Scott Morrison
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Nice for some Is it standard procedure for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to support the candidacy of Australia’s OECD candidates? That appears to be the treatment afforded to former finance minister Mathias Cormann — the website for his push to become secretary general is hosted by DFAT and bears the Australian government logo and URL.

We asked DFAT whether this was their normal process, but didn’t get a comment back before deadline. But it did put us in mind of the last time a former politician asked for some help getting a plum international relations gig — former PM Kevin Rudd’s bid for secretary general of the United Nations.

The Cormann website must be particularly galling for Rudd, who had no one in his corner but the president of Botswana. He also copped a classic Turnbullian put-down after asking whether the lack of support for his bid was a partisan decision. As reported by The Guardian at the time:

The prime minister [Malcolm Turnbull] said he’d conveyed the reasons why to Rudd when he spoke to him on Friday morning, and didn’t want to add to the former prime minister’s disappointment by articulating them publicly.

Poor timing You can’t always control the news cycle, but surely someone in the Prime Minister’s Office could have co-ordinated this better. Yesterday Scott Morrison launched the Productivity Commission’s new report on mental health issues and the billowing attendant costs to Australia and Australians.

“These costs are borne by those people with poor mental health and people who care, and by governments, employers, insurers and the wider community,” Morrison said.

As he delivered this speech, the BREAKING chyron exploded across the bottom of the ABC screen, announcing that the government had settled the class action brought against them by victims of the illegal robodebt scheme for $1.2 billion.

To restate: while department heads denied the connection, the Department of Human Services’ own information reveals that more than 2000 people died after getting robodebt notices. Certainly the group of mothers who sent handwritten letters to the Senate after their sons took their own lives after receiving Centrelink debts saw a pretty direct connection.

And while the payout is something, we’re left to reflect on the fact that not one minister responsible for this calamity — Stuart Robert, Christian Porter, Alan Tudge — has faced a single consequence.

Lack of census The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) confirms a question on internet connection won’t be in next year’s census.

But the ABS itself is one of the agencies that made the best argument for why this information is important: Australia’s persistent “digital divide” between those with decent access and those without has big social and economic impacts.

Ruling it White out of the question Last year the ABC reported that, five years after losing government, Tasmanian Labor was still struggling with strategy. The broadcaster recounted as an example the Thick of It-worthy episode where leader Rebecca White held a press conference outside a run-down home, arguing that it “could be maintained and provided for accommodation for somebody who’s homeless today” — only for the person who lived in the neither public nor unoccupied home to emerge and ask why a press conference was happening on her lawn.

But at long last, it appears White and co have hit upon a clear strategy: fuck the Greens.

Doing the rounds on Twitter is the above flyer, detailing Labor’s pledge to voters. The promise, running for paragraphs, is that they will never attempt to govern with the Greens again. That’s it. That’s 100% of it.