LAWYERS V MORRISON
Note: This story discusses sexual assault and suicide.
Former solicitor-general Justin Gleeson has called on Scott Morrison to enlist his successor, Stephen Donaghue, in determining whether Christian Porter is fit and proper to remain attorney-general in the wake of historical rape allegations.
The ABC notes Gleeson also called on Morrison, who did not seek Donaghue’s advice before dismissing an independent inquiry into Porter, to read the 31-page dossier outlining the claims denied by the attorney-general.
Morrison, as The New Daily explains, yesterday again claimed that an inquiry into the claims would erode “the rule of law” — despite multiple legal organisations backing an independent investigation and the fact Australia has a long history of royal commissions and inquiries — and noted he does not “anticipate” Porter to return to parliament next week.
Elsewhere, The Age reports that law firm MinterEllison is divided after partner and defamation lawyer Peter Bartlett advised Porter, with chief executive Annette Kimmitt last Wednesday emailing more than 2000 staff to say taking on Porter as a client had “triggered hurt” for her and apologising for “causing hurt” to staff.
Bartlett, in response, said he was thanked by the Prime Minister’s Office and that Morrison and Porter “are the leaders of one of the firm’s largest clients”. MinterEllison is currently working on $93 million of government contracts, with some staff reportedly concerned their handling of the scandal could threaten this relationship.
PS: According to Guardian Australia, former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller has engaged Gordon Legal to bring a workplace harassment suit against Alan Tudge and Michaelia Cash, over allegations Miller was bullied while working as a senior media adviser while she was in a consensual affair with Tudge and, subsequently, during her employment with Cash.
TWO DEATHS IN CUSTODY IN NSW
Note: This story discusses suicide.
NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin has defended the decision not to announce that two Indigenous Australians died in custody in Sydney last week, telling a budget estimates committee that public announcements would not be appropriate in the absence of additional details and would “cause a lot of anger, a lot of angst, and a lot of grief”.
A woman, 44, died apparently by suicide while serving an eight-month sentence while a man, 35, died while being treated for “multiple” health issues in Long Bay prison’s hospital, although the nature of his death was not disclosed. Their deaths follow more than 430 others since 1991’s Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
On why all known “hanging points” have not been removed from cells despite this being a royal commission recommendation, Severin said there is no dedicated budget for the issue and their removal is part of a “risk-based approach to modifying cells”.
The decision not to publicly disclose deaths in custody was criticised by Greens MP David Shoebridge at budget estimates and, subsequently, CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT Karly Warner.
PS: As Guardian Australia reports, Victoria yesterday became the first Australian jurisdiction to launch a truth commission into the ongoing effect of violent colonisation on Indigenous people, a “Yoo-rrook justice commission” that will have the powers of a royal commission and has been compared to South Africa’s truth and reconciliation commission.
Lifeline: 13 11 14.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has been admitted to hospital with a suspected infection, which the ABC notes is not believed to be related to the AstraZeneca vaccine administrated over the weekend.
The news comes after Dan Andrews suffered damage to his vertebrae and ribs after falling on wet stairs yesterday morning, and was yesterday evening transferred to The Alfred trauma centre as a precaution. Deputy Premier James Merlino has taken on the premier’s responsibilities.
Finally, The West Australian reports that a female electorate officer for Mark McGowan was taken to hospital as a precaution, after a man hurled an aluminium foil-wrapped package containing powder and a note into his Rockingham office just four days from the state election. Federal Labor MP Madeleine King’s office also received a tin foil package and envelope containing an “unhinged” letter.
SA GETS SOME CRAP NEWS
Finally, SA Health has called on anyone with COVID-19 symptoms — no matter how mild — who has been in Adelaide’s CBD during the past week to get tested, after they found a second “strong” result for the virus in wastewater.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Despite targeted measures to incentivise Australian JobSeeker recipients to relocate to where the jobs are, unemployed Australians are simply and regrettably not filling these jobs…
If there is a job available, and you are able to do that job, then it is reasonable for taxpayers to expect that it will be taken up, rather than continue to receive benefits.
Rather than touching all those unregulated rates and conditions that see blueberry workers paid as little as $3 an hour, the prime minister threatens to tie the below-poverty JobSeeker payment to recipients up and moving to regional Australia.
“Lurking online is a neat demonstration of the profound misogyny of Australian politics, and the rank double standards of both the Coalition and much of the press gallery in Canberra.
“A Sydney Morning Herald article from 2014 is accompanied by a screen grab from the proceedings of the trade union royal commission. There’s commissioner Dyson Heydon and former prime minister Julia Gillard, the latter being interrogated by counsel assisting.”
“There has never been such anger, hopelessness and sadness amongst Australia’s women. It’s not just that there are continuous claims of misogyny, sexual harassment and sexual assault streaming out of Parliament House; what hurts most is the official response.
“It’s been nothing less than dehumanising. Regardless of the intention, it sends a message to women: we don’t care if you’re not safe, we don’t believe you, and there will not be consequences for hurting you.”
“The past two weeks have seen enormous pressure on Attorney-General Christian Porter following historic rape allegations. Porter strenuously denies the allegations.
“The woman who made the allegations — who Crikey had previously refused to name — had her first name used on ABC’s Four Corners last night. Her name was Kate.
“Here’s how the story has unfolded to this point. “
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Victoria’s truth-telling commission: to move forward, we need to answer for the legacies of colonisation — Harry Hobbs (The Conversation): “The announcement was made at Coranderrk, a former Aboriginal reserve outside Melbourne. The site is significant. Dispossessed from their country, a group of Aboriginal people were allowed in the 1860s to settle on a small parcel of land deemed unsuitable for agriculture. Rebuilding their community, the group farmed and sold produce into Melbourne. Their success caused resentment among non-Indigenous farmers and the Aboriginal Protection Board.”
The sexual abuse scandal rocking Australia’s parliament is the tip of the iceberg — Carina Garland (Jacobin): “When the media breaks a story revealing the toxic, patriarchal culture within powerful, elite institutions, the collective reaction follows a pattern. First, there is shock. Then, gallingly, our surprise evaporates as we remember that these abuses have happened before and, as experience tells, they will likely happen again. To break the pattern, we first need to ask why this keeps happening.”
Harry and Meghan: The union of two great houses, the Windsors and the Celebrities, is complete — Patrick Freyne (The Irish Times): “Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories. More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Vice-Chancellor at the University of Queensland and Chair of Universities Australia Professor Deborah Terry will present “From partnership to prosperity” at the National Press Club.