Good morning, early birds. Foreign Minister Marise Payne has appealed for the release of three Australians detained in Iran, and the Nationals want the cashless welfare program expanded to cover all recipients under 35. It’s the news you need to know, with Rachel Withers.

marise payne saudi arabia jamal khashoggi

PAYNE APPEAL

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has appealed directly ($) to her ­Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif for the release of three Australians detained in a Tehran jail, The Australian reports.

Payne said yesterday that she had communicated with Iran’s foreign minister “many times” about the cases, “including through face-to-face meetings”. The trio includes travel-blogging couple Jolie King and Mark Firkin, arrested for flying a drone near a military ­installation, and an unnamed female academic, who has ­reportedly been sentenced to 10 years’ jail for espionage. The prison in which they are believed to be held houses around 1500 political dissidents, and has been described by prisoners as “solitary cells with no windows, ventilation and lavatory”, The New Daily reports.

NASHIES CASHLESS PUSH

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Nationals MPs are urging their party to support an Australia-wide rollout of the cashless welfare card for recipients under 35, as well as an inquiry into the adequacy of the welfare system, the Nine papers report.

The Nationals’ Federal Council will this weekend consider a motion calling on the government to expand the cashless debit card to anyone under 35 who receives the dole or parenting payments, in order to “reduce social harm caused by welfare-fuelled alcohol and drug abuse”. Another motion being considered calls on the government to support an inquiry into whether Australians on welfare can “meet their basic needs”, but stops short of calling for an increase to Newstart. Addiction specialists have told The New Daily that welfare drug testing does more harm than good, and could see users turn to more harmful substances or crime.

LIU SCANDAL CONTINUES

Besieged Liberal MP Gladys Liu did not declare links to Chinese government-affiliated organisations on her preselection forms, and failed to declare a 2015 donation to the Liberal Party ($).

The ABC has obtained the form Liu submitted during her Liberal preselection, showing that she failed to disclose her former memberships as required. The Herald Sun reports that Liu also failed to file a return to the AEC for a $39,675 donation made in 2015-16, her second such donor omission. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who yesterday accused those questioning Lui of a “smear” with a “very grubby undertone”, has attracted the ire of conservatives including Sky News host Andrew Bolt.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

This is what the Greens want to see happen — baby pigs drowning in effluent.

Sam McMahon

The NT Nationals senator accused “smelly, hairy” Greenies of wanting to hurt animals, saying one farm invasion had led to the death of piglets, during yesterday’s farm trespass laws debate.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Impeachment inquiry of Trump intensifies as judiciary panel adopts new procedures

Scientists warn UN: We’re pushing our planet to the very brink of doom

Morrison reads riot act to big business over workers ($)

Frydenberg joins G20 warning on US-China ‘war’ ($)

Gender law repeal bid ‘highly likely’ after power shift ($)

Boris denies lying to the Queen as Northern Ireland’s top court rejects no-deal challenge

‘A bad year’: Victoria’s bushfire threat looms large

Google pays France over $1.6 billion in tax fraud case

Nauru ‘not appropriate’ for children: Australian Human Rights Commission

Long-awaited koala habitat map aimed at curbing habitat destruction

NSW plan to remap old-growth forests put on hold amid supply probe

‘I believe in climate science’: Australian natural disasters minister’s complete about face

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The turmoils of Gladys Liu

“Ultimately, while her situation is in part a muddled intersection between genuine concerns about Chinese government influence and mundane ‘yellow peril; xenophobia, there’s an actual question at its root regarding the integrity of the Australian parliament. Our constitution retains some anachronistic rules about who is or isn’t eligible to sit in parliament, exposed in recent years by serial section 44 cases over dual citizenship and pecuniary interests. However, there is a ground for expulsion that has never been successfully invoked but could come into play if Liu’s story isn’t adequately clarified. Section 44 disqualifies from parliament, in addition to foreign citizens, anyone who is ‘under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power’. Call it the foreign agent provision.”

Compensation claims against Jehovah’s Witnesses could be jeopardised: lawyer

“An order by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia to destroy confidential records could undermine a child abuse compensation claim currently being prepared for the Supreme Court of Victoria. A lawyer representing the victim says she was shocked to learn that the Christian body had ordered confidential documents, including notes taken by elders investigating child sexual abuse, to be destroyed.  ‘These are the sorts of documents that are required by law to hand over, so if they’re being destroyed, it’s incredible,’ Dr Judy Courtin told INQ. ‘Such evidence can be critical to whether a case gets up or not … It could be critical to the whole case.’”

