Australian leadership spill looks inevitable, three lining up

A tumultuous day in Australian politics yesterday, with a the second Liberal leadership vote looking likely in a week now. Malcolm Turnbull looks like dead leader stumbling.

News.com.au: Peter Dutton needs just one signature to secure leadership spill

PETER Dutton is only one signature away from securing a leadership spill to oust Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, according to a Liberal MP.

Mr Dutton’s supporters say he now has more than 40 signatures in his favour in a petition to Mr Turnbull to call a spill that’s been circling Parliament House since last night.

Speaking to reporters outside parliament earlier this evening, Liberal member for McPherson Karen Andrews said she understands only “one more signature is required”.

Ms Andrews, who signed the petition herself, noted that she wasn’t necessarily going to back Mr Dutton.

“But I will not stand by after having Parliament adjourned today to have this matter not concluded tomorrow. I understand that only one more signature is required,” she said.

The former home affairs minister needs 43 signatures for Mr Turnbull to call a party room meeting.

But the Prime Minister has left Parliament House for the day — and it’s understood he hasn’t received a petition.

Mr Turnbull today said he would call a special party room meeting at midday tomorrow if a letter requesting one, signed by a majority of MPs, was presented to him. The embattled leader said he would move a spill motion, and if it was carried, that he wouldn’t stand as a candidate for the top job, and resign both as prime minister and as a member of parliament.

That would leave Turnbull’s replacement leader with a poisoned chalice, probably a hung parliament.

But the controversial Peter Dutton isn’t the only challenger. Treasurer Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have also indicated they would put themselves forward.

Roy Morgan snap poll:

Liberal Leadership contenders vs. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten

  • Julie Bishop (64%) cf. Bill Shorten (36%)
  • Malcolm Turnbull (54%) cf. Bill Shorten (46%)
  • Bill Shorten (50.5%) cf. Scott Morrison (49.5%)
  • Bill Shorten (62%) cf. Peter Dutton (38%)

All ‘can’t say’ and ‘don’t know’ responses have been removed from these results to make them directly comparable.

Analysis by Party – Bishop leads easily amongst L-NP & Ind./Others supporters, Shorten ahead with ALP & Greens supporters

  • L-NP supporters: Bishop 87% cf. Shorten 13%. Lead to Ms. Bishop 74%;
  • ALP supporters: Shorten 59.5% cf. Bishop 40.5%. Lead to Ms. Bishop 19%;
  • Greens supporters: Shorten 56.5% cf. Bishop 43.5%. Lead to Ms. Bishop 13%;
  • Ind./Others supporters: Bishop 70.5% cf. Shorten 29.5%. Lead to Ms. Bishop 41%.

Seems like an easy choice for the Liberals, if they care about the poll results.

I think Dutton would be dire, and Bishop looks a good prospect – but it depends on what sort of support she would get from the Liberal caucus.

And to avoid her being forced into an immediate election it would require a change of mind by Turnbull about quitting.

But perhaps an election would be needed regardless.

Source: Julie Bishop easily preferred to Bill Shorten as PM, virtual dead-heat between Morrison & Shorten while Shorten leads Dutton clearly

More details here.

Aussie update – leadership mess continues

It looks like political chaos in Australia.

Winston Peters visited in the middle of the leadership mess.

Newshub: Winston Peters foils Julie Bishop’s attempts to end press conference

Winston Peters foiled Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s attempts to end a joint press conference on Wednesday afternoon, and cracked a joke about leadership spills.

Ms Bishop told reporters she’d take one last question, and was asked by a reporter whether she was “working the phones” like Peter Dutton – who yesterday lost a leadership contest to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“I have been in a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and Winston can attest that during that meeting I’ve not made one phone call,” Ms Bishop said.

Mr Peters said earlier in the press conference that no matter the outcome on the leadership front, “we want to see Australia a strong, helpful leadership influence in the Pacific upon which we rely.”

