Australia continues to consider West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital


Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong says Labor has not dropped its recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, rather than Tel Aviv, The Australian ($) reports. It follows an exclusive from Guardian Australia, which noticed the DFAT website deleted sentences about recognising West Jerusalem in the past few days. It was a Morrison-era policy which Labor strongly objected to at the time — indeed Wong said Labor “in government would reverse this decision”. But she told the Oz ($) that there had been no decision to change it by the government. So why is it so significant? Well, when the Coalition government followed the US’ footsteps in recognising Jerusalem, it was seen as a huge step backwards for Palestinians’ aspirations. That’s because the Palestinian Authority hopes to make East Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state — but Israel is staunchly advocating it remains the undivided capital, as Al Jazeera reports.

Meanwhile, former Sydney Uni staffer Jay Tharappel, who once wore a “death to Israel” badge as SMH reported at the time, has joined the NSW Labor Party, according to documents prepared for the party’s state conference seen by The Australian ($). Tharappel made headlines when he visited North Korea in 2018 — he wrote a weirdly warm story about it for Honi Soit, the uni’s paper. “What I saw was a highly organised, egalitarian and energised society,” one line reads. Hmm. Anyway, the Oz ($) claims Tharappel has also been a supporter of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Iran. When it asked NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns about the membership, Minns pointed it to officials, who didn’t respond by deadline.


The official statistic that nine out of 10 Australian patients are bulk-billed (and thus pay no out-of-pocket cost) is probably total crap, according to the joint investigation into Medicare from the SMH and the ABC’s 7.30. It’s more like four to six out of 10, experts say. Health Minister Mark Butler has ordered a report into the bombshell claim that doctors are rorting Medicare up to a third of its annual budget ($8 billion) — the paper alleges one of our largest telehealth companies, Phenix Health, is bulk- billing folks while also charging them, “a practice that is illegal under the Health Insurance Act”, reporters Adele Ferguson and Chris Gillett write. Usually you’re either bulk-billed (no payment from you) or you pay and then you get the Medicare rebate. It’s actually getting increasingly harder to find a bulk-billing doctor, Crikey reports, with just a quarter of GPs doing so now. Why? At least partly because of super-low Medicare rebates (the rebate was frozen from 2013-19). Some GPs say the financial pressure is too great for doctors to carry the cost.

Meanwhile, Medibank became the latest victim in a long line of big biz cyberattacks across the weekend, Reuters reports, and its shares plunged nearly 5% — making yesterday the private health insurer’s worst trading day in two and a half years. Speaking of security breaches, Vinomofo, a wine deals site, also sent a note out to customers overnight saying it too had experienced a cyberattack. “An unauthorised third party unlawfully accessed our database on a testing platform that is not linked to our live Vinomofo website,” the note read as IT Wire reports. Details like names, gender, date of birth, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of customers were leaked, it added.


Stop renting out the CSIRO brand to big fossil fuel companies, Science Minister Ed Husic has told the premier science body. Guardian Australia reports Husic made the comments yesterday after a “very large gas company” (probably Santos) approached the CSIRO to lend some cred to its decarbonisation efforts. Work with smaller fish, Husic urged — but one researcher said the CSIRO has chucked a Linda Evangelista and said it wouldn’t get out of bed for projects valued at less than $500,000. It comes as Santos, Shell and ConocoPhillips’ “unfettered rights” to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to markets in Asia is making it too expensive to replace coal, ABC reports this morning. The Australian Workers’ Union called it “crazy” that we are one of the world’s biggest suppliers of the fuel yet we have an acute shortage of gas. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association whined that it’s actually exploration bans and regulatory uncertainty causing the gas shortage. By 2030 it’ll be superseded by batteries anyway, Green Energy Markets said, so let’s take the L and move on. Weirdly, the ABC story fails to point out the elephant in the room: it’s way too late amid climate change for gas — as a fossil fuel — to be a useful transitionary anyway, as Guardian Australia reports.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia and energy company Alinta’s $40 million deal is dead, the SMH reports. The pair originally signed on for four seasons. Test captain Pat Cummins fronted Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley with “ethical objections” to Alinta’s contract, the paper says. Alinta’s parent company, Pioneer Sail Holdings, is one of our highest carbon emitters. So why did they sign in the first place? In 2018, the men’s team was battling a reputational hit from the Newlands scandal and the departure of financial services firm Magellan. Alinta was one of only a handful of sponsors. Our netball team, the Diamonds, are also taking a stand over the team’s new $15 million sponsor, mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s company Hancock Prospecting, which is splashed across their uniforms, Fox Sports reports. The Commonwealth Games gold medallist team says the iron ore miner thinks climate change is not caused by humans, and also take offence that Gina’s dad, Lang Hancock, said in 1984 that Indigenous people should be sterilised to “breed themselves out”. Abhorrent.


An American man named Arthur Lee Cofield sat down one day and placed a call with a swish brokerage, banking and financial company named Charles Schwab, as The New York Times reports. On the call, Cofield primly requested the creation of a chequing account, providing a photo of a driver’s licence and a bill. Certainly sir, the representative said. All was in order, and Cofield instructed the representative to please transfer US$11 million to a precious metals dealer. Right away, the representative responded, and it was done. Upon the money’s delivery, Cofield organised to purchase no fewer than 6106 American eagle gold coins. Of course, the precious metals dealer responded cordially. Cofield organised a private security company to transfer the coins on a chartered plane, and upon their arrival in Atlanta, used the coins to offer the affluent owner of a regal six-bedroom home on a sprawling property a cool US$4.4million. Why, sure, the owner responded, and Cofield transferred the full balance. Just another day for nearly all involved.

The only problem? Cofield was an inmate behind bars in a maximum security Georgia jail, using a contraband phone to impersonate someone the entire time. And not just anyone: Hollywood heavyweight Sidney Kimmel, a 94-year-old fashion mogul who has bankrolled box-office hits like Moneyball, United 93 and Crazy Rich Asians. Cofield, 31, was originally done for armed robbery, but who says we can’t diversify our skillset? He was described as “a shrewd, intelligent individual who could con you out of millions”, by the jail’s warden, but he didn’t quite get away with it this time: he was charged with a slew of financial crimes for the con (he’s pleading not guilty). There’s just one problem, federal prosecutors say: what the heck do we do with the property he successfully fleeced? A spokesperson for Charles Schwab said the client had been fully reimbursed, and besides, Kimmel hardly noticed. His attorney said he was “unaffected by whatever occurred” and had “no knowledge of [how it] occurred”. But now authorities believe Cofield has done this before to other billionaires — perhaps several times. That’s one way to stick it to the rich, I suppose…

Wishing you the breezy nonchalance of a conned billionaire today.


[Former] prime minister Scott Morrison has been a respected leader in Australia, throughout the APAC region and around the world. Known for providing measured geopolitical leadership and aggressively working toward a net zero global emissions economy, Prime Minister Morrison’s experiences and insights will be critical for business leaders on six continents.

Dan Sims

The former PM has signed on to the Worldwide Speakers Group and the principal gushed at Morrison’s credentials as “the true definition of a leader with a 360-degree world view”. Que? The Morrison government obliterated our relationship with France and China, and in 2021 Australia was ranked last for climate action out of nearly 200 countries.

Why is Rupert Murdoch thinking of putting the band back together?

“Rupert’s eldest son Lachlan Murdoch is CEO of Fox Corp and co-executive chairman of the company with his father, while at News Corp he is the co-chairman but serving in a non-executive capacity while both his father and chief executive Robert Thompson draw multimillion-dollar executive salaries.

“The other son, James Murdoch, completely left the Fox business after the Disney sale and then quit the News Corp board in 2020 over editorial differences related to climate change, leaving Lachlan unchallenged to share power with his father. These days, James is conspicuously hosting Biden fundraisers at his New York pad, confirming his political differences with the Fox News line.”

One year on, is ICAC’s Berejiklian report finally ready to drop?

“November 1 will mark one year since former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian last took the stand during the NSW corruption watchdog’s inquiry into her actions as state leader. With two weeks to go until that anniversary, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has neither delivered a report into the matter nor given any clear indication of when the investigation, known as Operation Keppel, will wrap up.

“But there are possible signs the commission could report its findings soon. Assistant commissioner Ruth McColl, who is overseeing ICAC’s probe, is approaching the end of a six-month extension of her tenure. A spokesperson for the notoriously secretive anti-corruption body revealed in July it would keep McColl on until the end of October 2022.”

