Let’s get criminal, criminal

Hey, remember last week when this very column mentioned that scandal-riven SA parliamentarians are responding to ICAC enquiries with a blanket “nup” on the grounds that they’re subject to parliamentary privilege — which sounded as innocent as a toddler feigning surprise at their reeking nappy while denying any involvement in its befoulment?

Well, the reasons have just become a little more clear with the bombshell casually dropped by departing SA ICAC commissioner Bruce Lander to the effect that “more than one” SA parliamentarian is under criminal investigation regarding parliamentary allowance claims.

As reported by InDaily:

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In a joint statement, outgoing Upper House president Terry Stephens and backbench MPs Adrian Pederick and Fraser Ellis confirmed they had each received a notice from Lander “requiring us to produce documents” for the purpose of an investigation into “a potential issue of corruption in public administration in respect of the Country Members Accommodation Allowance

Since Lander has now left the building there’s a possibility that new ICAC commissioner Ann Vanstone QC will decline to investigate, but Lander thinks it’s unlikely given the current progress of the investigations. 

Fortunately for all the Liberal MPs who’ve already lost their ministries and been forced to repay money they “accidentally” claimed for living in regional places when actually living in the city and/or being on holiday, they have the resolute support of Premier Steven Marshall who… um, told InDaily that parliamentary privilege “shouldn’t be used as a blanket shield to slow down, impede or delay an inquiry”.

Reports that Adelaide popcorn sales were up could not be confirmed at press time.

House party!

With the nation officially in recession even before the Victorian lockdown gets taken into account, the government is still planning to cut JobSeeker at the end of September, lest it become an incentive for lazy and shiftless Australians to get used to eating twice a day or knowing they’ll have a roof over their head for weeks at a time. 

Speaking of which, Anglicare has the welcome news that once the COVID-19 supplement is cut, unemployed Sydney residents will have a choice of numerous properties within their rental budget: specifically, six of them.

The most recent Rental Affordability Snapshot concluded that a single person on JobSeeker had a grand total of 168 properties in the entire country within their budget, ranging from three in Adelaide to 60 in Tasmania.

The rental application process might be competitive, though, given that there are around 1.5 million people on JobSeeker right at the moment. So maybe give yours an eye-catching cover or something?

In any case, the government would hardly like you taking that self-pitying glass-half-empty attitude — not when those who get a go are allegedly those who have a go, or something.

In that spirit, job-lacking-shelter-likers should take note that there’s a record number of office buildings standing empty at the moment, and that means that there are plenty of available doorways to sleep in without inconveniencing society’s valuable Job Creators. You’re welcome.

Return to sender

Meanwhile back to SA, it’s a good thing that the state is celebrating seven weeks without a new COVID-19 infection, because it turns out they’ve been sending out those negative test results to the wrong people.

Yes, South Australia has been a veritable Shangri-La during the pandemic, although it’s hard to tell if the seas of lewdly maskless faces are because of blithe ignorance of the risks of the virus or just to really rub Melbourne’s nose in how, for once, Adelaide’s got it heaps better.

SA Health was not only sending the wrong people results, it was also trying to shift the blame for what would have been a catastrophic disaster were it not for SA’s low infection rate.

Initially it had indicated that Personify Care, a private company which built the SMS messaging service that SA Pathology uses, was the culprit, before it was pointed out by the Seven Network that said platform had been “paused” before this random distribution of test results began.

In any case, it’s just nice for South Australians to occasionally get a little notification that someone else in the state has the same health status.

Also, it’s formed the premise for my COVID-themed romantic comedy: look out for “Love Status: POSITIVE” opening in all socially-distanced cinemas this summer.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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