Tony Abbott and Andrew Hastie. (Image: AAP/Bohdan Warchomij)

Power Deficit Disorder #1

After nearly a year since he was ousted from the seat of Warringah, Tony Abbott’s supporters received an update from the former PM this weekend.

And what would he be talking to us about? His ambitions to head the World Health Organisation? Whether he would indeed run for Eden-Monaro? Nope — it’s in support of his fellow Christian moralist Andrew Hastie.

Andrew Hastie email

Hastie has taken a hard line against China since the outbreak — he has called for “push back”, posting a petition calling for his supporters to “take action on Australian sovereignty”:

“Although few will admit it, the Chinese Communist Party seeks to reshape the global order and Australia’s position in it through foreign interference, ownership of strategic assets and influence operations”.

All of which may end up adding to a headache for current Prime Minister Scott Morrison, as he tries to moderate the rhetoric surrounding China.

We also noted Abbott ends his correspondence with, “I encourage you to support Andrew and I have asked him to email you”. We asked if this meant he’d just handed over his supporters’ contact details to a friend without permission, but he didn’t get back to us before deadline.

Trump Watch

President Donald Trump’s firing of the state department’s internal watchdog inspector general Steve Linick wasn’t exactly quiet, but Trump is incapable of breathing quietly, let alone engaging in a partisan firing purge.

Still, it was late night Friday that the official received his pink slip, which we’re sure has nothing to do with the fact that he was reportedly investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for suspected abuse of office.

By staggering coincidence, Trump keeps finding fault in people appointed to oversee his presidency.

Most famously he gave FBI director James Comey his marching orders while he was conducting an investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

It was a sign of things to come. At the beginning of this month Trump made moves to replace Christi Grimm, principal deputy inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services. Surely it had nothing to do with her report which pointed out disastrous shortages of testing supplies at hospitals as the coronavirus pandemic billowed out across the country.

In April he fired intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson, who had forwarded the Ukraine whistleblower’s report to Congress, which triggered Trump’s impeachment.

A few days later, Trump ousted Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general for the Defense Department, from his job overseeing nearly $2 trillion in coronavirus relief spending.

Crisis? What Crisis

Crikey understands that Virgin Australia’s rewards system Velocity is once again offering domestic flight redemptions. “Virgin Australia domestic reward seat and any seat bookings have re-opened for travel from 1 September 2020 to some of our most popular redemption destinations,” they beam in an email to members.

It’s a uniquely odd time to receive such an offer: the budget airline is currently in administration, and besides, you may have noticed there’s a bit of an interstate/worldwide travel lockdown on account of the whole pandemic thing.

Yet, a tipster sent through that airline’s generous offers, including:

Velocity email

Of course, airlines are possibly the most desperate for some return to normal, but, as our tipster mused, “not sure how an airline that doesn’t have owners can be selling seats”.

Power Deficit Disorder #2

The Australian‘s media section this morning — after you get through three stories that dealt exclusively with News Corp news, and two opinion pieces on News Corp and the ABC and how News Corp is better than the ABC — told us that former prime minister Kevin Rudd wants to continue his post-politics career of weighing in on as many topics as possible by taking on a role as a “shock jock”. He’s been doing it for free for about seven years, why shouldn’t he get paid for it?

Except, you’ve already GOT a job Kevin. He’s president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, a think tank in New York. Apart from what it would do for his credibility in advising governments and business on diplomacy if he talks about his personal experience of the “Murdoch cancer” every morning, has he learnt nothing about the dangers of spreading oneself too thin from his time as PM?

Do you have a tip for us, or have you heard a murmur you think we should know about? Let us know.

Peter Fray

Join us today for just $1 a week.

Get your first 12 weeks for $12. Cancel any time.

Our journalism is funded directly by our members — that’s how we maintain our fierce independence. We don’t rely on advertisers, clickbait or culture war obsessed columnists.

If you like what we do, join us today.

Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW