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Australia Last line of Defence

10:51  10 august  2022
10:51  10 august  2022 Source:   crikey.com.au

Madagascar hunts gang after 32 killed in fires

  Madagascar hunts gang after 32 killed in fires Villagers were forced by rustlers into thatched houses that were set ablaze, killing 32 people.The police said the people were forced inside three thatched houses that were then set ablaze.

Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas) © Provided by Crikey Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

HIS CAPTAIN CALLED

Then defence minister Peter Dutton overruled the preferred candidate so a senior Liberal adviser could become the new head of a Defence think tank just before the May federal election was called, according to FOI documents obtained by Guardian Australia. Justin Bassi was Marise Payne’s chief of staff when she had the Foreign Affairs portfolio — Dutton’s “captain’s call” ensured Bassi moved on to an executive director position at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). If you’re thinking it smacks of more “jobs for the boys” as NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns put it, you might be interested to learn it was one of more than 30 placements of Coalition staffers and MPs into high-profile roles, Guardian Australia continues. What is ASPI? It’s a non-partisan council that receives funding from Defence to work on strategic policy debate and research. Taxpayers cough up $4 million a year for it, and it got an extra $5 million for a US office last year. So what’s the solution? As Crikey’s Bernard Keane writes: “Properly independent appointment processes, of the kind advocated by groups like the Grattan Institute, which curb the capacity of politicians to interfere, are the only effective solution. And the same applies across government.”

Anthony Albanese launches defence review as China moves warships on Taiwan

  Anthony Albanese launches defence review as China moves warships on Taiwan The review, led by former Defence Chief Sir Angus Houston and ex Labor defence minister Stephen Smith, will advise the Government on preparing for conflicts.The review, led by former Defence Chief Sir Angus Houston and ex Labor defence minister Stephen Smith, will advise the Government on how to prepare for potential conflicts over the next decade from 2023.

Speaking of the opposition leader, a review of the Coalition’s dismal election performance will reportedly focus on winning back Chinese-Australians and Dutton is under pressure to be more careful with his rhetoric about Beijing. The review is spearheaded by former Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane and opposition frontbencher Jane Hume, The Australian ($) reports, and has already received a “record number” of submissions. Internal party figures are reportedly urging Dutton to be more nuanced in differentiating between Xi Jinping’s CCP and Chinese-Australian voters, many of whom backed Scott Morrison in 2019. It comes as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese launched a review of Australia’s military preparedness, led by Angus Houston, a former ADF chief, and former Labor defence minister Stephen Smith, Sky News reports. It’s fair to say it’s not directly related to heightened China-Taiwan tensions after Nancy Pelosi’s visit, but it’s not not related to that either.

FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: Who should you pick in your GW1 squad?

  FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: Who should you pick in your GW1 squad? The new Fantasy Premier League season is rapidly approaching, and millions of managers across the globe are chopping and changing their FPL teams in pursuit of the perfect 15-man squad. At the beginning of the season, plenty of managers aim to hunt down a new personal best, several tussle for bragging rights in their office mini-leagues, and some simply set themselves the dream of finishing with the coveted FPL crown.

YOU NAME IT

A 1400-strong petition from people who are against changing a Melbourne suburb’s name that references slavery will be tabled tonight at a council meeting, The Age reports. Moreland City Council voted to change the municipality to Merri-bek last month because it was named after a Jamaican sugar plantation where slave labour was used, as Guardian Australia reported at the time. The Greens-led council sent out postal surveys with three name options to suburbs like Brunswick, Coburg and Pascoe Vale, and received 6315 responses — but the petitioners say it was a fait accompli because the fourth option, no name change, was not on the ballot (6% of respondents voted that option by manually writing it on the survey paper). One person told the paper if one speaks up about not changing the Jamaican-slave-plantation name they were “shut down as a racist”.

Stephen Smith, Albanese’s defence pick, walks a well-trodden path

  Stephen Smith, Albanese’s defence pick, walks a well-trodden path Former defence minister Stephen Smith, who has since shifted into cybersecurity, is the PM's choice to lead a snap review of Australia’s defence capabilities.It was a surprise to see the Hair’s head bob up again as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s captain’s pick to run the rule over Defence, alongside the former Chief of the Defence Force, Sir Angus Houston, who received his knighthood as a captain’s call of former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Speaking of name changes, Fraser Island would change its name to its original Indigenous name K’gari under a Queensland government proposal, much like Ayres Rock became Uluru, Guardian Australia reports. First, there’ll be two months of public consultation, state Resources Minister Scott Stewart said, but says it’s been called K’gari for 60,000 years before we arrived a hot second ago: “I think it’s about time we started to do exactly the same.”

