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AusPostScare and NDIScare — could these be Labor election campaigns?

Anthony Albanese is quietly assembling a narrative around privatisation that could be troublesome for the government at the next election.

Economic success pips political dividend

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Economic success pips political dividend
Scott Morrison is reaching out to a booming Western Australia in his first trip across the Nullabor in over 18 months. But economic success doesn’t translate neatly into political returns.
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Westpac’s Bill Evans has seen a lot of economic ups and downs over the decades in his role as a prominent bank economist. He still describes the latest lift in consumer sentiment as “extraordinary”.
Even as he promotes the economic triumph evident in recent statistics of employment intentions, business profitability and investment levels, Scott Morrison is struggling for political traction. 
Hamish Hastie

NDIS cost-cutting taskforce told to reduce growth in participants and spending


NDIS cost-cutting taskforce told to reduce growth in participants and spending
Luke Henriques-Gomes
© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
The agency that runs the national disability insurance scheme has quietly established a new taskforce aimed at cutting growth in funding packages and participant numbers.
Guardian Australia has obtained an internal document, published below, that shows the National Disability Insurance Agency has created a new unit to make “short term, immediate changes” to the scheme, citing a forecast “cost overrun in 2021-22”.
“The actions of the [Sustainability Action Taskforce] will make immediate changes to slow growth in participant numbers, slow growth in spend per participant and strengthen operational discipline, in accordance with the requirements of the NDIS Act and Rules,” the three-page document, marked “sensitive”, says.

COVID live updates: Seafarer who tested positive to COVID in WA a 'timely reminder' of ongoing pandemic threat

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The Western Australia Department of Health says a crew member from a ship who tested positive for COVID-19 in Karratha does not pose a significant risk to the community, but that it is a 'timely reminder' that the pandemic isn't over. Follow live.

Bill Shorten says the Royals are about as interesting as Married At First Sight

Appearing on The Today Show on Tuesday, the former Labor Leader compared the recent dramas plaguing the Royals to that of the controversial Nine Network dating show.

Woman who accused Bill Shorten of raping her at Labor Party camp when she was 16 launches fundraiser

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A woman who claims she was raped by Bill Shorten at a Labor Youth Camp when she was 16 years old has launched a fundraiser to demand her police file so she can sue him in civil court.
Kathy Sherriff alleges the former Labor Party leader was 19 years old when he raped her at the camp in Portarlington, Victoria, in 1986.
Mr Shorten has vehemently denied the allegations numerous times since they came to light in 2014 and was cleared by a police investigation.
Detectives began investigating the accusation in late 2013 but did not lay charges, concluding Mr Shorten had no case to answer.

'No intention': Reynolds dumps draft proposals to cut diagnosis-based NDIS funding

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‘No intention’: Reynolds dumps draft proposals to cut diagnosis-based NDIS funding
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New National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Linda Reynolds says she has “no intention of excluding Australians from the scheme” on the basis of their diagnosis, appearing to dump radical reforms drafted under the previous minister Stuart Robert.
Herald and
The Age last month showed the Morrison government was considering cutting NDIS funding to people living with acquired brain injury and foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and reducing avenues of appeal for participants as part of a bid to save costs.

After weeks of scandal, the government seeks cultural change

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After weeks of scandal, the government seeks cultural change
In the wake of a series of political disgraces of the worst kind, much-needed change is being driven by the work of Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.
Michaelia Cash announcing the government’s response to the [email protected] report. 
Alex Ellinghausen
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“It is often said that change comes through leadership or scandal,” she told this newspaper in March 2018. “But often leadership comes after scandal.”
Commissioned by then minister for women, Kelly O’Dwyer, to lead what would become the landmark
[email protected] report, Jenkins was seeing long overdue change sweeping the world through the

'Flawed, unethical and dangerous': new NDIS assessments risk traumatising the vulnerable | National disability insurance scheme

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“I think it is a rotten idea,” Lambert, 46, says. “The NDIA should bugger off and leave people with disability with enough money to be able to live an ordinary life like everyone else in Australia.”
Lambert, who took part in an independent assessments pilot scheme with her mother, Laurel, lives with cerebral palsy, an intellectual disability, a hearing impairment and epilepsy.
The new mandatory but free assessments will begin in the middle of the year and will apply to new applicants and, later, the 440,000 participants already on the scheme.
The National Disability Insurance Agency insists they are aimed at addressing consistency issues and inequality within the scheme, not cutting costs or reducing package sizes.

Robo-debt scheme continued after being classified unlawful: Commonwealth Ombudsman

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The Morrison government kept demanding money from some of the poorest Australians even after it knew its robo-debt scheme was fundamentally faulty because it had not kept a record of which purported debts were generated through the bungled program.
A report from the Commonwealth Ombudsman released quietly on Tuesday said public servants manually identified 525,648 debts raised on unlawful grounds through the robo-debt program, about 50,000 more than the government confessed in May last year.
A report from the Commonwealth Ombudsman said public servants manually identified 525,648 debts raised on false grounds through the robo-debt program.
Credit:Marina Neil
While that process was happening from November 2019 until at least May 2020, the government continued to pursue people who had purported debts if they had not yet been identified as a robo-debt, causing a “high risk” it was chasing debts with no legal basis.

