Taking out the trash COVID-19 has been a true golden age of “taking out the trash”. Governments of all stripes have taken advantage the constant focus on the virus to push through all sorts of measures — frequently degrading environmental protections — that would have otherwise been front page news. So there’s something sickly apt about yesterday’s announcement of easing restrictions in Victoria.
The same day an exhausted state allowed itself a moment of celebration, the sacred Djab Wurrung “directions tree”, which had stood for an estimated 350 years was felled and taken from the site of a proposed highway duplication. The project will ultimately see thousands of such culturally significant trees cut down.
Controversy around the highway has dogged the Andrews government for years, with claims of inadequate consultation and misrepresentation. An ongoing Djab Wurrung embassy was set up to protect the site, but this morning, as papers are absorbed with how the state will move forward under eased restrictions, the government sent in the police in to scatter protesters.
No pleasing some people Luckily, Andrews does face some serious scrutiny. The Australian didn’t cover the Djab Wurrung scandal, opting for something even more shocking — how annoying three Twitter users found the idea of him having a drink.
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After his hashtag-iconic news conference response to the question, “Can I confirm you are saying we can finally get on the beers?” (A: “I might go a little higher up the shelf”), Andrews tweeted a picture of two glasses of Starward Whisky on the rocks (consummate politician that he is, he chose a locally-distilled and fancy-but-not-too-fancy drop). The Oz sent a reporter into his mentions and found, inevitably, a handful of “how dare you have a drink”-style comments.
The irony: focusing on trivia of this sort manifestly lets Andrews and his government off the hook.
War gaming The US Navy recently launched an official channel on the videogame streaming service Twitch — and that’s not even the weird part of this tip.
For the uninitiated, Twitch is a live video streaming service in which users can watch and interact with people playing video games. If it seems strange that an arm of the biggest military in the world decided it should be part of this, it’s simply following a precedent: the US Army’s official eSports team launched its own channel this year (with some serious teething issues).
And it seems the navy got a few pointers from its comrades about what to expect from the streaming environment: according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, the navy designed a decision flow chart for how streamers on the channel ought to respond to tricky questions from viewers, such as, “what’s your favourite US war crime?”
Of course, the internet being the place it is, some hapless berk recounting talking points about how they’re just here to hang out and game is definitely going to satisfy someone who wants to give them shit about US foreign policy.
State election watch A feature of the lead up to any state election is an ongoing carousel of minor hit pieces. So we learn that Greens candidate Imogen Lindenberg has been “claiming sick leave at her place of employment for almost two months while also actively campaigning” in the upcoming Queensland election, according to The Courier-Mail.
Firstly, it’s worth noting that under the Fair Work Act, employees are entitled to personal leave, not sick leave. Personal leave can be used as sick leave, but it can also be used for other reasons such as carer’s leave.
Regardless, the implied premise of the story (that she is defrauding her employer) seems pretty shaky — whom among us can truly claim to have never chucked a sneaky eight-week sickie to go do media as we try to win office? Sure hope the boss doesn’t find out!
For added ick, see the brief intervention of Labor MP Mark Bailey.
He deleted his tweet swiftly, perhaps deciding it wasn’t ideal for a representative of the union movement’s political wing to advocate against someone using their entitlements.