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

NSW MP John Sidoti has been suspended from Parliament after he was found to have engaged in serious corrupt conduct, the ABC reports. The member for Drummoyne strenuously denied any wrongdoing in a speech before his suspension, which was supported by Labor and the crossbench. The ICAC found Sidoti “improperly used his position to influence the redevelopment of the Five Dock town centre”, the broadcaster says, but Sidoti said the media’s allegations that “any errors of disclosure indicated attempts to hide wealth acquired through illegal means” were wrong. Sidoti is the second MP to be suspended by the government after sexual assault allegations were levelled against Gareth Ward from two people outside politics, as SBS reports. He denies them. It comes as a “disturbing” report into NSW Parliament’s bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct will recommend mandatory training for members and staff, Guardian Australia adds.

Defence expert Paul Dibb says Australia faces 'probability of high-intensity conflict' in the region

  Defence expert Paul Dibb says Australia faces 'probability of high-intensity conflict' in the region The federal government is pushing ahead with its plans to install wind turbines in the ocean surrounding Australia.

Meanwhile the review of Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) — a watchdog similar to ICAC or IBAC — has been handed down with 32 recommendations, and a lot of explosive submissions. One claimed the CCC’s “harassment” of Ipswich City Council resulted in a senior bureaucrat ending his life in 2018, The Courier-Mail ($) reports. It comes as a former Western Australian MP Brian Ellis will appear a Perth court today over criminal allegations he discussed a WA CCC probe into politicians’ expenses and allowances, The West ($) reports. It is also alleged he wilfully destroyed evidence, the paper says. It comes after his former colleague Phil Edman was also charged this year — a 2019 CCC report alleged Edman used allowances to pay for entertainment for women and to visit a Soapland Japanese bathhouse.

For anyone seeking help, Lifeline is on 13 11 14 and Beyond Blue is on 1300 22 4636. In an emergency, call 000.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Hundreds of twins have descended on Twinsburg, Ohio, for the Twin Day festival — the largest annual gathering of twins in the world. It was founded in 1819 by twins Moses and Aaron Wilcox and has since attracted 80,000 twins — quite a draw for the town, which has a population of just 20,000. In what sounds a little eerie, for three days hoards of twins just walk around the small town, dressed the same, and bond with other twins over their twin-ness. Even a twin from Canada admitted to the CBC that it is “bizarre” to see how many twins there actually are. The festival also draws loads of researchers looking to learn more about interesting phenomena of twinning. What is it about twins that feels so mystifying? What really goes on between twins — can they feel each other’s pain? Do they sense each other in danger? And can they read each other’s minds?

Australia faces threat of 'high-intensity' conflict as China and Taiwan tensions boil over

  Australia faces threat of 'high-intensity' conflict as China and Taiwan tensions boil over Australian National University emeritus professor Paul Dibb has sounded the alarm about a 'high intensity' conflict developing within the country's 'strategic environment'.Australian National University emeritus professor Paul Dibb has sounded the alarm about a 'high intensity' conflict developing within the country's 'strategic environment'.

A few years back ABC delved into the mythology and it is interesting stuff. Firstly, researchers have never proven that there is an ESP connection between twins, a genetic epidemiologist said. But a clinical psychologist said there is a closeness that means identical twins communicate with each other without language when they are young. No, they can’t feel each other’s pain, researchers say. One woman named Jessica told the ABC she suddenly went through labour while her twin went to grab dinner. If she couldn’t feel that… “My sister was right there and was absolutely clueless,” Jessica said. But just because it’s not scientifically proven, doesn’t mean there aren’t anecdotal stories about it, as Sally Keeble wrote for The Guardian in 2009. Perhaps most interestingly, identical twins can’t be convicted of a crime that relies on DNA, the broadcaster continues. There are loads of examples of twins avoiding criminal charges because DNA evidence could not differentiate between the pair — like dangerous driving allegations against Patrick Hennessy in the UK which were thrown out because they couldn’t work out whether it was him or his brother. But epigenetics is changing that — that’s a term for tiny molecules that control our genes, or, as one researcher rather beautifully put it, “the musicians that play the symphony of life on our genes”.

