Pressure is mounting for Victorian cabinet minister Adem Somyurek to step down and potentially face criminal investigation over allegations of industrial-scale branch stacking, after a joint Age-60 Minutes investigation released recordings of the Labor powerbroker handing Nick McLennan — a political adviser to another minister Marlene Kairouz — over $2000 and multiple fake membership forms.
While The Age reports that Somyurek has denied allegations of branch stacking, Victorian Liberals and Greens figures have called for him to be stood down and Labor’s Kevin Rudd and Doug Cameron have called for internal investigations. The paper has also called for Somyurek to be expelled from the party, while Premier Dan Andrews is expected to address the matter today.
BUT LNPSPILL JUST SOUNDS WRONG: After damaging internal polling was leaked to News Corp papers, The Australian ($) reports that Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington has slammed “backroom bully boys” — thought to include party president Dave Hutchinson, former premier Campbell Newman and former LNP president Bruce McIver — allegedly agitating for a coup.
ANOTHER US POLICE SHOOTING
As US Black Lives Matter rallies enter their third week, CNN reports that Atlanta’s police chief has resigned and a Wendy’s has burnt to the ground after a white police officer shot and killed a 27-year-old black man, Rayshard Brooks, following an altercation on Friday.
In other updates from the now-global movement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pleaded with protesters to stop after announcing a new reform package, and far-right protesters have clashed with both police and BLM demonstrations in London — in part, the BBC reports, to “protect” a boarded-up statue of Winston Churchill.
Back home, Australia saw a police officer appear to flash a white power “OK” signal at a Sydney rally; statues of Captain Cook, John Howard and Tony Abbott were either fenced up or, embarrassingly, guarded by police on horseback and volunteer statue protectors; and The Daily Telegraph’s Peter Gleeson deployed some ’60s-era racism against “aboriginals and negroes” (sic).
BUT WILL THEY CALL IT TAPECUTTER?
According to the ABC and The Australian ($), Scott Morrison will today announce 15 “national priority projects” to be fast-tracked under streamlined state and federal planning and assessment laws (“red tape”). The projects are set to include metro rail, dams and mines, and will likely — ahead of a new report into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act — act as prelude for more cuts to environmental regulation (“green tape”).
Morrison will announce the plan along with $1.5 billion in infrastructure funding at a CEDA virtual State of the Nation event, while Anthony Albanese will also make the case for a post-COVID recovery centred on renewable energy, Indigenous constitutional reform, and, according to The Guardian, a new national skills body and progressive taxation system.
OTHER FEDERAL TIDBITS: Elsewhere, the Oz ($) reports that delayed rollouts mean those submarines will require $3.5 billion refits, The New Daily has received only incomplete evidence from Australia Post over their vaunted decline in letter volume, and The Guardian reports that Stuart Robert, Dan Tehan and Simon Birmingham charged taxpayers more than $4500 for an overnight trip for a Nine-hosted Liberal party fundraiser.
STATE VIRUS WRAP: VICTORIANS FREE AT LAST
- Yesterday, the Victorian government announced that business and venues, including bars, cinemas, and libraries, can host up to 50 seated people from next Monday, June 22. The state government also announced:
- a new targeted testing program to focus on Local Government Areas with low testing rates, communities with high case numbers, high-risk workforces and vulnerable groups; and
- $9.8 million in funding to extend the current emergency accommodation stays for people experiencing homelessness, and plan their pathway out into more stable long-term housing.
- The NSW government updated their plan to expand indoor venues’ capacity from Wednesday, July 1 to now be determined by the “one person per 4 square metre” rule, meaning no upper limit.
- Finally, after non-urgent surgeries were halted in March, Queensland yesterday announced a quarter of a billion dollars in extra elective surgery funding.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
We are going to have so much fucking fun with these people. I’m going to take Cranbourne branch off them. We’re gonna bring all our Young Labor people that we’ve just got … real little fucking slimy little fuckers, right … little passive aggressive fucking gay kids…
Even without all the alleged branch stacking, those recordings from the Victorian Local Government and Small Business Minister are a great reminder that homophobia and misogyny know no political affiliation.
Quiet Australians good, noisy ones bad: Morrison’s double standards make it clear whose lives matter most
“It’s becoming very hard to understand the tangled logic of the Morrison government, its media cheerleaders, and business, over remaining lockdown restrictions.
“On the one hand, recalcitrant states — mainly Labor states — should end border closures and start opening up their tourism sectors. ‘We need to get planes flying around Australia,’ Scott Morrison says. ‘If you want to see planes flying around Australia, we need to open up these domestic borders.’”
“For the last three months, Australians have been lab rats. Since the coronavirus hit our shores, we’ve become unwitting participants in a perverse social and scientific experiment that would probably never get ethics approval.
“By closely monitoring these population-wide experiments, we’ve learned an awful lot. We know that social distancing, avoiding gatherings, spending months in dismal hibernation is probably the most effective way to keep the virus under control.”
“But the fact is, either through slavery, servitude, exploitation or stolen wages, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders — and men kidnapped from Melanesia — played a massive role in developing Australia into the wealthy country it is today.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Targeting police will do little to stop Aboriginal deaths in custody — Don Weatherburn (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Police treatment of Aboriginal people and Aboriginal over-representation in prison are two distinct issues requiring different responses. The former requires change in the behaviour of police. The latter requires an Aboriginal-led government-supported effort to improve Indigenous outcomes in child welfare, health, education and employment.”
Why is Bernard Collaery’s trial a secret? ($) — Steve Bracks (The Australian): “I suspect a primary motivation for the excessive secrecy surrounding Collaery’s prosecution is to protect former prime minister John Howard and Alexander Downer, who could both be called to give evidence about why the spying was authorised. I can understand why they would be uncomfortable seeking to justify the bugging in open court.”
Australia’s media industry had a chance to fix its race problem. It blew it. — Osman Faruqi (Medium): “The biggest issue when it comes to racism in Australia, and this applies across society as well as to the media, is denial that it actually exists. Very, very few senior managers, editors and journalists understand how structural racism operates on a societal level, across the media as a class, and in the organisations they run and work in.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Both Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese will speak on day one of CEDA’s two-day virtual State of the Nation forum, to be followed by a series of panel events with government, industry and unions representatives.
As part of Refugee Week 2020, South Australia-based Eritrean storyteller Manal Younus will host virtual Wheeler Centre event Words Without Borders: An Evening of Poetry and Spoken Word. The event will feature storytellers from Australia’s refugee communities including Lujayn Hourani, Hani Abdile, Flora Chol, Awale Ahmed and Marziya Mohammadi.
The NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess will hold a public hearing.
Queen’s Birthday public holiday.