Scott Morrison covid-19 astrazeneca vaccine
(Image: AAP/POOL/David Caird)

STICKING IT TO THE MAN?

Labor has accused the Morrison government of reneging on its commitment to “fully vaccinate” Australians by October, with Guardian Australia reporting that health department officials cited supply constraints and the longer 12-week window between AstraZeneca doses mean some people may have to wait until December for their second shot.

Health secretary Professor Brendan Murphy however argued at the Senate’s COVID-19 inquiry that it was a “semantic debate” that “doesn’t really matter” because people will have a level of protection from the first dose. For some context, The Conversation reports that in the face of a government target of 4 million shots by the end of March (now early April), a little over 100,000 have been administered.

Elsewhere, Labor has also attacked the government’s tourism support package, with Kristina Keneally panning the plan for 50% off routes to 13 sites as “too little too late” on Q+A, while The Age reports that Victoria’s acting Premier James Merlino will lobby to add Melbourne and the state’s east to destination list.

Scott Morrison has suggested the program will grow as the industry responds, while The Sydney Morning Herald reports that several ministers in NSW — which, along with WA, SA and Victoria, has one site — have complained of favouritism to Queensland, which clocked in at four. Their sentiment has been shared in the paper’s editorial.

PS: Speaking of reneging on commitments, QNews reports that LGBTIQ groups yesterday slammed Labor for dropping a series of commitments from a slimmed-down draft policy platform — i.e. ending coercive intersex surgeries, reducing out-of-pocket transgender medical costs, committing to safe and supportive schools — but noted an area of improvement in a stronger commitment to banning conversion practices.

TIME’S KIRKUP

Zak Kirkup could tomorrow become the first WA Liberal leader in 88 years to lose their seat, with polling for The West Australian ($) ahead of Saturday’s election suggesting that Kirkup — who, faced with the unenviable task of taking on a premier at 88% approval, straight up admitted defeat two weeks ago — could lose his Dawesville seat on a 40-60 two-party-preferred vote.

While polling always needs to be taken with a grain of salt, the paper notes that, were the swing replicated tomorrow, the Liberals could win just three seats, making the Nationals the de facto opposition. Kirkup — who has opted for strangely progressive energy and housing policies while facing almost-certain defeat — earlier this week said he would not return to politics if he loses his seat.

Not helping matters, the ABC reports the Liberals’ long-awaited costings immediately came under fire yesterday when shadow treasurer Sean L’Estrange could not answer questions over key election promises at an election debate, namely the party’s affordable housing strategy and plan to sink a railway line in West Perth.

PS: Likely helping matters even less, Liberal candidate for the seat of Albany Scott Leary has now twice questioned the timing of historical rape allegations denied by Christian Porter so close to the election.

THIRD INDIGENOUS DEATH IN CUSTODY

Aboriginal justice groups have demanded prison reforms following the third Indigenous death in custody reported in a week, Guardian Australia reports, following news of a man’s death in Victoria’s Ravenhall Correctional Centre on Sunday March 7.

Victorian Greens senator Lidia Thorpe has slammed the justice system as “deeply racist” and called on Scott Morrison to meet with grieving family members, while advocacy bodies point to still-untouched recommendations from the 1991 royal commission.

Separately, the ABC reports that an inquest has found that 36-year-old Indigenous man Nathan Reynolds died in a NSW correctional centre in 2018 because of prison staff’s “confused, unreasonably delayed, and uncoordinated” medical response to his asthma attack.

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

JOB FOR THE BOY, SINGULAR

Finally, in “jobs for the boys” news that would make the AAT blush, the Morrison government has appointed Howard-era minister Nick Minchin as independent reviewer under the Food and Grocery Code for a three-year period.

Minchin, a climate change and tobacco denialist, was last appointed by Josh Frydenberg to the Foreign Investment Review Board for a five-year term in 2018.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

This is Australia exporting its “garbage” to New Zealand. Their criminal offending has been in Australia…

I don’t necessarily completely agree with that sentiment, but if that is Peter Dutton’s view, it is his view … probably should have chosen a better frame of words.

I am just reflecting that question that I was asked. If that is Peter Dutton’s view of it, then he is exporting his rubbish to New Zealand.