Veteran Labor senator Kim Carr 'on death row' but vows to fight on

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Victorian senator Kim Carr is “on death row”, Labor powerbrokers say, but the veteran left-wing warrior has vowed to fight for his career and is being backed by one of the state’s most powerful union leaders.
Blue-collar unions and figures from the party’s Left faction are rounding on Senator Carr as he eyes another term in Parliament that would take his time there beyond 30 years.
Veteran Labor senator Kim Carr.
Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
The early contenders to replace the 65-year-old include Maurice Blackburn lawyer Josh Bornstein, 55, and think-tank director Ryan Batchelor, with Mr Bornstein in the box seat.

Where our missing vaccine doses are

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Where our missing vaccine doses are
The reason Australia is so short on COVID-19 vaccines, despite producing 3.2 million doses in Melbourne, has been revealed.
Health
by Samantha Maiden
6th Apr 2021 11:56 AM
More than half of the three million COVID-19 vaccine doses that Australia has manufactured remain in cold storage and cannot be rolled out yet because they are undergoing further batch testing in Europe by the drug company AstraZeneca.
News.com.au has confirmed that despite CSL producing more than 3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine here in Australia that the majority of these doses have not been approved for distribution.

Head in the sand

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The federal government keeps pretending nothing is wrong
Prime Minister Scott Morrison visiting CSL’s Melbourne facility, where the AstraZeneca vaccine is being produced. Image via Facebook
There is by now no doubt that the federal government’s vaccine rollout is in shambles, after last week missing its target by millions and today being ranked 90
th in the world – “sandwiched between Bolivia and Albania” – with only 2.34 doses administered per 100 people. The media knows it, having been tracking the slowly unfolding crisis for months now. Experts recognise it, with one labelling the rollout an “unmitigated disaster”. The states know it, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian admitting this morning that the Commonwealth’s goal of vaccinating everyone by October would be a “big stretch”. Even News Corp admits it, with

malcolm turnbull pisses on everyone and everything, except on his own flimsy wishy-washy prime ministership...


Government staffers and at least one Liberal MP have allegedly gained illegal access to a pirated copy of Malcolm Turnbull’s memoir, which the publisher claims originated from the prime minister’s office.
Hardie Grant said “a massive breach” of intellectual property rights has been committed and that it would be referring the matter to the Australian Federal Police.
The company cited an email that said a top aide distributed an electronic version of the autobiography, A Bigger Picture to “millions” of other people.
It’s alleged a person working for prime minister Scott Morrison was responsible for circulating the e-book among politicians and staffers. 

Disability advocates urge Linda Reynolds to immediately scrap NDIS independent assessments

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More than 20 organisations have jointly called on the new NDIS Minister to abandon the introduction of the contentious independent assessments.

Tech and virtue signalling don't mix

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Tech and virtue signalling don’t mix
Industry leaders that refuse to engage with Christian Porter should be careful about playing politics. Technology companies need to be trusted, expert, and impartial to do business with government.
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The technology leaders who complain about the appointment of Christian Porter to the industry portfolio should be more reticent in playing politics.
When I was an adviser to an opposition ministerial spokesman, we got politically useful information sent to us by a Canberra bureaucrat.
The public servant’s apparent motivation was to ingratiate himself and ultimately get a promotion in the event a new government was elected, which looked likely.

NDIS review's independence in doubt after documents show department made significant changes

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Secret documents have cast doubt on the independence of a wide-ranging review into the National Disability Insurance Scheme that recommended the most radical overhaul of the $25 billion program since it was established.
Emails and draft copies of the 2019 report, written by former senior public servant David Tune, show National Disability Insurance Agency officials inserted an entire chapter into the review of the scheme’s legislation, and made substantial changes to almost every part of the document.
The disability sector is opposed to the NDIS using independent assessments.
The review was used by the Morrison government to introduce independent assessments for NDIS participants, where health professionals employed by one of eight providers paid by the government will review users’ eligibility for the scheme. Disability advocates have labelled the measure a cost-cutting measure to reduce the number of people in the program.

Labor Promises Tax Exemption for Electric Vehicles

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Labor Promises Tax Exemption for Electric Vehicles
Australia’s federal opposition Labor Party announced on March 31 an election pledge that imported electric vehicles (EVs) will no longer be subject to import tariffs and the fringe benefits tax (FBT).
During Labor’s national conference, the opposition promised that, if elected, non-luxury EVs—that is, those costing less than around $77,565 (US$59,178)—will be exempt from a 5 percent import tax, as well as a 47 percent FBT for electric cars provided by work for private use.
More specifically, a $50,000 car could save around $2,000 without the tariff, and be an additional $9,000 cheaper if supplied by an employer.

'Bye bye boom gates': Denny Avenue closure a victory for forgotten residents who had an absolute gutful

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‘Bye bye boom gates’: Denny Avenue closure a victory for forgotten residents who had an absolute gutful
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By February 2015 a group of Camillo and Kelmscott residents were sick of it. They’d had an absolute gutful.
So they did what any good and irate community would do and took to the internet.
One of the many crashes near the Denny Avenue level crossing in Kelmscott.
Credit:Hamish Hastie
‘Upgrade Denny Avenue Rail Crossing’ was the innocuous title of the Change.org petition started by Camillo resident Laura Shockthorap.

Is the house price bubble about to be pricked?

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What is driving the housing market boom, and could Australia follow New Zealand's lead by introducing measures to dampen property prices?

Why the mainstream media barely noticed the Labor national conference

Is there any genuine political interest in the mainstream press? Judging by the coverage of the ALP national conference, it would appear not.

Here's How Labor Is Promising To Make Electric Vehicles Cheaper

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Labor is promising to slash prices of electric vehicles in Australia by cutting taxes and tariffs to encourage their uptake.

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