From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Did Christensen help the turtles? Before the election, GetUp referred George Christensen to the AFP after the far-right MP promised a $12,000 donation to the Eco Barge turtle sanctuary in Queensland if he were re-elected. GetUp claimed that the promised donation might breach anti-bribery provisions in law.

Christensen on Friday gloated that the AFP had dropped the investigation: “I guess they agreed that turtles can’t vote.” Christensen had already withdrawn his donation, but now that he’s been re-elected and the investigation dropped, people have been asking the member for Dawson whether he intends to honour his original promise.

“That’s a private matter,” Christensen has responded.

Julia Gillard, time traveller. One Nation Senator-elect Malcolm Roberts appears to pride himself on his ability to research, but he might need a bit of help when it comes to 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. On Insiders yesterday, the sovereign citizen himself claimed that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act was a dastardly plan by Julia Gillard to get Andrew Bolt:

“This was all done, as I understand it, to nobble Andrew Bolt, and Julia Gillard did that. So we have to remove this so that we can have a recent — a decent discussion on the actual issues.”

Interesting that Julia Gillard had the foresight back in 1995 before she was in Parliament to “nobble Bolt”.

Want the real origins? From our “research” (i.e. a quick Google search) …

From the Eatock v Bolt decision:

“Part IIA [which includes 18C] was inserted into the Racial Discrimination Act in 1995.”

From the Human Rights Commission:

“Sections 18C and 18D were introduced in response to recommendations of major inquiries including the National Inquiry into Racist Violence and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. These inquiries found that racial hatred and vilification can cause emotional and psychological harm to their targets, and reinforce other forms of discrimination and exclusion.”

Bolt’s case is one of dozens that have used 18C in the past two decades. Ms Tips thinks if Julia Gillard had a time machine, she’d probably do something different rather than go back in time to legislate to hurt Bolt’s feelings. There’s a day in 2010 that probably could have gone a bit better.

Anglican CEO now at ABS. The Australian Bureau of Statistics, under siege over the census, has been indirectly dragged into the child abuse royal commission. Last week, the commission heard evidence from an Anglican priest and mother of an abuse survivor, and the survivor himself, about the unwillingness of the Anglican church’s Newcastle diocese to take her complaints about the sexual assault of her son seriously. The witness gave evidence to the commission of being told that Bruce Hockman, the Newcastle diocese’s then-business manager, had said “oh, we don’t have to worry about this case. It’s not going to get to court” in relation to the abuse claims. Hockman is now a senior ABS executive, heading the Macroeconomic Statistics Division. Hockman’s ABS biography notes that he was at one time CEO of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle.

South Australian public service changes. The South Australian government has appointed ex-Channel Seven news director Terry Plane to the difficult role of director of strategic communications for the newly created Department of Child Protection. A tipster tells us that some in the public service were surprised by the appointment, because the position wasn’t advertised, and there wasn’t a selection process. Plane left Channel Seven at the start of the year, with InDaily reporting in January that it was a surprise move:

InDaily understands Plane was told this morning by station boss Tony Davison that his position had been made redundant, effective immediately.

“Veteran Today Tonight producer Graham Archer will oversee news and current affairs.

“Plane, a wily news veteran in his third stint at Seven, has helped his team to a dominant position in the ratings.”

Plane’s appointment was reported in The Adelaide Advertiser on Saturday, which also mentioned that the new department still doesn’t have a chief executive. Our tipster says: “Apparently there’s an international search on for a new chief executive … but clearly there was no need to search as far for the rather important role above.” With royal commissioner Margaret Nyland’s report and recommendations about South Australia’s scandal-plagued child protection system due to be released today, perhaps there was more urgency when it came to getting someone in the communications role to manage the fallout from the report — which runs to 850 pages and makes 260 recommendations.

Trump here. The Twitter feed of Donald Trump is an interesting read at best, and at worst it is terrifying. While it has long been believed that Trump is not responsible for all his tweets, this Twitter user has cracked the pattern — tweets from Trump himself come from an Android phone (and are likely to use the phrase “crooked Hillary”), while more reasonable tweets from staffers are tweeted from an iPhone.

trump tweets trump tweets 2

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

Peter Fray

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