British prime minister Theresa May has cancelled a planned parliamentary vote on her government’s draft Brexit agreement today, potentially setting the stage for a leadership challenge. In an emergency statement to the House of Commons, May admitted the plan “would be rejected by a significant margin” if it went to a vote, and that she would head to Brussels in an attempt to renegotiate conditions over the UK’s border with Ireland. MPs have demanded May schedule a vote on the deal before the end of the year, although it could be delayed until January. May had warned on Sunday that Britain “would truly be in uncharted waters” if parliament rejects the Brexit agreement, “with a very real risk of no Brexit or leaving the European Union with no deal”. Ominously for May’s political prospects, Conservative backbencher and Leave advocate Boris Johnson has had a haircut.
Two class actions have claimed the Australian government inflicted torture, crimes against humanity and caused intentional harm to refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. Working with legal advocates at the National Justice Project, lawyers George Newhouse and Julian Burnside QC filed claims on behalf of about 1200 refugees with the High Court on Friday. In a statement, the NPJ said the refugees claimed they had been subjected to “torture, crimes against humanity and the intentional infliction of harm by the Australian government”, and were pursuing a civil case “because a prosecution for such acts under the commonwealth criminal code requires the approval of the attorney general”.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has recommended the establishment of a new authority to regulate the behaviour of digital giants such as Google and Facebook. In its preliminary Digital Platforms Inquiry report, released on Monday, the ACCC recommended the government create “a regulatory authority to be tasked with monitoring, investigating and reporting on the criteria, commercial arrangements or other factors used by relevant digital platforms”, including the display of advertising and news. It also recommended the authority be empowered to investigate whether search engines and social media platforms were “engaging in discriminatory conduct by favouring their own business interests above those of advertisers or potentially competing businesses”.
And rugby league player Jarryd Hayne has pleaded not guilty on one charge of aggravated sexual assault inflicting actual bodily harm. Appearing before Burwood local court in Sydney on Monday, Hayne asserted through his barrister, Richard Pontello, that he “maintains his innocence and maintains he will be pleading not guilty”. Hayne, 30, was arrested last month after allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in her home. The unnamed woman claimed Hayne injured her during the assault, biting her on the groin so severely she required medical attention. Hayne is fighting a separate civil case in the United States over an alleged rape in 2015, while Manly Sea Eagles player Dylan Walker was charged with common assault last week after allegedly assaulting his fiancee.