Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese (Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

ALBAN-ESE DOES IT

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will sign us up to US President Joe Biden’s economic alliance to help counter China’s Indo-Pacific trade dominance, The Australian ($) reports. The idea of the bloc is to create trading preferences between nations other than China (13 of them, in fact, making up 40% of the world’s economy) — and comes as Albanese meets with India, Japan, and the US in Tokyo for the Quad summit.

So what else can we expect from Albanese as newly minted leader? There are eight Labor priorities, Guardian Australia says: a federal ICAC with powers to hold public hearings, a Hawke-era employment summit, rolling out the 55 recommendations from the sex discrimination commissioner’s report, holding a referendum for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, setting up new statutory agencies, getting climate policies before Parliament, revamping aged care (a nurse on-site 24/7, and better food among the changes), and of course, Labor’s much-spruiked childcare reform which will hopefully make it more affordable for families.

Also this morning, Labor will investigate the asylum seeker boat arrival that served as somewhat of an 11th-hour scare campaign from the Coalition on Saturday morning, the SMH reports. Just minutes after being sworn in as PM, Albanese slammed the Liberals for texting voters in marginal seats about the Sri Lankan boat. The paper adds that his deputy, Richard Marles, will take the Defence portfolio in addition to the Employment portfolio. Speaking of musical chairs — is Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce’s reign coming to an end? Guardian Australia reports a leadership spill is in the making — with Michael McCormack not ruling out another run at the top job.

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REPRESENTATION AND RESHUFFLING

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s first press conference yesterday may have looked a little more colourful after the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags were added to the backdrop, SBS reports. It comes two years after the Liberals voted against a motion from Labor to hang the flags in the Senate — during NAIDOC week, as Junkee adds.

It’s a sign of a new era for Indigenous representation in Parliament — Linda Burney will become the first Indigenous woman to hold the Indigenous Affairs portfolio, while Patrick Dodson is set to be the minister for Constitutional Recognition and Reconciliation under the Labor government, NITV reports. Lingiari’s Marion Scrymgour and Robertston’s Gordon Reid are also incoming — indeed the 47th Parliament is set to be one of the most diverse in history. Speaking of Scrymgour — the incoming Labor MP told The Australian ($) this morning that The Greens are a bigger threat to a Voice to Parliament than the Coalition, after leader Adam Bandt said yesterday a $250 million truth commission and a treaty process were higher priorities than Labor’s promised referendum on an Indigenous voice. Scrymgour said The Greens can have “outrageous agendas” that aren’t necessarily in line with the needs of remote Indigenous communities.

Meanwhile, Indigenous Australians hold less than 1% of senior leadership roles across Australia’s largest employers, according to the first Indigenous Employment Index, as AAP via Crikey reports. It also found the average Indigenous employment rate was 2.2% (falling short of the parity target of 3.3%). Dismally, over half of all Indigenous people reported racism at work (55%), and some said they didn’t bother reporting it out of fear of repercussions or not being taken seriously.

LESSON LESS

The University of Sydney saw $1.05 billion in surplus last year — four times larger than its previous record, The Australian ($) reports. National Tertiary Education Union NSW secretary Damien Cahill said it would be bitter news for staff after 223 of their colleagues were made redundant last year, as Honi Soit reports. The bonanza year was mostly due to international student revenue, which was up $250 million — the university didn’t qualify for JobKeeper, the Oz ($) adds.

It comes as university leaders are urging the new Labor government to unpick the Coalition’s changes to degree funding so universities aren’t dependent on international student fees, The Age reports. ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt says the Job Ready Graduate reforms saw universities become reluctant to enrol students in areas like science and engineering. How? Well, student fees for popular courses like the humanities are arts were increased by 110% under former PM Scott Morrison’s changes — but fees for so-called “priority” courses like teaching, nursing, science, and engineering were cut by 20-60%. The idea was to drive more students to study those areas — but it didn’t really work, the La Trobe University vice-chancellor told the paper. So will Labor review the scheme? Maybe — it voted against the legislation in the last Parliament, as Guardian Australia reports, but there hasn’t been an election pledge to do so.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Molly the Maltese has been found alive and well after 60 people showed up to search for the lost pooch. It all started when Queensland couple Chris and Jo Ross left Molly with a friend in Victoria on the way down to Tasmania for a wedding. Just two days into their Tasmanian trip, they received the call every pet owner would dread — Molly had disappeared into the thick bushland surrounding her temporary accommodation in Victoria. The power of Facebook community groups, however, cannot be overstated — in the next eight days, 60 locals from the Rushworth area were combing the scrubland in search of the small dog.

The effort was led by two local heroes, Michelle Somerville and Juanita Locke, who handed out lost dog flyers, put up posters, and searched from “morning to night”, even though Somerville knew it was like finding a “needle in a haystack”. But she also knew Molly’s Queensland owners didn’t have a community in Victoria and was determined to help. Finally, after more than a week of searching, a call. Molly had turned up at a local woman’s place, bedraggled but fine. So Somerville and Locke video-chatted the Ross’s, who asked if there had been any sign at all of their sweet Molly. They held Molly up to the camera, and the couple promptly burst into tears.

Hope you feel part of something bigger today too.

SAY WHAT?

[Peter Dutton’s] an extremist. And I don’t think he fits with modern Australia at all. And he doesn’t seem to listen. He’s extremely conservative. I actually don’t think he’s that smart. I’ve seen him present on things. I don’t really pick up that there’s much there … I don’t pick up that Peter Dutton is fit to be prime minister.