Wishing you a little curiosity in your Wednesday, folks.

SAY WHAT?

These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents. Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before. Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before.

Marles looks to South Korean defence ties

  Marles looks to South Korean defence ties As Australia launches a defence strategic review, the deputy prime minister has met with South Korea's defence minister in Canberra.Minister for National Defence Lee Jong-sup joined Mr Marles in Canberra on Thursday to discuss the Indo-Pacific in the context of an increasingly aggressive China.

Donald Trump

Perhaps because the US has never seen a president like Trump, one might respond, and nor, one might continue, has the normalisation of lies and corruption ever been so spearheaded by a US head of government. In his rambling statement, Trump again hinted about running for president in 2024. Gird your loins, as Stanley Tucci says.

CRIKEY RECAP

  Last line of Defence © Provided by Crikey

Labor is now the party of capital. Progressive, social, groovy, but capital’s party it is

“There is not only no stable Liberal government in the country — in Tasmania, it’s dependent on an independent, and the premier is changed fortnightly — there is no functioning opposition either. This is a pretty extraordinary one-sided situation for the country to be in. Our federal system has usually ensured that there was always some state leader who could project force and power. But Dominic Perrottet is the nearest thing, and he comes across like a Christian wedding planner.

“Labor’s commanding status in relation to this shemozzle becomes almost total. The unity of purpose and clarity of projection is substantial. Rationality and consistency is the dominant feeling around, which gives a sense of legitimacy that spreads well into the people who voted against them. There is a retroactive sense that this had to happen as it has.”

  Last line of Defence © Provided by Crikey

The Barilaro affair must go to ICAC. A timeline of the facts makes that clear

“April: Brown decides Barilaro is the best candidate. She maintains this was her decision, not directed by any minister. June: Barilaro’s appointment is announced. After two weeks, he withdraws. Ayres tells Parliament that, at the end of the first round in 2021, ‘there was no suitable candidate identified’. However, he had signed a briefing in August 2021 confirming West as the ‘successful candidate’.

“July: Barilaro’s former chief of staff, Mark Connell, gives evidence to the parliamentary inquiry that Barilaro told him in 2019 he wanted the NY trade post ‘for when I get the fuck out of this place’. Barilaro denies saying this. August: Ayres resigns after an internal review identifies a possible breach of the ministerial code of conduct. Perrottet admits: ‘The process was not at arm’s length. The issues in the review go directly to the engagement of Mr Ayres with a department secretary in respect of the recruitment process.’”

Pensioner on trial over careless driving death of baby 'had undiagnosed Alzheimer's'

  Pensioner on trial over careless driving death of baby 'had undiagnosed Alzheimer's' A pensioner accused of causing the death of a baby boy by careless driving will say she had undiagnosed Alzheimer's disease at the time and will mount a defence of insanity, a court has heard. © PA Louis Thorold before he was killed. Shelagh Robertson will mount a defence of insanity Shelagh Robertson, 75, was driving home from shopping at Tesco when she turned into the path of an oncoming van on the A10 at Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire on 22 January last year, forcing the van on to the pavement, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

  Last line of Defence © Provided by Crikey

As My Kitchen Rules plates up the same old same old, viewers reject Seven’s stale dish

“What will Seven do now? My Kitchen Rules slumped to 636,000 nationally from an already weak 767,000 for its return on Sunday night. Last night it was beaten by The Masked Singer’s reveal — 832,000, after the performance part averaged 633,000. The Block on Nine averaged 1.182 million. Have You Been Paying Attention? on Ten averaged 767,000. The Comm Games coverage, which followed MKR, averaged 670,000.

