Australian MPs Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen speak outside Belmarsh prison, London, on Tuesday, February 18, 2020. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”

Co-chairs of the “Bring Julian Assange Home” parliamentary group, Andrew Wilkie and George Christiansen, have arrived in London to directly call on Boris Johnson to block the US extradition attempt, visit the Wikileaks founder, and campaign for his return to Australia, The Guardian UK reports.

Meanwhile, according to the ABC and Reuters, a spokesperson for Assange says his health has improved since being moved out of solitary confinement in a top-secret jail — at least relative to “harrowing” eye-witness accounts of his October trial.

$1.2 BILLION IN LOST UNI FEES

Analysis by 10 major universities warns the Coalition’s coronavirus travel ban risks $1.2 billion in lost fees from roughly 65,800 students still stuck, and presumably weighing their options, in China, The Australian ($) reports.

INSIDE SCOOP: In potentially worse news for certain Crikey editors, due to factory quarantines in China, Hack reports Australia may run out of vaping hardware in just a few weeks.

NO DINT IN DROUGHT

More than 99% of NSW remains in drought despite record rainfall last night that, The Sydney Morning Herald reports, will see the desalination plant turned off in March and water restrictions eased.

Amid what has become the state’s worst drought on record, SMH also reports new audits demonstrate how NSW’s river management system failed to monitor water availability and extraction.

NO MEANS NO

Queensland Greens MP Michael Berkman has been found in contempt of parliament for wearing an “Adani, No Means No” shirt inside the building after a 2019 student climate protest, The Brisbane Times reports.

However, Berkman’s lack of “dishonesty or malice” and ignorance of the “seriousness of his actions” means the ethics committee will, graciously, take no further action.

FUN FACT: In something of a double-win for Adani, just hours later, Labor, the LNP, the Katter Party and independent Sandy Bolton voted down a bill from Berkman to ban all corporate political donations.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

[The government] denies that it owed the Applicant and Group Members the duty alleged.

Government lawyers

The Robodebt legal team’s defence seemingly contradicts the Department of Social Security’s own guidelines. And in related news, Bill Shorten is back in the zinger game.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

Online reviews are a legal minefield. You better believe it

“Last week, in the Federal Court, a Melbourne dentist compelled Google to reveal the personal details of an anonymous user who left a bad review about his practice.”


Net zero emissions — a target big enough to cover a host of sins

“The enthusiasm of big business and politicians should prompt some scepticism about exactly what the target involves. And it’s not at all clear. That’s the beauty of it, and why groups previously inclined to denialism are now endorsing it post-bushfire.”


God give me strength: I nearly went to Tony Abbott’s book launch

“The last time I went to an Abbott event, it was attended by retired supermodel Sarah Murdoch and the Mad Monk’s former ‘celibacy adviser’ Josephine Ul.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Liberal senator warns Indigenous Voice must not become ‘Aboriginal political elite’

Australia slashes Pacific aid funding for health as region battles medical crises

Tony Abbott told ‘early on’ MH370 pilot had committed mass ­murder ($)

Bush remedies: How Queensland wrote the script to cure rural pain

Police checks for IVF patients to be scrapped

Crime agencies link 256 Australians to online child-sex abuse ($)

Fear of heart attack keeps disgraced Casey councillor Sam Aziz in Egypt

‘Like being thrown off a bus’: Mentor program to ease load on teachers

Michael Bloomberg qualifies for US Democratic presidential debate for first time

THE COMMENTARIAT

Our universities are run by slow learners and the coronavirus proves itGarry Linnell (The New Daily): “After years of being warned that its over-reliance on fee-paying Chinese students was a risk no public company would dare take on, the university sector is confronting the reality that an extended coronavirus travel ban could cripple its lucrative revenue base.”

Court ruling against ABC highlights the enormous deficiency in laws protecting journalists’ sourcesDenis Muller (The Conversation): “The federal court’s rejection of the ABC case against the Australian Federal Police raid on its Sydney headquarters in June 2019 reveals two issues of great importance to freedom of the press in Australia…”

My Inheritance: Personal Reflections of Sue-Anne HunterSue-Anne Hunter (IndigenousX): “So, let me explain how I got my inheritance that I didn’t realise I had. To do this, I need to go back a generation or two so you can understand where it came from. It’s the inheritance the majority our First Nations peoples inherit without even knowing.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne

  • Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury Andrew Leigh will present “Australia’s Stagnant Economy” for the John Cain Foundation at the University of Melbourne. It’s the first lecture since Cain’s passing in December.

Sydney

  • The Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement — which includes representatives from Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and the Netherlands — will speak at the Australian Institute of Police Management about transnational tax crime.

Canberra

  • AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose, ACIC CEO Michael Phelan and AFP commissioner Reece Kershaw will present “Countering child sexual exploitation and abuse” at the National Press Club.

Brisbane

  • The Australia Institute chief economist Richard Denniss will begin a national tour of his “Why Economics Is Broken (and what we can do to fix it)” presentation, speaking today at the State Library of Queensland, introduced by Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

  • Anthony Albanese will address the Queensland Media Club.

Adelaide

  • The South Australian Space Industry Centre will host the 9th Australian Space Forum.

Darwin

  • Services will be held to commemorate the Bombing of Darwin Day, 78 years since Japan’s air raids.

Australia

  • Jetstar workers will strike at airports across Australia over pay and conditions, with Labor Senator Tony Sheldon and ACTU president Michele O’Neil expected to address the Sydney protest.

Peter Fray

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