(Image: Private Media)

A right Burke In what could be a simulacra for Labor’s approach to public relations, its industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke held a stunt press conference at midnight yesterday. The idea was to remind everyone why penalty rates exist (to adequately compensate people for long, inconvenient hours) and thus oppose the government’s omnibus bill, the “flexibility” of which puts those rates at even greater risk.

“Not sure how many will want to turn up,” Burke said. Fair point.

But here’s the thing: people did turn up. And journalism being what it is, it’s highly unlikely they were paid overtime to do so — at best they might get time off in lieu. So, actively bringing about work conditions you wish to condemn is an… interesting move.

Hodgman does Singapore When former Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman became the rarest of political animals (leaving office on his own terms) last year we speculated a bit about where he might end up.

By the end of 2020 he was Australian’s high commissioner to Singapore. So how’s that going? He chucked up a video on the official high commissioner Twitter account yesterday, sharing his desire to “immerse” himself in Singaporean “culture”. Cut to Hodgman having a right old laugh at the Universal Studios theme park.

He has since insisted the video was intended to be “very tongue in cheek” and we have to confess, his “Oh this is nice” reaction when he chomps into his corndog is rock solid comic acting.

Points of honour In far less winsome “former premier” news, former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell — now high commissioner to India — appears to be continuing to pal around with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the far-right Hindu nationalist organisation.

O’Farrell posted a tweet honouring Indian soldiers who served in the Australian Imperial Service in World War I — but somehow forgot to include names of Muslim or Christian Indians. Not explicitly influenced by RSS, but certainly completely in keeping with its worldview.

And this is not the first time this kind of “memory loss” has had to be called out. In 2018, Liberal Party MP Julian Leeser was criticised for his partnership with the Hindu Council of Australia in funding a war memorial that made exactly the same omissions.

Things combine to be bad in ways you hadn’t predicted (part 4000) When we first started noticing that Instagram and Facebook were blocking (in various ways) any posts containing copyrighted music, we hadn’t considered some of the more sinister ways this could be deployed.

Sennett Devermont is an American police accountability activist who livestreams his encounters with police to an Instagram account called Mr Checkpoint, which has more than 300,000 followers. When he visited the Beverly Hills Police Department last week to apply for a freedom of information form, the officer began blasting Sublime’s ska stoner garbage/classic Santeria on his phone.

This has apparently become a common tactic for social media-savvy police — loudly playing copyrighted music when they are being filmed so as to trigger Instagram and Facebook’s automatic takedowns of copyright material.

P’raps a second draft on this one? There was a real “no bad ideas in brainstorming” energy to this Victorian Health Department tweet which encourages Victorians to take a COVID-19 test using an approach that can only be described as “flirty tissue box”.

Seems the department came to that conclusion too. It was swiftly deleted.