From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

To the matter porn. Late last week, the New South Wales parliamentary committee examining the sexualisation of children released its long-awaited report. Perhaps owing to the more conservative members of the committee — such as Damien Tudehope, Greg Donnelly and Paul Green — the committee’s report recommends the New South Wales Attorney-General “advocate for the adoption of opt-in internet filtering” through the Council of Australian Governments.

The model they want to adopt is the UK standard, which makes people register with their telcos if they want unfettered access to the internet. Of course, the filter is also easily avoidable by using a virtual private network (VPN). But calls for such a filter will likely continue as religious groups like the Australian Christian Lobby — which also complains about “censorship” via anti-discrimination laws — continue to lobby to force people onto a register to access adult websites online.

Look out for a similar report to be tabled in federal Parliament on Wednesday from the inquiry set up by Labor Senator Joe Bullock in one of the only things he did in his time in Parliament. But even if it is recommended that opt-out internet filtering be adopted, the government has absolutely no appetite for pursuing it. And apart from anything else, it would be difficult for the government to run a censorship campaign while also pursuing its big “freedom of speech” issue: 18C.

The most recent documents released under FOI about it suggest that the controversial filtering option is not on the table, even though the government flirted with the policy idea for two days in opposition before the election in 2013.

Culleton’s last stand. One Nation Senator Rod Culleton will face the High Court today as it sits at the Court of Disputed Returns to rule on whether or not Culleton was eligible to be elected as a senator for Western Australia. Culleton has released this submission to the court on his website, claiming:

“now we are in the High Court on one matter on referral from the Senate, all the grievances, I have with the Government of Australia can and must be aired and all such remedies shall be granted to the respondent as it appears to be just.”

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It gets weirder:

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The full submission, which has 24 points, can be read here and you really should read the whole thing, we can’t explain it.

Fifty shades of white. Writer Anand Giridharadas has taken exception to the claim that all of Donald Trump’s senior staffers are all white men and decided to find out exactly which shades of pink (and orange) Trump and his team are. Between “Antique Brass” and “My Pink” you’ll see there’s actually quite a bit of diversity.

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Latham, the ‘outsider’. In a bold programming move, Sky News has moved to address the dearth of former politicians and middle-aged white men commentating on politics by giving Ross Cameron, Mark Latham and Rowan Dean their own show. As reported in The Australian today, the three will host a new panel show called Outsiders on a Sunday morning at 10am, where they aim to be an antidote to the ABC’s Insiders, hosted by Barrie Cassidy.

We’re not sure in what way two ex-politicians, one a former leader of a major party, and an editor of a popular weekly publication are outsiders, but apparently the show was Latham’s idea, and we know he considers himself to be slighted as a resident of western Sydney. Latham also predicts that the program will have “unprecedented access” to the White House while Trump is president, which sounds like the opposite of being an outsider. We’ll be sticking with Offsiders for our post-Insiders viewing, thank you very much.

Feeding the chooks. Over in South Australia, Premier Jay Weatherill has told Channel Seven that he is investigating a “possible price drop” for beer sold at the Adelaide Oval at this week’s Test match between Australia and South Africa. According to reports in the Adelaide Advertiser, a beer at the ground will cost $9.20, up from $8.90 last year. For comparison, a beer at Melbourne’s MCG is $7.60. If Weatherill manages to influence prices, he’s onto a surefire vote winner (and a good distraction from the controversy surrounding foul-mouthed Water Minister Ian Hunter).

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Peter Fray

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