FEEL THE BURN
US Senator Bernie Sanders‘ campaign team has responded to the Democrats’ historical mess of an Iowa caucus — the first of a state-by-state primary system that will ultimately decide who faces Donald Trump for the 2020 election — by releasing internal caucus figures from nearly 40% of precincts.
As the Democrats prepare to start positing official figures this morning, The Intercept reports Sanders’ team has him leading on 29.4%, followed by Pete Buttigieg at 24.87%, Elizabeth Warren at 20.65%, and former Vice President Joe Biden at a surprisingly low 12.92%.
FUN FACT: Even without being kneecapped by a dodgy app run by a startup literally called Shadow Inc, the caucus system ensures candidates with over twice the number of direct votes receive no additional delegates, somehow involves coin tossing, and otherwise plays out like a PE class.
MORRISON TO ANNOUNCE VETERAN SUICIDE COMMISSIONER
Scott Morrison will today announce an independent commissioner with the powers “of a rolling royal commission” to investigate veteran suicide, The Daily Telegraph ($) reports. The news follows a push from Julie-Ann Finney, who has collected almost 300,000 signatures ($) calling for a royal commission since her son David died a year ago, and the paper itself, which has pushed a “Save Our Heroes” campaign since June 2019.
For anyone seeking help, the number for Lifeline is 13 11 14 and for Beyond Blue is 1300 22 4636.
AUSTRALIA STUCK IN A DETENTION OUROBOROS
Australia may finally see some political consequences for our go-to response to even slightly challenging travellers, with The Australian ($) reporting that China’s deputy ambassador, Wang Xining, is calling for visa reinstatements and potential compensation for the 74 Chinese students Border Force detained on Sunday.
That pushback comes while Australians experience their first taste of detention on Christmas Island, the ABC reports.
MCCORMACK’S PERFORMANCE REVIEW
Michael McCormack, while hanging onto the leadership, has been put on notice by colleagues threatening yet another spill unless his performance improves, The Age reports. Apparently doing just that, McCormack immediately stepped outside Parliament House and hosed down protesters’ calls for federal climate policy.
Finally, and hilariously, it’s worth noting Bridget McKenzie will remain as Senate leader for the Nationals despite “resigning” from Cabinet over her sports rorts’ conflict of interest.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Iowa, you have shocked the nation. By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.
Mayor Pete reflects on a caucus vote that, at the time of his posting to Twitter, had all candidates equal at 0%.
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
“We don’t know how close former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce came to seizing the deputy prime ministership this morning. The Nationals won’t reveal the numbers. But the fact that he was a serious contender in any way reveals how farcical the government is becoming.”
“From the moment they were consecrated as a national grouping, the Greens have been, inevitably, fading from their initial role — in proto-Green outfits such as the United Tasmania Group — as the political representation of an activist social movement.”
“The Liberal-affiliated Greenfields Foundation brought in $950,000 to the Liberal Party in 2018-19. But it’s worth noting that Greenfields has a long and controversial history with the party.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Spectacular Democrat stuff-up in Iowa validates Donald Trump ($) — Greg Sheridan (The Australian): “What an unbelievable cock-up by the Iowa Democrats! The old Australian insult — to say of someone that they couldn’t organise a chook raffle in a pub — normally has an element of irony or exaggeration.”
What pollies really mean when they say they are protecting jobs — Ross Gittins (The Age): “When I was new to journalism, there was a saying that the two words which, when used in a newsagents’ poster or a headline, would attract the most readers, were ‘free’ and ‘tax’. These days, the two words politicians use to suck in unwary voters are ‘jobs’ and ‘tax’.”
It gets a little bit lonelier each week… — Terry Mason (IndigenousX): “Discriminatory policies such as the Community Development Program that force many to work 20 hours a week for their unemployment benefit add to the problem. Participants are not covered by the Fair Work Act, they don’t have Federal OHS protections or workers’ compensation and they can’t take annual leave, sick leave or carer’s leave.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe will address the National Press Club.
UTS’ Australia-China Relations Institute will host a forum event “Australia-China relations: The state of play” with The Australian’s associate editor (business) Glenda Korporaal, former ambassador to China Geoff Raby, and Per Capita research fellow Osmond Chiu.
The Victorian Trades Hall Council and its affiliates will hold a conference calling for all non-critical outdoor work to be stopped, as a rule, when the air quality ratings reach a certain level.
Union members at Grill’d will protest the company over a new agreement.
The Queensland Futures Institute will hold a forum event “QLD Policy Leaders Series — Queensland State of Play 2020” to feature a range of industry leaders at Customs House.
Local and international experts will speak at the Australasian Humour Studies Network conference, “Laughter and Belonging”, at Griffith University.
The Productivity Commission will hold a public hearing as part of its inquiry into mental health.
A state funeral will be held for former Northern Territory Chief Minister Ian Tuxworth.
Paul Kelly will release a new song aimed at national climate inaction: Sleep, Australia, Sleep.