Friday, December 22, 2017

Critical injuries in Melbourne car attack

Four people have been critically injured in Melbourne after a man drove a car into a crowd of pedestrians. The 32-year-old man, who was arrested shortly after the vehicle came to a stop, drove into a busy pedestrian intersection outside Flinders Street Station. A second man, 24, was arrested for filming the incident, and was found to be carrying knives when searched. Victoria Police said they believe the incident was “a deliberate act”, and that the driver was an Australian citizen of Afghan descent known to police through a history of assault charges, drug use and mental illness.

Despite Victoria Police saying there was no evidence of a connection to terrorism, the incident has been co-opted as such by far-right and anti-Islam groups online. United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell, News Corp columnist Miranda Devine and former Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins spread misinformation to that effect, while published a photo of a bearded, brown-skinned man in restraints surrounded by police who was later cleared of any involvement.

The Nick Xenophon Team has suspended negotiations with the government over legislation before the Senate unless the government reveals more about its policies and processes. Writing to defence minister Marise Payne, NXT Senator Rex Patrick said “there is a broader problem with regard to the government’s preparedness to be appropriately open and accountable”. While the NXT will not refuse to vote on legislation, it will not negotiate with government representatives, making it difficult for the government to predict how the NXT bloc will vote. The suspension will apply to welfare reforms proposed by human services minister Alan Tudge, which would expand the cashless welfare card.

New South Wales opposition leader Luke Foley has pledged not to reintroduce the Safe Schools anti-LGBTI bullying program if NSW Labor wins the next state election. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Foley said the program was “gone for good” and he did not want “some theory that comes from a university sociology course” dictating how schools approach anti-bullying initiatives. Foley’s stance contrasts with that of Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews, who vowed to maintain state funding for the program after it was targeted by the federal government in 2016. The Daily Telegraph campaigned strongly against Safe Schools, labelling $ the program “politicised gender theory” that “seeks to undermine family life”.

And in the United States, President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off foreign aid to countries that voted for a United Nations resolution condemning the US’ recent decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a letter to more than 180 nations, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Trump “will be watching the vote carefully” and “requested I report back on those who voted against us”, adding on Twitter that “the US will be taking names”. At a cabinet meeting in Washington, DC, Trump complained that “all of these nations … take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us”, declaring: “let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.” 128 countries voted for the resolution, with only 9 joining the US in opposition and 35, including Australia, Canada and Argentina, abstaining. Haley was forced to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling on the US to reverse its decision, and the European Union, US allies the United Kingdom, France and Germany, and Pope Francis have all called the Jerusalem proclamation a mistake.

Open Quotemarks

I can’t bend the finger, so it’s like I’m constantly giving people the bird. If I clench my fist, my middle finger sticks out.

Close Quotemarks

The news you need. Delivered free to your inbox. 7am weekdays.


Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression

“Contrary to the cliché, the vast majority of millennials did not go to college, do not work as baristas and cannot lean on their parents for help. Every stereotype of our generation applies only to the tiniest, richest, whitest sliver of young people. And the circumstances we live in are more dire than most people realise. What is different about us as individuals compared to previous generations is minor. What is different about the world around us is profound.” huffpost highline

The African Enlightenment

“What if the Enlightenment can be found in places and thinkers that we often overlook? Such questions have haunted me since I stumbled upon the work of the 17th-century Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yacob (1599-1692), also spelled Zära Yaqob ... In short, many of the highest ideals of the later European Enlightenment had been conceived and summarised by one man, working in an Ethiopian cave from 1630 to 1632.”  aeon

A history of women who burned the death in flammable dresses

“In the mid-19th century, women wearing the style of the day would burst into flames if their dress caught fire – and I do mean burst. Their dresses were so dangerously flammable that if they caught fire, it would spread in an instant, sometimes leading to groups of women dying at the same time ... These dresses, combined with candles and gaslight in a world before electricity, led to a multitude of women being taken by the flame.” racked



Will cutting the corporate tax rate boost the economy?

“With the US on the verge of reducing its corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 per cent, it is timely to reflect on International Monetary Fund analysis painting a clear picture of the adverse effects on the Australian economy, much-needed business investment and wages if we don’t follow the tax reform path ... International action to reduce corporate tax rates brings into sharp focus the ongoing challenge for Australia to remain competitive.”   scott morrison, the australian ($)


Why not? It’s going to work wonderfully in the States.

“UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights was shocked by what he saw in the richest country in the world. His devastating report described the conditions facing the 1-in-8 Americans who live in poverty – rotting teeth, crushing debt, homelessness, hunger, drug addiction, untreated illness and pollution. It identified the politics that keep poor Americans poor: neglect, discrimination, the criminalisation of poverty, privatisation, and the evisceration of the social safety net.”  the nation


and finally:

Exclusive up-to-date photos of subeditor Glenn’s calves (young cattle, not legs)

This is by far the best content The Briefing published this year. Have a wonderful holiday break, and thanks for reading. See you in the new year. twitter

Editor’s note: The Briefing will resume on Monday, January 29.

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor, and a former editor of Junkee.