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David Cameron quits parliament despite promising to serve full term

1. Cameron quits

David Cameron promised in March that he would serve out his full term even if he lost the so-called Brexit referendum in June. Despite pledging “Brits don’t quit” as part of that campaign, Cameron has announced he is resigning, just two months since the result. [Nick Miller/Fairfax]

This sets up a by-election in his plum Oxfordshire seat of Witney. Let the jostling begin. 

David Cameron has announced he's leaving parliament, effective immediately.
David Cameron has announced he’s leaving parliament, effective immediately. Photo: Bloomberg

Cameron has been an MP and a PM before he has even turned 50. A remarkable achievement even if his legacy will always be clouded by his failed referendum campaign – as former Conservative minister Ken Clarke said today. [itvNews] Cameron says he thought long and hard about his future over the summer and what’s next is unclear. [Transcript] His former Communications Director Craig Oliver predicted a public role, saying the former PM cares a lot about “certain issues” but said he would let his former boss make his own announcements.

But the manner of his departure tells us everything about Cameron, none of it flattering, writes James Kirkup in an utterly scathing piece. [The Telegraph]

Cameron said it was just going to be too difficult to be a former PM sitting on the backbenches without being a “distraction” to his successor Theresa May, whose two major policy announcements, delaying a decision on Chinese investment in a British nuclear plant and re-establishing grammar schools, are major departures from his own policy positions and decisions. 

While it’s noble to not want to be daily distraction, this is hardly something Cameron needed to experience IRL to appreciate. Indeed, he’s kept a low profile since leaving Number 10 – meaning he can’t really pretend to have felt burdened by being a distraction to date. 

Cameron only had to look to Australia to see the corrosive damage former prime ministers lurking on the backbenchs can have to know that they can be considered a distraction and then some. 

2. Aus politics

And now to the increasingly visible Tony Abbott. Despite repeating ad nauseam “it’s not about me” and “the Abbott era is over” he must be pleased by today’s Newspoll showing the supposedly popular Malcolm Turnbull now behind Bill Shorten in the approval stakes. Don’t forget, Newspoll was a key reason Turnbull gave when he knifed Abbott one year ago.

Worth noting that when it comes to the two-party preferred vote nothing has changed, meaning the polls are locked at 50-50 and Turnbull still leads Shorten in the more important preferred PM stakes. [Phil Hudson/The Australian]

In other politics news:

Labor and the government have thrashed out a deal to pass the so-called omnibus bill of $6 billion worth of spending cuts. But the largest welfare cut, the carbon tax compensation (keep in mind the carbon tax has been repealed) will be swapped for further curbs to family benefits supplements following Labor demands. [Philip Coorey/Financial Review]

Cabinet has decided the plebiscite on same-sex marriage will be held in February and the YES/NO sides will each receive $7.5 million taxpayer dollars to fight their case subject to the partyroom’s final say. But this all presumes the Government will be able to get the legislation to hold the plebiscite through parliament. Prominent pro-change campaigner LNP MP Warren Entsch says the bills will fail in parliament. [James Massola,Michael Koziol/Fairfax]

This makes the possibility of change during this term appear impossible, writes Michelle Grattan. [The Conversation]

Ego-driven China is not paying Sam Dastyari’s bills for his comments on the South China Sea, but for the selfies, argues Australia’s former Ambassador to China Geoff Raby. [Financial Review]

Ripper column from Mark Latham on the Labor puppets of both the United States and China. This is the sort of column that Latham’s fiercest critics will hate to read because they’ll be nodding in agreement the whole time. [Daily Telegraph]

The Greens Senator Larissa Waters has decided to announce her pregnancy live on television. [ABC]

Former Australian editor Chris Mitchell has appeared on the ABC, which he constantly criticises, to flog his new book. In the new publication, he breaks the confidences of former prime ministers to reveal previously off-the-record conversations, something he criticised former ABC journalist Michael Brissenden for doing, to say he told Kevin Rudd not to trust Julia Gillard. [Lateline] [ABC]

3. Costello’s stunning defence of the mining industry

Peter Costello spoke to Money News

Former Treasurer Peter Costello has launched such a strident defence of the mining industry that even those gathered in Melbourne for the Minerals Council’s second annual lecture might have been surprised by the total enthusiasm.

Costello says the mining industry has been treated “shabbily” in Australia and asked why its economic benefits are not taught to school students as part of the curriculum.  [My report/Fairfax]

4. Clinton’s health rocks her campaign progress

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after leaving her daughter's apartment on Sunday.

Hillary Clinton waves after leaving her daughter’s apartment on Sunday. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Donald Trump has shown uncharacteristic restraint over Hillary Clinton’s bout of illness which her team now says is pneumonia and focused instead on her “basket of deplorables” comment instead. [Politico]

The Clinton campaign’s decision to conceal her illness, and abuse a journalist who reported on her epic coughing fit, meant that right-wing corners of the internet, which has been indulging in Clinton health conspiracies for some time, let loose when she was filmed having to be physically put into a car having left early a 9/11 ceremony citing “overheating.”

Her illness can be cured. Clinton’s obsession with control and secrecy appears to be recurring and it’s a problem as Obama’s former strategist David Axelrod noted. Tellingly, Clinton’s campaign responded. [ABC News US

And just as Clinton was beginning to make some progress in the polls, the media is back onto her transparency issues. Democrats are not impressed. [NB. Strong language warning: Amie Parnes/The Hill]

5. Ceasefire in Syria underway

The carnage of the war in Syria has spilled over into southern Turkey.

Hostilities ceased in Syria at 1am AEST under the deal struck between Russia and the US in Geneva on Friday. The truce is intended to last seven days to allow Russia and the US to launch airstrikes against Islamic State. [BBC]

6. Why I hate being asked out to dinner in London

I just stumbled across this fabulously entertaining and utterly hilarious piece of writing on The Economist by data journalist and wine writer Dan Rosenheck, and after literally LOLing throughout the entire piece I knew this was Double Shot’s Number Six for today!

Rosenheck, a New Yorker, compares Brooklyn’s dining etiquette to London’s and puzzles over the peculiar English customs of “pudding” (meaning all desserts) “diaries” (seemingly no-one in NY agrees to dinner dates in the hope of a better offer) and “7 for 7.30”.  Enjoy.  [Read]

That’s it from me for today. You can follow me on Facebook for more. 

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