“We depend upon Australia more than you depend upon us but that said, our two countries are seriously significant in how the future of this part of the world turns out.”

But even then he wasn’t finished, making a final comment:

“As a politician when you go into a spill you’ve got to take your abacus, thank you very much.”

But that wasn’t the final say on that.

And ikt’s certainly not the last say on a bloody political mess:

Australian politics: breaking, breaking, breaking

11:20 am

11:33 am

: Malcolm Turnbull has won back Australia’s leadership after declaring it vacant

11;55 am

: Malcolm Turnbull’s rival Peter Dutton has quit Cabinet after failing to win a challenge for Australia’s leadership

Is this the future of Australia?

Some people and groups of people try to take things too far.

And some people and groups of people over-react.

There’s no way the Aussies can take away our ANZAC Day.

The Molyneux-Southern Australasian speaking tour

The speaking event involving Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern was quickly canned in Auckland after mayor Phil Goff decided that he not only didn’t want to listen to the two Canadians, but he also didn’t want anyone else listening to them at council owned venues.

But it looks like the Australian leg of the tour is still on – with tickets ranging between $79 and $749  – the top price for ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity to break bread at an intimate function prior to the main event that evening with not one but two of the most influential Alt Media personalities of our generation’.  I’d never heard of them so don’t know how influential they are.

The tour blurb at Axiomatic Events:

“Australia is at a crossroads…”

Axiomatic is proud to bring Alt Media commentators and conservative activists STEFAN MOLYNEUX & LAUREN SOUTHERN to Australia and New Zealand in 2018 for a free speech evening of stories, opinions, inspiration and Q&A.

Stefan Molyneux is the host of Freedomain Radio, the largest and most popular philosophy show in the world, with half a billion views, downloads and book sales. He is an in-demand public speaker, best-selling author and incisive interviewer. Stefan Molyneux has hosted many public intellectuals and debates on his show, from Noam Chomsky to Jordan Peterson.

Rejecting left/right political clichés, Stefan Molyneux builds rational arguments from first principles, combining a respect for self-ownership with the morality of the non-aggression principle to build a truly peaceful vision for humanity’s future. From peaceful parenting to politics, from objective ethics to emotions, Stefan Molyneux brings the clarity and passion of philosophy to a wide variety of personal, political and social challenges.

Lauren Southern is a Canadian journalist, political activist, documentary filmmaker and best selling author. She is well known for her commentary on feminism, free speech, and immigration.  Whether it’s the riots in Berkeley, Slut Walk in LA, Black Lives Matter uprising in Milwaukee, and most recently the farm murders in South Africa.

In 2015 Lauren ran as a Libertarian Party candidate in the Canadian federal election. Soon after, she was hired by Rebel Media, where she worked until March 2017. Since then, she has been working independently through her YouTube channel which has over a half million followers. Known for her fearless reporting, she  tackles stories that the mainstream media refuses to cover.  She is a lover of freedom and hedgehogs.

Tickets:

  • $79 general admission to “hear speeches by world leading commentators and justice activists”
  • $99 early admission (a few minutes early to get better seats)
  • $199 meet & greet ‘strictly limited to 40 people at each event for half an hour backstage access prior to the show’
  • $499 VIP meet & greet “10 people will get to spend an extra 15 minutes in the Meet & Greet, plus get a swag of personally signed, awesome merchandise”
  • $749 dinner and early admission “opportunity to break bread at an intimate function prior to the main event that evening with not one but two of the most influential Alt Media personalities of our generation”

I wouldn’t be surprised if ticket sales were a factor in the quick cancellation of the Auckland event.

But if you really want to listen to them live you can book tickets for Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney or Brisbane for later this month.

US-China trade war escalates

The on again, off again trade war between the US and China is escalating, with more tariff threats from both countries.

