DAN UNDER FIRE
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is resisting calls for some of his closest and most senior colleagues to resign, after the state Ombudsman found Labor broke parliamentary rules by using staff allowances to employ campaigners ahead of the 2014 election.
According to The Australian ($), Andrews is rejecting calls from the Coalition for the resignations of 11 MPs involved in the scandal, which involved politicians using staff allowances to employ electoral officers as campaigners. In the wake of Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass damning investigative report, released yesterday, Andrews has instead apologised, highlighted the fact that the party has repaid the misused $387,842 in taxpayer funds, and stressed that Glass had also found that MPs involved in the scheme believed it was a legitimate use of funds.
A federal judge has this month ruled against the Coalition government by ordering a 10-year-old refugee child — who had made repeated attempts to kill himself while held on Nauru — be brought to Australia for acute psychiatric care.
The Guardian has exclusively revealed how the Department of Home Affairs sometime this month unsuccessfully fought an injunction to move the boy, referred to in court documents only as “AYX18”, from Nauru to Australia. The child is now in Australia, but once again, human rights lawyers and a federal judge were all that stopped our government from denying psychological treatment to a suicidal child in their care.
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THE LASERS’ EDGE
Australian scientists are working on actual, ground-based lasers to shoot space junk out of the way of satellites.
The ABC reports that Canberra-based EOS Space Systems has been building and developing tracking systems for both satellites and their hated enemy: space junk. An initial step of tracking debris with low-pressure lasers is reportedly set to be followed with more powerful photon pressure systems to blow space junk the hell up (this is not the preferred scientific terminology, of course, and technically the lasers will just nudge the waste out of satellite trajectories. Still cool.)
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
In my view, Fox [News] has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration. Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed.
— Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters leaves his job as a long-time Fox News analyst in a damning message to colleagues. When exactly Fox News was anything approaching a legitimate news outlet is still unclear, but kudos to Peters for leaving in style.
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Auckland: Former US President Barack Obama will give a talk at the New Zealand-United States Council. He will also be given a welcome powhiri at Auckland Government House ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Adelaide: The new Liberal South Australian cabinet will be sworn in at Government House.
Canberra: Senate hearing into impacts of climate change on housing and buildings will include witnesses from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), Housing Industry Association and Australian Building Codes Board.
Perth: The final inquiry report from the troubled Perth Children’s Hospital will be submitted to Legislative Assembly.
Canberra: US Australia Cancer Moonshot Roundtable at the US Embassy, with participants including Anne Kelso, Ian Frazer, Andrew Forrest, Chargé d’Affaires James Carouso and directors from the US National Cancer Institute.
Melbourne: CEDA forum on building smart cities will see leaders from the government, Uber and Data61 discuss data and technology solutions for future city planning.
Bendigo: Labor MP Lisa Chesters will meet with Foodshare to discuss a new refrigerated van paid for with a $20,000 grant.
Sydney: A media preview of Sydney’s Royal Easter Show ahead of tomorrow’s opening.
Melbourne: The High Country’s digital library website will be launched at the former Mansfield Railway Station.
Bathurst: “2 Blokes And A Model Ford Across Australia” charity event begins.
Melbourne: Melbourne Museum to preview its “Vikings: Beyond the Legend” exhibition.
Adelaide: An inaugural air service between Newcastle and Adelaide, flown by FlyPelican, will arrive at Adelaide Airport with a water cannon salute and official welcome/interviews in terminal with passengers including the Newcastle Jets A-League.
Wellington: Parliament’s environment select committee will conduct an annual review of the Predator Free NZ 2050 plan.
I’m following the footsteps of my Aboriginal ancestors, the first astronomers — Kirsten Banks (The Guardian / IndigenousX): “Indigenous culture is rich with astronomical knowledge. I started hearing about Kamilaroi and Boorong astronomy while training at Sydney Observatory and was absolutely blown away. As soon as I learnt just a little bit about our ancestors’ complex knowledge, I knew I had to learn more. I was hooked. I didn’t always know what country I came from, but I always knew I was Aboriginal. When I started learning about Kamilaroi and Boorong astronomy, I had a driving force within me pushing me to learn more about my culture. That’s when I did some digging into the family background and discovered that I am Wiradjuri.”
Pop stars and the party faithful: don’t believe the hype — John Warhurst (Sydney Morning Herald): “Party faithful 1 bt Pop stars 0. That appears to be the score in the battle between the major and minor parties in state elections this month. Toss in the scoreline from the Queensland state elections last year and the major parties seem to be on a roll. Labor also held off the Greens in the Batman by-election to complete the picture.”
CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY
Facebook’s privacy invasion is the business model of the entire internet — Bernard Keane: “It took a concealed camera, some loose talk from the now-suspended Cambridge Analytica CEO and lurid references to Ukrainian women to get people to focus on the issue of the role played by data analytics in political campaigning. Until recently, that subject has primarily been of interest to privacy advocates and those worried about the steady development of what we used to call a surveillance state but is now more properly called a surveillance civilisation.”
Google to give money to small news outlets through ‘news initiative’ — Emily Watkins: “Google has announced it will dedicate about one day’s worth of its revenue to help turn around the fortunes of the news media. Overnight in New York, the web giant announced US$300 million over the next three and a half years, under what it’s calling the Google News Initiative — an umbrella for a series of projects it says will help news outlets to drive subscriptions, be more efficient, combat fake news, and increase media literacy.”
Dutton’s white farmer campaign represents a vicious factional play — Guy Rundle: “The campaign to ‘rescue’ white farmers in the republic of South Africa is becoming the most extraordinary internal collapse of the right for a long time. It’s disgusting too, but we’re accustomed to that now. The racism of it is so bare, astounding and vicious that it will eat through what remains of Australian liberal-conservatism like acid — is already doing so. But is it a new level of depravity? Or an utterly cynical campaign by Peter Dutton to retain preselection, and his marginal seat of Dickson?”
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