I didn’t mean to suggest that that is what I am calling them. Those are Peter Dutton’s words, not my words. Those are not my words; those are Peter Dutton’s words. If he is describing them that way, then he is saying Australia is deporting its rubbish to New Zealand.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins

The New Zealand minister falls down something of a rabbit hole in grappling with Peter Dutton’s boast that deporting non-citizens with criminal offences — including a 41-year-old woman who had lived here 31 years, had two children, and was sentenced to 18 months for drug possession — amounted to “taking out the trash”.

CRIKEY RECAP

The first person to lose their job in the Porter matter is female. What happened?

Annette Kimmitt was toast the moment she got thrown out Joe Aston’s Rear Window.

“Last Thursday, the white-collar gossip columnist revealed that the managing partner of corporate law firm MinterEllison had sent an all-staff email expressing concern about the company’s work for Attorney-General Christian Porter. Less than a week later, Kimmitt is gone.”


The world’s longest-serving CEO turns 90. Surely, Rupert, it’s time you gave us a break

“Rather than third parties talking about Rupert, he really should sit down and pen an autobiography about his extraordinary career inheriting one afternoon newspaper in sleepy Adelaide and building an unprecedented media empire which has seen him emerge as leader of arguably the world’s most powerful family, amassing a tidy $30 billion pile along the way.

“It’s just such a shame that this notorious former Australian citizen has done more damage than good, unethically debauching journalism, warmongering, denying climate change, pulling Britain out of the EU and backing destructive demagogues like Donald Trump.”


The Porter case is being argued in the abstract. Let’s get back to reality

“The Jane Doe/Christian Porter saga momentarily turned from tragedy to farce yesterday with a piece in The Australian about the ‘Jane I knew’.

“From whom? Helen Dale-Darville-Demidenko, who knew the woman briefly before 1988, not after that, and gives no indication she attended the 1988 debating championships where the alleged events took place. Apart from that it was a searing revelation of hitherto untold etc etc.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Pressure builds over Western Sydney rezoning that saw land value plummet to $1

Sexual assault survivor speaks out after being raped by Churchie boys ($)

Wesley principal says parents must tackle ‘confronting’ topic of consent

We’re backing Dan: leadership aspirants pledge allegiance ($)

Respected anti-domestic violence campaigner remembered at vigil in Alice Springs

‘It was a visceral anger’: The tweet that spawned nationwide protests

Tearful final remarks as Sam Armytage leaves Sunrise

Prince William denies the royal family is racist, says he hasn’t spoken to Harry

Myanmar junta accuses Aung San Suu Kyi of taking bribes as eight killed in anti-coup protests

Denmark, Norway suspend AstraZeneca vaccine over blood clot fears

Congress clears $1.9 trillion aid bill, sending it to Biden

THE COMMENTARIAT

It is not too late, prime minister, to seek the advice of the solicitor general Justin Gleeson (Guardian Australia): “Earlier this week I made a brief public statement to urge the prime minister to seek the advice of the solicitor general on the important questions of law that underpin the government’s current refusal to hold an inquiry into whether Christian Porter remains a fit and proper person to hold the high office of attorney general. Porter has strenuously denied the allegation of rape levelled against him, saying ‘it just did not happen’.”

How Josh Frydenberg is being punished by politics ($) — Ticky Fullerton (The Australian):Josh Frydenberg must be wondering what more he can do. Why isn’t anyone talking about ‘the world’s greatest treasurer’? The economy is roaring back: the December quarter growth rate of 3.1% was better than any G7 country, tweeted the prime minister. Business confidence is returning, jobs are coming back. The answer is politics.”

Media misses the point of inquiry into anti‑vilification protections Charmaine Clarke (IndigenousX): “The response by national mainstream media to a report tabled last week by the Victorian anti-vilification protections inquiry, completely missed the point and instead we saw sensational headlines of Nazi swastika banned or Nazi flags banned. The report which produced 36 recommendations, came about after months of contributions by organisations and personal testimonies from groups including Muslim, African, Jewish communities, LGBTQI, disability, and faith-based groups throughout the country.”

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