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.