Richard Beasley, SC. (Image: AAP/James Elsby)

Having a good pandemic

The National COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission, the opaque, hand-picked corporate problem solvers lead by former Fortescue Metals Group chief executive, Neville Power, has stumped up $541,750 for “social policy research”:

government tender document

The recipient is Jim Reed, trading as Resolve Strategic. Resolve’s website brags that “Jim is a veteran of 20 elections (with a record of 16 wins and two hung parliaments to just two losses)”.

Indeed Reed is a former group director of research and strategy at C|T Group (formerly Crosby|Textor), the strategy and polling group behind victories for (among many other conservative governments) Boris Johnson, Tony Abbott, David Cameron and Scott Morrison, although he’d left for Newgate Research by the time of Morrison’s victory.

Who’s got thin skin, eh?

Given Adam Creighton has been the most vocal and committed proponent of The Australian‘s death cult approach to the coronavirus, demanding a lift to strict lockdowns, you’d think he’d have been ready for a little pushback.

But the strain is beginning to show. Last night he responded to a critical tweet from Jane Caro:

And yes, for emphasis, he retweeted himself a little later.

This is not just on Twitter. A tipster sent through a Facebook interaction between Creighton and the Oz‘s contributing economic editor Judith Sloan.

Replying to Creighton’s sharing of a piece — which argues that “America’s emergence as a scientific and technological superpower after World War II” is down to the US welcoming “brilliant foreigners to settle in the country … Simon Kuznets in economics, Albert Einstein in physics, the list is endless.” — Sloan makes a fairly mild factual point — and Creighton doesn’t take it well:

Apparently there is not much collegiate feeling between the two. Judith, if this bickering gets too much let us know: we can’t match the salary but you can make as much fun of Creighton as you like.

Better safe than sorry

The Australian had to offer “an unreserved apology to the commissioner of the Ruby Princess inquiry” after a piece calling it a “taxpayer-funded show trial” had it facing possible contempt of court charges.

But of course that’s never the end of it. It had a piece this morning about the lawyer who had the temerity to raise the prospect:

The senior lawyer who raised the spectre of contempt charges against The Australian for its coverage of the Ruby Princess inquiry­ is a frequent critic of the federal government who has published comments on social media accusing the commonwealth of mismanaging both the pandemic and the cruise ship fiasco.

The evidence it has for this — Richard Beasley “retweeted a post by Crikey website journ­alist Bernard Keane accusing the Home Affairs Department of ‘incompete­nce’ and saying it had a long history of bungling matters of national security … one of several by tweets by Beasley where he liked or re­tweeted posts attacking the Morrison government”.

Having learnt one lesson, the Oz makes it clear it doesn’t suggest Beasley’s personal views “compromise his independ­ence nor that of the commission”. But as it always does, the Oz wanted to remind this critic that it’s watching.

You can bet on it

In some ways it’s admirable. The gambling industry, robbed of most of its sporting fodder, has resorted to more creative ways to get punters money:

Sportsbet has added another market to the popular ScoMo press conference offerings.

The online bookmaker has framed a market on the amount of times ScoMo says ‘Australian’ or ‘Australians’ at his next press conference.

… Blue has a stranglehold on top spot, at $2.50, to be his tie colour. No tie is $41.”

Another that caught our eye:

Retiring radio broadcaster Alan Jones is unlikely to return to the airwaves, according to Sportsbet.

The online bookmaker has Jones at $2.50 to return as host and $1.50 not to make a comeback.”

Crazily, there are no rules against setting up bets on such easily controlled elements, although Sportsbet did get into trouble recently for offering a market on the sharemarket.