TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM
The Australian National Audit Office has found $100 million spent by the Morrison government shortly before the federal election was suspiciously directed at seats the Coalition was keen to win.
In a report released yesterday, the office found then-sports minister Bridget McKenzie disregarded the recommended recipients of Sport Australia’s Community Sports Infrastructure Grant program in favour of sporting organisations located within marginal and target seats. As the ABC reports, 73% of projects given funding in the third round were not recommended by Sport Australia.
McKenzie’s office was quick to respond, saying “the ANAO report is clear that no rules were broken”. However, the ANAO is also questioning the legal authority the minister had to hand-pick grant recipients.
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED
The US and China have signed a phase-one trade deal intended to calm economic and political tensions. However, while US President Donald Trump triumphantly said “this is the biggest deal anybody has ever seen”, experts are sceptical about how much economic relief it will really offer.
As part of the deal, China will boost US imports to US$200 billion above 2017 levels and strengthen intellectual property rules. In return, the US will halve some of the new tariffs it has imposed on Chinese products — however, about US$360 billion worth of border taxes will remain in place.
Experts predict we are likely to see phase two, three and four trade deals in the years ahead.
STAY ON TRACK, SCOTTY
After committing to reduce carbon emissions further, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been told by Coalition MPs not to stray too far from the party’s original approach to climate change.
“If we go back to talking about climate or targets or anything, the only climate that will change will be the climate in the partyroom. It’ll blow the place up”, an anonymous cabinet minister told The Australian ($).
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
In terms of long-term health effects, probably we’re going to have to wait maybe 10 or 20 years to start to measure what’s happening.
Professor Brian Oliver
The University of Technology Sydney academic told the ABC’s 7.30 the health impacts of the bushfire crisis won’t be realised anytime soon.
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CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“From former PM Kevin Rudd declaring Scott Morrison ‘no longer fit to hold the high office of prime minister’ to former Labor senator Doug Cameron calling Morrison’s platitudes to victims ‘bullshit’, the opposition has been quick to criticise the Coalition’s response to the bushfires.
As the adage goes: those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. While Labor’s support for the firies and actual policy on climate change is nothing to be sneezed at, the party has a long way to go until it gets a gold star from us.
“The government has long planned to complete the outsourcing of aged care assessment that it began in 2014, when it put out to tender Regional Assessment Services (RAS), which provide assessments for people wanting to access home care packages.
The next step was the outsourcing of Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT), which provide the much more complex assessments required to determine the level of care needed by older people either at home or in residential care facilities.
Nuances around putting to tender versus privatisation aren’t likely to survive long when it comes to dealing with vulnerable Australians, and Labor has form in exploiting fears about health privatisation.”
“James Murdoch, Rupert’s youngest son, has always been the family’s black sheep. Lachlan Murdoch and James obviously don’t get on and, with Lachlan having all the history and heritage with the Australian newspaper division, James is clearly taking a direct and calculated shot at his older brother via The Daily Beast article. Lachlan is widely believed to share his father’s sceptical views on climate change, but has been less publicly overt about it. The next News Corp board meeting will be interesting to say the least.”
After the lockouts, the palpable excitement of Sydney coming alive — Tyson Koh (Sydney Morning Herald): “The lifting of Sydney’s lockout laws this week could not have come soon enough for the city’s ailing night-time sector. For the past six years, venues have been forced to turn patrons away at 1.30am, which had the effect of emptying out the streets well before that time as people abandoned the entire inner-city in favour of suburbs that accommodated their late-night tendencies.”
Well-meaning help might hinder fire victims … the best shoulder to cry on is one you know — Ian Hickie (The Age): “We know it is critical to move swiftly to support communities to re-establish normal daily activities. If people move away because they can’t be housed, children can’t attend school, adults can’t engage in productive work or communities can’t participate in their regular community events, sporting fixtures and church services, then everyone is at a much greater risk of poor mental health outcomes.”
Our greatest security threat is climate change, so mobilise the ADF — John Hewson (Sydney Morning Herald): “The declared focus of the Morrison government is to ‘keep Australians safe and secure’. Surely climate change is our major national security issue, out-ranking the risk of invasion, terrorism and regional insecurity. The role of our defence forces should be broadened to include specific national disaster responsibilities, to be expeditiously mobilised amid fire crises, and then for recovery.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Climate change activists, including NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, will face court over charges brought against them for protesting outside Kirribilli House.
Tennis legends Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will take part in the 2020 Australian Open draw.