The mail carrier’s chief executive has been asked to stand aside after revelations of luxury watches gifted to executives, but the company is facing much deeper crises.Much of the week’s drama has returned to some form of the same question: Is the national postal service completely out of touch with community expectations?
The government will release details of its tightened citizenship process this week as it prepares to shepherd the changes through Parliament. Immigration minister Peter Dutton will be given new powers to personally reject citizenship applications approved by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal if he thinks they run counter to the national interest. Law Council of Australia president Fiona McLeod said Dutton being given veto power over the tribunal’s rulings was of “grave concern”, while Australian National University law professor Kim Rubenstein said giving individual ministers such sweeping powers put Australia on “a slippery slope to very draconian environments”.
Under the new citizenship rules, migrants will be subject to a four-year period of permanent residency, tougher English language requirements, and a “values test” to prove they are compatible with Australian society. Applicants will also need to prove they have integrated into the community before citizenship is approved. Labor has not yet indicated whether it would support the new measures, potentially forcing the government to rely on the Senate crossbench.
Chief scientist Alan Finkel has defended his review of energy security released last week from criticisms across the political spectrum. Speaking to the Guardian, Finkel downplayed the possibility of governments using “clean” coal to meet a clean energy target, and said the ultimate responsibility for reducing Australia’s carbon emissions lies with governments. The Finkel review’s proposed model would cut emissions 28 per cent by 2030, a level environmental groups say would breach Australia’s Paris Accord obligations. Government backbenchers, meanwhile, warn that concessions for the coal industry are necessary if the Coalition party room is to support the plan.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to push on with the “hard” Brexit plan her Conservative party took to Thursday’s election, despite losing a Parliamentary majority and facing a possible leadership challenge. May secured the short-term support of the Tory backbench at a post-election meeting of the party’s 1922 Committee this morning, while continued negotiations between the Conservatives and the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party have forced the traditional Queen’s Speech to be pushed back. Besides the uncertain outcome of the negotiations, blame for the delay lies at least in part on the thoroughly British requirement that “the speech has to be written on goat's skin parchment, which takes a few days to dry”.
And a slew of prominent Australians have been awarded Queen’s Birthday honours. Actor Cate Blanchett, economist Ross Garnaut, Kimberley Legal Service worker Ruth Abdullah and ABC election warlock Antony Green were selected for the honours list of about 900 people this year, while proselytising giraffe Healthy Harold was shamefully excluded yet again despite his recent brush with death.