Trump aims to hit China as tit-for-tat tariff war erupts

A top U.S. trade adviser said China has underestimated President Trump’s resolve to press ahead with tariffs, in comments that undercut the chances of settling a looming trade war between the economic superpowers.

The threat of a growing trade conflict with China hit financial markets hard, with Beijing vowing a firm response after Trump on Monday said he would implement tariffs on an additional $200 billion of imports from China if Beijing went ahead with reprisals over an initial set of U.S. tariffs.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, a sharp critic of Chinese trade actions, said China has more to lose from any trade war.

“The fundamental reality is that talk is cheap,” Navarro told reporters on a conference call, again accusing China of “predatory” trade policies.

When it comes to stoking a major trade war talk could be quite expensive to both countries, and potentially to others including New Zealand.

The threat of new tariffs against China pits the world’s two largest economies against each other and looks set to disrupt global supply chains for the tech and auto industries, two sectors that rely heavily on outsourced components.

In total, Trump has now threatened up to $450 billion in Chinese imports with tariffs, including another $200 billion in Chinese goods if Beijing retaliates after the step Trump announced on Monday.

Mounting concerns over the U.S.-China dispute sent global stock markets skidding and weakened both the dollar and the Chinese yuan on Tuesday. Shanghai stocks plunged to two-year lows.

The Dow Jones is still trading in the US Tuesday and is currently down 1.18% for the day. That isn’t a drastic drop.

This could all have significant impact in this part of the world – From the Aussie to soybeans and cars: what’s at risk in a trade war?

The Aussie dollar takes a thumping, soybean prices swing and German carmaker shares are stuck in reverse.

Countries with open economies reliant on global trade are most at risk when disputes over international commerce hit.

The Australian dollar ticks those boxes. Australia counts China as its biggest trading partner and its currency is heavily correlated to global growth. Many investors see the currency, known as the Aussie, as a better global trade bellwether than the Canadian dollar, which has been buffeted by negotiations over NAFTA, the North American trade pact.

This week, the Aussie fell to its lowest level in 13 months, and the positioning of options signal more weakness ahead.

If Australia is badly affected that must have an impact here. New Zealand is also at risk directly with US and Chinese trade upheaval.

EU to start trade talks with New Zealand, Australia

The European Union has announced it will open trade talks with new Zealand and Australia in June.

Reuters: EU agrees to start Australia, New Zealand trade talks

European Union countries cleared the way on Tuesday for the bloc to begin free trade talks with Australia and New Zealand in a drive to forge new alliances as trade tensions with the United States increase.

The European Commission, which negotiates on behalf of the 28 EU members, said EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom would visit both countries to open talks in June before negotiators convene in Brussels in July for a first round of discussions.

The EU forecasts that ambitious and comprehensive agreements could boost its exports to the two countries by a third in the long term, although there are caveats about opening up EU markets to farm produce such as butter and beef.

The bloc is the third largest trade partner of both Australia and New Zealand.

Trade Minister David Parker: EU and New Zealand to start free trade talks

A free trade deal between New Zealand and the European Union (EU) has taken a major step forward with the announcement overnight that the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council has approved its negotiating mandate.

Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker has welcomed the news, saying it opens the way for a free trade deal with one of the largest economies in the world that will boost jobs and incomes.

“Credit must go to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern whose strong advocacy for New Zealand’s interests during her recent trip to Europe helped tip the balance,” David Parker said.

“It is also an endorsement of our strong backing for the talks as the next priority on our extensive free trade agenda, that includes the CPTPP, the Pacific Alliance and RCEP.

“These negotiations offer significant economic gains for New Zealand and the EU. They are an example of like-minded countries working together at a time when the world faces a rising tide of protectionism,” David Parker said.

“The EU is our third largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth more than $20 billion. Even excluding the UK, our trade with the EU is worth about $16 billion annually.

“Our recently-announced inclusive and progressive Trade for All agenda aims to benefit all citizens – an approach in line with the EU.

