Thursday, August 23, 2018

Do-or-die for Dutton challenge

At least three Liberal MPs have signed a petition to force a party room meeting, raising the likelihood of another leadership showdown between prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and former home affairs minister Peter Dutton. Today is the final parliamentary sitting day until September 10, imposing a deadline on any potential leadership challenge. Dutton’s supporters spent Wednesday canvassing potential swing votes, while Dutton told 3AW Melbourne radio that “if I believe that a majority of colleagues support me then I would consider my position” and challenge again. Meanwhile, attorney-general Christian Porter asked solicitor-general Stephen Donaghue QC for advice on whether Dutton was constitutionally eligible to remain in parliament following revelations about his financial interests in childcare centres that received Commonwealth funding.

A 12-year-old asylum seeker girl on Nauru has been taken to hospital after trying to set herself on fire, while a 17-year-old girl is refusing all food, drink and medical treatment. Guardian Australia reports that the 12-year-old made repeated suicide attempts in recent weeks, before sustaining injuries on Wednesday as she tried to set herself alight before family members intervened. The 17-year-old girl has been diagnosed with resignation syndrome, which medical sources on the island fear is a growing “contagion” among depressed and suicidal children. On Wednesday New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she wanted to meet directly with detainees when Nauru hosts the Pacific Islands Forum in September.

Travel agency Flight Centre has been accused of rampant overpricing and employee exploitation by current and former staff. Speaking to the ABC, former Flight Centre travel consultant Olivia Little said staff were explicitly told to mark up customers’ flights by hundreds or thousands of dollars. “Say the flight was $1500, they would mark up and say ‘oh, the flight is $1800’,” Little said. Former employee Renee Olofsson said the attitude of Flight Centre managers on deliberately inflating prices was “this is how we operate; this is how you make money; this is part of your job”. Pay slips reveal Flight Centre employees receive as little as $33,500 a year, a pay level that encourages them to mark up flights and earn commissions to boost take-home pay.

And in the United States, two senior figures in president Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign have been convicted of serious financial crimes. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, admitted in a New York district court to illegally paying two women at Trump’s direction to prevent them from speaking publicly about alleged affairs they had with Trump. Without naming Trump directly, Cohen said he made the payments “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office … for the principal purpose of influencing the election” as part of a guilty plea on multiple counts of tax evasion and fraud. Minutes after Cohen’s plea, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose a foreign bank account.

Open Quotemarks

If I could have brought them to Australia in a charter flight overnight I would have.

Close Quotemarks

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


Paradise lost: how tourists are destroying the places they love

“For years, it’s been tourists rather than local residents who have been shaping the image of some of Europe’s most beautiful and unique cities. They are being transformed into museums and theme parks and are developing special zones for tourists where locals may work, but certainly don’t live. Tourists sit in traditional restaurants devoid of locals as they watch other tourists. They are no longer places where people come together, but where divides seem to deepen.”  spiegel online

Bribes, backdoor deals, and pay to play: how bad rosé took over

“Somewhere along the way a rosé company might realise your restaurant is popular or has some buzz, particularly around the wine program. They might stop by, drop off a business card, send an email, and hint that they’d make it worth your while to add their wine to the list. A lot of these deals span the gray area of ethics, from direct cash incentives to trips, dinners, sporting game tickets, complimentary product. Anything to get an edge.”bon appetit

The radical moral implications of luck in human life

“It’s not difficult to see why many people take offense when reminded of their luck, especially those who have received the most. Allowing for luck can dent our self-conception. It can diminish our sense of control. It opens up all kinds of uncomfortable questions about obligations to other, less fortunate people. Nonetheless, this is a battle that cannot be bypassed. There can be no ceasefire. Individually, coming to terms with luck is the secular equivalent of religious awakening.” vox



So, ah, what’s the deal with the au pairs?

“Home affairs minister Peter Dutton has confirmed he used his ministerial discretion to grant visas on public interest grounds to two young tourists who came to Australia to perform babysitting duties ... A document tabled in Parliament shows the woman was granted a tourist visa (subclass 600) after Dutton used his ministerial discretion to intervene in the case.”  the new daily (from march)


Spill it, Quaedvlieg.

“Former Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg has personal knowledge of the involvement of Peter Dutton’s office in the unusual ministerial intervention in a foreign au pair’s visa case ... Quaedvlieg is reportedly examining Hansard records to ensure the responses the minister and department provided are consistent ‘with the facts as he knows them to be’, the source said.”  guardian australia


and finally:

Nation just so fucking over this

“This is getting ridiculous, it has been revealed. In a poll of 25 million Australians, 100 per cent said they wanted politicians to get on with running the fucking country. ‘We don’t care about your ridiculous little shitty arguments and pathetic personal grudges’, a spokesperson for the nation said today. ‘Without wanting to sound old fashioned, can you just do your fucking job?’”  the shovel