Benalla Ensign foots the bill, Kelly O’Dwyer avoids the question, and the story behind a powerful photo gets explained, plus other media tidbits of the day.

The cost of Mirabella defo case. The Benalla Ensign is facing a $300,000 bill after losing a defamation case brought by former MP Sophie Mirabella. The Victorian County Court awarded Mirabella legal fees of $118,600 on top of $175,000 in damages last week. Mirabella sued the local weekly paper over an article published during the 2016 election campaign that incorrectly claimed Mirabella had pushed fellow candidate Cathy McGowan out of a photo opportunity. 

Answering the question. Like getting blood from a stone, or good performance from a retail super fund: just how annoyed is Minister for Attacking Industry Super Funds Kelly O’Dwyer about that Productivity Commission report? Sky’s David Speers interviewed her yesterday and began by asking: “not-for-profit funds as a group have systematically outperformed for-profit funds and that it’s the retail funds, a lot of them bank owned, that dominate the tale of underperformance. Do you agree with that finding that industry funds are on average outperforming retail funds?”

O’Dwyer didn’t want to answer. “There have been many very strong performing industry funds,” she acknowledged. But she refused to say that she agreed they’d outperformed retail funds. Speers wasn’t deterred. Seven times he asked O’Dwyer whether she agreed. At one stage, O’Dwyer suggested Speers interview the PC about its report, to no avail. He then asked O’Dwyer whether she agreed that the report found the main problem wasn’t with default funds (most of which are industry funds) but with workers who’d chosen non-default funds (mainly retail funds). O’Dwyer refused to go there either, and refused five times to answer that question, suggesting to Speers that “you actually read the report”.

“I am reading from the report,” he replied.

We’d offer a link so you can see for yourself but, as of writing, the transcript hadn’t yet appeared on O’Dwyer’s website. — Bernard Keane

Story behind the picture. An Irish photographer has told the story behind a picture that has come to symbolise the historic referendum to repeal anti-abortion legislation. The image of Irish women protesting the law in London was taken by Alastair Moore for the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign in 2016.

He told Indy100:

I brought my camera to the protest at the Irish embassy in London by chance. The crowd grew quickly at the meeting spot and the organisers lined all the women up double file with their luggage to represent the Irish women who have to travel to the UK for abortions. They set off on a march around the block, passing the embassy. When they started moving, the sound of the luggage wheels on the footpath was deafening. It was incredibly impactful — it had this feeling of a growing momentum and anger at injustice, but it was so civil. They did one lap of the block and I realised I had to catch a shot of them coming around the corner. It wasn’t until I got home that I realised that every single woman had the same determined look on their face. A really powerful scene to witness.

Russian journalist killed. Exiled Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko has been shot dead outside his home in Kiev. He has previously said he left Russia after receiving threats over his reports about a crashed Russian military plane, and was a critic of the Kremlin.

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Seven’s night in total people, number one in 25 to 54s and 18 to 49s, while Ten won 18 to 39s. Ten says it won 25 to 54 and was the most watched network for viewers under 55 for the period from 6pm to 10.30 pm. Masterchef was the most watched non-news program, with 1.20 million, while Seven’s House Rules battled on with 1.17 million. Nine was left right out for the second night running as the double eps of Young Sheldon failed to crack the million national viewer mark — 927,000 for the first and 890,000 for the second). 

In regional markets another win to Seven with the 6pm News on top with 613,000 viewers, followed Seven News/Today Tonight with 503,000, Home and Away with 450,000, House Rules with 449,000, and the 5.30pm part of The Chase with 397,000. Read the rest on the Crikey website.

Peter Fray

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