Barnaby Joyce Michael McCormack
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

DIRTY PRANCING

Just days after agreeing to give the coup business a rest, Barnaby Joyce has responded to Michael McCormack‘s decision to promote only allies to cabinet by threatening to disrupt the Liberal-National alliance.

Both The Australian ($) and The New Daily report Joyce has warned Scott Morrison that a rebel group of Nationals MPs — himself, George Christensen and Llew O’Brien — are now willing to cross the floor, disrupt the Coalition’s two-seat majority, and block legislation.

Coming within 24 hours of Malcolm Turnbull — and, to a lesser extent, Julie Bishop — slamming the Coalition’s inability to address global heating, it’s continuity and change forever, friends!

CORONAVIRUS REPORTS

Universities are planning quarantine zones for international students, The Sydney Morning Herald reports, and Melco has cited the outbreak as a reason to dump its $880 million Crown deal with James Packer (although the timing is handy, considering a local inquiry was set to comb through the two companies’ finances).

Elsewhere, The Guardian says global deaths have hit 563, including the doctor who first warned against the virus, Dr Li Wenliang, while thousands remain quarantined on cruise ships around the world, including an Australian couple the ABC says is going “stir crazy” in their cabin.

TWO PALESTINIANS DEAD IN ISRAEL ATTACKS

Israeli forces have killed a second teenager in two days — this time during a demonstration against the demolition of a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank, according to Al Jazeera.

The killing of Yazan Abu Tabikh, 19, and wounding of seven others followed an army raid of the northern town of Jenin, where Israel planned to demolish the home of a man charged with aiding a Hamas cell. The increase in violence comes days after Donald Trump unveiled his nakedly pro-Israel, anti-Palestine plan for the Middle East.

POSITIVE REFUGEE NEWS?

In suspiciously benign immigration news, the federal government will trial new English language classes and employment incentives aimed at bolstering both refugee and regional unemployment, The Australian ($) reports. Population and Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge will today launch the package by acknowledging “unacceptable” new data showing a 77% unemployment rate for refugees one year after arrival.

TALKING POINT: While a commendable focus, the growing disadvantages Tudge points to might just have something to do with a certain government’s erosion of employment, education and welfare rights.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

The low level of harm and the apology made by the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, along with the significant level of resources required to investigate were also factored into the decision not to pursue this matter.

The Australian Federal Police

Australia’s top cops officially announce that apologies — at least those from government ministers — can influence whether or not they investigate alleged forgery.

More time to rifle through journos’ underwear, then.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Bush logic: behind the influential group fuelling climate denialism

Named after the arid climate plant that naturally captures and stores carbon dioxide, The Saltbush Club brings together veterans of Australia’s climate sceptic-denialist movement, clustered around the formidable figure of Hugh Morgan, one-time CEO of Western Mining and Liberal Party grandee.”


How to rort-proof grant programs: delete politicians

“With politicians admitting they can’t be trusted with important decisions, it’s natural to wonder what else should not be left in their hands. For generations, both sides of politics have made infrastructure decisions based on pork-barrelling, deals with friendly state governments, or the need for election announceables.”


We asked for Scott Morrison’s position description. This is what we got back

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his new cabinet, reshuffled in the wake of the National Party spill and Bridget McKenzie’s departure. And it turns out that’s pretty much the only strict requirement of his job.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Rainfall brings biggest drop in active fire numbers since season began

Cyclone Damien upgraded, now predicted to be category four when it crosses WA Pilbara coast

Labor asks AEC to investigate Liberal party over Morrison ally donation ‘error’

Inside the files that reveal alleged identity takeover of more than 100 Australians

Senator Rex Patrick blasts CIMIC over supplier payments ($)

Victorians welcome wombat protection laws after hunting revelations

Tunnel turmoil: EPA rates one project early, the other too late

‘Criminal’ auditors in ASIC’s sights ($)

Opioid crisis: Australian states told to act now or suffer a public health emergency

DHS bans New Yorkers from Global Entry, punishing state for sanctuary laws

THE COMMENTARIAT

Proposed Nationals voting change would deny access to democracy ($) — Barnaby Joyce (The Australian): “Because Victorian National Anne Webster had her idea of changing the voting rules in our party aired in this newspaper on Wednesday, I shall repudiate them on the same pages. Rosie Lewis revealed that under Webster’s proposal Nationals MPs would need to vote in a two-thirds majority for there to be a leadership spill.”

AFP’s failure to investigate Angus Taylor has corrosive consequences for our democracyKatharine Murphy (The Guardian): “Precision matters, so let’s be very precise. The Australian federal police has not conducted a deep dive into what went on in Angus Taylor’s office – how it came to pass that a dodgy document was deployed in a political attack against the Sydney lord mayor, Clover Moore. The police haven’t investigated. They have declined to investigate.”

How Labor insiders have undone Whitlam’s hard work to broaden the churchRichard Whitington (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Saturday is the 53rd anniversary of Gough Whitlam becoming leader of the Labor Party in 1967, after the ALP had suffered eight straight election losses. Labor’s 1966 primary vote of 40 per cent – its lowest in 30 years – looks OK against the 33.3 per cent at last May’s election.”

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The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Perth

  • Opening day of the 2020 Perth Festival, to run until Sunday, March 1.

Canberra

  • Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe will front an economics committee hearing. The joint Public Accounts and Audit Committee will also hold a public hearing as part of an inquiry into the operations of the Parliamentary Budget Office 2019-20.

Melbourne

  • Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Intrepid Travel’s CCO Leigh Barnes will help launch a new collection, Modern Day Slavery and Orphanage Tourism, at the Wheeler Centre.

Adelaide

  • The Art Gallery of South Australia will host VAULT Magazine’s Issue 29 launch, to feature a panel event with curators from the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: MONSTER THEATRES.

Australia

  • Protesters will call for an end to the ‘China Ban’ and Christmas Island quarantine zone outside Department of Immigration buildings in Melbourne and Sydney, arguing that closing off borders is against the advice of the World Health Organisation. Speakers in Sydney will include Greens MLA Jenny Leong, National Tertiary Education Union NSW secretary Michael Thompson, and Sydney University SRC president Liam Donohoe.