Transparently opaque Crikey has long catalogued the opaque nature of the current government. And it appears even the highest levels of oversight have trouble getting the answers needed.

This week, the Senate’s Select Committee on COVID-19 chair Katy Gallagher grilled Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary (and long time Liberal party staffer) Phil Gaetjens about the wait times for their questions:

CHAIR: … Mr Gaetjens, you’re aware the government supported the establishment of this select committee inquiry?
Mr Gaetjens: Yes, I am.
CHAIR: So can you tell the committee why PM&C is the worst performing department when it comes to answering questions from the committee? We have some questions outstanding from 68 days ago.

While we’re on the subject, it’s worth noting that, while the aged care saga has been rolling, Prime Minister Scott Morrison hasn’t held a press conference in three days.

Murdochcracy As we have observed previously, Rupert Murdoch appears to be dumping US President Donald Trump. And it’s getting worst for the president. Murdoch and his Fox Corporation executive team are donating funds not to Trump, but to US Senate leader Mitch McConnell. According to US transparency website Republic Report:

The four executives — Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Charles ‘Chase’ Carey, and Viet Dinh — have made unprecedented donations to McConnell’s campaign but apparently have not given a penny to Trump.

Ready, aim, shoot yourself in the foot The Northern Territory general election is just over a week away and Country Liberal Party candidate Tracy Hayes is gunning for Labor leader Michael Gunner’s seat of Fannie Bay. She’s chosen an … interesting line of attack:

Given the key (and often extremely difficult) role retail workers have played in the era of COVID-19, we wonder if taking a swipe at Gunner’s history at Big W is the best tactic?

Hayes has since told the NT news that she has worked in several retail jobs. Which begs the question, why didn’t that make it into her list of pre-politics achievements?

QAnon for congress While many US politics watchers were understandably caught up in the appointment of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s vice presidential nominee, elsewhere a conspiracy theorist has won the Republican nomination for Georgia’s 14th congressional district.

Marjorie Greene is a promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims that Donald Trump is battling a cabal of deep state, satan-worshipping elites who traffic children for sex and count, among many others, Oprah Winfrey and Pope Francis among their number.

The movement, increasingly consequential and dangerous (one adherent is a close friend of our PM) has recently been hijacking the phrase “Save the Children” and shifting the conversation from legitimate charity work in an attempt to recruit new members.

Tipping points Crikey is getting word from an increasing number of New South Wales tipsters aghast at the state’s current social distancing approach, particularly in regards to new arrivals from overseas.

First a tipster whose friend had arrived from Singapore told us that after they arrived “the bus driver taking them and others (untested people from a foreign country) was not wearing any PPE. No mask, gloves, faceshield.”

Another told us about a friend who had arrived from Sweden, with an almost identical story. Additionally, and most worringly, “[they] tested negative on arrival. Tested positive several days later, now in RPA virtual hospital at Meriton.”

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has been bizarrely equivocal regarding masks. As one of our tipsters put it: “After all the recent criticism of Melbourne’s quarantine failures and the resultant outbreak you’d think other states would lift their game.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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