Mark McGowan

The WA premier did a fairly candid press conference yesterday where he indicated that he finds the former defence minister and likely pick for opposition leader a bit, well, dim. The leadership of the LNP will go to a ballot shortly, after Scott Morrison resigned amid his spectacular loss at the weekend.

CRIKEY RECAP

Australia’s Big Lie (from the right): Morrison went too far left

“This Australian version of the Big Lie is the first stage of a war for the future of the federal Liberal Party, with the far-right unable to resist the opportunity to exploit the removal of so many more moderate MPs to drive the federal party away from climate action and towards culture wars, division and attacks on women and minorities.

“At the centre of it will be the foreign political party News Corp. Despite its irrelevance to mainstream Australia being demonstrated by the election result, the Murdochs will continue to wield significant influence within a purged Coalition, and the company will seize on its status as an opposition party. From yesterday, the Murdoch campaign of regime change in Australia began — it’s just that the campaign extends to the Coalition as well as a Labor government. This shouldn’t be treated as some sort of sideshow.”


Election fraud claims flop as online misinformation campaigns fail to take off

“For the most part, electoral fraud claims failed to burst through the bubble of existing online conspiracy communities. One significant false claim concerned candidates not being listed as independents on ballot papers. Figures such as former Liberal National Party and One Nation politician Steve Dickson, and anti-vaccine, freedom-movement figures Morgan C Jonas, Monica Smit and Rebecca Lloyd, were ineligible for the title of ‘independent’ because they ran as unendorsed group candidates.

“Upset by this, these figures have since spread misinformation that this is electoral fraud and, in Dickson’s case, are seeking to launch a (potentially crowdfunded) legal challenge. Another widely spread theory mistook the official vote count process as evidence that minor parties’ votes were being undercounted.”


For the sake of his party, Tudge must go, and quickly

Tudge cannot credibly return to the frontbench in a Coalition opposition, and his lingering presence will be a permanent reminder of Scott Morrison’s extraordinary refusal to engage with gender equality and workplace safety issues. He is damaged goods, permanently. He is also taking up very valuable and rare political real estate: a Liberal seat somewhere in the vague vicinity of Melbourne.

“Meanwhile other, more worthy contributors to the Liberal cause go begging — in particular, Josh Frydenberg, who has gone from the next prime minister to out of politics in one night. The Liberals need Frydenberg in Parliament. Tudge needs to give up his seat and let Frydenberg return to politics. Having vented their anger on Morrison, voters would readily elect Frydenberg in an Aston byelection. From there, he could join Peter Dutton’s frontbench, which is not exactly going to be brimming with talent, especially once Marise Payne bails out.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Tenth of apple harvest left on trees, with no-one to pick it (Stuff)

Conservative Party member resigns membership over racist email (CBC)

Ukraine court sentences Russian soldier to life imprisonment (Al Jazeera)

Photos show Boris Johnson with glass of wine at No 10 party he was not fined for (The Guardian)

Biden pledges to defend Taiwan if it faces a Chinese attack (The New York Times)

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe says Iran made her confess as condition of release (BBC)

Starbucks to exit from Russia (The Wall Street Journal) ($)

THE COMMENTARIAT

Australia has shown how quickly the right can crumble. Boris Johnson, be warnedGaby Hinsliff (The Guardian): “First Donald Trump, then Marine Le Pen in the French presidential elections, now Morrison. This toppling of rightwing dominoes creates the sense of momentum British progressives have been missing. Now there are successful campaign architects to learn from overseas, and new ideas being road-tested in government; there will be friends in strategic places, perhaps new energy behind global efforts to combat the climate crisis, and the morale-boosting idea that the zeitgeist might finally be with them. You can almost feel the pendulum swinging away from a polarising and ultimately grubby era back towards a politics at least vaguely connected to truth and reality. Or at least you can if you want to badly enough …

“What makes this otherwise faraway election feel closer to home is that the Australian right’s thinking remains core to Boris Johnson’s project. Priti Patel’s plan to export asylum seekers to Rwanda mirrors an Australian scheme to send refugees to Papua New Guinea, and she recently hired the man who negotiated that deal to lead a review of Britain’s Border Force. Lynton Crosby, the 65-year-old Australian campaigns guru who enjoys near-legendary status in the Conservative party, doesn’t personally run campaigns any more but he still takes the odd phone call; his protege Isaac Levido ran Johnson’s successful 2019 campaign, months after helping deliver a surprise victory for Morrison.”

Why Bridget Archer is the jewel in the Libs’ tarnished crownJenna Price (The Age): “She practised with her disdain of the cashless debit card for welfare recipients but abstained from voting. And practice made perfect: nearly a year later Archer voted with independent Helen Haines to call for a debate on a federal integrity commission. A few months later she crossed the floor again – this time to include protections for trans students in changes to the Sex Discrimination Act. The men of the Liberal Party may not understand this but Archer is the jewel in their tarnished crown and their key, their only hope, in encouraging Australians to again invest support in the Liberal Party.

“The party has moved to the right. Australians have not. And who ate the Liberals’ lunch when it came to those traditional blue ribbon seats? Women whose pedigrees are Liberal but who would not be seen within a bar of these tired old blokes with 1950s values. I asked the only person considered to be the expert on women within the Liberal Party, Margaret Fitzherbert, author of Liberal Women and So Many Firsts and a former state Liberal MP in Victoria who took on the party’s practices. She outed Liberal preselectors who only asked women about their family plans and childcare. Fitzherbert’s blunt …”

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Larrakia Country (also known as Darwin)

  • The 2022 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Conference will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • Artists, writers, musicians, performers, and comedians including Courtney Act, Mama Alto, Claire G. Coleman, and Nayuka Gorrie will discuss the future for queer communities at the National Gallery of Victoria.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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