“Seven won total people, Nine won the main channels (telling us how weak MKR was). It is going to be a very long end of winter/start of spring for Seven now that MKR is in the flop basket for another year. Seven has not refreshed the format, as we were led to believe — it has merely put lipstick on a pig and sent it out to the same fate it received from viewers in 2020. Viewers are not the dim lot that Seven apparently takes them for.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Serena Williams suggests retirement from tennis after US Open (BBC)

Rapid wage growth keeps pressure on US inflation (The Wall Street Journal) ($)

James Marape reelected as Papua New Guinea leader (The New Daily)

Russia launches Iranian satellite into space from Kazakhstan base (Al Jazeera)

Switzerland’s melting glaciers reveal human remains and plane wreckage (The Guardian)

[NZ] National MP Sam Uffindell stood down after more allegations surface (Stuff)

FBI executes search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in document investigation (CNN)

‘Overwhelming’: demand for visas from Afghan nationals seeking Australia’s protection surges beyond 211,000 (SBS)

Hockey Canada appoints lawyer as new chair of board of directors amid [sexual assault] controversy (CBC)

Poland threatens to turn ‘all our cannon’ on EU in rule-of-law row (The Guardian)

Issey Miyake, Japanese fashion designer, dies at 84 (The New York Times)

THE COMMENTARIAT

Leftist ‘progressives’ only celebrate minorities who know their placeRita Panahi (Herald Sun) ($): “It’s hard to fathom the sheer arrogance of a privileged multimillionaire lecturing an Indigenous woman on race relations. And Peter FitzSimons did not just lecture Senator Jacinta Price over her position on the race-based referendum and Australia Day, but he also scolded her for daring to deviate from Leftist orthodoxy. What ugly paternalism from a man in his 60s towards a woman who has worked tirelessly for the most vulnerable and voiceless members of her community; women and children suffering severe disadvantage due to abuse and neglect.

“The left cannot even play by their own stupid rules. Here we have a white man of mediocre talent who has nevertheless accumulated enormous wealth tell a Black woman who has survived terrible physical and emotional abuse how she should feel and how she should advocate on Indigenous issues … Senator Price has long advocated for consequential issues that save and transform lives. She is not interested in cheap tokenism to make the inner-city activist class of the FitzSimons variety feel good about themselves.”

[FitzSimons strenuously denies Senator Price’s allegations.]

Has ‘no means no’ become ‘only “yes” means yes’?Julie Szego (The Age): “The defence barristers argue, as they’re professionally obliged to do, that the laws could criminalise cases in the “grey zone,” ensnaring hapless, emotionally unintelligent teenage boys — who don’t fit the traditional profile of a predator — after a night of drunken misadventure. To which the feminist campaigners say, yes that’s the point of the exercise: to eradicate the grey zone because the woman who is feeling degraded in the aftermath of an encounter doesn’t think the zone’s grey anyway.

“If I was convinced of the accuracy of the underlying premise — namely that the proposed laws have the serious potential to criminalise cases that don’t presently make the cut for rape — then I’d be more sympathetic to the defence barristers’ warnings about unintended consequences. But I’m not convinced, for what my lay opinion’s worth. Largely because I don’t think this new articulation of what constitutes ‘reasonable belief’ in another’s consent is a significant departure from the current law. Unless I’m misreading the text, an accused doesn’t have to ask if the other party’s consenting: they just need to actively seek out positive cues, and be on alert for negative ones.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • Chinese ambassador Xiao Qian will speak to the National Press Club as senior Australian and US diplomatics work to counter Beijing’s influence in the Pacific.

Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • BT Australasia’s Luke Barker, Australian Women in Security Network’s Jacqui Loustau, UNSW’s Richard Buckland, ANZ’s Erica Hardinge, NAB’s Winston Lewinsmith and more will speak about cyber security at a Grok Academy networking event.

Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

  • UNSW’s Katharine Kemp and the Bank of England’s Philip Marsden will speak about the rise of regulation in digital markets at a panel discussion held at Allens.

The post Last line of Defence appeared first on Crikey.

Pensioner on trial over careless driving death of baby 'had undiagnosed Alzheimer's' .
A pensioner accused of causing the death of a baby boy by careless driving will say she had undiagnosed Alzheimer's disease at the time and will mount a defence of insanity, a court has heard. © PA Louis Thorold before he was killed. Shelagh Robertson will mount a defence of insanity Shelagh Robertson, 75, was driving home from shopping at Tesco when she turned into the path of an oncoming van on the A10 at Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire on 22 January last year, forcing the van on to the pavement, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

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