Donald Trump COVID-19

The government makes some quiet (non-) moves at the AAT, how the JobSeeker news cycle started, and Donald Trump just can’t catch a break. Plus other tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.

AAT watch While everyone’s attention is taken up with *all this*, a tipster has told us there is movement quietly afoot at the government’s favourite stackathon, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Or, more accurately, a lack of movement.

“The 16 Administrative Appeals Tribunal members up for reappointment by the end of June 2020 have been rolled over for 3 months,” the tipster told us. “No official announcement on the attorney-general’s website.”

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We asked the Attorney-General’s Department what was happening, and apparently our tipster is way off: it’s actually 18 members.

A spokesperson confirmed that 18 AAT members’ appointments had expired on June 25 and 29, and the governor‑general had appointed all 18 for a further three months. Further, they argued that it is “not usual practice to announce short-term extensions of appointment”.

The circle of a story The government has long resisted calls to increase welfare — first in refusing to raise the Newstart rate, and then refusing to commit to keeping the higher JobSeeker payments which replaced it in the time of COVID-19.

Sometimes the media steps in to help an argument along. Over the weekend The West Australian published the story of Ric Torchia, a pub owner who claims “dole-bludging youngsters are refusing to return to their hospitality gigs” and calls JobSeeker a “designer drug” which keeps “rich kids” hooked on the welfare pipe.

This gives Prime Minister Scott Morrison the chance to go on 2GB and cite “anecdotal evidence” that businesses can’t find casual workers because the JobSeeker payment is so generous.

Which in turn gives the The Australian ($) a chance to jump aboard with a front page “exclusive” on the same subject:

Look out for more Coalition talking points today. On the cycle goes.

Trump watch It’s not just traditional media that appears to be turning away from Donald Trump. Following his fact-checking from Twitter, aggregator site and “unbelievably shitty spouse-chronicler” Reddit has banned pro-trump subreddit r/The_Donald under its new hate-speech policies

Game streaming service Twitch has (albeit temporarily) followed suit with Trump’s official campaign account, citing Trump’s “hateful conduct”.

More Trump watch As if that weren’t enough, The Rolling Stones — famous guardians of copyright — have finally moved to stop Trump from using their music at his rallies. Trump’s playlist has been going round for years and relies heavily on Stones classics. Since it takes hours to fill the stadiums — or, ha ha, used to — early attendees could enjoy “Start Me Up” three or four times. Trump particularly loves to taunt his base with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Sans Stones, Trump’s in a little trouble.

There’s not much left but ugly demotivating music like Ted Nugent or Rudy Vallee. Traditionally, the Republican go-to crowdstarter — by a rare right-wing rocker — is “Smooth” (“give me your heart make it real or else forget about it!”), which Guy Rundle never wants to hear again, and is of course by one Carlos Santana…

Surveillance state Returning to Reddit, one user claims to have reverse engineered video sharing app TikTok and found that it is essentially surveillance malware posing as social media.

The user compares the level of data being collected by other social media behemoths (as well as the lengths they go to hide that collection) and concludes it’s like “comparing a cup of water to the ocean”.

Some good news As we mentioned in the Crikey Worm this morning, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has announced a last-minute reprieve for two community TV stations — Melbourne’s Channel 31 and Adelaide’s Channel 44.

This follows Crikey‘s impassioned defence of the format yesterday.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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