“I didn’t want to worry anyone.”
Said Prince William of his decision to keep secret his coronavirus infection in April. Rates himself…
A MATTER OF INTEGRITY
Almost 2 years after the Morrison Government said it was for it, Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter yesterday released the draft legislation outlining how a Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC) would work. The CIC would look into claims of “serious criminal conduct that represents corruption” by federal politicians, their staff, public servants, and universities and research bodies that receive Commonwealth funding. Under the proposed model, it would have more powers than a Royal Commission with suspects facing phone taps, having their property seized and passport confiscated. If they fail to cooperate with the CIC, they could face 2 years in prison. What the CIC won’t do is hold public hearings for pollies and bureaucrats, but it could for ‘enforcement’ officials like Federal Police and Border Force officers.
SO IT’S GOT SOME BITE?
Well, that’s what Labor and the minor parties are pushing for, and Labor’s spokesman Mark Dreyfus yesterday said not holding public hearings for everyone shows Porter and PM Scott Morrison haven’t listened to concerns. He also took aim at how long it’s taking, but Porter said the “detailed design work” and a look at the states’ anti-corruption bodies took a year. And then the bushfires and the coronavirus hit, which wasn’t the right time to have the discussion, he said. So it’s been on his desk since December last year. And it’s not a done deal yet – Porter will take 6 months to consult with “public sector, civil society, stakeholders, all of the states and territories” on the “complicated piece of legislation.”
SO WOULD A CERTAIN GOVERNMENT ENTERPRISE THAT DELIVERS THE MAIL FALL UNDER ITS PURVIEW?
It would. But the CIC won’t be there to investigate a straight-up-and-down case of failing to “pass the ‘pub test'”, as the now-former CEO of Australia Post Christine Holgate put it yesterday. She’s been under pressure for almost a fortnight after she told a Senate hearing that 4 staff received taxpayer-funded Cartier watches as a reward. And yesterday, Christine Holgate resigned saying “I deeply regret that decision”. A government investigation into Australia Post’s expenses and culture is ongoing. Holgate, who had a base salary of $1.4 million, is not seeking the $700,000 termination payment she was entitled to.
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DEPP LOSES LIBEL CASE
The London court’s judgement is in, and Johnny Depp has lost his case against The Sun newspaper. Depp sued the media outlet for referring to him as a “wife-beater” in an online article in April 2018, but the judge ruled that the claim was proven to be “substantially true”. Depp’s former wife Amber Heard was thanked by The Sun for “her courage” in giving evidence outlining the abuse she suffered during her marriage to the actor. Her lawyer said the judgement was not a surprise and soon “we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US,” she said. That’s a reference to another lawsuit Depp has brought over a Washington Post opinion piece she wrote that he believes implied he was violent. Depp’s lawyer said the decision was “so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr Depp not to appeal this decision.”
IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
Do-do-doo-doo. Do-do-d-d-doo… It’s 3 November, but we need to give the sun some time to get around the Earth a bit more. This time tomorrow, we’ll be well into the guts of the US elections. Sure, the Senate and House of Representatives races are fine (actually, they’re super interesting…), but it’s the presidential race that all eyes will be on. Can the Republican President Donald Trump secure four more years and avoid becoming the first one-term-president since George HW Bush lost in 1993? Or will the Democrat’s Joe Biden restore faith in election polling by converting his speculated lead into real votes? Get ahead of the curve with our tips and tricks to navigate election day. It covers what demographics and states are important, and why getting a result tomorrow is iffy. You’re welcome… As for timings: the polls open at 10pm tonight (AEDT), so it’s not until mid-tomorrow that there’ll be a good sense of what’s happening.
We want you to be THAT person who knows stuff about this election. Your mates/family/colleagues will be so happy when you reel off insight after insight. Get that power here.
LIB-NAT LEADER RESIGNS AFTER ELECTION LOSS
On Saturday night, Queensland’s Liberal-National Party (LNP) leader Deb Frecklington was firmly of the view that she would continue in the top job despite the election loss. And then she spent time with her family… Yesterday she announced that it’s time for someone else to have a go. “Whoever the new leader of the LNP is will have my full support and my full loyalty. I will assist them in any way possible to help this party move forward,” she said. As more of the dust settled on Labor’s win with Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk at the helm, commentators say the coronavirus crisis and her firm border policies strengthened her hand. Also maintaining firm hands are Queensland Police – they’re ready for an influx of NSW residents who are allowed into the Sunshine State from early this morning – as long as they aren’t from Greater Sydney.
AUSSIE EXPORTS FACE NEW THREAT
There are some new items to add to the list of exports that have been blocked by China… It’s been revealed overnight that timber from Queensland won’t be allowed in after Chinese officials said they found a bark beetle in a recent shipment. Barley exporter Emerald Grain had its import licence suspended over the weekend after Chinese officials said they found weed seeds in a consignment. Wine importers in different Chinese cities have received notification of an imminent ban in Aussie wine. And a $2 million shipment of live lobsters has been held up by officials in Shanghai over contamination concerns. Which all means there’s a new wave of argy-bargy between Australia and China brewing… Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the government’s working with China’s officials on resolving the issues, but it’s worrying times for our exporters who rely on trade with China.
A HOT TIP FOR MELBOURNE CUP DAY
And experts say it’s a near certainty – the Reserve Bank is likely to reduce interest rates from 0.25% to 0.1% today… That’s super low, and the idea is it will get businesses and investors – and potential homeowners – to borrow money and spend/build/get the wheels of the economy turning. As flagged in recent weeks, surveys and spending trends show Aussies aren’t feeling too bad about the fiscal outlook. And that was repeated yesterday with data showing national home prices increased in October on the previous month. Melbourne was the only city to post a decline (-0.2%) for the month. Sydney (0.1%), Adelaide and Darwin (1.2%), Canberra and Hobart (1%), Perth (0.6%) and Brissie (0.5%) all reported gains. Regional home prices were also up 0.9%. See you at the next open home…
A MELBOURNE CUP LIKE NO OTHER
There’s a push for Aussies to get out of their activewear and into their racing finery today. And look, if our going-out tracksuit pants are clean, we might pull them on at 3pm to toast the running of the 2020 Melbourne Cup. But plenty of others will get into ‘Fashions on the Front Lawn’ with spectators not allowed at today’s race – and we can’t wait to see the pics. Likely not to miss the big, loud crowd – the horses. Which takes us to the business end of the day… If you’re thinking of a sweep, you can download one here. If you’re thinking of a bet, a detailed form guide is here. And if you’re thinking of backing a great story in the making, your horse and jockey are here.
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Melbourne Cup Day public holiday (Victoria)
2.30pm (AEDT) – Reserve Bank interest rates decision announced
3.00pm (AEDT) – And they’re racing in the Melbourne Cup
10.00pm (AEDT) – Polls open in the US Elections
Birthdays for US Vogue editor Anna Wintour (1949) and cricket star Ellyse Perry (1990)
• the patenting of the first modern elastic bra by New York socialite Mary Phelps Jacob (1913)
• the Soviet Union launching Sputnik 2 with space dog Laika aboard (1957)
• the election of US Presidents Lyndon B Johnson (1964) and Bill Clinton (1992)
• the release of Whitney Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s single I Will Always Love You (1992)
• Michelle Payne becoming the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup (2015)
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