“At the start of negotiations, we’ll be releasing a package of information outlining our negotiating priorities for this agreement and how we will be engaging with New Zealanders as negotiations progress,” David Parker said.

A good step in the right direction with the EU on trade, but with 28 countries involved it will take some time to negotiate and approve, if successful.

The Antipodes, and having the feet opposite

I sort of find this interesting but it’s not really relevant to anything. A bit of geographical and language trivia.

New Zealand (and Australia) have been referred to as The Antipodes, because we are roughly on the opposite side of the world to Britain. The word antipodes actually means ‘direct opposite’. Origin (Oxford):

Late Middle English: via French or late Latin from Greek antipodes ‘having the feet opposite’, from anti ‘against, opposite’ + pous, pod- ‘foot’. The term originally denoted the inhabitants of opposite sides of the earth

No part of New Zealand nor Australia are directly opposite Britain.

Ten years ago I wrote:

If you sail out into Biscay Bay
And anchor on the edge
Drill like crazy finding maybe
Biscay Bay Antipodes

The Bay of Biscay is to the north of Spain, and some point there happens to be the opposite side of the planet to Dunedin. The antipodes of most of New Zealand lies across Spain. None of Australia lines up with an opposite land mass.

What I find most interesting about this is how little of the Earth’s land mass lies opposite to land. Not that this means a lot in the whole scheme of things.

If you dug a hole straight down and ended up in China you would have to be in the southern half of South America, in Argentina or Chile, which seems odd as they all border the Pacific Ocean. But the Pacific covers about a third of Earth’s surface, is nearly a half (46%) of the total sea area and is larger than the whole of the planet’s land mass

General details here: https://www.antipodesmap.com/

Aussie cricket coach Lehmann resigning after all

A couple of days ago there were reports that Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann would resign in the wake of the ball tampering scandal while in South Africa.

Yesterday, after the scandal escalated with confirmation that sand paper rather than sticky tape was used, and the tamperer, the captain and the vice captain were all given lengthy bans, Lehmann was cleared of being involved and said he would stay as coach.

SMH: ‘I need to change’: Tearful Lehmann looks to New Zealand as model

Tears welling in his eyes, head cricket coach Darren Lehmann has pledged that the Australian team will change and so will he.

The Australian head coach has overseen a team with a hard and uncomprising edge that has been pilloried around the cricket world and at home, even before their crash last Saturday to an all-time low.

On Wednesday, there was softness as Lehmann stressed that the “human side” of the ball-tampering controversy needed to be understood, pleading for the culprits to be given a second chance.

The crying shame of it all is that it has taken such a terrible episode, tarnishing careers and changing lives, for Lehmann and what is left of the side to look themselves in the mirror.

The coach has endorsed an attitude of stretching the limits of what is considered acceptable, content to win ugly if that is what it takes. Headbutting “the line”, as they liked to say. It was an approach that was the poisonous foundation for what took place at Newlands.

That is all over. Winning, suddenly, isn’t all that matters. They are putting a line through the line.

“I need to change,” Lehmann said.

“We need to change how we play and within the boundaries we play. Obviously previously we’ve butted heads on the line but that’s not the way to go about us playing cricket moving forward.

“We have to try and win the public back now and play the type of cricket that they expect us to play. We have to look at how we go about that, as a coach and support staff and playing group, and make the game better for everyone to play and enjoy watching us play.”

But a day later Lehmann has announced he will stand down after the fourth and last test against South Africa (that starts tonight).

SMH:  Darren Lehmann quits as coach of the Australian cricket team

An emotional Lehmann announced on Thursday that the fourth Test against South Africa would be his last in charge.

He said he had made the decision to resign after watching Steve Smith’s gut-wrenching press conference in Sydney as well as Cameron Bancroft fronting the media in Perth.

“The feeling is that Australian cricket needs to move forward and this is the right thing to do,” Lehmann said.

