Tuesday, June 04, 2019

WA police call for justice reform

Western Australian police commissioner Chris Dawson has urged the state government to do more to keep Indigenous children and young people out of the criminal justice system. Speaking to Guardian Australia on Monday, Dawson voiced support for alternative justice approaches such as community gatherings, “rather than truck or fly a young person to be remanded in custody some 2000 kilometres south, taken off country, taken away from their parents and carers and their community, and expect that they’re going to come back better people for it”. Dawson’s comments come after revelations last week that every child in custody in the Northern Territory is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor could be held in contempt of parliament for failing to release carbon emissions data. A Senate motion passed last year requires the government to release national quarterly emissions data no later than five months after the end of the quarter, but data for the quarter ending December 2018 still has not been made public. Shadow climate and energy minister Mark Butler called Taylor’s inaction a “disgrace”, saying “Angus Taylor has continually argued against climate action and is part of a government that has continually lied about what their emissions data actually shows, which is that emissions are rising and we’re not on track to meet our international climate commitments”.

Shadow home affairs minister Kristina Keneally has pledged to “apply a blowtorch” to home affairs minister Peter Dutton’s handling of a rise in bridging visas for asylum seekers arriving by plane. Speaking on Sunday, Keneally highlighted cases of asylum seekers, migrants and family members waiting years for visa and citizenship approvals. “I completely accept and endorse the approach of boat turnbacks, offshore processing and regional resettlement, but I believe we can secure our borders and still treat people humanely,” Keneally said.

And the New South Wales state government has reached a $576 million settlement with the contractor building the Sydney light rail, blowing the project’s cost out to $2.7 billion. Under the agreement, light rail should be running between Randwick and Circular Quay by December, while the remaining stretch of track to Kingsford will likely not be completed until next year. Originally budgeted at $1.6 billion, legal wrangling between Transport for NSW and Spanish firm ALTRAC led to repeated delays and cost blowouts.


“Needing to replace a clutch of cabinet ministers who resigned from parliament ahead of the election, including leading moderates Christopher Pyne and Kelly O’Dwyer, Morrison has taken the opportunity to ensure that three of the five new faces in his cabinet are those who backed him over Peter Dutton. They include Ken Wyatt, Anne Ruston and Stuart Robert, who have all been promoted into cabinet portfolios to keep a balance between conservatives and moderates.”


“Every post-mortem on the 2019 federal election campaign should open with a mea culpa. Mine is about the presidential twist in the contest. I underestimated how quickly Scott Morrison would learn from his mistakes as caretaker prime minister. He had made so many in his hurry to introduce himself to the Australian people that I wondered if they’d already written him off.”


“Seven weeks ago, Farage, an outspoken nativist and opponent of immigration and multiculturalism, launched the Brexit Party to compete in last weekend’s European Parliament elections. On Monday, results showed his party won, securing 32 per cent of the vote and 29 seats, compared with 16 seats for the pro-Europe Liberal Democrats, 10 for Labour, seven for the Greens and just four for the ruling Conservative party.”


“Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz has signalled his intention to push for religious freedom reforms in the new parliament, saying that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are ‘in the DNA of every true Liberal’. Senator Abetz’s comments come after he called for an investigation into controversial rugby star Israel Folau’s sacking.”


“Australian Taxation Office whistleblower Richard Boyle has broken his silence on the personal toll of speaking up and facing a prison sentence of 161 years if found guilty. Boyle became a whistleblower last year when he exposed abuse of power inside one of the country’s most powerful institutions, the ATO, including aggressive debt collection practices.”



“Gasping as a murky, flickering cloud slowly began to engulf the map he had drawn with his staff in the stars above, the aged and wizened fantasy character Astron the Ancient confirmed to reporters Friday that the darkness had finally been awakened, just as the ancestors had foretold.”

Morrison's broad church
Scott Morrison’s cabinet is a careful balance between those who backed him during last year’s leadership spill, and those who backed Peter Dutton. There are well-received appointments and others that are more controversial. Paddy Manning discusses who is where and what it means.

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.