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Emma Elsworthy

Hope springs eternal for Sussan Ley


We’re going to win back every seat we lost to teal independents by focusing on housing, working women and cozzie livs, Deputy Liberal Leader Sussan Ley vows in her new plan. Ley told the SMH ($) voters have moved on from Scott Morrison’s government — thanks in no small part to our psychologists, one might add — and is making herself known by popping up repeatedly in North Sydney, Wentworth, Mackellar, Warringah, Goldstein and Curtin. Ley says the Libs will have a “red-hot go” at every seat they don’t hold at the next election, pointing out up to 40% of people are renters in some suburbs, linking it loosely with women who need childcare and cheaper food/bills. When asked why Opposition Leader Peter Dutton was targeting regional and outer suburban seats, Ley waved away any insinuation of divide and conquer. Sure Jan.

Meanwhile the carve-up of disability funding is in question this week amid a state-federal standoff. NDIS Minister Bill Shorten is trying to get the states to pitch in money for the program which is forecast to cost nearly $100 billion by 2032 (the federal government is more exposed because it funds 68%, on track to reach 80% in a decade). Shorten says it’s always been a partnership, The Australian ($) reports, but NSW Premier Chris Minns says NSW handed over “public servants and our money” to the Commonwealth a decade ago for it to handle it. Speaking of NSW politics — former Perrottet minister Eleni Petinos, who the SMH ($) reports was dumped after allegations she’d called her staff “stupid” and “retarded”, is back as a spokeswoman in NSW’s opposition. She’s actually looking for more staff — the CBD boys hope “any aspiring young Liberal hacks know what they’re getting in for”. Allegedly.


Australia’s undercover cops were mismanaged for years, given old technology, not enough security and not enough psychological support, a secret Australian Federal Police (AFP) inquiry by former assistant commissioner responsible for counterterrorism Frank Prendergast has found. The SMH ($) got hold of the inquiry document, which was finalised in 2020 and led to AFP commissioner Reece Kershaw overhauling the program. One source told the paper that undercover cops in Australia don’t have guns or weapons, and have to “infiltrate, trick and manipulate some of the world’s best crooks”. Meanwhile, in rather coincidental timing, the AFP is looking for staff. It’s recruiting onshore and overseas cops, including protective service officers who work at defence, parliamentary sites and airports, The West ($) says.

It comes as a whistleblower has told the Herald Sun ($) that kids in state care as young as eight are left unsupervised for up to 10 hours a day, sometimes without food or clean clothes. A Department of Families Fairness and Housing spokeswoman said the Victorian government had earmarked $548 million for the cohort, the “largest investment” in the past decade. This comes as the Albanese government will introduce legislation on Wednesday — in the final sitting week of the year — that’ll allow judges to jail recently released stateless offenders, the SMH ($) reports. Here’s how it’d work: there would be a community safety detention order and a community safety supervision order. Immigration Minister Andrew Giles would apply; the Supreme Court would say yes or no, depending on whether the person was likely to commit a violent or sexual offence. Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan told Sky the Coalition would wave the bill through if it gets a preventive detention regime and if efforts to resettle former detainees overseas are restarted.


Well, that’s that. The Gold Coast has officially walked away from its bid to host the 2026-27 Commonwealth Games, the ABC reports, because the state and federal governments wouldn’t get on board. The Gold Coast hosted it in 2018 and offered to take it on again after Victoria’s then-premier Dan Andrews ghosted it citing soaring costs to his state. GC Mayor Tom Tate said support from Gina Rinehart, Gerry Harvey and Katie Page evidently wasn’t enough to convince governments to support them (Rinehart had been pushing for a dual Perth-Goldie games). Good luck finding a host, Tate’s parting words were.

This comes as Brisbane’s Lord Mayor (and LNP member) Adrian Schrinner has quit the Brisbane 2032 Games delivery forum, Guardian Australia reports, because the Labor state government has “completely lost its way”. The forum has representatives from both politics and Games partners, but Schrinner says it’s just a front while the government makes all the “real decisions” behind closed doors. He’s also backflipped on his support for a $2.7 billion Gabba rebuild which will leave the Brisbane Lions AFL team and Brisbane Heat T20 cricket franchise “temporarily homeless” from late 2025, the paper says, even though he was previously behind it. Sport and Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe says the teams’ displacement isn’t the state government’s responsibility, The Courier-Mail ($) reports.


The Kentucky parents of Isla McNabb tore open the wrapping paper of the birthday present from her aunty to much oohing and aahing to reveal … a writing tablet. It might’ve seemed like a strange choice for a two-year-old, but that was nothing compared with what happened next. Her dad, Jason, wrote the word “red” on the tablet — Isla promptly declared “red”. Is that a crazy coincidence or what, he might’ve mused to mum Amanda. So they tried another word — “blue”. Isla pronounced it too. Yellow, cat, dog — Isla read them with ease, even though she was four years or so off the typical age kids read, The Guardian writes. Next minute, toys around the home started resembling words — the letters S, O, F, A next to the lounge, and C, A and T next to an unbothered Boogers the cat.

Is our baby a boffin, Jason and Amanda wondered. They called Guinness World Records, who recommended they get Isla’s IQ tested. The psychologist might’ve figured the inquiry a prank but curiosity got the better of him. As it turned out, Isla’s IQ is in the 99th percentile of intelligence for a two-year-old. Her floored mum promptly registered the tot with MENSA to find other parents of gifted children. After all, this kid could cure disease or go to Mars one day (I almost wrote “become president” but it occurred to me that intelligence is not a prerequisite). The now three-year-old is at preschool now and loves to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Her brain is still whizzing ahead — she recently asked her dad if she could wash her hands to get the germs off, using a hard “g” like in gate. Bless.

