Clive Palmer preference deal
(Image: AAP/Glenn Hunt)

Pollies use Palmer You know you’ve really tapped into the anti-mood of a state when politicians start using your image (combined with a promise to oppose you) as their promotional material.

Federal Perth MP fPatrick Gorman has taken to using an image of Clive Palmer — looking for all the world like a cartoon rich guy villain, counting a stack of money from his seat in Parliament — as an inducement to follow Gorman’s Facebook page: “Want to stop Clive Palmer tearing down WA’s hard border? Like this page.”

Although, to be honest, we’re not sure the exact connection between the two.

Devine retribution? In February, a video of Murri boy Quaden Bayles weeping and saying he wanted to die after being bullied went viral, and, of course, took a couple of days to become engulfed in conspiracy theories, including that he was actually an 18-year-old conman.

Ever the responsible journalist, Miranda Devine wondered aloud (to her 74,000 Twitter followers) whether Bayles had been “coached” to say things that “no nine year old would say”. Well, it appears this matter isn’t quite done. The Federal Court has recorded an application brought by Bayles and his mother Yarraka against Nationwide News Pty Limited (publisher of The Daily Telegraph, where Devine’s column appears), and Devine in particular. Watch this space.

Unity ticket The Business Council of Australia grandly announced yesterday that:

“Unions and businesses have shown an extraordinary level of cooperation through the COVID-19 pandemic. Today we are coming together to support a paid pandemic leave scheme that helps all workers to comply with the applicable state and territory public health directives”.

I mean, we might not accept every part of that premise, but still, the unity ticket on the issue of pandemic leave is notable. And the pair of organisations may feel COVID-19 is a boon to their chances; after all, the last measure they agreed on, the need to raise Newstart, took a pandemic to bring about.

Line of questioning The Sydney Institute is running a series of virtual events, allowing people to send in questions to figures such as former prime minster Tony Abbott, economist Tim Harcourt and one that caught our eye, former judge Michael Kirby. Kirby’s theme, we’re told, will be “the dangers and opportunities of virtual courts. Will they mean access to justice? And is there a silver lining in COVID-19, after all?”

Interesting and worthy, no doubt. But we wonder if any members will be tempted to ask about Kirby’s former colleague Dyson Heydon? What did he know of rumours around Heydon’s behaviour? And while we’re on the subject, is he at all annoyed at the cone of silence about Heydon, given the grotesque and baseless attacks he was subjected to by Coalition members?

Taking out the trash In the undeniably glum atmosphere of lockdown and curfew stricken Melbourne, social media is presenting a few options for amusement, or at least catharsis. Firstly, the event “stand on your front porch and scream” has attracted the interest of 65,000 Melburnians, in, well, screaming on their front porches on Friday night.

For those with more of a rebellious streak, the technically illegal “putting the bins out at 8.01pm” may be more your speed.

And yes, there’s something for the “Dan Stans” too, with the option of giving the beleaguered Victorian premier a “virtual hug”.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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