32% of the country could pick acting prime minister Michael McCormack out of a line up of one.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The 2019 politician of the year fought hard for free speech and a free press

“[Andrew] Wilkie has done something else that the major parties are unable to do: speak up on Australia’s greatest political scandal — the illegal bugging of the Timor-Leste cabinet by the Howard government, its ensuing cover-up by both sides of politics and the harassment and prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery. Wilkie revealed the vexatious prosecution of K and Collaery by Attorney-General Christian Porter last year and has continued to talk about it — something only one major party federal MP, Labor’s Graham Perrett, has been prepared to do.”


‘I just want to find something meaningful, that accepts I’m a bit different’

“None of the jobseekers Inq spoke to found long-term employment through their provider; all said their experiences had negatively impacted their mental health.  Most had tried to change providers at least once; but, as in the case of [Rebecca] Turner, it proved difficult. Her consultant had given her unsolicited medical advice, before requesting Turner enquire if the consultant could also work at her new job. To change providers, Turner would have to go back to her initial provider. “Because of the uncomfortable experience, I don’t want to do that.” Turner has cerebral palsy and a general anxiety disorder and has since been found eligible for the disability support pension.”


Jeremy Corbyn was doomed from the start

“Polls after poll has shown that without Brexit, support for the two major parties equalises, or did, confirming the 2017 election result. But the Corbyn team were trapped. They did not think, I suspect, that they could hold out until a scheduled election in 2022, even though that would have been a better election to fight (wave through Theresa May’s least worst Brexit deal, will of people etc, then relentlessly attack as things got worse, Brexit failing to deliver moonbeam pie). “

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Victorian Police to get high-powered guns in drive to sweep terror off streets

New NAB chief says bank must lift its game, tells senior execs ‘fear me’

New work safety guidelines needed to address heat and smoke: ACTU

Medevac asylum seekers detained in a Melbourne hotel for months

Police investigating WA Labor staffer’s Christmas party incident

Corruption watchdog lays fresh public office misconduct charges against Moreton Bay Regional Council mayor 

Lynton Crosby lobby shop doubles down on Trump’s America ($)

Former corporate raider charged over child abuse material

The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald respond to Ben Roberts-Smith

Labor brawl over access to sex-trip MP Phil Edman’s laptop ($)

Equinor’s environment plan to drill the Great Australian Bight has been signed off by the federal regulator ($)

Ellyse Perry wins top honours as Australian players scoop ICC awards

THE COMMENTARIAT

Climate change deniers fiddle as the nation burns ($) — Mark Butler (The Australian): “Australia’s responsibility under the Paris Agreement is to reduce the emissions produced in Australia. But, as the world’s largest exporter of coal and gas, we are highly exposed to any action the rest of the world takes to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. And it’s an inescapable fact: to meet the commitments of the Paris climate agreement, the world needs to transition off fossil fuels.

Scott Morrison’s holiday is not the problem, his lack of leadership on the bushfires is — Katherine Murphy (The Guardian): “I don’t give a shit if Morrison is on the beach, right now, with a crime novel, or if he’s dancing in a bar like nobody is watching, or if he’s trying to meditate at a yoga retreat while secretly firing off insights on WhatsApp.  What I give a shit about is we have a government, led by him, which is, in many different ways, failing to rise to the challenges of our time. They. Are. Failing. I get very impatient about that.”

Don’t let new age puritans kybosh ecotourism: it gets a qualified tickRoss Gittins (The Age): “It’s true that, in an ideal world, we’d all stay at home admiring nature from afar and insisting the politicians keep the outback – and other continents’ backblocks – locked up and in pristine condition. Where damage had already been done, we’d happily pay high taxes to compensate farmers, miners and tour operators for closing their businesses, and to restore the land to its former state. No, not going to happen. Those who live in far-flung parts aren’t going to renounce the material ambitions that drive the rest of us.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney

  • A rally protesting Scott Morrison‘s absence during the bushfire crisis will take place at Kirribilli House.

  • Prime Media investors to vote on whether to accept Seven West Media’s $64 million takeover offer.

  • The Federal Court to decide if Westpac is liable for the bad advice given by financial planner Sudhir Kumar Sinha.

  • The ABS to publish data on November employment and unemployment.

Melbourne

  • There will be an appeal ruling for alt-right leader Blair Cottrell over 2017 racial vilification conviction.

  • Judgement for The Age which appealed a $180,000 payout made to a former journalist left traumatised after she was forced to cover gruesome crimes for the paper.

  • Further plea and sentence hearings for Angela Scarpaci, a Labor staffer who admitted involvement in the cover-up of a branch-stacking scam.

  • There will be a case management hearing involving Treasurer Josh Frydenberg citizenship challenge.

Morwell

  • A plea hearing will be held for Hazelwood Power Station, which has been found guilty of multiple charges stemming from mine fires in 2014.

London

  • A case management hearing will be held in the extradition proceedings against Julian Assange at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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