The AFP is investigating a report referred by Justice Patricia Bergin in the wake of her explosive inquiry into Crown Casino, as ASIC begins looking into the company’s current and former board appointees.In her 800-page public inquiry report, Bergin uncovered a culture of cavalier decision-making at Crown Resorts, with company failures that resulted in the arrest of its own employees in China. She pointed to systems that should have identified money laundering involving criminal elements attached to junkets, but did not.
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has urged prime minister Scott Morrison to investigate reports that a Chinese billionaire seeking Australian citizenship paid tens of thousands of dollars for a private lunch with home affairs minister Peter Dutton. A joint investigation between Nine newspapers and the ABC’s Four Corners revealed on Tuesday that real estate developer Huang Xiangmo paid former Liberal senator Santo Santoro a five-figure sum to arrange a one-on-one meeting with Dutton at a Chinese restaurant in Sydney in 2016. In recordings published by the ABC, Santoro described Dutton as one of his “best friends”, and boasted that “there is nobody else anywhere who is better placed than me to help you through this particular part of the project”. Dutton also allowed then Labor senator Sam Dastyari to perform a private citizenship ceremony for Huang’s wife and two children in 2015. Speaking on Tuesday, Turnbull said “the idea that the minister responsible for enforcing those laws has had a meeting of this kind raises a lot of questions”, and that Morrison “can't waive this off and say that it is all part of gossip and of the bubble – this is the national security of Australia”.
Federal environment minister and former mining industry lawyer Melissa Price has approved groundwater management plans for the proposed Carmichael coalmine in Queensland, marking the final federal approval required for the mine to proceed. Federal government MPs have been feuding over the mine in recent weeks, with Queensland Liberal senator James McGrath reportedly threatening to demand Price’s resignation if approval did not occur before prime minister Scott Morrison called the federal election. Opposition leader Bill Shorten called the dispute “a failure of ethics in government at the highest level”, while downplaying the possibility a future Labor government would overturn the approval, saying on Tuesday that”we will just adhere to the law”. The mine still requires approvals from the Queensland state government before going ahead.
Car manufacturer Toyota and motoring organisation the National Roads and Motorists’ Association have undercut the federal government’s claim that Labor’s electric cars policy would negatively impact Australia’s most popular cars. Speaking on Tuesday, skills minister Michaelia Cash claimed Labor’s policy would force tradespeople to sell their Toyota Hilux utes, saying “we are going to stand by our tradies and we are going to save their utes”. In a statement, Toyota said it had “a global ambition of zero CO2 emissions from sites and vehicles by 2050 and Toyota Australia is part of that mission”, and that it was on track to sell 5.5 million electric vehicles in Australia by 2030. NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said “there is already work being done on the first electric ute, there will be electric vans, there are already electric buses”.
And federal Labor has warned it could do little to fix the National Broadband Network if it won the next election. Speaking on Tuesday, Labor communication spokesperson Michelle Rowland said “there are realities we cannot undo”, and that “Labor will not be offering a quick fix”. The NBN rollout has been dogged with cost and timetable blowouts, while experts have criticised the federal government’s replacement of fibre-the-the-premises with a multi-technology mix.