Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka (Image: AAP/Julian Smith)

Taking flight Chartered flights for players is all part of a grand plan by Tennis Australia to COVID-proof the Australian Open so it can go ahead in January. But the sporting body has been light on the details. For example, which airline will land the well-paying job?

The thought of finding a few spare jumbo jets to fly tennis pros in from around the globe seems like a daunting task. But perhaps not if you’re Tennis Australia president and newly-minted Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka. Since landing at Virgin — which went into administration during the pandemic — the former Jetstar boss has no doubt become acquainted with a few out-of-work pilots desperate to get back in the air.

Crikey asked Tennis Australia if it had made any arrangements with Virgin Australia for the lucrative gig, or whether it would rule out using Virgin to avoid a conflict of interest, but we haven’t heard back.

Sky’s the limit Among the many findings from the inquiry into the Christchurch shooting is that the shooter was radicalised on YouTube. The report notes that he donated money to Canadian far-right white nationalist Stefan Molyneux and to the Canadian far-right media company Rebel News, former employer of white nationalist Lauren Southern. (Rebel News was also the former media backer of Mark Latham’s online video chat show).

But we should never forget that the shooter didn’t need YouTube to hear the views of either people. Sky News Australia — broadcast on free-to-air TV in parts of regional Australia — has hosted interviews with Molyneux and Southern (who Sky refers to as a “contributor”) on topics including how ethnicity plays a role in IQ differences and the so-called “white genocide” in South Africa.

That was then, this is now In a strikingly tabloid headline for a quality paper, The Australian Financial Review‘s front page today leaves its readers in no doubt as to its view on the current industrial relations debate:

Job saving it may (apparently) be, but somehow the government’s omnibus IR bill — which is looking more and more like diet WorkChoices — is still not enough reform for the AFR, whose only regret about the COVID pandemic is that it didn’t last longer and force through real change. We can’t help but remember, back in May, when the coverage of industrial relations was very different:

Surveillance society In horrifying yet entirely predictable news, The Washington Post reports that Chinese tech giant Huawei has tested facial recognition software that could send automated “Uyghur alarms” to police when its camera systems identify members of the minority group in crowds.

Of course, we can hardly judge from here in Australia. Our politicians have bragged about using facial recognition software, despite overwhelming evidence that it’s racially biased and ineffective. Only pushback from federal parliament’s joint intelligence and security committee stopped an attempt by Peter Dutton and Mike Pezzullo to establish the basis for a national facial recognition system, as we reported at the time “without privacy safeguards, oversight, accountability or recognition of the deep biases of facial recognition systems”.

An alien concept In “why not, it’s 2020” news, retired Israeli general Haim Eshed, who served as the head of Israel’s space security program for nearly 30 years, has told Tel Aviv newspaper Yediot Aharonot that aliens are real, have been in contact, and that a “Galactic Federation” is keeping it from humanity because “we’re not ready”.

US President Donald Trump — he of the Space Force — apparently knows and was “on the verge” of going public before being talked out of it.

Sure, why not. This year has given us mystery seeds and disappearing monoliths and murder hornets and now a respected professor and retired Israeli general says that aliens are real.