Last month in politics: Plenty of news at home while Trump hands himself in over interference in the 2020 election

All the news from around the world this August including a not-so-distant date for the Voice Referendum

Government, Anthony Albanese, Government Relations, Indigenous Affairs, Parliament

Bree Liddell 15 Sep 2023
7 mins

This month conversations around female sport dominated conversations, as the FIFA Women’s World Cup wrapped up in Australia and New Zealand.

The tournament became the most attended female sporting event of all time.

The Matildas captured the nation as they achieved their best result of fourth place, broke records for the most televised program in Australia on record, and changed the face of female sport for generations to come.

The success was wrapped up with the Diamonds winning the Netball World Cup, a successful World Championships by both our swimming and athletics teams.

In international news, ten people are dead following a Moscow jet crash that is said to have had Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin on board, Japan has begun released radioactive water from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean, and the United Nations Security Council has condemned a military coup in Niger that saw the President kidnapped.

The American Republican candidates have had their first debate ahead of selection, the United States Food and Drug Administration have approved the first oral treatment for postpartum depression, and United States authorities are investigating a potentially racially-motivated shooting in Florida that killed three people.

The BRICS group of emerging economic summit has been held in South Africa, Canada is experiencing its worst fire season with over 15 million hectares burnt, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister has been sentenced to three years in prison over a corruption conviction, and the Whaling Commission has issued its first extinction alert over vaquita porpoise – with only ten known to be left.

Russia’s first lunar mission in five decades has ended in a crash, United Kingdom’s worst child serial killer – Lucy Letby – has been sentenced to life in prison, and Ecuadorians have voted to end oil drilling in a protected section of the Amazon Rainforest.

World aquatics has announced an ‘open category’ for gender-diverse athletes, the world chess body has banned trans women from competing in its women’s competitions, the President of the Spanish Football Federation has been suspended after he kissed a player without consent while presenting her with her medal after winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Voice to Parliament Referendum will be held on 14 October, RBA left interest rates on hold for the second month in a row, and the gender pay gap has reached its lowest level on record of 13%. China has removed the 80.5% anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on barley in 2020, and a bipartisan group of parliamentarians will visit Taiwan in September in an effort to continue resisting China’s demand political contact is cut off with Taipe.

Australia, the United States and Japan have conducted joint navy drills in the South China sea, the Federal Government will now refer to the territories of Gaza and the West Bank as ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’.

The Albanese Government is said to be considering increasing Senate representation particularly from the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, Katter’s Australia Party want to place repeat youth offenders into mandatory outback detention camps, and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek has formed a deal to re-write the Murray-Darling Basin Plan – but it will exclude Victoria.

Qantas has reported a record annual profit of almost $2.5 billion, the National Cabinet has agreed to enact nationally-consistent laws for renters and build an extra 200,000 home by mid-2029, and the States and Territories have agreed to aim for a 25% reduction in the number of domestic violence deaths each years.

Shark nets have controversially returned to NSW beaches, Mark Latham and Rob Roberts have resigned from One Nation over their accusations the Party tried to funnel money from the NSW Electoral Commission, and a bill has been introduced into NSW parliament banning LGBTQIA+ conversion practices.

Tasmanian police have trialled new cameras that caught 339 drivers breaking the law in just 43 hours, an electrical fault caused a large power outage at Adelaide’s Flinders Medical Centre, Royal Darwin Hospital experienced two ‘code yellows’ in three weeks, Queensland Health has revealed the alarming staff shortages in rural hospitals and maternity facilities.

The Victorian Government has increased the scheme to allow more casual workers to get sick pay, the Queensland Government has passed amendments that allow children to be kept in police watchhouses – even if deemed non-compatible with human rights, and Victorians will be able to renew their contraceptive pill scripts from the pharmacy from October. The Victorian Government has agreed to pay $380 million to cancel the 2026 Commonwealth Games,

In WA, the abortion reforms have unanimously passed through the Legislative Assembly, MP James Hayward is on trial for child sexual abuse allegations, and the new mental health facility at Joondalup Health Campus has opened.

The Department of Justice has opened its consultation period for its ‘end-to-end’ review, a trail integrating legal services with women’s health services has begun in Kalgoorlie and Northbridge, and pharmacies will be able to offer diagnosis and treatments for urinary tract infections to women between the ages of 18-65 with a confidential consultation.

The Government will invest $8.47 million into a range of research to grow and protect horticulture production, WA Police Officers now have access to administer Naloxone which temporarily reverses the effects of drugs in the same class as heroin, oxycontin and fentanyl, and 15 tonnes of vapes have been seized from a WA warehouse with the value of $10 million.

Marsden Jacob Associates will review the States Mining Rehabilitation Fund, multiple local governments will receive a share of $5.7 million to build bushfire resilience, the Deputy Premier has introduced legislation into Parliament to modernise the Perth Parking Management Act 1999, and amendments to the Land Administration Act 1997 and Public Works Act 1902 have come into effect to reduce red tape and allow more effective administration of Crown land.

Cook Government to repeal new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Laws

Five weeks after the new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 was formally introduced, the Cook Government has repealed the legislation following consistent criticism.

On the legal advice from the Solicitor-General, the Government will reinstate the original Aboriginal Heritage Act of 1972 with array of amendments, with the specific goal of preventing another Juukan Gorge incident.

To help frame the new amendments, the Government will conduct public workshops, education sessions and consultations with various stakeholders and the implementation group.

