Former Queensland LNP leader Lawrence Springborg.

ELECTION MADNESS

Victoria’s election system is currently facing upheaval on two ends, The Age reports.

  • A legal challenge from state Nationals and Liberals against the electoral commissioner aimed at opening a loophole to allow cash transactions between Coalition partners.
  • A wild, nigh-3am vote in state parliament for a change to single-member local government elections, which, despite protests from the Greens, looks set to pass and pave the way for more major party councillors.

Up north, former Queensland LNP leader Lawrence Springborg is set for a political comeback, after the electoral commission revealed he was the only person to nominate for mayor of Goondiwindi, The Courier-Mail ($) reports.

Meanwhile, both CLP and Territory Alliance have refused a coalition ahead of the August territory election, NT News ($) reports.

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FORMER MANUS GUARD CALLED FOR MORRISON TO ACT BEFORE DYING BY SUICIDE

A former security guard suffering PTSD from the 2014 Manus Island riots has died by suicide before her legal battle with the federal government and G4S Australia reaches court next week.

With permission from her children and executor of her estate — and amid 12 fresh compensation cases from former staff — The Age reports that Diane Parker, 53, also addressed a suicide note to Scott Morrison, one that called for him to settle her claim but that was ultimately not delivered.

Lifeline: 13 11 14; Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636.

FRYDENBERG TAKES ACTION

In news that feels just a tiny bit sad, The Australian ($) reports the major banks will pass on the Reserve Bank’s interest rate cut — a record-low 0.5% that saw an immediate jump in investment — to borrowers “swiftly”, after Treasurer Josh ­Frydenberg called chief executives directly last night.

TALKING POINT: In terms of government policy, the Coalition has only hinted its coronavirus-response package will target affected sectors and, as the ABC reports, be announced sometime between now and the May 5 budget.

A FAILED PLEDGE

The ABC’s managing director David Anderson wrote to Communications Minister Paul Fletcher on January 24, pledging to invest another $10 million a year in regional journalism if the Coalition lifted its planned $40 million-a-year indexation pause, The Australian ($) reports.

The letter was clearly ignored, and the broadcaster is now set to absorb a cumulative $105.9 million in annual budget cuts.

TALKING POINT: News of Anderson’s offer comes after the ABC confirmed in Senate estimates that its bushfire coverage cost $3 million and, as The Guardian reports, promised Eric Abetz no public funds were spent on a Mardi Gras float.

THERE IS NO OTHER AAP FOR THAT

The backbone of Australian journalism, AAP, will officially close in June this year after delivering vital, breaking and often unappreciated news for 85 years. While some jobs may be reabsorbed into parent company’s Nine and News Corp, it was a depressing day for Australian journalism.

The Crikey team thanks our colleagues for their peerless work, and hopes that — for the industry’s sake, if not theirs — they find a new way to get back on the wire. Check out The Guardian’s wrap of some of AAP’s recent, astonishing photojournalism.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women created by the you know, you know the thing.

Joe Biden

The former vice president and hopeful presidential candidate highlights why he is, quite likely, the worst possible person to debate Donald Trump.

CRIKEY RECAP

The West spirals as a virus reveals the perils of globalisation

“It’s closing time in Italy, China remains on lockdown, there’s a case in Tasmania, there’s a second death in the US, the shelves are emptying of essential supplies, the stock-market is tanking…

“My it all comes down pretty quick, doesn’t it?”


The government can’t launch a GFC-style stimulus package. There’s too much crow to eat

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Labor’s stimulus package ‘wasteful’ with ‘ill-discipline’ in an address to the Business Council of Australia last year (despite handing out cash to pensioners and low- and middle-income earners in the lead up to the election).”


Why Shorten really lost: four new things to learn about last year’s election

Samantha Maiden’s Party Animals, out today, is a brisk and highly readable account of the lead up to Labor’s legendary achievement of losing 2019’s unloseable election.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Sporting bodies lash government’s proposed religious freedom bill

NSW considers new laws to overturn ‘unjust’ child abuse settlements

Automatic suppression of alleged sexual offenders’ identities abolished by SA Parliament after two-decade Advertiser campaign ($)

Upgrades for North East Rail Line delayed for months before Wallan train crash ($)

Winston Peters invokes Christchurch massacre as NZ’s deportations row with Australia escalates

Ken Wyatt makes room for regional voice ($)

NSW Government bureaucrats treated to harbour cruise before multimillion-dollar tender won ($)

Retirement is getting tougher as higher debt offsets superannuation growth

Paedophile Darrel Harington continued teaching for decades despite repeated accusations ($)

An absolute disaster’: Iran struggles as coronavirus spreads

Abortion case out of Louisiana a first test for Trump’s Supreme Court justices

THE COMMENTARIAT

Indigenous Australians’ voice will be heard loud and proud ($) — Marcia Langton and Tom Calma (The Australian): “The focus of the national group is to develop options and models for a national voice. It will work in partnership with the local and regional group at key points, to ensure that options for a ­national voice can be informed by, and connect with, local elements of a voice.”

Clarke family murders highlight the failings of our custody system Cathy Humphreys (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The instincts of a mother may be to protect their children from these violent and abusive fathers, but courts seldom listen to a mother’s instincts. Only 3 per cent of Federal Family Court orders result in the father not being granted some access.”

AAP is Australian democracy’s safety net – its closure will affect us allMargaret Simons (The Guardian): “The closure of Australian Associated Press, announced today, is a tragedy for our already under-reported nation. It underlines what was already clear: that the crisis in public interest journalism has reached a critical stage.”

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Senate estimates will begin hearings into “Group B” portfolios, community affairs (which includes health, so watch out for sport rorts updates), economics, education and employment, and foreign affairs, defence and trade.

  • ANU’s Fenner School of Environment & Society will host forum event “Africa and its People: Interdisciplinary lessons from ANU research”.

Melbourne

  • Following the release of his book Super-Power: Australia’s Low-Carbon Opportunity, Professor Ross Garnaut will present on the politics of climate change at La Trobe University.

  • RMIT’s Social & Global Studies Centre will launch its latest report Not Pregnant Enough?: Pregnancy and Homelessness as part of International Women’s Day.

  • Opening day of the Melbourne Fashion Festival, to run until Saturday, March 14.

  • Children’s writer Jessica Miller will launch her latest book, The Republic of Birds, at The Little Bookroom.

Sydney

  • Professor Bill Mitchell, from the Centre of Full Employment and Equity, will present “A Just Transition Framework for the Future” at a Country Labor event at East Maitland Bowling Club.

  • Author Rob Sturrock will launch his new book Man Raises Boy at Berkelouw Paddington.

Adelaide

  • Counsel assisting the royal commission into aged care will outline proposals for a redesign of the system.

  • Local author and poet Rosemary Winderlich will launch her two latest collections, Sky Roads, Sea Roads & Dreams and Silence is Consent, at City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

Perth

  • Visiting Indonesian writer Erni Aladjai will speak at UWA Public Policy Institute forum event “Close to Home: Discovering Female Indonesian Writers”.

Australia

  • Vigils will be held for Hannah Clarke and her children outside parliament houses, libraries, clubs and other spaces across the country.

  • The ABS will release the December quarter estimate of gross domestic product.

USA

  • Democrat nominees will fight it out on ‘Super Tuesday’, where 17 states cast their primary votes.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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