According to CNN, the former Louisville police officer who fatally shot African-American woman Breonna Taylor in March — after breaking into her house with a “no-knock” warrant as part of a narcotics investigation — has been indicted by a grand jury on three counts of “wanton endangerment in the first degree” but not, crucially, for her death.
Protesters have slammed the charges as woefully insufficient, as well as the grand jury’s decision not to charge the two other officers involved in the shooting. As the state of Kentucky establishes a curfew in anticipation of demonstrations, the question now becomes whether Attorney-General Daniel Cameron decides to prosecute.
The news comes just days after The Guardian reported that Queensland police suspended an employee following the death of Aunty Sherry Fisher-Tilberoo, who was allegedly not checked for up to six hours before her body was discovered in a Brisbane watch house on September 10. Her family’s lawyer has since called for an independent investigation.
BLAME GAME CONTINUES
Victoria has two days left of the hotel quarantine inquiry and, according to The Australian ($), both Jobs Minister Martin Pakula and Police Minister Lisa Neville have denied knowing who made the decision to use security guards.
Pakula also claimed he did not know that his own department was entering into contracts with private security firms, while Neville said the decision was taken without then-Chief Police Commissioner Graham Ashton’s consultation, and that, as the ABC explains, she was “cranky” after having to learn through the Herald Sun in late June that the ADF were to be deployed.
Up today is Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, while Dan Andrews closes us out tomorrow.
PS: According to the Herald Sun ($), Andrews’ bill designed to empower police to detain potential spreaders is set for defeat, with exactly no crossbenchers supporting it.
GOING FOR BROKE
As the ABC reports, Josh Frydenberg will today announce post-COVID insolvency reforms that would allow business owners greater flexibility and support in restructuring debts, including moving from the flat “creditor in possession” model to one that allows eligible small businesses to restructure debts while remaining in control.
For context, ASIC explains how the government extended their “safe harbour” provisions for insolvent companies until the end of the year, while BusinessInsider examined CreditorWatch’s earlier concern that “there will almost certainly be a deluge of insolvencies when the moratorium ends, prompting a catastrophic decline in business confidence and derailing any opportunity for near-term economic recovery”.
PS: You can find details of Frydenberg’s announcement at The Conversation, The Guardian, and likely every other news outlet this morning; for the mechanics behind this, check out MichaelWestMedia’s report on how just effectively Scott Morrison has briefed the media throughout the pandemic.
PAUL FLETCHER HAS A FIELD DAY
Finally, it was a busy day for Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, who The Sydney Morning Herald reports has pleaded ignorance over the Auditor-General’s damning report into the Department of Infrastructure’s purchase of land at 10 times its valued worth from a Coalition donor. Fletcher, who was urban infrastructure minister at the time, said the price tag, “was not in the brief that came to me”.
And while Labor has unsurprisingly ripped into the Coalition for adopting elements of their fibre-to-the-premises NBN plan 10 years later — note that The Australian ($) reports that their main line right now is what will happen to the recently purchased 50,000km of copper — Fletcher pre-empted the attacks at the Press Club ($), claiming that “Labor’s plan by contrast was to build fibre everywhere, well before people actually needed it or were willing to pay for it”.
Which, and forgive me if I’m missing something, appeared to be the point.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
The Minister has acted unlawfully. His actions have unlawfully deprived a person of his liberty. His conduct exposes him to both civil and potentially criminal sanctions, not limited to a proceeding for contempt. In the absence of explanation, the Minister has engaged in conduct which can only be described as criminal.
Justice Geoffrey Flick
In at least the second evisceration of its kind this year, the federal court finds that Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge maybe can’t just detain a person because he thinks the tribunal ordering their release got the law wrong.
“We’ve reported it before, but there’s no reason to stop reporting it if they continue to offer up evidence for it: the Morrison government is a clutch of climate denialists eager to reward its major donors in the resources sector as much as it possibly can without incurring political damage.
“Its ‘Low Emissions Technology Statement’ and its commitment of $1.9 billion to support it has been crafted with that goal in mind. All the chin-stroking commentary from the Press Gallery about how the government has abandoned coal won’t change that.”
“A cashed-up property developer who famously told the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) he felt like a “walking ATM” for politicians stands to win from the government’s much-lauded gas plan.
“Jeff McCloy, the controversial former mayor of Newcastle who popped up last week as being the only stakeholder pushing NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro to blow up his own government over koala protections, is the joint owner of land flagged by Scott Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor as the potential site of a new gas plant.”
“It’s a backflip more than a decade in the making. Today, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher unveiled the Coalition’s big new plan to bring high-speed fibre-to-the-home internet to 2 million households around the country.
“You could almost see Kevin Rudd’s face reddening. In 2009 the then-prime minister proposed a plan in which fibre-optic cables would run straight to people’s homes, delivering super-fast internet. For three years, the Coalition savaged that plan as a costly white elephant — yet another sign of Labor’s extravagant fiscal profligacy.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
The ‘Reverse Bank’ has to quickly rediscover the gear stick — Paul Keating (The Sydney Morning Herald): “In my office during the latter part of the 1980s and the early 1990s, we had a nickname for the Reserve Bank – the Reverse Bank. And what earned it that nickname was that the bank was too slow lifting interest rates in the face of the commercial bank credit bubble of the late 1980s and too slow in getting rates down in the early 1990s.”
Recovery budget will test Scott Morrison — is he up to it? ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “If the national cabinet has exposed the limits of Scott Morrison’s powers and authority, and it surely has, then the budget is his chance to show the extent of his courage and imagination. Any mug politician can flood the joint with money. They all come fully formed with the spending gene.”
How to escape the Groundhog Day of Australian climate politics — Marc Hudson (RenewEconomy): “The Czech writer Milan Kundera once observed that ‘the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.’ The same goes for the struggle for adequate climate and energy policy in Australia. The first instinct is always to show how the announcement from the government is inadequate, disingenuous, or downright false. On the latest ‘technology roadmap’ we already have a few excellent demolitions. Doubtless, more are in the works.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
3CR Community Radio and Democracy in Colour will host webinar event “Classroom to Newsroom: Racial gatekeeping in Australian media” 6pm tonight with Schwartz Media’s Osman Faruqi, media adviser to Senator Lidia Thorpe and journalist Madeline Hayman-Reber, property reporter at Domain Jim Malo and co-founder of African artist platform, Still Nomads, Areej Nur.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a high-level roundtable on climate action solutions and progress during General Assembly week — to be live-streamed to webtv.un.org.