Monday, April 29, 2019

Charged Anning supporter’s extremist ties

The man arrested after an attack on a photographer at a press conference for far-right senator Fraser Anning has a history of association with far-right extremist groups. Max Towns, 19, was charged on Saturday after allegedly verbally abusing News Corp journalist Eliza Barr, calling her a “Commie whore”. Towns then allegedly assaulted photographer Dylan Robinson, repeatedly punching him in the head. Barr had questioned Anning’s false claims that Muslim and Sudanese immigrants were committing hate crimes against white people. In Facebook posts earlier this month, Towns pledged allegiance to Anning with the words “victory or death”, a phrase used by Adolf Hitler during the Second World War.

Labor has pledged $4 billion toward increasing the childcare subsidy if it wins the federal election next month. Under the plan, the existing 85 per cent subsidy for low-income families would be raised to 100 per cent for families earning less than $69,527 a year, tapering to a 50 per cent subsidy for families earning less than $172,000. Speaking on Sunday, opposition leader Bill Shorten called the policy an “investment in early education, in working parents and in helping families with the rising cost of living”. A Productivity Commission report in February found that families were spending a median of $480 a week on childcare, and that 37 per cent of parents who weren’t working were staying home because they could not find affordable childcare.

Liberal-turned-independent MP Julia Banks will preference Labor over federal health minister Greg Hunt in the race for the Victorian seat of Flinders. Banks, who quit the Liberal Party last year after Scott Morrison became prime minister, announced in January that she would challenge Hunt over his involvement in the leadership coup. While Hunt holds the Mornington Peninsula-based seat with a margin of 7 per cent, Banks’ preferences could boost the chances of Labor candidate Joshua Sinclair.

And a former federal Coalition MP has hit out at the federal Liberal Party’s decision to swap preferences with the United Australia Party. Ewen Jones, who held the Townsville-based seat of Herbert from 2010 to 2016, said on Saturday “it shocks and disgusts me that people would even countenance voting” for the UAP, and “there’s no way in the world that it would be done if I were the candidate”. UAP leader Clive Palmer, owes about $7 million to former employees of Queensland Nickel refinery, which collapsed in 2016. Under the preference deal, the Liberals would place the UAP second on its how-to-vote cards for the House of Representatives and Senate. At least 19 UAP candidates submitted incomplete information to the Australian Electoral Commission about their eligibility to run for parliament.



“Former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty is examining links between political donations and the issuing and buyback of agricultural water licences, amid concerns that undeclared conflicts of interest could be fuelling corruption. Keelty told The Saturday Paper this week he is concerned about the extent of undeclared conflicts of interest among politicians, lobby groups and businesses operating in the water market.”


“This is Palmer, who hardly turned up when he was member for the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax, and whose party disintegrated in near record time as two of his three senators – Jacqui Lambie then Glenn Lazarus – deserted him ... Sadly, as a result of the LNP’s preference deal, which will see Palmer’s party ranked above Labor on how-to-vote cards for the both the House and the Senate, we now have to take the man seriously.”


“Politics has never seemed so unstable, or so unsavoury. We no longer can be sure who is calling the shots, and that eats at the foundations of public trust – we fear the only people who would buy into this unattractive game are those in it for themselves. Of course, this is a perennial risk, not a revelation. But combine it with the new sense of breakdown in due process, and fear for the checks and balances needed to control undue influence, and the trust crisis is explained.”


“The Liberal Party candidate under fire for referring to Chloe Shorten as a pig has gone to ground, after letters to the editor emerged in which she wrote private schools were far superior, and childless leaders lack empathy. Kate Ashmor, the candidate for the Melbourne seat of Macnamara, refused to comment further on her remarks in which she said teachers in the private system were better than ‘the vast majority of those’ in the public system.”


“Millions of dollars from a federal government program for capital projects at under-resourced schools have been directed to facilities at ‘elite’ private institutions, prompting claims from the public school teachers’ union about unfair funding levels in the education system.”


“Growing increasingly worked up over his lack of foresight, local man Alexander Diggs began to experience severe panic after realising he had no plans for the ripe avocado on his kitchen counter, sources indicated Friday.”

Alex McKinnon is Schwartz Media's morning editor.