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September 2016

29 September 2016
by Jennifer Wilson

Turnbull's Taskforce Integrity: Let's start with the politicians, hey?

You may or may not be aware that in November 2015, the Turnbull Government announced the formation of “Taskforce Integrity,” a unit set up specifically to address welfare fraud in the form of undeclared income and non-compliance.

WA Turnbull Government Liberal MP Steve Irons tweeted his support of the innovation.

On Tuesday this week, we learned that Mr Irons charged taxpayers for flights from Perth to Melbourne for his wedding and he also charged us for flights from Melbourne back to Perth for himself and his new wife, Cheryle.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and disgraced Liberal MP Stuart Robert also charged taxpayers for the cost of their flights to the Irons’ wedding. Both men have since repaid those monies. [Read More...]

29 September 2016
by Bhakthi Puvanenthiran

Holographic creation company gets boost from Alibaba's investment arm

Co-founder Amber Cordeaux using Humense's human-to-human virtual reality headset.

Film and theatre industry expertise is pushing this creative company to global heights.

Like a thousand small currents that burst a dam, pressure is building in the virtual-reality world.

At the start of October, Google is set to debut its Daydream platform headset. Days later the world's biggest VR company, Oculus, will kick off a developer conference. And on October 13, gaming giant Sony will releases its Playstation VR. [Read More...]

29 September 2016
by Emily Woods

State in the dark: South Australia's major power outage

Police direct traffic around the CBD in Adelaide on Wednesday afternoon.

The entire state of South Australia was without power for several hours on Wednesday afternoon, with the region gripped by what could be one of the most extreme weather systems to hit in 50 years.

A mass blackout began about 3.30pm Wednesday afternoon, plunging the city into darkness, grounding flights and causing havoc on the state's roads.

Traffic lights were rendered inoperational, choking roads in the CBD. Building fire alarms blared across the city, according to local media reports, and residents rushed to supermarkets to stock up on candles and matches. [Read More...]

28 September 2016
by Karen Middleton

Department of Immigration and Border Protection's lack of preparedness on organised crime

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton

The focus on asylum seekers has left the immigration department lacking intelligence capabilities and measures to combat crime.

Back on June 8, with the election campaign at its midpoint and federal policymaking in hiatus for the caretaker period, the board of the Australian Crime Commission quietly authorised a new special operation into organised crime in Australia’s migration system.

The representatives of the nation’s law enforcement agencies who made up the commission’s board were then preparing for its merger with information-sharing body CrimTrac, and authorised the resulting Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to begin the special policing and intelligence operation as soon as the new agency was established. It would be focused on the criminal exploitation of the migration system overall. [Read More...]

28 September 2016
by Nick McKenzie

Race-fixing allegations in Danny Nikolic case set to rock spring racing carnival

Jockey Danny Nikolic with partner Tania Hyett.

A surprise move by investigators is set to rock Victoria's spring racing carnival, with champion jockey Mark Zahra summonsed to publicly testify about a notorious race fixing scandal.

It can also be revealed that controversial Sydney punter Eddie Hayson, who is at the centre of a rugby league match-fixing probe in NSW, has been ordered to hand over betting records to Victorian authorities. [Read More...]

28 September 2016
by Gareth Hutchens

Cutting welfare to fund tax cuts for top earners 'unconscionable', Coalition told

Australian Council of Social Service blasts plan to offer tax cuts to those earning $87,000-plus, while Deloitte says those on less than $37,000 need more help

The Australian Council of Social Service has criticised the Coalition’s plans to cut taxes for the top 20% of taxpayers while simultaneously slashing welfare payments for the country’s poorest households.

Acoss has labelled the government’s Income Tax Relief Bill 2016 “unconscionable” and called on parliament to reject it, in a submission to a Senate inquiry. [Read More...]

27 September 2016
by Latika Bourke

Malcolm Turnbull takes another hit in latest poll

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during question time earlier this month.

Not for the first time may Malcolm Turnbull find himself ruing the day he cited Tony Abbott's poor performance in Newspoll as a key reason for terminating his prime ministership.

Tuesday's Newspoll holds more grim news for the Member for Wentworth, who despite enjoying his best two weeks in in the job strutting the world stage is back facing the reality of his domestic woes after presiding over another fall in the Coalition's primary vote. [Read More...]

27 September 2016
by Daniel Flitton

Australia loses attempt to knock out East Timor's maritime boundary complaint

Protesters at the Australian embassy in Dili, the capital of East Timor, calling for a final maritime boundary in the Timor Sea.

