Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Melbourne Cup faces ‘cruelty-free’ competition

Dozens of alternative events will be held on the first Melbourne Cup day since explosive reports on systematic abuse and culling of racehorses at abattoirs. According to The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, at least 26 events have been organised across the country including champagne lunches, “cruelty free” fashion shows, and an inflatable T-Rex race. On Monday hundreds of protesters chanted slogans at the Melbourne Cup parade including “animal abusers total losers” and “say nup to the cup”. The Age reports that Melbourne Cup jockeys will be warned that a repeat of the previous year's mass whip breaches won't be tolerated, with stewards threatening record fines and suspensions. All eyes will be on gambling revenues from the race, with betting on races in the lead up on the decline from last season. The event is still attracting significant positive attention in the media, from cup tips to fashion guides. The billionaire Dubai emir Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is hoping to win a second Melbourne Cup in a row with defending champion Cross Counter.

Anti-Market Forces: Attorney-General Christian Porter has singled out activist organisation Market Forces as the federal government considers how to stop secondary boycotts of mining companies, reports The Conversation. Porter said he was looking at options across portfolios to target groups such as Market Forces, which has lobbied against the Adani Carmichael coal mine. He is also considering regulatory action against class action litigation funders as well as “lawfare” which was “designed to delay, frustrate and cause unnecessary expense to mining and other legitimate commercial projects and businesses”. Market Forces chief executive Julien Vincent said that when the federal government saw something it did not like “its response is to get it shut down”. Not all resources companies are on board with the idea.

Asia trade deal: Australia is among 15 Asia-Pacific nations to agree to terms on the world's largest trade deal,  covering about 29 per cent of global economic production. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership also includes the 10 South-East Asian members of the ASEAN alliance, Japan, China, South Korea, and New Zealand. India declined to join due to concerns about Chinese imports and a loss of protections for the services sector, but the door has been left open for it to sign on in the future. The deal is expected to be signed in 2020.

Apartment defects cost: A CFMEU report to be released today will estimate the national cost of apartment defects such as flammable cladding to be more than $6 billion. The report, based on modelling by Equity Economics, urges that federal infrastructure funding be used as leverage over state governments to ensure better compliance. The news comes as The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the details of hundreds of buildings in New South Wales clad in potentially flammable material will not be made public, after the state government deemed the list too dangerous for release.

Highlight: Rosie Batty's next fight
After the Morrison government announced another inquiry into the family courts, to be co-chaired by Pauline Hanson, advocates in the sector expressed concern it was a distraction. One of them was Rosie Batty.


“While the federal government digests the aged-care royal commission’s excoriating interim report, it is pushing ahead with a plan to privatise the workforce responsible for assessing which older Australians should receive government-funded care. Experts fear the move will spell the end of ‘any meaningful direct involvement of geriatricians’ and other specialists in the assessment process.”


“White Australia will do anything not to confess to the realities of colonisation. To vote on a Voice to Parliament would be to acknowledge that this land is stolen. The government prefers to live in a continuous present: no plan for the future, lest it be too difficult; no recognition of the past, lest history call them to account. Somehow, they manage to paint themselves as victims of the most marginalised group in society.”


“He still catches himself wondering whether it was a dream. The blind former union shop steward, the horse he owns outright (named Paisley Park after Prince’s recording studio in Minnesota), mowing down the frontrunners to win the feature race ...  the fate of retired thoroughbreds in Australia unsettled him deeply. ‘I’d be devastated if that was one of mine.’ It staggers him to hear people say Darren Weir should be welcomed back into the sport when he’s done his penance. ‘No, he shouldn’t … I think they should be put inside,” says Gemmell. “It’s happened, you can’t turn a blind eye to it.’”


“Sydney orthopaedic surgeon and human rights advocate Munjed Al Muderis has been named NSW Australian of the Year for 2020 after he overcame ‘extraordinary’ obstacles to perform work that helps people throughout the world. Professor Al Muderis, who was detained on Christmas Island and in several Australian jails after he fled Saddam Hussein's regime by boat, is a compassionate ambassador for several organisations and advocate for asylum seekers and refugees, award organisers said in a statement on Monday.”


“It’s late on a Thursday evening in Toronto when Sahragard is greeted by several of his sponsors, who he has never met, as well as two cousins he barely knows, and a best friend from Manus he hasn’t seen in two years. They’re all waving Canadian flags. Sahragard says he became very sick – mentally and physically – on Manus and was transferred to Port Moresby for treatment, before being medically evacuated to Brisbane. Two weeks ago the long process of sponsorship was finalised and he left the Queensland city for Canada.”


“The conscientious confection was topped off with a black-shirted protester wearing goggles and hard hat, a small turntable with the black Bauhinia flag on it, and most prominently, a large Guy Fawkes mask. The cake even emitted ... tear gas — and played a recording of Glory To Hong Kong, the defiant protest anthem penned by an anonymous composer that has become the unofficial new soundtrack to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.”

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