Civil liberties groups warn new counter-terrorism laws could see Australian journalists and whistleblowers refused entry to Australia. The “temporary exclusion” bill yesterday passed the Senate with bipartisan support, allowing the government to block Australians suspected of extremism from returning to the country for up to two years. Labor supported the laws despite expressing concerns. “Given the Minister for Home Affairs’ track record at crying wolf and bending the truth, if there’s one minister that requires oversight, it’s the Minister for Home Affairs,” Labor’s home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally told Parliament. Australian Lawyers’ Alliance spokesman Greg Barns said the bill ($) could block people considered an indirect risk to security. “When whistleblowers, media organisations and journalists have published information about misconduct in military operations in the past, such exercises have been labelled as assisting terrorism,” he said in a statement to The New Daily. The legislation was rushed through against the recommendations of a bipartisan committee, and includes sections the Law Council of Australia warns could be at odds with the constitution.
Documents leaked to the ABC indicate the plan for tackling alcohol abuse that kills 6000 Australians a year has been watered down by the alcohol industry. The 2017 draft strategy specified the alcohol industry “would not be eligible for membership of the reference group” that formulated policy, but after Health Minister Greg Hunt met with industry leaders, references ruling out alcohol industry involvement were subsequently removed. The leaked draft showed references to "increased risk of serious harm and the development of harmful drinking patterns" replaced with phrases that suggest alcohol is an “intrinsic part of Australian culture and it plays a central role in most people's social lives." Western Australian Health Minister Roger Cook is one of a number of state ministers now refusing to endorse the strategy, saying: “I'm not sure why we need to see it watered down, Minister Hunt now needs to re-examine his conscience.” A spokesman for Hunt said: “The Morrison Government is committed to reducing alcohol-related harm for all Australians through a range of measures.”
The final report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s digital platforms inquiry will be released today, and is expected to zero in on the domination of Facebook and Google, demanding greater scrutiny of their operations and market power. In the US, Facebook was this week hit with a $7.1bn fine for privacy violations.
In his first address to the House of Commons as British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson pledged to renegotiate the Brexit deal with the European Union and ramp up preparations for a no-deal Brexit as a “top priority”. The statement followed the first meeting of Johnson's new cabinet, who he claimed had all committed to leaving the European Union by October 31 with “no ifs, no buts”. The cabinet has a radically different look to predecessor Theresa May’s team, with 17 former senior ministers either axed or stepping down. In a phone call with Johnson, European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told the new PM that the Brexit deal arranged by May is “the best and only agreement possible”. Johnson also promised to introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system, and spoke with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the phone in one of his first conversations with foreign leaders.
Australia won gold and broke a world record in the women's 4x200 metres freestyle final at the world swimming championships in Gwangju, South Korea. Ariarne Titmus, Madison Wilson, Brianna Throssell and Emma McKeon completed the relay in 7 minutes, 41.5 seconds, beating China's old record set at the 2009 world championships in Rome during the rubber suit era. In the men's 200m breaststroke semi-finals, Australian Matthew Wilson equalled the world record, and compatriot Kyle Chalmers won silver in the 100m freestyle final.