Australia has lost in its claim that an international commission has no jurisdiction to hear a complaint by East Timor in the bitter dispute over undersea oil and gas riches.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year knocked back a call for fresh negotiations on the maritime boundary in the Timor Sea, but the decision released on Monday from the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague opens the way for talks between the two countries. [Read More...]

26 September 2016
by David Tyler

Turnbull’s lies to the UN cannot disguise a government in crisis.

Eric Abetz upstages his Prime Minister on Sunday with a quick media blitz to reassure a grateful nation that thanks to his heroic efforts in writing to his PM there will be no change in the distribution of the GST for some years to come. Tasmanians especially will be overcome with gratitude at the Senator’s selfless dedication and letter writing. Once again we give thanks for something the government is not doing.

Thunderous applause, spontaneous outbursts of Hallelujah and impromptu gospel singing also break out at the United Nations Refugee Summit in New York this week as Malcolm Turnbull, and his minder, Peter Dutton reveal with similar modesty that Australia is there to help the world solve its refugee crisis. [Read More...]

26 September 2016
by Peter Martin

Blame all around as the Bureau of Statistics deflects criticism of Census 2016

A screen grab from the census video.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has blamed the media for the failure of its census hotline and blamed an overseas denial-of-service attack for the failure of its census website.

In a strongly worded submission to a Senate inquiry, the Bureau also attempts to deflect blame for the overwhelming of its website on to its contractor, IBM. [Read More...]

26 September 2016
by Adam Gartrell

Turnbull MP Caught In Anti Corruption Probe

Questions over donations: Turnbull MP Stuart Robert in the House of Representatives.

A special anti-corruption taskforce has been assigned to investigate claims of dodgy political donations that have embroiled Turnbull government MP Stuart Robert and a Liberal fundraising body he controls.

The investigation comes amid new questions about Mr Robert's connections to property developer Sunland and his support for the company's controversial $600 million plan for two high-rise towers on the Gold Coast. [Read More...]

22 September 2016
by Peter Martin

Stress. The real reason our extraordinary low rate of Newstart is dangerous

You'd be forgiven for thinking that money matters to everyone except those who don't have it.

Last week, after months of anguish, the government gave ground on its plan to to wind back the super tax concessions directed to the wealthiest 4 per cent of the population. It didn't want them to suffer too much.

This week, at the National Press Club, Social Services Minister Christian Porter dismissed suggestions that it needed to lift the Newstart unemployment benefit of just $264.35 per week. [Read More...]

22 September 2016
by Jennifer Hewett

The great retreat on free trade

Theresa May with Malcolm Turnbull

During his trip to the US Malcolm Turnbull has been trying to sound politely optimistic about the prospects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership getting through Congress in the last days of the Obama presidency. No one really believes it will happen.

Instead, Andrew Robb's strenuous efforts on this deal as Australia's former trade minister have been overwhelmed by the rising tide of global protectionism. Such resistance to acknowledging the benefits of free – or at least freer – trade is certainly not confined to the perverse mood of current US politics. [Read More...]

22 September 2016
by Laura Tingle

FOI documents back case that Brandis misled Parliament over Solicitor-General

George Brandis

Documents released under Freedom of Information laws suggest Attorney-General George Brandis has misled Parliament in claiming he consulted with the Solicitor-General over a move that means Senator Brandis has to personally give permission for anyone else in the government to seek advice from the solicitor general.

Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson SC has released documents under FOI to the Justinian website – over the clear objections of other parts of the legal bureaucracy – which concern Senator Brandis' move in May, under the cover of the looming federal election, to insert a new provision in the legislated directions under which the solicitor-general works requiring all ministers, including the Prime Minister, to obtain the permission of the AG before seeking advice from the SG. [Read More...]

21 September 2016
by Nicole Lindsay

Australia's Biggest Shopping Mall Gets Even Bigger

View from the top: A new food court at ground level is part of the latest expansion of Chadstone.

Plans for further expansion are under way for Chadstone Shopping Centre, even as it unveils its new $660 million wing, anchored by a soaring 31-metre-high atrium under a dramatically curved 1000 tonnes gridshell roof.

It's the fortieth stage in the shopping centre's evolution since the Gandel Group bought the centre in 1983 when it was already 23 years old.

No longer just a shopping centre, Chadstone is becoming its own city, with office buildings and a hotel ready to emerge on the horizon. It will maintain its position as one of the biggest shopping centres in the southern hemisphere at a time when all the big centres are growing larger. [Read More...]

