Going down in history We’ve talked a bit recently about Christian Porter’s gilded path to federal attorney-general, but one area that often gets overlooked is the brief time he spent as “future premier of Western Australia” before he was “future prime minister”.
Porter was elected to state parliament and immediately appointed attorney-general in the aftermath of former Liberal Party leader Troy Buswell’s first tranche of scandals.
(For those who’ve forgotten, back in 2008 the WA Liberals got their first indication that Buswell might not be leadership material when it emerged he had picked up a chair a staffer had recently sat in and sniffed it.)
It would be the first in a series of similar incidents which somehow never kept Buswell out of leadership positions for long — he would eventually be treasurer in Colin Barnett’s government, twice. He’s currently facing allegations of repeatedly assaulting his partner.
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The staffer who endured the chair-sniffing humiliation — a senior person who had worked for the party for decades — responded by drafting amendments to equal opportunity legislation with a Labor MP, Martin Whitley, aimed at filling the gaps through which staffers frequently fall.
Porter equivocated about implementing the legislation, but it didn’t happen. Whitley eventually introduced the amendments as a private member’s bill in 2010.
WA-mbulance The grim economics of journalism in this country is illustrated by today’s edition of The West Australian. The last time the state’s only daily paper put Clive Palmer on the front page was in a flurry of distinctly unflattering photoshop jobs following his constitutional challenge to the WA government’s border closure, and his follow-up of asking for $30 billion instead.
Now, in a real “all’s fair in love and war” move, the West has accepted Palmer’s cash to run an ad undermining the McGowan government’s vaccine program, the kind of thing that might read as a deeply irresponsible way to pay the bills?
Of course, it’s not the only one.
Happy International Women’s Day! We have long asked: what exactly are “moderate Liberals” for, apart from getting unearned praise for basic humanity on issues like marriage equality or for veiled attacks on the crazed right of the party they seemed destined to never quit?
Well, here’s another one: completely ignoring reality with political stunts.
Wentworth MP Dave Sharma decided to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) with the following tweet:
The assertion that IWD ought to be “a day when we strive to improve the respect, dignity and equality for every woman, everywhere”, with no acknowledgment that the past few weeks have shown up some real deficiencies in that area in the party where he works, would be bad enough. But Sharma decides to illustrate his commitment to this with a photo of himself accosting blameless women in a shopping centre with some pretty flowers.
It’s exactly the kind of serious structural response women have been demanding.
Mumford and Sons of Denmark A real “check your 2021 bingo card” here. Winston Marshall, the “of course he’s called that” banjo player from oppressively twee folk stars Mumford & Sons, has outed himself as a fan of serially discredited far-right grifter/provocateur Andy Ngo, praising his “brave” book (that’s one word for it) in a since deleted tweet.
I feel like everyone who told me I was being dramatic back in 2009 when I said the proliferation of earnest young men in waistcoats playing their high-strapped acoustic guitars extremely hard was the sign of the collapse of society owes me an apology.