Queensland votes tomorrow! No idea what you’re doing and want to know how to vote in 10 minutes? Check out our quick guide. Meanwhile, as is typical of election campaigns, both of the major parties waited until the last couple of days before announcing how on earth they were going to pay for all the stuff they’ve been promising. You can get all the juicy details here, but the bottom line is that the LNP have promised significantly more in new programs, and says they’ll cut from all over – including climate change, domestic violence and youth justice programs – to pay for it. One Nation have not released any details on how they would pay for their election promises.
Turnbull in Trouble
So the federal House of Representatives was supposed to sit next week. But Turnbull, PM Party Pooper, cancelled it. Turnbull reckons that the same sex marriage bill won’t get through the Senate for another week anyway, and they need to sort out all this citizenship stuff (there’s been more citizenship drama this week, with another senator resigning). Labor and the Greens say Malcom’s running scared and that the government is in chaos.
The decision to delay Parliament is also motivated by a need to stop the bleeding of his own party. His idea of quickly and calmly passing a same-sex marriage bill looks to face opposition from within his own ranks. The Nationals have said they’d like to get a banking inquiry under way. All of this is thorny for Turnbull, particularly at a time where – thanks to the citizenship saga – he doesn’t have a majority in the House.
In a speech to the Business Council of Australia, Turnbull floated the idea of cutting taxes for middle-income Aussies. Is that election campaign talk? Possibly. As the citizenship saga rolls on, rumours continue to rise of an early election to get it all sorted.
My guess? They’re waiting to see what happens in Queensland this weekend and how the public is feeling about the LNP. Queensland’s had federal politicians spooked before. In our last election, no one expected quite as big a swing against Campbell Newman’s LNP leadership. Either way, it’s a big mess for Malcom.
Manus Island Crisis
Papua New Guinea police moved to arrest and forcibly remove refugees from the Manus Island Detention Centre yesterday. Overall, however, it didn’t work. 300 men remain in the centre. The police reportedly destroyed property and food, arrested those communicating with the outside world, and seized phones. Earlier in the week several high-profile Australians had called on the government to send medical assistance to the refugees. Two collapsed yesterday in the chaos – one from a feared heart attack, the other suffers from epilepsy. The government will not be sending medical help.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the entire operation was led by the PNG government, but took the time to criticise the refugees, accusing them of trashing the centre while refusing to move to a new centre that Aussies had paid for. (From all reports the new centre they need to be moved to remains unfinished. Reports of violence against refugees in the town where the centre is based also continue.) Malcom Turnbull agreed with Peter Dutton.
Euthanasia in Victoria
The ‘assisted dying’ bill has now passed Victorian Parliament after heated debate. NSW has already rejected plans to discuss a bill of their own in parliament, but commentators agree that the Victorian bill will be regarded as a moment of change in the country.
The final bill is cumbersome and has many amendments. You have to be an adult of decision-making capacity, and ‘an ordinary citizen of Victoria’ for at least 12 months. Doctors can’t raise the idea with you, you have to instigate it. You have to make a request three times, at least once in writing. You have to be assessed by two independent doctors, at least one of which needs to be a specialist. You must have an incurable illness that will cause death within six months.
Change in Zimbabwe
Last week, the military moved to halt the Zimbabwe government, attempting to remove President Robert Mugabe from power. The bloodless coup eventually worked, with Mugabe resigning. He has ruled Zimbabwe for over thirty years, with reports of mass corruption, torture and human rights abuses. The military has said he’ll have immunity from prosecution and receive a ‘generous pension’. Mugabe’s former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to be sworn in today, but Mugabe’s wife, Grace, has her own political ambitions that may cause problems. The world is waiting to see if this is a new age of democracy in Zimbabwe, or just a continuing of the status quo in one of the world’s most economically unequal countries.
The Rohingya Crisis
Over 620,000 persecuted Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar over the past months. (Check out our deep dive here.) Most have gone to neighbouring Bangladesh. This week, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a deal to have the refugees re-settled in their Myanmar. Many have raised concerns over the deal. Just how safe the refugees will be in returning to Myanmar, where thousands of homes and villages have been entirely destroyed, is unclear.
Amazon will apparently launch in Australia any minute now, just in time for Christmas. It’s only a matter of time before you can get a toothbrush that you ordered from your robot executive assistant delivered to your home via a self-driving car. It’s the beginning of the end of civilisation. No biggie.
More sexual harassment claims
More titans of Hollywood and the entertainment industry are falling due to allegations of sexual harassment – and in some cases, assault. One of Pixar’s top guys, the director of Toy Story, John Lasseter, stepped away from the company this week after facing allegations. Famed interviewer Charlie Rose also gave up his show after decades on the air. Former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter is accused of rape. The photo at the top of the article is from a demonstration of survivors of sexual assault in LA. Photo by Lucy Nicholson.
Teen superstar David Cassidy passed away this week at the age of 67. His is most remembered for his starring role on The Partridge Family.
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