Thursday, September 12, 2019

ASIO warned Turnbull to shun Liu event

New revelations have emerged about Liberal MP Gladys Liu's links to Chinese identities considered a security threat. The ABC understands that in February 2018 the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Director-General, Duncan Lewis, advised then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull not to attend a “meet and greet” for Chinese New Year organised by Liu, due to concerns about the guest list. The revelation comes as Liu confirmed she was an honorary member of a Chinese propaganda organisation between 2003 and 2015, something she had previously denied. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing calls from Labor to provide reassurances that Liu is a “fit and proper” person to be in Parliament. Liu, who was born in Hong Kong, said in a statement that people must not see “everything I do through the lens of my birthplace”. The scandal comes at a time of heightened tensions about Chinese government influence in Australia and racism, with Monash University cancelling a student election after foreigners were banned by the union from contesting, in a bid to prevent an expected victory by Chinese international students.

Climate policy questions: Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor has defended the government’s record on renewable energy, as Guardian Australia reports that investment in the sector is plummeting. With Australia having met the Renewable Energy Target before the 2020 target date, the industry is lobbying for an extension of the target, or implementation of an alternative. According to The Australian, Labor is reviewing its own climate targets, considering dropping its 2030 target to cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent, due to concerns­ a Labor government would not have time to achieve such a reduction if elected at the next opportunity in 2022. Instead, the party would focus on a net zero pollution target for 2050. 

Australians jailed in Iran: An Australian university lecturer has been sentenced to 10 years' jail in the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. The British-Australian woman is in a prison where political prisoners are held. Family members are unable to visit. Another British-Australian woman and her Australian boyfriend were also arrested and detained in a separate incident, according to The Times ($), after taking photos while camping near a military precinct in Iran. Most media outlets are choosing not to reveal the identities of the three prisoners while Australia negotiates with Iran over their future. In August, a senior member of the Iranian government warned Australia's “reputation and prestige” would suffer because it joined a US-led military coalition to the Strait of Hormuz.

In sport: Australia has qualified for the men’s basketball World Cup semi-finals in China, after an 82-70 victory over the Czech Republic on Wednesday night. Patty Mills led the scoring with 24 points. The tournament is wide open after the hot favourite Team USA was upset by France in a quarter final earlier in the day, to the consternation of American media. Australia will face Spain while France will play Argentina, with both semi-finals scheduled for Friday.   

The Daddy Quota
When Annabel Crabb decided to find out what happens to men’s work habits when they have children, she discovered a huge store of gendered norms and inequality.


“The $100,000 donation now being investigated by ICAC is but the tip of a very large iceberg of political donations by Huang Xiangmo and his associated companies. In the five years before he was denied re-entry to Australia on ASIO advice, the billionaire donated some $2.7 million to Australia’s major political parties at state and federal level – money that he demanded be returned to him after his bid for citizenship failed. What did all that money buy?” 


“Spring means new growth, swelling buds, thick white blossom on the entirely useless ornamental cherry trees that surround the aged-care home where my father lives. Somewhere, in a possibly fictitious rural idyll far beyond the bitumen, concrete and glass of the city, there will be pregnant ewes and gambolling lambs. Oh, and magpie swooping season is here. I have heard that in spring the male magpie’s testicles swell to 10 times their normal size, and testosterone swamps their tiny bird brains. Spring is a dangerous riot.”


“A government that cares about press freedom doesn’t seek to destroy the lives of whistleblowers. It doesn’t pursue the conviction of a former military lawyer for theft of Commonwealth property, breaching the Defence Act and the unauthorised disclosure of information. Doesn’t leave a former public servant facing 161 years in prison for simply trying to raise a warning about draconian Tax Office debt collection. Or chase down another for revealing to the world that Australia bugged the government of Timor-Leste in order to get its hands on more of the fledgling nation’s gas reserves.”


“The strife-torn Earle Haven nursing home was the subject of multiple allegations of elder abuse in the months before the shock evacuation of dozens of residents in July. Giving evidence at a public hearing in to the debacle surrounding the Nerang retirement home, former clinical care co-ordinator Telecia Tuccori confirmed there had been allegations of elder abuse leveled against three staff at the centre. The complaints had been made by other staff members and included at least one allegation of unreasonable use of force.”


“More than half of the nursing homes run by Australia's largest private provider Bupa are failing basic standards of care and 30 per cent are putting the health and safety of the elderly at ‘serious risk’, according to accreditation reports analysed by the ABC. Advocates are now asking whether Bupa — which receives almost half a billion dollars in government funding each year — is fit to be an aged care provider.”



“Who cleaned up those gallons of fake blood? It’s a question that applies to many of horror’s most famous moments. Consider, for instance, the chest-bursting scene in Alien, or Johnny Depp’s fate in A Nightmare on Elm Street after he settles into his bed to watch Miss Nude America on TV — both mix the unsettling with the nauseating, both are impossible to forget and both must have left a tremendous mess after the directors yelled ‘cut.’ Now, with IT Chapter Two in theaters, it’s hard not to wonder who gets to clean up that blood-drenched bathroom this time around.”



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