DON BURKE ACCUSED
A joint Fairfax-ABC investigation has accused former television host Don Burke of indecent assault and bullying during his almost two-decades of prime-time success. Burke denies the allegations and, in a statement, linked them to “a few ex-employees … who bear grudges against me”.
Creator and host of Burke’s Backyard, the horticulturalist turned television personality is accused of groping two women and requesting a young performer audition for the show topless. Burke also faces accusations that he bullied staff, with one woman telling Fairfax and the ABC he was such a demanding boss she became physically ill on one occasion.
The Fairfax-ABC investigation said it had contacted “dozens” of people with similar stories about him. Burke’s statement included character support statements from three former colleagues.
Two days later and the final results of the Queensland state election remain unclear, although the ABC continues to predict a narrow majority for Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor Party.
The winners might not be clear but some losers have emerged.
The state Liberal-National Party endured a 7.8% swing against it as One Nation siphoned off votes and leader Tim Nicholls failed to make an impact ($). Pauline Hanson also comes out of the northern bun-fight with egg on her face. Having predicted a better result than One Nation’s 11 seat haul in 1998, Hanson’s party is likely to win just one, despite winning 13.7% of the vote.
The election is already having ramifications at the federal level, where it has played into tensions between the Liberals and the Nationals over same-sex marriage legislation and a banking commission of inquiry. In a social media post, rogue Nationals MP George Christensen apologised to regional voters for letting them down. “I think a lot of that starts with the Turnbull government, its leadership and its policy direction,” he wrote.
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Canberra: The federal cabinet meets. The Senate is expected to debate same-sex marriage legislation while the lower house has been cancelled for the week.
Sydney: Former prime minister Paul Keating launches a new book on John Curtin, by John Edwards, at the Lowy Institute.
Queensland election 2017: brutal messages from LNP failures — Paul Kelly (The Australian $): “A weak Labor government has almost certainly been returned in another demonstration of the electoral power of the Labor/progressive/union alliance that in current circumstances the conservative or Liberal/National side of politics seems unable to match anywhere outside NSW.”
One Nation fizzer is still bad news for Malcolm Turnbull — Phillip Coorey (Australian Financial Review $): “One Nation’s performance has sparked panic in the ranks of the Queensland federal Nationals and that spells more trouble for Malcolm Turnbull, even though he had little bearing on how people voted on the weekend.”
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF FRIDAY
Cabinet solidarity unplugged as leaky government circles the drain — Bernard Keane: “It’s a mess. And it won’t end on December 7, even if the government is successful and MPs and senators scatter for the holidays. There’s only one way all this ends.”
Manus detainees pawns in a colonial ‘game of chicken’, says Tim Costello — Bhakthi Puvanenthiran: “Costello said that given the deadline for the closure of the camp on October 31 was known for 18 months, the Australian government’s response has drawn a deep sense of betrayal from residents of Manus.”
Greens machine will roll on if Labor doesn’t pull its finger out — Guy Rundle: “Greens voters, apart from students, and leftish older Labor voters, are the professional/knowledge classes, living in those concrete apartments going up all along High Street. Public servants, HR people, analysts, consultants, lawyers of a certain type, content producers. Bike-riders, tram-users, Nova-goers, Netflix-watchers. They are the new middle class.”
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