tips and murmurs celia hammond
(Image: Private Media)

Reporting for duty As the government scrambles to save face over the horrifying allegations of the rape of staffer and the utterly contemptible response, we can only wonder — what if someone had put together, I don’t know, some kind of roadmap with which to deal with situations like this?

Well, back in 2018, the Australian Human Rights Commission launched the [email protected] inquiry. Finally released in March 2020, it invited no further comment from the government until that year’s budget, when they quietly chucked a measly $2.1 million towards developing a training package for workplaces that “focuses on the nature, drivers and impacts of sexual harassment” and creating a website that “brings together relevant information and resources for employers and workers”. Not only that, they promised to conduct a follow up survey two goddamn years later to “monitor whether new measure are having an impact”.

As Kristine Ziwica wrote in Women’s Agenda at the time, this bold plan ignored 54 of the report’s 55 recommendations. Further proof, as if any were needed, that the government’s blindness on these issues is cultivated, and wilful.

Phantom Payne And once again we are forced to ask what is the point of having a minister for women if they can find nothing to say at times like this? Just as Marise Payne has been pretty quiet on the gendered impacts of COVID-19, we note there has been not so much as a tweet from the minister for women regarding an alleged rape in her own workplace and the utter bungling of the response.

Perhaps she was too busy — on Monday she addressed Burwood Girls High School, and made some general allusions to the gendered impacts of COVID-19. So maybe we can look forward to a speech on workplace assault in, maybe a year or so?

Celia later Meanwhile, the appointment of WA MP Celia Hammond to lead an inquiry into the toxic misogyny of Parliament raises several questions — how can we expect a neutral performance of this task from a Coalition MP investigating her colleagues (and political rivals)? Beyond that, just how suitable an investigator is the hard right catholic who has railed against feminism and pre-marital sex? It’s also worth remembering how she got there.

Hammond won preselection to replace former deputy Liberal Party leader Julie Bishop in Curtin, one of the safest Liberal seats in the country. She was not Bishop’s choice — Bishop favoured a moderate (it was understood she wanted Erin Watson-Lynn). Indeed, Hammond is the legacy of conservative powerbroker Mathias Cormann, who publicly scrapped with Bishop over his choices at the time.

Parler games With far-right social media platform Parler coming back online today — albeit with no historical posts, and strengthened content moderation (so much for unfettered freedom of speech) — fascists, white supremacists, and violent extremists will finally have somewhere to go. Not via Apple or Google devices, though, where the platform remains unavailable. Nonetheless, that prompted Crikey to wonder where the most active Parler users were in Australia?

We’re able to have a stab at that question courtesy of the Parler user data leaked in January before the site went offline. One of the uses of the data is to identify where and when Parler users shot videos they subsequently uploaded to the site — which has been enormously handy for the media and law enforcement in putting together who did what at the Washington DC insurrection on January 6.

So where have Australia’s Parler users been filming? The sample size is small so one can’t draw too many conclusions, but a look at the data shows that Sutherland Shire is the home — or at least the video filming location — of NSW’s most prolific Parler video poster, who posted 15 times between July and December last year. In Victoria, Cardinia is home to that state’s most prolific video poster, with at least one and possibly more users posting 23 videos in December and January. A Mount Barker user holds South Australia’s title with 14 uploads, although a number of them were at the same time so they might have held the Send button down too long. A Stirling user in suburban Perth posted 14 videos to claim WA’s crown.

But all other states must bow to Queensland, where Australia’s most enthusiastic Parler video uploaders live. Several users uploaded 28 videos in Brisbane. At least six users uploaded 20 videos on the Gold Coast; several users uploaded 15 in Noosa, and Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay users also clocked up double figures.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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