According to the BBC, UK Labour Leader Keir Starmer has suspended predecessor Jeremy Corbyn for alleging that allegations of anti-Semitism under his leadership had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.
Corbyn, who intends to “strongly contest the political intervention” to suspend him, was responding to a new report by the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that argued Labour had failed to provide adequate training for handling anti-Semitism complaints, that there had been political interference with the complaints, and harassment including “using anti-Semitic tropes and
suggesting that complaints of antisemitism were fake or smears”.
Starmer has accepted the report in full but the former leader — while denouncing anti-Semitism and arguing he had tried to speed up investigations — argues it is “undeniable that a false impression has been created of the number of members accused of anti-Semitism, as polling shows: that is what has been overstated, not the seriousness of the problem”.
His comments follows concerted media campaigns that, according to a 2019 Survation poll, led UK residents to believe one-third of Labour members had been disciplined for anti-Semitism when the actual figure was around 0.1%.
PS: Check out this article in left-wing publication Jacobin for how, exactly, UK advocacy and media bodies conflated the Labour left faction’s pro-Palestine/anti-imperialism stance with anti-Semitism.
The piece also explains why the EHRC is perhaps not quite as independent as outlets today report — i.e. its funding has been slashed by the Conservative Party, which it repeatedly declines to investigate over allegations of Islamophobia (despite, y’know, Boris Johnson).
FUNDING OVERHAUL NEEDED
According to The Australian ($), the Productivity Commission has called for a complete overhaul of how Indigenous funding is allocated after finding the government has little evidence of the effectiveness of current programs.
The new report finds that multiple initiatives are developed without adequate consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and that, after a decade of failed Closing the Gap targets, efforts to gauge program effectiveness are “ad hoc’’ or afterthoughts.
Elsewhere, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that head of peak body Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, Richard Weston, has been appointed the NSW deputy guardian for Aboriginal children and young people as part the government’s response to a 2019 Family is Culture report into Indigenous over-representation in state care.
PS: The NSW announcement comes almost two years after the state government placed a two year time frame on children staying in out-of-home care before courts can order the child be adopted, a move NITV explained faced allegations it would lead to more children permanently removed.
According to the ABC, NSW Health authorities have issued a COVID-19 warning for F45 gym at Leppington in Sydney’s south-west, after a positive case visited more than a dozen times in the past fortnight.
The warning comes after NSW recorded its first mystery case in over two weeks — as did Melbourne — while The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Gladys Berejiklian is calling for an aggressive expansion of its QR contact tracing tool ahead of any reopening of the Victorian border.
Berejiklian has also again labelled Queensland’s reopening benchmark of 28 days without a mystery case “unrealistic”, while Annastacia Palaszczuk is expected to make an announcement on the border today ahead of Saturday’s state election.
PS: As The Courier-Mail ($) reports, Palaszczuk will also take on Deb Frecklington in a final leaders’ debate at the Queensland Media Club following a dash across crucial electorates yesterday in the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
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MOMENT OF TRUTH: PRE-ELECTION COVID SPIKE
According to The Guardian, the White House COVID-19 taskforce has warned of an “unrelenting” spike in the western half of the United States and urged aggressive mitigation measures.
The warning comes after journalist Bob Woodward released a tape of Jared Kushner — a son-in-law and senior adviser to Donald Trump — bragging in mid-April that, as CNN reports, the president was “getting the country back from the doctors”.
On the Democrats’ side, The New York Times’ live blog reports that Nancy Pelosi has urged the Treasury secretary to respond to Democrats’ demands on a relief package — and, if the party wins, pass a package in the “lame duck” session between presidents — while some public health experts have rallied around Joe Biden’s (legally tricky) bid for a national mask mandate.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
I guess one of the things we’ve learnt very early on in our training, is that you’re always a councillor of the City of Perth, and you’re always, in my case, the lord mayor of the City of Perth. And for a brief moment at 25 minutes past five yesterday, I forget that I was the lord mayor of the City of Perth.
After voicing some truly old-school transphobic slurs on his 6PR morning show, Perth’s new lord mayor caps off an apology tour by stressing that he’s still getting his head around this whole
basic human decency council politics thing.
“With less than a week to go until polling day, there is the comforting illusion that, one way or another, the whole US election thing will be over in one long evening.
“But of course everyone knows that it’s not going to happen that way. Barring a Biden victory of Brobdingnagian proportions across the board based on non-mail ballots only, it’s going to be an unholy mess.”
“In the anxious days before the United States election, Joe Biden maintains a healthy polling lead that, thanks to the shock of 2016, many aren’t ready to believe.
“Of course, there’s still a chance Donald Trump could rev up his base in the coming days, and stitch together an electoral college majority by threading the needle through the swing states that narrowly voted for him in 2016. But there’s another possibility.”
“On Tuesday, Amy Coney Barrett, nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate, was appointed to replace the deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court.
“On Wednesday, two new judges were announced for Australia’s High Court (to replace judges about to reach retirement age), appointed by the attorney-general in a process that is obscure, secret and less democratic than how the cardinals choose a pope. The new judges are Jacqueline Gleeson and Simon Steward.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
As Melbourne’s Christmas arrives early, Queensland’s election will test whether COVID is a vaccine for incumbents — Michelle Grattan (The Conversation): “Anticipating reactions to political attacks can be a tricky business. When Scott Morrison spectacularly trashed the reputation of Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate over her now-notorious gift of Cartier watches to high-performing employees, he assumed ‘quiet Australians’ would be outraged at the largesse in a government-owned business.”
The most powerful mandarin in our ‘extended’ security state — Brian Toohey (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Michael Pezzullo is by far the most powerful public servant in Australia. He created and runs the ever-expanding Home Affairs Department, he oversees a ceaseless avalanche of draconian new laws and he gives public speeches about what he sees as the global ‘duality of good and evil’.”
When Murdoch’s tabloid failed Liverpool the people kicked it out of town for good. What’s stopping Melbourne? — Dave Milner (The Shot): “Cities that have experienced collective trauma are capable of remarkable things. New York’s first responders after 9/11. The endurance of ordinary people from both sides of Berlin’s wretched Wall. And Liverpool. The only city in the world to drive one of Rupert Murdoch’s gutter rags back into the gutter for good.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Parliamentary inquiries will consider proposed new ASIO powers, the use of defence personnel in emergencies, and the working holiday maker program.
New Finance Minister Simon Birmingham will be officially sworn in.
NSW Environment and Energy Minister Matt Kean will address Committee for Sydney’s webinar briefing “NSW’s Green Recovery”.