TV audiences betray The Traitors (by not watching it)

“Ten premiered a much-hyped program called The Traitors — the audience betrayed the network with only 343,000 viewers tuning in from 7.30 to 9pm. Where’s Kim Philby or Donald Maclean when you need a good turncoat? It’s back up tonight (or is supposed to be) and tomorrow night. Ten’s not having a good time — The Real Love Boat sank just after it left port and The Traitors listed and almost turned turtle.

“With a lead-in as weak as The Traitors, the producers of Have You Been Paying Attention?, Ten’s best-performing program, can look forward to relatively weak audience figures in tonight’s ratings. Not a good look from Ten to be butchering the ratings for your best program. The Amazing Race Australia did it on Mondays for the past month.”


Imran Khan demands fresh polls after byelection wins, threatens march (Al Jazeera)

Protester is dragged into a Chinese consulate in England and beaten (The New York Times)

Nigeria rushes to aid flood victims, as death toll tops 600 (CBC)

[GOP’s Herschel] Walker acknowledges sending $700 cheque to woman who alleges he paid for abortion but denies it was for that purpose (CNN)

New UK finance minister drops almost all of tax-cut plan (The New York Times)

Ulf Kristersson: Swedish Parliament elects new PM backed by far right (BBC)

Fighter jet crashes into Russian building in Yeysk city (Al Jazeera)

Venezuela crisis: 7.1m leave country since 2015 [amid economic and political crisis] (BBC)

Kanye West agrees to buy social media app Parler (Reuters)


Government must pass the stage three test of integrityKylea Tink (The AFR): “So let me be clear: as North Sydney’s representative, I remain of the position that stage three tax cuts should go ahead in 2024 as planned. For the tax cuts to be realised, the government must identify and unlock other revenue streams and opportunities to avoid unnecessary spending. One of the biggest challenges we have as a nation is how we generate revenue. Quite frequently we fall back into a debate about personal income tax, but to me that’s like trying to drive an automobile with just one wheel and leaving the other three completely off the vehicle.

“Beyond taxing our workers, there are many other important opportunities to generate revenue for Australia including appropriate taxing of multinational companies, and windfall taxes to help ensure that profits from the energy crisis are more fairly shared. As former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has said, it is ‘really unhealthy for society’ to have Australia’s oil and gas exporters posting record profits from high energy prices during the Ukraine war while our households’ energy costs skyrocket. We also must not overlook opportunities to reduce spending in wasteful areas including offshore processing of asylum seekers, and unwanted and unnecessary infrastructure like the $600 million Kurri Kurri power plant.”

Who is the strongman — Xi Jinping or this lone protester who dared to defy him?Peter Hartcher (The SMH): “He was alone. Dressed as a construction worker in yellow hard hat and orange overalls, the lone protester chose a famous bridge in Beijing to make his declaration on two bold banners. He knew he’d have very little time, a few minutes at most, under the all-seeing eye of the world’s most advanced techno-surveillance state. So his protest chant, broadcast through a loud-hailer, seems to have been pre-recorded. And he lit a fire spewing black smoke to make sure he was seen.

“He wasn’t famous or powerful. He’s a physicist. He knew he’d have one chance before disappearing into the black maw of the regime’s secret prisons. Not that fame or power are any protection. A well-connected billionaire property tycoon, Ren Zhiqiang, was jailed for 18 years for calling President Xi Jinping a “clown” over COVID policy. ‘Students strike, workers strike, remove the dictator and state thief Xi Jinping’ declared one of the red-lettered banners strung across the Sitong Bridge in Beijing’s Haidian district on Thursday … This single act by a lone protester shook Beijing.”


The Latest Headlines



  • Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth, Anti-Poverty Week executive director Toni Wren, Australian Human Rights Commission’s Anne Hollonds and CEDA’S Melinda Cilento will speak about how we can eradicate poverty in a webinar for CEDA.

  • Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy and Essential Media’s Peter Lewis will unpack the fortnight’s political news in a webinar for the Australia Institute.

Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Former Brisbane lord mayor Tim Quinn and Dr Bill Metcalf will chat about the latter’s new book, Brisbane: Utopian Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares, at Avid Reader bookshop. You can also catch this one online.

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor will discuss the government’s plans about skilled migration, pensions, TAFE, and parental leave in a talk hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce.

  • Opposition immigration and citizenship spokesman Dan Tehan will give an address to the National Press Club titled “A better Australia not simply a bigger Australia”.

Australia continues to consider West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Source link Australia continues to consider West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

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