Morning mail: Indonesian family’s multiple suicide bombings | Australia news

Good morning, this is Eleanor Ainge Roy bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Monday 14 May.

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Multiple suicide bombings that killed at least 11 people in Indonesia on Sunday were carried out by one family, including girls aged nine and 12, police believe. The Indonesian police chief, Tito Karnavian, said investigators believed a husband and wife and their four children were the perpetrators of the worst attack the country has seen in more than a decade.

Police identified the mother as Puji Kuswanti and said that she took her two daughters, Fadila Sari, 12, and Pamela Rizkita, nine, to bomb the GKI Diponegoro church. The family’s two sons, Yusuf, 18 and Alif, 16, rode motorcycles close to the entrance of the Santa Maria Catholic church, where they detonated their bombs. Their father, Dita, drove a car bomb into the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal church. Karnavian said he suspected the family involved had recently returned to Indonesia from Syria, where hundreds of Indonesians had travelled to join Islamic State.

Two opinion polls have Labor maintaining its election-winning lead, with last week’s budget and its centrepiece of $140bn of personal income tax cuts failing to deliver any momentum beyond a bounce for Malcolm Turnbull as preferred prime minister. The latest Newspoll, published by the Australian on Sunday night, has Labor ahead of the Coalition 51% to 49% on the two-party preferred measure, the same result as a fortnight ago. The Ipsos poll, published by Fairfax, gives Labor a more commanding lead of 54% to 46%.

Pauline Hanson has told the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, she will not “flow preferences” to Labor in the Longman byelection, or federally, unless the ALP puts the Greens last on how-to-vote tickets. In response Shorten has accused the One Nation leader of “attempting to direct the preferences of Longman voters to the LNP” and criticised her for signing on to the government’s ambition to cut taxes for Australia’s biggest corporations. A ReachTel poll published on Saturday suggests Labor will struggle to hold the Queensland seat, and One Nation is likely to be a significant factor in the result.

Four out of five Australians oppose the right of religious schools to hire and fire staff or expel students because of their sexuality, a new poll has found. The YouGov Galaxy poll, conducted for the LGBTI rights lobby group Just Equal, found that 82% opposed discrimination law exemptions that allow expulsion of gay and lesbian students and 79% opposed the schools’ ability to fire teachers if they married a person of the same sex. The poll lends weight to submissions from LGBTI rights groups to the Ruddock religious freedom review, which call for the exemptions to be abolished and adds pressure on Labor to oppose them.

Digital Rights Watch has warned of a “systematic and wilful degradation” of human rights online, saying our digital life is easily tracked, mapped, stored and exploited. Its state of the nation report says the activities of Cambridge Analytica in seeking to manipulate elections highlighted what is possible, but this is just “scratching the surface”. The group’s chairman, Tim Singleton Norton, warned that faces, physical characteristics and even moods could be recorded, stored and used for a variety of purposes without the knowledge or consent of digital users in the near future.


After a less than compelling start to the AFL season, round eight finally delivered some improved football and closer contests, writes Craig Little. Ben Ronke’s seven-goal haul against Hawthorn on Friday night was particularly unexpected, and a welcome change to the tedium that had begun to set in.

The NRL can be homogenous around the edges, but Canberra’s Viking clap is a point of difference and was a highlight on an otherwise dire day for the Raiders, writes Matt Cleary. Cronulla will be pleased to come away with a win after being so depleted, while Manly will take any win they can get right now.

Thinking time

Caroline Baum

Caroline Baum, the first reader in residence at the state library of New South Wales, is relishing the chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the library works and uncover some of its secrets. She writes about bespoke glue, multisensory projects and Twitter bots. “I’ve been given the keys (actually a swipe card that prompts a cheery tune) to a kingdom and invited to play, explore and discover. Access all areas. Well, almost.”

Ronan Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, is the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist whose exposé triggered #MeToo. Now he has written an acclaimed book on waning US diplomatic influence – and he’s still only 30. Andrew Anthony sits down with this “deeply moral” workalic to discuss international reporting, Trump and why Hollywood should boycott Allen’s films.

The giant jade Buddha may sound like an episode of a Miss Fisher Murder Mystery but it’s actually a 2.5m sculpture carved out of what is claimed to be the world’s largest boulder of jade, discovered in Canada 18 years ago. The million-dollar Buddha has completed its decade-long pilgrimage around the world, during which it was visited by 11 million people, and is now ready to be installed in its permanent home – Bendigo in regional Victoria.

What’s he done now?

Donald Trump has claimed his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal last week will prevent the Iranians “trying to take over the Middle East”. Trump tweeted: “Remember how badly Iran was behaving with the Iran Deal in place. They were trying to take over the Middle East by whatever means necessary. Now, that will not happen!”

Media roundup

The front page of the Australian

The Australian focuses on Malcolm Turnbull’s popularity rating in the latest Newspoll, which it says has soared to its highest level since the 2016 election since the release of the budget. China is lending Pacific countries hundreds of billions of dollars, leading to unsustainable debts, in a bid to gain strategic and military influence in the region, the Australian Financial Review reports, drawing on a “secret” report written for the US state department. The West Australian not surprisingly has blanket coverage of the latest development in Friday’s mass shooting, including the extraordinary media conference given by the alleged perpetrator’s former son-in-law.

Coming up

Aboriginal elders will gather at Victoria’s parliament today to give guidance and take their seat at the table discussing the treaty process.

Sydney fashion week shows start this morning with Albus Lumen, Bianca Spender and Lee Matthews.

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