IT AIN’T EASY …

A senior Western Australian Greens figure has publicly called for Senator Richard Di Natale to resign as parliamentary leader, citing “untold cultural damage” and a silencing of dissent within the party since Di Natale won leadership in 2015.

As The Australian reports, former Greens WA co-convenor Grahame Bowland published a scathing Facebook post in the wake of the Greens’ surprise Batman byelection loss over the weekend. Bowland has hit out at Di Natale’s “explicitly centrist” policies and his attack on dissenters within the party, notably an announced “purge” of members responsible for leaking against Batman candidate Alex Bhathal.

SOFTLY, SOFTLY ON GENOCIDE

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to work out a resettlement option for displaced Rohingya people within the region, in a move criticised by Amnesty International as a “softly softly” approach to a humanitarian crisis. 

According to The Guardian, Turnbull and Suu Kyi discussed the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya minority by the Myanmar military, described by the UN as bearing “the hallmarks of genocide”, during the Myanmar leader’s tour of Canberra following last weekend’s ASEAN Special Summit in Sydney. Following protests and an unsuccessful attempt by Australian lawyers to sue her over crimes against humanity (see: diplomatic immunity, à la Die Hard 2), Suu Kyi has pulled out of today’s planned appearance at the Lowy Institute, citing illness.

AND THE FREE SPEECH AWARD GOES TO …

Australian actor and LGBTIQ campaigner Magda Szubanski has taken out one of Australia’s top free speech honours, with mechanical engineer/writer/Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied and detained Manus journalist Behrouz Boochani also winning awards.

Announced yesterday by human rights organisation Liberty Victoria, Szubanski will receive the annual Voltaire Award for her campaign work during last year’s marriage equality postal survey. Boochani, who has regularly reported on events on Manus Island since being detained in 2013, will be honoured in absentia with the Empty Chair Award. Finally, Abdel-Magied’s public activism for young Muslim women issues earned her the Young Voltaire Award.

That sound you just heard is 1 million enraged News Corp columnists hammering their keyboards to dust and/or sourcing IPA spokespeople.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

“We are seeing climate change in our everyday lives have an impact on the risk of bushfires to our communities. We can’t any longer be complacent about bushfires once the end of summer comes around.”

— Senator Richard Di Natale calls a spade a spade after an extended bushfire season led to blazes across Victoria and NSW over the weekend. He unsurprisingly managed to pop a few monocles in Parliament while he was at it.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Public school lobby use blistering letter to slam Bill Shorten’s ‘irrational and illogical’ promise to Catholics

‘It’s on’: Melbourne ports dispute set to escalate

Everyone backing Turnbull on energy? Negative ($)

Shop gives away coffees as CBA’s payment terminals fail

Rain relief to snap warm spell but parts of NSW may cop heavy falls

Barnaby Joyce’s estranged wife Natalie urged to run against him at next election by Australia First Party ($)

Fourth package explosion in Austin, Texas possibly detonated by trip wire

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney: Two-day ASIC annual forum concludes.

Canberra: The Royal Australian Air Force will be conducting its biennial Air Power Conference, with speakers including Chief of Air Force Leo Davies and Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne.

Alice Springs: Two-day Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar begins, featuring NT Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Ken Vowles and 200 delegates discussing the Northern Territory’s resources potential.

Bendigo: Labor’s Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and local Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters will tour local business Industrial Conveying Australia and discuss the region’s NBN rollout.

Sydney: Judge will deliver verdict on the Geoffrey Rush vs News Corp suppression application.

Melbourne: City of Melbourne meeting, with the Future Melbourne Committee.

Hobart: The Australian Antarctic Division will discuss information around the Totten Glacier’s faster than expected melting and flow.

Melbourne: Controversial Australian film Terror Nullius will hold its world premiere at ACMI.

Sydney: Climate scientists, risk assessors and insurers will be discussing the increasing likelihood of natural disasters, specifically in light of last weekend’s cyclone and bushfires, at the Actuaries Institute’s Catastrophe Risk Seminar.

Melbourne: LEGO model exhibition “Brickman Awesome” opens at Melbourne Museum, set to feature a NASA SLS rocket, the tallest LEGO model in the Southern Hemisphere, and a life-size Toyota Camry.

Hobart: School lifesavers will compete in the High School Surf League competition in the north part of the state before continuing from the south end on March 22.

Melbourne: Australian racing driver Daniel Ricciardo will mark his first appearance ahead of this Sunday’s Grand Prix by launching a three-piece collection of swim shorts.

Melbourne: Banks royal commission continues.

Sydney: Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not be speaking at the Lowy Institute.  

THE COMMENTARIAT

Turnbull should not have ignored Darwin after Cyclone Marcus ($) — Ashley Manicaros (NT News): “It is a national disgrace the Prime Minister could not find 10 minutes to ring the Chief Minister Michael Gunner in the wake of Cyclone Marcus to check that everything was okay with his citizens. Perhaps even offer some national help — a plane load of chainsaws or to find linesmen to help reconnect powerlines, or to start a deeper discussion about the undergrounding of power.”

Australia’s obscene dividend imputation debate about who is poor ($) — Richard Denniss (Australian Financial Review) : “All poor people have low taxable incomes, but many people with low taxable incomes are a long way from being poor. And while the debate about the fairness of abolishing cash refunds for ‘spare’ tax credits has conflated poor people and those with good accountants, the two groups are quite easy to distinguish.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The wash-up and wash-out: why South Australia turned into such a damp squibGuy Rundle: “Well, South Australia, in the end what a fizzer you proved to be. As m’colleague William Bowe makes clear, it was the latest in a series of fizzers, after Tasmania and Batman, in which insurgency was checked, and power returned to the norm. Batman was a two-way slugathon; in Tasmania, the far greater prospect of an upset was rendered unlikely by the shambolic performance of the Jacqui Lambie Network.”

Greens lose byelection and policy credibility — Bernard Keane: “Worse for the Greens, though, was the ill-judged decision last week when Richard Di Natale tried to exploit Labor’s dividend imputation refundability policy and appeal to wealthy retirees by posing as the guardian of their shareholdings and tax handouts. Di Natale subsequently appealed to Liberal voters to back the Greens while speaking of ‘Bill Shorten’s attack on so many people in this community’. For the party that has — particularly since the arrival of Peter Whish-Wilson — bolstered its economic and fiscal credentials and advanced the economic debate by championing policies such as negative gearing reform, later adopted by Labor, it was an instant shredding of carefully-won policy credibility.”

If the US data gathering stories worried you, we have some bad news…Charlie Lewis: “Without you giving your consent Australian political parties have access to your name, age, address and occupation as recorded on the electoral roll. In addition, parties can purchase information from Sensis and if you have interactions with electoral offices, or if you’ve told a party your voting intentions, that’s also stored.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

 

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today and get your first 12 weeks for $12.

Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
JOIN NOW