Australian News Headlines, Auspol News Headlines, Wednesday 28 February 2018
No factual errors found in Alberici tax policy articles on ABC, Senate hears.
The Guardian reports that ABC executives have failed repeatedly to identify any factual errors in Emma Alberici’s coverage of tax policy at a heated Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday night.
Its managing director it is reported, Michelle Guthrie, said that the editorial process had “clearly failed” in relation to the articles by the economics correspondent because the articles had to be amended. However, Guthrie and her editorial policy adviser, Alan Sunderland, refused to pinpoint a single error or identify a manager who was responsible for allowing them to be published. The Guardian writes that when asked if she had complete confidence in Alberici, Guthrie said: “Emma Alberici will remain our chief economics correspondent.”
Michaelia Cash forced to withdraw 'disgraceful and sexist' comments about Bill Shorten's staff.
The Brisbane Times reports that Turnbull government minister Michaelia Cash was forced to withdraw comments – branded "disgraceful and sexist" – in which she threatened to spread rumours about young women in Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's office. It is reported that just two weeks after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called for cultural change in the way women are treated in Parliament House, Labor's Penny Wong accused Senator Cash of an "outrageous slur" on female staffers. The Brisbane Times reports that the Minister for Jobs and Innovation made the comments during a heated Senate estimates exchange with Labor's Doug Cameron today when asked the identity of her media advisor, giving public glimpse at the growing tensions between the government and opposition over politician's personal lives in the wake of the Barnaby Joyce scandal.
$1bn visa processing contract could go to Turnbull friend, says Labor.
The Guardian reports that Labor fears a potential $1bn tender to privately process Australia’s visas could go to a company run by one of Malcolm Turnbull’s former employees. However, it is reported that the government said a competitive tender process was being run, and that the prime minister had no responsibility for choosing who got the deal. It is reported that Labor’s Mark Dreyfus asked if Turnbull had a conflict of interest in relation to reports Pacific Blue Capital was planning to bid for the visa processing privatisation. The firm they write, is run by Turnbull’s former employee and friend Scott Briggs, who reportedly put together a consortium of companies including Qantas and NAB in a bid to win the visa contract.
“Given it’s reported the prime minister launched Pacific Blue Capital and that Mr Briggs worked for the prime minister’s private investment firm, does the prime minister have a conflict of interest in relation to this $1bn government contract, and if so, how will he manage it?” Dreyfus asked in parliament on Tuesday.
Number of ministers able to approve terrorism control orders doubles
The Guardian reports that the creation of Peter Dutton’s Department of Home Affairs has doubled the number of ministers who can approve terrorism control orders to four and given the power for the first time to an assistant minister, Alex Hawke. It is reported that the Attorney General’s Department revealed the expansion of ministers who can approve orders for people to be subject to house arrest and personal surveillance at Senate estimates on Tuesday evening. The Guardian writes that the ministers who can now approve the orders are: the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton; the assistant minister for home affairs, Alex Hawke; the minister for citizenship and multicultural affairs, Alan Tudge; and the minister for law enforcement and cybersecurity, Angus Taylor. Labor’s shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus they report, has warned the revelation shows the creation of the Department of Home Affairs has watered down checks and balances in counter-terrorism legislation and there is no clear basis for the ministers to exercise the authority.
This year a 'critical test' for housing market: Westpac
The Financial Review reports that a sharp slowdown in price growth in 2017 leaves Sydney's annual house price growth "poised to dip into negative for the first time in 5½ years", Westpac economists say. It is reported that macro-prudential restrictions, weaker foreign buyer demand, stretched affordability, and a lift in new dwelling supply have all weighed on house price growth, and those factors remain in place, the bank's economics team told clients. As such the Financial Review writes that, this year is "shaping as a critical test of the [housing] market's resilience".
"While most other markets [outside Sydney] are holding up better, all major states have seen price growth moderate and turnover fall to historically low levels."
The warning from one of the country's largest banks comes even as the Reserve Bank of Australia modulates its rhetoric on property market risks.
This Minister Spent 12 Seconds Talking About Work Safety Then 2 Minutes & 19 Seconds On Jobs And Growth.
Buzzfeed reports that Workplace minister Craig Laundy spent exactly 12 seconds during Question Time on Tuesday addressing how the government has improved safety in the Work for the Dole program, as the two-year anniversary of a teenager's death on a Queensland site approaches.
Josh Park-Fing, 18 it is reported, died from head injuries sustained when he fell from a flatbed trailer being towed by a tractor in April 2016. It's suspected the tractor slipped a gear and jolted, causing the teen to fall. At the time he was completing a Work for the Dole program at the Toowoomba Showgrounds arranged by employment contractor NEATO and earning $218.75 per week reports Buzzfeed. Twenty-two months on it is reported, the government is still refusing to release the report into Park-Fing's death, or say what safety improvements have been made to prevent further injuries. Buzzfeed writes that during Question Time on Tuesday, Laundy refused to answer questions from Labor's Ed Husic about why the government won't publicly release the steps they have taken to increase safety on the program. Instead, Laundy spent 12 seconds acknowledged that any workplace death was a tragedy, before spending the next 2 minutes and 19 seconds spruiking the Turnbull government's jobs and growth programs.
Barnaby Joyce's expenses audited as Nats reel from leadership change.
SMH reports that the travel and accommodation claims of former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and his new partner Vikki Campion are being independently investigated, opening the possibility of further embarrassment for the embattled MP and overshadowing the appointment of his successor. It is reported that the revelation came on Monday, just hours after shocked Nationals replaced Mr Joyce, selecting the little-known junior Minister for Veterans Affairs, Michael McCormack, to lead the party and assume the role of Deputy Prime Minister. SMH reports that news of the inquiry into Mr Joyce followed shortly after it was revealed that a previously undisclosed inquiry, into possible breaches of ministerial standards by Mr Joyce, had been ordered by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull but summarily dropped in the wake of the former Nationals leader's resignation. It is reported that Mr Turnbull confirmed the investigations as Labor used the ongoing controversy around the besieged former deputy prime minister to call for the secretive Coalition agreement between the Liberal and National parties to be released to the public. Labor has claimed that the protracted stand-off between the government's most senior ministers was a function of the Coalition deal that restricts Mr Turnbull from dismissing any Nationals minister from his cabinet without the express support of the Nationals leader.
Julie Bishop defends omission of boyfriend from parliamentary records
SMH reports that Julie Bishop has claimed $32,000 in taxpayer-funded family travel for her long-term boyfriend but says that she is not obliged to disclose his financial interests on the parliamentary register because he is not her "spouse" or de facto partner. It is reported that in a case that highlights how a couple who is not married or living together can avoid being classified as a spouse under the parliamentary rules, the Foreign Minister has avoided listing property developer David Panton on her parliamentary register of interests because they do not live together. It also means details of his business interests and property holdings are not disclosed writes SMH. Parliament's rules stipulate that MPs must declare their spouses’ financial interests including income, savings accounts, trust funds, loans and mortgages, properties, shareholdings, directorships, and gifts and hospitality valued above $300.
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Image 1 https://www.crikey.com.au/2016/07/29/guthries-first-speech/
Image 2 http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/the-lions-are-circling-as-pm-finds-himself-forced-into-banking-inquiry-backpedal/news-story/2620e0383a27bd8d7bdb7d692790bc3c
Image 3 http://loanlove.com/housing-bubble-burst-in-2014-possibility/
Image 4 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-13/craig-laundy/8615392
Image 5 https://tenplay.com.au/news/national/february-2018/barnaby-joyce-and-vikki-campion-give-first-media-interview-since-pregnancy-news