Anthony Albanese
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

FIRST CASUALITY OF LIBERAL ABUSE SCANDALS: LABOR

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Anthony Albanese’s deputy chief of staff Sabina Husic has resigned after anonymous, unsubstantiated, and “malicious” attacks against her and other staff in the Labor leader’s office circulated online the day she returned from three weeks of mental health leave.

Albanese had earlier in the day described the claims — which The Guardian notes purported to be from five “concerned” Labor staffers and were posted briefly to a specially created webpage Monday night before being taken down — as fake and stood by his “outstanding office” staff.

The anonymous letter was addressed to Albanese and included alleged screenshots of emails, but his office confirmed it has not been sent to him. It follows a week of increased media attention on political workplace culture following Four Corners’ revelations of accusations against Christian Porter and Alan Tudge.

For anyone seeking help, Lifeline is on 13 11 14 and Beyond Blue is 1300 22 4636.

20 CONFIRMED CASES IN SA CLUSTER

Following a record testing blitz in Adelaide, the ABC reports that South Australian authorities say there are now 20 confirmed cases linked to the Parafield COVID-19 cluster and another 14 suspected cases.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said the suspected cases are considered at high risk of becoming a case, have symptoms, and are close contacts of the confirmed cases.

In unsurprising news, The Age reports that business leaders have hit out against states again adopting border closures — including Western Australia, which has re-implemented its hard border — while the Australian Medical Association has warned that the Morrison government should abandon its plan to allow large gatherings and returns to workplaces by Christmas if it wants borders to reopen and stay open.

IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING

According to the ABC, the Australian and Japanese governments have announced an “in-principle agreement” on a “Reciprocal Access Agreement”, a pact six years’ in the making that would bolster military cooperation in the face of tensions with China.

The update on the deal — negotiations over which have been stalled due to concerns over ADF exposure to Japan’s death penalty — come as The Australian ($) reports that Josh Frydenberg has claimed the Morrison government is ready to re-engage in “respectful and beneficial” dialogue with the Chinese government amid escalating trade pressure. The treasurer is set to make the comments at The Australian’s two day Strategic Forum today.

PS: The ABC also reports that the AFP’s foreign interference investigation against former NSW Labor staffer John Zhang has been widened to focus on money laundering after around $60,000 in bundles of cash was seized from his Sydney home.

MOMENT OF TRUTH: ACTUAL ALLEGATIONS OF ELECTION FRAUD

According to CNN, Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has stood by accusations that GOP Senator Lindsey Graham had hinted that he should try to discard election ballots during the state’s recount.

Unofficial sources had Biden winning the state by 14,000 votes, while Raffensperger has received both calls to step down from the two federal senators facing a run-off in January as well as death threats. Graham, for his part, has denied allegations he suggested voter fraud.

Elsewhere, The Guardian reports that the Iranian government has warned of a “crushing response” if Donald Trump decides to attack the country’s nuclear site in his lame duck session. This comes after The New York Times revealed Trump considered the option on receiving news that Iran’s stockpile of nuclear material has increased, but was dissuaded by advisers warning that unprovoked US attacks in the Middle East tend to destabilise the region.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

The Coalition promised its robodebt would save $2.1 billion. It hasn’t. Today it has cost taxpayers $1.2 billion.

Tell me again how the Coalition are good at managing money.

Stephen Jones

Following the settlement of a class action over an unlawful, automated, and predatory debt recovery scheme linked to the deaths of hundreds of vulnerable people, the Labor MP opts for the money angle.

CRIKEY RECAP

Year spins to a nauseating close. It might be funny if it weren’t so obscene

“The spin doctors are in overdrive this morning, from the Hollywood Hugh saga at Nine, to the Alan Tudge mea culpa, to the attempts to pardon Crown Casinos even before the verdict is handed down. Pity most of it is so ludicrous. Not to mention obscene.”


Exodus from One Nation helped Palaszczuk, but will it do the same for Albo?

“Support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation was decimated at the Queensland election, but it’s where those votes now sit that holds a clue for the federal campaigns of both Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese. Morrison knows Queensland helped hand him victory last time round, in the same way Anthony Albanese knows he must win back a swag of seats in the north if he’s to take the treasury benches.”


Cosy relationships and a front organisation: how Sky News operates as a law unto itself

“As alarm builds over the key role of Fox News in spreading disinformation in the United States, it turns out that in Australia the Murdochs write their own rules when it comes to what is acceptable on News Corp’s Sky News Australia. Because of a little known set of arrangements, a Murdoch front organisation is at the centre of regulating subscription television in Australia.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

COVID welfare cut will cast 330,000 more Australians into poverty, researcher says

Tax reform key to the resurrecting post-pandemic NSW budget

Solar panel rebate boost in next week’s Victorian Budget as part of $797 million energy package

Kevin Rudd’s Bangladeshi ‘bots’ in media royal commission petition ($)

Robert claims credit for Robodebt change, despite ignoring problems

Scott Morrison and Murdoch’s News Corp empire ‘operating like a team’, former PM Malcolm Turnbull says

Conflict questions on Defence war crime troika ($)

$100 billion in unpaid overtime shows working from home comes at a cost

NSW parliament to vote on referring $53.5m Parramatta land purchase to ICAC

Ethiopia faces ‘full-scale humanitarian crisis’ as fighting in Tigray continues, UN says

THE COMMENTARIAT

If moral courage matters, this whistleblower needs defending Nick Xenaphon (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Dear General Campbell, we’ve met a few times. At briefings at Parliament House when you ran Operation Sovereign Borders, and in the robust forum of Senate estimates. I was always impressed by your palpable decency, competence and forthright manner. So, I hope you won’t take issue with me writing this open letter to you about our firm’s client, David McBride, a proud veteran, a former army major who now faces life imprisonment for, basically, telling the truth about what was happening in Afghanistan.”

Exponential growth in COVID cases would overwhelm any state’s contact tracing. Australia needs an automated systemC Raina MacIntyre (The Conversation): “The people at highest risk of getting infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are close contacts of infected cases. So tracking these close contacts, and quarantining them so they can’t infect others, is key to efficient epidemic control. Sometimes we also have to track contacts who attend venues where super-spreading occurs.”

You don’t (only) hate rich people, you hate capitalismGreg Larsen (The Shot): “A few weeks back, before the US election distracted everyone from far more important matters, Kim Kardashian blew up Twitter with her ‘humble’ little birthday gathering on a private island with 40 of her closest friends. What Kim thought was just a nice way to say ‘It’s my birthday’ turned out to be the biggest crime against the working classes since trickle-down economics, and yet another stark reminder that no, we are not all in this together.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Law Council President Pauline Wright will deliver “No time like the present to protect our human rights” at the National Press Club.

Sydney

  • Political scientist Dr Francis Fukuyama will deliver the Lowy Institute’s Owen Harries Lecture.

Melbourne

  • The Wheeler Centre will host Broadly Speaking webinar “New Voices in Food” with writer and Ugly Delicious guest Osayi Endolyn, food writer and cook Hetty McKinnon, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry podcaster and freelance writer Lee Tran Lam.

Peter Fray

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