ANU data breach

Total beta move After Labor figures cited a report by consultants AphaBeta which argued Australians were raiding their super for non-essential spending under Coalition changes, Liberal Senator Jane Hume delivered a brutal gotcha:

Who commissioned this searing analysis? Or did former Rudd staffer Andrew Charlton do it out of the kindness of his heart [?] … I know who Australians trust — and it’s not you and your mates.

AphaBeta is indeed directed by Kevin Rudd’s former senior economic adviser. However, if AlphaBeta’s staffing makes them suspect, we have to ask — why have they received more than $17 million in government contracts since the beginning of 2019 ($900,000 of which came from Hume’s own department)?

Still, it’s not like a series of high profile Coalition ministers had previously cited AlphaBeta’s work as though it were a credible and disinterested party. I mean, except for Prime Minister Scott Morrison. And Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor. Oh, and Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher.

And (you may see where we’re going here) Assistant Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume.

Never tweet Immediately achieving the gold standard in “who exactly are you expecting to win over?” social media, ASIO has started a Twitter account, opening with a hilarious and playful reference to spying on Australian citizens: “I spy a new Twitter account. We thought it would be fun if you followed us for a change”.

Reportedly the tweet was the result of a staff competition. But as Crikey contributor William Summers points out, given the agency’s exemption from freedom of information laws, we’ll never know what that effort managed to beat.

Lamb to the slaughter Last week we observed the ill timing of a media and communications adviser role being advertised at scandal-plagued insurance scheme icare. Similarly, spare a thought for the media advisers of embattled New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, who a tipster tells us had a torrid time at yesterday’s media conference with Margra Lamb — conducted alongside celebrity chef Mark Best in the lush surrounds of the Quay Restaurant.

After a couple of questions about the NSW government’s export grants program, The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Lisa Visentin asked Perrottet whether he still had confidence in the icare board. After a couple of follow-up questions, with the treasurer becoming increasingly rattled and defensive, an adviser started shouting, “no more questions, that’s it!”.

ABC News’ Ursula Malone fired off a few more questions about whether Perrottet should resign. The two reporters continued their interrogation, with an increasingly hoarse adviser shouting, “last question!”

Perrottet and celebrity chef Mark Best

Perottet stayed for another 15 minutes, removing his suit jacket and donning an apron for yet another photo opp with the dishes of lamb. Finally, he was off, rushing down the stairs in front of his adviser, who was shouting, “do you have your cufflinks?”

We are informed, by the way, that the lamb was excellent.

Completely inCorrigan Today’s Nine papers have a look back at the landmark waterfront dispute of 1998. The special is most notable for its highly weird interview with Patrick Corporation managing director Chris Corrigan, sharing his thoughts on class warfare while on holiday from his tax haven in Switzerland:

After the battle was over, Corrigan says, Patrick workers “realised it was much more fun if you have more control of your destiny and perform and are rewarded than to be stuck in a rules-based system where you’re told not to work too fast because that’s not in accordance with class warfare”.

But of course, workers haven’t been rewarded under those terms at all. While industrial disputes have plummeted, Australian workers have faced year after year of wage stagnation — and it hasn’t done much for productivity growth either.