Monday, December 03, 2018

Turnbull weighs in on Kelly drama

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has thrown his support behind a push to unseat conservative Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly in a preselection contest. At the urging of prime minister Scott Morrison, the New South Wales Liberal executive will vote this week on whether to endorse all sitting MPs in the state, potentially saving Kelly from losing preselection to Sutherland Shire councillor Kent Johns. Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Turnbull said he had told NSW Liberal executive members that “the Party’s democratic processes should operate in the normal way” and that “it is time for the Liberal Party members in Hughes to have their say about their local member and decide who they want to represent them”. Kelly, who supported the leadership challenge against Turnbull in August, has reportedly threatened to “bring down the government” by moving to the crossbench if he loses preselection. On Sunday, Kelly swore at Liberal Sutherland mayor Carmelo Pesce in an Engadine gym for refusing to shake his hand, calling him a “fucking prick”.

Victims of irresponsible financial practices and misconduct have demanded a second royal commission into the banking and financial services industry. Commissioner Kenneth Hayne adjourned the royal commission on Friday, with findings from the 68-day inquiry due to be delivered to Governor-General Peter Cosgrove by February. Geoff Shannon, the founder of a support group for victims of financial misconduct, told Guardian Australia the commission had “not even scratched the surface in terms of bank scandals”. The federal government resisted calls to extend the commission, despite the inquiry hearing from fewer than 30 victims out of more than 10,000 submissions.

Australian Border Force staff have reported a culture of bullying, abuse and harassment in their workplaces and at the agency’s training college. Fairfax reports that an ABF employee who died by suicide in 2016 left a note that detailed “difficulties in the workplace”, while documents uncovered through Freedom of Information showed that dozens of ABF staff made compensation claims for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Speaking anonymously, a former student at the college said training was “really sloppily done,” and that at least one trainer was a “bully” who singled out and intimidated students.

And United States president Donald Trump has broken with other world leaders at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, refusing to reiterate his country’s commitment to the Paris accord on climate change. While all nations agreed to non-binding statements on reforming the World Trade Organisation and women’s economic empowerment, Australia, the US and Turkey pushed back against a proposed statement showing support for migrants and refugees. Trump quizzed prime minister Scott Morrison on August’s leadership spill when he met the Australian PM on the sidelines of the G20, while German chancellor Angela Merkel consulted notes explaining who Morrison was during their meeting.

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“Here is a troubling fact that has largely escaped scrutiny during the banking royal commission: for the past 10 years, rather than being penalised for breaches, it appears the banks have been receiving tax deductions for their crimes and misdemeanours. Instead of paying fines, they have been making donations to charities – a ‘no fault’ solution to dealing with financial offences.”


“The coronial inquest into Colin Winchester’s murder took 125 days over three years, and returned an open finding, but Eastman was a suspect from the day after the killing. When questioned by police he was vague and uncooperative, failing to account for his whereabouts. It emerged that he had visited a sex worker on the night of Winchester’s death, though she could only provide an alibi for the hours after the murder.”


“Worldwide, centre-right political parties find themselves in crisis. The mantra of free and open markets coupled with individual liberty is under threat from extreme right – not conservative – forces infiltrating these once mainstream parties. Conservatives would try to maintain the status quo, protect institutions and resist chaos.”


“Tributes flowed for George H.W. Bush after the 41st U.S. president died at his home in Houston on Friday. He was 94. President Donald Trump has declared Wednesday, December 5, a national day of mourning ... Tributes flowed on social media and in Washington for the man who was the longest-living president in American history.”


“Facts matter. The 41st president of the United States was not the last Republican moderate or a throwback to an imagined age of conservative decency and civility; he engaged in race baiting, obstruction of justice, and war crimes. He had much more in common with the two Republican presidents who came after him than his current crop of fans would like us to believe.”


“‘Empty my tanks’, I’d begged breathlessly, as once more she began drawing me deep inside her pleasure cave. Her vaginal ratchet moved in concertina-like waves, slowly chugging my organ as a boa constrictor swallows its prey.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.