Labor to expand preventative detention

Labor is set to use the final sitting week of parliament to rush through laws to lock up former immigration detainees deemed at high risk of committing a “serious violent or sexual offence”.

What we know:

  • The proposal is the latest in a scramble of new laws responding to a High Court ruling that it is illegal to indefinitely detain people who have nowhere to be deported to (ABC); 
  • The legislation would allow some of the 140 released migrants or refugees to be re-detained for up to three years at a time, although an application could be made for another order at the end of each period;
  • A community safety detention order will be granted by a court “if the court is satisfied to a high degree of probability … that the offender poses an unacceptable risk of committing a serious violent or sexual offence” (The Guardian); 
  • The immigration minister would have the power under the law to apply to re-detain people after they have already served their time for any crime committed, but only a court can make the final decision (The Age);  
  • The Coalition’s immigration spokesperson, Dan Tehan, told Sky News on Sunday the looming bill should be “as tough as we can possibly make it” and should “apply to as many detainees as it possibly can”;
  • The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said “this is all about making refugees and migrants a group in our community that people are afraid of.”
  • Labor is also grant judges the power to strip dual nationals who are convicted criminals of their citizenship, requiring them to assess whether the offender has repudiated undefined “Australian values” (The Saturday Paper); 
  • Parliament finishes for the year on Thursday but the government has vowed politicians will remain in Canberra until the new laws are passed.

COP chief defends fossil fuels

The president of the COP28 climate talks, oil company chief Sultan Al Jaber, has said there is “no science” behind calls for a phase-out of fossil fuels.

What we know:

  • Al Jaber, who is seeing the crucial global summit in Dubai, told a former UN special envoy for climate change in November during a live event that “there is no science out there … that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C” (The Guardian); 
  • He added that a phase-out of fossil fuels would not allow sustainable development “unless you want to take the world back into caves”;
  • Al Jaber, the chief executive of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, ADNOC, secured the lead role in the climate summit after some of the world’s most influential PR agencies curated a reputation as a green pioneer (CCR); 
  • Climate advocate Al Gore slammed the decision to make the UAE the overseer of global negotiations on global warming, pointing to surging emissions in the country (Reuters); 
  • Oil and gas companies have had a major presence at this year’s talks, with 50 pledging to cut methane emissions from the mining and extraction of fossil fuels, using controversial carbon capture methods (FT); 
  • The continued expansion of fossil fuel projects in Australia, which vies with Qatar for the title of world’s largest gas exporter, represents a threat to efforts to contain global heating to 1.5C (The Saturday Paper).

Israel resumes bombardment of Gaza

Israel has resumed heavy bombardment of Gaza, turning its attention to the south of the besieged territory after the collapse of a ceasefire with Hamas.

The Israeli military dropped leaflets warning residents of Khan Younis to flee to Rafah, although both southern cities were targeted by heavy bombardment (AP). 

The two cities are already host to vast numbers of Palestinians displaced from the North, with more than 400,000 people seeking shelter in Rafah and nearly 300,000 in Khan Younis (Reuters). 

Local Gaza health authorities say the death toll has surpassed 15,500, of which 70% were women and children.

Up to 1.8m Gazans — around 80% of the population — have been forced to leave their homes, most of whom are crammed into makeshift shelters at schools, medical centers, mosques and churches (NYT). 


Frydenberg eyes return

Josh Frydenberg and his supporters have commissioned a poll of voters in his onetime seat of Kooyong, as the former federal treasurer eyes a potential return to politics.

In late November, a pollster reportedly surveyed voters in the inner Melbourne electorate on behalf of Frydenberg (AFR $). 

Since leaving politics Frydenberg has been working at investment banking giant Goldman Sachs.

In response to the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7  Frydenberg contacted several Australian political leaders about anti-semitism, prompting some Liberal party leaders to encourage him to run again (Daily Telegraph). 

Frydenberg was also reportedly shown an internal Liberal party poll showing that he could win the seat back off independent MP Monique Ryan if he challenged her, and that he was more likely to be able to do so than any other Liberal candidate.


Teens cutting back on study to work

Cost of living pressures are growing so intense that a survey of Australian teenagers reveals many are cutting back on study to work more.

A Mission Australia survey indicated 31% of Australian teenagers aged between 15 to 19 found the economy and financial matters were the most important issue they faced (SBS). 

It was one of the top three issues nominated, but did not feature in the top three in the same survey two years ago.

For some, the cost of living means they aren’t able to focus as much on their studies.

“The cost of food and petrol has meant that I have to work more and focus less on school," an 18-year-old NSW survey respondent said.

Arya Banerjee, a 17-year-old from Melbourne, said “the cost of living is quite frightening” and “a very multifaceted problem and often acts as a catalyst between already existing challenges - fusing them into one large crisis.”


I didn’t feel comfortable. I thought it was kind of narcissistic, so I didn’t.

Damion Green loses his US city council election by one vote, after deciding not to vote for himself. Winner Ryan Roth thanked his wife for encouraging him to vote for himself, and will take his unrepentant narcissism all the way to Rainier City Hall (K5).


Postscript: Forever working - gadget plans to tap into your productivity while you sleep by inducing lucid dreaming

People spend approximately one-third of their lives sleeping. Prophetic wants to subvert the lack of activity that happens during sleep by inducing a lucid dream state. Working in collaboration with Afshin Mehin, the designer of Neuralink N1 for Elon Musk's brain implant company, Prophetic aims to bring a new level of control to the dream state. “The Halo” is worn like a crown and aims to give users control over their dreams (Insider).