Pauline Hanson
Pauline Hanson (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

CPAC Ah yes, the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), the hard-right American group whose conference is, in the words of our correspondent Guy Rundle “a Woodstock/Deadhead gathering for every right-wing loon in the country”. Last time it cropped up in the news, a mega-conference in Washington was the site of a COVID-19 scare as well as Donald Trump managing to violate the consent of an inanimate object – giving the American flag a big snog.

Good news! Its Australian arm — launched in 2019 — is returning. According to an email from the organisation, “the largest and most prominent conference for conservatives and libertarians in Australia” will be held in November in Sydney.

The speakers list offers such luminaries as Aryan catalogue model Lauren Southern, microwaved Tony Abbott Craig Kelly, and prime minister from an even darker timeline Mark Latham.

The last iteration gave us a group which argued the coronavirus was a left-wing hoax having to quarantine themselves after one caught it. Let’s hope nothing similarly awful and ironic happens this time.

Two questions: who and why? Victoria’s announcement of a state of disaster — really puts things in perspective when the word “emergency” just isn’t cutting it — followed not just strong hints from both government and media about a New Zealand-style hard lockdown, but an unattributed, poorly-written message claiming to be a leaked cabinet briefing that went viral late Saturday night.

While the message is written in the voice of a student, includes an exaggerated proposal to almost completely shut public transport, and is very likely a hoax based on New Zealand’s measures, the writer accurately guessed some unique elements such as regional Victoria (and Mitchell Shire) only moving to stage three but similarly shutting schools.

False economy The scene here is a Crikey correspondent’s local cafe on day one of stage four lockdown. The place is next to a police station and the figures behind the glass are boys and girls in blue. Up to six people, cops and civilians, have been standing in this space, coming and going, talking to each other, over the past 20 minutes, crowded together far closer than 1.5 metres. Some have greeted others as they’ve arrived, which confirms they’re meeting from separate locations, and thus potentially transferring the virus to new groups afresh.

Dictator Dan, there’s not much point in having cops and army on the street, if they’re the ones doing the spreading. That would suggest this is political cosplay, and the Andrews government could never be accused of that…

What a poster Hey, do you believe all lives matter and that we should ban Muslims from entering the country and also have a bare wall in your house that you’d like to liven up?

Well, let me tell you something — you might be in for a bit of treat. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (PHON) is offering signed copies of “flagging the issues”, a poster of Hanson hanging little Australian flags on a Hills hoist, now for only 150 bucks!

Funds raised go directly to PHON’s “campaign to get more One Nation members into Parliament”. Apparently there’s only 100 left. Get in quick.

Another fine mess Seemingly misunderstanding what the job title “far right researcher” means, Facebook has forced Australia’s most assiduous cataloger of fascists Slackbastard (or Andy Fleming) to temporarily unpublish his Facebook page. This follows his “having published a post containing words and/or images the corporation has designated as expressing support for ‘dangerous individuals or organisations’“.

The offending post appears to be a photograph of far right extremist Neil Erikson with others, including Eurydice Dixon’s memorial vandal Andrew Nolch, making the coded white supremacist “OK” gesture.

Not aged well Twitter reminded us that Peter Arvanitis — co-owner of Heritage Care, the parent company of Epping Gardens nursing home, the site of one of the most horrifying COVID-19 outbreaks — did a Vogue Living photo shoot of his Melbourne mansion in March 2020.

A glance at the Epping Gardens’ website gives us another disjunction between image and reality.

While the Heritage Care homepage provides daily COVID-19 updates, the page dedicated to Epping Gardens (which comes up on Google before the homepage, after a series of damning articles) makes no mention of the pandemic in general or specific terms.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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