Former Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles has been fiercely criticised for his testimony to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. In an interview with ABC Radio, former Commissioners Mick Gooda and Margaret White said Giles was an uncooperative and unhelpful witness. White said Giles “really was the only example of [a] lack of cooperation with the terms of reference, which was somewhat astonishing since he was the person who set the terms of reference for the Northern Territory”. Gooda said Giles “completely abrogated his responsibilities as chief minister, and had the gall to sit there and say he was coming along to give evidence to make things better for Aboriginal kids”. Giles did not prepare a statement for the Commission, admitted to not following the inquiry’s progress, and answered more than 60 questions by saying “I can’t recall”. White also hit out at the lack of political interest in the Commission’s recommendations, saying she found it “terribly depressing that those who get elected to high office seem disinterested in evidence-based solutions”.
Christian Porter has been confirmed as the federal government’s new Attorney-General, replacing George Brandis and becoming the most high-profile promotion in the end-of-year Cabinet reshuffle. Nationals Senator Darren Chester has been stripped of the infrastructure portfolio, with deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce stepping into the role and new Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie entering Cabinet as sport, rural health and regional communications minister. Chester’s demotion came after he voted for McKenzie in the Nationals’ recent leadership ballot over Joyce’s professed preference, Queensland Senator Matt Canavan. Arthur Sinodinos has resigned as industry minister for health reasons, while Brandis will be Australia’s new High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
Australia will struggle to reach its carbon emissions reduction target of 26 to 28 per cent on 2000 levels by 2030, according to a new review of climate change policy. Released yesterday, the review reveals the government will soon allow companies to offset emissions by trading carbon credits from overseas. Former prime minister Tony Abbott expressed scepticism of such a scheme in 2011, arguing that overseas permits could be purchased from “dodgy carbon farms in Equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan”. The Greens have also spoken out against the policy, with the party’s energy spokesperson Adam Bandt raising the prospect of businesses buying “dodgy permits from pig farms in China”.
And the Australian Federal Police has admitted to inadvertently broadcasting details of a raid on the home of an alleged North Korean agent on social media. AFP officers arrested a 59-year-old man in Sydney on Sunday, claiming he was planning to sell missile components and guidance systems to third-party countries to raise money for the North Korean regime. However, a video was streamed on the AFP’s Periscope account on Wednesday depicting the AFP’s media unit discussing how to manage publicity after the raid. One person on the video said officers were “not going in all guns blazing, it's only half-a-dozen people and a forensic van”, while another discussed the raid’s newsworthiness given “the PM will be standing up at some time on Sunday to talk about Bennelong”. An AFP spokesperson confirmed the video had been taken down, saying “the matter has been referred to the AFP's Security area for review”.