PM rejects US calls to bring jihadis home
(See translation in Arabis section)
Canberra - M E Times Int'l: Scott Morrison has rejected criticism from the United States of his government's policy to strip homegrown terrorists of their Australian citizenship.
A senior US intelligence official has described the policy as counter-productive and called on Australia to bring extremists home from war zones to face punishment.
"I believe Australia's policy should be set in Australia's national interest and no-one else," the prime minister said on Monday.
Keneally is a ‘failed state premier’ with no border security experience
Sydney: Chris Kenny says Kristina Keneally is a “failed state premier” who now runs Labor’s border security policy despite having only “five minutes’ of experience in federal parliament. Mr Kenny said Senator Keneally had “absolutely no political, policy or practical experience” dealing with border security issues and urged Labor to stop “playing games with this crucial national security issue”. “Keneally refuses my requests for an interview, as she has done again today,” he said. “Also Kerryn Phelps, the former independent MP who came up with this hare-brained scheme, refuses to discuss the issue with me.” Mr Kenny said it was a “disgrace” that 20 refugees who won resettlement in America have come to Australia under Medevac laws. “What a disgrace that is.
Welfare changes a cash grab, Labor says
Canberra: Australians made redundant mid-career will be pushed into poverty through a revived proposal to change the welfare system, the federal opposition says.
Labor's social services spokeswoman Linda Burney has condemned a government bill which would make Australians wait longer before applying for some welfare payments, if they have $18,000 or more in assets.
"This is nothing but a cash grab, taking money out of the pockets of workers at the very time when their savings matter the most," Ms Burney said on Monday during debate on the bill.
Building approvals to dive well into 2020
Sydney: The number of building approvals nosedived by a shockingly large 8.1 per cent in October - ending the previous month's short-lived revival - with economists tipping the decline to continue well into next year.
Approvals for private sector houses fell 7.0 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis, while the "other dwellings" category that includes apartment blocks and townhouses fell 11.3 per cent.
Market consensus had been for total approvals to fall by just 1.0 per cent after September's surprising 7.6 per cent jump.
On an annual basis, the fall in total building approvals steepened to 23.6 per cent from 19.0 per cent a month earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.
Growing Sydney’s Night-Time Economy
Sydney: The NSW Government will enhance Sydney’s night-time economy with extended trading hours for venues and bottle shops, a relaxation of after-midnight drink rules and other changes to be introduced from January.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the initiatives introduced five years ago had undoubtedly made Sydney safer, but now was the right time for change in the CBD, particularly with light rail services commencing soon.
“Sydney has transformed dramatically over recent years, and we need to ensure we have a strong and vibrant night-time economy that reflects our position as Australia’s only truly global city,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the changes would stimulate the economy and attract more businesses into the CBD.
“We are working to ensure the NSW economy grows and provides an improved standard of living for our citizens and a big part of this is stimulating growth in the night-time economy,” Mr Perrottet said.
The following changes will occur from 14 January 2020:
• Remove 1.30am last entry for all venues in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, including those on Oxford Street (see map).
• Remove restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight in this precinct.
• Extend ‘last drinks’ at venues with good records in this precinct by 30 minutes.
• Extend bottle shop opening hours across NSW until midnight from Monday to Saturday, with 11pm closing on Sunday.
• Increase small bar patron capacity from 100 to 120 across NSW.
Another Major Economic Loss to Victoria
Sydney: The NSW Labor Opposition has described the decision to locate a half billion dollar growth fund in Victoria as a ‘major blow’ to NSW’s claim that it is the financial capital of Australia.
NSW Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord is responding to the announcement today (November 28) by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas that the $520 million Australian Business Growth Fund would be located in Melbourne.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the creation of the Fund on Monday.
The Australian Business Growth Fund will assist small to mid-sized businesses by taking equity stakes of $5 million to $15 million. It is backed by the major banks and will start from June 2020. It is modelled on a similar United Kingdom growth fund.
The Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB will each match a $100 million commitment from the Federal Government towards the fund. Furthermore, HSBC will contribute $20 million – bringing the total to $520 million.
“This is a kick in the shins for NSW,” Mr Secord said.
PM says $537 million aged care funding is just the start
Canberra: Prime Minister Scott Morrison has responded to a damning aged care report with more than $537 million in fresh funding. The bulk of the money will be spent keeping older Australians in their homes longer, improving medication management and helping younger people into more appropriate care. Labor criticized the package as just a "drop in the ocean" but Scott Morrison said it was just a start and further funding would be included in the next budget.
Australia shouldn't 'sell its principles for trade' with China
Sydney: Former New South Wales Treasurer Michael Costa says "trade should not dictate our political approaches or our philosophy of life", following heightened diplomatic tensions between China and Australia. It comes as Australia's security agencies are investigating allegations a Chinese espionage ring attempted to install a spy in Canberra. The suspected Chinese intelligence group reportedly offered $1 million to pay for the political campaign of Mr Bo "Nick" Zhao to run as a Beijing-backed candidate for the Melbourne seat of Chisholm. "We are a democracy, we are a believer in the rights of people [and] the Chinese clearly are not that," Mr Costa told Andrew Bolt. "We shouldn't sell our principles for trade," Mr Costa said.
'Prolonged drought' created 'huge amounts of fuel' for fires
Sydney: Nationals MP David Gillespie says Australia has “been in a very prolonged drought" warning "we have huge amounts of fuel, and if the weather changes with high winds, the whole dynamic could flare up yet again”. Major population centres are on alert and a week-long state of emergency has begun in New South Wales as bushfires burn across the state. Speaking from Wauchope, Mr Gillespie told press “you have only got to look around to see the dense smoke blanketing” the region. The Rural Fire Service said greater Sydney, the greater Hunter, and the Illawarra/Shoalhaven areas all face 'catastrophic' fire conditions on Tuesday. “The preparations have been amazing, no stone has been left unturned, and there’s so much logistical support here,” he said.