The Greens have proposed legalising cannabis for recreational use, becoming the largest political party in Australia to support drug legalisation. In a statement, leader Richard Di Natale said “the war on drugs has failed” and that “the ‘tough on drugs’ approach causes enormous harm”. The policy would establish an Australian Cannabis Agency to regulate the production and sale of cannabis and enforce restrictions, direct tax revenue from cannabis sales toward the public health system, and allow people to grow cannabis at home. Australian Medical Association vice-president Tony Bartone criticised the proposal, saying the AMA had “considerable concerns about the risk for the young brain and the possibility of bringing on psychosis, especially in the younger age group”.
In the United States, former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey has accused President Donald Trump of being “morally unfit to be president”. In a five-hour interview with US television network ABC to promote his new book, A Higher Loyalty, Comey said Trump “talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat”, “lies constantly about matters big and small” and “will stain everyone around him”. Comey said he believed it was “possible” Trump was compromised by the Russian government, and that Trump showed no interest on being told of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He also recalled Trump trying to discredit unverified allegations he engaged the services of sex workers in a Moscow hotel room in 2013. Comey quoted Trump as saying “I’m a germaphobe, there’s no way I’d let people pee on each other around me”, and “Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?”.
The royal commission into the banking and finance sectors has heard three major financial institutions made payments to financial advisers in contravention of Future of Financial Advice laws. Speaking on Monday, counsel assisting the commission, Rowena Orr, said Westpac, National Australia Bank and AMP had recently admitted to paying kickbacks to advisers, months after commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s deadline for institutions to provide details of possible misconduct. Orr criticised AMP for submitting a spreadsheet of its breaches “after 9.30 last night”, saying “we have not been able to review it”. The commission will focus on wrongdoing in the financial services industry over coming weeks.
And Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell has been named as the new Chief of the Australian Defence Force, replacing Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin. Campbell rose to prominence in 2013 as the face of Operation Sovereign Borders, the Abbott government’s anti-people smuggling program. Campbell appeared in Australian Border Force videos as part of the campaign, telling would-be asylum seekers “there is no way you will ever make Australia home” if they attempted to travel to Australia by boat. Opposition leader Bill Shorten praised the appointment, saying “I don’t hold the defence force responsible for the decisions of the government of the day” and that “Labor will always support the professionalism of our Australian defence forces”. Campbell’s promotion takes effect in July.