21 September 2016
by Mark Kenny

Australia to take Central American refugees as Malcolm Turnbull pledges to do more at Obama summit

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during the Summit for Refugees and Migrants at UN headquarters in New York.

Australia's humanitarian refugee intake will be set permanently at almost 19,000 per year and will now include a component of Central Americans under a series of pledges offered by Malcolm Turnbull in New York overnight.

At Barack Obama's invitation-only special summit on the refugee crisis, the Prime Minister has also stumped up fresh cash.
A new commitment of $130 million will go towards providing aid to displaced persons across the world, as well as more resources for migration agencies facing funding uncertainty. [Read More...]

21 September 2016
by Lucy Battersby

Telstra trials 5G mobile network, the next 'quantum leap' in technology

The 5G equipment, tested by Telstra, uses hundreds of small antenna.

Telstra's first field trial of 5G mobile technology reached speeds of 20 gigabits per second on Tuesday, fast enough to download 600 high-quality movies a minute.

Looking into the future – when movie files could reach 100 gigabytes for ultra high definition (4k) visuals – users will be able to download the entire film in 40 seconds on a mobile device. [Read More...]

20 September 2016
by RT

Australia’s Port of Melbourne sold for $7.3bn to investors including Chinese

Cranes of a ship are seen in front of the skyline of Melbourne.

The Port of Melbourne has been sold for $7.3 billion to Chinese and Australian sovereign wealth funds and other investors. It is Australia’s biggest container and cargo port where 3,000 ships dock annually.

This is one of the biggest privatization deals in Australian history, falling short of the sale of the electricity grid company Transgrid for $10.3 billion last November. [Read More...]

20 September 2016
by Tony Yoo

A Gold Coast man bought six Powerwall batteries to create a Tesla 'power station' at home

Clayton Lyndon with his six Tesla Powerwall batteries installed at his home.

A Gold Coast man has had six Tesla Powerwall batteries installed at his home to create a “mini power station”, the first of its kind in Australia.

Clayton Lyndon had the batteries installed to store power harvested by his solar panels. The stored energy can then be used at night or during inclement weather.

Australian company Natural Solar, which performed the installation, claimed Lyndon’s setup was the first residential power station of its kind in Australia and one of the largest residential installations of Tesla Powerwall in the world. [Read More...]

20 September 2016
by Chris Pash

Australia's share market had a technical meltdown and stocks were left with no official closing prices

The Australian share market yesterday was brought down by technical problems, first delaying the opening by 90 minutes and then grinding to a halt soon after a bumpy restart.

Brokers couldn’t get enough traction in the market to close major trades for clients in the short window that all stocks were available.

Volume was very light with about $1.28 billion in shares traded, or about 20% of last Monday’s turnover, according to CommSec. This is quieter than a normal Christmas Eve or New Year Eve half day trading session. [Read More...]

19 September 2016
by David Tyler

Turnbull’s death-defying back-flip

In a death-defying acrobatic routine in Canberra this week, the nation’s lame duck PM performs an astonishing back-flip on the high-wire without a safety net in a Coalition Circus show-stopper before a three week break in the slow trick bicycle race that is the 45th Parliament. Pantomime legend, funny money man Treasurer Scott Morrison kids audiences along that his government is not breaking an election promise.

Breaking Turnbull’s “absolutely iron-clad campaign pledge” on superannuation law changes to suit the top one per cent at the expense of poorer retirees is just responsible government. It mirrors Tony Abbott’s “good government” which honoured his promise of no changes to health and education by delivering cuts of $80 billion after a landslide victory. [Read More...]

19 September 2016
by Christina Sarich

A Cure for Cancer May Have Finally Been Found in the Australian Rainforest

A rare, cancer-fighting compound has been found in nature, and it only grows in one place in the entire world.

This cancer-fighting blushwood berry, also known as Hylandia dockrillii, has been uncovered in a far northern part of Australia, known for its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and over 70 national parks, in the rainforests of North Queensland. The phyto-active compounds in this berry, namely a molecule which scientists are calling EBC-46, are so potent that they’ve killed cancerous tumors in lab experiments in as few as seven days. Other cancers were eradicated within only 48 hours. [Read More...]

19 September 2016
by Mark Hearn

Pension poverty: your reward for 25 years of economic growth

Pension poverty. That's apparently what to expect if you're about to retire on the age pension after doing your bit to provide Australia with 25 years of unbroken economic growth.

