Tuesday, September 17, 2019

NSW Premier to face spill motion

A trio of New South Wales Liberal MPs have pledged to move a spill motion today against Premier Gladys Berejiklian over her handling of the abortion decriminalisation bill. Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies and upper house members Matthew Mason-Cox and Lou Amato released a statement at 8.30pm on Monday criticising the “shameful process” of key amendments they wanted made to the abortion legislation being "rejected in full or in part". Deputy Premier John Barilaro was one of several senior Coalition ministers to back Berejiklian. "This is ridiculous,” the Nationals leader tweeted. “Our Coalition agreement is with Gladys and any move would be a dumb move.” It comes as Seven News and Sunrise have repeated a false claim that pro-choice activists campaigning in favour of the abortion legislation chanted “put the foetus in the bin” in Sydney on Saturday.

Paedophile rings: An investigation by The Age has detailed how paedophile priests did not act as individuals but operated in clusters. The priests co-ordinated to share victims, pass around details of children considered easy targets, and to cover up abuse. At the centre of a number of these networks was Melbourne seminary Corpus Christi, from which at least 75 convicted and alleged sex offenders emerged, including George Pell and Gerald Ridsdale. The story comes as investigative journalist Lucie Morris-Marr releases a new book on the Pell trial. Pell is expected to lodge an appeal ($) with the High Court in the coming days over his conviction for abusing two choirboys.

Huang Xiangmo asset freeze: The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian Taxation Office sought urgent orders in the Federal Court in Sydney on Monday to freeze the Australian assets of Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo as it chases $140 million in allegedly unpaid tax and penalties. The Independent Commission Against Corruption has been investigating an alleged $100,000 secret cash donation Huang made to the NSW Labor Party before the 2015 state election. The property developer has lived in Hong Kong since his Australian permanent residency visa was cancelled on December 5 last year. 

Lavish CEO bonuses: A report by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors has found that of Australia’s 100 largest companies, only one chief executive eligible for a bonus was not awarded a slice of profit in the 2018 financial year: Domino's Pizza boss Don Meij. The median bonus awarded to an ASX100 chief executive was $1.61 million — the second highest in the history of the survey. ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson said bonus payments should be rewards for exceptional performance, not the default. “The way bonuses are being handed out suggests there is a culture of entitlement whereby supposedly ‘at risk’ pay is not very risky at all,” she said. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was Australia's highest-paid chief executive in 2018, taking home $23.9 million — 275 times the full-time average wage.

Scott Morrison’s poverty fix
As Scott Morrison announces punitive welfare plans, Rick Morton asks what happens when you treat poverty as a moral problem.


“The day was meant to be a celebration of 20 years since the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. But in that moment, as the fireworks started, the crowd all did the same as me – we ducked, instinctively. It was muscle memory reaction to the sound of gunfire. A realisation passed through this crowd – it’s just fireworks – and we all laughed ... It was a moment that said so much of a society still so collectively traumatised by the events of their independence, 20 years ago.” 


“With the availability of a pioneering new treatment that delays menopause, it might not be long before women can opt out of menopause altogether. So far the treatment is only available privately through ProFaM, a clinic in Birmingham, Britain. Essentially, the procedure tricks women’s biological clocks into thinking they are far younger than they actually are … Each sliver of ovarian tissue can be effective for up to 20 years, but in theory the process can be repeated indefinitely.”


“It was on Bounce that Frawley bestowed the weekly Golden Fist – his piss-take trophy given to the defender who had performed the round’s best spoil. Singling out this micro-feature of the game, and awarding it with a plastic fist, was jest. But it wasn’t entirely a joke: it was exactly the kind of vital but unglamorous effort that Frawley excelled at. One can easily picture his hulking frame sprinting towards a contested mark, leaping and then punching the ball out of bounds. Danny Frawley was never a contender for mark of the year.”


“More Australians are drowning as the country faces record high temperatures, lifesavers have warned. There were 276 drowning deaths in 2018-19, a 10 per cent increase from the previous financial year. Over the three summer months alone there were 123 drowning deaths, a 17 per cent increase compared to the 10-year average.”


“Volunteer surf lifesavers are worried the organisation is prioritising surf sport competitions over its core business of lifesaving. ABC's Background Briefing has spoken to high-profile members of the surf lifesaving movement who have described a continual wrestle for resources between spending on sport and rescue equipment.”



“A new priest named Mindar is holding forth at Kodaiji, a 400-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. Like other clergy members, this priest can deliver sermons and move around to interface with worshippers. But Mindar comes with some ... unusual traits. A body made of aluminum and silicone, for starters.”



Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.