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Emma Elsworthy

US considers dropping Assange charges


US President Joe Biden says he is “considering” dropping the charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the BBC reports. It was in response to a question overnight about our Parliament (including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese) voting 86-42 for a motion calling for the return of Assange as the saga had gone on long enough, as Reuters reports. His wife Stella Assange tweeted (X’d?) at the president urging him to “Do the right thing. Drop the charges.” Assange remains at Belmarsh prison in the UK after his extradition to the US was put on ice — London’s High Court said the US must provide assurances Assange would not face the death penalty in his 18 counts, 17 of which fall under the Espionage Act and one under computer misuse. The US alleges Assange helped US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks then published, Guardian Australia explains.

In other US/us news, Anthony Albanese wants to use taxpayer dollars to incentivise more manufacturing and clean energy projects on home soil, the SMH reports, as we try to compete with Biden’s enormous Inflation Reduction Act. Of course, we can’t go “dollar for dollar” with the US, Albanese will say today, but we can compete for international investment. Countries like the US, Japan, South Korea and Canada, as well as the European Union, are seeing and acting on the link between “economic security and national security”, he’ll add, and we need to as well. Albanese has long said we need to manufacture way more batteries and solar panels here, particularly considering the world’s largest supplier China said rather chillingly overnight that no-one can stop a China-Taiwan “family reunion” as Al Jazeera reported. The US will definitely try, Reuters reports, and they’re our most important ally.


Opposition Leader Peter Dutton claimed Penny Wong saying that a two-state solution where Palestine has statehood could lead to peace was the most “reckless act of a foreign [affairs] minister I have seen in my 22 years”, The Australian ($) reports. This is despite the comments being “simply a restatement of Australia’s long-standing position” as Nine newspapers’ political and international editor Peter Hartcher pointed out (and the last government iced over our multibillion-dollar trade relationship with China by calling for a COVID-19 origin probe, but anyway). Dutton continued that “Hamas will always pose an existential threat to Israel”, which is something Wong actually addressed head-on in saying Hamas could never play a role in Palestine’s leadership. The opposition leader also said the October 9 protest at the Opera House showed “something is rotten in the state of Australia” and implored cops to stop being weak and woke when it comes to antisemitism, Guardian Australia adds.

Meanwhile, a wishlist of medicine and equipment for Gaza totalling $7.7 million was found in an operating theatre precinct in Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, The Australian ($) reports, though it isn’t sure why. The precinct is a secure area that the public can’t enter, sources told the paper, and management said it would investigate the 10-page-long list which appears to ­inflate the value of items. Staying in Victoria a second and Premier Jacinta Allan says she’s thinking over former Treaty advancement commissioner Aunty Jill Gallagher’s suggestion that Indigenous peoples in Victoria should be exempted from paying land tax and stamp duty, Sky News Australia reports. It’s one of 10 things Gallagher says should be part of a Treaty between the state government and Indigenous peoples.


NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has ditched its investigation into former Labor frontbencher Tim Crakanthorp, the ABC reports, because his behaviour wasn’t serious enough to be “corrupt conduct”. Premier Chris Minns referred the Newcastle MP to the watchdog after Crakanthorp dobbed himself for a breach of the ministerial code of conduct — it was to address accusations of a conflict of interest related to his wife’s family’s property portfolio in the region. Minns’ office said it was getting some legal advice about publishing the ICAC report, which — depending on its contents — could lead to a pathway for Crakanthorp’s return.

Meanwhile, Labor MP Julian Hill has declared a gift described as a “75-centimetre statue of himself”, Guardian Australia reports, and described its value as “priceless” (but probably more than $300). At his feet, the paper continues “are what appear to be a feather duster and a white piece of fabric — both details Hill himself was unable to shed light on”. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declared a watch from the Sultan of Brunei and a custom vinyl record turntable from US President Joe Biden (both were surrendered to the department). Meanwhile, the cops have busted a $1 billion laundering scam allegedly involving 1,200 businesses, The Daily Telegraph reports. Police say businesses could send electronic fund transfers or cheques for non-existent services to a criminal organisation and get fake invoices in return. Then they got their money back less a fee.


Heidi Ernst dangled her legs off a boat in the turquoise Caribbean Sea, wriggling her toes with excitement. They were diving in Shark Junction, something that might’ve worried Ernst before the 523 dives the 73-year-old had done in the last decade. Ominously, the diving instructors held the divers back a little longer — another group had been feeding the sharks here earlier, meaning they’d been lured to the surface. OK, they said, go! After her dive, she climbed back aboard. Off came the diving mask, her tank, and her wetsuit with a plonk on the deck, and Ernst slid into the water once more. Refreshed, she grabbed the top rung for the second time that day when she was blindsided by a terrible pain in her left leg. Looking back into a pair of beady, inky black eyes, she realised her limb wasn’t visible anymore.

Ernst’s first instinct was to punch the reef shark, which retreated into the bloody water. Pulling her aboard, the crew quickly wrapped her leg. She recalled to The Guardian listening to a man murmur prayer as he held her head on the trip back to land. Her leg was later amputated. When she unwrapped her bandaging, Ernst noted the surgeon had saved one thing: her shark tattoo. That’s it, she thought. I made it, and I’m going to keep on making it. Humour was an important survival tool — she joked to a friend she looked forward to being photographed outside an IHOP restaurant, wore a sock that said “a shark did it”, and even named her new prosthetic leg “chomp”. Then, the impossible: mere months after the attack, the fearless Ernst booked a flight to the Bahamas, pulled on a wetsuit, and slid into that warm ocean once again for a dive. Impossible is nothing.