Almost one third of Australians on the age pension are living in poverty. That's the finding of a new study funded by the Benevolent Society and others into the 'adequacy', if that's the right word, of the age pension.

The base rate of the age pension is $794 a fortnight; the poverty line is $851.

Only about a week ago both the government and the opposition claimed credit for Australia's world-beating economic performance. I don't recall either Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull or Opposition Leader Bill Shorten claiming credit for the shortfall between the age pension and the poverty line. [Read More...]

19 September 2016
by Phillip Coorey

Malcolm Turnbull expresses regret for Australia's role in Syrian deaths

Malcolm Turnbull has expressed "regret" for any role Australia may have had in the accidental killing of 62 Syrian soldiers and wounding more than 100.

He did so as he rejected claims by Russia that the US and her allies were intentionally supporting Islamic State.

As the incident prompted a furious argument between Washington and Moscow and threatened the carefully brokered ceasefire, Mr Turnbull confirmed Australia planes had been part of the ill-fated sortie which the US has attributed to an "intelligence failure". [Read More...]

19 September 2016
by Misa Han

Nick Xenophon seeks crackdown after $850m laundering spree

Senator Nick Xenophon is pushing for a crackdown on money laundering in gambling venues after a Chinese-Australian businessman allegedly washed $850 million through Melbourne's Crown Casino.
Senator Nick Xenophon said while this case involved a large sum of money there were other instances of money laundering that flew under the regulator's radar because they involved smaller amounts. [Read More...]

17 September 2016
by Karen Middleton

Transfield’s $1.1b offshore processing contract farce

On Friday, August 24, 2012, the acting immigration department secretary, Martin Bowles, received an apparently unsolicited email. It came from industrial service provider Transfield Services. Breezy in tone, its purpose was business.

“It has been a while since we have spoken,” its author wrote. “How is it going in the world of the Department of Immigration? I am sure it is very busy to say the least.”

At the time, the department was scrambling to carry out an urgent instruction from Julia Gillard’s government to reopen mothballed detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island in an attempt to stop asylum seekers arriving by boat. [Read More...]

17 September 2016
by Nick Miller

Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

Suitcases being loaded into a truck outside the Ecuador's London embassy on Friday.

Sweden's court of appeal has upheld an arrest warrant for Julian Assange.
It refused appeals by Assange to set aside a detention order, and to hold a hearing in which he can present his defence against accusations of rape.
However Assange's legal team say they will appeal the decision.

"The Court of Appeal finds that Julian Assange is still suspected on probable cause of rape… in Engkoping on 17 August 2010," the court found in a judgment published on Friday [Read More...]

17 September 2016
by Paul Bongiorno

Running repairs on the budget omnibus

When it comes to retail politics our prime minister of one year still has a bit of catching up to do. On Tuesday, after a rare display of bipartisanship – Malcolm Turnbull insists on the Americanism of “reaching across the aisle” – he let Labor beat him to the punch. A chipper Bill Shorten broke the news of a significant budget deal that had just been brokered. He was able to claim the outcome was all Labor’s doing, delivering “budget repair that is fair”. The opposition, Shorten said, had secured “significant amendments to the government’s omnibus bill”.

Two hours later, the prime minister appeared in his parliamentary courtyard. “You will recall that the results of the election were such that the government does not have a majority in the senate,” he said. “We need to negotiate to secure the passage of legislation. We need to approach the parliament that the Australian people elected in a constructive and pragmatic manner.” [Read More...]

17 September 2016
by Hamish McDonald

Australia to work with Russia in Syria

Julie Bishop and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, ahead of trade and defence talks.

Next week, all going well with the ceasefire in Syria, the Royal Australian Air Force could be sitting down with Russian air commanders to discuss targeting of mutually agreed enemies in the battered country.

This bizarre situation, awkward for the Coalition politicos back in Canberra who continue to seek those responsible for the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, would come in the next stage of the agreement reached last Saturday between the United States and Russia. [Read More...]

16 September 2016
by Lucy Battersby

Consumers want ACCC to monitor broadband speeds, industry doesn't

Consumer expectations are too high when it comes to broadband speeds, particularly for the national broadband network, leading to an increase in complaints about slow data speeds, according to the telco industry.

However, rather than introduce an independent speed monitoring service, industry wants to create guidelines so consumers have more realistic expectations. And NBN Co has warned it would be far too expensive to provide minimum speeds all the time. [Read More...]