How The Australian has run a Holy War on trans youth

“Bernard Lane has led the charge in this Holy War. Four experts have been key to his reporting. The Australian refers to them as ‘clinicians’ but one (Dr Geoff Holloway) is actually a health sociologist who describes himself as ‘pro-radical feminism’. He was, at the time, joined by paediatrics professor and former deputy president of Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party John Whitehall, developmental psychologist Dianna Kenny, and paediatrician and 2019 Senior Australian of the Year Dr Suzanne Packer. Kenny has compared ‘transgenderism’ to other ‘solipsistic disorders’ like anorexia, plastic surgery addiction or a rare ‘alien limb’ illness. Whitehall has admitted to supporting conversion therapy (a practice widely condemned by child welfare advocates), and having never treated transgender patients before.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

I can’t make John Setka stand aside. But I think he shouldJacquie Lambie (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald):  John, your leadership is harming the reputation of what it means to be a union member in this country – that’s union officials saying that. And you’ve been asked by the two most senior union officials in Australia to step aside, more than once. And you’re ignoring them. You’re undermining the reputation of the membership, and you’re undermining the authority of the leadership. You’re doing more damage to the Australian union movement than anybody sitting on the Coalition frontbench. And what’s more, you’re helping the Coalition stay in government.”

Trust, transparency and G20 trade rules hold key ($) – Finance ministers Josh Frydenberg, Heng Swee Keat (Singapore), Sri Mulyani Indrawati (Indonesia), and Bill Morneau (Canada) (The Australian): “Uncertainty over the outlook is contributing to a slowdown in trade and manufacturing activity. We have seen a return of financial market volatility, currency instability and decreased capital flows to emerging economies. Dampened global trade conditions are affecting investor confidence, business investment and produc­tivity. Growth has slowed and risks remain tilted to the downside. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund continue to revise down economic growth forecasts. Collectively, we need to take steps to reverse this course. We need to champion the rules-based multilateral system. While respecting each country’s domestic priorities, we should be clear that protecting free and open markets will ensure stronger growth and greater prosperity for all.”

No news is not good news for Prime Minister Scott Morrison ($) – John Rolfe (The Daily Telegraph)Since becoming The Daily Telegraph’s national political editor three weeks ago, I’ve had the chance to sit down with several Cabinet ministers. One proposed we do a story about how Labor was yet to dump a particular policy it took to the election. I thought that was a bit odd. The minister didn’t seem to understand people might be more inter­ested in the plans of the government they just re-elected than what the mob they didn’t elect isn’t going to do.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • The Witness K case will return to court.

  • The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will appear at a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services public hearing.

  • The official investiture of Australian honours recipients will take place at Government House, with Hugh Jackman to collect his Order of Australia.

Queensland

Melbourne

  • The Aged Care Royal Commission will hold a public hearing into younger people in residential aged care.

  • The inquest into the death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day in police custody will continue, with Vic Police superintendent Sue Thomas to give evidence, and Day’s family to give a statement.

  • Swiss Canyoning Disaster survivor Tiffany Johnson, will launch her book Brave Enough Now, with special guest MC Georgia Comensali and MPs Tim Richardson and Mark Dreyfus to be there.

  • Adani Mining CEO Lucas Dow will speak at a CEDA event.

Adelaide

  • Domenic Perre will face court, accused of the 1994 NCA building bombing, which killed a police officer and seriously injured a lawyer.

  • The Supreme Court will rule on whether the APY Lands are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, after former MP Dr Duncan McFetridge tried to access the details of general manager Richard King.

Sydney

  • Prince Edward will be joined by prominent Australians such as Jack Thompson, Dawn Fraser, Layne Beachley, Kirk Pengilly, David Campbell and Eddie Woo to present almost 400 young people with The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Awards.

Darwin

  • The Australia China Business Council NT will host a working lunch with Australian Consul General to Shanghai Dominic Trindade.

  • The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association will hold a one day networking and professional development workshop.

Brisbane

  • Brisbane Eco Expo 2019, Australia’s largest sustainability exhibition open to the public, will begin, with free workshops, cooking demos and seminars running all weekend.

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