Hoping you can summon even a skerrick of that courage today.


While no-one was killed during the October 9 protests, the events at the Sydney Opera House were akin to a Port Arthur moment in terms of their social significance.

Peter Dutton

The opposition leader thought that Australia’s worst massacre, where a gunman shot dead 35 people, was a suitable comparison for the pro-Palestine protest where police found “no evidence” anyone had chanted “gas the Jews”, as widely claimed.


If Lehrmann wins, he may still lose: here’s what Justice Lee will be weighing up

Bruce Lehrmann (Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

“When a court deals with an allegation of serious wrongdoing, such that a positive finding would be detrimental to the alleged wrongdoer, the law applies the so-called Briginshaw standard. It comes from an old English case, and basically says that the more serious the allegation, the more ‘exacting’ the standard of proof the court should require.

“In application to this case, it means Lee’s task is not as simple as deciding which of Lehrmann’s or Higgins’ versions of the relevant events he prefers and then deciding the case accordingly. He has to be positively persuaded that the allegation is true.”

‘Another way they can screw us’: Qantas pilots bristle at expanded frequent flyer program


“Announcements such as this are a time-honoured way of distracting the market — and the media — from what’s actually happening inside the business, with Hudson continuing to run into engine trouble. Qantas’ newest aircraft, the single-aisle A220s that are replacing its ageing fleet of B717s (average age 21.7 years) — which received the full public relations treatment at the company’s six-month results announcement in February — are already having problems.

“The A220s come armed with so called next-generation engines made by Pratt & Whitney that are causing trouble for airlines around the globe. These have already hit Qantas, engineers said. Airbus A320NEO, also on order by Qantas, uses the same type of engine.”

Tony Abbott’s fun new friends, Julian Hill’s fun gift, Julie Bishop’s fun revisionism


“…[Bishop’s] role as foreign affairs minister and sole female cabinet member meant the cabinet boasted one more woman than Tony Abbott had wanted to appoint. She didn’t go public with it, but wished, apparently, that the media had expressed more outrage on her behalf.

“We can see why she might have expected the media to meet her more than halfway on the disconnect between her views and actions, given the desperation to credit her for views that she hadn’t actually expressed, such on marriage equality or the treatment of women in the Liberal Party.”


Russia, Kazakhstan evacuate 110,000 people as record floods set to worsen (Al Jazeera)

EU approves major overhaul of migration rules (BBC)

Canada at risk of another devastating wildfire season, federal government warns (CBC)

Trump says he wouldn’t sign federal abortion ban (CNN)

China and Taiwan are destined for ‘reunification’, Xi tells former president (The Guardian)

Three sons of Hamas leader Haniyeh killed in Israeli airstrike (Reuters)

Spain to end golden visas for foreign real estate investors (euronews)

How a case against Fox News tore apart a media-fighting law firm (The New York Times) ($)


Anthony Albanese puts interventionist industry policy at the centre of his budget agendaMichelle Grattan (The Conversation): “Albanese points to the US Inflation Reduction Act which will direct nearly US$400 billion (A$605 billion) in federal funding to support clean energy and the US CHIPS Act which will direct $280 billion (A$422 billion) in new funding to boost research and manufacturing of semiconductors. The prime minister says the European Union has introduced an Economic Security Strategy, Japan has introduced an Economic Security Promotion Act, the Republic of Korea is re-framing its economic policy around national security, and Canada has tightened foreign direct investment in critical minerals …

Last month two-thirds of the leading economists surveyed by the Economic Society of Australia and The Conversation backed ‘more grants to innovative firms across the entire economy’ as a response to the Inflation Reduction Act. Another quarter backed support specifically tied to renewable energy projects. Only four of the 42 surveyed counselled against extra support for industry. Albanese is delivering the speech in Queensland, which he talks up as having ‘a pivotal role’ in realising and building a future made in Australia. Queensland, in which federal seats are overwhelmingly in Coalition hands, is where Labor needs to make some inroads at next year’s election. At a state level, the Labor government is on the back foot ahead of this year’s election.”

Media commentators have lost their minds in early overreaction to Sam Mostyn’s governor-general appointmentSamantha Maiden (The Herald Sun): “… she’s a lady and to prove we are not being sucked into gender politics you’ve simply got to appoint another man? She has not risen through the ranks to become an Anglican priest, or the head of the military, or a judge like William Deane. Many commentators were in such a froth about her landing the gig you would think that Anthony Albanese had appointed Che Guevara, or Vladimir Lenin, or Valerie Solanas, that crazy lady who tried to shoot Andy Warhol. If there was a vibe, it was perversely suggested the Carla Zampatti-wearing Ms Mostyn was secretly a JaneFonda-during-her-Hanoi-Jane-period during the Vietnam War.

“Should we be expecting Sam Mostyn to appear next in a mugshot and crewcut, getting arrested for some counterculture happening? As an aside, even William Deane’s tenure as governor-general was not without controversy. As the High Court’s own website notes, ‘his career was an unpredictable mix of conservative and radical elements’. For example, he was an outspoken commentator on social issues. He advocated for the rights of Indigenous peoples consistent with his judgment in Mabo, where the dispossession of Aboriginal peoples was identified as ‘the darkest aspect of the history of this nation’. He defended multiculturalism, the reconciliation process, native title … So who the hell is Samantha Mostyn? She is an Australian businesswoman and climate change and gender equity advocate, and the first female AFL commissioner.”



Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

Yuggera and Turrbal Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Author Bri Lee will talk about her book, The Work, at Avid Reader bookshop.

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