Daily News Review – Saturday 25 September

Each day this service is sourced by CCO from the excellent work done as ‘The Dawn Patrol’ for over a decade now by ‘BK’ at Poll Bludger. See; pollbludger.net


Laura Tingle writes that Scott Morrison’s AUKUS submarine deal and ‘BFF theatre’ leaves Australia in a tricky spot. What she writes is hardly reassuring.
With his sights on domestic navel-gazing, Morrison’s all at sea on the world stage, says George Megalogenis.
Between East and West, Australia is no longer the misfit. That would be China, writes Peter Hartcher. He does say, however, that “Labor is asking reasonable and responsible questions about exactly how AUKUS will work. Morrison should resist the urge to turn this into a divisive fight. The Prime Minister should recognise Labor’s legitimate concerns as the future custodian of the arrangement, rather than weaken the national position for partisan gain.”
Frozen out in Europe, feted in Washington, alarming some of its south-east Asian neighbours: questions are being raised about whether Australia has the right diplomatic skills and resources to perform on the world stage, says Anthony Galloway.
Pontificating Paul Kelly declares that, with the AUKUS alliance, Morrison has seated Australia at the top table of diplomacy.
Paul Bongiorno reckons Scott Morrison’s plans to make the looming election as much about keeping Australia safe from a Chinese threat as anything else have begun to take serious water.
Greg Sheridan opines that Xi Jinping is the real creator of AUKUS and Quad unity.
With the AUKUS treaty, Australia may have hitched its fate to a nation soon to be led by people who make Trump seem competent. Britain and Australia’s democracies are under threat; America’s future is in dire peril, warns Lucy Hamilton.
Bevan Shields tells us that France has no immediate plans to restore diplomatic relations with Australia, as Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson move to heal a damaging rift triggered by the Morrison government’s new pact to counter China.
Hours before cancelling a $90 billion contract for French submarines, Australia was still telling the company to proceed with design – but the plan to renege had been in the works since 2019, reveals Karen Middleton.
Tony Wright has a look at Australia’s history with submarines, going right back to Gallipoli.
John Hewson writes about Christian Porter and the ‘born to rule’ mentality. Wow!
Rob Harris reports that the shock departure of Senate President Scott Ryan from federal Parliament nine months earlier than planned has sent the Victorian Liberals scrambling to organise a complex process to choose his successor.
Katherine Murphy says that, as insurgents limber up for a federal election, the Coalition is worried about its restive right flank.
Vaccine fears have plunged to a record low in a strong sign of support for the national plan to ease lockdowns, with only 9 per cent of Australians objecting to the jabs compared to 29 per cent in the early phase of the rollout. The findings suggest the country could achieve a 90 per cent vaccine target across the adult population as the federal government promises more supplies of Pfizer and Moderna doses over the next three months, reports David Crowe.
Low vaccination rates in some NSW regions have prompted the government to reconsider allowing regional travel after the first vaccination target is met. The curse of reliance on averages alone strikes again.
Further to this, Berejiklian is distancing herself from the term “Freedom Day” and is opting for graduated relaxations.
The SMH editorial reflects upon the week that Sydney turned the corner on COVID-19.
Coronavirus has taken hold at Parklea Correctional Centre, with at least 140 inmates infected. Treatment is cursory and prisoners with the virus are largely prevented from contacting family members and even lawyers, reports Denham Sadler.
As contact tracing collapses in NSW, differences are opening up in the key health modelling commissioned by government, writes Rick Morton who looks at the significant sensitivities of the Doherty modelling with respect to the assumptions used.
The Age says that Victoria Police is conducting a review into its handling of last weekend’s anti-lockdown protests following furious complaints from the police union when multiple officers were injured after being overrun during a botched crowd control operation in Richmond.
On this week’s Melbourne protests, Chip le Grand writes, “Condemning the violence is the easy bit. A more difficult task is understanding who these protesters are, what drove them to this point and whether there is more to come as the NSW and Victorian governments pursue their two-speed exits out of lockdown for the vaccinated and unjabbed.”
Paul Karp looks at vaccine passports in Australia, who will impose them, and how they will work.
“Australia’s healthcare workers are reporting that they are exhausted and burnt out after the pandemic wrought profound change to their work practices. As the health crisis continues, how can the quality of care be sustained”, ask Karen Willis and Natasha Smallwood.
“Workers’ rights or the far right: who was behind Melbourne’s pandemic protests?”, ponders Michael McGowan.
