1. Made in Australia by the Turnbull government
The Liberal Party Has Overwhelmingly Decided To Keep Its Plebiscite Policy, so because the Senate again failed to pass the necessary legislation, we are off to a $122 million postal vote, which is really a voluntary survey to be conducted by the ABS, if the High Court lets them.
Except, we already know what the people think, because they’ve already been surveyed, and people who know about these things say that the proposed survey is incompetent as a survey, lacking proper sampling. Of course, the opponents of same sex-marriage see this as their best chance of getting a “no” vote and kicking the can down the road.
Peter FitzSimons asks, How did the Liberal Party get into such a mess? Government action has ensured that the issue will continue front-of-mind until Parliament actually has a free vote.
Meanwhile Turnbull looks weak. Sean Kelly at The Monthly says Turnbull looks weak because he is weak:
- When Richard Nixon had to tell the nation he wasn’t a crook, it was a sure sign he was, and that Americans knew it. “I’m a strong leader,” Malcolm Turnbull said today. If that were true, it wouldn’t have to be said.
Peter Brent at Inside Story reckons Abbott is in effect the secret weapon for the “Yes” case.
Philip Coorey’s AFR article Unite and fight, or lose, same-sex marriage advocates warned brings us this wonderful David Rowe cartoon:
Turnbull finds himself, in effect, in the marriage from hell.
Plus Abbott’s opening salvo and his sister Christine Forster’s response:
Turnbull is too busy governing Australia to campaign.
Only in Australia!
2. Have the terrorists won?
The headline going around the world is that the Waverley Council in Sydney has knocked back a proposal to build a synagogue near Bondi Beach because of the risk that terrorists might blow it up. This would apparently be a first.
Seems, however, that the Council did not make a decision within the required time of 40 days, so the proposal was deemed refused and referred to the Land and Environment Court, where Commissioner Graham Brown said the risk assessment was inadequate and upheld the council’s decision:
- “It would seem that a more sophisticated risk assessment process could be required for matters such as a potential terrorist threat,” he found.
However, the Council say that if the design were changed to make it safer, it would be too unsightly. Already three reasons were found for it being inadequate:
- The proposal does not respond to the context, character and streetscape of the area or provide sufficient residential amenity
- Unacceptable amenity impacts such as adequate solar access, noise and loss of privacy; and
- The site is unsuitable for a synagogue because of the potential risk to users and other members of the general public.
Waverley Council are saying that it was “a technical planning decision”, that they’d consider a new proposal which took into account the court’s findings on its merits and that and reassured local residents that Waverley was a “safe place”.
Sounds a mess. The Jewish community are shocked and furious.
3. Another refugee dies on Manus Island
Hamed Shamshiripour, a 31-year-old Iranian with a history of mental illness, was found dead on Monday near the Refugee Transit Centre in East Lorengau. He was the fifth man to die under Australia’s supervision on Manus Island.
Apparently authorities are turning of the water and power at the Manus Island camp, forcing refugees to go to East Lorengau, where the man was found hanging.
I heard a fellow refugee interviewed on the ABC, who said there were marks on the man indicating he may have been murdered. Local PNG police have investigated and debunked this story.
The Guardian says:
- Photos are in circulation purportedly showing Shamshiripour’s body when it was found. The Guardian has chosen not to publish these, and they are not conclusive about the circumstances of his death.
The photos show injuries that may have occurred before death. The position in which Shamshiripour’s body was found has also raised questions about the circumstances of his death.
The family in Iran want his body brought to Australia for an autopsy. Seems Malcolm Turnbull told Trump that the refugees are under our care, so let’s do it.
The Saturday Paper also has an article Driven to death on Manus Island.
4. Meanwhile elsewhere
Within a short two months the popularity of Emmanuel Macron has sunk to Trump-like levels of 36 per cent, a level it took his predecessor, François Hollande, six months to reach. The French a wondering whether it was such a good idea to elect a “radical centrist”, and whether he is in fact a neoliberal tool with untrammelled power.
American military power has no limits, according to The Donald. Tim Ferguson’s Fake News Report:
- US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has attacked the fake media.
“Journalists are dishonestly repeating the President’s words and taking them literally,’ he said.
Ferguson says he says:
“By delivering ‘fire and fury’, POTUS clearly meant ‘friendship and fun’,” he said.
“By threatening the nuclear obliteration of millions of innocent North Koreans, he clearly meant ‘My wristwatch is better than yours’. And it is.”
That would be funny if it was funny, but it’s not.
Anna Fifield at The Washington Post – Are we on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea? Probably not. However:
- “There’s an enormous difference between speaking North Korea’s language and firing verbal bombs, and frankly, engaging in a dangerously childish shouting match…”
Turnbull says we are “joined at the hip” with the Donald in defence, a place you’d never want to be, remembering our ANZUS obligation is only to consult.
Paul Keating says North Korea will inevitably become a full nuclear power, and containment is the only possible policy. An expensive missile defence system is a waste of money.
Trump’s ranting came two days after the UN Security Council, with Russia and China on board, approved further sanctions.
Now an explosive law suit alleges Trump reviewed and approved a concocted news story
- A defamation lawsuit filed by longtime Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler against the network alleges that President Trump was directly involved in concocting a fake story intended to undercut the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian hackers waged cyberattacks against Democratic targets to help him get elected.
Never a dull moment.