“My family and I have copped a lot of abuse over the last week and it’s taken its toll. Life on the road means a long time away from our loved ones and after speaking with them at length over the last few days, this is the right time to step away.

“I’m ultimately responsible for the culture of the team and I’ve been thinking about my position for a while. Despite telling media yesterday that I’m not resigning, after viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting, it’s only fair that I make this decision.

“This will allow Cricket Australia to undertake a full review into the culture of the team to begin to implement changes to regain the trust of the Australian public. This is the right thing for cricket.”

I think this was inevitable. Lehmann is ultimately responsible for the ugly win by any means culture that had re-established itself under his guidance.

It will be a tough test for the Baggy Greens, without their captain and vice captain, without both their opening batsmen, without their two best batsmen. And with a coach rocked by the scandal and how it played out this week, and a team in upheaval.

There were awful scenes from the airport as Steve Smith left South Africa. He has disgraced himself but didn’t deserve to be treated so poorly.

It will be interesting to see the attitude the South African team takes on to the pitch, and how the crowd will treat the Australians in the outfield. They may wish they were in the outback.

Australian cricket cheating – interim aftermath

Cricket Australia has just announced that they have stood down captain Steve Smith, vice captain David Warner and ball tamperer Cameron Bancroft for the rest of the South African tour. As the tour  is just about over one could wonder if this is just an interim step. News reports coming in say “heavy sanctions to follow”.

SMH: Smith, Warner and Bancroft sent home, heavy sanctions to follow

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will be sent home from South Africa after being reported by Cricket Australia and they are facing “significant sanctions,” CA’s chief executive James Sutherland said.

It will be another 24 hours until the penalties against players are handed down due to an ongoing investigation but Sutherland indicated CA would come down hard.

He said it had been established that only three players had prior knowledge of the ball-tampering episode. He also denied that coach Darren Lehmann was resigning.

Despite news reports that coach Darren Lehmann would resign that hasn’t happened (yet), the investigation found that he was not in on the ball tampering scheme. That may clear him of direct involvement, but it raises questions about his authority and the team culture if players tried to cheat without his knowledge.

There has been a big rift in the team over this.

SMH: Players turn on David Warner as ball-tampering crisis rips team apart

The ball-tampering crisis that has brought Australian cricket to its knees turned nuclear on Tuesday night with players turning on David Warner amid claims that the deposed vice-captain may never play for his country again.

The deposed vice-captain removed himself from the team’s WhatsApp group in the midst of the unprecedented drama. Warner and Steve Smith, who were both facing losing their leadership roles as well as having bans imposed for their part in the cheating plot, walked through Cape Town airport surrounded by hordes of television cameras and reporters.

Fairfax Media reported exclusively on Monday night that Warner had emerged as the central character in the affair, with suggestions he was the primary figure behind the ill-fated decision for Cameron Bancroft to use a piece of yellow tape to try and alter the condition of the ball during the third Test.

Sources close to Warner had denied that he was the instigator, saying the whole team were aware of the plans, including Australia’s fast bowlers. Their belief was that if one or two players were to go down over the controversy, then all should.

Senior fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, as well as the team’s most capped player, Nathan Lyon, had distanced themselves from knowledge of the ploy soon after Smith’s claim after the day’s play on Saturday that the decision had been made by the “leadership group”.

The major disharmony between Warner and others in the team has led to suggestions from prominent figures within the game that he may never play for the country. Sources say that players do not want to set foot on the field with him again.

Warner had previously been the team’s appointed ball manager in the field, but after gaining attention for wearing a bandage over his hand and fingers in Port Elizabeth in the previous match, the task was then left to junior team member Bancroft, who was deemed less likely to go under the microscope of the operators of the local television broadcaster’s 30 cameras.

This is serious embarrassing for cricket in Australia. Smith and Warner would appear to have stuffed their careers, and also the future of Bancroft.

And this will hang over the team for a long time.