Zoe Daniel writes, “There were shades of Trumpism in Melbourne this week as a hi-vis-helmeted mob (of largely white men) took their anger to the streets. More than one Trump-Pence flag was seen amid the crowd, along with a red MAGA cap or two. The disparate group of unionists, anti-vaxxers, anarchists, right wingers (including Proud Boys and neo-Nazis) and general troublemakers shut down parts of a city already crippled by COVID-19”.
David Penberthy tells us that a former South Australian health minister who has relaunched the Christian party Family First is planning a major campaign against compulsory Covid vaccinations and vaccine passports, saying it is the No. 1 issue of concern for ­people of faith. What a dangerous pinhead!
“Not fit for purpose: it may not be the most encouraging way to describe Australia’s taxation system but it’s certainly the most accurate”, writes Peter van Onselen who says we shouldn’t be holding our breath waiting for meaningful tax reform.
Liberal frontbencher Simon Birmingham has signalled his opposition to offering the National party “handouts” to clinch a deal on climate policy, as the Morrison government wrestles with internal divisions in the lead-up to a crucial UN summit, report Daniel Hurst and Katherine Murphy.
The SMAge tells us that IMF Australia mission chief Harald Finger says, given Australia is not using a carbon price to drive down greenhouse gases, it should toughen the rules around industrial emissions.
China’s pledge to kick the coal habit comes at a critical moment for the planet, says Sam Geall.
Australia’s failure to regulate flood plain harvesting was “a real embarrassment”, but the practice was unlikely to be illegal, the former chair of South Australia’s royal commission into the Murray-Darling basin plan has told a New South Wales parliamentary committee. What a bloody mess!
Runaway residential property prices could threaten the stability of Australia’s financial system and need to be reined in, the International Monetary Fund says. That warning, delivered in the IMF’s first financial health check of the economy since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, follows rising local concerns about the threat that high household debt and surging house prices pose.
The former chairman of Australia’s competition regulator Graeme Samuel says the nation’s cosy director networks can prevent new faces from being appointed to the country’s boards.
Rupert Murdoch may have turned 90 this year but his news empire continues to grow. A week after announcing a new UK TV channel, TalkTV, and a Sky News program starring Piers Morgan, his Australian empire will next month unveil a dedicated news streaming service called Flash, writes Amanda Meade in her weekly media roundup.
Peter Dutton will seek aggravated damages in his defamation claim against refugee activist Shane Bazzi following recent tweets suggesting the “wealthy and powerful cabinet minister” should focus on his defence portfolio, not the defamation case.
In this essay on CBDs, Elizabeth Farrelly says that COVID forces us to question both the overwhelming centralism of Australian cities, and their ongoing dominance by business. But cracks were appearing well before that.
Lisa Visentin reports that the offices of Daniel Andrews and Gladys Berejiklian are considering how to manage defamation risks on their social media pages, as Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said he would turn off comments on some posts on his Facebook page due to a High Court ruling.
Ministers are poised to agree an extraordinary post-Brexit U-turn that would allow foreign lorry drivers back into the UK to stave off shortages threatening fuel and food supplies. Boris Johnson ordered a rapid fix on Friday to prevent the crisis escalating. Ministers met in an attempt to agree a short-term visa scheme permitting potentially thousands more lorry drivers from abroad to come to the UK.
The Catholic church tried to stop a survivor suing it over the childhood abuse she suffered at the hands of a parish priest in northern New South Wales, despite its own records showing it knew the man was a paedophile but did nothing other than move him from parish to parish. But the NSW supreme court rejected the Catholic church’s request for a permanent stay of proceedings brought by a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted in 1968, when she was 14, by Father Clarence Anderson, a priest with the Lismore diocese.
Meanwhile, Mike Seccombe reports that Cardinal George Pell has spent the past several months in Sydney, as the Catholic Church prepares for its first reform conference in more than 80 years.
Yesterday China’s most powerful regulators intensified the country’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies with a blanket ban on all crypto transactions and mining, hitting bitcoin and other major coins and pressuring crypto and blockchain-related stocks.
Today’s “Arsehole of the Week” nomination goes to this white supremacist jailed for possessing child-abuse material and an arsenal of weapons in 2017 and who is set to spend another two years behind bars after officers found disturbing hand-drawn pornographic imagery in his cell.

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