Former senator Fraser Anning (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Industrial strength Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has announced that the government will intervene in support of seaport operator Patrick’s application to the Fair Work Commission to halt industrial action by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

Porter called the MUA’s action — which so far totals one four-hour stop work meeting and a ban on overtime — a “slap in the face”, while Health Minister Greg Hunt talked gravely of hypothetical threats to the supply of medicine.

Of course the government needn’t bother, and it knows it. The process of initiating industrial action is an involved one, and once it’s approved it can be struck out by the Fair Work Commission on extremely broad public-interest grounds — such as the cost to the economy or the threat sick people. Patrick’s application is more or less guaranteed to be successful.

Far out far right In the 2019 documentary The Brink former Donald Trump adviser and current jailbird Steve Bannon says he will aid “any populist party that looks viable”. Given what’s happened to Bannon since, it’s perhaps unsurprising he’s decided to loosen those standards.

Bannon and former Australian senator Fraser “Oswald Mosely” Anning — alongside literal advocate for sex robots Professor Adrian David Cheok — have formed the Institute for Populist Economic Nationalism, a “think tank” advocating protectionism and social conservatism. This has come after the Australian Electoral Commission’s official deregistration of Anning’s ill-fated One Nation spin-off party Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party, lancing that particular boil from Australian politics.

Binary questions We’re hearing reports that anti-trans activist group Binary — which grew out of anti-marriage equality group Marriage Alliance — is doing some phone polling on various trans topics: bathrooms, gender diversity, drag queens and the like.

We’ve previously looked at the fringe group’s remarkable combination of outsized influence and constant failure, something it’s not been able to replicate since the rebrand.

Is this polling the start of a new campaign? We’ll be keeping our eyes out.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey