Thursday, November 28, 2019

Lambie pushes for New Zealand resettlement deal

Senator Jacqui Lambie has asked the Morrison government to consider New Zealand’s offer to receive offshore asylum seekers, as she weighs her critical vote on whether to repeal the medical evacuation laws. The Tasmanian independent issued a statement on Wednesday that she had placed a single condition on supporting the repeal of laws that allow asylum seekers to go to Australia for critical medical attention, but would not disclose publicly what it is due to national security concerns. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald report that sources with knowledge of Lambie's negotiations have revealed she sought a third party resettlement arrangement for asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, as offered by New Zealand. Senator Lambie said the condition she had put to the government was a "sensible and reasonable" proposition that is “within the capacity of the government to accept”.

Morrison phone call: A former senior judge and New South Wales anti-corruption commissioner David Ipp is the latest prominent voice to criticise Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s phone call to the New South Wales police commissioner. Morrison called to discuss an active investigation into energy minister Angus Taylor allegedly creating falsified documents. Ipp said the call appeared to be an inappropriate attempt to use his position. Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said he would not have made the call.

100 new fires in 24 hours: More than 160 fires are burning across NSW after about 100 fresh bushfires ignited in a 24-hour period, with 75 uncontained. The developments come as scientists issued a new warning that the world is dangerously close to a series of climate tipping points, and may have already passed some of them, with an immediate cut in emissions needed.

Homeless older women surge: A new report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute finds that soaring rent prices are forcing thousands of older Australians out of their homes, with older women the fastest-growing group of people experiencing homelessness. The report comes ahead of Friday's Council of Attorneys-General in Adelaide, where the age discrimination commissioner Kay Patterson wants to discuss the issue of elderly people being at risk of exploitation because states and territories have inconsistent approaches to dealing with powers of attorney.

ARIAs: Toni Watson, aka Tones and I, dominated Wednesday night’s ARIA Awards, winning best pop release, best female artist, breakthrough artist and best independent release, the latter of which involved a controversial mix-up.

Clive James death: Acclaimed Australian critic and broadcaster Clive James has died at the age of 80, almost 10 years after being diagnosed with leukaemia, kidney failure and lung disease. The star of Britain’s Clive James on Television show in the 1980s, and the author of bestselling autobiography Unreliable Memoirs, James maintained a short biography on his website which he hoped would serve as a template for any future obituaries, recommending: “shorter is better, and that a single line is best”.

Fascism and troll culture
According to author Jeff Sparrow, a new fascism is emerging from the internet – one that is rooted in meme culture, but that harnesses mass shootings as a political tool. This is the story of how the Christchurch massacre came to represent a new frontier in the far right.


“On Monday afternoon, an unlikely group of federal politicians will meet for the first time in Parliament House to strategise how they can bring home a man most of them concede is arrogant, deeply unlikeable and perhaps even worse. The Parliamentary Friends of the Bring Julian Assange Home Group is a strange collection of sometime adversaries. Founded by Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie, it is co-chaired by both him and regional Queensland MP George Christensen. Wilkie describes their coming together as almost cosmic. ‘It sort of happened organically; it was a bit like the Big Bang,’ he says.”


“At this stage, Hartzer’s ‘resignation’ (he’ll still pocket $2.69 million over the next year, which is the notice period under his contract) looks like the PR stunt of a corporate board scurrying to sandbag the flood. Westpac’s share price had dropped by more than a dollar since AUSTRAC filed, though it’s already begun to recover. But events may yet overtake Westpac’s desire to minimise the problem. Other agencies, including ASIC, have begun their own investigations, and Labor wants the company to appear before a parliamentary committee. The Coalition, ever the big banks’ friend, is hosing down that prospect, but then it never wanted the royal commission either.”


“Bushfire and reproductive rights expert Barnaby Joyce, MP, may be onto something with his idea that the sun’s magnetic field is the devil behind the terrible conflagrations sweeping the nation. Citizens who labour under the belief that CO2 is the cause of our problems have clearly not read up on solar magnetic theory. One of the principal proponents of this theory is an Englishman named Piers Corbyn. Yes, the older brother of British election hopeful Jeremy Corbyn.”


“Ms Andrews said the Morrison government was still tracking the automotive sector specifically, rather than just looking at it as part of manufacturing generally now that the major car-makers had all pulled out ... ‘Over 80 per cent of automotive workers formerly in direct production have now transitioned into other industries, so we are looking at how we grow that employment,’ she said. ‘In South Australia, for example, there are a number of businesses that were supplying the automotive industry in South Australia that have now created a new business in the defence and space industries.’”


“Although most former Holden workers found some kind of employment after losing their jobs, less than five per cent had found work with equal or better pay and conditions than at Holden. The vast majority transitioned from what they considered to be secure, long-term employment with competitive pay and working conditions into lower-paid, less secure work, according to the report by AMWU Outreach Officer Denis Masters.”


“The understaffed and overworked Bengaluru Traffic Police have come up with yet another novel initiative to get motorists to follow traffic rules and observe lane discipline. They have installed as many as 200 life-sized mannequins at troublesome junctions in Bengaluru. The hope is that the mannequins, dressed as traffic police, will deter repeat offenders. The idea is along the lines of farmers using scarecrows to discourage birds from destroying their crops.”

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