Labor Senator Sam Dastyari will leave parliament at the next election, saying his “ongoing presence detracts from the pursuit of Labor's mission” and he wished to “spare the party any further distraction”. Labor leader Bill Shorten praised Dastyari after the news broke, saying he was “one of the instigators of a banking royal commission” and had “been in the front of calling out Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party racism”. Dastyari will not leave the Senate immediately, leaving Labor the option of giving his vacant seat to former NSW premier Kristina Keneally if she loses the Bennelong byelection this Saturday. A recent Newspoll had Keneally and former member John Alexander neck and neck, with the Liberal primary vote falling by 11 per cent.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been criticised by several Indigenous policy experts and advocates after his statements on the ABC’s Q&A. Turnbull was questioned over his government’s opposition to an Indigenous Voice to Parliament by lawyer and Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman Teela Reid, who disputed his claim that the Voice “would effectively be a third chamber” and that a referendum on the issue would “go down in flames”. Turnbull and Reid also clashed over Reid’s assertion that Indigenous members of parliament had “political positions to make in parliament” rather than representing “the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”. Former Referendum Council co-chair Megan Davis said Turnbull’s justifications were “elaborately dishonest”, while IndigenousX founder Luke Pearson compared Turnbull’s response to the White Affairs Minister in 1986 satirical mockumentary BabaKiueria.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has vetoed a $900 million government loan to the Carmichael mine project. In a letter to Malcolm Turnbull shortly after being sworn in yesterday, Palaszczuk said her government would veto the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund loan for mining company Adani to build a rail link from the Carmichael mine to the Abbot Point coal port. Palaszczuk secured re-election after more than two weeks of vote counting, moving deputy premier Jackie Trad to the treasury portfolio and unveiling a cabinet of nine men and nine women. Nanango MP Deb Frecklington, meanwhile, is Queensland’s new opposition leader, beating former leader John-Paul Langbroek in a Liberal National Party leadership ballot.
Shopping centre mogul Frank Lowy has sold Westfield Corp for $32.8 billion, with French property firm Unibail-Rodamco acquiring the international retail empire. Speaking to Fairfax from London, Lowy called the sale “the second most important day in Westfield history”. Lowy and his family will retain a stake in the business, and Steven Lowy will chair tech retail spinoff OneMarket. Westfield made headlines in 2014 due to its aggressive tax avoidance strategies, with a University of Technology, Sydney report finding it had paid an effective corporate tax rate of just 8 per cent in the preceding decade, translating to roughly $2.6 billion in foregone tax revenue.
And United States President Donald Trump has lashed out at women accusing him of sexual harassment and assault. Three women on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today claimed Trump groped and forcibly kissed them, calling for a Congressional investigation into similar stories from more than a dozen women. Responding to a call from Democratic Party Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to resign, Trump tweeted that Gillibrand “would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them)”. Gillibrand called Trump’s comments “a sexist smear”, saying “you cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office”. The controversy comes as Alabama votes to elect a new Senator, with polls suggesting a tight race between Democrat candidate Doug Jones and Roy Moore, a Republican former judge accused of child sexual molestation. Attempting to shield her husband from accusations of bigotry, Moore’s wife Kayla told a crowd in Midland City that “we have many friends that are black” and “one of our attorneys is a Jew”.