Monday, February 04, 2019

Banks braced for final report

Australia’s financial sector is braced for the release of the banking industry royal commission’s final report after close of trading today. While the contents of the report are not yet known outside government, the federal government and the major banks have expressed a willingness to implement most of the royal commission’s recommendations. Speaking on Sunday, Australian Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh said “this is an opportunity to reset the industry and to make things better for our customers”. Jobs minister Kelly O’Dwyer said the government, which has been reading an advance copy of the report over the weekend, would “be listening very carefully to the recommendations of the Hayne royal commission”.

The last four refugee and asylum seeker children on Nauru are due to be removed from the island within days after being approved for resettlement in the United States. Prime minister Scott Morrison attempted to take credit for the milestone, saying on Sunday that he had “been working quietly to have all children removed from Nauru without compromising the integrity of Operation Sovereign Borders”. Refugee advocates, lawyers and caseworkers disputed Morrison’s claim, with National Justice Project managing director George Newhouse saying “from our first case, back in 2016, the minister fought us every step of the way”. More than 1000 adults remain in offshore detention.

The Victorian state government will ban gay conversion therapy after the state’s health complaints commissioner Karen Cusack found “conversion therapy practices can cause long-term psychological harm and distress”. The HCC report urged a legislative response to ban the practice to send a “strong message to the community that conversion therapy practices are unacceptable”. Speaking ahead of Victoria’s Pride March on Sunday, premier Daniel Andrews said “the notion that any gay Victorian is broken and needs to be fixed … is such a hurtful, wrong, absolutely disgraceful way to approach what should be about inclusion and acceptance”.

And conservative New South Wales Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly is facing a grassroots challenge at the upcoming federal election. Community group Hughes Deserves Better formed last week to find an independent candidate to oust Kelly, saying “we all deserve better representation in Canberra, and can work together to improve our options”. An outspoken conservative on issues such as climate change and free speech, Kelly has attracted controversy for supporting home affairs minister Peter Dutton’s leadership challenge and defending the actions of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Prime minister Scott Morrison rescued Kelly from a preselection challenge in December.



“The NSW Greens party, the troubled child of the green movement in Australia, finds itself distracted from the external political contest by an internal one. Again. Even as the election looms, they are fighting over the selection of upper house candidates, at loggerheads over proposals for structural reform, digging dirt on one another, and contemplating the prospect of a major split. And losing members, by the score.”


“Such is life. Those are Ned Kelly’s widely reported final words, uttered before being executed in 1880 at the age of 25 for murdering a constable. But The Argus recorded that, as the hangman sought to restrain him, the Irish-Australian bushranger actually plumped for the less memorable, ‘There is no need for tying me’, as his gallows goodbye, as well as the more prosaic ‘Ah well, I suppose it has come to this.’ ”


“The suggestion that My Health Record (MHR) can provide a more complete picture of health or avoid a full consultation is one I believe to be disingenuous. A complete picture of someone’s health comes from speaking to them, not just a list of diagnoses or drugs; even repeat prescriptions obligate a full consultation for medical safety.”


“Truckloads of dead fish have been dumped in mass graves in Menindee as the clean-up from the latest fish kill in the Darling River gets underway ... The beginning of the unenviable operation coincided with warnings from experts that a mass fish kill survivor – the carp – could be steadily climbing the food chain.”


“Recognising Aboriginal legal rights to access and manage water is the key to addressing the ‘unfolding ecological and cultural disaster on the Murray-Darling’, Indigenous nations of the river system say ... The call comes in the wake of the SA royal commission finding gross maladministration, negligence and unlawful actions in the multibillion-dollar plan to save Australia’s largest river system.”


“To put this dramatic increase in road safety into perspective, in 1996, over 250,000 pedestrians were struck and killed at crosswalks by drivers barreling past stop signs in their hurry to enjoy Frasier’s clever repartee with his working-class father and Niles’ ‘will they or won’t they’ romance with Daphne. In the past year, only 45,000 pedestrians were killed in Frasier-related collisions!”

Competition - Win a double pass to At Eternity’s Gate

The Saturday Paper invites readers to enter the draw for a chance to win one of 25 double passes to At Eternity’s Gate, starring Oscar-nominated (Best Actor) Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh, and in cinemas February 14. 

Tickets can be used at cinemas nationally, subject to Transmission Films’ terms and conditions. 

Competition closes 11.59pm AEDT on Tuesday, February 5 and winners will be notified by Thursday, February 7.

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.