(Image: AAP/Peter Rae)

Dan Andrews’ police state, Julian Assange waits on a phone call, and brands love saying they hate racism (while doing racist things). Catch up with all the latest tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.

Lora Norder

This morning Victorian Premier Dan Andrews warned people planning to protest against police treatment of Indigenous Australians this weekend: “If it is not peaceful, it is not a protest.”

He added: “Victoria Police will not tolerate violence.”

There's more to Crikey than you think.

Get more and save 50%.

Subscribe now

But what could Indigenous people in the “most progressive state in Australia” have to get angry about? It’s nothing like America — apart from the rate of Indigenous incarceration which has steadily increased under Andrews’ watch, the insidious militarisation of Victorian police, the expansion of policing roles and last year’s $1.8 billion prison expansion fund?

While the grotesque response of, say, New South Wales minister for police and human scandal factory David Elliott to heavy-handed policing of an Indigenous teenager would surprise no one, it’s worth interrogating Andrews, who frequently governs contrary to his more “progressive” rhetoric.

This is now, that was also now

As a subplot to the ruptures across the United States yesterday, Channel Seven journalist Amelia Brace and camera operator Tim Myers were among the many journalists attacked by riot police trying to clear the way for a presidential photo op. Prime Minister Scott Morrison — quite rightly — got swiftly on the blower to sort it out.

“The Prime Minister has informed us he’s been in touch with our embassy in Washington to have the matter urgently investigated,” the network’s news and public affairs boss Craig McPherson told The Australian.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Julian Assange’s hearing continues — although the man himself is too unwell to front court. We’re sure the Walkley-winning publisher facing 170 years in prison if extradited to the US would have loved a similar call at literally any point in the past decade.

The commissioner and Lawyer X

Shane Patton is the new chief commissioner of Victoria Police. According to journalist John Silvester’s extremely positive column reacting to the news (“He did what was right and would stare down those who wanted to lead him down dark paths”): “The search for [Graham] Ashton’s replacement was worldwide, [but] the smart money from the start was on a local and the smartest was on Patton.”

The problem with looking local is that practically anyone who has held any position of power in Victoria Police in the past few decades is going to find it hard to avoid at least proximity to a scandal.

While Patton had the gumption to go against his former boss during the Nicola Gobbo/Lawyer X royal commission, he was also part of efforts to keep the issue under wraps. In 2016 he went so far as to tell the director of public prosecutions — who had tried to tell several of Gobbo’s clients their convictions may have been unsafe — that court suppression orders prohibited him even using the term “Lawyer X”.

Corporate compassion

We could fill a daily column with examples of huge brands hopping on the social justice bandwagon, suddenly attaching their voice to a hashtag that just happens to be attracting the most eyeballs on Twitter and Instagram — and in some ways perhaps we should be glad that corporations see that as the way to greater profits.

But one or two really do stand out.

For example, L’Oreal’s sudden commitment to dismantling state-led oppression and racism:

The news that “speaking out is worth it” must come as a shock to Munroe Bergdorf. In August 2017 she became the first openly transgender model to front a L’Oréal UK campaign.

Following a now-infamous neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Bergdorf posted (and later deleted) her exhaustion at “the racial violence of white people”. For her troubles she was ditched by the brand by September 1.

Then there’s Arsenal whose commitment to racial equality doesn’t seem to extend to China’s oppressed Uyghur minority, or at least those who speak out for them.

Finally, we’ll present this without comment:

Have you got a tip for CrikeyLet us know.

There's more to Crikey than you think.

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

And now you get more from your membership than ever before.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
Get more and save 50%