16 September 2016
by RT

Take me instead: WikiLeaks’ Assange asks Obama to pardon Manning

Assange (L) and Manning (R)

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has offered to serve time at a US prison if President Barack Obama would pardon Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower who handed Wikileaks US military and diplomatic documents in 2010. Manning is currently serving a 35-year sentence at the US Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Assange, an Australian national, has been trapped inside the embassy of Ecuador since August 2012, when he requested asylum to avoid being arrested and extradited to Sweden, claiming he would then face unfair trial in the US. [Read More...]

15 September 2016
by Mark Beeson

'Soft power' and China's influence in Australia

As sensitivities over the South China Sea issue and foreign investment remain unresolved, what is the effectiveness of China's "soft power" influence in Australia.

There are some rather remarkable aspects of the increasingly heated debate about China’s influence in Australia. [Read More...]

15 September 2016
by Martin Hirst

Welcome home Fizza: Turnbull returns to troubled days in Parliament

Turnbull is a lame duck PM with a poor track record and little chance of winning another election either inside or outside the parliamentary Liberal caucus rooms.
Last week Prime Minister Turnbull celebrated 12 months in office with a nice getaway among friends.
This week it’s back to business as usual, which in the 45th Parliament looks a lot like not getting anything done. [Read More...]

14 September 2016
by Latika Bourke

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts calls for 'Aus-Exit' from 'monster' United Nations in first speech

Senator Malcolm Roberts delivers his first speech as One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson listens.

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts has called on Australia to mimic Britain's Brexit and leave the "socialistic, monolithic" United Nations during his first speech to Parliament, in which he also compared himself to Socrates and claimed there was absolutely no link between carbon dioxide and climate change.

Praising Britain's recent decision to leave the European Union, which had the power to set laws and regulations affecting domestic laws in member countries, Senator Roberts called on Australians to launch an "Aus-exit" from institutions including the UN and International Monetary Fund [Read More...]

Snakepits & Ladders: Malcolm's Big Year

13 September 2016
by Phillip Coorey

Coalition compromises on welfare cuts to win budget deal with ALP

The Coalition has scrapped plans to cut welfare payments by $1.3 billion as part of a deal with Labor to secure the passage of the omnibus budget bill and still deliver most – if not all – of the promised $6 billion in savings.

Following backroom talks led by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, sources said the government agreed to drop the largest of the 24 spending cuts in the bill – the removal of carbon tax compensation from the payments to future welfare recipients. [Read More...]

09 September 2016
by Gina McColl

Sam Dastyari's accuser Cory Bernardi has his own questionable fundraising body

J'accuse: Cory Bernardi led the charge against fellow senator Sam Dastyari

Senator Cory Bernardi, the conservative warrior who led the charge against Senator Sam Dastyari, is himself involved with a fundraising entity that inhabits a grey area in the political donations system and permits gifts from foreign donors.

Founded by the hard-right senator in 2009, the Conservative Leadership Foundation, based in Adelaide, solicits public donations, runs networking events and trains "future political and business leaders". [Read More...]

08 September 2016
by John Warhurst

Our political system needs shock treatment

A circuit breaker, that is a short, sharp shock to the system, is needed to reform many aspects of modern politics. These include the central problem, which is hyper-competition between the two main parties.

The resignation of Senator Sam Dastyari from the Labor frontbench as manager of opposition business in the Senate has become a circuit breaker on the matter of political donations in general and foreign donations in particular. If it had happened immediately the news broke it would have been a short-term cost to the Labor Party but a long term advantage in staking out a strong ethical position. [Read More...]

08 September 2016
by James Massola

Labor senator Sam Dastyari quits over Chinese donations scandal

Senator Sam Dastyari announces he will stand aside from the Labor frontbench

Embattled Labor senator Sam Dastyari has fallen on his sword, resigning from his frontbench roles as the donation scandal that engulfed him over the past week reached a crescendo.

The 33-year-old NSW senator quit as manager of opposition business in the Senate and shadow spokesman for consumer affairs, hours after Fairfax Media revealed he may have broken Labor Party rules on political donations by allowing Chinese donors to make payments on his behalf for travel and legal bills. [Read More...]

07 September 2016
by Jamie McIntyre

Dangerous Allies written by former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is a book worth reading.

Is The US Defense Protection Racket Straight Out Of The Mafia Handbook?

When Mr. Fraser was alive, he clearly highlighted that the apparent threats to the free world are greatly overstated in order to maintain US hegemony and largely their military weapon sales.

It’s hard to argue with his synopsis. I believe this occurs to serve the agendas of the ‘Neo Cons’ who are running a mafia style racket by effectively controlling the US Government, dictating US foreign policy for years and by being the actual creators and cause behind the rise of ISIS. [Read More...]

07 September 2016
by Oliver Holmes

Australian and Briton face decades in jail after losing Thai court appeal

The beach town of Pattaya, east of Bangkok, where Whitmore was caught in August 2014.

Jake Mastroianni, from Victoria, will serve two life sentences, and Lance Whitmore, from Worcestershire, will serve 50 years, Thai court hears.

An Australian and a Briton sentenced to decades in a Thai jail for drug dealing have lost an appeal to have their term reduced, their legal team has said. [Read More...]

07 September 2016
by Philip Wen

Malcolm Turnbull condemns North Korea, Philippines' leader on the way out of G20

Jack Ma welcomes Malcolm Turnbull to Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou, China on Tuesday.

Hangzhou: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has condemned North Korea for its fresh round of "dangerous, destabilising and provocative" ballistic missile tests, as he jetted into Laos on Tuesday for an East Asia Summit likely to be dominated by regional security tensions.

Diplomatic ructions erupted before the summit even began, after US President Barack Obama cancelled a meeting with his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte, after the firebrand politician called the US leader a "son of a whore" and demanded he show restraint in questioning the extrajudicial killing of drug dealers in the Philippines. [Read More...]

06 September 2016
by John Kehoe

Hillary Clinton's tough on China strategy will demand more of Australia

Barack Obama's final Asia trip and weekend meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping are an apt point to reflect on the US President's strategic "pivot" to the region and to foretell how a Hillary Clinton, if elected president, will handle a rising superpower rival.

In Washington and beyond, there is a palpable sense among Clinton confidants and the foreign policy professionals that there will be at least one material difference between Obama and Clinton.

The former secretary of state will be much harder on China. [Read More...]

05 September 2016
by Everald Compton

Goodbye Menzies

The great political party, The Liberals, formed by Robert Menzies seven decades ago, is in its death throes. It has been assassinated by right wing zealots, none of whom would have ever been welcomed into its ranks by Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister. [Read More...]

05 September 2016
by David Tyler

Scott Morrison’s war on the poor: version 2

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison Delivers the Bloomberg Address

Where does he get them from? Funny money man, Scott (Black Hole) Morrison, hilariously miscast as Federal Treasurer, is up to his tricks again this week in Sydney talking up recession, budget repair and telling Australians half of us are worthless parasites. It’s back to the future as ScoMo reprises Joe Hockey’s lifters and leaners. It worked so well for Joe.

Morrison’s data is old news, too. In 2014, The National Centre for Economic and Social Modelling (NATSEM) found that half of Australians pay no income tax. Scott Morrison’s had time to digest the trend but he’s feigning shock-horror as he belly-aches about a crisis. [Read More...]

05 September 2016
by Adam Gartrell

Tony Abbott left grinning as Malcolm Turnbull flounders

Tony Abbott's grin said it all. When the former prime minister left Parliament House after Thursday's embarrassing lower house debacle he looked perilously close to schadenfreude overdose.

Abbott's government was an incompetent mess from top to bottom; a circus that lurched from one self-inflicted crisis to another until it finally tore itself apart. But at least it never lost a vote in the house. [Read More...]

03 September 2016
by Bill Shorten

The case for a banking royal commission

Of the hundreds of stories I’ve heard this week and each week since Labor called for a royal commission into the banking system, there are a few that really stick in my mind. One is John’s, although that is not his real name.

A few years ago, John asked his bank for a loan to buy an investment property that was yet to be constructed. The bank doctored his application to falsely increase his income and the value of his assets. They even went so far as to count the rent on John’s as-yet-unbuilt investment property. [Read More...]

02 September 2016
by Reuters

US army official berates Australia for indecision over Washington & China ties

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping

A top US military official has said that Australia should choose between stronger ties with Washington or Beijing, stressing that there has to be “a decision as to which one is more of a vital national interest.”

"I think the Australians need to make a choice ... it's very difficult to walk this fine line between balancing the alliance with the United States and the economic engagement with China," US Army Assistant Chief of Staff Colonel Tom Hanson said on radio station Australian Broadcasting Corporation. [Read More...]

01September 2016
by Peter Hartcher

Christopher Pyne's night of chaos failed Malcolm Turnbull and he has to go!

The successful Labor ambush of the Turnbull government in the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon will not, in itself, bring down the government, but it's highly instructive.

The lessons learned? [Read More...]