Note: This story discusses sexual assault and suicide.
Former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop has backed an inquest into the death of the woman at the centre of Christian Porter’s historical rape allegations — which he denies — in a 7.30 interview.
Bishop also questioned why Porter and Scott Morrison have not read the anonymous letter containing details of the allegation, and, separately, argued Defence Minister Linda Reynolds had a “duty” to inform police when her former staff member Brittany Higgins shared news of her alleged rape by another Liberal staffer.
The interview comes after Four Corners revealed that the woman at the centre of the allegation spoke in detail to a sexual assault counsellor about the claim eight years ago. Guardian Australia also notes that another friend of the woman, George Karzis, has come forward to criticise Scott Morrison for “dealing with the allegation as a media and political issue”.
Elsewhere, three young women have identified themselves in order to speak out about their allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Frank Zumbo, a senior employee and adviser of Craig Kelly.
PS: In state news, The West Australian ($) reports that WA’s Department of Premier and Cabinet has held talks with Kalamunda Labor MP Matthew Hughes over bullying allegations by a female former staffer, which Hughes denies.
WORKING IT OUT
Scott Morrison will today announce a $1.2 billion extension of the government’s apprenticeship wage subsidy until September at the AFR’s ($) business summit, news of which has leaked to The Conversation, news.com.au, etc.
Morrison will also reportedly push data and digital initiatives as part of a post-JobKeeper recovery along with access to “reliable, affordable and low-emissions energy”, although it is unclear whether this too will amount to a “gas-led recovery” designed by fossil fuel donors.
According to The New Daily, Josh Frydenberg has added that the government is days away from announcing a package for the tourism industry after the general wage subsidy ends March 28.
The news comes as the Commonwealth Bank estimates household savings hit an extra $120 billion across the June, September, and December quarters, figures The Australian ($) notes are driving resurgent property and retail markets.
Elsewhere, Anthony Albanese yesterday issued a pledge to close the gender pay gap across workforces, which includes forcing companies with more than 250 employees to publicly report their gap.
PS: Note that the apprenticeship announcement comes after the Grattan Institute released a report into the gendered impacts of the pandemic and government’s response — i.e. JobKeeper excluded short-term casuals, who, in the hardest-hit industries, are mostly women — while a parliamentary inquiry will today examine plans to increase the JobSeeker rate by just $50 a fortnight.
INTERVIEW FROM THE TOP
Finally, in a tell-all CBS special with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have revealed unnamed palace members had concerns of how dark Archie’s skin would be when he was born, that they were told their son would not receive security or be given the title prince, and that their decision to leave the UK was in part due to racism, specifically among the notorious UK tabloids.
As The Guardian’s rolling coverage of the interview notes, UK Labour has responded by calling on Buckingham Palace to launch an inquiry into the allegations concerning Archie’s skin colour, while Boris Johnson avoided taking a stance, responding to a journalist’s question about the interview by saying, “I really think that when it comes to matters to do with the royal family the right thing for prime minister to say is nothing and nothing is the thing that I propose to say today about that particular matter.”
PS: As The Guardian explains, there are some nuances around the issue of Archie not automatically being given the title “prince” i.e. a 1917 declaration ensures only that the grandchildren of the sons of any such sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) recieve the title, although this was overruled by the Queen for the the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children (and future monarchs).
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
I felt it was completely weird and wrong!!
Also I was half asleep
I felt like saying this doesn’t make me want to vote for you mate
A recipient of one of Dave Sharma’s flowers
Almost a month after voting to abolish the family court and amid a decidedly ugly time for his party, the Wentworth MP takes a stand on International Working Women’s Day by handing out pink flowers to random weirded-out commuters.
“For anyone following the battle in the news media and on social media over the fate of Attorney-General Christian Porter after serious rape allegations, an article in Friday’s Crikey was a punch in the gut.
“Despite running hard in favour of the inquiry that all thinking people now agree is the only fair and reasonable way ahead, Crikey has been the target of angst by a range of women online who have questioned the factual accuracy and fairness of the article, written by David Hardaker, as well as the suitability of it being run at all.
“All these critiques are fair.”
“Memory is contentious, that much is clear. Those who have experienced trauma often have patchy memories: dissociation is common, as is freezing and becoming immobile.
“But the idea that someone can simply forget then remember an instance of abuse, having previously remembered nothing, is not one supported by professionals, and has not been a common claim for decades.
“Yet false memory syndrome has been used to discredit survivors time and again in recent years. Lawyers for Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein have all called in experts on false memory to give expert testimony at their trials.”
“As Prime Minister Scott Morrison eloquently put it, in Australia we do not have ‘the tribe has spoken’ law. We have the rule of law. That rule has been invoked like a sacred mantra in defence of Attorney-General Christian Porter, although not so much on behalf of Brittany Higgins’ alleged rapist.
“Porter went so far as to say that if he stood down as attorney-general we would no longer have a rule of law at all.
“What is this rule of law?”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
A government drowning in tears for a lost ambition — Paul Bongiorno (The New Daily): “Attorney-General Christian Porter continues out of sight on stress leave as he contemplates his future with his greatest ambition shattered. There can be little doubt that his tears of anger and frustration at what he considers the unfairness of it all are as much prompted by the ending of his dream to become prime minister, as everything else.”
Talking about consent is not enough — Ahona Guha (The Sydney Morning Herald): “We need to talk about the entitlement that some boys and men feel to women’s bodies and to sex whenever they want it, entitlement to seeking what they want and saying what they want without stopping to regard the receiving party, a cultural paradigm that values sex over all other forms of closeness, the lack of respect some men hold for laws or their beliefs that it is OK for them to bend the laws, the minimisation they might engage in (‘I just touched her, I didn’t rape her’). This is just the start of the conversation and does not touch on numerous other risk factors that underpin sexual assault, but at least it is a start.”
While Albo stumbles, Tanya has gift of the gab ($) — Dean Frenkel (The Australian): “Tanya Plibersek has been getting a lot of attention without necessarily seeking it, and it is dawning on a growing swell of people that federal Labor does not have its most talented leader at the helm. Unlike most of her tribal peers, Plibersek is an excellent communicator and a confident campaigner. She has a powerful media presence, is skilled enough to capitalise on the 10- to 15-second daily grabs while also capable of encapsulating her message into the other formats. Labor has not had this in a leader for a long time.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Kevin Rudd will launch his new book The Case for Courage at the National Press Club,
Senate President and Victorian Senator Scott Ryan will discuss “The Role Of The Senate In Our Democracy” in a digital Australia Institute event.