Tax cuts pass

It’s done. Income tax will be cut over the next seven years, reducing the government’s revenue by about $144 billion. The Labor and the Greens opposed, but with One Nation and other independent Seantors onside, the government was able to pass their epic budget plan through the Senate, which was the focus of a Slow News Weekly deep dive when it was first announced.

A month or so of analysis has confirmed that high-income earners will get the biggest benefit. Someone on $200k a year will now be earning about $7,000 more by 2025. Nevertheless, Turnbull is celebrating it as a ‘big win for working families’, who will see the most immediate benefit in the upcoming financial year. Despite this, Labor and the Unions are dead set against the plan. 

It’s the biggest tax reform plan the parliament has ever passed. 

Eurydice Dixon

Beloved Melbourne performer and comedian Eurydice Dixon died last week. A man, 19, has been charged with her rape and murder. The tragic death has received national coverage and triggered vigils in every city, in part caused by Victoria Police’s fairly shitty response: “My message is that people need to be aware of their own personal security and just be mindful of their surroundings,” said one homocide detective. Local Superintendent David Clayton: “So just make sure you have situational awareness, that you’re aware of your surroundings. If you’ve got a mobile phone carry it and if you’ve got any concerns, call police.” As many have high-lighted, these comments further put the pressure on women to protect themselves, and do not place the burden of responsibility on the criminals.

Eurydice texted her boyfriend that she was ‘almost home safe’ around midnight. Her body was found at 3am. 

The national outrage triggered comments from the Victorian Premier, and Turnbull himself. In an address to Parliament, he said: “What we must do as we grieve is ensure that we change the hearts of men to respect women.” He said Australia needed to start “with the youngest men, the little boys, our sons and grandsons”.

Australia’s homocide rate is the lowest in 25 years. Most killers are partners or known to the victim. Two-thirds of the victims are men, but women are most likely to be killed by a partner. 80% of Australian murderers are men.

Trump separates families

In April, the US attorney general Jeff Sessions heralded a new ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy for the States, approved by Donald Trump. Every migrant who crossed the Southern border illegally (including those seeking asylum) is subject to criminal prosecution. Because children aren’t allowed to be held in federal jail, they were taken from their parents and placed in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. About 2,000 children have been separated from their families. 

This week, accounts and photographs of children waiting in detention hit a critical mass. From The Guardian:

Reporters who have toured the facilities where families are separated by border patrol officers describe hundreds of children waiting in cages with concrete floors, kept away from their families. One immigration advocate told the Associated Press that a teenager helped care for a young child she didn’t know because the child’s aunt was somewhere else in the facility. The teen said she had to show others in her cell how to change the girl’s diaper.

Facing national and international criticism, including numbers that 2 out of 3 Americans thought the policy was inhumane, Trump reversed the hard line. But Trump would still like Sessions to look into modifying legislation that would allow migrant children to be detained for longer than twenty days, and his policy will detain entire families.

While Australia is often outraged at America’s bizarre approach to gun violence, many commentators have been quick to note Australia’s own approach to refugee and asylum seekers. Indeed, on the first phone call between Trump and Turnbull, Trump praised the Australian approach. Turnbull reflected on how Australia informed America’s approach to immigration. We did a deep dive into Australia’s immigration policy a while back.


PNG is Rioting

Three to four hundred protesters in Papua New Guinea have marched on the capital of the Southern Highlands province, Mendi, armed with knives and guns. They want the resignation of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. The protestors believe that O’Neill’s election was illegitimate, and began violence last week when a court challenge didn’t go their way. There ware warnings that the violence could escalate. Curfews are in place across the region. 

Abortion In Queensland

The Queensland Government is currently considering the decriminalisation of abortion, angering evangelical protestors, who have heightened their presence at several clinics. Pro Choice volunteers are escorting women into clinics for their safety. 

But the move does look like it will pass in the state’s parliament. We did a deep dive into the nation’s abortion laws a couple of weeks ago.

Biloela family loses out

We’ve reported on this story as it’s developed. The federal court this week rejected a Tamil asylum seeker family’s appeal to remain in Australia. The family had settled in Biloela and were described as pillars of the community, with many from the town being instrumental in having their case heard. A couple even went on Q&A to ask a Liberal Senator if Peter Dutton could intervene. No such luck. The family remain in a detention centre in Melbourne. They have 21 days to appeal the judgement.

Toowoomba Sperm

In a landmark decision, a Toowoomba woman has been granted the right to use her dead boyfriend’s sperm by the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Ayla Cresswell’s partner tragically took his own life in 2016. Within hours, the court granted permission for his sperm to be harvested. Now two years on, Ms Cresswell will begin the IVF process. 

New Zealand Expecting

Jacinda Arden, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, is in labour as I write. She’ll have six weeks maternity leave. She’s the second world leader to give birth while in office. The first was Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto in 1990.

State Of Origin

It’s the very first female state of origin tonight. This year, women’s rugby league is having an upswell in popularity, as the focus on female sports continues to draw new audiences to games previously held at the margins of culture.

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Photo at the top thanks to Guardian Media Services.

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