From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Eid with the AFP and a side of controversy. The Australian Federal Police held its annual Eid dinner in western Sydney last night as part of continued efforts to reach out to Australia’s Muslim community, but the dinner was boycotted by the head of the Australian National Imams Council, the Grand Mufti of Australia Professor Ibrahim Abu Mohamed. In a statement, ANIC said Mohamed “must in all good conscience decline the invitation to attend the dinner in protest of the new proposed anti-terrorism laws announced by the Attorney-General yesterday”.
At another AFP dinner in Melbourne on Tuesday, we hear that Sheikh Issa Musse — from a mosque in western Melbourne — asked to say a few words and used the opportunity to speak out about the conflict in Gaza. He asked for a minute’s silence for the victims and also told the Egyptian Consul General to leave the venue. We hear it left a stark impression on those present. We called Musse to ask about the dinner, and he told us that it was important to speak out because the fighting had not abated throughout the holy period of Ramadan:
“There was no break in the killing and casualties and Palestinians dying in front of the eyes of the world, and I felt personally obliged to put the message to the representative of Egypt at the dinner because Egypt is at the forefront of making things difficult for Palestinians. They don’t allow access to the only exit for them — even humanitarians cannot go. I just wanted to bring home that message as he came there to enjoy himself at a time when others are deeply, deeply distressed.”
Photoshop fail at the Daily Tele. On first glance, The Daily Telegraph‘s digital reimagining of Mike Carlton as a Palestinian bombing victim was in bad taste, but, as has been reported, the picture is more off-colour than first thought. Carlton’s face was superimposed on the body of James Costello, a survivor of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing. Where did the Tele find the picture? It took us just two minutes to find the picture online — when one does a Google image search for “bombing victim”, it’s high up on the first page of results. Of course, it’s only two more clicks from there to find out where the image is from. We asked Tele editor Paul Whittaker about the photo and were told:
“The photoshopped image was an amalgam of different images put together during the art production process. I was unaware that that particular image had been partially used. It is an inadvertent but regrettable mistake for which The Daily Telegraph apologises unreservedly.”
The Tele dedicated two whole pages to Carlton’s sacking and his abuse of readers; we wonder how many column inches they’d spend railing against The Sydney Morning Herald if it was to photoshop a bombing victim in such a way.
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New Green in town, and heads roll. Two Lib candidates have gone from the Victorian election campaign, after racist and sexist stuff they said on Twitter and Facebook resurfaced. The comments — the usual Toryboy dross — had been deleted, but not before someone got them, perhaps months ago. The departure of Jack Lyons — who was standing for Bendigo West, a seat held by Labor on 3% — and Aaron Lane, who was standing for the Western Victoria multi-member upper-house district, is a disaster for the Libs. But the departure of Lane, in particular, is a bonus for the Greens, who have targeted Western Victorian as a place where they can pick up the last place, and thus gain balance of power in the Legislative Council. Spring Street watchers are asking who is responsible for the leaks, and some have pointed the finger at Greens campaign manager Jess McColl, who has only been on the scene for two weeks. McColl was responsible for Scott Ludlam’s take-no-prisoners Senate re-election campaign, which gained 16.6% — coincidentally, the number the Greens are polling at in Victoria.
Whatever the case, she didn’t waste any time after the scandal broke, getting out a punchy Obama-style campaigning/fundraising letter identifying the Greens as the only party really committed to fighting sexism and racism. We asked McColl about the leaks against the Libs and she told us it wasn’t her — “we sent out an email drawing attention to it, but the only way that we understood was through what we saw in the mainstream media”. But we do wonder what other delights there are in the cache of whoever torpedoed the hapless Toryboys. And who will be next.
Fighting terrorism, but how? As Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis are spruiking beefed-up anti-terror laws, a former insider from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions tells us the division is downsizing and doesn’t really have the capacity to follow up the tough new laws. We put that to the CDPP, and were told by a spokesperson that the CDPP:
“… is undergoing structural review and reform to implement a more efficient and effective organisational structure and management … The CDPP will continue to ensure that all prosecutions for terrorism-related offences are appropriately resourced.”
Suits him. The lists of pecuniary interests for the new senators were released this week, and while reports focused on David Leyonhjelm’s attendance at the F1 GP courtesy of tobacco giant Philip Morris and James McGrath’s trip to Israel, we found this item, while small, on Ricky Muir’s declaration, quite touching: