Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Former Trump adviser targets Downer

A former adviser to US President Donald Trump has said it is time for payback for former Australian foreign minister, diplomat and “Clinton ally” Alexander Downer, who he claims was “spying” on him. In an interview with The New Daily, George Papadopoulos praised Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for co-operating with an inquiry designed to discredit the investigation into Russian interference in the US election. “My message to Scott Morrison is he is doing the right thing putting the relationship between the US and Australia above the personal interests of a Clinton ally who I reported to authorities for suspicion of spying on me,” said Papadopoulos, who served 12 days in a US federal prison for matters relating to the investigation. The interview comes as Guardian Australia reports that the Australian government did not authorise Downer to report claims made by Papadopoulos, which first sparked the Russia inquiry, to US officials.  

China 70th anniversary: An 18-year-old Hong Kong student protester is in a critical condition after being shot in the chest with live rounds by local police.  Hong Kong police chief Stephen Lo said the responsible officer “believed his life was in peril”. Tens of thousands of protesters defied a ban not to protest on the date of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, with some clashing with police who used live ammunition and tear gas. As Hong Kong protested, festivities in Beijing included a colourful evening gala, and a military parade that featured 15,000 soldiers marching with intercontinental missile systems on display. Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to social media network WeChat ($) to pay tribute to China’s “tremendous achievements”.    

Abbott on Brexit: Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told the UK Conservative Party conference that a no-deal Brexit is “no big deal”. Abbott, who was yesterday appointed to the Australian War Memorial Board, also called the UK’s House of Commons a “contemptible parliament” for obstructing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s agenda. The speech came as Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney described Johnson’s reported plan to install customs checkpoints a few kilometers either side of the Irish border as a “non-starter”.  

Nauru teacher sues: A former English teacher is suing the operator of offshore detention centre in Nauru over health problems caused by exposure to black mould in her accommodation. According to Guardian Australia, Dorothy McDonald is the latest person to sue operator Broadspectrum over health issues related to exposure to black mould while she was on Nauru teaching asylum seekers and refugees.

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“Under the latest changes, the minister would have the personal power to actively strip citizenship, case by case, from people whose conduct is deemed ‘incompatible with the shared values of the Australian community’. Such people are deemed to have ‘severed that bond and repudiated their allegiance to Australia’. It doesn’t define those common values.” 


“Scott Morrison is back on Australian soil with the ramifications of his seven-day Trumpfest romp still to play out … Trump’s gushing praise of Morrison at times sounded corny, as did Morrison’s ‘hundred years of mateship’ toast at the open-air White House state dinner. The big question after the star treatment was what did Trump want in return?”


“Every hour yielded a different window on the park’s theatrical scenery. Sandstone cliffs turned from gold to rose, their geology defying the rising sun, while trees speckled colossal mesas like goosebumps and waves of rock surged in the distance. It was sublime in the truest sense, though it must be said the awe began to fade around kilometre 20, replaced by fatigue and the irrational fear that the trail would never end.”


“The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the official interest rate to a record low of 0.75 per cent today, as the Australian property market consolidates its rebound. The 0.25 percentage point cut brings Australia’s official interest rate to a new low, following consecutive cuts in June and July this year.”


“Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank have resisted the government's pressure for banks to pass on in full the latest cut in official interest rates, pointing to the low rates on deposits as they reduced rates for most groups of borrowers by significantly less than the official 0.25 percentage point move. CBA, the country's biggest bank, on Tuesday said it would lower rates by 0.13 percentage points for all owner-occupiers and for property investors who are paying principal and interest on their loans.”


“Confronted with 21 deaths on Queensland beaches — three times the number of fatalities in the previous financial year — Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is taking preventative action. Their plan will utilise Australia's love of mobile phones to nudge swimmers closer to the red-and-yellow flags with Life-Fi, a Wi-Fi network set to be activated on busy tourist beaches. But it will only be accessible between the flags — the signal drops out once users stray beyond the patrolled area.”



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