Monday, August 27, 2018

Morrison picks new ministry

Prime minister Scott Morrison has appointed his new ministry, rewarding MPs who supported him in last week’s Liberal leadership spill and moving to placate conservative rivals. Deputy Liberal leader Josh Frydenberg has been appointed treasurer, while Marise Payne has taken over as foreign affairs minister and Christopher Pyne has taken the defence portfolio. Unsuccessful leadership contender Peter Dutton remains home affairs minister, but the immigration portfolio has been split from the super-ministry and given to New South Wales MP David Coleman. Former small business minister Craig Laundy, who supported Malcolm Turnbull and declared himself “physically, mentally, emotionally absolutely annihilated” from last week’s leadership ructions, asked not to be considered for a portfolio.

Longtime Liberal frontbencher Julie Bishop announced she would step down as foreign minister after losing Friday’s leadership ballot. Bishop served as deputy to three Liberal leaders over 11 years, taking the foreign affairs portfolio in 2013. Bishop presided over record cuts to Australia’s foreign aid budget during her tenure, but recent polls indicated she would present a greater electoral challenge to Labor at the next federal election. A WhatsApp conversation between Liberal MPs before the leadership ballot, released by the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, revealed that many of Bishop’s supporters voted for Morrison as he was regarded the more likely candidate. In a statement, Bishop said she had “made no decision regarding the next election”.

Dozens of people believed to be asylum seekers are in hiding in far north Queensland after their fishing boat ran aground north of Port Douglas. Locals helped passengers on the boat ashore after it became stranded on a sandbar near the mouth of the Daintree River on Sunday. While Queensland police and Australian Border Force officers apprehended 11 of the passengers, more than two dozen others fled into mangrove forests. In a statement, the department of home affairs said “the first priority is to confirm the safety and welfare of the people on the fishing vessel”.

And in the United States, Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain has died shortly after stopping treatment for a brain tumour. McCain, 81, first came to prominence after being imprisoned and tortured during the Vietnam War. While McCain had a reputation in Washington, DC as a “maverick” politician willing to go against his party, he was a prominent supporter of the US war in Iraq and most of US president Donald Trump’s political agenda.



“Pat Nixon was formidable. That year, during a visit to Vietnam, she became the first first lady to enter an active combat zone since World War II. But her relationship with the president could be a challenge ... There have also been darker reports that Nixon struck his wife while he was president.”


“Released to the press a mere two days before its grand opening, Dismaland saw the decayed and forgotten Tropicana turned into a Banksy dreamscape ... Including the artworks of 58 international artists such as Damien Hirst and Dietrich Wenger, Dismaland conjured the apathy and cynicism of Banksy’s earlier street art with the colossal financial budget of a man whose work has become synonymous with some of the most outrageously wealthy people in the world.”


“Souvenirs are, in many ways, generic, particularly the mass-produced variety you buy at a theme park, as opposed to a seashell you might bring home from a trip to the beach. But, like Dolly herself, souvenirs can embody contradictions. If they are seemingly impersonal, they can also be personal.”


“Why the greater instability in prime ministership now? John Howard tells @David_Speers that social media is one reason but he also names this: so many MPs with no experience other than being political advisers, etc, before arriving in parliament.”


“Howard left Canterbury Boys’ High School in 1956 to study law at the University of Sydney and joined the Young Liberal Movement in 1962. Howard became president of the New South Wales Young Liberals and won pre-selection for the state seat of Drummoyne in 1968. He did not win the seat, but went on in 1972 to become vice-president of the state Liberal Party and work on Billy McMahon’s election campaign.”


The Ferals did so much that was dangerous and unhealthy. All these things that our kids are told. Not to walk on a wall in case they fall off. Never to climb a ladder or stand on a desk. And The Ferals did all that stuff. Kids weren’t told it so much in the ’90s, but they’re just told it obsessively now.”


Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.