Hoping you surprise someone today, even if it’s just yourself.


There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C.

Ahmed Al-Jaber

Not exactly the words one might hope to hear from the president of COP28 — Al-Jaber, who is the UAE’s special envoy for climate change, also happens to be the nation’s minister of industry. There is a scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels has warmed the earth’s surface and the ocean basins.


‘Overreach from the start’: Security monitor drops a bomb on secrecy act

(Image: Gorkie/Private Media)

“The outgoing independent national security legislation monitor (INSLM), Grant Donaldson SC, has called for significant reforms to the national security legislation abused by the Coalition in its prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery, reducing the scope for misuse and elevating requirements for procedural fairness in national security trials …

“Most significant is a recommendation to dump ‘economic relations’ from the definition of national security information, which currently includes ‘economic relations with foreign governments and international organisations’. It was this definition that enabled Coalition attorney-general Christian Porter to intervene in the prosecution of Bernard Collaery, which he had authorised, and attempt to keep secret information about how the Howard government had bugged the Timor-Leste cabinet …”

Yes, Kissinger was a monster — but only one of a succession of them


“But which Kissinger should we mourn? The one that pandered to Richard Nixon’s extraordinary anti-Semitism, even telling the president it didn’t matter if the Soviets began gassing Jews? (Kissinger was a refugee himself.) The one who extensively advised Vladimir Putin? The one appointed by George W. Bush to lead the 9/11 commission, before quitting because he would have had to reveal the clients of his lucrative consultancy firm which might have created a conflict of interest for him?

“The Kissinger who endorsed the Chinese regime’s horrific Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, which cost 10,000 lives? … Kennedy had the Bay of Pigs, multiple attempts to murder Fidel Castro and backed the coup that led to the murder of South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem — the first of a long succession of coups there, while LBJ ramped up Kennedy’s intervention in Vietnam to catastrophic heights.”

After struggling through his final AGMs, Rupert Murdoch faces more courtroom grief


“It was a similar story at Fox Corp, where Lachlan suffered a 15.5% protest vote after 32.4 million shares were voted against him, the second highest protest after former Republican house speaker Paul Ryan, who was opposed by 53.4 million voting shares.

“If Fox Corp ends up making another $1 billion-plus settlement with Smartmatic, those protest votes would be expected to rise again next year, although shareholders can no longer send a message to the man most responsible for the mess because Rupert Murdoch is no longer submitting himself to the annual election cycle.”


Venezuela holds referendum on oil-rich Guyana region: Four things to know (Al Jazeera)

Paris attack near Eiffel Tower leaves one dead and two injured (BBC)

New Zealand to axe sex-ed guidelines in schools after ‘woke extremism’ campaign (SBS)

Canada’s oil and gas emissions cap is coming — here’s what to expect (CBC)

‘Foreign terrorists’ behind deadly Philippine bombing, officials say (Reuters)


The tax issue keeping women out of workMillie Muroi (The SMH) ($): “It’s easier to spot this disincentive when it’s spelled out in big government announcements on changes to tax rates and brackets. But there’s a specific measure called the ‘effective marginal tax rate’ (EMTR), where disincentives can be more complex to pinpoint, but just as significant. The EMTR measures how much you pay in tax, accounting for government benefits you might be losing too. In a paper to the Australia Institute’s recent revenue summit, University of Sydney professor of public economics Patricia Apps argues it’s a key measure when thinking about inequality.

“Many benefits, including the low-income tax offset (LITO) and family tax benefits, are means-tested, meaning as your income increases, the amount you’re eligible to receive drops. That’s all well and good but some of these benefits are means-tested according to a couple’s combined income rather than individually. And therein lies the problem for women with children. For some women, it’s a personal choice to stay home and raise the kids. And with the move to paid parental leave instead of the gendered ‘maternal leave’, it’s becoming a more common choice for people of all genders.”

Why Labor’s bid to host COP is just another play at vanity politicsTed O’Brien (The Australian) ($): “Labor’s EV target of 89% of new vehicle sales by 2030 is forecast to come in at only 27%. Its reformed safeguard mechanism — in substance, a carbon tax — is forcing asset writedowns, a loss of competitiveness and the offshoring of emissions, which is why Labor now wants to introduce a tariff scheme to mop it up. But Labor’s biggest humiliation is failing to unlock private capital to deliver its 82% renewables target by 2030. Results for the September quarter indicate investment in solar, wind and batteries are below one-10th of the pace required for Labor to meet its target, according to the Clean Energy Council.

“This explains Labor’s expansion of its capacity investment scheme, which will see taxpayers underwrite 32GW of new wind, solar and battery projects, at a cost Labor refuses to disclose. Meanwhile, the government is killing off gas supply and doing nothing to stop 80% of baseload power stations exiting the grid by 2035, leaving the electricity grid in crisis, with brownouts and blackouts expected as soon as this summer. The consequence of these failures will be energy poverty, a loss of energy security, and a botched attempt at decarbonising our economy. Labor’s policies are also being felt abroad as trading partners now consider Australia a sovereign risk to their own energy security, as trust built over generations in our nation as a reliable supplier of resources is trashed.”



Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

  • Macquarie University’s Alistair Sisson will talk about what NSW can learn from international renting conditions at Yirranma Place, Blue Gum Hall.

  • Author Erina Reddan will speak about her new book, Deep in the Forest, at Better Read Than Dead bookshop.

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna will address the National Press Club.

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