From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Safe Schools still a target. It looks as if the Safe Schools program is again being used as a way to target conservative members of the Chinese-speaking community. Ms Tips understands that assistant minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar will be hosting an afternoon tea event at Liberal HQ in Melbourne on Sunday, along with former Liberal candidate Karina Okotel and the Chinese Liberals Association, about the Safe Schools anti-bullying program in schools, aimed solely at members of the Chinese community. According to a tipster, the invite, written in Mandarin, asks “what are your children learning at school?” and makes mention of premature sex education, including teaching about homosexuality.

Sukkar has been a vocal critic of the Safe Schools program, writing last year “the Safe Schools Coalition’s radical sex education program exposes Victorian children to very dangerous ideas, practices, and materials”.

The Safe Schools program was used by the Christian Democratic Party in last year’s election campaign as a reason not to vote for the Labor Party in flyers written in Mandarin, as Crikey reported at the time.

We asked Sukkar’s office what the event was and why he was hosting it, but didn’t hear back by deadline.

You can get it passing legislation. The Sydney Institute’s Gerard Henderson loves to comment on what has been said at “gin o’clock”, but the Federation Chamber reached “beer o’clock” just after 6.30pm last night, with Labor infrastructure spokesperson Anthony Albanese taking up the case of Australia’s craft breweries, calling for a reduction in the excise charged to small beer producers, to bring it in line with that charged to the big breweries. After namedropping a local brewery in his electorate, Albo ended the speech thus: “I will end with a quote from Russell Crowe, as his character John Nash in the film A Beautiful Mind: I have respect for beer.”

Deputy Speaker Andrew “Tasty” Hastie was residing over the chamber at the time and even accused Albo of less refined tastes: “I took the member for Grayndler to be a simple man who perhaps went for Tooheys, but there you are!”

Hastie’s infamous drinking partner Tim Wilson also spoke in favour of the motion, because craft beer aside, he hasn’t met an excise he doesn’t want to cut, and he even referred to the Cooper’s video that landed the pair in hot water: “I know, Deputy Speaker Hastie, you like beer from time to time. In fact, I have had one with you on famous and less famous occasions, so I am sure you will be supportive of this motion as well.”

Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon and Brian Mitchell also spoke in favour of supporting craft beer, and the Liberals’ John Alexander rounded out the speeches by referring to the health benefits of beers from his local brewery: “I must say, though, as an elite athlete often competing in the most testing heat, my training made me vitally aware of the importance of maintaining hydration. That is why I always keep handy my favourite fluid loss replacement, Endeavour Pale Ale.”

Waleed Aly, superhero and controller of all Muslims. Has Waleed Aly got special powers we don’t know about? Does Andrew Bolt have the inside word? The News Corp columnist opened his Sky News program last night with a plea to Aly, as a “Muslim leader” to “step up” and “stop being apologists for Islam” because “he is Australia’s most prominent Muslim”. This, after a white man, now identified as Darren Osborne, had driven a van into a crowd outside a mosque in the UK. Last time we checked, apart from being famous, Aly is not actually a cleric. But according to Bolt, he seems to have a special ability to stop terrorism. We still haven’t worked out how that actually works.

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

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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