Climate change Australia
(Image: AAP/Darren Pateman)

Shouting arson in a crowded theatre A noteworthy detail from the recent New South Wales bushfire inquiry: it concluded that not a single major fire in the state during the disastrous 2019-20 season was caused by arson:

So claims that the fires were the result of arson, bordering on “terrorism“, were just another in a series of baseless, inflammatory assertions that government MPs are able to spout during times of national crisis without a single consequence to their career.

CATO on the attack A tipster has shared some noteworthy details of the Council of Australian Tour Operators’ (CATO) recent media engagement campaign. Last week its leadership held a forum with a group of News Corp editors including national weekend editor Mick Carroll and Escape editor-in-chief Kerrie McCallum. A standout quote from the night came from CATO managing director Brett Jardine:

The supply sectors of the industry — tour operators, wholesalers, airlines and cruise companies — underpin the financial success of the weekend papers through advertising revenue. This is both in the form of direct expenditure and through co-op advertising with retailers.

This is not just an idle observation. As Crikey has observed, the pandemic and resulting economic downturn has accelerated the already steady decline in traditional advertising revenue. The process will not get better in the coming recession.

So when Jardine says, “Now how am I able to give you all that lovely advertising money with our borders still closed?”, we can expect News Corp (and others) to sit up and take notice.

That was then, this is now Not for the first time, News must be thanking some divine provenance for Tony Abbott who’s got himself splashed across the papers today for a speech to a think tank in London in which he argues for open borders, complains of “health dictatorships” and suggests governments need to pose some “uncomfortable questions” about how many “deaths we might have to live with”.

In October 2017, in response to Victoria’s assisted dying legislation, his take was a little different: “It marks our descent into a country which regards human beings as disposable, and we don’t want anyone ever to be regarded as useless, worthless or disposable.”

Ratio of the day Usually when the ABC provides a moment of lightness and reassurance in times of crisis, it’s in the form of middlebrow, low stakes and mildly amusing English sitcoms or panel shows.

Today it serviced the same need, but with the world’s most wholesome “tweet that was supposed to be a text”, with the ABC Melbourne account asking its followers: “hi darling what time should i pick you up x”.

Peter Fray

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