The Aboriginal Heritage Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2023 will work to provide confidence to all WA property owners, ensuring they can continue to operate on their property without the feat of committing any offences.

Notably the exemptions that were introduced in the 2021 legislation will no longer be required under the 1972 laws.

Other notable adjustments:

  • The Government will outline a long-term plan for the next ten years to conduct heritage surveys on unsurveyed land in high priority areas. These will be published by Government;
  • There will be no requirement for everyday landowners to carry out their own heritage surveys;
  • Cost recovery model introduced will be replaced;
  • Local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Services will not continue;
  • The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Council will carry out the roles of the Committee under the 1972 Act;
  • Proponents and Native Title parties will have the same right of review for Section 18 decisions; and
  • Owners must notify the Minister of any new information about a site once a Section 18 is approved.

Cook Government to ban LNG export

The Cook Government has updated the WA Domestic Gas Policy, placing a ban on gas developers in the Perth and Canning Basin from exporting LNG in order to keep enough supplies under domestic use.

The WA Government “will not consider any exemptions from the WA Domestic Gas Policy for onshore gas developments on the existing pipeline network to export LNG, including those in the Perth Basin. Gas from the existing pipeline is for Western Australian industry and consumers only,” the announcement outlined.

Those operating in the Canning Basin are not connected to the existing pipeline network and therefore a normal application of the Policy applies. This requires 15% of exports to be made available for domestic markets.

A spokesperson for the Premier’s office made the following comments: “Supply commitments under the Policy have generally kept the WA gas market well supplied with relatively low prices. A key priority for the State Government is ensuring domestic energy security. The gas crisis on the east coast, which has triggered market interventions by the Commonwealth, highlights the importance of safeguarding our energy supply.”

Independent review into WA’s COVID-19 response handed down

WA is the first State or Territory to complete a whole government, independent review into its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Review focused on the State’s economic, social and health outcomes which reaffirmed the WA Government’s approach in managing COVID-19.

The Review noted the success of the State’s management to the WA Government, healthcare professionals, the wider public sector and the determination and resilience of the WA community.

Extensive stakeholder consultation was conducted with almost 900 public submissions made for consideration, resulting in 35 recommendations made. The recommendations include a mixture of actions from the pandemic that are to be replicated or improved, and additional actions to be undertaken:

  • Strengthening pandemic planning;
  • Scenario testing;
  • Reviewing legislation;
  • Strengthen support to community organisations, peak bodies etc.;
  • Better leveraging expertise in business/community/health; and
  • A new State-wide campaign to tackle vaccine misinformation and disinformation.

The Cook Government has welcomed and accepted all recommendations made: “Our world-leading response has provided a blueprint on how to handle future pandemics.”

“But of course, not every pandemic will be the same, but this Review provides the key principles and tools which future governments will need to tackle future challenges.” Premier Cook commented.

Albanese Government hands down Intergenerational Report

This month the Albanese Government handed down the Intergenerational Report which lays out the possible future for the country – which paints a picture of an older and longer living nation, that has better pay but also faces dramatic workforce and climate change.

The report forecasts to 2063, sets out some clear opportunities and obstacles the government predicts Australia will face. Five major points for outlines to shape the future:

  • Ageing population;
  • Climate change;
  • A shift to a caring economy;
  • Fragmentation in the global order; and
  • An explosion in digital technologies.

The current trajectory also highlights a potential for Federal Budget deficits for the next 50 years, which Treasure Jim Chalmers says is not cause for alarm or a trigger to overhaul the government’s taxes or spending.

Some of the prominent points highlighted in the report:

  • Life expectancy to rise form 81.3 to 87 years for men, and from 85.2 to 89.5 years for women;
  • Population growth will slow, with low fertility rates;
  • Median age will increase to 43.1 years old;
  • Technology changes will boost health outcomes, lower emissions and change consumption and leisure patterns;
  • Slower improvements will be seen in living standards and incomes;
  • Gender gap in work participation is expected to narrow;
  • Impacts of a warming climate will affect work conditions;
  • Climate change will affect how we work, live and travel; and
  • Prosperity will be influenced by evolving geopolitics and supply chains.

Donald Trump indictment

Former President Donald Trump has handed himself in after being indicted in Georgia over allegations of election interference in the 2020 Presidential Poll.

Mr Trumps mug shot which has made headlines globally, is the first one taken despite three previous indictments. Fulton County Jail is the first police station to have required a mug shot, which is the first for any current or previous United States President.

The 41-count indictment marks the fourth set of criminal charges against Mr Trump this year. Notably, he also faces charges of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer, conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer and conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree.

18 co-defendants have also been indicted, including lawyers, following the two year investigation by the Fulton County District Attorney.

The District Attorney hopes the case will go to trail within six months, however selecting a jury may be a lengthy process given the nature of the case and the necessary time commitment.

Bree Liddell More from author

Bree is Cannings Purple’s Government Relations Consultant, working with a diverse set of clients across the energy, resources, education and health sectors.

Qualified with a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts (Politics and International Relations) and Bachelor’s Degree in Science (Sport Science)(Nutrition), Bree is currently pursuing her Graduate Certificate in Public Policy.

Bree is skilled in strategic communications with the capability to review and analyse policies and procedures to deeper understand the government’s position, particularly identifying areas of opportunity for clients to engage government and create a working relationship.

With a broad range of working knowledge of the political system and internship experience in a state members office, Bree is perfectly placed to assist clients in navigating government process, policies and approvals.

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