Monday, August 31, 2020

Palmer provides new election spoiler

Clive Palmer is ramping up efforts to eject the Labor Government at the upcoming Queensland election, with his companies committing mining staff and $80,000 to the campaign. After spending $84 million on anti-Labor advertising at the federal election, the mining magnate is looking to again play a spoiler role, commissioning yellow billboards telling voters to “give Labor the boot” and describing Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as ($) “hopeless” in a Courier Mail interview. Liberal National party sources have told Guardian Australia a preference deal is already in place with Palmer’s United Australia party. Palaszczuk responded by declaring the mining magnate ($) and Prime Minister Scott Morrison had teamed up in a “joint action to open up Queensland borders”.

A Labor motion is due to be debated in parliament today on concerns the federal government has set illegal restrictions on the number of overseas grooms and brides allowed into the country. Under the Coalition, the number of overseas partners allowed into Australia to marry has dropped due to a “planning level” despite section 87 of the Migration Act forbidding caps of partner and child visas, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Population and cities minister Alan Tudge said the entire migration program had been halted because of the pandemic. It comes as University of Sydney constitutional lawyer Anne Twomey told the ABC that an outward travel ban on Australians leaving the country could be contestable under administrative law, regarding whether the health minister validly made the determination under the biosecurity act.   

A convoy of military tanks was seen in Minsk over the weekend, as thousands of anti-government protesters again took to the streets in the Belarussian capital calling for the removal of President Alexander Lukashenko. A crackdown on the movement against contested election results saw 125 protesters arrested and 19 journalists stripped of accreditation. As Lukashenko is further isolated internationally, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent birthday greetings to the embattled leader, explaining they intended meet in Moscow in coming weeks to further strengthen relations.

Sydney FC has won a record fifth A-League championship after a dramatic 1-0 victory over Melbourne City after extra time in the grand final. With no goals scored in regular time, Rhyan Grant hit the back of the net for the Sky Blues in the 100th minute of the match to secure the win. The result sees Sydney FC become the first A-League club to win five championships and the first to secure back-to-back championships since Brisbane Roar eight years ago.   


“As the rest of the country descended into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the government made it easier for these agencies, known as Jobactive providers, to claim bonus ‘outcome’ payments, fees and other rewards for the work of ‘servicing’ the unemployed … Requirements for pay slips to verify job payments were removed, and providers were paid bonuses even if work was interrupted by periods of self-isolation or complications from the health crisis. The influx of funds, however, did not stop there.”


“‘Snapback’ and the ‘September cliff’ were not media hype. Morrison’s rhetoric might have changed, but his firm belief was there for anyone to see ... banks would defer mortgage payments until September. A ban on evicting renters was put in place until September. Wage subsidies for businesses employing apprentices were due to end in September. A loan scheme for businesses was set to close applications in September ... JobKeeper was set to end in September, and the unemployment payment, JobSeeker, raised when the virus hit, would fall again in September.”


“The University of New South Wales published on its website an interview with Human Rights Watch Australia’s director, Elaine Pearson ... focused on how the international community can respond to Hong Kong’s new authoritarian national security law imposed by China. UNSW posted a link to this article, with a quote, on its Twitter account on July 31. By that evening, individuals on the Chinese social media platform WeChat were encouraging one another to get on Twitter and demand the university delete the post ... The next morning, UNSW deleted the tweet, and the article disappeared.”


“Liz Truss has repeatedly dismissed questions over Tony Abbott's attitudes towards women and LGBT people, after news emerged that the former Australian Prime Minister is in line for a top UK trade job. The International Trade secretary praised Mr Abbott as a ‘principled politician’ and said concerns over his views and record on social issues are ‘irrelevant’ to his possible role on the UK's board of trade.”


“Tony Abbott, the former Australian prime minister, boasted that he signed deals with China because he was not ‘sidetracked by peripheral issues such as labour and environmental standards’ ... Abbott will reportedly be appointed to the Board of Trade, which advises Boris Johnson and trade secretary, Liz Truss, on future trade deals and will be a vital component of the UK’s future post-Brexit trade strategy.”


“In Greek meethology, the Minotaur wis a creatur wi the heid o a bull an the body o a man or, as describit bi Roman poet Ovid, a being ‘pairt man an pairt bull’. The Minotaur wis eventually killed bi the Athenian hero Theseus.”

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