NEWSPOLL PUTS JOYCE ON NOTICE

Figures in the latest Newspoll show that the majority of Australians want Barnaby Joyce to resign as leader of the Nationals, after news of his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion broke earlier this month.

Conducted by The Australian, the poll of 1632 voters across both urban and regional Australia found that 65% believe that Joyce should resign as Nationals leader, including 21% of voters who believe that Joyce should resign from parliament altogether.

The Joyce affair, which has dominated parliament for almost a fortnight now, has taken its toll on the Coalition as well. Since the February 4 Newspoll, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s personal approval rating has dropped five points to 40%, or just seven points ahead of Bill Shorten, and the Coalition has fallen a point in the two-party preferred vote to trail Labor 47-53, its 27th loss in a row. 

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Joyce believes he can still work with Turnbull. Joyce has also hit out at journalists prepared to run “any story”, and insists he had not misused travel entitlements during a January 2017 trip to the Sunshine Coast with Campion. 

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NATS SHOOT THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT

Nationals MP George Christensen has been referred to police for posting a photo of himself holding a handgun to social media on Saturday along with the caption, “You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky, greenie punks?”.

The Age reports that the Facebook post, which came just days after the Florida school shooting and has since been deleted, was reported to police by Stop Adani campaigner Ben Pennings, who has been subjected to online death threats over his environmental activism, as well as Greens leader Richard Di Natale. Since criticising the post, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has received a sexually violent email (content warning).

Queensland Police have since announced that Christensen has not committed an offence, although one wonders if his gun stunt will now receive the same level of condemnation from politicians and journalists as, say, Yassmin Abdel-Magied‘s seven-word ANZAC Day message.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

“Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

— US President Donald Trump once again tastelessly links the Florida shooting to an irrelevant personal gripe on Twitter yesterday, this time replacing the children of immigrants with the FBI’s Russia-Trump inquiry. Last Friday, the FBI just so happened to have charged 13 Russians with allegedly meddling in the 2016 election.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

‘Enhanced’ flu vaccines made available after last year’s ‘horrific’ season left 1,000 people dead

Nauru refugee caught between her son and ‘high heart attack risk’

Cyclone Kelvin brings heavy rains, flooding to northern WA

Iran plane crash: All 66 people on board feared dead

Push to allow sex abuse compo to criminals ($)

More Nauru refugees depart for US as attack on Manus provokes panic

Emissions increases approved by regulator may wipe out $260m of Direct Action cuts

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Adelaide: SA Water electricians to strike for four hours over a new enterprise agreement.

Hobart: PolTas Economic and Political Overview will feature appearances from Liberal Treasurer Peter Gutwein, opposition finance spokesman Scott Bacon MP, Michael Blythe, and Melinda Cilento.

Canberra: Inquiries into the 2016 election and dual-citizenship issue per section 44 of the constitution.

Canberra: Official opening of Lockheed Martin Australia House; likely feature the Defence Minister Marise Payne, or Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.

Dunedin, New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to speak at Otago University Convocation Ceremony.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Public housing sell-off is a raw deal for everybody in Victoria — Samantha Ratnam (The Age): “Last year, an emergency housing provider said something I’ve never heard in my 15 years as a social worker: ‘We are so sorry, but all we can offer is a sleeping bag.’ This was in response to our desperate attempts to find a bed for a client who was facing homelessness. Housing services were hitting a breaking point.”

Four years after Reza Barati’s death, we still have no justice — Behrouz Boochani (The Guardian): “It has been four years since the Manus prison riot of February 2014. It led to the killing of Reza Barati. Every year on the anniversary of his death refugee rights activists from different cities around Australia hold memorial ceremonies and join us as we mourn for Reza. Even though four years have passed, the killers have yet to be brought to justice, and there are still no clear answers to the fundamental questions concerning the riot.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF FRIDAY

Tormented Turnbull had little choice on bonk ban — Bernard Keane: “After enduring probably the worst question time any government has had in living memory yesterday, Malcolm Turnbull needed to do something about Barnaby Joyce. He’d already twisted his deputy’s arm into taking leave next week, thus removing the national and international embarrassment of having Joyce as its acting leader. But after question time, something bigger was needed. Much bigger.”

Can we believe Jim Molan’s claim he’s not a member of the ‘hard right’? — Irfan Yusuf: “In his first speech, Jim Molan declared: ‘Those journos who call me a member of the NSW Hard Right have never met a member of the New South Wales Hard Right’. I haven’t met Jim Molan but I have known and worked with many in the NSW Hard Right. Make no mistake. Jim speaks like them. He has written for Quadrant, for an anthology of essays called Making Australia Right: Where To From Here? edited by James Allan of the UQ Law School and for the Liberal Party’s hopeless attempt to mimic GetUp!.”

Why is the government withholding letters Abbott and Turnbull sent to the Queen?William Summers: “Last month the Information Commissioner (IC) ruled that 13 letters to the Queen from Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott must be released to the public within 28 days. The ruling was the result of a long dispute over a Freedom of Information request I submitted in 2016 asking for all letters sent by the Australian Prime Minister to Her Maj since January 1, 2013. The 28-day deadline passed this week. And guess what: no letters.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

Liz
North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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