Witness K Bernard Collaery
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Labor’s Graham Perrett once again refuses to toe the line, Cory Bernardi’s thoughts on The Godfather, and Christian Porter’s double standards on surveillance. Plus other tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.

Abandoning the unity ticket One of the worst aspects of Attorney-General Christian Porter’s vexatious pursuit of Bernard Collaery and Witness K is the federal Labor Party’s near-complete silence.

Given the ALP’s own role in this crime, it’s perhaps unsurprising. But some ALP members have refused to be complicit. We’ve reported before that Queensland MP Graham Perrett has spoken out, while NSW state Labor MP Paul Lynch has led that branch’s condemnation of it.

We’re happy to report Canberra MP Alicia Payne last Friday joined their ranks, asking, “why is my constituent Bernard Collaery facing charges in a closed court without the protection of open justice and without public scrutiny?”

Perrett also returned to the issue yesterday in parliament, saying it was troubling “that the trial is being held in secret”, and that “the attorney-general is pursuing Bernard Collaery at all”.

With the ABC’s flagship programs (finally) taking a greater interest in the scandal, bit by bit the government’s attempted cover-up is being challenged.

An offer we can refuse A few weeks back, former Liberal senator turned Australian Conservatives leader turned ex-both of those things launched “Cory Bernardi Confidential”, a paywalled (!) website running alongside his ongoing “Weekly Dose of Common Sense” newsletter. Yesterday, he shared his insights on The Godfather. Here’s a taste:

We guess he’s saving the good stuff for the paywall? Unless the thing Cory was keeping confidential was the fact that, without hateful culture warring to animate him, he writes like the most basic guy in your office started a blog.

Welcome to the police state Back in parliament, in a half-smart attempt to capitalise on the downfall of Adem Somyurek, Christian Porter had a Dorothy Dixer asked yesterday, referencing the apparent placement of recording equipment in the office of Labor’s Anthony Byrne:

I think that everyone in this parliament would agree that the idea that a ‘non-law-enforcement device’ … installed in the office of any member of this parliament is a serious concern

So … by extension Porter thinks we should all be relaxed about the idea of law enforcement agencies placing surveillance devices in MPs’ offices?

Given opposition and crossbench MPs are an important destination for whistleblowers exposing government scandals and misconduct, the idea of AFP goons sticking bugs in the offices of MPs — in pursuit of someone who has embarrassed, say, an attorney-general given to pursuing vexatious prosecutions — should also be of serious concern.

Think it wouldn’t happen? Maybe ask Nick Xenophon.

Reply Guy We’ve all thought up the perfect gag, only to regret hitting “reply” before giving it a proper read through.

After Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews delivered his “no offence South Australia, but why would you go there?” sledge, South Australian Liberal Senator Andrew McLachlan — who, incidentally, filled Cory Bernardi’s senate seat earlier this year — saw his chance.

A chance to give a kick to the Supreme Leader of the leftie peoples’ feelocracy, back your home state and introduce yourself to Australia? Who could resist?

Solid enough gag, sure — but in his exuberance he forgot to re-read (or possibly even look at) his statement, which was dated Thursday, 17th June 2020 (a day so correct it doesn’t exist) and still contained the green underlining that Word documents use to alert the author of poor grammar.

News Corp watch “Anthony Byrne, a Clark Kent lookalike” — That’s the sound of Niki Savva in The Australian this morning, gurgling well out of her depth on the Somyurek affair.

Savva is a Liberal side-of-the-aisle person, with seemingly not much understanding of Labor politics. “Albanese barely knows Somyurek, but he was aware of his alleged involvement federally …” she argues. Oh, come on.

Albanese has known exactly who Somyurek is and what he’s been doing for years, since Somyurek was essential to building the Centre Alliance faction with the AWU that ensured Bill Shorten’s powerbase.

Since Albo’s powerbase relied on persuading the remnants of the Stephen Conroy machine to come over to his side, rather than fuse with Somyurek’s Mods faction (to Somyurek’s fury), we are pretty sure Albo has kept his eyes on him for a while now.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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